[b-hebrew] Tanach book order - different in Christian Bibles

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Fri Sep 1 13:59:08 EDT 2006

Dear Shoshanna,

>1.  I thought we were talking about the Torah position on this.
>2.  Before a person could be accepted as a prophet, he would have to 
>provide some unequivocal sign, the most common being an accurate 
>predition of the future.  See Deuteronomy 18: 21 and 22.

HH: These chapters do not say exactly what you claim. I'm not sure why 
you even mention Deuteronomy 21-22. These texts, specifically 
Deuteronomy 18:14-22, do not set out some sort of qualification panel 
for prophets. That is somewhat difficult to imagine, since prophets were 
often called to rebuke the leadership of Israel. If that leadership had 
to approve them for the position of prophet, the prophet might never 
have been allowed to speak. These chapters in Deuteronomy show that if 
someone prophesied something and it did not come to pass, the person was 
to be killed as a false prophet. But the chapters do not prevent anyone 
from prophesying. It is God who called prophets, not Israel's leaders in 
the state or the temple.

>Since it was the Sanhedrin's job to see to it that the Torah was 
>followed properly, it was their job to make sure that Deuteronomy 18: 
>21 and 22 was fulfilled properly.
>Obviously, not everyone could just come and call himself a prophet. 
>He had to be chosen by G-d.  Sanhedrin was the only body which could 
>verify that.  First an individual would have to be outstanding in 
>piety and knowledge of Torah.  Then, he had to make an accurate 
>prediction of the future 3 times in the presence of Sanhedrin.  If he 
>does, then his prophecy is assumed to be true, and he is accepted as 
>a prophet.  If even the most minor aspect of his prophecy fails to 
>come true, then his prophecy is judged to be completely false.  In 
>the case of a false prophet, only Sanhedrin has the authority to 
>render judgement.

HH: This rule about making three true prophecies in the presence of the 
Sanhedrin is not scriptural. And your whole perspective about the 
Sanhedrin seems sadly naive about the true state of affairs in ancient 
Israel. There were times when the nation was not even worshiping the 
Lord. There were times when the law itself was forgotten and unknown. 
Yes, Moses appointed seventy elders to assist him, but there is no proof 
in Scripture that this office continued throughout Israel's existence.

>The source for this is various places in the Oral Torah.

HH: That's interesting, but it carries no weight with me. That is, I do 
not automatically believe what the Talmud says about anything.

HH: Shoshanna, there is a problem that God has when he gives revelation 
of himself to human beings. If they distort it or add to it, they can 
change the nature of the religion that God gave. When you treat Oral Law 
as having the same authority as written Scripture, you are assuming that 
everything in the Oral law is God-given. But unless God inspired the 
words of the Talmud, they do not have the same authority as the Tanakh. 
Moreover, to the degree that they are merely human words, they can 
distort true religion. You have faith that this would not happen, but 
the Tanakh itself is plain that this is exactly what did happen:

Jer. 8:8 “‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the 
LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?

Is. 29:13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth 
and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their 
worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.

HH: These biblical prophets were speaking about the nation as a whole.

Harold Holmyard

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