Knowing The Bible Is The Word Of God
If the Bible is the Word of God, we would expect it to be
I shall not examine all of these in this essay.
In its Content
Its Emphases - What it Considers Important
Its Preservation and Propagation
In Ancient Times
In Modern Times
Its Effect on people
About the Past
About the Present
About the Future
"Prophecy" in the Bible:
Let us look at some of the statements the Bible makes about the future.
Such statements are called prophecy. Fully one sixth of the Bible
is made up of statements about events which had not occurred when the statements
Predicting the Future:
We humans like to know what lies in our future. Prediction of the future
saves millions of dollars and millions of lives. Such predictions have
limitations however. Using the latest satellite and computer technology,
we can only predict the weather about 4 days in advance. Using the very
best economic models can only give a rough idea of what things will be
like in 12 months time. I doubt that even the most canny political commentator
could say what the world will be like in even a decade or two. Certainly
the last decade was full of surprises!
The work of man, or the Work of God?:
The Bible, however, often makes statements about events centuries in
advance. We would expect that if the Bible were the work of men, it would
be ridiculously inaccurate. However, if it were the work of God, we would
expect the opposite to be the case. Note also that the statements the Bible
makes are not vague. Most are quite specific.
A Small Sample:
We examine some of the prophecies the Bible makes
This Page is Under Construction. I will complete the "Statements
about Nations" and the "Statements about the Messiah" sections shortly
(I hope). Apologies for the delay!
Statements About Individuals: In at least 5 places, the Bible predicts
by name (3 cases) or by pseudonym (2 cases) an individual, stating quite
clearly and in detail what the named individual will do, well before the
individual is born. These individuals are named centuries before they appear.
The people are as follows:
Josiah: 1 Kings 13:2; 2 Kings 23:16. An unnamed prophet predicted
successfully about particular altar, that a man called Josiah would defile
it and destroy it. The time between the prophecy and its fulfillment was
about 300 years.
Cyrus: Isaiah 44:28; Ezra 1:1-3, 6:3. The prophet Isaiah predicted
successfully not only that the nation Israel would be taken into exile,
but that a man called Cyrus would command that Jerusalem, and the temple
of the Lord, be rebuilt. This occurred in the time of Ezra, when Cyrus,
king of Persia, gave exactly that command. This was an event unique in
the history of the world - that a king should give money to slaves for
them to build a city for themselves. What was the chance of Isaiah getting
the prophecy right by accident? The time gap between the prophecy and its
fulfillment was about 150 years.
"Immanuel": Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23. The prophet Isaiah predicted
that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son called Immanuel. Immanuel
is Hebrew for "God With Us". Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, and is
called God With Us. The time gap between the prophecy and its fulfillment
is almost 700 years.
"Elijah": Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:10-12. The prophet Malachi said
that Elijah would come, and bring about great reconciliation, shortly before
the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus' statement in Matthew 17:11-12
seems to indicate that John the Baptist is a fulfillment of this prophecy,
but that there is a "greater" fulfillment to come. It should be noted that
John the Baptist denied being Elijah (John 1:21), and that Elijah did not
actually die, but bodily lifted up to heaven (2 Kings 2:11). We shall have
to wait until shortly before the return of Christ to see exactly how this
prophecy will be fulfilled, whether Elijah will physically return from
heaven, or whether a man of God will come &captain the spirit of Elijah".
The time between the prophecy and its final fulfillment is at least 2400
Gog, Prince of Rosh: Ezekiel 38-39; Revelations 20:7-9. The prophet
Ezekiel goes into great detail, about a time when Israel dwells in peace
and safety, how a man called Gog, would come to war against them. Particularly
instructive is Ezekiel 38:10 - "Thoughts will arise in your mind, and you
will make an evil plan" to attack the nation. He would bring a huge army
with him (Ezekiel 38:16) and be utterly destroyed by the Lord. Since this
prophecy was made, there has never been a time of peace and safety for
Israel. The fulfillment of this prophecy, like that of the last, lies in
the future. Revelations 20:1-9 tells us exactly when, for it explains that
after the return of Christ, there will be a period of peace on earth, lasting
1000 years. At the end of this time, Satan would be released once more
to deceive the nations. He would, specifically, deceive Gog, who would
come to fight against Jerusalem (the beloved city) with a huge army, and
be devoured by the fire of God. These events therefore happen 1000 years
after the return of Christ, that is, at least 3500 years after Ezekiel's
prophecy. Also, we realize that Ezekiel tells us some of what will happen
at the end of the so-called Millennium.
Any More? If you can think of any more occasions in the Bible where
a person was predicted by name well in advance of their birth, please let
me know! There are many other occasions when the Bible predicted an
individual before they were born, but did not give the person's name.
NEWS FLASH! Many of you will have heard of
the so-called "Bible Code", where the names of many individuals are "encoded"
in the Bible via so-called "equidistant letter sequences". Some of the
claims made are that the names and deeds of dozens (hundreds?) of post-Biblical,
and even modern individuals are encoded, along with many details about
their lives. One contemporary example are an encoded statement about Yitzhak
Rabin's assassination, including details such as the year and the name
of the assassin. Some of the other claims are subjectable to stringent
scientific analysis. As a mathematician, I have read through the article
published in Statistical Science entitled Equidistant Letter
Sequences in the Book of Genesis, by Witztuhm, et al, and I can find
no fault with the methods used. My personal opinion (for what it is worth)
is that the so-called codes do in fact exist, and can not reasonably be
regarded as coincidental. I am looking forward to hearing of further developments.
Statements About Nations: The Bible makes dozens of prophetic statements
about nations. It would make fascinating reading for a student of ancient
Statements About The "Messiah": The Bible tells, in a great many
places, about a "Messiah" (Hebrew for "Anointed") who would come and rule
the earth and bring peace to Israel. There is controversy amongst Jewish
scholars because many of the prophecies about what the Messiah would do
seem to be contradictory, for example it is undeniably taught that the
Messiah would rule all nations forever, yet other passages predict His
death (see for example the "seventy weeks" prophecy in the book of Daniel).
Christians believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Messiah ("Christ"
is Greek for "Messiah"), and that these problems are resolved by the fact
that Jesus comes twice - once to proclaim His kingdom, and to suffer and
die for the sins of all mankind (for the Jew first, and also for the Gentile),
and once in power and glory to bring every nation to its knees before Him.