This is the second week in a 5 week series on one of the most important questions asked throughout history. That question is this: “Is the Bible Really True?” That is to say, “Is the Bible we read today the same as what was written by those people “way back when.” This question is a fair question and requires a reliable response. Although we are dealing with limited space in these articles, I will provide some of the resources in my research.
Why is it so important to know if the Bible is the “real deal” or not? First, if it is all true and reliable that should fundamentally change everything for those who don’t believe in Jesus the Christ. Second, if it is true then you have something to tell everyone you meet. If Christianity is reliable and valid, then all others are not.
Why do we start with prophecy? The Holy Bible is the only religious book that has hundreds of prophecies. Either they came to pass or they didn’t. Some other sacred books claim to have prophecies, but they were changed several times and that fact is verifiable. That fact, in itself, should convince people the Bible is true. Other sacred books claim “divine inspiration,” but none of them claim predictive prophecy.
Two points need to be made here. First, the Biblical definition of a “prophet” is defined as one who to tells others what God wants them to know. Secondly, in that process of “forth telling” God’s will God gave them prophecies about the future. Therefore, the primary duty of a prophet was not just to speak of future events.
Jesus knew and believed the prophecies of the Old Testament. On the road to Emmaus, after His resurrection, Jesus said in Luke 24:44-47, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” In John 8:56 Jesus said, “Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
Prophecies were declared concerning hundreds of places and people. The birth town of Jesus was predicted in Micah 5:2 seven-hundred years before Jesus birth in Bethlehem, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Of all the possible cities in the ancient world a small, unimportant town about seven miles south of Jerusalem was chosen by God for the birth of the Messiah. Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
It is prophesied the Messiah would live in the flesh on earth while the Temple of Jerusalem is still standing. Those verses are found in Malachi 3:1; Psalm 118:26; Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 11:13; and Haggai 2:7-9. The great significance of this prophecy is that the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. and has not been rebuilt.
Another prophecy concerning the coming Messiah, Jesus, adds that Christ will be born of a virgin. It will be a natural birth of unnatural conception. Isaiah 7:14 reads, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Other prophecies about Jesus, written hundreds of years before his birth were about the forerunner, John the Baptist; Jesus’ own people, the Jews will reject him and the Gentiles will believe in him; and that he will betrayed by Judas for thirty pieces of silver. Jesus crucifixion is prophesied in Psalm 22:6-18 and Zechariah 12:10.
Jesus exact lineage; the place, time and manner of his birth; peoples’ reactions; the betrayal; the manner of death and others take out the equation of happenstance in these prophecies and reveal God’s hand in all sixty-six books of the Bible. Josh McDowell, was told, “Why you could find some of these prophecies fulfilled in Abraham Lincoln, Anwar Sadat, John F. Kennedy or many others.” McDowell replied, “Yes I suppose one could possibly find one or two prophecies coincident to other people, but not all sixty major prophecies and 270 ramifications. In fact for years, the Christian Victory Publishing Company of Denver offered a one-thousand-dollar reward to anyone who could find any person, other than Jesus, either living or dead, who could fulfill only half of the Messianic Prophecies. They got no takers.”
McDowell says in his book, “More than a Carpenter,” that your own name and address separate you apart from more than six billion other people who inhabit this planet. Using the science of probability dictates that just forty-eight of the Messianic Prophecies being fulfilled in one man is only 1 in 10 to the 157th power. I don’t know how many zeros that is, but it is probably beyond my imagination.
Next week we will examine more logical, sensible reasons to believe the Bible is reliable and valid.