Category: Biblical accuracy proved
About 150 years ago, the King of Sweden had troubling doubts about whether the Bible was really true in every word. He asked Count von Zinzendorf, bishop of the MoravianChurch, to give him proof that the Bible was truly inspired of God. The King had set aside 10 hours to hear what might be said. To his majesty’s surprise, Zinzendorf informed him that the time allotted was far too much. He only needed to say one word. Astonished, the King asked what that could be. The Count replied, "Jews."
Today we would add one more word, "Israel." In Zinzendorf’s day, that tiny and beleaguered nation, born on May 14, 1948, did not exist except in the hearts of Zionists who had never given up awaiting the fulfillment of the "God of Israel’s" solemn promises. The continued existence of Israel today, surrounded by more than a billion Muslims who have sworn to exterminate her and who continually plot and repeatedly attack her in the attempt to do so, is one of the most astonishing miracles of modern times.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has blessed the Jewish people with a brilliance that generally far exceeds their cousins the Arabs and the rest of the Gentile world.
The Arabs have the oil, but the Jews have the brains. Lest I be accused of racism, one need only compare the numbers of Nobel prize winners among them. In the Arab/Muslim world of 1.4 billion there are 6 Nobelists: 3 for Peace, and 1 each for Chemistry, Physics, and Literature.
In the Jewish population of 14 million (one hundredth of the Arab world) there are 165 Nobelists: 51 for Medicine, 45 for Physics, 27 for chemistry, 22 for Economics, 11 for Literature, and 9 for Peace. This is astonishing!
Supporting the amazing facts surrounding Israel, there are literally dozens of biblical prophecies foretelling her sudden rise to become the world’s premiere military power, the persistent attacks upon her from Muslim nations, and the fear of Israel that grips hostile Arab neighbors today. Yes, well might they fear her. Israel could wipe them out very quickly if she chose to do so. Instead, she has all too patiently endured their outspoken hatred, insults, repeated open threats of extermination, persistent rocket and terrorist attacks, and their continued feverish efforts to build the nuclear capability to destroy her.
Israel’s patience ends when the threat becomes too dangerous. As it was with Syria, that may soon be the case with Iran, which is hoping one day to launch a nuclear attack on Israel. Iran would then become the hero of the Islamic world. If such an attack became possible, it would force Israel to preemptively destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, as it did after Syria’s attempt to develop nuclear capabilities.
For months, by satellite, Israel followed ship after ship from North Korea as they landed in Syria and watched the convoys of trucks as they discharged their cargo in a "secret" desert destination. She patiently watched the construction of a nuclear facility disguised as a "cement plant" and ridiculously surrounded by the latest Russian radar and surface-to-air missiles. The evidence was shown to President George W. Bush, including photos taken inside the facility and missiles and radar protecting the unusual "cement."1 (Condoleezza Rice, whose "Replacement Theology" prevents her from being a true friend of Israel, was not consulted. The State Department has long been the enemy of Israel.)
With Bush’s tacit approval, Israeli planes went in and destroyed the nuclear facility along with the latest Russian protection surrounding it. How did Israeli planes pierce these sophisticated defenses? They are not sharing that secret with anyone, least of all with our "friends" in the State Department.
These current events, like so many others, have been foretold in the Bible. In spite of their accuracy, critics deny their relevance. Some claim to be former Christians. One can only wonder what kind of "Christians" they were to remain in such complete ignorance of the Bible while pretending to know it so well. Gary Lenaire, for example, says that he "spent 15 years in the church…released nine contemporary Christian music albums, was nominated for six Gospel Music Awards…preached the gospel…around the world [and] served as a voluntary Chaplain for the Military Department."2 He writes in An Infidel Manifesto:
This is so pitiful that it is embarrassing. This "expert on Bible prophecy" offers little more than inexcusable ignorance and prejudice. He says, "any so-called prophecies." While some prophecies are difficult to understand, there are hundreds that clearly have been fulfilled to the letter and some are still in the process of being fulfilled.
"So general you could make them to mean almost anything"? In fact, they are so specific that Lenaire’s statements would be laughable were they not influencing so many to turn from God.
Here is one of numerous prophecies (circa 600 BC), of which the specificity cannot be denied. "Therefore behold the days are coming, says the Lord, that they shall no longer say ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I have driven them’" (See Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8).
Notice the detailed prophetic elements. As the deliverance from "the land of Egypt," spoken of in the book of Exodus, was what Jews looked back to each year in the Passover as a reminder of God’s love and power, that event would fade from its prominence in their minds to be replaced by something more recent. The prophecy has two distinct parts: 1) a confirmation of many previous prophecies that the Jews were going to be led captive into "every nation" (Lk 21:24), and 2) their eventual deliverance and return to Israel would almost eclipse from the national memory their deliverance from Egypt. And so it has happened.
The great proof that the Bible repeatedly offers of its veracity is the fact that God, through His prophets, tells what will happen centuries and even thousands of years in advance. There is no arguing with the precise detail and accuracy of any of the Bible’s hundreds of prophecies. Yet, Lenaire, in typical atheist fashion, declared that most prophecies were so general that one could make them mean almost anything. Not so!
Lenaire is either deliberately attempting to mislead his readers, or he is displaying an abysmal ignorance. Most prophecies are, in fact, so specific that no one could argue with their meaning.
In Joel 3:2 (circa 800 BC), God declared that the day was coming when all nations would join to divide the land of Israel: "I will also gather all nations…and will plead with them [punish them] for my people and [for] my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land."
This is remarkable! Throughout its entire 3,000-plus-year history, the land of Israel had never been divided. It had been conquered by various nations, but even when the Turks held it as part of their Ottoman Empire for 400 years, they did not divide the land. A conqueror keeps the land he has conquered intact for himself. Why divide it?
This division of Israel has occurred only in our day. Britain, which had been placed in charge of "Palestine" by the allied forces who had conquered it in World War I, had been given the mandate by the League of Nations to see that this land should remain as a refuge for the Jews, who had been scattered everywhere.
Instead of fulfilling this mandate, Britain gave about 75 percent of the land to the Arab Muslims in exchange for oil. In 1947, the United Nations, through Resolution 181 and in fulfillment of Joel 3:2, formalized this breach of trust. Israel finally received a mere 13 percent of what they had been promised. This is now history. Britain and the UN infamously fulfilled Joel 3:2 and parted God’s land.
The God of Israel, knowing all that would happen, had warned in advance that He would avenge Himself for this brazen robbery of His people. After being attacked by Muslim nations, who were following Allah’s edict through Muhammad that all Jews must be destroyed, Israel, in self-defense recaptured some of this land.
Christ himself made a number of prophecies before His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Like many other Hebrew prophets, Christ foretold the scattering of Jews all over the earth and the coming Great Tribulation (Luke 21:24-26). Also in Luke 21:24, there is a remarkable and very specific prophecy concerning Jerusalem itself: Jesus declared "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
When did this "treading down" of Jerusalem by Gentiles begin? In fact, it has been going on for centuries, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem(2 Ki 24:10-11), dated 587-586 BC. This prophecy tells us of what Christ called "the times of the Gentiles." As it has so often, the existence of the United Nations played a key role. In partial fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy, a vital part of UN Resolution 181 was the declaration that Jerusalem would be a corpus separatum, never part of Israel and never under the control of Jews.
Consider how specific the following is from the prophet Zechariah:
Two groups are distinguished by the prophet: "all the people round about Judah and Jerusalem" and "all the people of the earth." These groups are identified by two separate prophecies. To the first group, Jerusalem will be "a cup of trembling" and to the second group, "a burdensome stone." The first group is further identified as being united together "in a siege" against Judah and Jerusalem, the second group as "gathered together" against her.
Why will Israel be a "cup of trembling" to her neighbors? As we have just pointed out, Israel is the premier military power in the world, and she could wipe out her Arab neighbors very quickly but refrains from doing so. As for being a "burdensome stone," how better to show the fulfillment of this specific prophecy than by the fact that.from 1967-1989 out of 865 resolutions in the Security Council and General Assembly of the UN, 526 were against Israel.
As we have pointed out, that was the first time that Israel had ever been divided. Now we also see the first time that all nations surrounding it have been united in a common goal. Traditionally, these nations had been enemies. What unites them now? They are all Muslims, and it is Islam (which did not even exist at the time of the prophecy) that joins them in the common desire to destroy Israel.
For all nations to be united against Israel, there would have to be an organization of "all nations." The United Nations came into existence in 1945, just in time to be the means of fulfilling this prophecy.
This 2,500-year-old prophecy is both specific in its details and flawless in its accuracy.
Another amazing prophecy concerns anti-Semitism. There is no rational explanation for this implacable hatred that has continued over several thousand years. What fuels this insane obsession is the determination to exterminate the Jews. No other national people have been the long-term targets of such a goal. In The Secret War Against the Jews, Mark Aarons and John Loftus write:
In each of these cases, the genocide was intended to serve a deeper purpose-the conquest of territory, the acquisition of wealth, the enlargement of political power….In contrast, the genocide of the Jewish people was not…attempted in order to achieve a more fundamental purpose. It was the fundamental purpose. This is what makes the Nazi Holocaust unique.4 [Emphasis added]
Yes, many groups of people have suffered greatly. The Muslims wiped out more than a million Armenians as well as millions of other peoples throughout history. Thousands of blacks were transported from Africa to become slaves in a trade begun by Arabs and assisted by Africans. However, the quote above indicates that the intent was not to exterminate these people, as has been (and still is) the Muslims’ goal with the Jews.
Incredibly, the obvious lie persists by religious and political leaders such as recent popes, former leaders President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and now President Obama, that Islam is a religion of peace and has been maligned by critics. In fact, Muslims have murdered millions in their long-standing goal to take over the world, and there is an ongoing slaughter that continues to this day in Indonesia, Sudan, Nigeria, and elsewhere.
In contrast to the persistent praise of Islam as a force for peace in the world, Israel, which has never voiced unprovoked threats against other nations and has acted only in self-defense, has been accused repeatedly in the United Nations of aggression against innocent neighbors.
Fulfilled biblical prophecy stands as undeniable proof that the God of the Bible exists. Furthermore, these many prophecies, of which we will, God willing, have more to say next month, stand as a warning to the world of coming judgment. We will also review the many promises of blessing for those who will heed God’s Word concerning Israel. TBC
2. Gary Lenaire, An Infidel Manifesto: why sincere believers lose faith (Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2006), back cover.
3. Lenaire, Infidel,120-21.
4. John Loftus and Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994).
"I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history …"
E. M. Blaiklock – Professor of Classics, Auckland University
The Resurrection of Christ is the most powerful event in history. It has affected the last 2000 years of history and politics, from peasants to kings to nations. Christianity has spread across the entire world, into every country and into a vast number of ethnic groups and languages. Billions of people have experienced the life-giving, healing, forgiveness and freedom offered by God because Jesus Christ conquered death and rose again from the grave.
The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor 15:12-22 that without the resurrection of Christ, the Christian faith is useless. "And if Christ be not raised," Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
There are many skeptics who disregard the resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as a fable. However, the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is extremely strong, even to the point of converting some who sought to disprove it:
The Empty Tomb: Though well-trained Roman soldiers guarded the tomb of Jesus Christ, it was empty 3 days after Jesus’ death as Jesus had repeatedly foretold (Matt 12:40, Mark 8:31). The guards had fled (a death penalty offense). The massive stone had been rolled away, and the body was gone – and was never produced by the enemies of the Christians. The linen grave clothes in which the Jews bury their dead were still in the tomb, undisturbed. From the Jewish historian Josephus to a compilation of 5th-century Jewish writings called the "Toledoth Jeshu", even Jewish sources and traditions admit that the tomb was empty. The body was never found.
Living Witnesses: There were a multitude of witnesses who saw Jesus Christ alive after his death. The disciples, the travelers on the road to Emmaus and a number of women all spoke to Jesus alive. Thomas doubted until he was able to put his fingers into Jesus’ wounds (John 20:26-27). He later spread the Gospel all the way to India. The apostle Paul tells of 500 people to whom Jesus appeared at one time, most of whom were still alive and available for questioning when Paul wrote his letter (1 Cor 15:6). When several people testify in a courtroom that they witnessed an event, and their accounts are found consistent with each other, their testimony is considered factual information. Jesus Christ was seen alive many times by hundreds of different people over the course of forty days after his death (John 20-21, Acts 1:3).
The Disciples: Christ’s followers, who had been fearful and who had run away when Jesus was arrested, were completely changed after the Resurrection and became courageous witnesses. Peter, who had denied knowing Christ when recognized by a simple servant girl, became the powerfully bold leader of those who had seen Christ alive, speaking to the thousands gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot – Pentecost. A person may die for a lie if they do not know it is a lie. But people do not give their lives up and face severe persecution to spread a lie they themselves invented. The fact that the disciples willingly suffered beatings and persecution and death is strong evidence that they had actually witnessed the resurrection they refused to stop telling people about.
Saul of Tarsus: A devoutly religious Pharisee, who persecuted the Church and had Christ’s followers thrown in prison, Paul had his life absolutely changed by his encounter with Christ. He became a devoted follower of Christ himself, spreading the Gospel throughout Turkey and Greece in the face of beatings and shipwrecks and imprisonment and, finally, execution.
"If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt." – F. F. Bruce, Manchester University
Skeptics’ Arguments Against the Resurrection:
The Hallucination Theory claims that the witnesses who met the resurrected Jesus were all "seeing things" – they were hallucinating. However, this goes against common sense as well as psychological principles. Five hundred people do not all hallucinate the same thing. Jesus appeared to many people at many different times. Also, the body was never produced.
The Swoon Theory argues that Jesus did not die – that he simply fainted from loss of blood and exhaustion. However, this also goes against common sense. The Romans were professionals who severely whipped Jesus, hung him on a cross, and then stabbed him in the side with a spear to make sure he was dead. He was in the grave for three days, wrapped head to foot in a burial cloth, without food or water or medical treatment. When he appeared to his disciples he was completely whole and healthy and his appearance inspired awe and worship that lasted throughout the rest of the disciples’ lives.
The Disciples Faked the Resurrection: Discouraged, fearful fishermen and former tax collectors, whose teacher had been viciously murdered, were in little position to take on a detachment of trained Roman soldiers guarding the tomb. They would have had to create a fantastic plan in order to fight off or bribe the professional soldiers, raid the tomb, unbind the grave clothes from Christ’s body, take the body away, and hide it where nobody would ever find it. The Roman soldiers faced death if they failed in their guard duty, and the disciples had little money for bribing anybody. Many people would have had to be involved in the conspiracy, and all those involved would not only have known the truth, but would know that they were risking meeting the same fate as their recently crucified leader. And what purpose could it possibly serve, if Jesus were dead? They would have had nothing to gain. Their leader was gone and they would have only faced persecution and death for their invented resurrection story.
And again, the disciples’ attitudes completely changed after the Resurrection and especially after Pentecost. They became bold and courageous in spreading their message, fearless of beatings or imprisonment. They never sought to fight Rome or to establish any position or kingdom or authority for themselves. They had nothing to gain, physically speaking. They simply went about the known world, telling their story in spite of persecution and suffering, poverty and ridicule. Their message quickly spread across the Middle East and Europe and even into Asia without any military conquest or political support involved – and in spite of strong opposition. Only belief and hope based in the reality of their experiences would have produced such dedication in the lives of Christ’s followers.
Perhaps the greatest evidence today of Christ’s resurrection is the work that he is still doing in the lives of every day people. In the name of Jesus, people are still being healed emotionally and physically and spiritually by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Sinners are being freed from the burden and pain and shame of sin – sometimes immediately, sometimes after long years of steady work by the Holy Spirit in their lives. Hearts are being mended and lives are being turned around. The best evidence today is the faithful follower of Christ who can say, "He saved me, and I am not the person I used to be" just as the apostles testified 2000 years ago.