The Book of Gad
The Book of Gad the Seer has been popularized by the research of Christian author Dr. Ken Johnson. To avoid any confusion about this extrabiblical text, we have included short statement on the manner in which this text should be studied by Christians. We have also included a free pdf copy of the Book of Gad that can be download.
First, however, what is a Seer?
- The word “seer” is the older title for a prophet.
- 1 Samuel 9:9, “Beforetime in Israel when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a seer.”
- The Hebrew word for “Seer” is רֹאֶה, ro’eh, and specifically pertains to the reception of a vision or message from God. The Hebrew word for “Prophet,” however, is נָבִיא, na’viy, and refers to the proclamation of a message from God.
- As time went on, the title of a man of God in Israel changed over to reflect the prophet’s duty of proclaiming to the people repentance, not merely receiving a vision. The prophet Jeremiah described this sacred duty of proclamation saying, “Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay”(Jeremiah 20:9).
Gad was a prophet in Israel at the time of King David and is associated with David in Second Samuel 24:11, First Chronicles 21:9, and Second Chronicles 29:25. He is also mentioned as having written a book in First Chronicles 29:29, which incidentally also shows the transition from the word “seer” to “prophet. The verse says, “Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer.”
The book of Gad is a very interesting text and can be beneficial as a book of history, but it should only be used in conjunction with the Bible. It should not be used to build doctrine. This is where the Roman Catholic Church errs in adding books such as the Maccabees to the inspired canon. The Maccabees is very beneficial in an historical sense regarding the events that led up to the great revolt led by Judas Maccabeus but taking the books as inspired has led to doctrines such as saying prayers for the dead, the concept of purgatory, et. cetera.
Had books such as Gad or the ancient testaments of the twelve patriarchs been preserved as inspired texts, the Holy Spirit in His inspiration would have incorporated the texts into the New Testament in some fashion, at some point saying, “Gad the seer prophesied…,” or, “Judah the son of Abraham said…,” etc. The historical portions in the Book of Gad are interesting but may contain interpolations by copyists through the years since Gad wrote. The prophecies described in Gad are also interesting, but also may contain errors in geography, revisions, additions, et. cetera. While reading the book of Gad, be diligent to compare it with Scripture, not giving the same weight to “revelations” only found in Gad.
For example, chapter 13 gives historical insight into what happened to Tamar following the events of her rape by her brother Amnon which we read about in the books of Samuel in Scripture. This may be taken as generally true in the same fashion as we take history books in school as generally true, and yet recognizing the historian may have his or her own slant and is not inerrant as in the case of Scripture. Furthermore, the early chapters of Gad are the most interesting for some because of the seeming “prophecy” in the visions. The visions, however, should be taken very carefully, as they are very allegorical. Dr. Ken Johnson’s interpretation of the visions may be correct, but in dealing with allegory, especially outside of the Bible, it can be very difficult in ascertaining the meaning because of the subjectivity of the genre of writing.