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IZHARUL-HAQ READING CONTINUED

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IZHARUL-HAQ READING CONTINUED

REVIEW OF THE BOOKS BY THE COUNCILS

It is important to note that in 325 a great conference of Christian theologians and religious scholars was convened in the city of Nicaea under the order of the Emperor Constantine to examine and define the status of these books. After thorough investigation it was decided that the Epistle of Jude was genuine and believable. The rest of these books were declared doubtful. This was explicitly mentioned by Jerome 1 in his introduction to his book. Another council was held in 364 in Liodicia for the same purpose. This conference of Christian scholars and theologians not only confirmed the decision of the council of Nicaea regarding the authenticity of the Epistle of Jude but also declared that the following six books must also be added to the list
of genuine and believable books: The book of Esther, The Epistle Of James, The Second Epistle of Peter, The Second and Third Epistles of John, The
Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews. This conference pronounced their decision to the public. The book of Revelations, however, remained out of the list of the acknowledged books in both the councils. In 397 another great conference was held called the Council of Carthage. Augustine, the great Christian scholar, was among the one hundred and twenty
six learned participants. The members of this council confirmed the decisions of the two previous Councils and also added the following books to the list of the
divine books: The Book of the Songs of Solomon, The Book of Tobit, The Book of Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, The First and Second Books of Maccabees. At the same time the members of this council decided that the book of Baruch was a part of the book of Jeremiah because Baruch was the deputy of Jeremiah. Therefore they did not include the name of this book separately in the list.

Three more conferences were held after this in Trullo, Florence and Trent. The members of these meetings confirmed the decision of the Council of Carthage. The last two councils, however, wrote the name of the book of
Baruch separately. After these councils nearly all the books which had been doubtful among Christians were included in the list of acknowledged books.

THE BOOKS REJECTED BY THE PROTESTANTS

The status of these books remained unchanged until the Protestant Reformation. The Protestants repudiated the decisions of the councils and
declared that the following books were essentially to be rejected: The Book of Baruch, The Book of Tobit, The Letter of Jude, The Song of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, The First and Second Books of Maccabees. They excluded these
books from the list of acknowledged books. Moreover, the Protestants also rejected the decision of their forbears regarding some chapters of the book of Esther. This book consists of 16 chapters. They decided that the first nine chapters and three verses from chapter

1. St. Jerome was a Christian scholar and a great philosopher. He was born in 340 AD. He translated the Bible into Latin. He was a famous bibliographer and wrote many books on the Bible.

10 were essentially to be rejected. They based their decision on the following six reasons:

1. These works were considered to be false even in the original Hebrew and Chaldaean languages which were no longer available.

2. The Jews did not acknowledge them as revealed books.

3. All the Christians have not acknowledged them as believable.

4. Jerome said that these books were not reliable and were insufficient to prove and support the doctrines of the faith.

5. Klaus has openly said that these books were recited but not in every
place.

6. Eusebius specifically said in chapter 22 of his fourth book that these books have been tampered with, and changed .In particular the Second book of Maccabees. Reasons Nos. 1, 2, and 6 are particularly to be noted by the readers as self sufficient evidence of the dishonesty and perjury of the earlier Christians. Books which had been lost in the original and which only existed in translation were erroneously acknowledged by thousands of theologians as divine revelation.

This state of affairs leads a non-Christian reader to distrust the unanimous decisions of Christian scholars of both the Catholic and the Protestant persuasions. The followers of Catholic faith still believe in these books in blind pursuance of their forebears.

THE ABSENCE OF CERTAINTY IN THE BIBLE.

It is a prerequisite of believing in a certain book as divinely revealed that it is proved through infallible arguments that the book in question was revealed through a prophet and that it has been conveyed to us precisely in the same order without any change through an uninterrupted chain of narrators. It is not at all sufficient to attribute a book to a certain prophet on the basis of suppositions and conjectures. Unsupported assertions made by one or a few sects of people should not be, and cannot be, accepted in this connection.
We have already seen how Catholic and Protestant scholars differ on the
question of the authenticity of certain of these books. There are yet more books
of the Bible which have been rejected by Christians. They include the Book of
Revelation, the Book of Genesis, the Book of Ascension, the Book of Mysteries, the Book of Testament and the Book of Confession which are all
ascribed to the Prophet Moses. Similarly a fourth Book of Ezra is claimed to be
from the Prophet Ezra and a book concerning Isaiah’s ascension and revelation are ascribed to him. In addition to the known book of Jeremiah, there is another book attributed to him. There are numerous sayings which are claimed to be from the Prophet Habakkuk. There are many songs which are said to be from the Prophet Solomon. There more than 70 books, other than the present ones, of the new Testament, which are ascribed to Jesus, Mary, the apostles and their disciples.

The Christians of this age have claimed that these books are false and are
forgeries. The Greek Church, Catholic Church and the Protestant Church are
unanimous on this point. Similarly the Greek Church claims that the third book
of Ezra is a part of the Old Testament and believes it to have been written by the Prophet Ezra, while the Protestant and Catholic Churches have declared it false and fabricated. We have already seen the controversy of the Catholics and Protestants regarding the books of Baruch, Tobit, Jude, the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus and both the books of Maccabees. A part of the book of Esther is believable to the Catholics but essentially rejected by the Protestants. In this kind of situation it seems absurd and beyond the bounds of reason to accept and acknowledge a book simply for the reason that it has been ascribed to a prophet by a group of scholars without concrete support. Many times we have demanded renowned Christian scholars to produce the names of the whole chain of narrators right from the author of the book to prove their claim but they were unable to so. At a public debate held in India, one of the famous missionaries confessed to the truth that the absence of authoritative support for those books was due to the distress and calamities of the Christians in the first three hundred and thirteen years of their history. We ourselves examined and probed into their books and took great pains to find any such authorities but our findings did not lead beyond conjecture and presumption. Our impartial search
in the sources of their books showed that most of their assertions are based on nothing but presumptions.
It has already been said that presumption and conjecture are of no avail in this matter. It would be quite justified on our part if we refused to believe in these books until we had been given some arguments and authorities to prove their genuineness and authenticity. However, for the sake of truth, we still go forward to discuss and examine the authority of these books in this chapter. It is quite unnecessary to discuss the authority of each and every book of the Bible and we intend to examine only some of them.

THE PRESENT PENTATEUCH IS NOT THE BOOK OF MOSES.

The Pentateuch (Torah) included in the Old Testament is claimed to be the
collection of the revelations of the Prophet Moses. We firmly claim that the
books of Pentateuch do not possess any authority or support to prove that they
were in fact revealed to Moses and that they were written by him or through
him. We possess sound arguments to support our claim.

THE FIRST ARGUMENT:

The existence of the Torah, Pentateuch, is not historically known before
King Josiah 2, the son of Amon. The script of the Pentateuch which was found
by a priest called Hilkiah 18 years after Josiah`s ascension to throne is not believable solely on the grounds that it was found by a priest 3. Apart from this obvious fact, this book had again disappeared before the invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchdnezzar. Not only the Pentateuch, but also all the books of the Old Testament were destroyed 5 in this historical calamity. History does not evince any evidence of the existence of these books after this invasion
According to the Christians the Pentateuch was rewritten by the Prophet
Ezra. This book along with its copies were again destroyed and burnt by Antiochus at the time of his invasion of Jerusalem.

THE SECOND ARGUMENT

It is an accepted notion of all Jewish and Christian scholars that the First and Second books of Chronicles were rewritten by Ezra with help of the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, but we note that the seventh and eighth chapters of this book consist of descriptions of the descendants of Benjamin which are mutually contradictory. These descriptions also contradict statements in the Pentateuch,
firstly in the names, and secondly in counting the number of the descendants.

Josiah was the King of Judah in the period of the Prophets Jeremiah and Zephaniah. He became the king of Judah when he was only eight of years old. He ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years.
3 The chapters 22 and 23 of the second book of Kings describe the story of the discovery of the Pentateuch. Hilkiah, the high priest of the church accidentally found the book and sent it to the king. He read it and was convinced that it was a bookm of God. The Book of Judges 23:21 bears witness that the Passover had not been celebrated according to this book. After the discovery of this book the Passover was celebrated as required by the book. The Passoer was a festival of the Jews which was celebrated on 14th April every year. This, in fact, was in memory of their liberation from Pharaohs of Eygpt. The instructions regarding this festival
are given in Exodus 23:15, and Leviticus 23:5-8.

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, invaded Jerusalem and completely destroyed it. It was a punishment to the Jews from God for their perversion. This had been predicted by many earlier Prophets. He took the Jews captive and transported them to Babylon. See the Second Book of Edras (14:19-48) for the event of the burning of the books. The
Catholics still believe in these books while the Protestants deny this event altogether. However the incident described by the Book of Nehemiah in chapter 8 confirmed that the Pentateuch was destroyed, and that the Prophet Ezra had written it and read it to the people. It is strange to note that the Catholic Bible (Knox Version 1963) omits the chapter in wgich this
event is mentioned. In this edition the Book of Esdras finishes with the 13th chapter. Antiochus IV was a fomous king who captured Jerusalem in 168 BC and destroyed it just like Nebuchadnezzar had done before him. The first book of Maccabees describes his invasion of
Jerusalem and the incident of the burning of the Pentateuch and its copies (I Maccabees 1:59)

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