Some may wonder, as to what happened when the entire nation of Israelites from laymen to kings and priests and prophets were taken into the slavery of Assyrians and Babylonians. One may also wonder that all throughout the history of Israel, the kings were evil, apostate and general people had fallen back into the backslidden state.
Preservation in Captivity
How could such people be responsible for the authenticity of the scriptures? They had killed all the prophets from righteous Abel to Zechariah. So although the general mass became evil and forgot laws of God, yet there were many chosen priests, Levites, prophets, and kings, a chosen line, that preserved the copy of law kept in the ark of the tabernacle, in kings palace, and through memorization. When Israelites went into slavery, the copy of the law was also taken into Babylon. We read that this was preserved even in captivity. Daniel had copies of his law and religion as he was one of the privileged ones, residing in royal apace with royal authority. Ezra, Nehemiah also had copies of Law, because they were also in palaces of pagan kings who had captured Israelites (Dan 9:2, Neh 9:1-3). So in and out of captivity and biblical books were yet preserved. How true then are words of God,
But the [a]word of the Lord endures forever.” Now, this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.1 Pet 1:25
In fact, we read that pagan king Cyrus who had captured Babylonian empire had a copy of God’s words in his palace; because he mentions that he had read prophecy concerning him from scrolls of Isaiah (2 Chronicles 36:23, Ezra 1:7). Persian pagan King Artaxerxes also knew about laws and commandments of God of Israel (Ezra 7:11-12). So in and out of 70 years of captivity, and we have strong evidence of link of preservation of the inspired word of God. We read that after Captivity, Ezra Nehemiah Zechariah etc preserved this God-inspired copies of Old Testament.
From the time of Ezra Nehemiah (out of captivity) till the birth of Jesus is known as the time period between old and New Testament and therefore called an Inter-testamental period. During this time Jews translated the Hebrew Bible into the Greek language. These are known as the Septuagint.
What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the [a]oracles of God.Romans 3:1-2
The First Century
In times of Jesus, in the first century, we read Jesus says, “Have you not read what David did..(Matt 12:3)” This is evidence that people in times of Jesus, had copies of the word of God in which acts of kings like David and other records were preserved. Jesus also mentioned the Hebrew Tanak saying the law, prophets, and other writings (Luke 24:44). He showed to disciples things written concerning him in scriptures (John 5:39, Luke 24:27, 32, 45, Matt 21:42). This is proof that they had Hebrew Bible preserved unadulterated and nothing was lost with the passage of time from Moses onwards. We read Paul mentions to Timothy that you have learnt scriptures from childhood times (2 Tim 3:15). Timothy was native of Lystra – a place, far-far away from Israel. So this evidence that the copies of bible were carried outside Israel by Jews and preserved even outside Israel. We read in Acts that Jews had their synagogues and they had scripture with them outside of Israel (Acts 18:28). Paul used scriptures, to reason using with Jews who were living outside Israel (Acts 17:2, 17:11). Peter whom many might assume as an illiterate fisherman, not having known or read scriptures, was also well aware of the scriptures (2 Pet 3:16). So it is sufficiently clear that Israelites had authentic copies of the word of God until disciples and first century.
After the First Century
After the first century, we have writings of church fathers from 1st century AD, 2nd century AD and onwards, where we can read in their sermons, that they had bible books of Old and New Testaments. Jerome translated bible into Latin in 4th century. Christians no matter who they were, whether Catholics, whether orthodox, whether those who are considered as apostate or not, one thing is very sure that all of them preserved the writings since then.
Archaeological Evidence of Biblical Manuscripts
Our age men have about 10,000 copies of copies of the Old Testament, 5824 copies of Greek New Testament, and a total of 24,000 copies of New Testament manuscripts translated in other languages. All these ancient manuscripts are 99.9 % accurate when they are compared with each other. This means that we do not have adulterated a bible preserved down through the ages. Bible scholars claim that even if we had none of the 24,000 ancient manuscripts of New Testament, yet we have so many copies of sermons of early church fathers, that we can make entire New Testament from the verses they quoted in their sermons some 1800 years ago.
It is amazing, that no matter what happened with people, from times of Israel as a nation, who were fallen from following God into idolatry and then led into captivity by the destruction of their cities and burning of their land, to the times of first-century and onwards, until our times, the written word of God is preserved unadulterated and un-corrupted.
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass awayMark 13:31
So now we ask, “What on earth makes TPM think that exclusive teachings of TPM like no medicine or Zion for unmarried monks, or tithes in the New Testament. Were these the same teachings that apostles preached to the early church?” Why did not God make apostle write it down and why was it not preserved in the same manner in which New Testament the inspired word of God was preserved? Look at what council of 12 Apostles along with Paul and Barnabas and elders of the church of Jerusalem writes,
And they wrote letters by them after this manner; …. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouthActs 15:26-27
What they used to teach they also used to write. The witnessing was always authenticated with oral and written words, by witness of two or three. So our question is
“On what ground do TPM devotees think that the teachings of apostles were lost in 2000 years of history of the church, and then suddenly revealed as deeper truths to the likes of teachers like of Paul Ramankutty, Alwin De Alwis, AC Thomas or MT Thomas?“