Miscellaneous Thought – 30 July 2014

Bible Introduction Course
Chapter Four (Part 1 of 2)
Proof of the Bible

Proof of the Bible

After covering the vital subject of who and what God is, the next vital step is proving the authority of the Bible. These subjects go hand-in-hand – whatever evidence proves the validity of the Bible also proves the existence of an all-wise Creator God! In this lesson, we will prove the Bible from the aspects of fulfilled prophecy, history and archaeology.

With the understanding that fulfilled prophecy, history and archaeology are proofs of God and the Bible – His Word – we push forward into these fascinating subjects.

I Thessalonians states:

I Thessalonians 5:21; “21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Proving issues through hard physical evidence does not nullify the faith that later comes through the Holy Spirit – the faith of Christ. That is why the Bible endorses proving all things – not passive acceptance, which does not generate deep conviction. God can only work with people who are capable of being deeply convicted. This state of mind is receptive to acquiring the fear of God and is capable of serving Him wholeheartedly. Those whom God calls like to see things proven, and become excited at how the various proofs fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, forming a much bigger picture.

The most important pursuit in your life should be proving God’s existence and the validity of the Bible. We will examine some key prophecies and find out whether they were fulfilled. We will then prove from sources outside the Bible that patriarchs such as Abraham really existed – as well as Joseph, King David and other key Bible figures. Then we will examine the geological record for proof of the great Flood of Noah’s time.

Defying the Skeptics

(1) Does God challenge the skeptics concerning His ability to exercise His will over the entire creation?

Isaiah 45:21-23; “21Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”

(2) Does God claim the power to declare what will happen in the future and then bring it to pass?

Isaiah 46:9-10; “9Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”

Now notice God’s statement at the end of verse 11:

Isaiah 46:11; “11….yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”

(3) Does God challenge the skeptics to declare the future and bring it to pass, as He is able to do?

Isaiah 41:21-22; “21Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. 22Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.”

Here, God openly taunts skeptics, just as He knew they would taunt His Word.

Specific Prophecies and Their Fulfillment

(1) What did God declare to be the fate of the ancient city of Babylon?

Isaiah 13:19-22; “19And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 20It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. 21But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. 22And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.”

Babylon became a waste and desolation – never to be inhabited. It is interesting that after 2,520 years, a modern Babylon is forming, as described in Revelation chapters 13, 17 and 18, and many other prophecies.

Concurrent with this restoration has been the restoration of ancient Babylon as a religious shrine, as well as a museum attraction. Yet for 2,520 years, it did remain desolate. The current site of Babylon, though now greatly restored, remains uninhabited. The subject of this 2,520-year period (“seven prophetic times”) will be addressed in a future lesson.

(2) Was ancient Egypt – so exalted for many centuries – prophesied to become the basest of kingdoms, a diminished people never again to rule nations?

Ezekiel 29:14-16; “14And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom. 15It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations. 16And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”

This prophecy has been in effect since Ezekiel recorded it. Egypt has been brought low and ruled by non-Egyptians from the time of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, about the year 600 B.C. Afterward, they were ruled by the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks, French and British.

This prophecy still stands. Today, the Egyptians are ruled by Arabs (Ishmael and Esau). The current population of Egypt is overwhelmingly Arab. The actual Egyptian people have truly diminished, just as this prophecy indicates!
(3) Would ancient Tyre experience the same fate as Egypt, or would it be utterly destroyed?

Ezekiel 26:3, 14, 20; “3Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up….14And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD….20When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of the living;”

Today, at the site of ancient Tyre, there is no village, city or other enterprise. Just as Ezekiel prophesied, the site is a complete desolation. God decreed that ancient Tyre (also called Phoenicia) would remain a desolation, never to be rebuilt or inhabited. This stands as another testimony that whatever God declares, He is able to bring to pass.

(4) What was to happen to Sidon (Zidon), the sister city of Tyre?

Ezekiel 28:20-23; “20Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 21Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it, 22And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her. 23For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

Here, God foretold constant trouble, and bloodshed from warfare, which has been the fate of this city for centuries. God did not say this city would become desolate, but rather that it would suffer exactly such trouble as it has!

(5) What was prophesied to become of Ashkelon, a city in the region of Gaza?

Zephaniah 2:4; “4For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.”

Zechariah 9:5; “5Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.”

Just as prophesied, Ashkelon became desolate, and has remained so for many centuries. By now, we have seen a pattern – the Bible’s prophecies stand proven! Skeptics would love to find just one exception, but there are none!

(6) What did Jesus say would be Jerusalem’s fate?

Luke 21:24; “24And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

Comment: Although the Jews now control Jerusalem, the old city and surrounding territory are occupied mostly by Arabs erroneously calling themselves Palestinians. Since the Jews’ defeat in A.D. 70 and A.D. 135, Jerusalem has been primarily populated and ruled by Gentiles.

(7) Why have the Jews been so hated and derided by much of the world?

Jeremiah 24:9; “9And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.”

Matthew 27:25; “25Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.”

This condition of the Jews being a reproach, a proverb and a taunt, has existed since Jeremiah recorded this prophecy. But the willingness of the Jewish authorities answering Pilate that Christ’s blood be on them has amounted to much more serious consequences. The suffering of the Jews in A.D. 70 was tremendous. Many tragedies – including the Holocaust of the 1940s – have since befallen them.

(8) Were the Jews to re-establish themselves in their homeland of Judah as an independent nation in the latter days (for the first time in 2,520 years)?

Zephaniah 2:7; “7And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.”

This prophecy was never fulfilled in ancient times. Judah never laid claim to the ancient city of Ashkelon. Only recently has the small country of Israel (given back this land by the British in 1917 and declared a nation in 1948) laid claim to coastland in the region of Ashkelon. This “remnant of the house of Judah” was prophesied to be given this land over 2,520 years before they received it.

Also in regard to the modern remnant of Judah, Zechariah prophesies the power and might that this small nation would have to wield in order to survive amidst the vengeful hate of her neighbors. This prophecy is fulfilled partially, as pertaining to the current remnant of Judah, but the main fulfillment will be during the kingdom of God.

Zechariah 12:2-9; “2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. 4In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. 5And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. 6In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. 7The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. 8In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. 9And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

The small nation of Israel currently possesses what some experts regard as one of the three most powerful military forces in the world, along with the United States and Britain. However, prophecy also shows that they will be eclipsed militarily by the coming beast power.

The above examples constitute only a sampling of the many hundreds of Bible prophecies. They were selected because they could be covered in a condensed way, with minimum explanation. The fact that the Bible is one-third prophecy shows how prominent this issue becomes. Many prophecies deal with the promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They give great detail about the birthright promises to ancient Israel – Ephraim and Manasseh.

Many prophecies deal with Israel and Judah’s captivity, and the four great world-ruling empires.

Read Daniel 2; 7; 8;

The majority of Bible prophecies deal with events just before and during the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord, the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth and beyond.

To true Christians, prophecy – God’s declaration of future events is fascinating and compelling.

Isaiah 46:9-10; “9Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”

About Ephraim J. Stockwell

Ephraim J. Stockwell, Born 30 May 1926 in Howell, Michigan, USA; Grew up on a farm in Uniontown, Pennsylvania; Served in Army during WW2 in European Theater of Operations; College in West Virginia, majoring in Physics and Electronic Engineering; Employed by NASA Headquarters, Wash. D.C. as Head of Network Operations (Retired), Husband of Joan Morgan Stockwell, father of 3 sons; Jack, Mark and Rick; Family includes 17 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren.
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