v So what makes Christianity different?
In order to validate whether or not the Christian religion is true or not, let’s take a look at the text from which it is all based on, the Bible.
How can we test a text such as this to determine whether or not it’s true? Well, when selecting a test of validity, remember: It doesn't matter what we believe; it only matters what is true. Truth can’t change, what we believe can. For example, I may believe that the sky is Purple, but that isn’t true. When someone shows me proof that the sky is indeed Blue, my belief can, and should, change, but the truth remained the same no matter what I believed.
Another example that seems to be favored is the fact the people used to think that the Earth was Flat. They literally believed that if they went out too far on the ocean they would fall off the edge of the Earth, they even drew their maps to show the Earth flat. But after time and experience people realized that the Earth was Round. What changed? The Truth, or what people believed? Of course it was what they believed, the Earth was always Round.
If the Truth is the Truth no matter what we believe, shouldn’t we do our best to find out what that Truth is? Especially if our Eternal fate depends on it? All I ask is that you keep an open mind and be careful that you search for what is true, not just for something that you already believe. Make sure you have evidence to prove what you choose to believe so that you will be able to make a calculated leap of faith into Eternity, and not a blind leap.
v So what exactly is the Bible? Many people just assume that the Bible was a book written by men years after Jesus had died on the cross, and what they liked they put in it, what they didn’t like they took out and so on, but let’s look at some facts.
· The Bible contains 66 books that were written by more than 40 writers over a period of 1,600 years. These writers were from a variety of backgrounds: kings, herdsmen, soldiers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, scholars, priests, and prophets. They wrote from the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe in the languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Yet the Bible manages to present one unfolding drama of redemption. How is it possible that the Bible could have been written in the most complex and counterproductive way imaginable, and yet manage to fit together so accurately and read as if it were written by one author, at one time?
The unity, harmony, and accuracy of the Bible cannot be compared with that of any other book. The Bible is, by its very existence, evidence of a Divine Hand writing through devoted men.
Let me explain to you why the Bible IS unique when compared with other religious texts.
· The Bible claims to be written by God.
If you look at all other religious texts you will find that they were all written by men who claimed to be speaking for God.
· Men wrote the Bhagavad Gita (A sacred scripture of Hinduism)
· Men who knew, or knew of, Mohammed wrote the Koran long after his death
· Joseph Smith, wrote the Book of Mormon, claiming that an angel gave him the translation of ancient golden plates
· Mary Baker Eddy wrote the central book of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, first published by Eddy in 1879.
Only the Bible claims to have been written by God speaking to men. Over 3,000 times the Bible says, "Thus says the Lord:” What other book ever written has ever said something like that so many times? In no way, shape or form is that book claiming human authorship. It never has, it was written by God, using the hands of men to put it in writing.
So how can we prove this? There is a wealth of information out there to help with that, from history, archaeology, science, and prophecy, that show the Bible is indeed the Word of God.
But don't just agree with me until you see the evidence, then decide for yourself.
v Is the Bible Accurate?
Is the Bible, after having been translated so many times and passed down from generation to generation, really accurate to what was originally written down? And is what was originally written down the truth?
Well, to prove that an old text is Historically accurate you have to compare the manuscripts.
A “Manuscript” is a handwritten copy rather than a printed copy.
Handwritten manuscripts were written on materials that would perish, such as Papyrus. So, the writings would over time deteriorate. Therefore, in order not to lose what was written down, they would have to hand write another copy before the paper became unreadable. Usually, the closer in time the copies are made, the more accurate they will be. So then, we need to ask, what is the timeline between the original handwritten manuscript and the nearest copy?
Well, let’s take the New Testament, that is the 27 books that are in the last half of the Bible that consist of the life of Jesus as written down by some of his disciples, including 21 letters written by various authors and consisting mostly of Christian counsel and instruction. Let’s compare just the New Testament manuscript to some other famous writings.
· Pliny the Younger's Natural History – The earliest manuscripts date to 750 years after the original
· Julius Caesar's The Gallic Wars - 1,000 years
· Tacitus' Annals - 1,000 years
· Thucydides' History - 1,300 years
· Plato - 1,300 years
· Herodotus' History - 1,350 years
· The New Testament books - 40 - 60 years
That’s incredible! As you can see, just the New Testament manuscripts of the Bible hold up to the test of time. The next thing we need to look at is the number of copies made. The more copies made, the more likely it is that they are compared to each other and can make an accurate representation of the original.
· Pliny the Younger's Natural History - 7 manuscripts
· Julius Caesar's The Gallic Wars - 10 manuscripts
· Tacitus' Annals - 20 manuscripts
· Thucydides' History - 8 manuscripts
· Plato - 7 manuscripts
· Herodotus' History - 8 manuscripts
· The New Testament books – More Than 24,000 Manuscripts!
That’s right, more than Twenty Four Thousand manuscripts! The New Testament is hands down the number one authority in manuscript history; in fact the number two book in all history in manuscript authority is the Iliad by Homer with only 643 manuscripts.
Let’s take it a step further, even if we had no actual manuscripts, say every Bible and every manuscript was burned, within an accuracy of 150 to 300 years of Jesus, closer than any other literature of antiquity, all but 11 verses of the New Testament can be reconstructed. How? As it turns out, the early church fathers, when they wrote letters to the churches, or when they would prepare sermons, they would write out and copy quotes from the scriptures! Some would copy as many as 3, 4, & 5 Chapters in a letter when they would correspond with the churches. As many as 86,429 quotations from just the early church fathers have now been documented. And in these quotations all but 11 verses have been accurately found to match the New Testament scriptures.
Having seen the timeline and the number of manuscripts, I’m sure you can agree that the accuracy of what was written down is proven. However, how do we know that what was written down is True?
To discover this we need to look at some facts that can help us decide whether or not the accounts recorded in the Bible did in fact take place.
v Archaeology and the Bible
Many people seem to assume that the Bible is full of errors and contradicts itself, however, when asked to point out where, they can’t find any. With more than 25,000 archaeological finds that provide support regarding people, their titles, and their locations mentioned in the Bible, not one of those finds has contradicted the Bible. As a matter of fact, these discoveries only reveal the Bible as being true and accurate. Nelson Glueck, the renowned Jewish archaeologist, wrote: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted (disputed or opposed by reasoning) a biblical reference.”
Let’s take a look at just a few examples of these finds.
· Sodom and Gomorrah
In Genesis 19 the Bible talks about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation.” Genesis 19:24-25
But, can this be proven? Archaeologists believe they have found the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah Southeast of the Dead Sea. The modern names for them are Babe edh-Dhra, (Sodom), and Numeira, (Gomorrah). It seems that, just as the Bible had indicated, both cities were destroyed at the same time, by a devastating fire leaving debris about three feet thick. Interestingly, discoveries in the cemetery found at Babe edh-Dhra, (Sodom), revealed that buildings used to bury the dead were burned by the fire starting on the roof, proving to be accurate with the biblical story that fire rained down from the sky.
Further evidence has shown that subterranean deposits of a petroleum-based substance called “bitumen”, similar to asphalt, have been found South of the Dead Sea. Such materials normally contain high percentages of sulfur. It is presumed, according to geologist Frederick Clapp, that pressure from an earthquake could have caused the bitumen deposits to be forced out of the earth through a fault line and as it was gushed out of the earth it could have been ignited by a spark or surface fire and would have fell to the earth as a burning, fiery mass. In fact, it wasn’t until after Clapp made his theory known that Sodom and Gomorrah were found, it turns out that the sites where they were found are located directly on a fault line along the eastern side of a plain south of the Dead Sea, so Clapp’s theory is extremely plausible.
The Bible also records what Abraham saw when he looked towards the cities the day they were destroyed.
“Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace.” Genesis 19:27-28
Dense smoke suggests smoke from a petroleum-based fire. Smoke rising like smoke from a furnace indicates a forced draft, such as would be expected from subterranean deposits being forced out of the ground under pressure.
This archaeological evidence seems to support the account recorded in the Bible as fact.
· The Story of Joseph
The Bible tells the story of a man named Jacob, also known as Israel, who had 12 sons, but he showed favoritism toward one son, Joseph. This made the other sons so jealous that they resorted to kidnapping their brother and selling him into slavery in Egypt and making their father believe that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
Although sold as a slave, through a series of events Joseph found himself standing before Pharaoh, God used Joseph in order to interpret a dream the Pharaoh had revealing that the land would have seven years of plenty only to be followed by seven years of severe famine. The Pharaoh was so impressed by Joseph that he put him in charge of everything he owned, making him Vizier, or second-in-command over all the land of Egypt. By doing this, Joseph was able to save not only the Egyptians from starvation during the seven years of famine by storing up food for all the land, but also his family who heard that there was food in the land of Egypt and traveled there, yes even the brother’s who sold him into slavery were forgiven by Joseph and provided for. Joseph knew that what was meant for harm to him, God used for good in order to save his family.
Okay, so it’s a good story, but does it hold any truth? Let’s look at what Dr. Manfred Bietak, who specializes in Egypt Archeology, has found.
At a site known as Tell el-Daba today, the Rameses of the Old Testament, extensive excavations have been carried out under the direction of Manfred Bietak of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, Cairo, since 1966.
A cemetery was excavated in the open space to the southwest. One of the tombs was monumental in construction. It had a very elegant pyramid on top of it and it stood in the corner of a garden. To the North of this tomb there was a magnificent palace to go with that tomb. The owner of that palace was most likely who was buried in that tomb. Inside the tomb were found stone fragments of a colossal statue of a man who was clearly Asiatic, based on the yellow painted skin, the red-painted mushroom-shaped hairstyle and a throwstick on his right shoulder (the symbol for foreigner). This statue was of a high ranking official, but also depicted a foreigner, such as Joseph. They could also see remnants of a multi-colored coat going around his shoulders and down his back, Joseph was also known for having an expensive multi-colored coat which his father gave him as a boy. The statue had been intentionally broken in antiquity. While the other tombs nearby had intact skeletons, the only finds in the monumental tomb were fragments of an inscribed limestone coffin and a few bone fragments. The body was gone. While it was common to plunder tombs in ancient Egypt, the bodies were usually not taken. Could this be the tomb of Joseph, from which he commanded his bones to be carried back to Canaan?
“Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath, and he said, ‘When God comes to help you and lead you back, you must take my bones with you.’” Genesis 50:25;
“Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, ‘God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.’” Exodus 13:19
Without an inscription, it cannot be proven; but this site suggests the first material evidence of Israelites in Egypt. It is the right culture in the right place at the right time.
To take this story a step further, when the Israelites finally left Egypt hundreds of years after Joseph died, they were said to have done as Joseph asked and carried his bones with them to bury them in his home land. For centuries tradition had said that Joseph’s final resting place was a tomb at Shechem, modern day Nablus Palestinian. To this day the site is referred to as the tomb of Joseph, and when experts opened the tomb a few years ago they found a body which had been mummified the way Egyptians prepare a body for burial, they also found a sword that was the kind Egyptian officials wore.
· Sources outside the Bible that refer to Jesus
Many skeptics claim that Jesus didn’t exist because the only proof that He ever lived was in the Bible, and if the Bible couldn’t be confirmed by an outside source, then it should be considered nothing more than a book of myths and legends. But, in fact there are many sources that have been discovered outside the texts of the Bible to prove that Jesus was indeed born, died, and even document His crucifixion and resurrection. Here are just a few of the many texts that archaeologists have found to confirm the existence of Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that some of the writings were hostile to Christianity. This shows that it was not simply “believers” or “followers” of Jesus making documentation of the life of Christ, but also those who were against Him documented the historical fact of Jesus.
Ø Josephus, Jewish historian (AD 37-100) wrote of Jesus:
"About this time appeared Jesus, a wise man (if indeed it is right to call Him man; for He was a worker of astonishing deeds, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with joy), and He drew to Himself many Jews (many also of Greeks. This was the Christ.) And when Pilate, at the denunciation of those that are foremost among us, had condemned Him to the cross, those who had first loved Him did not abandon Him (for He appeared to them alive again on the third day, the holy prophets having foretold this and countless other marvels about Him.) The tribe of Christians named after Him did not cease to this day."
Ø Tacitus, a Roman historian, in his Annals, c. AD 115, describes the Roman Emperor Nero's actions after the great fire of Rome, c. AD 64:
Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.
Annals 15 -44”
Exitiabilis is the Latin word for mischievous. It means destructive, fatal, deadly. So it would seem that what Tacitus actually said was it was “a destructive or fatal or deadly superstition”. He was calling Christianity evil. So, it is obvious that he was not a Christian, thus he would not be sharing about the death of Jesus to support the fact that there was a historical Jesus that was killed by Pontius Pilate. Note that Tacitus is not referring to the death of the Jesus as superstition but the practice of Jesus’ followers.
A famous historian, reputed in his own days as being extremely careful and factual, Tacitus would not have been prone to writing about a movement without first checking the Roman archives to see if he could not get the most accurate report possible. He wrote his history of Rome covering the death of Augustus to the death of Domitian, that's 14-96 AD. He used earlier works by historians cross checking them with each other. He sought to verify his facts, something unusual in the writings of the time. He clearly has bias as he hated Domitian and wasn't a great fan of Tiberius, but this would have no bearing on mentions of Christ.
Ø Phlegon-Gentile Historian
"And with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place, Phlegon too, I think, has written in the thirteenth or fourteenth book of his Chronicles." Origen Against Celsus
"Phlegon mentioned the eclipse which took place during the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and no other (eclipse); it is clear that he did not know from his sources about any (similar) eclipse in previous times . . . and this is shown by the historical account of Tiberius Caesar."
Origen and Philopon, De. opif. mund. II21
There are many Jewish writings that show traces of Jesus. The following are just a few examples.
The murder of the Holy Innocents
· Wagenseil, "Confut. Libr.Toldoth", 15
· Eisenmenger op. cit., I, 116
· Schottgen, op. cit., II, 667
The flight into Egypt
· cf. Josephus, "Ant." XIII, xiii
The story of Jesus in the Temple at the age of twelve
· Schottgen, op. cit., II, 696
The call of the disciples
· "Sanhedrin", 43a
· Wagenseil, op. cit., 17
· Schottgen, loc. cit., 713
· Origen, "Contra Cels", II, 48
· Wagenseil, op. cit., 150
· Gemara "Sanhedrin" fol. 17
· "Schabbath", fol. 104b
· Wagenseil, op.cit., 6, 7, 17
His claim to be God
· Origen, "Contra Cels.", I, 28
· cf. Eisenmenger, op. cit., I, 152
· Schottgen, loc. cit., 699
His betrayal by Judas and His death
· Origen, "Contra cels.", II, 9, 45, 68, 70
· Buxtorf, op. cit., 1458
· Lightfoot, "Hor. Heb.", 458, 490, 498
· Eisenmenger, loc. cit., 185
· Schottgen, loc. cit.,699 700
· cf."Sanhedrin", vi, vii
So significant is Jesus in man's history that the Encyclopedia Britannica has 20,000 words in describing this person, Jesus. His description took more space than was given to Aristotle, Cicero, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed or Napolean Bonaparte. Why would there be so much material on a man who was never born?
Here is a quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica concerning the testimony of the many independent secular accounts of Jesus of Nazareth:
These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historical authenticity of Jesus, which was disputed for the first time and on inadequate grounds by several authors at the end of the 18th, during the 19th, and at the beginning of the 20th centuries.
Jesus is also recorded as a fact, as is His death, burial and missing body in the Reader's Digest Book of Facts, 1989.
The above is just some of the archaeological evidence that has been discovered to prove the accuracy of the Bible, the list goes on and on, take a look at this quote from Scholar, Dr. J. O. Kinnaman
"Of the hundreds of thousands of artifacts found by the archaeologists, not one has ever been discovered that contradicts or denies one word, phrase, clause or sentence of the Bible, but always confirms and verifies the facts of the Biblical record."
Let’s move on to some other types of evidence.
v Scientific evidence that supports the Bible.
Most people seem to think that science and the Bible did not and could not mix together - that the two were in fact opposed to each other. But, in fact that isn’t the case.
· About 2,500 years ago, science said that there were around 1,100 stars in the sky. But at about the same time, the prophet Jeremiah said, "... as the stars of the sky cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured ..." Jeremiah 33:22
Jeremiah said they were uncountable. And now with the advancements made in astronomy we now see and know that the stars of the sky are uncountable to man. Of course, they are not uncountable to God, who "…counts the stars and calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4
· Science used to teach that the world sat on the back of a large animal. The reason scientists taught this is because they couldn't believe that the flat earth wasn't supported by something.
Job 26:7 says of God, "God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing." That statement was written 3,500 years ago. The Bible has always said that the earth is hanging in space. And, of course, with our science and our space exploration today, we know that to be a fact.
· One of the greatest discoveries of modern science was the invisible elements called “atoms”. Yet, almost 2,000 years ago the Bible stated that the things that we see are made of invisible things.
Hebrews 11:3 says: “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.”
· Isaiah also made an interesting observation 2,800 years ago when he wrote:
“God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them.” Isaiah 40:22
Ray Comfort, in Scientific Facts in the Bible, said:
The Bible informs us here (Isaiah 40:22) that the earth is round. At a time when science believed that the earth was flat, it was the Scriptures that inspired Christopher Columbus to sail around the world. He wrote: "It was the Lord who put it into my mind. I could feel His hand upon me ... there is no question the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit because He comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures.”
So you see, science and the Bible really go hand in hand, after all, the Creator of the Universe has claimed authorship.
But, let’s go just another step further to prove that very point. Only the Creator of the Universe, God, could claim to know the future, right? No human being could claim to know the future, and then back it up with 100% accuracy, never missing a beat. But, that’s just what the Bible does.
v Evidence of the Bible through fulfilled prophecy
The Book of Mormon for Latter Day Saints, the Koran for Muslims, and the Bhagavad Gita for Hindus, none of these books can claim that the prophecies in them are 100% accurate, only the Bible can boast about that fact.
In all the writings of Buddha, Confucius, and Lao- Tse, you will not find a single example of prophecy being fulfilled. In fact, the only two widely accepted religions that even attempt to predict the future are Islam and Mormonism.
· In the Koran, the only predictions made are vague and general predictions of events that will happen at the end of the world, so if they’re wrong, it will be too late to affect their creditability. In fact the only instance of a specific prophecy is when Mohammed predicted that he himself would return to Mecca - a prophecy that was very easy for him to fulfill himself.
· Mormon publications have made dozens of predictions over the years, about all kinds of events, however, in every single case, the predictions were either made well after the events had taken place, or they never came to pass at all.
The Bible, on the other hand, is predictive in nature. There are more than 2,000 detailed prophecies in the Old Testament alone. These predictions were made in a way that gave such detail as to insure that they could in no way have been manipulated by people or situations to give the impression that they had been divinely fulfilled. And except for the prophecies that tell about the End Time return of Jesus, every single prophecy - including those about political, religious, intellectual, and geographic events leading up to the return of Jesus Christ to earth - has been fulfilled down to the smallest detail.
The Bible is so sure, it says within its own writings that anyone who doesn’t predict with 100% accuracy is a false prophet, and this was serious business to people in the day it was written. In Old Testament times, if someone claimed to be a prophet speaking for God and the prophecy did not come true, the penalty was death by stoning. So when prophets spoke, they made sure they were properly representing God's words, and not their own! Prophecy is so important because it demonstrates who God is and that He can be trusted. If He says through His prophets that He will do something, He will do it. Let's look at some examples and see if that holds true.
v The Restoration of The Temple
In the book of Isaiah 44:28, God is speaking through the prophet Isaiah about a man named Cyrus. He says: “When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’”
So, what’s so important about that statement? Well, when we put it into context here’s what we get.
The book of Isaiah was written in approximately 700 BC, that has been proven and is virtually undisputed. But, Isaiah is talking about the Temple being rebuilt, and that hadn’t even been destroyed yet, it wouldn’t be destroyed until 586 BC, more than 100 years after this was written. Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, which the Bible also predicted.
Also, Isaiah named the man who would rebuild the Temple, Cyrus, before he had even been born, 150 years before he would even rule in 539 BC.
Can you see how impressive that is? This prediction was made so far in advance and about something that would not even have been considered, and to be done by someone who hadn’t even been born yet.
vThe Destruction of Tyre
Tyre was the capital city of Phoenicia, just north of Israel in modern day Lebanon. A beautiful city that sat part way on the main land and part way on an offshore island, and it was very well fortified.
In Ezekiel chapter 26 the Lord says He will not only destroy Tyre, but He lays out 7 very detailed predictions about how it will be destroyed.
1. “I am your enemy, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the waves of the sea crashing against your shoreline.” Ezekiel 26:3
2. “They will destroy the walls of Tyre and tear down its towers. I will scrape away its soil and make it a bare rock!” Ezekiel 26:4
3. “It will be just a rock in the sea, a place for fishermen to spread their nets, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord. Tyre will become the prey of many nations,” Ezekiel 26:5
4. “and its mainland villages will be destroyed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 26:6
5. “They will plunder all your riches and merchandise and break down your walls. They will destroy your lovely homes and dump your stones and timbers and even your dust into the sea.” Ezekiel 26:12
6. “You will never be rebuilt, for I, the Lord, have spoken. Yes, the Sovereign Lord has spoken!” Ezekiel 26:14
7. “You will be looked for, but you will never again be found. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” Ezekiel 26:21
These are the facts that the Bible laid out for the destruction of Tyre, Now, feel free to check any of these facts out for yourself, use any reliable source you wish, but the proof is here, and history records it as follows:
Tyre was attacked by the mighty army of King Nebuchadnezzar. Most other nations quickly surrendered when they saw the strength of the army, but Tyre had a mighty navy of their own, that few nations could reckon with, so they chose not to surrender. Much of the city was destroyed but many of the people escaped in the ships to the Islands of Tyer where they scoffed at the warning that Ezekiel had given them saying it had not come true because they had escaped and were rebuilding the city. But, about two hundred years later, Alexander the Great allied with many other nations to destroy Tyre. His army destroyed the remains of mainland Tyre and threw them into the Mediterranean Sea. As Alexander's army constructed a causeway to the island, they scraped even the dust from the mainland city, leaving only bare rock.
Read what secular historian Philip Myers has to say about what happened to Tyre, keep in mind that he is not a biblical commentator, not a theologian, just a historian recording the facts in a historical text book.
"Alexander the Great reduced Tyre to ruins in 332 BC. Tyre recovered in a measure from this blow, but never regained the place she had previously held in the world. The larger part of the site of the once great city is now as bare as the top of a rock -- a place where the fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry."
To sum this up, in point number 7 the Lord says: “You will be looked for, but you will never again be found”. If you want to disprove the Bible, here’s your chance, simply find the remains of Tyre. Archeologists have been searching for years and have found nothing.
The Bible gives skeptics this challenge over and over again. There have been multiple cities destroyed with God saying that they will never be rebuilt. And each and every time God has made that claim, the place where that city had been, up to and including today, remains barren.
v The Messiah, Jesus
The Old Testament was finished more than 400 years before The New Testament was written, yet details of the Messiah, (Jesus), was predicted in The Old Testament 456 times. It’s been calculated that for even 8 of the 456 prophecies to take place in any one person would be 1 in 10 to the 17th power, that’s 1 chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000 for someone to fulfill just 8 of the 456 prophecies!
Let’s put that in perspective.
If you were to take all the land on all seven continents of the world and cover it in 1 ½ inch square white tiles, and on the bottom of just one tile where it can’t be seen paint a red X. Then pick one person and allow him to wander for a lifetime around all seven continents. He is permitted to bend down only one time and pick up a single piece of tile. The odds of that one tile being the one with the red painted on the bottom are the same as just eight of the Old Testament Prophecies coming true in any one person, as it did in Jesus Christ.
So let’s look over a few of the predictions made about the Messiah from the Old Testament.
· Micah 5:2 said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Now at the time of Jesus' birth, Bethlehem had only about 1,000 inhabitants.
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.”
This was fulfilled in Mathew 2:1.
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod.”
God said His Son would be born in Bethlehem, and He was.
· Isaiah 11:2 says the Messiah would have an unusual manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
This was fulfilled in Matthew 3:16-17.
“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.’”
God said His Son would have an unusual manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and He did.
· Isaiah 35: 6 states that the Messiah would have a ministry of miracles.
“The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!”
This was fulfilled all throughout the ministry of Jesus recorded in the four gospels of the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Here are a few examples of this.
“Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness.” Matthew 9:35
“Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. 30 A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. 31 The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.” Matthew 15:29-31
“Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, ‘Would you like to get well? . . . Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’ Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking!” John 5:3-9
God said that His Son would perform miracles, and He did.
· Zechariah 9:9 tells us that the Messiah would ride into the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.
“Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.”
This is fulfilled in Matthew 21:2-5:
“’Go into the village over there,’ he said. ‘As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, “The Lord needs them,” and he will immediately let you take them.’ This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said, Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.’”
God said His Son would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, and He did.
· There are many places in the Bible that tell us that the Messiah would be betrayed by a friend for thirty pieces of silver. Here are just a couple.
“Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me.” Psalm 41:9
“…give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.” Zechariah 11: 12
This is shown to be fulfilled in the following verses.
“Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!” The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.” John 13:21-22, 25-26
“Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.” Matthew 26: 14-15
God said His Son would be betrayed by a friend who ate with Him, and He was.
· Psalm 22:16 describes the Messiah being killed by Crucifixion some 700 years before crucifixion was even used as a means for execution.
“My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet.”
This was fulfilled in Matthew 27:32-55, Mark 15:21-40, Luke 23:26-49, and John 19:17-37.
God said His Son would be killed by Crucifixion, and He was.
· Psalm 22:18 says that they will throw dice for the clothing of the Messiah while he is being crucified.
“They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing.”
This is shown to be fulfilled in Mark 15:24:
“Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece.”
God said they would throw dice for His clothing, and they did.
· Isaiah 53:9 says that the Messiah would be treated like a criminal, but would be buried in a rich man’s tomb.
“He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave.”
This was fulfilled in Matthew 27:57-60:
“As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left.”
God said His Son would be treated as a criminal but buried as a rich man, and He was.
Now, this is just 8 of the 456 prophecies about the Messiah, keep in mind that ALL 456 came to pass in one Man, Jesus Christ.
I hope you will agree with me now after seeing the evidence from Science, Archaeology, and proven fulfilled Prophecy, that there is sufficient proof that not only is the Bible we have today accurate to what was written down, but also that the facts that were written in the Bible are true and trustworthy.
If you have come to the rational conclusion that the Bible is true, and that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, the Messiah that was sent to save us from our sins, please to read more about how you can develop a relationship with Him that will be Everlasting!