A Miniature Picture of the Whole Bible
If you were to say, "Hand me a Bible," you could get a number of different responses. A Jewish rabbi would give you a copy of the Holy Scriptures containing 39 books. A Catholic priest would hand you the Catholic Bible, with a total of 73 books. But if you were to ask me for a Bible, I would give you the Christian Bible containing 66 books, and I would be sure that I was handing you the only complete, inerrant Word of God.
Now you may be asking, "Dr. Halff, how can you be so sure?" Beloved, since God supplied mankind with His precious written Word, wouldn't He also have provided some means to validate its ultimate structure of 66 books? Doesn't it seem plausible that He would have given us some sign by which we could determine that we have the sum total of His written Word?
I believe He has done so! Some have simply failed to recognize it until now. If God has left us some sign of His stamp of approval on any particular Bible in circulation today, where should we look for it? We will look for it in the Book of Isaiah; and when we finish, I think you'll see why.
It is not unusual for Bible scholars to disagree, but on this point, there is no dispute: There are two sections to the Book of Isaiah. You will find no label indicating "Section One" or "Section Two," but Isaiah is clearly a two-part book.
The smaller, second part of the book is so different from the first part that some scholars have wondered if the two sections were written by different authors. This two-part nature of the Book of Isaiah is unmistakable.
Well now, the Bible is a two-part book, isn't it? The smaller, second section, the New Testament, is most assuredly different from that of the Old Testament. It is clear that we have found the first similarity between the Book of Isaiah and the Bible. This may seem like a rather insignificant comparison, but we have only just begun.
Overall, the Book of Isaiah contains 66 chapters. Now, I know that chapters were not designated until the thirteenth century and verses were not numbered until the sixteenth century. But did you know that the entire Bible was not compiled overnight? It was composed by 40 authors over a period of 1500 years.
Now, a friend of mine asks, "Did it ever occur to you that nothing just occurs to God?" Just as the Holy Spirit superintended the work of the revelation of His Word, I believe He superintended the structure of chapters and verses. When Isaiah was structured, it was divided into 66 chapters. Isn't it interesting to realize that the most widely accepted Christian Bible in the world today contains 66 books?
Scholars have determined that the first section of Isaiah contains 39 chapters. That just happens to match the Old Testament's content of 39 books! Accordingly, the second part of Isaiah contains 27 chapters, while the New Testament is comprised of 27 books.
If we pause for a moment to consider what we have just learned, we are forced to conclude that the Book of Isaiah and the Bible are structured alike. By now your heart should be beating a little faster in anticipation of what might follow.
In the Old Testament, at the very beginning of the Bible, Chapters 1-3 of the Book of Genesis tell us how God created the heaven and the earth, how He created Adam and Eve, and how they sinned against God.
Keep all that in mind, now, as we turn to the very beginning of the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 1, where we will look only at Verse 2:
"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me."
Genesis speaks of Adam and Eve, and Isaiah speaks of the Children of Israel-but the pattern is exactly the same.
God's creation of the heaven and the earth by command of His voice: "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, . . ."
His creation of Adam and Eve: "I have nourished and brought up children, . . ."
And man's sin against God: ". . . and they have rebelled against me."
So, not only do Isaiah and the Bible have similarities in structure, but even the pattern of the introduction is the same. There is more, beloved.
Isaiah 66:22 closes the prophetic book with a fleeting verbal glimpse of the new heavens and the new earth. In the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, John closes with a description of the new heavens and the new earth in Chapters 21 and 22. Just as the pattern of the introduction is the same, so the pattern of the conclusion is the same.
What have we learned so far? We have learned that Isaiah and the Bible are structurally similar, and that they begin and end in a similar fashion. Catch your breath, because what comes next may prove to be even more exciting!
Chapter 40 is the beginning of the second part of the Book of Isaiah. In the same way, Matthew is the fortieth book of the Bible, the beginning of the New Testament, and the beginning of the second part of the Bible.
Notice Isaiah 40:3: "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
The New Testament counterpart to Isaiah, Chapter 40, Verse 3 is Matthew (Book 40), Chapter 3. Let's look at Verses 1-3: "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias (Isaiah), saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight."
Think of it! The Bible counterpart to Isaiah, Chapter 40, Verse 3 is Matthew (Book 40), Chapter 3. And Verse 3 of that chapter is the very prophecy quoted in Isaiah 40:3 about John the Baptist!
Look again. As short as it may be, Verse 3 of Isaiah 40 is devoted entirely to the ministry of John the Baptist. Look in your Bible at all of Chapter 3 of Matthew, and as long as it is, it also is devoted entirely to the ministry of John the Baptist. This is nothing less than astounding!
Beloved, let me give you a word of caution at this point. Please understand that you cannot take every chapter and verse of Isaiah and draw a direct comparison with every book and chapter of the Bible.
However, what has been demonstrated is that the key parallels between Isaiah and the Bible testify to and endorse the Christian Bible and its 66 books as being the complete written Word of God for this world age.
Let's take a few moments to make a brief summary to reconfirm what we have just concluded:
1. Isaiah is divided into two sections, just as the Bible is divided into the Old and New Testaments.
2. The Book of Isaiah is comprised of the same number of chapters as the Bible has books-66.
3. The chapter count in each of the two sections of Isaiah is identical to the book count in each of the Old and New Testaments-39 and 27.
4. The first part of Isaiah begins in the same manner as does the Old Testament.
5. The Book of Isaiah comes to its ending in a fashion similar to the way the Book of Revelation does at the end of the Bible.
6. The second part of Isaiah begins with virtually the same subject matter as the New Testament.
The number and nature of such parallels could not possibly be accidental similarities. Nothing occurs in the Bible by sheer happenstance.
In 1947 and 1948, Israel came together again as a nation. It was no accident that during that same time period the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. It was no accident that the only scroll found to be complete was the Book of Isaiah. It was no accident that the only book found to be completely missing was the Book of Esther. None of this was happenstance.
These two books, the complete Book of Isaiah and the missing Book of Esther, appear to convey a special message to the people of Israel and to all Jews, wherever else in the world they might be:
Israel, awake! After some 1900 years in exile, you are home again! Not all your people are back yet, but you have your own homeland again, as prophesied in those ancient Hebrew scrolls.
You won't need a Queen Esther on the throne to save you from extinction, because your King is coming to occupy the Throne of David. He is your long-awaited Messiah!
That Holy One of Israel--He who came to you as a suffering servant and was rejected--is about to return as the King of kings.
He will usher you into eternity and will exalt and preserve you forevermore. All of this will He do--just as your Messianic Prophet Isaiah prophesied.
Beloved, I believe God has raised up this ministry to teach the truth of God found in both the Old and New Testaments. I don't believe it was an accident that our radio ministry began in 1947 and The Christian Jew Foundation was established in 1948-the very time period of the discovery of the initial cache of Dead Sea Scrolls and the reestablishment of the nation of Israel!
Isn't it wonderful that God has given us so many signs to show that His Word is true? You have heard about them in this message, and you can read about them in the Book of Isaiah.
Beloved, accept the Bible with its 66 books for what it is--the written Word of God. If you're not sure of your salvation, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Then you will not only have the right Bible, but you'll also have the right Saviour.
"The Final Word" by Michael Card