Friday, February 13, 2015

P2 Why the Bible is Unique in its authority - Proofs of its revelation

2 Timothy 3:14-15 "You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Introduction and review
Yesterday we began a new series we are entitling: "Why the Bible?" Each post in this series will have this phrase inserted in each title, either answering a particular question about the character of scripture or why the Bible is a certain way. Yesterday we dealt with the issue of "Why the Bible? Dark times need the Word of God". We labored to show how this particular time, and even generation had been predicted throughout the Bible. We made statements about scripture itself and demonstrated what the Bible has to say about its ability to be light in darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 refers to followers of Jesus Christ - "for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness." So how is it that the follower of Jesus is to shine forth His light? Notice later on in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 "But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction." So to answer the question: "Why the Bible?" we can say that the reason why the Bible is needed in today's world is because times are dark. 

Today we are going to continue on with this series: "Why the Bible" by noting the uniqueness of its authority.

Why it is proper to say the Bible is unique in its authority
2 Timothy 3:15a states in the NASB -  "and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings....". The KJV and NIV render the underlined word as "holy" whilst the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) and English Standard Version (ESV translate the word as "sacred". In doing a quick word study on the word translated "holy" or "sacred", the Greek word underlying these renderings can mean: "set apart, dedicated to be used by God, divine, wonderful, sacred" and of course "holy". Oftentimes this word will be used with reference to the temple of the Jews in Jerusalem. Any site, object or things set aside by God or given by God utilizes this term.  The idea of "holy" or "sacred" identifies a given object as having been touched by God, Who is called in the Bible "Holy". (Isaiah 6:3; Psalm 99) Anything that is sacred has the quality of being unique, in a class of its own and pure. 

All that has been discussed thus far about the word translated "holy" or "sacred" can be applied to what Paul is saying to Timothy about "the sacred scriptures". We know "what" the word "holy" or "sacred" means when applied to the Bible. However why is this the case? Three words coming out of the above discussion on the definition of "holy" or "sacred" will be used to show why the Bible is unique in its authority: a). The Bible's character as revelation b). The Bible's purity c). The Bible's unity  

Why the Bible's character as revelation makes it uniquely authoritative 
Now on this first thought we will be delving more deeply in later posts, however we need to comment in brief on what marks the Bible as revelation from God. When we use the term "reveal" or "revelation", we are referring to making known what was previously unknown or unveiling that which was previously hidden. On 3800 occassions the Bible contains statements such as "thus says the Lord" or "The Lord says" or "it is written", pertaining to the Divine authority of Divine revelation.  Various tests for Divine revelation can be administered to determine whether or not a given document is Divinely inspired, with verified fulfilled prophecy being chief among them. Consider this logical statement:

Premise #1 If God does not exist, then fulfilled prophetic prediction (defined as 100% accurate, historically verfied, scientifically testable, and of religious significance) cannot exist,

Premise #2 If God does not exist, then written fulfilled prophetic prediction (defined in #1) cannot exist.

Premise #3 If only naturalistic laws can explain our universe, or if our universe is a closed system that emerged by chance or self-creation, then we should not see any evidence of fulfilled prophetic prediction.

Premise #4 If the phenomena of fulfilled prophetic prediction exists, then an explanation is demanded other than what naturalism and the model of a closed, self-created universe can explain. Hence that explanation can only be an intelligent Mind that is both outside and inside our universe (i.e Theism).

Premise #5 If any written document could adequately meet the criteria of premises #1-#4, then on a reasonable basis, the reality of Divine revelation as demonstrated by fulfilled prophetic prediction would be confirmed. Moreover, if such a document exists, then the reality of the deity claimed on its pages would also be confirmed by default.

Premise #6 When we survey every religious volume in the world, none contain one example of fulfilled prophetic prediction (defined in Premise #1), and none fulfill the criteria of premises #2-5, save the Bible.

Therefore: The Bible is the unique, revealed Word of God.

Now let's back up the claims of this logical argument by first testing out what is expressly stated in premise #6, since the entire weight of the argument rises or falls with it. Over the years of having surveyed different books from non-Christian religions, here is what I found: 

1. Mormonism's books: When we survey the Book of Mormon and its two companion volumes of Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, not one example of fulfilled predictive prophecy as confirmed in the manner above is found. 

2. Islam's book, the Quran. In reading through that volume (which is slightly bigger than the New Testament), not one example of fulfilled predictive prophecy is found. 

3. Hinduism's major books, the Upanishads, Veda and the Bhagavad-Gita contain not one example of predicted fulfilled prophecy. 

4. The writings of Confusius, the ancient religious writings of Persian Zoroastianism and Babylonian Creation epics do not contain one example of predicted fulfilled prophecy.

So in scouring major religious texts, plus reading reports from scholars who have done the same in religious texts not mentioned above, not one example of predictive fulfilled prophecy has been found. But now what about the Jewish Old Testament and Christian New Testament (together comprising the books of the Bible)? We find not just one, but dozens and hundreds of examples of fulfilled, predictive Bible prophecy. Two examples will be given from both the Old and New Testament: Daniel 9:23-27 and Matthew 24:1-20. 

Daniel 9:23-27 gives the reader a time table set by God for the nation of Israel in His prophetic dealings with her. A total time of what is called "70 weeks" is stated in Daniel 9:24. We know from other passages such as Genesis 29:20 and 29:27 that the Jews used the term "week" to refer to a period of seven years. Moreover, the Jewish Calendar was a lunar calendar and thus one year of time would had equalled 360 days. As we apply this to Daniel's prophecy, we discover that the "70 weeks" are also equal to "490 years" and thus in terms of days equal 176,400 days. 

The first part of the prophecy states that God will begin the official time from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah is cut-off corresponds to two sub-divisions of "7 weeks or 49 years" and "62 weeks or 434 years", with both equalling out to "69 weeks or 483 years". The second part of the prophecy could be dealt with, but for sake of brevity we will just focus upon the first part. 

The identity of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem is recorded in history and the scriptures (Nehemiah 2) as being issued forth by the Persian King Artaxerxes Longitmanus on March 14, 445 b.c. If one were to count the 483 years or 69 weeks expressed in the first part of Daniel 9:24-26a, with each year containing 360 days as discussed above, the total number of days would equal 173,880 days. If you count 173,880 days from March 14, 445b.c, you arrive at April 6, 32 A.D, the very day Jesus came riding into Jerusalem to present Himself as Israel's Messiah (i.e "Palm Sunday")!

The second amazing prophecy is found in Jesus' final sermon in Matthew 24:1-20. When Jesus' statements concerning the destruction of the temple are compared to the Jewish Historian Flavius Josephus writing of that very event 40 years post-Jesus' prediction, remarkable, detail by detail accuracy is found. This very event of the destruction of Jerusalem and it's temple by Titus Vespasian in 66-70 A.D is well documented in history. Matthew's Gospel, composed after Jesus' ascension into Heaven, can be reliably dated between 50-65 A.D, easily before the turn of events leading to Israel's destruction. The point is that with just these two examples of historically verified Bible prophecy, the Bible's character as genuine revelation from God is demonstrated.

More tomorrow.....

No comments:

Post a Comment