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Evidence for the Bible

Some of this content is elsewhere on Myfishbites - but hey, it's useful !

This is also beasty in content - so it's more for a youth worker to know than it is a talk for young people!

Intro

Isaiah 55.10-11 - As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

The eighteenth-century philosopher and critic of Christianity, Voltaire, said, ‘Within a hundred years the Bible will be obsolete and will have gone out of circulation altogether.’ A hundred years later the Bible was more popular than ever. His own house in Paris was converted into a Bible factory!

The Bible tells us that the entire Bible was inspired and 'breathed' by God. Just as God breathed his life into man (making man different to animals, in Genesis 2.7), so God breathed his Word out.

The Bible is Unique

The Bible is unique. Unlike other holy books, the Bible is full of historical fact (for example the Koran denies that Jesus died, contrary to nearly every scholar’s opinion!) The Bible paints characters with all their flaws, again unlike other books where the heroes are without flaw (even if their lives were not!)

The Bible is very unique in that we know this is the written word of God. The Bible is also unique in that hundreds of things were written that would happen in the future. Hundreds of these have happened exactly. No other book or religious writing does this at all. Jesus exactly fulfilled over 100 prophecies. Jesus always used the Old Testament and knew it very well. We don't find Jesus quoting anything else except the Old Testament so we should follow his example in knowing the whole Bible.

In Isaiah 41.21-24, God challenges 'gods' to bring forth their case, to show they knew the past and know the future. But the gods remain silent because they cannot do this - only God through the Bible dares to claim to know the past and then to show things that will come (and for those things to come true). Isaiah 42.9, God says, "See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.’ God alone knows the future. Only the Bible tells the future. No other 'holy book' even tries.

Jesus showed that he gave great authority to the Old Testament. He quoted it many times, referred to figures and situations in the Old Testament (such as creation and the flood etc) and fulfilled Old Testament prophecies precisely. In John 10.35, Jesus calls the Scripture the 'Word of God'.

Everything Christians believe must be tested against whether it is either found in the Bible or follows Biblical ways of doing things / Biblical principles. God knew what would be written in the Bible before time began and he lives outside of time. So the Bible is relevant for all of time. Like God, it is unchanging.

The Bible Testifies It Is True

2 Timothy 3.16 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..."

Luke 24:44-45, "'These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures."

Jesus said in John 10:35, “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)."

Psalm 119.89-90 (Message) says this, "What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens. Your truth never goes out of fashion; it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up. Your Word and truth are dependable as ever." God's Word doesn't go out of date!

We also have the words of Jesus that the Holy Spirit helped in the writing down and remembrance of the Bible from John 14.26, "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

So right from the off, the Bible tells us that the Bible was breathed by God. Humans wrote the Bible down, but they were clearly guided by God. This showed that Jesus believed the writing of the New Testament was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is not the work of man alone. It is man, inspired by God. That is why the Bible is so accurate with life, prophecy and with itself.

Don’t worry about what the critics say!

There are people out there who hate God and hate the Bible. Their (pointless and futile) mission is to disprove the Bible. They say all kinds of things about it. But don’t worry too much – they are wrong. We can know all about the Bible but not understand the Bible. The Pharisees did this and the secular Pharisees today are still doing this! But the Bible tells us that if we’re not believers in Jesus and don’t have the Holy Spirit in us then we will never understand the Bible! Instead of arguing, point people to the message of the Cross! Other times people don’t want to hear what you’re saying so talk to people who do want to hear – and keep praying for people!

1 Corinthians 2.14 - The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Link to Billy Graham’s Message – ‘The Cross’

http://billygraham.org/video/the-cross-easter/

Bible Facts and Fulfilments

There are hundreds of things said in the Bible that speak about the future. Hundreds of those things happened, exactly. Some things are yet to come.

Isaiah, Cyrus and Daniel

Let's look at a prophet called Isaiah, a guy called Daniel and a King called Cyrus. Isaiah spoke a word about the future in the year 711 BC (711 years before Christ).

We find this in Isaiah 45.1, "This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him..."

A Jewish writer called Josephus wrote a historical record called 'Antiquities' which tells us that Daniel (who was the top government official) told Cyrus around the year 537BC about what Isaiah had written. So Cyrus (who knew nothing about God) read something written by a prophet of God well over 150 years before, where God mentioned Cryus by name (long before Cyrus was born). This impacted Cyrus as we read in another Bible book called Ezra (chapter 1 verse 1-4) that he allowed the Jewish people to leave his Kingdom and gave them money to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

Jesus on a donkey

Zechariah 9.9 says, "Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

This happened when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey...

Matthew 21.7, "(The disciples) brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on."

Virgin Birth

Isaiah 7.14 tells us that the virgin will have a child and call him Immanuel. In Matthew 1.18 and 25 we find that Mary was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit, not with Joseph.

Seed of Abraham, Son of Isaac, House of David

Jesus was also prophecied to be the seed of Abraham (Gen 22.18 – Matthew 1.1), the Son of Isaac (Gen 21.12, Luke 3.23-24) and of the House of David (Jeremiah 23.5 – Luke 3.21-31).

Born in Bethlehem

Micah 5.2 tells us that Jesus would come from Bethlehem (Matthew 2.1).

Crucifixion and Jesus' clothing being divided

Psalm 22.1 and 11-18, “Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."

We see in Luke 23.33 that Jesus was crucified with two criminals either side of him. John 19.33 tells us that the soldiers did not break Jesus’ legs as he was already dead. John 19.23-24 tells us that the soldiers took Jesus’ clothes, dividing them into four with his undergarment remaining – made from a seamless piece of cloth. They then decided who got that by casting lots.

Jesus' death next to 2 criminals and buried in a rich man's grave

In Isaiah 53.9 the prophet says about Jesus, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” The word ‘wicked’ is plural (Jesus was crucified next to 2 criminals, Matthew 27.38). But he was buried in a rich man’s tomb – Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27.57-61).

The likelihood of just eight prophecies happening are 1 to 10(17), moving close to what is mathematically impossible – and there are around 100 prophecies Jesus fulfilled.

The Canon of the Bible

The Bible was put together (or 'canonised') on the basis of 5 different factors: Was it written by a prophet of God; was the writer confirmed by an act of God; does it tell the truth about God; does it have the power of God; was it accepted by the people of God? The books of the Bible that were accepted to be in the Bible were all ones that were already accepted by believers. Other books written were discarded because they did not fulfil these things / were inaccurate etc.

Old Testament Evidence

There is a huge amount of other historical evidence that shows the truth of the Old Testament writings. They also agree accurately with the Septuagint (a Greek translation) created in the 2nd and 3rd century. Finally we have the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' which when we look at the Book of Isaiah (dated at 125BC and compared to the Masoretic text of 916AD) was shown to be identical 95% of the time. The remaining 5% were simply misspelling of words.

New Testament Evidence

These were created from a massive 5,366 manuscripts! Some of these date from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. This is way beyond the amount of ancient texts used to put together other classics that people readily accept (Homer's Iliad, 643 copies, earliest copy around 500 years after / Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, 10 copies, earliest written 1000 years after / Aristotle, 49 copies, earliest copy 1400 years after). The earliest New Testament manuscripts were written just under 100 years (some say 70 years) after the events.

There are only 40 times where we're not quite sure which text has the right precise reading. So we have 100% of the New Testament and are sure of 99.5% of it. The Gospels also show a remarkable level of consistency between them. Where there are differences, these can easily be explained by the author's perspective of it or the point they were focusing on from an incident. The New Testament gospels don't mention the destruction of the temple in AD70 (70 years after the death of Jesus) showing (among other things) that they were recorded under 70 years after the events in them happened. The gospel writers are also referred to in other Jewish writings.

Jonathan Marrow, an expert on these things says this, "the New Testament is by far the best-attested work of Greek or Latin literature in the ancient world."

There are some occasions in the Bible where things seem a bit confusing or where two accounts appear to give different interpretations. So for example one of the Gospels may talk about one person in an incident and another Gospel talks about two people in an incident. But depending on your perspective, you would give a different account of the same situation to someone else's account, right?

Reliability of the Bible

The book of Acts was probably written around AD63. Evidence points to the fact that the Gospel of Luke was written within 30 years of Jesus’ death and at the latest, AD62. Matthew was written at the latest in 115AD but most say AD 50 to AD70. John came last in probably AD80 to 90.

There is a huge amount of evidence from non-Biblical sources about the Bible – including the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (AD37-101) who mentions John the Baptist, Herod, Jesus, James the brother of Jesus, the high priest Ananias. Then a Roman historian called Tacitus (AD55-117) tells us about ‘Christus’. Thallus tells us about a fearful darkness and earthquake that came on the earth (likely reference to what happened after the Crucifixion as it was not simply an eclipse – solar evidence has shown this was not an eclipse).

One further thing to think about is the number seven in the Bible. There is an incredible amount of sevens in the Bible in the text (and most especially in the book of Revelation) – and behind the text in codes. These sevens are known as the ‘Heptadic’ structure of the Bible. For example, behind the opening verse of the Bible, there are a multitude of ‘sevens’ that man alone could not possibly create. And this kind of pattern is found throughout the Bible (for example in the Genealogy of Matthew and in Mark 16.9-20 – proving alone that this belongs in the Bible).

Isaiah 66.8 - Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.

Israel was re-founded in one day, just as the Bible had said... May 14th 1948.

Archaeological Proof

There have been a huge number of archaeological finds that have proved the accuracy of the Bible, from the places of Arad, Bethel, Capernaum, Chorazin, Dan, Ephesus, Gaza, Gezer, Hazor, Heshbon, Jericho, Joppa, Nineveh, Shechem, Susa. This is in addition to people that were once described by people who hate the Bible not to have existed – like Herod the Great who was found to exist by the discovery of his tomb.

In August 2015, archaeologists found the 'gate of Gath' (1 Samuel 21.12) which is the city where Goliath is from. These were found in a dig in the Judean foothills between Jerusalem and Ashkelon in Israel

There are also many incredible things about the Bible (such as hidden codes and truths behind the text through to amazing truths found in the Hebrew and Chinese alphabets through to the message of Jesus found in the names of Adam to Noah) that prove without a doubt that it is a supernatural book, written by the hand of God who created the world. Time after time, the 66 books of the Bible, written by over 40 authors over thousands of years show consistency between themselves that can only have come from the hand of God.

Symmetry between the Old and New Testament

The 66 books of the Bible, written by 40 authors over 2000 years had an integrated message – just one piece of evidence that the Bible is supernaturally inspired by God, who is outside of time as we know it.

  1. We see the picture of who Jesus is through Abraham (especially the sacrifice of his Son, Isaac compared to the sacrifice of Jesus). In this we see several parallels: the Father sent his Son to be sacrificed; the son went willingly; the Father knew he would ‘rise again’; both knew that the Father himself would provide the ‘lamb’; the Father gave up what was most valuable; the sacrifice that was to take place with Isaac happened on Mount Moriah (where Jesus would be crucified 1900 years later); it is very likely that Isaac was in his early 30s when he willingly submitted to his Father (the same age as Jesus); in both ‘scenes’, a ‘ram’ was provided (a male ram – for example ‘ram’ is a better translation than ‘lamb’ used in Revelation); the ram that Abraham found was spotless (trapped only by its horns) and Jesus is the spotless lamb; both Isaac and Jesus were placed onto wood; both the lamb and Jesus had thorns on their heads; both didn’t ultimately ‘die’ but lived!
  2. Joseph and Jesus: Both were shepherds; both had a ‘robe’ which was significant; both robes were covered in blood; both were hated by their brothers; both had a future kingship prophesied; both were sent out by their Father; both seek until they find; people plotted against them; betrayal money was involved; words weren’t believed; cast into a ‘pit’; both were sold with Juda(s) the deal maker; blood was presented to the Father (sin offering); tempted but ‘sinless’ (of course, only Jesus was truly sinless!); falsely accused; no defence entered; cast into prison without verdict; suffered despite innocence; suffered at the hands of Gentiles; numbered with the ‘transgressors’; what they said came true; crediting God alone as the revealer of secrets; had new names given; wisdom and knowledge; seated on the throne of another; both had the Holy Spirit in them; both have a Gentile ‘wife’ – Joseph physically and Jesus spiritually (church); both gave out the ‘bread of life’; brothers were driven out of their own land; initially unrecognized by brothers; restored to the Father; revelation and deliverance came through them.
  3. And of course, Noah and the Ark remind us that we are only safe from the floods of this world if we put our faith in Jesus – and are in Him  (John 15). We are to be ‘in Jesus’ with Jesus ‘in us’.
  4. Did you know that the meaning of the names of the genealogy of Genesis up to Methuselah reveals God’s plan for the world?!

    Adam – man
    Seth
    – Appointed
    Enosh – Mortal
    Kenan – Sorrow
    Mahalel – The Blessed God
    Jared – Shall come down
    Enoch – Teaching
    Methuselah – His death shall bring
    Lamech – The despairing
    Noah – Rest, or comfort
  5. In Numbers, in response to the murmuring of Israel, God sent fiery serpents that killed anyone they bit. Moses prayed and God agreed to provide a remedy - Moses was told to put a brass serpent on a cross-shaped pole and put it up on a high hill. Everyone who looked at the cross would be spared.

    Why this remedy? Jesus explained it in John 3, ''As Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up on a cross.'' And everyone who looks to it will be spared today, just as they were in Numbers.

    Chuck Missler notes that: “Brass means ''judged.'' Serpent means ''sin.'' Jesus is exemplified or symbolized by a brass serpent? Yes. Scripture says He was made sin for us. Sin was judged on that cross.”

Other Biblical Parallels

Passover - In Exodus 12 (see verse 21) we find God speaking to the people of Israel about the 'Passover' (when God would 'pass over' the houses of Israel and not to kill them, as would happen to the Egyptians, because the houses of Israel were marked with the blood of a passover lamb). This would be the 'first month of the year' (Ex 21.2). In the New Testament (Matthew 26.17) we find that Jesus was killed on the same day as the Passover. Not only that, but Jesus died at 3.00pm, the very time when the Passover lambs were killed. Jesus rose 3 days later, the same time as the slaves were freed from Egypt after Pharaoh said they could go.

The crossing of the Red Sea - (to escape Egypt and set out towards the Promised Land) corresponds to the resurrection of Jesus from the grave (Matthew 28 for example).

Mount Sinai - In Exodus 19.1 we find the people of Israel coming to Mount Sinai and Moses going up Mount Sinai for 40 days to receive the 10 Commandments from God. This exactly parallels the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, both being 50 days later than the Passover – a day the Jess back in the Old Testament called ‘Pentecost’.

In Exodus 32, 3000 people were killed because they broke the law. It was on that same fiftieth day centuries later, when the Jews were celebrating the giving of the law, that God gave his Spirit and 3000 people were saved (Acts 2). We are no longer until law, but under grace – God longs for all to be saved.

The Faces – we see in Numbers 2 that the tribes of Israel gathered into four camps. We see that the ‘standard’ (banner) of Judah was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah; for Reuben it was a man; for Ephraim it was an ox and for Dan it was an eagle. We also see this picture in Isaiah, Ezekiel and Revelation as the faces of the cherubim around the throne. This is a picture of God’s people around God on the throne.

The Cross and the Tribes - When the tribes of Israel camped (in the early books of the Bible) around the Tabernacle, if you were a bird looking down, you would see the shape of the Cross.

See here - http://www.khouse.org/images/artpics/bigcamp_400x369.jpg

The Chinese language - Among the people scattered at the tower of Babel in Genesis, we find there is a people who settle to the East. (Did you also know that languages all go in the direction of Jerusalem? English, left to right / Arabic etc right to left). We also therefore know that all language was in pictures up to the tower of Babel.

David Pawson (Unlocking the Bible, page 75) points out that Genesis 1 the Chinese word for ‘create’ is made up of pictures for mud, life and someone walking. The word for devil is made up of picture of a secret person in a garden. And the word for ‘boat’ is made up of a container, a mouth and eight (Noah’s ark had 8 people).

Stirling D. Allen has an insight into the concept of ‘Father’ which may interest:

The very first word, the alpha word, in the alphabetical listing of all the words of the Hebrew Old Testament is ab or "Father."  This Hebrew word may sound familiar because of the cry of Jesus, "abba, Father," as recorded in the New Testament. (Mark 14:13; see also Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6.)

This Hebrew word for Father, Ab, is spelled aleph , bet , which are the first two letters of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet.

Aleph is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek alpha , which is the first letter of that alphabet as well.  Aleph and Alpha are the equivalent of the first letter, A, in the English alphabet.  The Hebrew Bet is equivalent to the Greek Beta which is equivalent to the English B.

Combining these languages, the Hebrew word for "Father," Ab, spelled aleph, bet, could also be represented as the Greek alpha and the Hebrew bet, creating the English word: ALPHABET.

Therefore, another name for "Father" is Alphabet -- and interesting synonym of "THE WORD."  Do not the scriptures say, "In the beginning was the word..." (John 1:1; I John 1:1; D&C 93:8.)  And are not words made up of letters of the alphabet?

Conclusion

From start to end, the Bible is honest about people's flaws (unlike any other holy book). It is consistent. It has things in it and hidden codes and accuracies that would be impossible for anyone to make up. It fits together and is unlike any other book in the world. There is no chance, no accident, no possibilities that the Bible is not what it says it is - the accurate, true Word of God! We can totally trust the Bible - it is more true than anything. It has never got anything wrong and never will.

Don’t ever be in any doubt that the Bible is what God says it is and that the Bible contains the power within it to do what God says it will do. Isaiah 55.10-11 affirms this truth…

Don’t be afraid to go before the throne of God in the name of Jesus and confess the Word of God over every area of your life. Meditate day and night in the Word of God. Remind God of his promises (Isaiah 62.6), maintain your confession (Hebrews 10.23) and trust that God’s Word is as powerful, sharp, living and active as God says it is (Hebrews 4.12).

God’s Word is true and is the truth above every other supposed truth. As the worship song, ‘No Longer Slaves’ by Jonathan and Melissa Helser says, “Every single Word he says is true.”

Direct Video Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8TkUMJtK5k

References

David Pawson, ‘Unlocking The Bible’
Chuck Missler DVD set, ‘Genesis Commentary’
Chuck Missler, ‘Cosmic Codes: Hidden Messages From The Edge Of Eternity’
http://www.khouse.org/articles/2006/631/
http://www.pawsonbooks.com/pawsons-bible-study/week-26-exodus-part-7 
http://www.pawsonbooks.com/pawsons-bible-study/week-25-exodus-part-6
http://www.greaterthings.com/Word-Number/father.htm
www.myfishbites.com
http://www.myfishbites.com/talks-josephandjesus.php

Notes

The content by Chuck Missler is quite tricky to understand at times (he is very intelligent!) so just a note of caution about that – it may make your head spin (if it’s not already spinning!)

Secondly: You may not agree with everything that is said or written by the authors above but take what you feel is sound and true and discard the rest. Don’t miss out on what God may reveal to you just because of your personal preferences – God is above and beyond what we can think or imagine!

Isaiah 55.8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

However, with everything, be like the Berean church mentioned in Acts and check everything against the Bible. If something doesn’t line up with the nature and will of God and his Word then reject it. Never just accept what a preacher says without checking it against the Bible (when we understand the Bible in the right way – never take a verse out of context but consider the Bible as a complete book which holds together perfectly).

Acts 17.11 - Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

2 Timothy 2.15 - Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

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