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About the Book

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI


Vol.6: Time and Eternity

Part II



Table of Contents

Chapter 1.  History inThree Dimensions
Chapter 2.  The Vine and Israel's National History
Chapter 3.  The Olive and Israel's Spiritual History
Chapter 4.  The Fig Tree and Issrael's Religious History



Publishing History:
1961:  Doorway Paper No. 16, published privately by Arthur C. Custance
1977:  Part II in Time and Eternity, vol.6 of The Doorway Papers Series, Zondervan Publishing Company.
1997:  Arthur Custance Online Library (HTML)
2001:  2nd Online Edition (design revisions)

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     DURING THAT period in the history of biblical research when the Higher Critics were enjoying their heyday of recognition, and before most of their more rash prognostications had been exploded by the findings of archaeologists, it was customary to ascribe the various books of the Bible to more and more authors as the years rolled by. In time we had not one Isaiah or one Moses but many Isaiahs and Moseses! The Pentateuch became indeed a Mosaic.
     With characteristic wit and insight, Punch in London was moved to observe that the Higher Critics, using their fertile imaginations with an ingenuity worthy of Scotland Yard, had come to the very learned conclusion that the first five books of the Bible were not written by Moses at all, but by another man of the same name.
     But as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:8, one can say nothing against the truth but for the truth. Truth has such a nature that every challenge to it is in the end bound to be a vindication of it. Consequently, while a very large proportion of the findings of the Higher Critics have long since gone by the board or carry weight only with those who share their sentiments with regard to Scripture, their scholarship was undoubted, and some at least of their findings served to stimulate evangelicals to re-examine the text of some parts of Scripture a little more carefully.
     It seems likely now that the Critics were not altogether wrong in arguing that Genesis bore signs of multiple authorship. Not unnaturally, they took this to mean that these were in reality late documents organized into a single whole and ascribed to Moses in such a way as to give the impression that Moses was indeed their author. Many evangelical scholars re-examining this evidence came to the conclusion that what Moses really did was to set forth in a connected narrative form a transcript of some eleven ancient

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documents, each of which was written by a contemporary of the events recorded who then signed himself as the author in the familiar words: "This is the history of Adam," ". . . of Noah," ". . . of Shem," etc., or more familiarly, "These are the generations of. . ." It appears that the word generations may equally well be rendered "history," being a collective word. It may be for this reason that while Moses was the editor of Genesis, he was not strictly its author and while tradition ascribes Genesis in its present form to Moses (a tradition which was never challenged in the New Testament) no quotation from Genesis is ever introduced with the words, "As Moses said. . .," or "As it was written by Moses. . ."
     If this is true, then the writing of Scripture occupied not merely something less than two thousand years from Moses to John, but something more nearly approaching four thousand years. No other book has ever taken so long to write. Yet it appears in our hands today to be one book with a single philosophy of history, a single value system in judging human conduct, a single answer to man's need, and a single picture of what God is like.
     This Book was not written merely by approximately forty people as we commonly understand it, but rather, if Genesis really does comprise eleven successive records handed down and accumulated from Adam to Moses, by forty plus eleven people -- a fantastic number of authors to contribute to a volume so obviously organically one.
     Consider, for example, that for the average Englishman the nine hundred years since William the Conqueror invaded his country in 1066 represent an enormous span of time which encompasses the coming and going of a great company of people who experienced during those centuries continuous and profound changes in cultural values, social habits, literary forms, and vocabulary transformations. Some of these took place so rapidly that a few centuries made the older forms of words almost unintelligible to the later generations. Many people, perhaps one should say almost everyone, finds Shakespearean English confusing and Chaucer almost impossible. But for thousands of years God raised up men who added their words to a growing Holy Scripture without their contribution seeming in the least bit foreign to its spirit or its language.
     What is even more surprising is that this great array of authors by some strange tacit agreement -- an agreement which was made in secret and never once referred to in writing -- undertook to use certain symbols with certain meanings that were not self-evident and could be understood only by those with spiritual discernment --

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always in precisely the same ways. Yet, if possible, an even stranger circumstance surrounds this silent agreement. Some of these symbols refer to objects of everyday experience (such as rocks, deserts, rivers, trees and so on), yet even when these are used in this literal sense their symbolic significance is effectively preserved.
     There are a number of illustrations of this, but we are concerned here with only three of them. These are three trees: the vine, the fig and the olive. Whether used symbolically or (as will be shown) in recording actual events, their secret meaning is preserved intact throughout the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. For all this, not one of the writers who used them ever took the trouble to state explicitly that he was making his use agreeable to that of previous authors.
     It seems to me that this circumstance is one of the strongest proofs of the inspiration of Scripture from a single source, a proof doubly strengthened by the fact that no attention is ever specifically drawn to it in Scripture itself. It is stamped with that kind of truthfulness that characterizes the words of a child who is quite unaware that anyone might question what he is saying. It is completely without guile.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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