by Jefferson David Tant
We are all familiar with the role witnesses fill in our lives. If we have a document that needs some verification, we go to a Notary Public and sign it, and then the notary places a seal on it as proof that the notary has been a witness to my signature.
With respect to court trials, “guilty” or “innocent” is often determined by witnesses' statements. They testify as to the truth or falsity of the evidence that is presented, and the witness testifies under a pledge that he will speak “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
There is an interesting passage in the 89th Psalm concerning a witness. “My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful." Selah (Psalms 89:34-37).
God is claiming that His covenant will endure forever, for what He has promised will come to pass, and He calls as witnesses to the promise He has made — the sun and the moon. We consider the sun to be counted upon to rise in the east every morning. That was established at the beginning of Creation, and it has done its job diligently for untold thousands of years.
"Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth'; and it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:14-18).
The sun is proof that it was created. No one can dispute it. Those who claim that the universe just created itself must admit that this is but a myth, with no factual evidence to back it up.
Now consider the Psalmist’s words about the moon. God’s covenant “shall be established forever like the moon. And the witness in the sky is faithful.” The moon itself has no light. Its light is a “witness in the sky” that the sun exists. We might imagine someone who only comes out at night and has never seen the sun, but by seeing the moon in an eclipse, this person can perceive and know that the sun exists. And these are witnesses that the Creator, God, also exists.
Now, concerning Jesus Christ, what is the evidence that he exists, and that he is who he claims to be? Some claim that God is a myth, and Jesus is a fairytale. They are called “atheists.” A “theist” is one who believes in God, and when you put the “a” before the word, it negates the word. In the same way, we have “healthy” and “unhealthy,” or “lawful” and “unlawful.”
There are many religions in the world, and all have a founder or originator -- Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, etc. The question is, “Where is the evidence that proves the founder of any of these myriads of religions is divine?” What proof is there that Buddha, Zoroaster, Muhammad, Vishnu, Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russel, Ellen G. White, or whoever else is the founder of a religion is a divine being or had evidence from God to found a religion and should be followed?
This isn’t a new question, as we can go back many centuries and consider the worship of Zeus, Baal, Aphrodite, Dagon, Athena, Osiris, Jupiter, and the multitude of other “divine” beings. It is said of the Athenians that they had some 33,000 different gods, and statues of the gods were seen all around the city. In fact, as the apostle Paul visited the city back in the 1st Century, he wrote: "For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23).
In studying various religions, I have only found one individual other than Christ who claims to have had a prophecy made concerning him, and that is Mohammad. He goes back to the Bible and refers to the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy and a prophecy that was made to Moses.
"Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deuteronomy 18:15, ASV).
Mohammad claimed he was the prophet mentioned in that passage. There is only one problem, and it is a great problem. Mohammad was not one of the brethren of Moses. Mohammad was an Arab. He was not a Jew. The lineage of Moses descended from Abraham through his son Isaac. The lineage of Mohammad descended through Abraham’s son Ishmael, not through Isaac. We see where Ismael’s descendants settled in Genesis 25:17-18: “And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people. And they settled from Havilah to Shur which is east of Egypt as one goes toward Assyria; he settled in defiance of all his relatives.” Thus Ishmael’s descendants were Arabs, and Isaac’s were Hebrews, the Jews.
So, who is the prophet that God raised up from the brethren of Moses? He would be a Jew, a descendant of Abraham through his son Isaac. In Matthew 1, Christ’s genealogy and birth are given in the 25 verses of the chapter. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. To Abraham was born Isaac; and to Isaac, Jacob; and to Jacob, Judah and his brothers” (Matthew 1:1-2). Then the listing of the names of each succeeding generation is given down to Matthew 1:16: “and to Jacob was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”
To further establish the point, consider what God told Abraham concerning his descendants. “But God said to Abraham, 'Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant'" (Genesis 21:12-13).
As noted, Christ is from the lineage of Abraham through Isaac and Mohammad is from the lineage of Abraham through Ishmael, who was not the son of promise. The Arab nations have descended from Ishmael, and it is evident that they are a large people, even as God promised Abraham.
Some Bible scholars claim there are some 400 prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament, and he fulfilled every one of them centuries later. What more proof do we need?