Kamis, Februari 04, 2010

THE BIBLE’S PROOF

Updated February 19, 2009 (first published April 10, 2002) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org) –

In the final analysis, a man must accept that the Bible is the Word of God by faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

At the same time, Bible faith is not a blind leap into the dark. It is confidence in a believable Record that God has given, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The writers of the Bible explain to us that they were not delivering cunningly devised fables but an inspired record based on “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3; 2 Peter 1:16).

Following are some of the objective, time-proven reasons why we can have complete confidence in the Bible:

1. CHRIST’S RESURRECTION PROVES THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD.

Christ’s resurrection was witnessed by hundreds of people (1 Cor. 15:5-7). Paul wrote this less than 40 years after the resurrection, and many eyewitnesses were still living. Were they all lying? At times, the resurrected Christ was seen by many people at one time. They talked with him, touched him, walked with him, and ate with him (Luke 24:36-43). Before the resurrection, the apostles were fearful and were hiding from the authorities (John 20:19). After they saw the resurrected Christ with their own eyes, they became bold and fearless and were willing to lay down their lives for the Gospel. It took a powerful event to cause such a change in their lives.

2. THE BIBLE’S UNIQUE CONSTRUCTION PROVES THAT IT IS THE WORD OF GOD.

The Bible was written by 40 different authors representing some 19 different occupations (shepherd, farmer, fisherman, tax collector, medical doctor, king, etc.) who lived during a period of some 1,600 years. That is approximately 50 generations. The first 39 chapters of the Bible were written in the Hebrew language over a period of about 1,000 years. There was then a 400-year gap when no Scriptures were written. After that, the last 27 chapters of the Bible were written in the Greek language during a period covering roughly 50 years. The writers could not have collaborated, because they did not even live at the same time. The product is one book that fits together perfectly and contains no contradictions or errors. There is nothing else like this in all of man’s history.


3. THE CONFIDENCE AND SINCERITY OF THE BIBLE’S AUTHORS PROVE THAT IT IS THE WORD OF GOD.

The Bible testifies that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21), and an examination of the lives of the Bible’s writers proves this testimony. These were serious men. They came from all walks of life. They were men of good reputation and sound mind. They were not enriched by the prophecies they gave. Far from it; many were impoverished, and many of them were viciously persecuted and killed for the testimony they held. Moses, the author of the first five books of the Bible, chose to live a life of terrific hardship and struggle in the service of God as opposed to the millionaire’s life he could have lived as the adopted son of Pharaoh. Many Bible writers made similar choices. Their motivation certainly was not covetousness and worldly advantage. These were not perfect men, but they were holy men. They all claimed that God had put His hand upon them to speak His Word. The lives they lived, and the testimonies they held, and the deaths they died gave mighty evidence that they were telling the truth.

4. FULFILLED PROPHECY PROVES THE BIBLE TO BE THE WORD OF GOD.

The Bible contains a vast amount of prophecy, much of which has been fulfilled. The predictions are precise and detailed, and the fulfillment is exact.

Prophecies Pertaining to Jesus Christ

Jesus’ entire life was prophesied before he was born. These prophecies described his birthplace (Micah 5:2), virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14), sinless life (Isaiah 53:9), miracles (Isa. 35:5), wonderful speech (Isaiah 50:4), rejection by the Jewish nation (Isaiah 53:2), crucifixion (Psalm 22:16), burial in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9), and resurrection (Psalm 16).

Prophecies about Israel

The continued existence of Israel is one of history’s most amazing stories, and it was prophesied in Scripture in great detail.

Israel’s history was prophesied by Moses and recorded in the book of Deuteronomy about 4,000 years ago. God warned that if Israel broke His law she would be “plucked from off the land” and scattered “among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other” (Deut. 28:63-64). There the Jews would “find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life” (Deut. 28:65-66). This is an accurate description of Israel’s history from the first century until now. Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman armies under Titus and then in 135 A.D. Jerusalem was plowed under on the order of Emperor Hadrian in response to the Jewish rebellion led by Bar Kochbar. The Jewish people were scattered to the ends of the earth and found no rest. They were hated by the Muslims and hounded and persecuted by the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church for a thousand years. Hitler’s regime tried to destroy them. Giving preference to the Arabs, England tried to keep them from returning to their land after World War II. They are the object of hatred until this very day. Most of the world is opposed to Israel and the reporting in secular publications about the Middle East crisis is generally slanted against her.

But Bible prophecy foretold that Israel would be brought back into her land and that she would remain a nation even after all of this, and that is exactly what happened in 1948. Never before in the history of the world has a race of people been scattered throughout the world and persecuted for 2,000 years and then come back together as a nation with their ancient language intact.

Bible prophecy describes the restoration of Israel in two parts. First, she would return to the land in a position of unbelief. Then she would be converted. The amazing prophecy in Ezekiel 37:1-14 describes Israel’s restoration in these two stages. She is described as a valley of bones that are resurrected.

“Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you and ye shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:4-6).

In verses 11-14, Ezekiel states that this vision pertains to the restoration of Israel to her land and to her repentance toward God. First the bones are given sinews and flesh, and next God breaths upon these dead bones and they live.

The first part of the prophecy has been fulfilled. Israel has been back in her land as a nation since 1948, but she is there in unbelief and spiritual death. She continues to reject her Messiah, Jesus Christ. She has no temple and priesthood and no true worship.

But she is back in the land just as the Bible prophesied. In 1800 there were only six thousand Jews in Palestine, but by 2000 there were over five million (John Ecob, Amillennialism Weighed and Found Wanting, Herald of Hope, p. 44-45).

During the Great Tribulation God will grant repentance unto Israel and will breathe spiritual life into her and she will live.

The continued existence of Israel is a very great miracle and an irrefutable evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible.

5. THE BIBLE’S FACTUALNESS PROVES THAT IT IS THE WORD OF GOD.

Everything the Bible says is true and factual. The Bible says man is a sinner, and that is not difficult to confirm. Just look at the world! The Bible is not a scientific manual, but it is scientifically accurate, even from its earliest pages. Following are some examples, beginning with statements from the pages of Job, probably the oldest book in the Bible and written at least 3,500 years ago. The late scientist Henry Morris said:

“These references are modern in perspective, with never a hint of the mythical exaggerations and errors characteristic of other ancient writings ... perhaps of even greater significance is the fact that in a 4000-year-old book filled with numerous references to natural phenomena, there are no scientific mistakes or fallacies” (The Remarkable Record of Job).

Job says the earth is hung upon nothing (Job 26:7). This is obvious to our modern generation, as we have seen the actual pictures of the earth hanging in space, but to previous generations it was not obvious and there were many commonly-held myths about the earth riding on the back of Atlas or a turtle or elephant, etc.

Job says the air has weight (“the weight for the winds,” Job 28:25). It was not until the 17th century that Galileo discovered that atmosphere has weight, and the modern science of aerodynamics is based on this scientific fact. Further, the weight of air is important in the function of the earth’s weather. “The study of air flows and their relation to the weight of the air has been developed into the science of aerodynamics, eventually becoming the basis of all modern aerospace developments. ... The ‘weight of the winds’ controls the worldwide air mass movements that transport the waters evaporated from the oceans inland over the continents” (Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job).

Job describes the amazing balance of the atmosphere and hydrosphere (Job 28:24-25). “We now know that the global weights of air and water must be in critical relationship to each other, and to the earth as a whole, to maintain life on earth. ... Planet earth is uniquely designed for life, and its atmosphere and hydrosphere are the most important components of that design. If the weights of either air or water were much different than they are, life as we know it could not survive” (Morris).

Job describes the amazing process of cloud formation and rain making.

First, he describes how that water can be transported in the air when water weighs more than air (Job 36:27-28). “Water is converted by solar energy into the vapor state. Since water vapor is lighter than air, the winds can first elevate, then transport the water from the oceans to the lands where it is needed. There, under the right conditions, the vapor can condense around dust particles, salt particles, or other nuclei of condensation. When this happens, clouds are formed. Water vapor is invisible, whereas clouds are aggregations of liquid water droplets” (Morris).

Job also describes how the clouds can stay aloft, how they can be balanced in the sky (Job 37:16) and how water can be bound up in a cloud and not rent (Job 26:8). The answer is in Job 36:27, “For he maketh small the drops of water....” “The water droplets are indeed very small, and their weight is sustained by the drag force of the uprushing winds, as the air is pushed skyward due to temperature decrease with elevation” (Morris).

Next, Job describes how the clouds are finally rent so that rain comes forth (“by watering he wearieth the thick cloud,” Job 37:11). “That is, the water droplets coalesce to form larger and larger drops, which finally become so large that their weight is greater than the drag forces of the uprushing atmospheric turbulence, causing them to fall to the ground as rain or snow” (Morris).

Finally, Job describes the role that lightning plays in the creation of rain (“he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder,” Job 28:26; “a way for the lightning of thunder; to cause it to rain on the earth,” Job 38:25-26). “These violent electrical currents, in some complex energy exchange not yet fully understood, cause the small water droplets to bind together with others to form larger drops. Finally, this remarkable series of events delivers the rain to the thirsty ground” (Morris).

Job describes the rotation of the earth that produces the night and day sequences (Job 38:12-14). “Job suggests not only that the earth was suspended in space but also that it rotates about its north-projecting axis. Though figurative language, this reflects a true physical process. God is pictured as taking hold of the two ends of the earth’s axis and turning it as if it were a clay cylinder receiving an impression from a seal. The seal toward which the earth is turned, however, is not a metallic pattern. Rather, it is the ‘dayspring,’ evidently the sun fixed in its place. The welcome light of the morning dispels the formlessness of the earth’s surface when shrouded in darkness and unveils the beauties of the earth’s structure and verdure” (Morris).

Job describes the springs of the sea (Job 38:16). Man had no way to know about the fresh-water springs on the ocean floor by firsthand observation until recent times. Modern science has discovered that there are thousands of underwater springs that add millions of metric tons of water into the oceans each year.

Job understands that light has a way and that darkness has a place (Job 38:19). “That is, light is not to be located in a certain place or situation. Neither does it simply appear, or disappear, instantaneously. Light is traveling! It dwells in a ‘way,’ always on the way to someplace else. Though usually traveling in waves, sometimes it seems to move as a stream of particles, but it is always moving. When light stops, there is darkness. Thus, darkness is static, staying in place; but light is dynamic, dwelling in a way” (Morris).

The Bible describes the parting of light (Job 38:24). It was not until the 17th century that it was discovered that light passing through a prism is separated into seven colors. Further, “This may refer not only to the visible light spectrum (red to violet) but also to all the physical systems developed around the basic entity of light” (Henry Morris).

The Bible says that the light creates wind (Job 38:24), but it is only in recent times that modern weather science has discovered that wind is created as the sun heats up the surface of the earth, causing the hot air to rise and cooler air to fall, creating weather systems.

Job describes the amazing hydrological cycle (evaporation, atmospheric circulation, condensation, precipitation, run-off) (Job 38:25-30). The process of evaporation and condensation was not discovered until the 17th century and not well understood until the 20th.

The Bible says plants and animals reproduce after their kind (Genesis 1). This is in perfect harmony with everything that can be observed and tested by modern science. There is great variety within kinds, all sorts of different roses and trees and frogs and dogs, but there is no reproduction between kinds, between roses and trees or frogs and dogs.

The Bible says the heavens cannot be measured and the stars are without number (Genesis 22:17; Jeremiah 31:37). Before the invention of the telescope, man could see only a few hundred stars at the most with the naked eye. Yet today we know that the stars are innumerable and that space is seemingly infinite. There are 300 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone. In 1999, observations by NASA astronomers, using the Hubble Space Telescope, suggested that there are 125 billion galaxies in the universe. The most up-to-date star count was announced in July 2003 as 70 sextillion observable stars (70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). This was the conclusion of the world’s largest galaxy study, the Two-Degree Field Galaxy Redshift Survey, which is considered 10 times more accurate than previous ones. The team of scientists did not physically count the stars. Instead they used some of the world’s most powerful telescopes to count all of the galaxies in one region of the universe and then to estimate how many stars each galaxy contained by measuring its brightness. They then extrapolated these figures out to the whole universe visible through telescopes. This massive figure, of course, probably covers only a tiny percentage of the actual stars.

The Bible says the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). This was not understood until very recent times. Even in the 19th century, doctors were using “blood letting” as a healing method. George Washington, America’s first president, probably died because of this bogus practice. Modern medicine has learned what the Bible has taught all along, that the life of the flesh is in the blood.

The Bible describes the circuit of the winds (Ecclesiastes 1:6), but this was not discovered until modern times. “As the land in the equator heats up, it causes the hot air to rise. In the upper atmosphere, the air flows away from the equator. Cooler air will move along to replace it. This produces six major wind belts around the world” (Y.T. Wee, The Soul-Winner’s Handy Guide).

The Bible says the earth is a circle (Isaiah 40:22). In past centuries many have believed that the earth is flat, but the Scriptures have always been scientifically accurate in this matter.

The Bible says there are paths in the sea (Isaiah 43:16). Since the 19th century the ocean currents or paths have been charted and ships travel these paths just as trucks travel on roads. Writing in the mid-1800s, Matthew Fontaine Maury, Superintendent of the U.S. Navy’s Depot of Charts and Instruments in Washington, D.C., observed, “There is a river in the ocean: in the severest droughts it never fails, and in the mightiest floods it never overflows; its banks and its bottom are of cold water, while its current is of warm; the Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, and its mouth is in the Arctic Seas. It is the Gulf Stream” (Maury, The Physical Geography of the Sea, 6th ed., 1856, p. 25).

The Bible says the stars differ in glory (1 Corinthians 15:41). “J. Bayer, in 1603, devised a method or system to indicate their brightness or magnitude. No astronomer today will deny this fact. Stars are now known to differ in size, color, light emitted, density, and heat. Our sun, which is a star, is over 1,000,000 times the size of our earth, yet there are some stars at least a million times as large as our sun, and some smaller than the planet Mercury” (World’s Bible Handbook).

6. THE BIBLE’S CANDOR PROVES THAT IT IS THE WORD OF GOD.

When men write biographies of their heroes, they commonly omit or whitewash their faults; but the Bible exhibits its divine quality by showing man as he is. Not only is the Bible true; it is candid. Even the best of men in the Bible are described with all their faults. We are told plainly of Adam’s rebellion, Noah’s drunkenness, David’s adultery, Solomon’s apostasy, Jonah’s pity party, Peter’s disavowal of his Master, Paul and Barnabas’ strife, and the disciples’ unbelief in the face of Christ’s resurrection. The Bible was written by Jews, yet it candidly describes the faults of the Jewish people: their stubbornness and unbelief that caused them to have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, their idolatry during the period of the judges, their rebellion that caused them to be rejected from the land and scattered throughout the earth for two millennia.

7. THE BIBLE’S INDESTRUCTIBILITY PROVES THAT IT IS THE WORD OF GOD.

The following is from the Christian Home Bible Course:

The Greek writer, Porphyry, tried to destroy the credibility of the Bible back in 304 A.D. In the process he wrote fifteen books against the Bible and Christianity in general. Did he succeed? Apparently not. The Bible is still around. And as for Porphyry, well, let’s put it this way; can you name his fifteen books? Can anybody name just one?

Porphyry is just one of the many people who, throughout history, have tried to ban, burn, destroy, outlaw, restrict, ridicule or discredit the Bible.

Another example is a Greek writer of satire by the name of Lucian, who wrote two books in the second century to ridicule the Bible. These books were named The Dialogue of the Gods and The Dialogue of the Dead. There’s an extremely good chance that you don’t have a copy of either of these two books in your personal library. Yet you probably have a Bible somewhere around the house, which is a testimony to the Bible’s ability to “out survive” its attackers.

If Porphyry and Lucian would have just read the Bible instead of attacking it they could have saved a lot of time, because the Bible says: “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” (Psalm 12:6-7).

In A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to stop Christians from worshipping Jesus Christ and to destroy their Scriptures. Twenty-five years later his successor, Constantine, issued another edict ordering fifty Bibles to be published at government expense. Too bad Diocletian didn’t believe the Bible’s promise. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).

Atheist Robert Ingersoll once boasted, “Within 15 years I’ll have the Bible lodged in a morgue.” Well, within 15 years, Robert Ingersoll was lodged within a morgue, but the Bible lives on!

Down through the centuries many attacks have been made against the Bible, but there have been some, who after examining the facts have changed their opinion. Here are two examples:

General Lew Wallace was a Territorial Governor following the days of the U.S. Civil War. He had been a Senator in Indiana at the age of 29 and was considered a very scholarly man. He had no confidence in Christianity or the Bible, so he set out to write a skeptical book to disprove both. In his study he instead found the Bible and Christ to be true, and became himself a devout Christian. General Wallace never wrote his book against the Bible. He wrote instead the classic Christian novel Ben Hur.

William Ramsey, the English scholar went to Asia Minor with the expressed purpose of proving the Bible was historically inaccurate. As he painstakingly poured over the ancient artifacts and details, to his amazement he found that the Bible was accurate down to the tiniest detail. The evidence was so convincing that Sir Ramsey himself became a Christian and a biblical scholar.

Down through the years, the Bible has been a mighty anvil that has worn out many of the puny hammers of the scoffers. (Point #7 is from the Christian Home Bible Course; used by permission.)

8. THE BIBLE’S DOCTRINE OF SALVATION PROVES IT IS THE WORD OF GOD.

The Bible is the only religious scripture that teaches the doctrine of salvation by grace. Every other one teaches salvation by works. The Roman Catholic Church says salvation is through participating in its sacraments, beginning with baptism. Hinduism says salvation is through practicing dharma and working out one’s karma. Islam says salvation is by surrender to Allah and obedience to his commands. Buddhism says salvation is by reaching nirvana through life works and meditation and ascetism. If you visit the Buddhist monastery at Boudha in Kathmandu any time of the day you will find Buddhists walking clockwise, fingering their prayer beads and twirling their prayer wheels. They do this every day because they are trying to find salvation.

The Bible, on the other hand, says that salvation is God’s free gift to sinners. This gift was very costly for the Giver. It was purchased with a great price, which was the atoning sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross. But for the sinner it is free.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The Bible says there is nothing that the sinner could offer God in order to atone for his sins. What could we offer? Righteous works and almsdeeds? The Bible says our very righteousnesses are as filthy rags before God’s great holiness (Isaiah 64:6). Money? What would the God of creation do with our pathetic currency? A pure heart? The Bible says the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). How, then, could we purchase our own salvation?

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6).

No, salvation is the wonderful gift of a loving and deeply compassionate God. As the Christian hymn says, “We owed a debt we could not pay; He paid a debt He did not owe.”

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

9. THE BIBLE’S INVITATIONS PROVE IT IS THE WORD OF GOD.

The Bible invites the hearer to partake of its spiritual realities and thus prove for himself its genuineness: “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psa. 34:8); “come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden” (Mat. 11:28); “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17); “ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters ... come ye, buy and eat” (Isa. 55:1); “look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:22).

The Bible promises that “he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself...” (1 John 5:10).

God will prove Himself to the sincere seeker.

What a Book is the Bible!

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