"Food For Thought"
Two basic questions concerning Christianity are: (1) Is there an Eternal God who created the universe and man, and (2) Did the Bible come from God? The purpose of this study is to examine the question of the origin of the Bible.
My friends,the Bible is here! Now, from whence did it come? There are only two possible answers: either the Bible came from God as Christians contend and believe, or the Bible came from man as infidels, agnostics, and atheists affirm. Is the Bible the result of unaided human wisdom, or of divine inspiration? Can we put implicit faith in the Scriptures as a revelation from God, or view the Bible as just another book of human origin? This is the most crucial question that confronts the religious world today.
THE BIBLE'S CLAIM:
The Bible itself claims to be from God. Either its claim is true or false. The apostle Paul wrote: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." (2 Timothy 3:16). This literally means "God-Breathed," or "breathed out by God." This is a clear claim to plenary inspiration, that is, the Bible is inspired in all its parts. The apostle Peter, speaking of the Old Testament prophets said: "For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved, by the Holy Spirit". ( 2 Peter 1:21) The writers of the New Testament were likewise inspired; the truth was revealed unto the "holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" (Ephesians 3:3-5; John 16:13; 14:26; Jude 17). My friends, If God gave the Bible we would expect Him to tell us so in that Book. If there is a God, and if that God is our Father, then we may be sure He has spoken to His children, for what earthly parent with a child away from home would not, if he could communicate with him? Over two thousand times in the Bible we find such expressions as "Thus saith the Lord", or "The Word of Lord came to me", or "The Lord spake to me." ( See for example, 2 Samuel 23:2, Jeremiah 1:4-9; Matthew 1:22, 2:15; Acts 1:16, and many other passages.)
When the Bible tells us plainly what Kind of Book, it is, we should not reject its testimony as unworthy of belief unless we have sufficent evidence. But how may we know that the Bible is inspired?
My friends,there are evidences, both internal and external, of the divine origin of the Bible. The Bible's content bears confirming marks of its own claim to be from God. There is unmistakable evidence that it is the inspired Word of God; the evidence are abundant that "God.. hath spoken unto us.." (Hebrews 1: 1, 2).
I now shall examine some of the proofs whereby the Scriptures reveal their divine orgin.
INERRANCY: The Bible is verbally inspired of God and is inerrant. The apolstle Paul, speaking of the truths of Christianity said; "But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit. Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth, combining spiritual things with spiritual words" (1 Corinthians 2:10-13) A "Word" is simply the vehicle through which thought is communicated from one mind to another. Inspired "Words" were the means which God used to convey to man the thoughts of His heart. Through the medium of Words He revealed His Will. The things that the writers-uttered were not of their own origin, but were the very word of God Himself. The words of Scripture are divine Words, and yet they are also the words of human writers. Hence, the original autographs of the Bible were verbally inspired as they came from the men guided by the Holy Spirit.
What is "God-breathed" must be inerrant, for God cannot Lie (Hebrews 6:18). The Lord said through David the the Word of God, is "Pure" (Psalms 19:8;119:140), which means it is free from all error. David also wrote: "Thy Word is true from the begining, and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever" (Psalms 119:160/ cf 19:7).
God gave to man a perfectly errorless Book, an infallible message. The writers expressed the Truth why they affirmed the divine origin of the Holy Scriptures. God's men wrote exactly what the Lord wanted them to write. God's law is "The Truth" (Psalms 119:142; John 17:17).
My friends,if the Bible is not to be depended upon when it speaks of itself, how do we know it is to be trusted when it speaks on other matters?
If the Bible is not trustworthy, we have no assurance that our Christian faith is founded upon the truth. But if the Bible is the verbally inspried and the infallibly true word of God, it follows we are listening to God, and not to man, when we harken to its teaching.
My friends, the Bible is one Book. Though composed of sixty-six (66) books, there is a golden thread of unity running throughout this entire volume. The Jews, through whom the Bible came, were not noted for any scientific, or literary fame. Some of the writers were fishermen, some tax-collectors, and others shepherds. Most of them never travelled beyond the narrow limits of their native land. But, despite all this, these who were termed by men to be "unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts 4:13) gave to the world a Book of perfect harmony and free of all mistakes. Although they differed greatly from each other and perhaps knew not that they were engaged in writing a single book, when all of their works, are put together there are no contradictions or errors.
Surely this is proof of the Bible's divine origin; one Master Mind controlled them all. Otherwise, how could forty(40) men, different in habits, languages, and education, over a period of sixteen centuries - Moses,being the first writer, to John, the last writer - produce such a book if there were (as some claim) unaided by divine power?
The enemies of the Bible have gone over it with a microscope, seeking to find inconsistencies; they have paraded alleged contradictions, but no contradictions have been proven. Unlike the books written by men, every word of the Bible is absolutely reliable.
The Bible in its entirety is the Word of God. Therefore, the Bible differs from all other religious books in the world in that it has a divine Author. On this ground we rest our faith, believing we can trust the Bible implicity as the verbally inspired and inerrant word of God.
Next I will examine the the powerful proof of prophecy. Fulfilled prophecies are facts which establish "Omniscience". Prophecy is history written in advance. What the prophets stated by inspiration concerning individuals, nations, and cities, long before the events occurred, sometimes centuries before undeniably attests to the fact that the Bible is from God, as we see from their complete fulfillment.
Let me share a few examples. Without doubt, the most important prophecies are those which relate to the coming of Christ. There are more than 330 distinct prophecies in the Old Testament about our Savior relating to His earthly life, which have been fulfillled. He was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), of the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:2; Galatians 3:16), of the tribe of Judah (Gen: 49:10; Heb: 7:14), and of the family line of David (2 Samuel 7:13-16). The place of His nativity was to be Bethlehem of Judah (Micah 5:2). All the main events in His personal ministry were minutely and accurately predicted. He would be betrayed for (30) pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12). In His death, His hands and feet were to be pierced (Psalms 22:16). He was to be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9). He was to arise from the dead and to ascend into heaven (Psalms 16:10; Daniel 7:13, 14). He was to appear and following His ascension set up His kingdom during the fourth universal monarchy (Daniel 2:44), which was the time of the Roman Empire (Luke 2:1; Mark 1:15).
My friends, all of these and many more prophecies were made concerning Christ, hundreds of years before His birth, and were fulfilled, according to the records given in the New Testament. In fact, Jesus claimed that all the Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in Him (John 5:39; Luke 24:44-49). He once made a defense for the Scriptures He said, "And the scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
He believed that the Scriptures were infallible. It was customary for the apostles in their preaching after the Church of Christ was established, to prove from the Old Testament that Jesus was the Christ (e.g., Acts 13:23-37). This agreement of prophecy and history cannot be explained away. That the prophets were inspired is the only explanation. How could these various prophecies have been made centuries before their fulfillment if there was no divine foreknowledge of these future events?
My friends,the prophecy of Moses concerning the final overthrow of the Jewish nation, recorded in the Book of Deuteronomy 28, is of remarkable interest. Moses said the Lord would bring against the Jews a nation from afar "as swift as the eagle flieth," speaking a strange language. They would besiege Jerusalem until all her walls would come down. In this siege the people would suffer unparalleled horrors. The "tender and delicate woman" who would not so much as set her foot upon the ground would secretly kill and eat the flesh of her own child. Great numbers would perish in the siege. This was all fulfilled when the Romans, under Titus, destroyed Jerusalem in A.D.70, 1500 years after it was spoken. The exactness of this fulfillment was recorded by Josephus, a Jewish historian who lived during the time of the siege and the fall of the city.
Jerusalem was conquered, the walls torn down, and over a million Jews were slain. So hungry were the people that many ate the flesh of their own sons and daughters. Moses also predicted that the Jews would be removed and scattered throughout all the kingdoms of the earth, and that they should become a proverb and a by-word among the nations. And yet, notwithstanding all this, they would never be destroyed. In what country are they not found today? And in what land are they not a by-word? In what land have they not been persecuted? Yet the Jews remain. Moses must hav given all of these prophecies guided by the Holy Spirit. Frederick the Great of Prussia once demanded proof in one word that the Bible was inspired. The answer given was "Jew".
My friends, a Man cannot name the President of the United States 150 years from today and reveal what he will do in office, yet one of the Bible writers called the name of a Persian ruler and foretold what he would do. Isaiah, the prophet of God, called Cyrus by name 150 years before he was born and said he would give the proclamation for the Jews to return from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 44:26-28; 45: 1-4). The kingdom of Judah was not even in bondage at this time, yet Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled.
The prophecy concering Babylon, given by Isaiah (13: 19-22; cf. Jeremiah 50), is also most interesting. At the height of Babylon's glory the prophet of God predicted that the city would be entirely overthrown and never be inhabited nor dwelt in from generation to generation; that the Arab would not pitch his tent there, nor shepherds make their fold there; but that wild beasts of the desert should lie there and owls and doleful creatures should infest it.
Babylon, founded about 2234 B.C., was then one of the worlds most beauitful cities. Its walls were fifteen miles square, three hundred fifty feet high, and eighty-seven feet thick. It had hundreds of gates and towers, beauitful hanging gardens, and splendid palaces. There in the fertile valley of the river Euphrates she was the capital of the great Babylonian Empire.
There we no sign of decay. But after two hundred years, from the time of the prophecy was given, in 536 B.C. at the drunken feast of Belshazzar (Daniel 5), proud Babylon bowed her head, to rise no more! The Medes and the Persians took over and to this day Babylon has never been rebuilt. It is a heap of ruins. For ages it has been uninhabited. Not one word of the prophecy has failed.
Likewise, In The Book of Ezekiel prophesied against Tyre, located on the Mediterranean Sea, at a time when there we no signs of her destruction (Ezekiel 26: 1-14). But the city was taken and destoryed by the Chaldeans. Later, Tyre was rebuilt on an island in the sea, to again be taken and destroyed. Alexander the Great was the second destoyer, making a causeway in the sea by scaping the dust from the mainland, just as the prophet predicted. For centuries Tyre has been a bare rock, a place where fishermen spread their nets, never to be rebuilt.
These prophecies, my friends, are only a few examples among many given in the Bible. Centuries lie between the predictions and their fulfillment and, in every case, the agreement is perfect. These cannot be ignored. No human guessing or prognostication of the signs of the time can account for this remarkable train of prophecy. The only sufficient reason why these predictions were so accurately fulfilled is that "men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). In an age of attacks upon the inspiration of the Bible and the credibility of the Christian faith, we dare not let go of one of the strongest evidences which we can employ in its defense, namely, the fulfillment of its prophecy.
IS THE BIBLE FROM GOD OR MEN? PART(II)
I Will Be Discussing:
Exalted Moral and Ethical Teaching:
IS THE BIBLE FROM GOD OR MEN? (Conclusion)
External Evidences: (Influence)
My Closing "Food For Thought"
*****Stay Tuned My Friends****