"The Bible is God Inspired and God Given"
Today with so much confusion in the minds of people about religion, many people are beginning to question the divine inspiration of the Bible. Because of the many confusing and contradictory teachings of different churches, all claiming to follow the Bible, many people are at a loss to know what to believe. They ask, can a book be really God inspired and cause so much confusion? Without stopping to think, they blame the Bible for the many differences in the religious world. With the seed thus planted, that it is the Bible's fault, the next natural thing to question is can the Bible really be God's word?
Before we proceed to prove that the Bible is indeed God's divine word, I want to clarify to those reading these lines what is the actual cause of the confusion and contradictions. There cannot be conflicting doctrines in the Bible. Now if this is true, and it is, then why is there so much confusion in the churches today? Let me ask you a question. Why can't a person be a member of the Baptist church and be a Methodist? Why can't a person join the Nazarene church and be called a Mormon? The simple answer is that in order to become a Baptist, one must adhere to the teaching of the Baptist manual. For one to become a Methodist, he must conform to the Articles of Faith Manual of the Methodist church, and the same is true of the Nazarenes and Mormons. Now I want to ask, does the Bible make one man a Methodist, and another man a Baptist, and another a Mormon? It definitely does not. Well then, what does make a man a Baptist? His obedience to the doctrine of the Baptist church is the answer. When he obeys that, he is then a Baptist. Well then, can a person obey the doctrine of the Baptist church and become a Methodist? Definitely not. Well why not? Because for a man to become a Methodist, he must obey the doctrine of the Methodist church. Well you may ask, aren't they both the same? Don't they teach the same thing? The answer is an emphatic NO! Their disciplines and confessions of faith differ radically, and right here is where the confusion and contradiction lies.
These people are not divided because of what the Bible teaches. They are divided over their man-made creeds, over what the Bible does not teach. When a person obeys the Bible he cannot become anything but a Christian. Can you see then that it is not the Bible that is causing so much confusion, but the human creeds of men who make up their own rules for entrance into their various churches? If these different churches would get rid of their man-made creed books and take the word of God and it alone, there would be no confusion and no contradictions in their teachings. The reason for this is obvious. The Bible teaches only one plan of salvation. It speaks only of one church. It speaks only of one faith. It speaks only of one baptism. It speaks of different congregations of God's people as each being self-governed, independent one of another. Yet each congregation is governed by the same rule, which is the word of God and it alone. Read Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 16:15-16; Eph. 4:4-6; I Peter 5:1-3; II Timothy 3:14-17. In contrast to these many scriptural subjects we find men substituting their own ideas in the place of God's. Thus you have not one faith such as the Bible mentions, but you have well over three hundred different differing denominations existing in the world today. You not only have the church of which the Bible speaks, but, as I just pointed out, you have "the church of your choice" from which to choose, over three hundred of them in fact. Is it any wonder that a man searching for God has such a hard time finding out which church really has the truth of God and is following that truth - the word of God? With one preacher saying "you must do this in order to be saved", and another preacher from another sect telling him, "No, you have to do something else," and yet another tells him something else, why the poor person will naturally come to the conclusion that the word of God must be a very confusing and contradictory book. But, friend, it is not the Bible that is confusing and contradictory. It is the traditions and doctrines of men that are causing the confusion and by so doing they are planting the seed of doubt into the minds of men about the divine inspiration of God's word. So let me now proceed to prove the divinity of God's word.
There are, I believe, three important ways that we can prove the divine inspiration of the Bible, God's word. We shall classify them in this order: first, proof by what the Bible says itself, by prophecy and the fulfilment of those prophecies, secondly, by secular history as it reveals unto us the complete harmony between itself and Bible history, and thirdly, by archaeological discoveries such as proofs and evidences of the accurateness of the Bible in its speaking of men and places and then actually proving that things did take place exactly like the word of God now says. Actually any one of these proofs should be enough to prove to the honest and unprejudiced persons the divine inspiration of the Bible. We then are, I believe, offering undeniable proof by these three "proofs" that the Bible, as we have it today, is not only divine but also both historically and scientifically correct; that the same thought that God wanted conveyed is not hindered by the translations of the Bible from its original language to the various languages in which we have it today. We fully realise that some wording varies in different translations, yet the same thought is conveyed as originally indicated.
Fully realising that nature itself is evidence of God and His existence and power, we thus present these evidences to show that God has always had a specific plan for man and has thus revealed His will to man through the medium of His word, the Bible. "God who at sundry times and in diverse manner spake unto the Fathers by the Prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds." Heb. 1:1-2. So now let us proceed with "Evidences".
INSPIRATIONS AND PROPHECY OF THE BIBLE
I. Inspiration: Webster defines this as "a supernatural influence which fits man to receive and to communicate divine truth." Such men were the Apostles, prophets, and men of God. In II Timothy 3:16-17, it says, "All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." This was written by Paul, when only a part of the New Testament had been written, or recorded. Today we have in its completeness, the Bible containing the Old and New Testaments. (66 books in all).
II. Bible: The Book of Books. The Scriptures. The Word of God to man. Moses accurately recorded the creation story by the inspiration of God. Paul shows how divine knowledge was imparted to Biblical writers in Galatians 1:11-12. "But I certify you brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not after man. For I neither received it of man neither was I taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ." God speaking to Moses said in Exodus 4:12, "Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. This teaches that Moses was inspired of God. In II Samuel 23:2, "And the Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue." In Jeremiah 1:9, "And the Lord said unto me, behold I have put my words in thy mouth." This proves the prophets were inspired of God. In II Peter 1:20-21, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophecies came not in olden times by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." In Matthew 10:19-20, Jesus promised inspiration to the Apostles. John 14:26, Jesus promised the Comforter which was the Holy Spirit. He was to teach them all things. In I Corinthians 2:11-12 we can read that the Apostles did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God.
The Bible was written by about forty different writers in three languages, over a period of about fifteen hundred years. Yet its remarkable unity of thought, emphasised by its absence of contradictions, points to the inspiration of its writers.
A great English scientist, Herbert Spencer, once declared that science offers five basic principles. Space, time, matter, force and motion. The first two verses of the Bible reveal all five:
I. Time - In the beginning
II. Space - God created the heaven
III. Matter - And the earth
IV. Force - And the Spirit of God
V. Motion - Moved upon the face of the waters.
In Job 26:7, "He stretcheth out to the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." Here are two scientific facts.
1. The northern heavens have a vast space in which the most powerful telescope cannot locate any celestial body or bodies. In all other directions stars can be found. Prov. 8:27.
2. Ptolemy, Aristotle and Plato thought the earth was flat and surrounded by water. Now we know that the earth is a sphere and is attached to nothing. Plato lived from 428-347 B.C. Ptolemy (app.) 127-151 B.C. Aristotle 384-322 B.C. These men were wrong in their day, yet Job, who lived about 1500 B.C. was right, because of divine inspiration, centuries before science proved these points.
When the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, they were supplied with manna, Exodus 16:14 and Deuteronomy 8:4 tells us: "And their raiment waxed not old upon them, neither did thy foot swell these forty years." Only God could make these things possible.
Let us define the word "prophecy". Prophecy is telling what will happen; foretelling the future; a divinely inspired utterance, revelation, writing, etc. Occasionally people make predictions and they are right, but the Bible contains many fulfilled prophecies which must convince us that its writers were divinely inspired. By prophecy I mean:
1. It must be beyond the power of men to foresee.
2. It must not be a vision of hope or fear.
3. It may be a scientific or political forecast.
4. The prophecy must be clear and its fulfilment plain.
There are several hundred prophecies in the Old Testament. There are over three hundred prophecies foretelling the coming of Christ and where He would be born, how and at what time. I would like to deal with some of these prophecies concerning the coming of Christ.
Three types of prophecies are represented to us: (1) Direct prophecies referring to Christ and Him alone; (2) Double prophecies that had two fulfilments, one in the Old Testament, and one in the New Testament; (3) Commands, institutions, and events that were types or symbols and hence prophetic. First let us notice some direct prophecies. Moses prophesied the coming of Christ. In Deuteronomy 18:15-22, "The Lord 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;" Verse 18 says, "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak in my name, I will require it of Him." This came to pass at the birth of Christ. That He is the one to whom Moses referred there is no doubt, for Jesus himself in John 5:36-47, makes reference to what Moses said in Deuteronomy concerning Himself and in 5:45-47 He says, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom you trust. For had you believed Moses, you would have believed me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" Again in John 5:30 Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me".
In John 14:24, Jesus says, "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." We can see here an amazing fulfilment of the prophecy of Moses. But I want to give one more Scripture before we move on and this is found in Acts 3:20-24. This is the Apostle Peter preaching to the Jews and notice how Peter uses the Old Testament prophecies to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah of whom the Old Testament spoke. Beginning with verse 20 Peter says, "And He shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, a Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days." So we can see the prophecy and then see the fulfilment of it, and a witnessing to the fact that it was fulfilled.
But let us move on to another direct prophecy, this time spoken by David. In Psalms 22 we have a scene of the crucifixion. In verse one and also verse 18 notice these words, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' , And verse 16 mentions the fact of the piercing of His hands and feet by the wicked. Now let us come over to the fulfilment of these things. In Matthew the 27th chapter, we have the record of the crucifixion of Christ. Notice verse 35, "And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did cast lots." Then look at verse 46, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Here again we see the prophecy, the fulfilment of it, and a witnessing of the fact that it was fulfilled. There are many prophecies concerning the crucifixion, such as Psalms 69:21; Psalms 22:8, etc., but let us move on again.
Deuteronomy 18:15 says, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee, a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, unto Him thou shall hearken." In John 1:45 it says, "Phillip findeth Nathaniel and saith unto him, we have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth the Son of Joseph". In Luke 2:4 we can read that Joseph was of the lineage of David. In Acts 3:22 we can read this fulfilment again, and in verses 25 and 26 we see this was fulfilled in Jesus. This also goes back to Abraham, Genesis 12:3. In Genesis 22, the story is told of Abraham being told by God to offer his son, Isaac, on the altar. Because of Abraham's faithfulness and fear of God, God told him, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice." Genesis 22:18. Again God said to David in Psalms 98:3, "I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto my servant David; thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations." We see in Matthew 1:17: "So all the generations from Abraham to David are 14 generations, and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are 14 generations, and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are 14 generations." So Christ is a descendent of Abraham, and David. There were 42 generations between them.
Paul tells that in David's seed Jesus was born. Acts 13:22-23, "And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise, raised unto Israel a saviour, Jesus."
In Micah 5:2 we read, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel." (app. 710 B.C.). In Matthew 2:1 we read, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of Herod the king, etc." Here is a prediction of where Christ was to be born, and we can see it fulfilled to the letter.
In Isaiah 7:14,' "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel." This was prophesied some 740 years B.C. In Matthew 1:20, Joseph was told to take Mary for his wife for that which was conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit.
In Isaiah 40:3 we see that Jesus was to be preceded by a forerunner, who would prepare the way of the Lord. In Matthew 3:1-3 we find his forerunner was John the Baptist. He was the cousin of Jesus. Luke 1:36 and 76.
In Isaiah 53:3, we read where Jesus was to he despised and rejected of men, to bear our griefs, carry our sorrows, be wounded for our transgressions, oppressed and afflicted, be brought as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before the shearers, and opened not His mouth. (Matthew 8:14-19). We can read the fulfilment of these prophesies in John 1:11, "He came to his own, and His own received him not." In Romans 4:25, we read that Jesus was delivered for our offences, and was raised for our justification. When Jesus was on trial for His life in Matthew 26:62-63, "And the high priest arose and said unto Him, answereth thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee?" it says, "Jesus held His peace." In Matthew 27:12, "And when He was accused of the chief priests and elders, He answereth nothing." This all took place 750 years after Isaiah prophesied it.
In Daniel the second chapter verse 44, Daniel in interpreting King Nebuchadnezzer's dream prophesied, "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: etc." This was a prophecy of the establishment of the Church. In the days of the Roman kings, Christ came. In Matthew 16:28, Jesus said to the people, "Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom." In other words, some of those people standing there would live to see a new kingdom established. In Acts the first and second chapters, we read of the fulfilment of these things. Christ ascended into heaven and the Gospel was preached for the first time in its fullness. Then in Acts 2:47, we have the Church or kingdom, spoken of as in existence. In Colossians 1:13 Paul makes this statement, "Who (that is God) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son". So we see God did set up a kingdom, which is His Son's.
In Zech. 9:9 we can read that Jesus was to come into Jerusalem, riding on an ass. Matthew 21:1-7 gives us the fulfilment of this.
In Isaiah 53:9, it says he would be with the wicked and with the rich. This was fulfilled in Matthew 27:57-60. Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man, buried Jesus in his own tomb. And Matthew 27:38 tells us that He died between two thieves.
Jesus was not to remain in the grave. David's prophecy was that the soul of Christ would not be left in the abode of the dead, nor would His body be left in the grave to corrupt, Psalms 16:10. In Acts 2:27 Peter quoted this prediction to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. The many passages telling of Christ's resurrection are proofs that He did not remain in the grave. Some Scriptures confirming this are: Matt. chapter 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21.
In Jeremiah 31:15, we have a double prophecy. "In Ramah a voice was heard, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children because they were not.' , This not only happened in the Old Testament (Moses birth), but we see it again in the New Testament. In Matt. 2:18 "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet saying, in Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and great weeping and mourning Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they were not." So again we see the prophecy, the fulfilment of it and the witnessing to the fact that it was fulfilled.
There are several types or symbols which were prophetic in nature. For instance, the tabernacle was a type of the church. The Passover lamb was a type of Christ. The land of Canaan typified the Christian's heaven, etc. These are actually prophecies in symbols or types. There are many others that could be listed, but for more information on these simply read the book of Hebrews where the writer contrasts these very things and calls them types or figures. Except for Christ's second coming, these types have all been fulfilled. We are now living in the time of the antitype of these things.
So we have seen direct prophecy, double prophecy and symbolic prophecy.
The Old Testament was the law for the Jews, they were governed by the Law of Moses, but the New Testament is a law for all people, Gal. 3:28. The Law of Moses was a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. That is it looked forward to, foreshadowed and typified the coming of Christ, Galatians 3:24. By obedience to the New Testament plan of salvation we are all made heirs to the promise of Abraham. That is, through his seed One would come and by His coming bless all people, or nations. Gal. 3:29.
In the prophecies, there was definitely inspiration of God. There are hundreds of years between the prophecy and the fulfilment. These prophets did not guess. If today, we could prophesy, just one year ahead, and be right all the time, we would be considered better than all the ways and means of scientific experiments and developments in the world, and rightly so. No one can prophesy when the end of the world will come, and be sure he is correct. We are told in Rev. 22:12 that Christ will come quickly. It will be too late to correct a soul then. The New Testament tells us how to get prepared to meet Christ at His second coming. It prophesied the doom of the sinners and the glorious entrance into heaven of the Christians, the children of God. Just as surely as we have seen these Old Testament prophesies fulfilled, we are going to stand in judgment before our Creator and see many New Testament prophesies fulfilled. Surely these prophesies prove the inspiration of the Bible. What a great all-seeing and all-knowing God we have.
PROOFS FROM SECULAR HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY
Since secular history and archaeology are so closely related, I will combine the two into one and yet make the distinction between the two.
There are inexhaustible sources to which we could go to prove that Bible history is true and consistent, but we shall use just enough to establish the truth of it and let that suffice.
Books of the Bible were written at somewhat widely scattered places and times, and along with them arose other documents for which false claims of inspiration were made. Thus we are confronted with the question of canon, that is, which books were genuinely inspired. This is not a matter to be settled by official pronouncement, but like all other events, it demands historical inquiry to discover whether they were written by the persons and under the circumstances claimed.
With regard to the Old Testament, it is thought that Ezra, about 457 B.C., arranged the books into the order which the Jews accepted as authoritative (except Nehemiah and Malachi which were not then written). The Old Testament canon was well established by the time of Jesus. He accepted the authority of the Old Testament for He quoted from the Septuagint version. This Bible was the first translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew into the Greek language. This was translated in 3 B.C. During the second century A.D. there existed translations of the New Testament in Latin, Syrian, and Egyptian besides copies of the original Greek.
The first formal pronouncement regarding the New Testament was by the Council of Carthage in 397 A.D. when a list, duplicating our present list, was published. This council could only recognise in a formal way the books which Christians for three centuries had already accepted as inspired. The churches and individuals to whom the apostolic writing were originally sent supplied the first evidence. Christians in the first and second centuries have left the necessary evidence in the form of lists, quotations from the various books, commentaries, harmonies and translations. Tertullian, a second century writer, implied that the original letters were still in the hands of the churches to which they had been sent. Five men (Barnabus, Clement, Hermas, Polycarp, Ignatius) who were contemporary with the apostles, have left religious writings which quote from practically every book of the New Testament, using them with the same authority as we do today. Most of these men died as Christian martyrs. Some of their writings include: seven letters written by Ignatius in about 107 A.D., "The Shepherd", by Hermas, written about the year 150. Polycarp, who was a disciple of John the Apostle, wrote a letter to the Philippians. Barnabus also wrote a letter, controversial and apologetic. Clement wrote extensively using much Scripture as we have it today. Among others who have written using extensive amounts of Scripture are such men as Pothinus 87-177, Papias 70-150, Justin Martyr ?-160, Tertullian 160-240, Tatian ??? ("The Diatessaron" - 170?), Origen 185-254, Eusebius 270-340, Cyril 315-386, Ephraem 350. These lives interlocking testify of the authorship and received authority of various books. Origen used the Bible, or Scriptures, extensively in proving his arguments on "Christ is the son of God." He was one of our earliest theologians. He used and quoted many passages of Scripture in proving that God created the world out of nothing by an act of His own will. Josephus, who was a Jewish historian, also writes of Christ and His great works.
These men are all writers of prominence. They are all historians, because they have handed down to us much of what we know of early Christianity. If we had the time we could write many pages on these men and their various subjects. But I simply want to get before you the fact that these men used the Scriptures in their day as authoritative. They recognised they were inspired of God. They used the Scriptures to prove themselves. In doing so they were showing - much the same as I am trying to do - the logic, the factualness, its consistency both historically and scientifically, etc. We have other records of history on many different subjects. We have in our history books the fact that Nero burned Rome. We do not hesitate to accept what the historians say about this incident, but when it comes to religious or spiritual facts, we seem to become hesitant in our acceptance of these things. I believe this is principally because there is so much confusion in the religious world today. But let me point out something here. If I was going to try to prove Nero burned Rome, I would go to the only source we have today to prove it. That is history. How else could I offer any proof? I wasn't there, I didn't see it happen, so I must accept what good historians have written about it, men who were eyewitnesses of these things. To prove any argument a man must produce evidence to substantiate his point. We don't hesitate to go to historians to find out and prove what is truth. But I remind you, some of these men were eyewitnesses of the things they recorded and they wrote them down as they saw them, and they are just as factual as any history ever written. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were all historians. They were eyewitnesses of the things they wrote. What they wrote is as true as what I would write if I wrote of the death of John Kennedy, our late president. Because people six hundred years from now or two thousand years from now will not have lived at this time to see these things happen, will in no way affect the truthfulness of the fact that it did happen. Just as forcibly I say, just because we didn't live at the time of Christ or Moses or Abraham, or Adam and Eve, the time that has passed in no way does away with the truthfulness of the history we have recorded about them. Now I believe that any reasonable person can see the truthfulness of that statement.
I would like to say here that faith must enter into the acceptance of these historical facts. The Bible defines faith as "The substance of the things hoped for, (that is future things) and the evidence of things not seen", (that is those things in the past or future that we have not seen). But notice the word evidence. What evidence of things not seen have we if it is not the history recorded for us by those who did see and wrote what they had seen? Faith is simply hoping for things you don't yet have, believing you shall receive them someday, and believing in those things you have not seen, but of which you have evidence of by some witness. Jesus put it this way in John 20:29, "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas because thou hast seen me, thou believest: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." John said the reason he wrote the things he did was so we might believe in Christ and have life through His name, John 20:31. Now I can look back and see John's writings or his history of the life of Christ. He was an eyewitness of these things and of Jesus himself. I accept what John wrote by faith. Just as I accept what I read about Abraham Lincoln by faith. Only I believe in John's writings more so because he wrote by the inspiration of God and I know there are no mistakes there. But I still believe Abraham Lincoln was murdered, and I believe John Wilkes Booth murdered him because historians agree on these things.
One of the most profound and consistent histories I have ever read is that of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Four different writers, writing of the same person and though supplementary to one another, never contradicting one another. It is common knowledge that through the years there have arisen many sceptics who have tried to prove the Bible contradicts itself and is inconsistent. However, every alleged contradiction has been answered and sufficiently so. The Bible has been attacked from about every angle one could imagine, but there has never yet been one man who was able to prove the Bible contradictory. To the contrary, each time these alleged contradictions are analysed, the Bible has come out victorious and more influential than before. History has proven that the infidel, the agnostic, and now the modernist have all failed in their attempts to attack the word of God successfully. The infidel denies it is the word of God, and the modernist denies certain parts of it, but the Bible still stands today as the best selling book in the world. Its message is still the same today as it was two thousand years ago. It is still God's only power to save men from sin and hell, Roman 1:16. So I believe any reasonable person can see that history itself testifies to the fact that the Bible is divinely inspired of God. When you read Bible history you are reading reliable, authenticated history. It is history that was recorded by men who were there on the scene. These were men who had no reason to lie or deceive us.
Now I said I would combine history and archaeology together in this part of our study. Archaeology is actually a proof that Bible history is true and reliable. The many discoveries made in just the past few years have proven the Bible to be completely accurate in its statements, whether it be concerning places or events that took place. This will be clarified as we go further into the study. Let us take just a few archaeological proofs to further establish the inspiration and reliability of the Bible. Archaeology defined is "The scientific study of the people, customs, and life of ancient times." Students of archaeology excavate, classify, and study the remains of ancient cities, artefacts, pottery, monuments, and any other available records in order to reconstruct a picture of the past. As we shall show, the Bible is outstanding in its record of things that took place in past history. The discoveries that have been made have done nothing but confirm the Bible in what it says.
First let us consider the flood of Noah's time. Genesis 5:7. At Ur, the city of Abraham, the Joint Expedition of the University Museum of Pennsylvania and the British Museum, under the leadership of Dr. C.L. Wooley, found in 1929, near the bottom of the Ur mounds, underneath several strata of human occupation, a great bed of solid water-laid clay eight feet thick without a mixture of human relic, with yet the ruins of another city buried beneath it. Dr. Wooley said that eight feet of sediment implied a very great depth and a long period of water, that it could not have been put there by any ordinary overflow of the rivers, but only by some such vast inundation such as the Biblical flood. The civilisation underneath the flood layer was so different from that above it that it indicated to Dr. Wooley "a sudden and terrific break in the continuity of history." These same deposits are found in other cities also. Kish, a city on the east edge of Babylon was one. In 1928-29 the Field Museum-Oxford University Joint Expedition, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Langdon, found deposits five feet thick. Also at Fara, Ninevah, deposits were found.
The fall of Jericho is another interesting Bible account. Joshua 6 tells of its destruction. In 1929-36, Dr. John Garstang, director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and the Department of Antiquities of the Palestine Government, excavated the ruins of Jericho. He found pottery and scarce evidence that the city had been destroyed about 1400 B.C., coinciding with Joshua's date and in a number of details, evidence confirming the Biblical account in the most remarkable way. The site of the city of Bethel was also excavated and its time coincides perfectly with that of Joshua. The same is true of Lachish, Hazor, and Debir, all bearing the marks of Joshua's time.
In Judges 20:40 we find the burning of Gibeah. AIbright, in 1922-23 found in the ruins of Gibeah, a layer of ashes from the fire that occurred about 1200 B.C. This very fire no doubt.
In I Kings 10:26-28 we find Megiddo is named as one of the cities where Solomon kept his horses. See also I Kings 9:26. It mentions that Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is located on the north end of the Gulf of Aquaba, on the Red Sea. It's ruins have been identified, and were excavated in 1938-39 by Dr. Nelson Glueck of the American Schools of Oriental Research. He found ruins of Solomon's smelters, furnaces, crucibles, and refineries; also copper and iron ore deposits in the vicinity; of which dishes, nails, spearheads, and fishhooks were manufactured and exported in exchange for ivory and gold.
In II Kings chapter 3 there is an account of Jehoram's effort to subdue Moab. Mesha, king of Moab, named in chapter 3 verse 4, made his own record of this rebellion and it has been found. It was found in 1868, in Moab, at Dibon, twenty miles east of the Dead Sea, by F.A. Klein, a German missionary. Also in II Kings 9:30, it mentions that "Jezebel painted her eyes." An expedition sponsored by Harvard University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the British School of Archaeology, and Palestine Exploration Fund, in 1908-10 found stone boxes like those in which Jezebel mixed her cosmetics. They had a number of small holes to contain the various colors: kohl for black, turquoise for green; ochre for red; and a central depression for mixing. The burning of the cities of Judah recorded in Jeremiah 34:7 and II Kings 25:9 was also confirmed by excavation.
In I Chronicles 11:8 it is said that David "Built the city round about.", 400 feet of the remains of this wall have been uncovered. In places the old Jebusite foundations are still visible under David's masonry.
In many of the towns named in connection with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, such as Shechem, Bethel, Ai, Jerusalem, Gerar, Dotham; Albright and Garstang have found in the bottom levels of their ruins shreds of evidence that the towns were actually existing about 1000 B.C. In II Samuel 5:8 it speaks of the watercourse by which David's men gained entrance into Jerusalem. This watercourse was discovered in 1866 by Warren of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
In Genesis 40, Joseph interpreted a dream and grapes were mentioned. Herodotus, an ancient historian, said the Egyptians grew no grapes and drank no wine, and questioned the Bible. However, after excavating, paintings on Egyptian tombs were found showing the dressing, pruning, cultivation of vines and process of extracting juice and scenes of drunkenness.
Regarding the tower of Babel, G. Smith found an ancient tablet reading: "The building of this illustrious tower offended the Gods. In a night they threw down what they had built. They scattered them abroad, and made strange their speech. Their progress they impeded. They wept not tears for Babylon." This certainly coincides with what the Bible says of this event in Genesis 11:1-9. We could continue and give many, many more discoveries such as proof of early use of metals as is found in Genesis 4:21-22. "The Temptation Seal', depicting the fall of man, has been found; proof of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen. 18-19, which Albright and Kyle found in 1925. Joseph's palace in On, Gen. 41:45, Sir Flinders Petrie discovered the ruins of this palace in 1912. Moses and Pharoah, Ex. 2:1-12. There is some difference of opinion as to which Pharoah it was with whom Moses dealt; but whichever it was his mummified body has been found, so that one may now look on the actual face of the one that Moses defied. Ahab's House of Ivory, I Kings 22:39. A Harvard University Expedition found the ruins of this Ivory Palace in Samaria. David's wall, mentioned in I Chronicles 11:8, which he built from Milo round about, has been uncovered. The gravestone of Uzziah, king of Judah, mentioned in II Chr. 26:23, has been found, by Dr. Sukenik, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Halley's Bible Handbook).
On and on we could go, showing how these discoveries coincide exactly with Biblical narratives. Piece by piece the Old Testament history is being confirmed, supplemented, and illustrated. Even those things which seem most like myths are being shown to have been factual.
Narratives that are susceptible to proof are being proven. Does not that enhance the trustworthiness of the Bible as a whole, and make it easier for us to rely on ALL that the Bible says? Surely, we have shown enough evidence in the realm of prophecy, history, and archaeology to convince any open-minded person about the divine inspiration of the Bible. I am amazed at times to see people's reluctance at accepting the Bible as God's word. But even more amazing than this is to find those who claim to believe it is His word, and then refuse to study it to find out what it says. Since God has left us His commandments, promises, and warnings, it seems to me we should be very diligent in finding out what He requires of us today. People today, and those of times past, have made the same mistake that the Jews did under the Mosaic dispensation. They are mixing the traditions of men with the Word of God. Notice what Jesus had to say about this situation. Matthew 15:1-9, "Then, came the scribes and Pharisees which were of Jerusalem, to Jesus saying, why do thy disciples transgress the traditions of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But Jesus answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded saying, Honour your father and mother: and he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, it is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. YE HYPOCRITES, well did Esaias prophesy of you saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Jesus told another group of religious people the reason for their mistakes in Matthew 22:29, "Ye do err not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God."
I believe this is applicable to people of our day. They do err because they don't know the Scriptures. They are so prone to take what men say about things without thinking of going to the Bible to prove if what these men are teaching is true or not. Many err because they do not realise the power of God to keep his word free from error and pollutions of men from generation to generation. Not realising God's power to do this, they begin to doubt that the Bible is the word of God. This is the biggest error anyone can make. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away".
The Bible, friend, is God's eternal, divinely inspired word. Your eternal destiny depends on your acceptance of it's truths. Acceptance of it and obedience to it insures everlasting life in Heaven. Rejection of it insures your damnation in everlasting fire with the devil and his angels, Revelation 22:14- l 5, Revelation 21 :7-8.
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