MEANS PASS AWAY.” Matthew 24:35 NKJV 

     The indestructible quality of God’s Holy Word is awe-inspiring evidence of it's divine origin. In 1829 Scottish missionary, Alexander Duff, set sail for India on the Lady Holland. Unfortunately the ship was wrecked, and all was lost. The dejected group of survivors stood safely on shore looking out to the sea. Hope against hope was that some part of the wreckage might be salvaged. Only one small object was seen bobbing in the waters, which the tide washed ashore. It was Duff’s Bible. 

     This incident was a symbol of the survival of God’s Word through tumultuous ages. The Bible has had to fight it's way through millenniums with all odds against it. There has never been a time when it has not met opposition of some kind. It will not drown. It will not burn. It will not be torn asunder. Millions of copies have been put to the flame, thrown to the fish, cut to pieces and other wise destroyed, but the Word itself is indestructible. 

     About 600 B.C. Jehoiakim, attempted to destroy the Word of God, but miserably failed. (Jeremiah. 36:21-32). 

     In 303 A.D. the Roman Emperor, Diocletian waged a horrible onslaught against the Bible. Every manuscript that could be found was destroyed, including even portions of the  Bible that were found were burned. Thousands, including entire families who owned any of these were martyred. After two years of this ruthless slaughter, a column of victory was erected over the embers of a Bible with this inscription, extinct nomine Christianorum —“Extinct is the name of Christians!” 

     Twenty years later Constantine was Emperor, had the Word enthroned as the infallible judge of truth. Wishing to place copies of the New Testament in all the churches of his empire, Constantine offered a reward for anyone who could discover and deliver to him the Holy Book. Within 24 hours numerous copies were brought out of hiding and presented to the Emperor. 

     Early in the 20th century, an Armenian patient in an American hospital in Turkey was given a Bible, which was the first he had ever possessed. When dismissed he proudly took the Bible to his village and displayed it to friends. A Moslem teacher snatched the book from him, tore it from it binding, and threw the pieces into the street. A grocer passing down the street picked up the pages and used them for wrapping paper. Soon the pages of the Bible were scattered all over the entire village. Customers read the pages and asked for more. Sometime later a Bible colporteur came to the village and was amazed to find a hundred people eager to buy the Holy Bible. The mutilated copy had borne fruit a hundred fold. 

     A Mexican colporteur for the American Bible Society visited a Mexican village and sold a Bible to a woman. Four months later the colporteur re-visited the village and found that pagan influence had made the woman fearful of the Book and had torn it into bits and thrown it into the trash. Disappointed and disheartened the colporteur turned to leave the village. As he was leaving a young man inquired if he had “a book of dreams, where it is told of seven fat cows and seven lean cows that a certain Pharaoh dreamed about.” The youth had read the first part of the story from torn pages picked up from the street and was eager to read the rest of it. The colporteur showed him a Bible, explaining it was the Word of God, and sold him a copy. Others who had gathered also bought Bibles. The torn pages of a Bible had created hunger for it. 

     The Holy Bible has a marvelous history of beginnings and transmission. Considering even the New Testament, itself, the very words of Jesus, the detailed records of His activities the letters of Paul, and the other New Testament writings, have been preserved through over 2,000 plus years, much of that time in bulky hand written form! Even though the early Christians were dispersed, outlawed, persecuted, martyred, their property confiscated, their implements destroyed, it was only by the workings of the Holy Spirit these sacred manuscripts were preserved and kept secure and intact! 

     The answer to all this is found in the words of Jesus: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away”. (Matthew 24:35) NKJV. I have heard preachers and other speakers wrestle with how the apostles and other writers could possibly remember all that they had to know to write the Gospel accounts and other books in the Bible. The Bible answers this question for itself, “. . . the Holy Spirit . . . will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you”. (John 14:26) NKJV. 

     God has always had His men in place at various points in history to keep His word alive and moving forward. Jerome, in 405 A.D. completed a Latin translation of the Bible. In spite of being persecuted, Jerome’s translation lived through the Dark Ages. Anglo-Saxon translations of parts of Scripture, particularly the Gospel accounts appeared in England in the 7th & 8th centuries. In 1379 John Wycliffe along with chosen scholars translated the Latin Bible into English. By 1383 thousands of copies of the Wycliffe Bible were in the hands of the English. People who owned these Bibles were hunted down like wild animals. But Wycliffe could not be stopped and was never executed. However, 40 years after his death, Wycliffe’s body was exhumed, burned and his ashes thrown into the turbulent Swift River. This was futile act of revenge, but was an unwitting symbol in that as his ashes swept down the river, just so the influence of Wycliffe’s English Bible swept across all the world. 

     About 150 years after Wycliffe’s death and 75 years after the invention of the printing press, there was still no printed English Bible. In 1524 William Tyndale resolved to put the Bible into the English of his time and distribute it throughout the nation. But, this being contrary to English law, Tyndale had to leave England for Europe. Printing began, on the sly, in Cologne. Word of Tyndale’s work, because of a careless workman, Tyndale was apprehended and imprisoned. Finally in 1536 Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake. 

     Such was the harvest of ruthless burnings of the Holy Bible and of great men who loved the Holy Bible. Tyndale's last fervent and prophetic prayer was: “Lord, open the eyes of the King of England!” 

     This prayer was speedily answered. In less than 3 years Henry VIII authorized the publication of the Great Bible, the combined work of Tyndale and Myles Coverdale, whose translation appeared in 1535. Twenty-two years after the martyrdom of Tyndale, Elizabeth I was presented a copy of the English Bible, which she raised to her lips and then her heart, as the crowds cheered. Yet another 300 years later, King George V declared, “It is my confident hope that my subjects may never cease to cherish their noble inheritance of the English Bible.” He also said, “The most valuable thing this world affords.” 

     Once the opposition (Satan) saw that these ruthless burnings were not working, opposition took on a more sinister form that continues even into the 21st century. For starters I present Voltaire. Voltaire, was a French philosopher, who lived in the 18th century. He said, “While it took 12 men to write Christianity up, I will show that it takes but one man to write it down!” Voltaire died in 1778. Only 25 years later his home was being used as a Bible warehouse! In the 19th century Robert Ingersoll declared, “In 15 years I will have this Book in the morgue!” In 15 years Ingersoll was in the morgue and the Bible was more alive than ever. 

     Rather than Bible burnings and physical attacks, efforts turned to mental attacks; i.e, criticism, ridicule, refutation and contradiction. In America the enemy has turned to trying to re-write the Constitution, redefine key words, that is, simply trying to make Christians look or feel stupid. Laws are being passed to make Biblical principles illegal, such as legalizing abortion, legalizing same-sex marriages, etc. Even making acts of sin legal if one has a license, such as alcohol and tobacco 

     In the mid 50’s Andrew, working with a mission group smuggled Bibles and tracts into Czechoslovakia, where Bibles were illegal. Approaching the border, Andrew prayed, “Lord, while on earth you made blind eyes see. Now I pray make seeing eyes blind.” God answered his prayer. Guards searched his car and opened a suitcase, yet they did not see the illegal materials. 

     The liberals of our current time, such as the ACLU, pro-abortionists, gay-marriage activists, anti-prayer forces, anti-nativity-scene activists would be well advised to take a lesson from history. As in the past, God will not hold His anger forever. God is still at work protecting His Holy Word. 

      Just A Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don.  



Updated July 21, 2012

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