The Church of Christ And Its Indestructible Guide
Down through the centuries men have tried to destroy the Bible but it is still here—in larger numbers than ever before.
Jehoiakim, the ill-fated king of Judah, cut the roll of the prophecy of Jeremiah to pieces with a pen knife and committed them to the flames of the brazier in his winter house. He did not like the stern warnings and the fearful predictions of the prophet. Jeremiah predicted captivity in Babylon, if the nation did not repent. Jehoiakim treated the message of the prophet with utter contempt. But two things should be remembered: the words of the ancient prophet remained and heavy doom fell upon the self-willed and irreverent king. He died or was murdered and his unburied body was drawn and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem—as the prophet said, he was given “the burial of an ass.” God will not hold him guiltless who deals lightly with his word.
Near the end of the third century, the Roman Emperor Diocletian launched a relentless attack against the Bible. He ordered that every Bible or portion of the Bible be burned. Thousands of faithful Christians died rather than give up their Bibles. At the end of two years the Emperor erected a monument on the ashes of a burned Bible, with the inscription, Extincto nomine Christianorum—“Extinct is the name of Christians.” When Constantine, twenty years later asked for copies of the New Testament, fifty copies were brought out of hiding and presented to him within twenty-four hours. The name of Christians and the New Testament remain sixteen centuries after Diocletian became “extinct.”
Voltaire predicted that within one hundred years the Bible would be a forgotten book. Within less than a hundred years his own home was owned by the Geneva Bible Society, from which millions of Bibles were sent out to all parts of the world. The American agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll once held a Bible in his hand and declared to his audience: “In fifteen years I will have this book in the morgue!” Fifteen years later Ingersoll was in the “morgue” and the Bible was majestically marching on.
“Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;
Mock on, mock on, ‘tis all in vain!
You throw the dust against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.”
Hitler tried to banish the Bible from Germany. But Hitler is gone and millions of Bibles are in his Fatherland. Stalin, and his ilk, by education, law, ridicule and persecution have sought to blot out all knowledge of the Bible from Russia, but they will not succeed. They have sown the wind, and will reap the whirlwind. Some Russian student, who will liberate his people, may now be studying his Bible in secret.
“He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh:
The Lord will have them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4)
Men may destroy the faith of men in the Bible, but they cannot destroy the Bible. “The grass whithereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever” (Isa. 40:8). “Heaven and earth shall pass away,” said Jesus, “but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).
(Gospel Advocate January 11, 1962)
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Benton Cordell Goodpasture was a prominent 20th century preacher who served as president of Gospel Advocate Co. from 1950 until his death in 1977. He also served as editor of Gospel Advocate magazine from 1939 until his death. Goodpasture was a contributor to World Book Encyclopedia and Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge supplement.