pious and God-fearing among the Children of Israel might learn the chief facts about the time when He would come, the place of His birth, to what tribe and family He would belong, His character and the Divinity of His Nature, the kind of deeds that He would do, the sufferings which He would undergo for men, and how He would be put to death, and would rise again from the dead without seeing corruption. They might also understand the nature of the salvation which He would offer to men.

The Sacred Books of the Old Testament from beginning to end teach the Unity of God. The creed of the Jews is contained in Deut. vi. 4: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD." This is the foundation-stone of all true religion, as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself afterwards declared (Mark xii. 29). But in order that this great truth may be of practical value to mankind, it is necessary that God should reveal Himself to men in such a manner that He may be known and loved. Otherwise mere belief in the Divine Unity is of no more real value than belief in the unity of the Sun or in any other great fact, and will not save us, for the devils know that God is One and yet are not thereby saved (Jas. ii. 19), because they do not know and love Him. Hence it was that, in accordance with the predictions of the prophets of Israel, in the fullness of time He who alone is the Word of God (كلمة الله: John i. 1) came to reveal God to us, and thus to give everlasting life to true believers in Himself, according to His own declaration (John xvii. 3).

The great mass of the Jews did not accept the Promised Messiah when He came, because they were worldly-minded, and desired (not deliverance from sin, but only) freedom from the Roman yoke. They longed, not for the true riches and for peace with God, but to become the rulers of the world and to enjoy the plunder of the Roman and the Persian empires. Yet their own Scriptures clearly taught that at His first Advent


the Promised Messiah would come without worldly pomp and power, that He would be despised and rejected by men, that He would not strive nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets, but would bind up broken hearts and deliver the captives of Satan from the slavery of sin. It was because of this love of the world and want of spiritual religion that many of the Jews rejected Jesus Christ. But the spiritually minded among them accepted Him before His Crucifixion or after His Ascension and became the heralds of salvation to the Gentiles.

The New Testament was written by the Apostles (الحواريّون) and their disciples with the aid of the Divine Inspiration promised by Christ1 Himself. The Gospels contain accounts of Christ's teaching and miracles, and they tell us how in Him so many Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled. From them we learn the way of salvation, because they relate how Christ offered His own life as an Atonement for the sins of the whole world, and how on the third day after His crucifixion He rose again from the dead; how during forty days afterwards He often appeared and taught His disciples. He commanded them to evangelize all nations,2 promising to give them the Holy Spirit, that they might thus receive power from God to be His witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth. He bade them wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit should come3 upon them. He finally ascended to heaven before their eyes, leaving the promise of His return.4 Many of the words and deeds of Christ were written down by His disciples during His lifetime. After His Ascension they at first preached orally His Gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom of God. This Gospel was finally written down in four separate books, under the respective titles of the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, before the end of the first

1 John xiv. 25, 26; xvi. 13-15.
2 Matt. xxviii. 18-20; Acts i. 8.
3 Acts i. 4, 5.
4 John xiv. 3; Acts i. 9-11.