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Canonization of the Old Testament #6

Design of the Order of books

                   CANONIZATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT #6


by Dr.Ernest Martin



The Design of the Old Testament

     The most important individual who was responsible for
designing and finalizing the Old Testament was Ezra the priest,
who had Nehemiah as his political helper. It was the universal
testimony of Jews and later Christians that Ezra and Nehemiah in
the fifth century B.C. were the ones commissioned to complete the
Hebrew canon (Seder Olam R30; Contra Apion 1.8; Irenaeus, Against
Heresies, 3.21; Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 1.22;
Tertullian, Apparel or o Women, 1.3). What Ezra did was to select
the books which were to be accepted as canonical, arranged them
in proper order, and then edited them from beginning to end to
make them understandable for the readers of his time (cf. 2
Esdras 14). [Such edits as "unto Dan" in Genesis 14:14 and the
concluding sections of Deuteronomy about Moses' death can best be
attributed to Ezra when he finalized the text of the Old
Testament.] He also changed the style of the Hebrew letters
within the Old Testament books from the old Phoenician script of
the early prophets to the "square script" which had become common
for international communication by the fifth century. This was
not done simply to facilitate the reading of the Bible but, more
importantly, Ezra was able to establish at one full swoop an
official canon of scriptures which was now (by the use of the new
letter configurations) able to be distinguished from heretical
Samaritan manuscripts which were written in the old Hebrew
script! It has been supposed that Christ referred to this square
script used by Ezra when he said not a jot or tittle would pass
from the law until all be fulfilled (Matt.5:18). These small
horn-like projections were not used in the old Hebrew script
before the time of Ezra. If this is the case, then we have
Christ's approbation for Ezra's alteration of the Hebrew letters
from the old to the new style.

     Ezra also changed the names of the calendar months from the
old names (i.e. Abib for the first Hebrew month) to the common
ones then in use (i.e. Abib became Nisan, etc.). This further
delineated the Jewish calendar and its official holyday system
from that of the Samaritans which Ezra and those in Jerusalem
considered false! Thus, the changing of the style of letters and
technical details concerning the calendar were simple acts
(ingeneously utilized) which settled the majority of canonical
and calendar disputes between the Jews and the Samaritans!


Ezra's Canonization

     Ezra arranged the authorized scrolls into a proper order for
teaching the people and deposited them with the priests in the
archives of the Temple (Deut.17:18; 31:9). A group of 120 priests
were ordained to be the Supreme Court of the land (known as the
Great Assembly) of whom Ezra was the chief (Hereford, Talmud and
Apocrypha, p.56). These priests also assumed the name "Sopherim"
(i.e. counters of letters in manuscripts) because they were
responsible for reproducing the canonical books for use in the
synagogues throughout the land. They counted the letters in each
manuscript they reproduced for the synagogues to insure that the
letters agreed with the exact number found in the authorized
Temple scrolls.

     The 22 books within the Tripartite Divisions had their
origin with Ezra and the Sopherim. After Ezra's death there were
some genealogical additions and certain textual amendations made
by the authorized Sopherim. Their job came to an end with the
advent of Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 B.C. and the subsequent
establishment of the Maccabean realm in 165 B.C. From that period
the canon of the Old Testament was settled and we find the Book
of Jubilees (150 B.C.) speaking of the 22 books as though they
were a set of standard scrolls, and the Prologue of Sirach (132
B.C.) mentioned the official Tripartite Divisions as already
established!

     Thus, it was recognized that the Hebrew canon of 22
books,{which corresponded to the 22 letters of the Hebrew
alphabet) was then complete. This was the Bible of Christ and the
apostles!


The Design of the Books

     The books of the Old Testament were not haphazardly arranged
Their positioning was to afford a teaching of overall spiritual
principles to the readers - especially to the priests who cared
for the divine library and to the secular rulers who were
supposed to execute the biblical legislation among the society of
the people.    
     The supreme position of importance was accorded the first
five' books called the Law (Torah). The two divisions that
followed (the "Prophets" with 6 books and the "Writings" with 11
books) were arranged with the authority of each division in view.
     First rank after the Torah belonged to the Prophets, while
second rank went to the Writings ("the Royal Books"). This
principle of rank is demonstrated throughout the pages of both
the Old and New Testaments. It is seen clearly in the examples of
Nathan commanding King David with direct orders from God (2
Samuel 12) and with Elijah and Elisha instructing both Israelite
and Gentile kings what they must do. This is actually the case
with every prophet of the Bible - and this even included Jonah
telling the Assyrian king and his people what God expected them
to perform.

     Among the prophets themselves there were degrees of rank.
The most notable was that of eldership. It will be recalled that
a cardinal principle of social rank among biblical peoples of all
eras was that of respect for elders. From the elders of Pharaoh
and Egypt (Gen.50:7), the elders of Israel (Exo.3:16), the elders
of each city (Deut.25:7), the elders of the priests (Isa.37:2),
to the elders of the Christian church (Acts 14:23; 15:6; James
5:14) and the 24 elders around the throne of God (Rev.4:4,10),
the esteem given to eldership was thorough and consistent! The
only rank higher than being an elder of any class in society was
that involving a direct commission from God (e.g. Gen.41:40-44; I
Tim.4:12). But in all aspects of normal social rank the standard
procedure for recognized distinction was: "Ye younger, submit
yourselves unto the elder" (I Pet.5:5).

(Wellll.....yes, but Martin does not quote the rest of the story,
for Peter went on to say, "Yes, ALL of you be subject to one another,
and be clothed with humility..." - Keith Hunt)

     In Jewish practice this esteem for elder rank was never
abated. As an example of this, Philo (in the time of Christ)
described the actions of the independent sect of the Essenes.
Though they had an equality among themselves in many respects,
the matter of eldership in rank was consistent with that of
normative Judaism. "On the seventh day they abstain from their
works and come to their holy places called synagogues, and sit in
ranks according to their ages, the young below the elder, and
they listen attentively in orderly fashion" (Quad. Omnis Prob.
81). This recognition of eldership in teaching was also shown by
the apostle Paul when he said he had been trained in Jerusalem
"at the feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3).

(Under the old covenant this may all indeed be true, but under
the NEW covenant, as I have proved with my studies "New Testament
Church Government," there was NO "rank" in the Eldership of the
New Testament Church of God. Respect is one thing, but "rank" and
"authority" over a person, is another matter entirely. No
minister in the NT Church had any automatic "rank authority" over
any other minister for whatever was in the past or in traditions
of old or in whatever was under the Old covenant age - Keith
Hunt)


     The principle of eldership is seen in the positioning of
books within the three sections of the Prophets' Division: 1) the
Former Prophets, 2) the Major Prophets, and 3) the Minor
Prophets. Certainly, there is a chronological aspect to eldership
(being older in time), so the Book of Joshua/Judges is placed
before the Book of the Kingdoms (our Samuel and Kings) because
its theme concerns an earlier period in Israel's history when
they had no kings, while the latter book (as its name implies)
gives their history when they had kings (from Saul to Zedekiah
and Jehoiachin). This obvious chronological disposition makes
perfectly good sense as anyone can see.

     The second section (the Major Prophets) is arranged in the
identical format - Isaiah gave his prophecies in the middle of
the eighth century B.C. while Jeremiah began his prophetic
ministry about 627 B.C. followed by Ezekiel in about 592 B.C.
The third section (the Minor Prophets) also has a chronologcal
basis to it. Though not everyone of the twelve books gives a
precise dating enough of them reveal the eldership principle in
action because even the non-dated ones often have a reasonable
historical context to show their chronological arrangement. This
can best be seen by reviewing the last book (Malachi) first, then
working backwards to the first book (Hosea). The beginning
chronological reference (or a reasonable historical context) will
indicate that each of the books (from 12 back to 1) is earlier to
each other.

     These chronological factors are important because they
reveal a deliberate design being put into play by the canonizers
which anyone can see. Just what the interpretations behind those
arrangements are supposed to signify is for investigators to
determine, but the chronological (eldership) aspect is not
difficult to see.


The Writings' Division

     We should remember that the eleven books of this Third
Division were made up of "Royal or Government Books" (for rulers
and leaders), but they are placed in an inferior position to the
Prophets and they are not chronological. This inferiority of
station as to their canonical disposition does not signify that
they are books of inferior worth! In no way. It simply means they
were not as important in the eyes of Ezra (the canonizer)
relative to the purpose behind his arrangement of the 22 books.
What must be understood is that the canon of the Old Testament
was designed for teaching purposes. The books of the Torah were
so needful for all Israelites that a three year cycle of reading
through the books was established for the synagogues of Ezra's
time and this reading from the Law was buttressed by selections
from the Prophets. The first two divisions were what might be
called public books. They were intended for general consumption
by all Israelites without distinction. But this was not so with
the eleven books of the Writings' Division. Though these Third
Division books were as holy as the others, they were not
generally considered writings which were primarily for the
public. An example of this is found with the custom about the
first century B.C. of paraphrasing the biblical books into the
vernacular of the people. When it came time to paraphrase the
books of the Third Division a command from God (a Bet Kol) was
supposedly given not to perform this task of putting the writings
of these books in the language of the common people (Megillah,
3a). True, the books were not really "secret" since they made up
the last of the Old Testament canon (and could be read in the
synagogues), yet they were not liturgically fashioned for
synagogue use. In a word, they were not canonized to provide a
teaching apparatus within a synagogue environment. The intended
readers of these books (and the ones required to heed them) were
individuals in an entirely different environment than the one of
the general assembly each Sabbath. They were arranged for a
teaching apparatus with a Temple context at the headquarters of
the nation at Jerusalem, and they were primarily designed for the
guidance and instruction of important civil and religious
authorities. These were "federal" books intended mainly for the
executives among the people. This is why they were reserved for
Temple teaching! This can be seen, for example, with the five
central books of the Third Division called the "Megilloth"
(explained fully on pages 72 and 73). The Song of Songs, Ruth,
Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther were read and discussed at
the five main religious periods in the Temple! This was also true
of the Book of the Psalms. The 150 psalms were apparently read
successively over a three year period in the Temple ("Triennial
Cycle," Jewish Encyclopedia (1912), vol.XII, pp.255,256). Even
the Book of Chronicles was a "Temple" book!

     The Book of Chronicles is materially different from the Book
of Kingdoms though they cover about the same historical ground. 
Ezra in Chronicles had another emphasis in mind when he wrote
this book and he needed a historical basis to sustain it. His
history was to provide 1) a proper genealogical account of royal
and priestly ancestors, 2) to show former "good" and "bad"
actions of the Davidic kings and the priests, 3) the proof that
Jerusalem was the legal seat of government, and 4) that the
Temple was the only lawful sanctuary for true Israel. Not only
that, the Book of Ezra/Nehemiah had the same subjects as its
theme: maintaining proper genealogical connections while securing
Jerusalem and the Temple as the proper center of civil and
religious government. Even Daniel (a book of the Third Division)
in its chronological prophecy about the arrival of the Messiah
(the Seventy Weeks' Prophecy) has as its theme: Jerusalem, the
Holy Place (the Temple), and the assurance of the arrival of a
true leader called the Messiah (Davidic or Priestly). The Book of
Psalms also has major sections by King David and King Hezekiah,
as well as a whole series of psalms about the Temple and the
priests at Jerusalem. [See A pendix I for details on these
matters.]

     As a matter of fact, there was a historical reason why Ezra
felt it was necessary to canonize the books of the Old Testament
when he did. Knowing what these historical circumstances were can
help us understand why he placed the eleven books of the
Writings' Division in the manner he did and why he centered the
reading of them (and the instruction derived from them) among the
religious and civil authorities at Jerusalem. They were not
systematically to be read in the synagogue services of the
nation. It is important to notice what the historical factors
were that prompted Ezra and the Great Assembly to write
Chronicles and to canonize the Old Testament.

     The main difficulty that Ezra had with the Jews at Jerusalem
was false religious beliefs and customs entering Judaic society
because of the intermarriages of Jewish men with heathen women.
It was a very upsetting situation as Ezra viewed it because the
intermarriages involved the civil and religious leaders among the
Jews. It was especially bad because the priests (even the high
priests) had been polluting their "holy seed" (Ezra 9 and 10,
Neh.13:23-31; Mal. 1 and 2).
     This was a major deviation from proper religious practice in
the view of Ezra and he was so horrified at it and the prospects
of what it could lead to that he thought it prudent to write the
Book of Chronicles as a history of what had happened in the past
when such things had occurred. A stable and consistent Jewish
family life was at stake and Ezra used every device he could
muster to get the Jewish leaders to realize the consequences of
such "unholy alliances." This is the main reason he canonized the
22 Old Testament books and wrote the Book of Chronicles: The
latter book was to provide future leaders a special history of
what had happened in the past when heathen or impure women
entered into the mainstream of Judaic society. It always resulted
in an apostasy from God and it broughton severe and catastrophic
judgments from heaven. Let's look at this.

     Note that the first nine chapters of Chronicles emphasize
Israelite genealogy to show how important a proper pedigree was.
While David and Solomon are both honored for their work on the
Temple and for establishing true worship at Jerusalem, Nehemiah
was quick to point out the well-known escapades of Solomon as a
detriment to him (Neh.13:26) though he had enough divine wisdom
to put Pharaoh's daughter away from the holy places at Jerusalem
(2 Chron.8:11). But Solomon's rebellious son Rehoboam was a
product of "the Ammonitess" (2 Chron.12:13). He went into early
deviations and the fact that he had "many wives" is stressed (2
Chron.11:21-23). From that time onward, Ezra records in
Chronicles (for his Jewish leaders) an account of the "good" and
"bad" kings of Judah, and in almost every case the "good" kings
had proper Jewish mothers and the "bad" kings either had heathen
or reprobate mothers. And it was this very thing that Ezra was
scolding the Jewish leaders of his time for doing. Ezra wanted to
put a stop to it, and he did!

     Now look at the Third (or Writings') Division of the Old
Testament once more. A was Ezra who put the books together and he
had a reason for doing it in the manner he did. These books were
selected to show leaders, among other things, that godly women
were proper to marry and evil women were to be shunned. In one
way or another the eleven books of the Third Division are
designed to show this. For example, the Book of Psalms introduces
the Division and the psalm that highlights David's life is Psalm
51 showing his sin with Bathsheba who may have been a Hittite
woman. She was the mother of Solomon who had so much trouble with
non-Jewish women. The next book is Proverbs. Note how the first
nine chapters emphasize "Wisdom" (personified as a woman) as well
as the evils of false women. The last chapter, though, shows the
ideal woman to marry. The next book is Job. His story is one of
faithfulness in trial in spite of a very faithless wife. Job's
tenacity, however, brings him double possessions and three
beautiful daughters (Job 42:13-15). The next five books are the
Megilloth and they emphasize, in one way or another, various
types of women - both good and bad. The Song of Songs is about a
woman (and women) interested in Solomon. The Book of Ruth shows
an example of the ideal woman and how a man can be blessed with a
truly converted woman. Lamentations is about Jerusalem
personified as a royal princess gone wrong. In the Book of
Ecclesiates Solomon is reported to have said that the real joy
for men is to have a good job and a fine wife (Eccl.9:9), but
that the 1000 women he had were more bitter than death to him
(Ecc1.7:26-29). The Book of Esther shows the power of a righteous
woman to save the whole nation of Judah. After these five
Megilloth books comes Daniel. He was the wisest man of the age,
of royal stock, and one who had excellent and proper upbringing
(Dan.1:3,4). And finally, the books of Ezra/Nehemiah and
Chronicles (which end the Third Division) have as central themes
the need for the leaders at Jerusalem to have nothing to do with
heathen or impure women (who produce "heathen and impure"
children), but to cherish and hold the proper Jewish women who
would rear to adulthood proper and holy children, In effect, the
Third Division was devised, among other things, to establish and
to secure a godly Jewish family life among the leaders of the
nation. This would then insure that all the people would have the
right examples to follow in their own endeavors to be holy in the
sight of God. Indeed, the establishment of the Old Testament
canon itself (as well as the arrangement of the Third Division)
was prompted because of this pressing need which Ezra and
Nehemiah reckoned as so essential for proper devotion to God.

     When one realizes the historical factors which caused Ezra
to devise the Old Testament canon, then it is possible to
understand some definite reasons for the design of the Tripartite
Divisions which Christ called "the Scriptures." The books were
arranged in the various divisions to teach all facets of Old
Testament life in a proper and harmonious fashion. The
positioning of the books by Ezra made little sense to later
Greeks or Romans who failed to understand what a true Jewish
society was supposed to be. They failed to grasp such things.
This is one of the main reasons that later Gentile Christians in
Egypt could not begin to appreciate the Palestinian arrangement
of the Old Testament books. It simply did not make sense to them!
This is certainly the case because the codexing of the Greek Old
Testament in the third or fourth century by Egyptian Christians
rearranged the books into a subjective or encyclopedic fashion so
as to "improve" the Palestinian Jewish design which made no rhyme
or reason to them. And in our modern Bible versions we have also
abandoned the Palestinian order designed and canonized by Ezra
and gone fully over to the Egyptian arrangement. No wonder that
many of us (including me) have not understood some of the central
and significant teachings which the overall design of the
biblical books can give. 
     It is important, however, that we moderns restore the Bible
back to its original form - both the Old and the New Testaments.
When this is done we will have some major new tools which can
open up whole new avenues of investigation into what the Bible is
all about. The information in this book is a mere introduction to
the matter.

     As a matter of fact, there is yet another theme running
through the books of the Third Division which deserves to be
studied. It can show why Ezra grouped these particular books into
his final division.


More Information on the Writings' Division

     There is an important factor connected with the
interpretation of those 11 books which is not often realized.
Everyone of the books was thought to possess mystical meanings.
They had symbolic or allegorical themes. The poetic style of the
Psalms, Proverbs, and Job (as a point in fact) was capable of
double meanings and it was the "wise" who were considered able to
interpret their subjects. One was not to take for granted that
only one meaning was possible. In fact, sometimes the words could
have opposite meanings, notice this in the proverbs recorded in
Proverbs 26:4 and 5.

"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like
unto him. [Now note the contrast!] Answer a fool according to his
folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."

     The proverbs were not intended to be simple one line truisms
that required no esoteric or spiritual interpretations. They were
actually supposed to be lead-in's into a deeper secret or
spiritual interpretation that those with wisdom would be able to
apply correctly as each circumstance required.

     The Psalms were to be understood in the same way. There was
something far deeper in meaning than the surface teaching of a
psalm (or a whole division of psalms). A prime reference that
sums up this attitude of interpretation is found in Psalm 78:2.

"I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of
old" (verse 2). The same principle is found in the introduction
to the Book of Proverbs. Note: "To understand a parable
(proverb), and the interpretation; the words of the wise men, and
their dark sayings" (Prov.1:6). A major example of such "dark
sayings" is found in the discourse on "Wisdom" (Prov.8:22 to
9:18). Clearly, this section is allegorical.

     The Book of Job also was a "Wisdom" book. It concerned one
of the wise men of the east (I Kings 4:30) and the story was a
metaphorical explanation of how good will conquer evil - and how
good finally triumphs with a double blessing extended to the
righteous (Job 41:9-17).

     The next 5 books of the Third Division were called the
Megilloth (the Festival Scroll). They were the Song of Songs
(read every year at Passover), Ruth (recited at Pentecost),
Lamentations (sung on the 10th of Ab - the anniversary of the
destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians), Ecclesiastes
(recounted at Tabernacles), and Esther (at the Purim festival in
the month before Passover). Each of these books was believed to
possess a great deal of symbolic, spiritual teaching. Notice
them!

     It has long been noted that the Song of Songs was selected
to be included in the Old Testament because of its mystical
significance. It was supposed to be a love song of God's
courtship of Israel in Egypt (since it was read at Passover) but,
strangely, the name of God [or any of its derivatives] is not
found once in the book! This, along with its sexual overtones,
led the early rabbis to attach an allegorical type of teaching to
it. Indeed, it was not thought proper in talmudic times for any
man under 30 to read the book because of its "erotic" nature. The
whole matter of its being in the canon was resolved, however,
when one understood the meaning of the book in the figurative
manner.

(I guess just about anything could have a "figurative" meaning if
you wanted to take that path with all books of the Bible, and
some have done so, to the point that nothing in the Bible is
"real" to them. God created and designed "sex" and it is then
only proper that He gives us instructions on sex, hence the book
of Song of Songs; it is first and formost God's instructions in
poetic and beautiful form, on the subject of sexuality in
marriage - Keith Hunt)

     The account of Ruth had far more meaning than a simple
historical record of King David's ancestry. It was read at the
end of the barley and wheat harvest (at Pentecost) and Ruth's
gleanings, etc. afforded many symbolic meanings.

     The Book of Lamentations had deep spiritual significance to
it. The whole book is about Jerusalem being a symbolic woman - in
this case, a widow with all her virgins and young sons gone into
captivity. This was read on the anniversary of the destruction of
the Temple by the Babylonians, and it became typical of a
prophesied destruction which would occur to a future Jerusalem.

     Remarkably, the Temple of Herod (in which Christ and the
apostles taught) was also destroyed on the 10th of Ab - the exact
anniversary date of its former destruction!

     The Book of Ecclesiastes was also a "Wisdom Book." It was
the writing which gave the mystical clue to the cyclical nature
of prophecy (to be discussed in the ninth chapter) (Ecc1.1:5-9;
3:15).

     The Book of Esther is a story about the complete redemption
of the Jewish people from the genocide planned upon them in the
fifth century B.C. This was represented as typical of a future
genocide (Zech.13:7-9) and a consequent national salvation which
will occur in its wake. The real story behind the Book of Esther
can be understood if "wise men which know the times" (Esth.1:13)
are consulted. The proper "wise men" are not those of the Persian
king, but those who are the authorities of God (Dan.12:10).
Esther is like the story of Job, but this time the whole nation
of Judah is involved in a spiritual salvation from all their
enemies.

     The allegorical characteristics of the Book of Esther can be
seen in the fact that the name of God, or its derivatives (as the
Song of Songs), is not found in the Book of Esther - except in a
hidden and mystical way. It has been pointed out that God's name
may be acrostically found (Companion Bible, Appendix on Esther).

(Allegorical understandings do have their place, AT TIMES, but
one must be careful not to "allegorical" the Bible away, so
everything is anything - Keith Hunt)


     The next book in the Third Division (the one positioned
after the Megilloth is the most mysterious book in the Old
Testament (if not the whole Bible): the Book of Daniel! It is the
book par excellence that requires great wisdom to understand.
Ezekiel called Daniel a great "wise man" and that none was like
him in that time (Ezek.28:3).

     This book was not intended for public use in synagogue
readings. It was a book with allegorical and symbolic meanings
attached to its contents. Only kings had been given the
mysterious visions and dreams, and only archangels and Daniel the
Prince of Judah were allowed to interpret them. Daniel himself
was also given visions and the right to understand the enigmatic
"Scripture of Truth" (Dan.10:21) which has been the most talked
about and most puzzling of all prophecies within the Bible.
Scholars are still arguing over the meaning of it. The reason for
its obscurity is because (as Daniel was told himself) the main
message of the "Scripture of Truth" will not be opened up until
the end of the age (Dan.12:4). The fact that its meaning is of a
"secret nature" is one of the reasons that Daniel's prophecies
appear in the Third Division and not among the ordinary prophets!
Everything about the Book of Daniel is symbolic and allegorical.
Even to this day it has not been understood in a sufficient way.

(No, not "everything" about the book of Daniel is "symbolic" or
"allegorical" - unless Martin is using the word "everything" in a
broad overall term. And the book of Daniel today CAN BE
UNDERSTOOD, yes, because we are in the last days of this age -
Keith Hunt)


     There are other reasons why the Book of Daniel is positioned
within the Third (Royal) Division and not in the Second
(Prophets') Division. For one, his prophecies are utterly
different from the other prophets. They never start with the
usual "Thus saith the Lord." He also had the unusual
responsibility of prophesying almost exclusively of Gentile
nations and their fortunes until the Messianic kingdom of God
would arrive. He hardly touched on Israel except when they came
in contact with the main Gentile kingdoms. The other prophets did
the reverse - they mentioned Gentile nations as they came within
the history of Israel. This is an extraordinary difference. It
seems that Daniel was the "Gentile" or "international" spokesman
of God - a spokesman for the whole world. He was chiefly
responsible for interpreting dreams and visions given to Gentile
rulers, and even his own visions were more about specific actions
of the Gentiles than about Israel or Israelites. Futhermore, much
of Daniel (chapters 2 to 7) was written in the "international"
Babylonian tongue - not in the sacred Hebrew language! Observe
also that all his prophecies were revealed while he was resident
in the captial cities of the Gentiles, either Babylon or Susa
(and none of his prophecies was given in the land of Isarel).

(Those above point by Martin are good, and should be remembered
by those who read and study this book of Daniel - Keith Hunt)


     The Book of Daniel was placed near the end of the biblical
canon. There was a reason for this. He gave a major chronological
prophecy that began with the going forth of a command to rebuild
Jerusalem (Dan.9:24-27). Daniel was immediately followed in the
canon by Ezra/Nehemiah which gave the benchmark for that command
(Ezra 1:1-3). The Book of Chronicles came last of all in order to
present an authoritative history of Judah, the priesthood, the
Temple, and Jerusalem showing the specific place for one to watch
in order to witness the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecies at the
end-time! The last words of the Old Testament, in the original
canonical order, are: "let us go up [TO JERUSALEM]." The
canonical emphasis is to watch Jerusalem! This is where Daniel's
final kingdom will be set up.

     As a matter of interest, the last editorial remarks that
Ezra added to the Law of Moses was about a prophet like Moses to
arise. In his concluding words he made it clear that the prophets
before his time were NOT the "Mosaic" prophet (Deut.34:10-12).
Thus, the final words of the Law have its readers looking to the
future for that particular Prophet (whom Christians saw as Christ
Jesus). Also, the last words of the Prophets' Division revealed a
prophecy about a future "Elijah" who was to come to Israel to
introduce the Day of the Lord (Mal.4:4-6). Later Christians
referred this fulfillment to John the Baptist who preceded Jesus
Christ! And by the way, the word "Malachi" meant "My Messenger,"
and it was thought at an early date that this was simply a title
for Ezra the priest - the one who formulated the Holy Scripture.

(And it is true today as well, the prophecy of the Elijah to come
to restore all things, will take place once more before the Day
of the Lord comes on this earth. See my study called "The Elijah
to Come" on this Website - Keith Hunt)


     And, as shown before, the final words of the Third Division
of the Old Testament informs a person "to go up to Jerusalem" to
learn of future historical and prophetical events! This is where
Daniel's prophecies were to be fulfilled!


     We thus find that the 11 books of the Third Division concern
government matters, but they also have a considerable amount of
esoteric and technical material concerning Jerusalem, the Temple,
the priesthood, and the government headed by the House of David.
These were not read in the regular readings of the synagogue
services under normal circumstances. Certainly, all of the
separate books of the Third Division were well known, but there
was not the feeling that substantial teachings (certainly in
matters of law) could come from books within the Third Division.
     That is the reason they were not referred to very much by
Jewish authorities. Indeed, some people have wondered if some of
the books (e.g. Song of Songs and Esther, not having God's name
in them) should even be reckoned among the biblical books. They
should, of course! When it is recognized that the 11 books of the
Third Division were writings intended primarily for priests,
kings, and other rulers within a Temple (not synagogue)
background - and having a great deal of allegorical meaning
within them - it can be seen why their public reading was not
thought as important as the Law and the Prophets' Divisions. The
books, however, have an overall significance. They contain an
abundance of information concerning the proper geographical
location for the administration of divine government on this
earth, and they identify the people whom God has placed in charge
of that government.

     When all is said and done, the positioning of all the 22 Old
Testament books into the official Tripartite Divisions is an
essential factor in teaching the true scope of the Law, the
prophecies for the future, and all aspects of divine government
as they relate to Israel and the nations of the world.

                            ...................

Note:

Yes, in the overall of it, Martin is correct. It is a shame the
books of the Old Testament have not retained the order they once
had. The correct order as they were, does give a logical form of
teaching from the Lord, as He inspired the writings of the Old
Testament - Keith Hunt

......

This series of studies from the late Dr.Ernest Martin's book "The
Original Bible Restored" (1984) entered on this Website December
2008.

To be continued


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