Examining Objections About The Bible:
First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
This week on the Ministerial Alliance program, Iím addressing some of the objections and misunderstandings that I deal with regarding the Bible. Yesterday, we left off with some verses that tell us what the Bible says about itself, and then went on to look at what others- specifically some of the Jewish and early church fathers- had to say about the Bible. Today Iíd like to examine two more pieces of evidence which support that the Bible is what it says it is, the living word of the Almighty God as handed down to men inspired by the Holy Spirit. In fact, let me refresh your memory by reading a few of the passages I used yesterday.
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the LORD: "Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'
Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Once again, here we see that the Bible makes statements like "thus says the Lord", we see Jesus standing on the Scriptures, and we see Paul telling Timothy that the Scriptures are able to make him wise to salvation and that all Scripture is profitable to our growth in Christ. Critics claim that the Bible is just another book, written by men who have made it say what they want it to say. Believers stand with Paul and claim that the Bible is literally "God breathed." These are some powerful claims- letís see what the evidence has to say.
Today, I want to examine two pieces of evidence in favor of the Bible; 1) fulfilled prophecies and 2) interlocking information throughout the Old and New Testaments. Prophecies should be very specific, saying something like "this will happen to these people at this time" instead of being a general thing like "A natural disaster will occur soon and many people will be affected." In fact, the Bible tells us, regarding prophets:
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' (21) And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' (22) when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
So, if a prophet speaks of something to come and that thing does not happen, we have a false prophet. Conversely, when a true prophet speaks, it comes to pass, as the prophet declares. Therefore, if the Bible declares something, it must come to pass or else weíre dealing with a book of false prophecies. Well, letís take a look at some fulfilled prophecies. Hereís one from Daniel:
Daniel 9:25-27 "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. (26) "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. (27) Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."
Iím going to quote from Regis Nicoll here:
Time "zero" for this prediction is the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, issued by King Artaxerses in 445 BC. Given the Jewish idiom of "seven" as a week of years, or seven years, the prediction is that the Messiah will come as ruler in 69 (7 plus 62) "weeks," or 483 years.
Correcting the Jewish year (which was based on 360 days) for a 365.25 day year, the period between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the arrival of the Messiah becomes 476 years.
The gospel of Luke states that, in the 15th year of Tiberius, Jesus began his public ministry. Tiberius became emperor when Augustus Caesar died in AD 14. Including the year he was enthroned, the 15th year of his reign occurred in AD 28.
Three years later, in AD 31, Jesus was received as king and ruler on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Note that the interval between 445 BC (the decree to rebuild Jerusalem) and AD 31 (the Messiahís coming as king) is 476 yearsóthe precise period predicted by Daniel some 300 years earlier! And that is only one of the over 300 prophecies concerning the life and death of Jesus Christ.
The skeptic will be quick to charge that those predictions could have been penned in after the fact. They could, except that the Septuagint was written centuries before the NT account. And since, as already explained, that account was written within the lifetime of eyewitnesses, any fabrication on the part of authors to fudge the facts would have been readily contested by any number of hostile contemporaries.
This is just one of the many prophecies predicted by the Bible and fulfilled. Some scholars estimate that 2000 prophecies have already been fulfilled. Of these, numerous were fulfilled by Jesus. For instance, we see the birthplace of Christ prophesized in:
Micah 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting."
Matthew 2:1-2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, (2) saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
In Matthew 21, we see Jesus preparing to enter Jerusalem for the last time:
Matthew 21:1-3 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, (2) saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. (3) And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."
The very next passage explains to us why this had to happen:
Matthew 21:4-5 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: (5) "TELL THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, 'BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, LOWLY, AND SITTING ON A DONKEY, A COLT, THE FOAL OF A DONKEY.' "
This is an act which occurred in:
Zechariah 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
Here again, we see an Old Testament passage applied to Jesus. When Jesus was on the cross, according to:
Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"
Luke 23:23 tells us that Jesus was crucified with two robbers, John 19:23 says that his legs were not broken because he was already dead, and John 19:23-24 says that the Roman soldiers divided his garment among themselves but did not tear them. All 3 synoptic gospels tell us that the people mocked Jesus on the cross, telling him to save himself. All of these are foreseen in Psalm 22 which starts off with the very exclamation that Jesus cried on the cross "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It certainly seems to me that Jesus was alluding to this Psalm:
Psalms 22:7-20 All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, (8) "He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!" (9) But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother's breasts. (10) I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother's womb You have been My God. (11) Be not far from Me, For trouble is near; For there is none to help. (12) Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. (13) They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion. (14) I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. (15) My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. (16) For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; (17) I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. (18) They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. (19) But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! (20) Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog.
A critic might point out that Jesus was very familiar with the Old Testament and therefore planned events so that he might appear to be the Messiah. And indeed, this often happens today when false prophets and false Messiahs carefully watch upcoming events and offer vague prophecies. However, how can one predicts his own birth, as Jesus did? Also, note that with false prophets, they themselves usually made the predictions and associations, whereas with Jesus, itís his disciples and even sometimes his enemies making the association. Furthermore, according to Peter Stoner in "Science Speaks" (and quoted by Josh McDowell in "Evidence That Demands a Verdict"), the probably of Christ fulfilling 8 Old Testament prophecies is 1 in 10 (157), that is, 1 followed by 157 zeros. A million to one is 1 in 10(6) and the estimated number of electrons in the universe is 10(79). Therefore, if Jesus did somehow manage to manipulate his circumstance so as to fulfill prophecies, He did so in such a dramatic way that no one before or since has been able to do.
Letís just assume for a second that the critics are right and that Jesus was just a man who managed to meet enough of Old Testament passages that he was able to fool his followers. Letís assume for a second that the Bible is made up by men, God doesnít really exist, and the whole thing is just a big fish story that somehow survived 2,000 years. Today we worship sports heroes, men who make a lot of money, and men who seem to be really smart. In that case, Jesus is still worthy of praise! I mean, to be able to fool all those people for so long of a time? Amazing.
But, I donít buy it. There is simply too much evidence that points out that the Bible is exactly what it claims to be- the living word of the Almighty God- and too much evidence that supports that Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be- God made man in order to take the burden of our sins upon Himself. Join me again tomorrow at 9:45 and Iíll show you some more evidence in support of the Bible. Until then, may God shine the truth of Jesus Christ into your heart, to His glory. Amen.
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