by Jefferson David Tant
For thousands of years, a book has influenced the world. Eastern and Western civilizations have had their laws, customs, and culture molded by the teachings of this ancient document. Kingdoms have risen and fallen in keeping with prophetical statements contained within its pages.
In the 550 years since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, the Bible has always been the best seller. People have been jailed or have died for owning or distributing Bibles. This is still going on in China, some Muslim nations, as well as others. Satan is alive and still active in trying to undermine the influence of the most powerful book in the world. Please read with an open mind and a desire to learn something about this fascinating book that is simply called the “Bible.”
Every religion claims its writings are divinely inspired. The Mormons claim the Book of Mormon is from God. The Muslims claim the Qur’an is from God. Hindus, Singhs, Shintos, and others claim the same. So the question is, “What is the evidence?” Claims can be made, but are just so many words if there is no supporting evidence. The aim of this document is to show that the Bible is unique. There is no other writing in existence that has the evidence supporting it like the Bible.
Why do we need to know? Because there are many who try to discredit the Bible and destroy the faith of those who believe. The is especially true in our educational institutions. Surveys indicate that some 66% of students who enter college as believers lose their faith by the time they graduate. Their faith is ridiculed and assaulted, and few churches prepare the students, as there is little teaching done on pieces of evidence to build a solid foundation. True faith is built on a solid foundation, not just wishful thinking. Notice just one example of the attitude of many professors in the following quote.
“We try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own…We are going to go right on trying to discredit you (fundamentalist parents) in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours.” [Professor Richard Rorty, “Universality and Truth”].
What is it about this book of books that makes it so unique and so powerful? The claim is that it is the Word of God, the revelation of the very mind of God.
"... but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words" (I Corinthians 2:7-13).
"And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe" (I Thessalonians 2:13).
This claim of divine inspiration has been rejected by many, as men have claimed there is no proof of this, that the Bible contradicts itself, that it is filled with superstitions and inaccuracies, and that it is outdated in this scientific age. While it is not our purpose in this document to consider all the objections, we do want to consider just a tiny portion of the strong evidence that supports the belief that the Bible is what it claims to be — the divinely inspired revelation of the mind of God.
Science in the Bible
The Bible is not a book of science, yet in dealing with the creation, it does state facts that were not understood at the time they were written. For example, where did handwashing come from? Why do we wash our hands before we eat?
In our modem world, we understand the importance of cleanliness. But this was not known until about 1830. An Austrian doctor, Ignaz Semmelweis, was concerned about too many new mothers in his hospital dying. He noticed many were examined by doctors who had just done autopsies or had examined very sick people. After these exams, the doctors would examine living patients without washing their hands, maybe even doing pelvic exams on the new mothers.
Dr. Semmelweis then ordered all to wash their hands after handling the dead and/or examining patients. The number of deaths went down immediately. Other doctors ridiculed him, but he stuck with his rules. But Moses had given similar instructions in the Bible 3,000 years earlier. Numbers 19 instructs about purifying oneself. Leviticus 13 and 14 instruction about how to keep open sores and skin diseases from spreading. There are many such health regulations given in the Bible.
How did Moses know to write these things 3,200 years before this was understood? They had no knowledge of germs or bacteria or microscopes. The only explanation is that a higher intelligence caused them to be written.
What holds up the earth? This question has puzzled mankind for thousands of years. In ancient India, they believed the earth rested on the backs of several large elephants, who were resting on the back of a large turtle. The Greeks believed a god named Atlas held the earth on his shoulders. Others believed the earth was on the back of a large catfish swimming in an ocean. But the Bible says that God "hangs the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7). How else would you describe this in non-scientific terms? But when Job was written, about 1,400 B.C., no one understood this. How did Job know? The only conclusion is that God revealed this to the writer.
Another thing universally believed was that the earth is flat. If you sailed too far, you would fall off the edge. A letter to the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Feb. 2000 ridiculed the idea of teaching the Bible in public schools because our children would be taught that the earth was flat! It was only a little over 500 years ago that such men as Magellan and Columbus demonstrated that the earth was round. But the Bible has said the earth was round for thousands of years.
Proverbs 8:27 (written about 950 B.C.) says that God "inscribed a circle on the face of the deep." Isaiah 40:22 (written about 700 B.C.) tells us that God is enthroned "above the circle of the earth." The Old Testament Hebrew word "khug" (circle) carries the idea of "roundness." In every civilization, other than Israel, unearthed records show men believed that the earth was flat. But this one book, the Bible, and this one people, the Israelites, knew otherwise.
Should we be afraid of events in the heavens? Ancient people were often superstitious about the sun, moon, and stars. Egyptians believed stars were the souls of dead people who had become gods. Eclipses were especially frightening. The Chaldeans thought the moon was mad at the earth and turned its face away. The Chinese thought an eclipse of the sun was caused by a dragon or some huge animal that ate the sun. (Talk about a “heartburn!”) But Jeremiah, writing about 600 years before Christ, said,
"Do not be terrified by the signs in the heavens although the nations are terrified by them" (Jeremiah 10:2).
He goes on to state that the universe is under God's control (Jeremiah 10:12-13).
What about blood, splinters, and mice? For eons, bleeding was a common medical practice—to rid the body of impure blood, which they believed caused illness. In December 1799, George Washington, the United States’ first president, became ill, and the doctors bled him four times in one day. No wonder the poor man died! The common method of bleeding was to use leeches or to cut the wrists. Yet Bible states, 3,500 years ago, that "the life is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11).
The Egyptians of Moses' time (about 1,400 B.C.) were very advanced in science and medicine. There is evidence they even performed brain surgery. But they did have some very strange treatments for various ailments. If you had a finger infected by a splinter, just spread worms' blood or donkey manure on it. For sick children, the physician might suggest that they be given skinned baby mice to eat. (I guess you could make a “mouse sandwich.”)
Moses was adopted into the king’s family by the king’s daughter, and grew up in the royal household, with the best education. Moses "was instructed in all the learning of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Yet Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible, mentioned none of these strange things in his medical advice. How did Moses, who had learned both the good and the bad of Egyptian medicine, manage to omit every mistaken idea? If you examine his medical advice, you will notice that there is not one thing that would be contrary to modern medical science.
That is amazing when you consider that medical textbooks just 50 or 75 years old contain things that are considered in error and have to be corrected in later editions. How did Moses do this? You know the answer. He received instruction from a Supreme Intelligence we know as God.
You can mark this down and remember it, "No proven fact of science has ever contradicted a plain statement of Scripture."
Consider the prophecies about Jesus Christ. Wouldn't it be amazing if someone could tell 15 facts about a person 750 years before he was born? That's just what the prophet Isaiah did in Isaiah 53. The description was so detailed that it could fit no one else but Jesus Christ.
|Hated||Isaiah 53:3||Matthew 27:39-43|
|Man of sadness||Isaiah 53:3||Matthew 26:38|
|Familiar with suffering||Isaiah 53:3||Hebrews 4:15|
|Rejected by his people||Isaiah 53:3||John 1:10-11|
|Taking our suffering for us||Isaiah 53:4||Matthew 8:16-17|
|Without sin||Isaiah 53:9||I Peter 2:22|
|Silent to his accusers||Isaiah 53:7||Matthew 26:63; 27:12|
|Taking our sins on himself||Isaiah 53:5||I Corinthians 15:3|
|Taking our punishment||Isaiah 53:5||I Peter 2:24-25|
|Treated like a criminal||Isaiah 53:12||Luke 22:37|
|Asking for our forgiveness||Isaiah 53:12||Luke 23:34|
|Treated unjustly||Isaiah 53:8||Matthew 27:24|
|Buried with rich people||Isaiah 53:9||Matthew 27:57-60|
|Raised from dead||Isaiah 53:10||Luke 24:6-8|
|Honored||Isaiah 53:12||Philippians 2:9-11|
Early Christians used this prophecy as starting place to tell about Jesus. Acts 8 tells of a man from Ethiopia who was reading from Isaiah 53 while riding in his chariot. Philip was sent by the Holy Spirit to ride with the Ethiopian, who then asked Philip about whom Isaiah was writing.
"The eunuch answered Philip and said, ‘Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?’ and Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him" (Acts 8:34-35).
This is just one chapter containing a few of the 300+ prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in every detail. How do we explain this? These prophecies came from God.
There were prophecies about the powerful and wealthy city of Tyre. (Ezekiel 26:1-14) This city was on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea with some inhabitants living on an island 1/2 mile out in the sea. The city was famous for making purple dye and beautiful glassware. About 586 B.C. the prophet Ezekiel revealed God's word for Tyre because of its sins.
- He said the city would be attacked by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar's army and later by other nations.
- The city would be so destroyed that its wood and rock would be scraped up and thrown into the sea.
- The city would never be rebuilt but would be a place for fishermen to spread nets.
Shortly after the prophecy,
- Nebuchadnezzar did attack and surround the city for 13 years. Finally, the walls were broken down and the city destroyed. But many in-habitants escaped in boats to an island. 250 years later, Alexander the Great wanted to capture the island city, but his army had no boats.
- He took the ruins of the mainland city and dumped them into the sea, thus making a causeway out to the island. Then his army was able to attack the island and completely destroy the city there.
- Now for 2,300 years, fishermen have used the empty site of old Tyre to spread their nets, just as Ezekiel predicted.
How did Ezekiel know these things? "The word of the Lord came to me" (Ezekiel 26:1).
What happened to Babylon? Babylon was the capital of the Chaldean empire and was the world's greatest city in its time. Its walls were 200 feet high and 187 feet thick. Huge brass gates and 300-foot-high watchtowers seemed to make it very unlikely that the city would ever be captured. But at the height of its power, God's prophets had a message:
"And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldean's pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah..." (Isaiah 13:19).
"Thus says the Lord of hosts, 'The broad wall of Babylon will be completely razed, and her high gates will be set on fire ... there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation" (Jeremiah 51:58,62).
Long after Isaiah and Jeremiah died, the Persians captured Babylon, and later Alexander and his Greek army took it from the Persians. Alexander was one of the greatest military men in history, and he decided to rebuild the city and make it his capital. But before it could be done, he got sick and died at age 33. Even the most powerful man in the world could not do something God said would not happen. 600 years later, the Roman emperor Julian was in a battle against the Persians, and to keep them from using the remaining walls as a fortification, he had them torn down. Thus men who didn't even believe in God or the Bible helped make its prophecies come to pass.
To this day, the city remains uninhabited, and local people who work in archaeological digs there will not even spend the night camped out there. God said no one would ever live in the city again, and now over 2,000 years later, God’s word is still true. In fact, Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s deposed ruler, was trying to rebuild Babylon and make it his capital. But he failed! You cannot go against God’s Word! Babylon ruins today are seen in the picture.
Proof from Archaeology
The Old Testament often mentions the Hittite people. Some lived north of Israel, and others lived with them in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought land from Ephron the Hittite (Genesis 23:10). Abraham’s grandson Esau later married a Hittite woman. Two of King David's soldiers, Uriah and Ahime1ech, were Hittites. But until about 100 years ago, there was no trace of them outside of the Bible. Critics pointed to this as proof that the Bible was inaccurate and full of fairy tales.
But believers said that the absence of proof proved nothing except that the evidence hadn't been found yet. Sure enough, around 1900 the German archaeologist Hugo Winckler was digging in Turkey and found the Hittite capital city along with many clay tablets in the Hittite language. Further proof was found in clay tablets in Egypt that told of a great battle between Ramses II of Egypt and the Hittites around 1287 B.C. They have even found pictures of the Hittites drawn by Egyptian artists. Once again God's Word has been proven true, and the critics were proven wrong.
One of the most interesting stories Bible stories is in Daniel 5 about Belshazzar, Babylon’s last king. He had a big party for 1,000 guests and served wine in the cups stolen from the temple of God in Jerusalem. Suddenly, a hand appeared, wrote four words in Hebrew on the wall in the palaces banquet room, and then disappeared. This greatly frightened Belshazzar, but no one could understand the writing until someone called in Daniel, who was by now advanced in years. He had been taken as a captive in his youth, but his good character had elevated him to a high position in the kingdom. He was able to translate the Aramaic inscription for Belshazzar.
"Now this is the inscription that was written out: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.' This is the interpretation of the message: 'MENE'--God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. 'TEKEL'--you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. 'PERES'--your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians" (Daniel 5:28).
Belshazzar was killed that very night when Darius the Mede invaded the city. For many years, unbelievers said the story couldn't be true, for historical writings mentioned Nabonidus as the last king, and never once named Belshazzar. But in the 20th Century, archaeologists digging in Ur found many Babylonian tablets, some dating back to the time of Nabonidus. They revealed that Nabonidus left the country for several years, and left his son to rule as king — whose name was Belshazzar — just as the Bible said.
There are literally hundreds of such examples of prophecy and fulfillment throughout the Bible.
In so many ways, the Bible is the most amazing book ever written. It was written over a period of some 1,500 years -- 1400 B.C. to 100 A.D. At least 40 different men wrote who were from different cultures and different walks of life, and most of whom did not know one another. The writers were Luke (doctor), Peter (fisherman), Joshua (army general), Amos (sheep herder), Matthew (tax collector), Solomon (king), and Nehemiah (king's servant). They wrote in the wilderness, in prison, in the king's palace, in the pasture. The Bible was written in three languages, in various styles -- poetry, biography, history, and personal letters. Yet, with this background, the Bible tells a single story that all fits together, with no contradictions.
Genesis, the first book, tells us where God first put the tree of life (2:9), and Revelation, the last book, tells where it is now (Genesis 22:1-3). Genesis tells us the cause of the first sadness, and Revelation tells us when tears shall end. No man on his own could have ever put together a collection like this.
For thousands of years, the Bible's enemies have tried to destroy it. In the Old Testament, an evil king of Israel, Jehoiakim, burned the writings of Jeremiah because they told of the king's evil deeds. The Roman rulers and Jewish leaders tried to stop Paul by putting him in prison and eventually putting him to death, but Paul's inspired letters still live. In 303 A.D. the Roman emperor, Diocletian, ordered all copies of the Bible destroyed. He even had a medal engraved that said, "The Christian religion is destroyed." But it was Diocletian who died, not the Bible.
In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church tried to limit the spread of the Bible and had many put to death who made it available to the common people, but the Word of God prevailed. In the 1700s, the Frenchman, Voltaire, predicted that within 100 years, the Bible would be gone. But 50 years after his death, I am told the printing press he had owned was used to print Bibles, and the house he lived in was made a Bible distribution center.
No matter how hard evil men have tried to destroy the Bible, they have died, but the Word of God lives and abides.
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35).
"For, 'All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord abides forever.' And this is the word which was preached to you" (I Peter 1:24-25).
There is so much more that can be said, but time and space constrain us. The evidence, both internal and external, supporting the claim that the Book is from God and not from men is just overwhelming. This also means that other religious writings that claim to supplant the Bible are false, including the Qu’ran and the Book of Mormon. The truth is, there is no evidence that supports their claim to be inspired by God. What, then, shall we do with this Book of the Ages?
- We must accept it as true. "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth" (John 17:17).
- We must come to know it. "... and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
- We must obey it. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
- Because we will be judged by it. "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48).
- We will then suffer eternal destruction for refusing it, for the day the Lord will come "to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed tromp heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power ..." (II Thessalonians 1:7-9).
What then? Christ calls you to obedience; Christ calls you to salvation. Will you accept his love and his sacrifice for you? "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16); This baptism is a burial (immersion) in water, for that is the meaning of the original Greek word “baptize”. For a further description of baptism, you can read Romans 6:3-5, which shows baptism is in the likeness of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.