So what are the facts?
The Bible is truly unique among all books. In fact, "The Bible" literally means, "The Book". Not just a book, but "THE" book. So what makes this book so different from others?
The Bible is different from all other works of literature in that it is unique in its continuity. Especially when we consider the following:
1. It was written over a 1,500 year span.
2. It was written spanning over 40 generations.
3. Written by over 40 authors from every walk of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen and scholars and of differing educational levels.
4. Written in different places - the wilderness, a dungeon, in traveling, the island of Patmos or from a palace.
5. Written at different times: in times of war and of peace.
6. Different moods: of joy, sorrow and despair.
7. Written on three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe.
8. Written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
9. It covers hundreds of controversial subjects (A controversial subject is one which would create opposing opinions when mentioned, addressed or discussed)
No other book can claim these unique characteristics.
This could have easily afforded many opportunities to have different thoughts, mindsets, opinions, beliefs, worldviews and the like to be expressed, and yet with all the variables we just reviewed, we find no opposing arguments or conflicting views. Instead we find unparalleled unity on any given subject. There is such a unity of thought as to show the singleness of "one" mind, inspired through its pages. Thus, the Bible has many authors, covering many centuries, yet these individuals compiled one book. That in itself is truly amazing. Our present Congress and Senate cannot even all agree on one subject of importance in any one session in any one given year. It would be nice but it isn't going to happen. Now this doesn't prove the Bible is the Word of God, or that God exists, but it does factually show the Bible is unique among books.
The Bible is very unique in its circulation. It has been read by more people and published in more languages than any other books in existence.
The Bible is also unique in its translation. It was the first major book to be translated. It has now been translated in more languages than any other book.
The Bible is also unique in its survival. Having been written on material that over time perishes. It was copied and re-copied for thousands of years before the invention of the printing press. However, the Bible did not diminish in its style, correctness nor existence. The Bible, compared with other ancient writings, has more manuscript evidence than any ten pieces of younger, classical literature combined.
The Jewish community preserved it as no other manuscript has ever been preserved. With scriptures in hand, they kept tabs on every letter, syllable, word and paragraph. They had special classes of men within their culture whose sole duty was to preserve and transmit these documents with practically perfect fidelity. Such careful detail has not been given to any other written word.
The Bible has been the target of many attacks to wipe it out. It has been burned, banned and outlawed. In spite of it all, it has remained indestructible.
Bibliographical text is the examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. In other words, since we do not have the original documents, how reliable are the copies that we do have with regard to the number of manuscripts and the time interval between the original and extant copy?
Consider this, the Bible has more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, 10,000 Latin Vulgate translations, at least 9,300 earlier versions and more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of New Testament in existence. We presently have New Testament copies that date only a little over a generation from the original documents.
Homer's "Iliad" is second with only a mere 643 total manuscripts that have survived over the centuries. It is also important to note that the earliest copy we have from Homer's original document has a span of 1,400 years between them.
This should easily demonstrate the wealth of present copies with which to compare to one another and determine the accuracy of what we have sitting at home on a shelf, coffee table, car seat or back of the pew.
This is even more amazing when we consider the many attempts through history to eliminate what manuscripts that existed. And the many libraries of antiquity that were destroyed, along with the cities they were in, through various wars and enemy invasions. Libraries that may have held more extra-biblical works of historical record, eyewitness accounts and even possibly original manuscripts.
When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, among the find was the complete text of Isaiah, making it 1000 years older than any other manuscript copies that we had previously possessed up to that time. In comparing these copies with the discovered Dead Sea Scroll copy dating 1000 years prior, it was revealed that the accuracy was so complete as to have only a variance between them equivalent to one word, demonstrating the utmost care and detail that was applied in producing an exact copy from the previous.
It is possible at this point for someone, specifically critics and skeptics of the Bible, upon reading this, to immediately jump at the chance to point to the previous statement as ammunition and justification for their belief that the Bible does have errors. And if the Bible has errors then it cannot be the "inerrant" Word of God. And if not God's words, then merely the words of men. This, of course, is the ultimate goal and desire which has driven men in their attack on Scripture. If stripped of its supernatural authorship and authority, it is then reduced to nothing more than the mere book they believe, or want it to be. That being the stuff of legend, folklore and fairy tales. However, this conclusion would be wrong. So, before anyone pops a cork, throws a party or gets their undies all twisted up, let's take a moment to address this.
The original manuscripts, written as far back as 3,500 years ago on perishable material such as papyrus, no longer exist. What we presently have are the painstakingly made copies of those originals that have survived over time. We have copies of copies made from copies and so on. Until the printing press a few centuries ago, all copies had to be done by hand. This was done ten's of thousands of times with regard to Scripture. What people often point to as errors are nothing more than scribal errors in grammar and spelling which has no effect or bearing on the message, story or point being made.
As a demonstration, look at the following examples:
And God s*id, "Let there be light!"
And God said, "Let *here be light!"
And *od said, "Let there be light!"
In applying some common sense we are able to figure out any, if not all, of the three lines above. The message is understood, the point is still clear and comprehension is not lost. However, If by chance it was not clear, or we were not able to understand the sentences , we could compare these lines with the other thousands of copies that we have available. Upon doing so, we would be able to determine what are the missing letters to correct the text. In our case it is, "And God said, Let there be light!"
Most scribal errors have been resolved in this manner. Today we have spell checker in our word processors for a good reason, it is not as simple as one thinks. To conclude though that a human spelling error somehow negates the whole book and its message as from God is quite silly. It is hard to imagine in our hip-hop, rapper day and age, to say that misspelling somehow nullifies the inspiration behind the thought, intent and message of the original author. After all:
"I luv u 2 def" doesn't seem to get lost with today's listener.
In fact, here is a fun exercise. Only 55 out of 100 can read this. If you can, you have a great mind:
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
What we may not assume is that God made an error in inspiring the original text. St. Augustine correctly noted that when we run into a so-called "error" in the Bible, we must assume two things:
1. Either the manuscript was not copied correctly
2. We have not understood it rightly
When someone says the Bible has contradictions, most cannot give an example. Those that do often are only parroting the same tired examples they probably heard. It is not to say that there are not some difficult Bible passages, but again, homework can answer our questions in most cases. There are, however, some things we just don't have an answer for. If we are to be honest, we must admit that the Bible is not clearly understood on every account, but that should not be interpreted as anything more than that we just do not have full knowledge. Nor should that give any individual a license to reject all scriptures due to a relatively small portion that we are just not able to presently gain satisfying answers for.
A prime example would be Leviticus 11:20. This is a particularly favorite one used by Bible critics in their desire to demonstrate that the Bible is wrong. And if the writer of Leviticus is sadly mistaken, so too is the notion that scriptures are inspired by some living God.
In this portion of Leviticus we find dietary laws that are being given. After the initial basic Hebrew word study, we understand that this verse is, in fact, referencing flying insects that creep. With glee critics point to the fact that all insects have six legs, not four. However, this is a good example of myopic thinking that interferes with the ability to apply any analytical process in finding a solution. Most critics are content with proclaiming the obvious... insects have six legs. Bravo! That is as far as they feel they need to go in solving this issue and in making their case. The Bible is wrong. Argument over. Give me a "high five!"
Wait, not so fast!
For those who are more interested in truly finding an answer than in scoring a quick "smack down", allow me to show you how to exercise a broader realm of your capacity to think, and see if we are not able to draw some reasonable, rational conclusions to this difficult passage.
Let's first offer what would seem to be more of a direct answer that critics may be more willing to acknowledge and appreciate. Especially for those that pride themselves in having knowledge in the field of science. Science has concluded, based on current observations, that all insects have six legs. Yet, science itself has "classified" some insects as "quadrupeds", meaning four-legged. An example would be the "Praying Mantis". A flying insect that does in fact have "six" appendages but only four of them that has been classified as legs used for mobility. In other words, to walk or "creep" along when not in flight. If man is capable of classifying insects as quadrupeds, having four legs, then I do not see an issue with God being able to do the same. Do you?
This demonstrates that having six appendages does not necessarily mean they are classified as legs for mobility, as the Praying Mantis demonstrates. This leads me to the first possible resolution. Not all insects use all six appendages to move about, therefore the number classified as legs used to "creep" could be four with the other two appendages having other primary uses, or none at all, when in motion. This portion of Scripture is only specific in stating that these particular flying insects creep upon all four. All four being those used for such purposes.
This lends itself to another reasonable solution. God was addressing a people that had only known a life of slavery in a foreign land for hundreds of years. Although intelligent, few were academically educated. They were headed to a land they had never known. It is not unreasonable to suggest that God was looking to communicate with them on their level of knowledge in practical, simple terms. What these people would easily understand, and would be able to observe and identify, would be insects that crawled on four of however many legs or appendages they had. This was more important and expedient than to satisfy the demands of the academically pure of heart. This is a logical consideration.
And lastly, we are talking about a time period almost 4,000 years ago. The terrain was much different back then from at we know it to be today. It was a region that was lush and fertile. It was teaming with varied life, much of which disappeared long ago. Who is to say that there were not at that time, certain species of insects specific to that region that were in fact four legged? When we consider what we presently know in the life sciences that has become extinct (and surely we are not aware of everything that has disappeared), what we are worried may become extinct (save the whales!), and new discoveries of life today that we didn't even know existed, is it not possible that there were such things in the past? Many of the critics of Scripture that espouse evolution may cry foul here. Yet these same critics have no problem believing in man's missing link, along with all of the non-existent transitory life forms they claim lived and later became extinct. Oh, hypocrisy knows no bounds. Still, this remains a plausible answer to consider.
Today, we see the Pharisee spirit of "straining at a gnat" while "swallowing the camel" is alive and well.
Most arguments, with regard to the Bible, focus on the trivial in a desire to make a point. Early in my theological life I had a friend that liked to play the "gotcha" game. For a time he attempted to pose questions on purported scriptural contradictions and errors. If I could not answer them it demonstrated to him that he was right and felt he proved his point. It was hard to show him that all he was demonstrating was my lack of having all knowledge. His motive was not in search of earnest answers, but rather to feel good about what he had decided to believe. I finally realized that the best way to handle questions I did not know the answers to was to let him know it was a good question and that I would have to check it out and get back to him. And, I did just that.
After a few more times of going through the "inquisition" and then offering a sound answer, he stopped bringing up "religion" altogether.
Those that would scream that the Bible is "corrupt" need to define what they mean. This is not an uncommon theme among Muslims to better position the Koran (which didn't exist until over 500 years after the New Testament was written and in wide circulation) above Scripture. They hold a strange position of venerating Scripture yet simultaneously rejecting it. Few have the ability, freedom or interest to study this claim of "corruption" in order to affirm their conclusion.
Unlike any other "sacred" book, the Bible has been dissected to the point of including footnotes where there may be uncertainty as to origin so as not to mislead. Nothing has been hidden or covered up. Try that with the Koran without incident.
The Bible is inerrant in that it is not in error with what is true, especially with regard to spiritual laws and reality. An error is a mistake. We are not talking about spelling mistakes, we are talking about truth mistakes. It has never been demonstrated that the Bible has stated something as a truth which man has discovered to be untrue. Although many have attempted, and many wish to do so, it hasn't happened. Thus, the Bible is the un-erring truths of God.
To help those who would like to pursue this issue, and their studies further, I have included the following resources and links:
"When Critics Ask" by Norman Geisler
"Evidence That Demands A Verdict" by Josh McDowell
Both are excellent resources that I highly recommend.
The preservation of this book is like no other, yet the Bible is so much more than this. The Bible is a book of history, recording actual events, lives and actions of people and nations.
Archaeology is another information stream that applies tangible, hard evidence to recorded Scripture.
Countless examples of archaeological discoveries have given credence to the historical reliability of the Bible. This field continues to unearth evidence that verifies the Bible's accuracy. Archaeology has uncovered a wealth of historical artifacts. From buried tablets, scrolls and inscriptions to unearthing whole cities, towns, tombs, palaces, grave sites and battlefields. Bringing to life ancient civilizations, cultures and historical events.
The amount of discovered archaeological finds that correspond with Scripture are way too numerous to present here. One will find this portion of scriptural study and verification an amazingly fantastic journey in itself.
William Albright has a reputation as being one of the great archaeologists of our time. He stated,
"There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition. The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history."
The archaeologist's spade has validated the historical record found in Scripture of the existence of civilizations that all but disappeared from the pages of human history if it were not for their recorded appearance in the Bible. The Hittites, the Jebusites, Ammonites, the Assyrians, the Canaanites, the Herodians, Amorites, the Philistines, the Perizzites, the Hivites are some of the tribes and nations of people of the ancient world that rose to prominence, only to vanish under the sands of time.
One of the best examples of some of these fascinating archaeological finds that have demonstrated the historical reliability of the Bible is King Sargon. The only existing literature of antiquity to ever mention Sargon's name is found in the Bible, and only once. It is found in Isaiah 20:1, written over 2,700 years ago. For centuries critics, determined to show that the Bible was with error and therefore could not possibly be divinely written, pointed to this Scripture in making their case. Here was a name found in the Bible of a king never known to have ever existed. No records, no remains, nothing! That was, of course, until 1842.
Digging on the north edge of Nineveh, in Khorsabad, Paul Emil Botta unearthed Sargon's palace. It turned out to be a fantastic find. Of the inscriptions Sargon had etched in stone at his palace, was the following account:
"Azuri, king of Ashdod, planned in his heart not to pay tribute. In my anger I marched against Ashdod... I conquered Ashdod, Gath. I settled in them people from the lands of the east. I received tribute from Philistia, Judah, Edom and Moab."
Isaiah 20:1 states that Sargon sent Tartan, the commander of his Assyrian army, to fight Ashdod. And it was corroborated by Sargon himself through the inscription he had ordered to be made centuries ago. Thus, the voice of history vindicated what was once considered an "error" in Scripture of what was thought to be a fictitious character of the Bible. It turns out that Sargon, king of Assyria, was one of the greatest and most powerful rulers of antiquity. The critics were silenced.
It is said that archaeologists have only uncovered a fraction of what can be unearthed of man's ancient past in the lands of the Middle East, the Mediterranean region and of Europe. These, along with the story of Sargon are good reminders for today's skeptics. Like those skeptics of the past, it only took a matter of time for a future discovery to make them out to be a fool.
How many of us still remember the little Sunday School song about the "walls of Jericho" as they came tumbling down? The literal walls of the historical city of Jericho were uncovered and it was found that, in fact, the walls did come down. They fell out flat making it rather easy for a surrounding army to march right on into the city. This is exactly what Joshua 6:20 states happened.
The actual cities of Sodom and Gomorrah at the southern end of the Dead Sea were still visible up through the first century before being covered over. The evidence around the area pointing to their demise correspond to the description found in Genesis.
The "Tel Dan Inscription" is a fragment from the First Temple Period of a large monumental inscription that was discovered during an excavation of the ancient city of Dan. This piece is the first uncovered written reference, outside of Scripture, that mentions the "House of David", referring to King David's dynasty. The inscription dates to the 9th century B.C. Apparently it was part of a monument that was erected by a king of Aram to mark a victory over his enemies. Two additional fragments were recovered in June of 1994. The partial reconstructed texts state the following:
[ ... ...] and cut [ ... ] [ ... ] my father went up [against him when] he fought at [ ... ] And my father lay down, he went to his [ancestors]. And the king of Israel entered previously in my father's land. [And] Hadad made me king. And Hadad went in front of me, [and] I departed from [the] seven [ ...-]s of my kingdom, and I slew [seve]nty kin[gs], who harnessed thou[sands of cha-] riots and thousands of horsemen (or: horses). [I killed Jeho]ram son of [Ahab] king of Israel, and [I] killed [Ahaz]iahu son of [Jehoram kin-]g of the House of David. And I set [their towns into ruins and turned] their land into [desolation ... ] other [ ... and Jehu ru-] led over Is[rael ... and I laid ] siege upon [ ... ] 
The reason this is a crucial find is its similarity with Sargon, history and critics of the past. Today's critics were of the mind that if David was such a historical figure there should have been ample record of his reign outside of Scripture. Instead, the absence of any record pointed to David as being fictional. But more importantly for them was to show that the Bible as not divinely inspired. And if not divinely inspired, then merely a book of stories. The goal of a critic is not to show the Bible to be true, but rather to show it to be false. The fact is critics can't help themselves. Their disbelief, anger, pride or personal issues with the notion of God existence drives them to find fault in Scripture as a matter of mission in life. They can be shown to be wrong 1000 times and it won't matter. What they want, need and believe, is to be right just once to make their case and prove they were correct. For them, that one will outweigh all the other evidence. It is this belief that keeps critics from the ability to acknowledge the increasing body of information that substantiates biblical content.
When another find discredits a critic's belief, they simply move on to discrediting some other aspect of Scripture. If this does not pan out, they move on down the list of potential alternatives they have compiled. And, like Dan Rather, they are so sure they are right that they are convinced the truth will eventually catch up with their claims, while they continually dismiss the reality of truth that keeps presenting itself, one discovery after another. Time is not their friend. Once again, we find that they were wrong for the 1001th time...NEXT!
I can almost hear them sing... "It's hard out here for a pimp (uh, critic!)"
Let us consider a few more examples of reality.
While constructing a water theme park in Israel, workers accidentally uncovered an ancient tomb. Inside were several limestone ossuaries (bone boxes) used back in the day. One specific ossuary had beautiful carvings on it that identified a person of honor in the Jewish religious system. An inscription written twice on this box read, "Joseph son of Caiaphas."
The historian Josephus identified "Joseph Caiaphas", whom he also referred to as, "Joseph who was called Caiaphas of the high priesthood", (Jewish Antiquite, 18:35, 95) as being the high priest from 18-36 A.D. The same Caiaphas that Jesus was taken to for trial, and the same Caiaphas who also condemned him. Historical records state that the high priest during this time period was commonly named Joseph, but was called and referred to by the family name of Caiaphas. The discovery of his remains brings us one step closer to reasonably seeing Scripture as real, truthful, trustworthy and correct.
There have been literally hundreds of Hebrew seals and impressions unearthed in the past 100 years. The hardened clay seal impressions are called, "bullae". Official documents written on papyrus were rolled up with the ends flattened and tied with string. The string would then be sealed with a lump of clay that was stamped with the signet ring of the owner of that document, or of its writer. An unbroken seal verified the document as being genuine and un-tampered with, thus guaranteeing its contents. There are clay bullae that have survived long after the papyrus and string disintegrated. In some cases partial string was still embedded on the underside of the bullae.
One such bullae, found during the 1970's, contained the stamp and name of Jeremiah's scribe. The same Jeremiah that many are familiar with in Scripture. This bulla is now on display in the Israel Museum. A single line borders the impression and is divided by double horizontal lines into three registers bearing the following inscription:
lbrkyhw Belonging to Berechiah
bn nryhw son of Neriah
hspr the scribe
The script used is the pre-exilic ancient Hebrew linear script. Reading the Hebrew from right to left, the first letter, Heb (l), is the preposition "to, belonging to," and the last three letters, Heb. (yhw) is a shortened form of the name of God, Heb. (yhwh), the shortened form was likely pronounced "yahu." Baruch's name means, "Blessed of the Lord (Yahweh)." This bulla has been authenticated as from the impression of Baruch ben Neriah , the scribe who wrote to the dictation of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 36:4).
Dr. Avigad expressed his personal feelings as he worked with the Baruch Bulla, as having the feeling "of personal contact with persons who figure prominently in the dramatic events in which the giant figure of Jeremiah, and his faithful follower Baruch, were involved in at a most critical time preceding the downfall of Judah."
Pontius Pilate was the fifth governor of Judea, under whose governance Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. He was appointed by the emperor Tiberius in 26 A.D. Although Pilate is also mentioned in the works of historian Josephus, Philo and Tacitus, and coins issued during his governance exist, inscriptional evidence for Pilate was discovered in Italian excavations at Caesarea Maritima in 1961. Antonio Frova, director of the excavations, found a dedicatory stone that bore a three-line inscription:
Tiberieum/[Pon]tius Pilatus/[Praef]ectus Iuda[eae], "Tiberius [the Roman emperor of the period]/Pontius Pilate/Prefect of Judea."
The inscription not only confirms the historicity of Pilate, it clarifies the title that he bore as governor. It is now on display in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
The oldest Philistine inscription ever found by archaeologists was unearthed in the village of Gath, Goliath's hometown. A shard of pottery, dated around 950 B.C. has put it within 70 years that Scripture states the battle between David and this giant of a man took place. Why the significance? Incredibly, the inscription found on this shard bears the name of .... "Goliath". What are the odds? Lending credence to the story and Goliath as more than a myth.
Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, had Naboth killed, the prophets of God slain and threatened Elijah's life. She ultimately came to a violent death. This individual is found in 1 Kings. Jezebel's seal, pictured on the right, was recovered by the archaeologist's spade.
The Book of Exodus gives us a historical account of the deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt that some would claim as fictional. Critics have issue with when this took place, and the lack of evidence to show that it did take place. This is also true concerning those events that are accredited to God's intervention. Such as the showdown of Moses and Pharaoh with the ten plagues. And, the exodus of Israel from Egypt with their miraculous escape through the Red Sea as the waters were divided, ultimately crashing upon the Egyptian charioteers as they tried to cross in pursuit. There are books that focus specifically on this subject which one can check out. Therefore we will not delve into those depths here other than to say that continual finds are adding clarity to this amazing story. One that you can believe.
Rameses II, considered the Pharoah Moses confronted. Here we get to look upon the very man Moses faced thousands of years earlier. A bit more worn with age of course.
One of the more recent discoveries to send shockwaves within archaeology and beyond came about in 2002. A first-century, limestone ossuary surfaced with a stunning inscription engraved upon it. A simple line with major implications. It reads "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus". Thus becoming the first discovery with direct reference to Jesus.
James was not only Jesus brother, and of the twelve disciples, he was the first apostle of the church in Jerusalem. The box itself was authenticated as genuine, but a firestorm brewed over the inscription. What a surprise! The archaeological community was divided. Some claimed forgery, others considered it genuine. Unexplained events took place, bias tainted reports and the box was placed in question. Finally, in 2006, after conducting his investigation, Professor Wolfgang E. Krumbein, of Oldenburg University, Germany, a world renowned authority and expert in geology, geochemistry and microbiology, presented his findings and submitted his report. The conclusion was that the ossuary, and the inscription, was the real deal. You can read this PDF report by clicking the link below:
Some of the problems facing biblical archaeology is that few in the Arab/Muslim nations (which make up most of the ancient lands of the Bible) find it in their best interest not to give permission to explore, or remove, artifacts that would lend to biblical support. Especially those countries and governments opposed to Israel and Christianity (or the West for that matter). Although money still talks in any language. Numerous finds have disappeared, others put off limits to outsiders. By the same token, some Jewish archaeologists find it in their best interest as well. This would be true when it comes to findings that lend support to New Testament accounts. The reasons would seem obvious. Politics does find its way in most things.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that we could do this all day long in pointing out one find after another that has enabled us to establish the historicity of biblical content. Whether it be the reality of the existence of the earliest cities the Bible mentions, such as Ur and Nippur, or Ninevah, Babylon, Asshur, Tyre and Smyrna. Or, of people, such as David, Peter, Caiaphas, Herod or Zechariah. And, discoveries that corroborate events like Jerusalem's destruction or Israel's Babylonian capture and captivity. Real places, real people, real events. The Bible has been, in some ways, a road map for archaeologists in their pursuit for ancient discoveries. And for historians looking to piece the past together.
When the book "The DaVinci Code" was written, it mixed real, historical places and people with fictional characters and events. Many people accepted this book as "gospel" even though the writer himself stated it was a work of fiction. He crafted the two together so well that people could not distinguish the blurred line between what was true from what was fictional. It did not take long for historians and others to dispute "The DaVinci Code", and point out the errors in a flurry of books, TV and video presentations that preceded.
This is what we find missing in the archaeological and historical records when we look at Scripture. What we do not find are writings contemporary to the time to dispute what was recorded. There were no debates or arguments on the merits, the accuracy or validity of what was written. That in itself speaks volumes.
This is where other books, such as "The Book of Mormon", fail completely when tested under the same conditions. That being the ability to be verified as historically reliable, factual and truthful. We find no archaeological evidence, or historical means to validate events or claims found within its pages. Consequently, this brings into question the authenticity of The Book of Mormon as being from, or inspired of God. That conclusion would have to be "no". This would be true of all other books that claim to be of God.
BIBLICAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE
This chapter takes a brief look at some scientific examples in the Bible. If Scripture originated from, and is inspired by God, then He ought to know how things work on a scientific level.
Let's look at some examples.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics basically comes down to this… the physical, material universe is in a state of decay, going from structure to less structure, and from order to chaos. Nothing remains in its original state as everything is continually aging and wearing out. Believe me, I can attest to that each time I look in the mirror. But long before scientists were putting this concept down in descriptive words, this was already revealed in the Bible:
"Of old have you (talking about God) laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They shall perish, but you shall endure; yes all of them shall become like an old garment (the process of entropy), like a vesture shall you change them, and they shall be changed." Psalms 102:25-26 written 3,000 years ago.
"Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall grow old (wear out) like a garment…" Isaiah 51:6 written 2,700 years ago.
Meteorological Science has studied and mapped the flow of the air currents around the world. We have seen them on the nightly news as the weatherman attempts to point out the airflow across the U.S. and how it will affect the weather in the particular area we may be living in. Yet this field of science only came around to the truth of what was already revealed in Scripture, written several thousands of years prior to "science" validating it:
"The wind goes toward the south, and turns about to the north; it whirls about continually, and the wind returns again according to his circuits (route)." Ecclesiastes 1:6
This was written by Solomon who had asked God for wisdom. He was given insight into things not possible to know at the time, outside of God's revelation of it.
Hydrology is the field of science that focuses on the waters of the earth. The earth's water cycle of distribution, flow, evaporation, rain and so on. Pierre Perrault's work in experimental hydrology in 1674 laid the foundation for this field of scientific study. He may have considered his work a revolutionary breakthrough, yet the true foundation for this field of study is found in the pages of Scripture, written more than 2,000 years before he was born:
"All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from where the rivers come, there they return again." Ecclesiastes 1:7
"If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth…" Ecclesiastes 11:3
"…He that calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the face of the earth; The Lord is His name." Amos 9:6
What is clearly illustrated here is the cycle of water poured upon the earth, the rivers being filled and poured out into the sea. The waters of the sea are taken up as rain clouds to be poured back out upon the earth again, and the rivers once again being filled, completing the circuit or cycle of hydrating the earth. Men of science again catching up with the Bible narrative.
Oceanography refers to the study of the oceans of the world. One oceanographer in the 1800's, by the name of Matthew Maury, read in Psalms 8:8 that the seas have "paths". It is a small portion of scripture that may go unnoticed by most, unless you are an oceanographer. The notion that the seas would have paths that they follow sparked Matthew Maury to investigate whether this was in fact true. His investigation into finding these paths provided the mapping of the ocean's cold and warm water currents that we understand and use today. His work remains the basic foundation of text for today's oceanographic studies. Here is a prime example of a scientist who believed in Scripture, and then set out to discover what David wrote. An insight into knowledge that was obviously not David's own, but gained through revelation.
There was an article written on April 19, 2007 for Space.com with the headline "Sun's Atmosphere Sings". The article referred to a study by the Royal Astronomical Society in which they revealed that the looping magnetic fields along the Sun's outer regions carry magnetic sound waves similar to musical instruments such as guitars or pipe organs. And that these sound waves make music. Thus, the sun sings, or makes music. What I have found more interesting is how accepting a Bible rejecting public has been to receive what may have otherwise been thought of as far fetched, if it were from any other source. And the excitement that has been displayed by the astronomical community over this "new" revelation.
Why have I found it interesting? It is not because it is wrong. It is because Bible reading, Bible believing people have always understood that creation sings and praises God:
"Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heights. Praise Him, all you angels; praise Him, all you hosts. Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him all you stars of light. Praise Him you heavens of heavens, and you waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord; for He commanded, and they were created..." (Psalms 128:1-5)
David understood 3,000 years ago that all creation has the ability to praise its Creator. To make noise and to sing. However, since this was found in Scripture it smacked of religious stupidity for the ignorant and uneducated. Now that science has stated the same thing it apparently doesn't sound so stupid after all. Demonstrating once again the fact that men are not simply getting around to legitimizing God's Word, but in reality only now getting around to understanding the truth of it.
"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man; for I will demand of you, and answer me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare if you have understanding. Who has laid the measures of it, if you know? Or who has stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are its foundations fastened? Or who laid it's cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together (all the infinite suns in space that are suns to planets and solar systems as our sun is to us, that usher in the morning and daylight, thus called morning stars)..." Job 38:1-7
"For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now." Romans 8:22
I suppose none of these scripture references were ever true all these centuries until science awarded their stamp of approval. Boy, how fortunate for the silly, simple minded, ignorant, Bible believing little people. In fact, chapters 38 through 42 of the Book of Job are as fitting for us today as it was then. I encourage you to read it. .
Astronomers have told us that the universe is expanding. They are correct because the Bible is correct:
"Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with honor and majesty, who covers yourself with light as with a garment; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain." (Psalms 104:2,written about three thousand years ago.)
In the last 100 years or so the medical field has come to understand the powerful connection between mental health and physical health. A relationship that has been preached from pulpits of local churches for centuries:
"A merry heart does good like a medicine; but a broken spirit dries the bones." Proverbs 17:22
"A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance…The light of the eyes (eyes are windows to our soul or mental facility) rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones fat.". Proverbs 15:12, 30
"Pleasant words (the power of words to make us feel good or depressed) are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones (our body)." Proverbs 16:24
"A sound heart is the life of the flesh; but envy is the rottenness of the bones." Proverbs 14:30
We find in the Old Testament numerous times where God taught Israel important basic hygiene, sanitation, health and dietary laws for a healthier lifestyle. Something unheard of in their day and in some cases, thousands of years ahead of their time. A quick example would be Leviticus 15:13. To handle running issues of men, God commanded that they bathe specifically in running water. Today we now commonly understand that
washing hands in running water rather than stagnant water reduces bacteria. But it wasn't until 1847 that there was a correlation made between washing hands and reducing the spread of bacteria between doctors and patients. That discovery was made by Hungarian physician, Dr. Ignaz Semmelwies. Despite his publications on this, it wasn't until years after his death in 1865 that it gained widespread acceptance in the medical field, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory. And more recently the use of running water as a means of further reduction of the spread of germs.
Prophecy may be the single most significant topic that separates the Bible from all other books, and specifically any other religiously held "sacred" book. Prophecy is the supernatural component that is unmatched. Although attempts to imitate and copy have transpired over the centuries, they have failed miserably. The Bible stands alone.
The word "prophesy" conjures different thoughts and ideas with people. Some point to the "for-hire" palm readers, psychics, fortune-tellers, advertised 800 and 900 numbers to dial up a "word" on the future.
The magazine racks at the grocery counter will annually have an issue of top predictions for the coming year.
There should be a distinction made between predictions based on personal views and beliefs, professional opinions or forecasts, self-proclamation or self-prophesying with those predictions, or prophetic messages of yet future events that are put forward as divinely inspired.
My mother use to predict rather well. She would tell me to knock it off (whatever I was doing that she didn't like) or I'd "get it". There were numerous times that I "got it". Some of you know what I mean. Her prediction came true. This was a self-proclaimed, self-fulfilling kind. She could bring about a future event and had the ability to do so, and did. I can attest to that. But not always did those predictions come about for she had control over that as well. So sometimes they were fulfilled, sometimes they weren't. Oh, a mother's prerogative. So it is noted that this type of predictive message is of human origin, control and fulfillment.
We have plenty of sports analysts who attempt to predict the outcomes of games, final scores, player performances, bowl match-ups and such. These things are based sometimes on logic, statistics, known past records and trends. It is mixed with personal favorites, views on team strength and weaknesses and so on. Ultimately, they are best guesses as to outcome but one that they neither control, command nor can predict with absolute accuracy each and every time. That is why betters loose bets. The reason being is that these are not derived from seeing the future before it happens. Most of the time people understand that these individuals are only giving their opinion. These predictions are basically ones viewpoint. And again, of human origin with the inability to control the outcome.
There is the "common sense" type of prediction (sometimes we call these "wise sayings") such as: "If you play with fire long enough you're gonna get burned" Again, it is not seeing into the future but rather a matter of mathematics. Will it always happen every time? No, but the percentage continues to increase with each incident.
Every decade has had its "experts" and "prophets" warning of coming catastrophe. In 1968 it was a book entitled "The Population Bomb" by Paul Ehrich. He predicted that the 1970's would see a population explosion that the world would not be able to feed, thus producing massive starvation, famine and death in the untold millions. The 70's came and went, as did the prediction. Is there starvation? Yes, there always has been. It has never been because man has not been able to produce enough, it has been due to the few men leading those hungry nations that find no personal or financial benefit in doing so.
There were stock market crash predictions in the 1980's, along with oil shortages. We still hear that today. This calamity is always stated as being a matter of a decade away. The 1990's were to usher in another Great Depression. It turned out to be the opposite. Were there problems? Yes, but we never revisited the 1930's.
We had "Y2K" alarms going off prior to the new millennium. Surely there were some legitimate concerns among the hype that needed to be investigated. I honestly found myself thinking what I might need to do to be better prepared for catastrophe scenarios. Although the positive aspect of it was being more conscious of having a disaster plan, especially in light of possible natural or terrorist events, in the end Y2K came and went too. The experts, analysts and the like disappeared,. Their warnings and predictions, many sincere, never transpired.
Today it is the global warming alarm. Predictions of all types have been given for our gloomy future by the prophets of doom and again, there is a sense of panic, fear and dread of man and nature on the verge of extinction. The "inconvenient truth" is that there are facts "conveniently" missing from the debate. In fact, these seers tell us that this is beyond debate.
Overwhelmingly, when most of us consider prophesy we are more often referring to that which is offered as a divinely inspired declaration of supernatural origin. Whether written, or spoken, this type of prophecy comes from foreknowledge. Foreknowledge means, "to know beforehand". And to know beforehand, or in advance, is to have received supernatural knowledge. A knowledge that cannot be attained in the natural realm, or through natural means. Therefore the source of this special knowledge is derived from one who has the power and ability to access the future and know what it holds. This is a clear reference to a supreme being... God.
The past, as well as the present, has had their share of those who claimed to have a gift to prophesy the future. The most noted would be Nostradamus and his overexposed and over promoted, vague quatrains. A primary example of what is considered revealed prophecy would be the following quatrain by Nostradamus:
"The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt. An evil deed, foretold by the bearer of a petition…conflict at Reims, London and pestilence in Tuscany."
That is about as clear as mud. Hmm. we have a great man with no name being struck by a thunderbolt. We do not know where this takes place, or if he dies. It was foretold by a bearer of some kind of petition but what the petition was about, or the information it contained, we are not told. And not only would there be conflict at Reims and London, but that a pestilence would break out in Tuscany. Of course there are different types of conflicts but primarily it would normally suggest a struggle, or in this case, several struggles erupting in two locations due to this incident.
You may or may not know that this is the quatrain that supposedly represents the prediction of John F. Kennedy's assassination. But then again, it could be for countless great men of the past, known and forgotten to the world, who may have been hit by anything substituting for a thunderbolt. A rock, an acorn, frying pan or something. I surely don't remember pestilence breaking out in Tuscany, and there seems to be no record of it after that fateful day. Nor can the mourning of nations be considered the same as conflict.
We see that one has to fill out these predictions. Their vagueness allows for multiple usages, enough so that without even getting involved with the occult, which was Nostradamus' source of influence, you too can be a Nostradamus.
The one time Nostradamus stuck his neck out and gave a firm timeframe for a prophesy of his, one that history would be able to confirm, he failed miserably. He predicted the end of the world on July of 1999:
In the year 1999, and seven months, from the sky will come the great King of Terror. Resurrecting the great king of the Mongols. Before and after Mars (wars) to reign happily (Century 10, Quatrain 72)
What this has been understood to mean over the years is that July 1999 would bring about suffering at the hands of an Asian antichrist before the resurrection of the king of the Mongols. Note that Nostradamus expected war both before and after his coming. We must have missed the big news for July 1999 came and went without incident. No antichrist, king of the Mongols or a major outbreak of war as was predicted.
One thing is for certain, time is the enemy of false prophets. This is no exception with Nostradamus and his failed prophecy of July 1999. This reveals Nostradamus as simply another false prophet. He is surely not alone.
Tabloids look to the sensational to sell their papers. Prophetic predictions of any stripe being one of their bread and butter topics.
There are false prophets, and then there are real ones. The standard test for which all are subject to comes from Scripture. It is very simple. If it is of God it will come to pass. If not, they are a phony. The standard room for error is still at zero percent, with a 100% accuracy requirement. You better be sure you are getting something from God before you speak. We are called to examine and verify whether its source is truly from God (Deut. 18:22; Matt. 7:15-20; 1 John 4;1)
A case in point would be the history of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The Watchtower, the publication arm of the organization, published on multiple occasions the coming of Christ and the end of the world. The following quotes demonstrate that Charles Russell, and other leaders of this organization who claimed to be the mouthpiece of God, were false prophets.
"We see no reason for changing the figures - nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God's dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble." (Watchtower Reprints, July 15, 1894, page 1672)
"The date of the close of that 'battle' is definitely marked in Scripture as October, 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October, 1874." (Watchtower Reprints, January 15, 1892, pg 1355)
"In this chapter we will present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the Gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914; and that date will be the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men." (The Time Is at Hand, Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 2, 1907 ed., pages 76-77)
"The battle of the great day of God Almighty' (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced." (The Time Is At Hand, Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 2, page 101, 1907)
This date came and went as well, but that didn't stop the Watchtower from setting others. The Watchtower went on to predict that the end of the world would come in 1918, 1925, 1940, 1941 and 1975.
The Watchtower inadvertently has admitted to being a false prophet!
"True, there have been those in times past who predicted an 'end of the world,' even announcing a specific date. Some have gathered groups of people with them and fled to the hills or withdrawn into their houses waiting for the end. Yet, nothing happened. The 'end' did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing was the full measure of evidence required in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Missing from such people were God's truths and the evidence that he was guiding and using them." (Awake, 1968, page 23)
Those making this statement in 1968 went on to predict 1975 as the end of the world. Once again demonstrating that they too were just as blind, guilty and misled as those false prophets before them.
Rutherford (1869-1942), published a book entitled, "The Finished Mystery". In it he predicted that the year 1918 would see God destroying churches and millions of its church members. He also claimed that by 1920 every kingdom would be consumed in anarchy. The only way to escape this coming judgment and destruction was to join the Watchtower organization.
When 1918 and 1920 passed, along with the failed predictions, Rutherford set a new date in his book entitled, "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" (1920). He wrote that the millennium would start in 1925 and that Old Testament saints would be brought back to life. The WT Society built a luxurious Spanish mansion called Beth-Sarim (House of Princes) which was supposedly meant to house these patriarchs. However, Rutherford conveniently moved into the mansion in the meantime. After Rutherford's death in 1942, the Old Testament saints still had not arrived so the Society quietly sold "Beth Sarim," thus bringing to a close one of their more embarrassing chapters in church prophesy.
Ellen White, founder of the Seventh Day Adventists, also demonstrated that she was a false prophetess.
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, is no exception.
Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the World Wide Church of God is another example.
These are merely a few of many that have been in error, and due to that, demonstrated that God had not called them to the role of a prophet, nor that He spoke to them with regard to their prophesy. Organizations that are built around a leader shown to be a false prophet and teacher should be shunned. Sadly, many people continue to be associated with these organizations. Often they are innocently deceived, duped, or in this case, on the subject of the last days, just ignorant of what Scripture does say. One thing is for certain, date setting is foolishness:
"But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels who are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" Mark 13:32-37
"But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father ONLY." Matt. 24:36
It is something God has reserved for only Himself to know. We may know the season, but that gives only a reference. Don't hang your hat on it.
Unfortunately the abuses, misuses or attempts to imitate the prophetic has led many to either disbelieve, ridicule or reject it altogether. Yet, if there would be anything that would indicate the supernatural presence of God, this subject would be it. No wonder so many seek to copy and imitate the real deal. And the real deal is "The Bible."
According to J. Barton Payne's, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy (New York; Harper & Row, 1973) the Bible has 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament, and 578 prophecies in the New Testament, for a total of 1,817. These encompass a total of 8,352 verses, far more than we are able to cover here.
For the purposes of continuing to establish the credibility of biblical content, we will look at a few prophetic examples to demonstrate divine origin.
Walls of Babylon - Babylon, famous for the Hanging Gardens, is considered by many as probably the greatest city that was ever built. Babylon was also famous for its very massive walls. The triple walls were the mightiest ever built around any city. The Greek historian Herodotus recorded that the height of the walls were 200 feet, with 250 towers that stood 300 feet high. The walls were 187 feet thick at its base, going 35 feet below ground and was 60 miles around, 15 miles on each side. The Euphrates River divided the city. Both banks were guarded by brick walls with 25 gates connecting the streets on the opposite sides with ferry boats. One bridge, setting on stone piers a half mile long and thirty feet wide had drawbridges that were removed at night.
And yet, God said in Jeremiah 51:24-26, 37-44 and Isaiah 13:19-22:
"And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation; neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and ostriches shall dwell there, and he-goats shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the coastlands shall cry in their desolate houses and jackals in their pleasant places...And they shall not take of you a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations, but you shall be desolate forever, says the Lord."
There are very specific things that are mentioned in this prophetic passage:
1. Babylon's walls were to be destroyed.
2. They were to be destroyed completely
3. They were to be destroyed forever.
4. Babylon would never be inhabited again from generation to generation, remaining desolate.
Can you imagine Jeremiah having to give this seemingly impossible prophetic word? Jeremiah gave the message and time validated it. The Medes and Persians, through a stealth campaign, invaded the city and started the process, unaware of the significance of their actions. Although the city was sacked, the destruction of her massive walls was a slow process that took centuries. They were still in existence in the time of Alexander the Great, who had determined to rebuild Babylon and make it his central headquarters. He issued 600,000 rations to soldiers to begin the work, but immediately afterward he was overcome with a fever and within a few days of his order he died.
They still jutted into the sky at the time of Christ. In the fourth century some remains of the walls were still there, a stark reminder that the prophecy had not yet been completely fulfilled. Then the most astounding event took place. Julian the Apostate, Emperor of Rome, determined to rid the Roman Empire of Christianity and re-establish paganism, was doing all in his power to destroy belief in the scriptures. However, God had said that even "the wrath of man shall praise him" (Psalm 76:10)
While engaged in a war with the Persians near the remains of Babylon (although he had no idea of the prophecy that he was fulfilling), Julian completely destroyed the remains of the wall of Babylon lest it afforded any protection in the future for the Persian army. And so the prophecy was brought to fulfillment by one of the greatest antagonists of Scripture.
The most recent individual that had plans to restore Babylon in Iraq was Saddam Hussein. His plans were also dashed, his kingdom destroyed and his power stripped. After thousands of years this prophetic declaration remains unchanged and complete. Babylon still sits as a stark reminder in an uninhabited and desolate condition.
The nation of Israel is one of the most powerful examples of God's prophetic word being fulfilled time and again. A small nation that should have been destroyed many times over if it were not that God chose them for His various purposes. Their history is replete with the prophetic becoming reality. From God's promise to Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation with descendants that one could not count (Gen. 12:3, 13:14-15), to warnings of persecution and bondage that history has demonstrated happened. Or God's statement that He would bless them, and that they would be a prosperous people. And finally the promise of having their homeland restored. A land they now possess.
We see in the Old Testament that due to their rebellion and sin, God scattered the Jewish people to the four corners of the world as He warned them He would do should they continue the path they were on. Although dispersed among the nations of the world, God gave a promise. In the Book of Ezekiel we read that God said He would restore them as a nation once again in the land that he had promised (chapters 34 through 37). This final gathering would take place in the last days. Time passed and generations came and went, but then a remarkable thing happened. After more than 2,000 years of being dispersed among other nations, and despite the vehement objections of the Arab nations, on May 14,1948, with the recognition and support of the fledgling United Nations, David Ben Gurion (as the first Prime Minister of Israel) publicly proclaimed the Declaration of the State of Israel. And, like the exodus of old, the Jewish people began a modern day exodus as they began to come from every continent, thus establishing the birth of Israel as a nation once again. A fulfilled prophesy in full view of the whole world. The improbable became fact. Ancient biblical text came to life as present day headline news. Their continued existence since then, in the face of incessant, hostile forces bent on the removal of this tiny Jewish state, reveals that this prophesy was more than just a lucky guess. That their present preservation can only be attributed to Divine Providence maintaining the fulfillment of this promise, at the consternation of her enemies. The survival of the Jewish people continues to be a testament to the existence of God and of Scripture.
One of the many amazing prophecies that Isaiah gave dealt with the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. What marks this as a fantastic example of the specificity of biblical prophecy is that when Isaiah gave this prediction around 700 B.C. (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1) neither the city nor the temple were in ruins.
Isaiah gave the name of a king that would allow this restoration to take place. The name given to this king was Cyrus, a name of a king that did not exist at the time of this prophetic pronouncement. But in 586 B.C., a little over a hundred years after Isaiah spoke those words, the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. Then at around 539 B.C., a Persian king by the name of Cyrus conquered Babylon. In the process he declared that the Jews, who were held in bondage by the Babylonians, could return to Jerusalem with permission to rebuild their temple. That is exactly what the Israelites began to do upon returning back. Once again another prophetic passage came to fruition in a fascinating way.
Another example, where a prophetic message was given that included a specific name, is found in I Kings 13:2. In this case, a name is given over two centuries prior to the birth and reign of the person mentioned. That name being Josiah.
And, of course, the many prophesies regarding a Messiah, or savior. We shall save this for later on.
Biblical prophecy sets the Bible apart with over 1,800 recorded prophetic passages. Much of them have now been fulfilled, with history as a witness. Only future revelations remain. Thus far the track record stands at 100%. That is not accidental, but supernatural! As M.C. Hammer use to sing "You can't touch this!"
My question to you is this, "What do you think the chances are that the remaining prophesies will come to pass as well?" Be assured, they will. This is truly a subject worth studying further beyond these pages. I encourage you to do so.
We shall cover other prophetic passages of the Bible as they are relevant to our journey ahead.
In this chapter we have only touched on the thousands of existing examples in science, archaeology, history and prophesy that are available for you to discover. Examples that not only help demonstrate that the Bible is unique and incomparable among books, but also as a reliable and trustworthy resource for our ongoing trip. Examples that lend credibility to the Bible being what scripture says it is. That being divinely inspired by a real, supernatural being we call God. A book that holds the "key" to the answers we seek.
I understand that for some the jury is still out on this and that is okay. There still remains more for us to cover as we press forward in our journey. I believe that up to this point we have reasonably demonstrated that there is strong evidence for the existence of God. And, that belief in God can be a rational and intelligent position.
Although the Bible was not written to be a science textbook, what science is touched upon is correct. Even though the Bible was not written solely as a history book, what history that is recorded among its pages has proven to be accurate, as attested by archaeology and historical records outside of Scripture. Biblical prophecy fulfilled demonstrates the reality of its source. Prophets of the Old and New Testament made it crystal clear that what they received came from God alone.
No other sacred book can be supported or defended under these same conditions. Nor can they survive the scrutiny.
Seeing that the Bible is able to support itself in these areas, what can we conclude then about what else Scripture addresses? Such things as sin, death, morality, mortality, evil, eternity, man's future, the very beginning of things, the end of things and of God Himself?
Herein lies the real issue for many with regard to the Bible. To have a fascination with prophecy, or to acknowledge the validity of the historical, archaeological and scientific aspect of Scripture is one thing, but to consider what else the Bible covers as equally real, and specifically true, is quite another thing. Some resort to opinion or subjective truth when moving into these arenas. Others practice selective theology. This refers to the cherry picking within the Bible those things a person is willing to accept or believe to be true while discarding the rest. Yet, it would stand to reason that if the Bible has shown itself to be trustworthy in the worldly, physical sense, that the same would be true with what it addresses in the spiritual and personal sense. Like dealing with life's issues and struggles, of purpose and destiny, the reason for things as they are and more. For God's main purposes for having Scripture written and then preserved was to provide a guidebook, or spiritual GPS for our lives. It has been the means used to record His dealings and personal relationship with man. In revealing Himself and His plan for the ages. And, to tell a true story that is still unfolding. You and I are in the midst of it. It is the ultimate "reality show. However in this true life story there are no rehearsals, retakes or rewinds. We only get one shot.
What is God's story? It is the "original" Star Wars trilogy. Of good and evil, of a battle in the heavenlies, of struggle and victory, of death and rebirth, of sacrifice and pride. The first Star Wars movie that came out in the 70's told a story that was pulled out from the middle of a longer saga. The first movie dealt with the adventures of young Luke Skywalker. Other movie releases that followed subsequently told the full story. These sequels revealed the rise and fall of Luke's father, better known as Darth Vadar. The final movie tied up all the loose ends. The first movie gave only fleeting references of a time before Luke, leaving the viewer to ponder how things were going to end.
This is a good comparison with what we find in the Bible. In God's plan for the ages we find that the main thrust of scripture focuses mainly on that portion of timeline relating to God's relationship with man. Yet, like the first Star Wars movie, Scripture gives a few fleeting references to a time before man, and provides a glimpse of the future. It is a three part series. We are presently living in part two. With each passing day, we are getting closer to part three. As far as for part one, we will need to dig a bit deeper to uncover the storyline.
And a look at it begins in the next chapter.