We continue our comments on the manuscript sent to us by a Mormon called Stephen.(*) Click here to see the other articles in this series. You can also go to the Mormonism page to find all the articles that are in this refutation of Stephen’s document.
Before we discuss the Restoration of the Gospel, let us examine the Loss that precipitated the need for a Restoration.
There is no need to restore the Gospel, because the Gospel cannot be corrupted; it is the Word of God. But what Stephen will discuss is how his false gospel should be accepted by us as the true Gospel… But Paul warns us:
“But if even we or an angel out of heaven announce as glad tidings to you [anything] besides what we have announced as glad tidings to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, now also again I say, If any one announce to you as glad tidings [anything] besides what ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)
Even if an angel from Heaven comes and brings another gospel (= glad tidings), he is accursed, so how much more is accursed Joseph Smith who brought a very false gospel?…
Part of that loss came from the loss of leadership in the early Church and therefore the loss of direct communication with God for the Church as a whole.
Any historical evidence for your hallucinations?…
Part stemmed from the loss of existing revelations and inspired writings that should be found in the Bible, but are only casually mentioned therein, indicating their availability at the time of their mention.
I have challenged you before, and I still challenge you: show me anywhere in the Bible that God has ever mentioned any inspired Book (note well the word “inspired”) which is not in our copies of the Bible today. And I know what I am saying.
The following is a list of known missing Scripture with their references in the Bible:
The Book of the Covenant (Ex. 24:4,7)
The Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14)
The Book of Jasher, or of the Upright (Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18)
A Book of Statutes (1 Sam. 10:25)
The Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Ki. 11:41)
The Books of Nathan and Gad (1 Chr. 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29)
The Prophecy of Ahijah and the Visions of Iddo (2 Chr. 9:29)
The Book of Shemaiah (2 Chr. 12:15)
The Book of Jehu (2 Chr. 20:34)
The Acts of Uzziah—written by Isaiah (2 Chr. 26:22)
The Sayings of the Seers (2 Chr. 33:19)
True First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9; 2 Cor. 13:1)
Another Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians (Eph. 3:3)
An Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans (Col. 4:16)
Another Epistle of Jude (Jude 3)
NONE of these (except the errors of Stephen that we will see below) are said to be INSPIRED Books. I am still challenging you: show me anywhere in the Bible that God has ever mentioned any inspired Book (note well the word “inspired”) which is not in our copies of the Bible today. A prophet may write an uninspired book; that should NOT be added to the Bible and should NOT be believed as the Word of God, because of the reasons we have seen in our article The Canon of Scripture. All these writings (except the errors of Stephen that we will see below) do not meet the rules of the Canon, so they are not in the Canon; they were never accepted by the people of God as being the Word of God, so there is no problem whether they are lost or they are not. I will say some short words about each of them below, after I show you the errors of Stephen in this list.
The errors of Stephen in this list are:
1. The Book of the Covenant (Ex. 24:4,7): This Book did not contain anything other than all what was said to Moses on Mount Sinai and which is all written in the Books of the Law, and especially in Exodus itself. Later, the whole content of that Book was enlarged and written in details by Moses in the Books of the Law that we have today. So we have this Book mentioned in Exodus 24:7; it is in the Books of the Law. Once again, Stephen thought that if we have lost the original manuscript, so we have lost the original content, but this is not true, as we have seen. Stephen has no idea about textual criticism and the history of the Bible. The whole content of this Book of the Covenant is present today in the Books of the Law that Moses wrote; nothing was lost. Usually, the prophets used to write down the inspired Word in a Book, and later their writings were gathered by them or by other prophets in a more complete Book. This method is clearly seen in the Book of Jeremiah’s prophecy: “And they went in unto the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe; and they told all the words in the ears of the king. And the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll, and he fetched it out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes that stood beside the king. Now the king was sitting in the winter-house in the ninth month, and with the fire-pan burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four columns, he cut it with the scribe’s knife, and cast it into the fire that was in the pan until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was in the pan. And they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, [neither] the king nor any of his servants that heard all these words. Moreover, Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll; but he would not hear them. And the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet; but Jehovah hid them. And after that the king had burned the roll, and the words that Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah, saying, Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith Jehovah: Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from it man and beast? Therefore thus saith Jehovah concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David; and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. And I will visit their iniquity upon him, and upon his seed, and upon his servants; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; and they have not hearkened. And Jeremiah took another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Nerijah; and he wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah, all the words of the book that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and there were added besides unto them many like words.” (Jeremiah 36:20-32) As you see, Jeremiah had already written the Word on a scroll; that scroll was burned; Jeremiah wrote its content again and added to it, because revelation had not stopped. If Stephen now says that that original scroll is a lost Scripture, we will laugh like those who watch a clown trying to introduce his Book of Mormon to the Bible by this silly method.
2. A Book of Statutes (1 Sam. 10:25): Just like the Book of the Covenant, this Book did not contain anything other than all what Samuel told the people concerning a king. The whole content of this Book is in the Bible today: Read 1 Samuel 8:10-22. Once again, Stephen thought that if we have lost the original manuscript, so we have lost the original content, but this is not true, as we have seen. The whole content of this Book is present today in the Bible; nothing was lost.
3. The Prophecy of Ahijah and the Visions of Iddo (2 Chr. 9:29): Once again, the content of these Books are surely found in the Bible, especially in 1 Kings 10:26-11:43 where we find the rest of the record of Solomon’s life to which 2 Chronicles 9:29 refers. The same method explained above is used. Once again, Stephen thought that if we have lost the original manuscript, so we have lost the original content, but this is not true, as we have seen. The whole content of these Books is present today in the Bible; nothing was lost.
4. True First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9; 2 Cor. 13:1): First, let me clarify that the reference of Stephen to 2 Corinthians 13:1 is just a wrong reference, because that verse does not talk about a third Epistle, but about the third coming of Paul to Corinth, as the context makes it clear and as the Apostle had already said it clearly in 2 Corinthians 12:14. So I hope Stephen will apologize to his readers for this evident error. As for 1 Corinthians 5:9, this may be referring to the same Epistle of 1 Corinthians in the same style used by John in his Epistle: “I have written to you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and ye have overcome the wicked [one].” (1 John 2:14) This does not mean that John had written another previous Epistle to these readers, but he is talking about the same Epistle. The same could be true about what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 5:9. And it is a misunderstanding of this argument to look in the previous chapters of this Epistle for a reference about associating with immoral people. When John said “I have written to you”, he didn’t mean necessarily only what he had written in the previous passages of his Epistle, but in his whole Epistle; the same is true about Paul’s intention. And the additional “in my letter” backs up this argument: Paul may have been referring to a passage anywhere in this Epistle talking about association with immoral people. And in fact, Paul has written very clearly about association with immoral people in 1 Corinthians 6:15-20. Paul may have had finished his Epistle without the words written in 1 Corinthians 5:9 and may have later added this passage to explain himself. This is the most probable explanation. We have seen a similar case above with Jeremiah’s scroll, and I have explained this. Another possibility is that the shorter letter came first, but we don’t have that letter in one volume today, maybe because it was a very short letter and the Church saw that all its content was already detailed in this Epistle (1 Corinthians) and in 2 Corinthians, so she kept the detailed version already contained in 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians and did not keep the shorter version. This in no way means that we have a lost Word from God, because we already have it all in the Bible. We already know that not all what was preached by the Lord Himself and by the Apostles was written down word by word in the Bible, but we know for sure that all what they taught in those oral words was written in the written Word. When we say that nothing of God’s Word will ever be lost, we do not mean that some words said or written by the prophets would never be lost in their original form, but that all what is the Word of God will never be lost and will reach us in the written Word, the Bible. That’s what God has promised, and that’s what has happened. We have seen the details about this above, especially with the writings of Moses. Now, that first short letter of Paul may have also contained some uninspired parts which were never intended to be canonical, like some details about financial matters and details about personal matters of the Apostle. In this case, those parts (and those only) fall under the category of uninspired accounts explained below, in the section where we have detailed the case of the uninspired writings in Stephen’s list. Indeed, an Apostle also may have written uninspired things, as we will see below. But for us the essential is that we know for sure that we have the whole inspired Word of God in the Bible, and nothing of it was lost as Stephen wrongly claims.
5. Another Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians (Eph. 3:3): This is not another Epistle to the Ephesians. Nowhere it is said that this is another Epistle to the Ephesians, but this is only invented in Stephen’s imagination… In Ephesians 3:3 Paul is telling the Ephesians that he had previously written in brief about his conversion and about how the Lord revealed to him the mystery of the New Covenant. Indeed, Paul had previously written about this in Galatians 1:11-24 where he explained that he didn’t receive this Gospel from men but from Christ Himself. If Stephen does not know that the Epistle to the Galatians was written before the Epistle to the Ephesians, then that’s his problem. Paul has also written briefly about this in other passages of other Epistles. Given the fact that the Epistles of Paul did not just go to one church but passed from one church (the original receivers) to others, so Paul is telling the Ephesians that he has already written briefly about this previously in some other Epistles.
6. An Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans (Col. 4:16): Colossians 4:16 does not mention any Epistle originally sent to the Laodiceans, so Stephen is simply trying to mislead those who do not read the Bible carefully. Colossians 4:16 exactly says: “And when the letter has been read among you, cause that it be read also in the assembly of Laodiceans, and that ye also read that from Laodicea.” As you see, the Apostle did not say that this Epistle was originally sent to the Laodiceans, but that it is coming from Laodicea. Just as I explained above, the Epistles of Paul were not staying in one church, but they were passing from one church to another to be read by all of them. Each Epistle bore the name of its original receivers. Here again, Paul encouraged the Colossians to pass their Epistle to the Laodiceans, and he told them to read the Epistle that was coming from Laodicea. As you see, the Apostle did not say that this latter was originally sent to Laodicea; he just said that it was coming from there. So this was an Epistle that we have in the Bible, sent to another church, and which had passed from one church to another until it reached Laodicea; now Paul is telling the Colossians to get it and read it, so it will pass from Laodicea to the Colossians. The most probable is that this Epistle coming from Laodicea is the Epistle to the Ephesians that we have in the Bible. Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians almost at the same time with the Epistle to the Colossians, so he told the Colossians to read the Epistle to the Ephesians which had to pass to the Colossians also. This is the simple fact. So there is nothing in Colossians 4:16 of what Stephen imagined.
7. Another Epistle of Jude (Jude 3): Jude 3 does not say that there is another Epistle written by Jude, but Jude explains in this verse that he was intending to write to them about some topic, but then he decided to write about another. That’s all what is said in Jude 3, so Stephen is hallucinating.
Now, after we have seen the errors in Stephen’s list and we have seen how all those Books are in our Bible today, let’s pass to the uninspired books that Stephen mentioned in his list:
1. The Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14): This is not mentioned as an inspired Book, but as an uninspired book that was written by the children of Israel, singing the facts that happened to them in those days. Not all what was written in those times was inspired; the Jews had their literature, and not all of it was inspired. Numbers 21:14 is just quoting that passage to tell us about the reaction of the people towards what was happening to them and to the people around them, and to give us some other details.
2. The Book of Jasher, or of the Upright (Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18): Once again, this is not mentioned as an inspired Book, but as an uninspired book that was written by the children of Israel (it seems its author was a man called Jashar, or maybe that was a nickname given to him). This book also sings the facts that happened to them in those days. This book may be the same book which is called the Book of the Wars of the Lord in Numbers 21:14. The Bible is just quoting this book as a proof from popular literature, just as our apologists often quote secular history to prove the historicity of the Bible. This does not give divine authority to any of those quoted documents. In 2 Samuel 1:18 a whole passage is written; the author of 2 Samuel says that same passage is contained also in the Book of Jashar; so what does this prove? Nothing. I may write today a spiritual book and quote in it the whole of Isaiah 53; does this mean that my book is inspired?…
3. The Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Ki. 11:41): This is a history book. Nowhere in the Bible it is said that this is an inspired Book. The history books of Israel were not supposed to be part of the inspired Word. The Old Testament is not the history book of Israel, but the Account of God’s Covenant with His people, that’s why it is called the Old Testament, and that’s why all what is not needed is not written in this Account and is just referred to in the way it is done in 1 Kings 11:41.
4. The Books of Nathan and Gad (1 Chr. 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29): These are two history books, not inspired Books. Maybe Stephen thinks that all what a prophet or a seer wrote was always inspired, but this is not true. A prophet may write a history book which has as purpose to present all what happened in his time; that history book is not inspired, but this doesn’t mean that it is not a reliable history book. Not all what a prophet or a man of God writes is canonical, as we have already seen in an important note in our article The Canon of Scripture: not all the writings of a prophet or Apostle are inspired, but he is inspired only when he writes Scripture or speaks the Word of God (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:13). There is not an inspired man as such, but inspired Scripture (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16). ONLY Jesus Christ is the incarnation of all what God says (cf. John 1:1,14,18, Hebrews 1:1-2), as He is the Anointed One and to Him “God gives the Spirit without measure.” (John 3:34).
5. The Book of Shemaiah (2 Chr. 12:15): Another history book. Read the explanations above.
6. The Book of Jehu (2 Chr. 20:34): Another history book. Read the explanations above.
7. The Acts of Uzziah—written by Isaiah (2 Chr. 26:22): Another history book. Read the explanations above.
8. The Sayings of the Seers (2 Chr. 33:19): Another history book. Read the explanations above.
So we have seen the clownish trial of Stephen to introduce his Book of Mormon into the Bible… We pass…
“And he (Jesus) came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” (Matt. 2:23) Matthew had access to a very important prophecy about the Savior. Which prophets had written this prophecy? Where in the OT is this prophecy found?
The minimum needed for the study of the Bible is the ability to read it carefully and to understand what is being said… In this verse that Stephen quoted, we do not read ONE word of all what Stephen imagined or assumed. Nowhere in this verse it is said that there is a prophecy that literally says “He shall be called a Nazarene”… Nowhere in this verse it is said that any prophet has written this prophecy in these literal words. The literal Greek verse puts a “that” (hoti) before “He shall be called a Nazarene”, making it clear that in this verse Matthew is linking many truths expressed in the prophets concerning Christ to conclude that the Messiah had to be a man who is despised by us, and considered without value. In other words, Matthew was not quoting, but he was linking many truths from the Old Testament to conclude BY REVELATION a truth that any faithful Old Testament reader should have concluded when reading the Old Testament prophecies about Christ: that He would be a despised man. Matthew is writing INSPIRED Scripture, so his interpretation of Old Testament prophecies is the interpretation of the Holy Spirit and it is certainly true! Nazareth was an obscure town, a place of lowly reputation, and people from that region were often characterized as despised and detestable. And in fact, just as Matthew understood by the Spirit from the Old Testament prophecies, Jesus was considered a despised man by a direct link to His original town (as assumed): “And Nathanael said to him, Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). Matthew was simply saying by these words: anyone who reads the prophets by the Spirit will understand that they were prophesying that the Messiah would be called after a despised name, like Nazarene or Galilean. Indeed, the Jewish leaders considered His hometown as a proof that He was not the Messiah, although all those prophecies clearly taught that He would be despised; read this and note how they didn’t know that He was born in Bethlehem, just as the prophets said, and that He grew up in a despised region, just as the prophets have said: “They answered and said to him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search and look, that no prophet arises out of Galilee.” (John 7:52) They were in error, because, just like the Mormons, they did not understand the prophecies…
Before I pass, let me just give some prophecies that Matthew may have had in mind while writing this verse: Psalm 22:6-8, Isaiah 49:7, Isaiah 53:3.
Could it have been in one or more of the aforementioned missing books?
You have not shown us any inspired missing books yet. This prophecy is the truth revealed about the Messiah in all prophets of the Old Testament, as we have seen.
Where are those other books?
There are no other books. We have the whole Bible today, the whole Word of God.
Who would have wanted to alter the OT by deleting these books?
Any unbeliever or their father, the devil, would be glad to do that. We have previously seen how the ungodly king burned the scroll of Jeremiah. But the point is not in how many people would want to delete not just some books, but the whole Bible; the point is: would God allow them to delete anything from His Word? Is He not able to keep His Bible from any corruption? The answer is: He IS able to keep His Word, because He is Sovereign — a truth that Mormons practically deny, as we have previously seen. God is able and has promised to keep His Word forever; no human can corrupt it. And we have seen this fact in what happened after the ungodly king burned Jeremiah’s scroll: God made Jeremiah rewrite the same words and continued His revelation.
How about the leaders of Israel?
No, try to find someone stronger… You need someone stronger than God in order to corrupt God’s Word…
We all know how well Jesus was received by the Sanhedrin. Could they have been deleted before the Catholic Church obtained OT manuscripts?
What is this guy talking about?… The Old Testament manuscripts were with the Church from the beginning! All the Apostles had the Old Testament and were quoting from it. The Christians (the Church) had those manuscripts and were studying them! For example, the Berean believers already had the whole Old Testament Scripture with them, and thus they were able to examine what Paul preached in the light of the Scripture: “And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, receiving the word with all readiness of mind, daily searching the scriptures if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) Paul also taught Timothy that he should study the Scripture and teach it to others, because it is the rule of Faith and practice: “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:15-16) So the Christian Church already had the whole Canon of the Old Testament in the time of the Apostles; so how could the Jewish leaders change anything in the Old Testament?? How could they? If they change their manuscripts, the Church had her manuscripts, so we could find out the change! Besides this, the Jewish leaders had no control over the Septuagint, however all their manuscripts agree almost to 99.5% with the Septuagint! So when and how did the change happen??
By the way: if the Jews hated Jesus, then why would they just remove some books and not everything that talks about the Messiah in the Old Testament?? All those prophecies apply exactly on Jesus…
Anyway… all this is irrelevant, because the Church did not have to wait for centuries to get the Old Testament, as Stephen assumes. The whole Old Testament was already in the hand of the Church in the first century, and the Canon of the Old Testament was already complete in the days of Jesus, as we have seen in our article The Canon of Scripture.
“Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And he said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.” (Luke 24:45,46) Is there even a similar verse to this one found anywhere in the OT?
SAME error as the case of “Nazarene”!… The WHOLE Old Testament teaches that Christ must suffer and rise from the dead the third day, the eighth day which is the Son’s Day, the Lord’s Day! The whole Old Testament talks about this. Jesus HAD to rise on Sunday after He was crucified on Friday, because the prophecies in the Law clearly say that Sunday, the eighth day, is the Son’s Day!! Of course, the disciples needed Christ to open their understanding that they might understand the Scripture, so how can Mormons who don’t have Christ understand these things?… For more details about the prophecies about the third day which is Sunday, the Lord’s Day, read our article: The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day.
“Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:” (Hebrews 10:5) The first half of the declaration is found in Psalms 40. The highlighted half is found nowhere in the OT. It was apparently removed after Paul presumably wrote the epistle to the Hebrew saints.
This is where ignorance leads… Let’s read the OLD Testament exact verse in the Septuagint that the author of Hebrews was quoting:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not want, but ears you have fashioned for me.” (Psalm 40:6)
What was wrong with Stephen that he didn’t notice this? His error was that he assumed that what his Mormon teachers have taught him was certainly right, so he didn’t go to do some researches to know why the author of Hebrews has quoted that verse in that way…
The Greek translators of the Hebrew text in Psalm 40:6 understood that the Hebrew expression “My ears you have opened” was a figure of speech in which a part of something signified the whole, i.e. the hollowing out of ears was part of the total work of fashioning a human body. And ears were selected as the part to emphasize, because they were symbols of obedience as the organ of the reception of God’s Word. Christ needed a body to obey God in offering Himself as the final Sacrifice. The author of Hebrews quoted this verse in an interpretative way, i.e. he replaced the figure of speech with its interpretation. As the Book of Hebrews is inspired, so the Holy Spirit has the right to quote in this interpretative way; none of us can quote in this way.
By the way: why would anyone remove just a part of a verse, and leave the whole Old Testament that was quoted by Paul as an evidence of the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and that He would die and rise again?… Where is the logic behind Stephen’s assumption?…
Now that we have established the fact the Bible is not complete,
You have not established any such wrong thing, as we have seen. We have seen how the Bible is complete, and how you are hallucinating…
I am reminded of a familiar response: “But these obviously were not important. Otherwise, God would not have allowed them to be taken away.”
What a silly response… Nothing in God’s Word is unimportant, and we have seen that God has kept the whole of His Word just as He promised. But as Stephen cannot answer true biblical arguments, so he tries to deceive his readers by answering weak unbiblical arguments… This is a strawman argument.
Would God, or His servants speaking by inspiration, say something unimportant? Would God allow a loss of His Word?
No. Thanks for backing up my arguments…
“[F]rom a child thou (Timothy) hast known theholy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:16,17) From the mention of the Holy Scriptures, every word was necessary to make my point. Paul reminded Timothy, an early Church bishop, the Scriptures are to be used for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction. Paul’s epistles were prime examples of such issues to the saints throughout the Church. And why did he need to send such letters to the saints? There were already signs of apostasy in his day.
Do you mean apostasy is the reason why God spoke to us?!… Who told you this wrong reason?? In our article The Canon of Scripture, we have seen that the Lord promised the New Testament, that’s why the Apostles wrote it led by the Spirit.
Local leaders rebelled against the apostles—Phygellus and Hermogenes against Paul and Diotrephes against John. False doctrines crept into the Church—such as the adoption of the Sadducean denial of Resurrection into the Church at Corinth.
These were just ONE topic from the many topics of those Epistles…
So, do you still believe it was not important to have the aforementioned books and epistles that were either lost or destroyed by careless or evil men?
No Book from the Word of God was ever lost, as we have seen.
“[M]an doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” (Deut. 8:3) So, we are to live by His every word. Does this mean He did not know this loss of His words would occur?
Yes, every word in God’s Word is essential; and we have seen that nothing was lost: we have 100% of the original Bible today in our hands.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11,12) Not only did He predict its loss, but the Lord said He would “send the famine” of the loss of His words.
Amos 8 does not say one word about the loss of any canonical Book. This passage is talking about a famine for a revelation from God. After the Lord sent many prophets and the people refused to listen to them, they had to suffer a time when no new revelation would come. This prophecy was fulfilled several times in the history of Israel, mainly when the children of Israel were taken in captivity and after the last Old Testament prophet until the time of John the Baptist who was the last Old Testament prophet. During the captivity, the Psalmist wrote by the Spirit: “We see not our signs; there is no more any prophet, neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.” (Psalm 74:9) So during the captivity, the people had thirst and hunger for a revelation about how long they still have to suffer, and there was no revelation for a time until God had mercy and sent them the prophets that we read in the Bible. Jeremiah wrote in his Lamentations during captivity: “Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are among the nations: the law is no [more]; her prophets also find no vision from Jehovah.” (Lamentations 2:9) There was no temple in Jerusalem anymore, so they could not keep the ordinances of the Law, and God was not giving new visions to the prophets; it’s the same topic of Psalm 74:9. And later, after Malachi, God stopped all revelation and did not send any prophet until the time of Jesus, so the people was so thirsty for a revelation from God that they invented human writings and considered them to be from God… Thus they made the apocryphal books of the Old Testament.(*) This is the famine that the children of Israel experienced after they refused God’s prophets and followed the false prophets.
As you see, the Bible itself interprets that passage in Amos 8, while Stephen assumed that this famine should be a corruption or loss of God’s Word. But the text does not say one word about that…
Would this have happened had the true Church of Jesus Christ always been on the earth? Of course not.
Nothing of all these imaginary things ever happened. And the true Church was always on earth, because the Lord Jesus Himself promised this: “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18) If the true Church ceased to exist on earth, then the gates of Hades overpowered it, which is impossible because of Christ’s promise. Plus, the Lord Himself promised to be with the true Church ALL the days UNTIL the end of the world: “And behold, I am with you all the days, until the completion of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) If the true Church has ceased, then Jesus was not with her ALL the days… Jesus was and is now with His Church all the days, including the time from His Ascension until Joseph Smith came to claim the Church has ceased… And of course those who are not in Christ believed the false prophet Joseph Smith and made Christ a liar…
Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ