Friday, February 17, 2012
Proof that the Bible is authentic
If someone tells you the Bible is just a bunch of fairy tales cite some of these interesting accounts to them.
(1) The tree God told Moses to purify the waters of Marah with in (Exodus 15: 23-25) was a Moringa Oleifera, which grows in that region. One seed of this tree can purify up to a whole gallon of dirty water. Some might say this is more of a botanical wonder than a miracle, but it gives a good demonstration of how God works. Just because it can be explained scientifically NOW doesn't make it any less of a miracle to the Israelites back THEN. God is always one step ahead of us in that way (Isaiah 55: 8-9). More importantly, it shows us that the events of the Bible weren't just a bunch of fairytales.
(2) The debris of Sodom and Gomorrah, the two corrupt cities God destroyed with fire in (Genesis 19: 24), has been found on the south east edge of the Dead Sea, and the destruction has been linked to falling debris from an asteroid. The Planisphere tablet, found by Henry Layard in the remains of the library of the royal palace of Ninevah in the mid 19th century, is a 700 B.C. copy of notes by a Sumerian astronomer depicting what he called a "white, stone bowl approaching." This was the asteroid that caused the famous Kofels Impact Event, and if you look it up you'll see that the trajectory of the asteroid went right over Sodom and Gomorrah.
(3) In (Genesis 6: 4) we are told that giants once roamed the earth. In (Deuteronomy 3: 11) we read that the bed of Og, the giant king of Bashan, was 9 cubits long and 4 cubits wide, which is 14 feet long and 6 feet wide. In (1st Samuel 17: 4) we read about a giant warrior named Goliath, who stood over 9 feet tall. Particular Sumerian tablets depict a king being taller than natural men even while sitting down, and some of the very bones from these giants were unearthed in the 1950's in south-east Turkey during road construction.
(4) The fallen walls of Jericho, as described in (Joshua chapter 6), have been found. Look up Kathleen Kenyon and what she found in her archaeological dig in the southern Jordan valley.
(5) The Moabite Stone tells about King Omri, the King of Israel mentioned in (1st Kings 16: 16).
(6) The Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer III mentions Jehu, the king of Israel mentioned in (2nd Kings chapter 9).
(7) The Taylor Prism records Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah, as mentioned in (2nd Kings 18: 13).
(8) Hugo Winckler's 1906 excavation at Boghaz-koi, Turkey revealed the history of the Hittites, who were previously unknown outside of the Bible.
(9) The Lachish Letters, which were clay tablets found in a guard room outside the gate of the city of Lachish in 1935, tell of the turmoil in Judah just before Nebuchadnezzar's invasion. Lachish is mentioned in (Jeremiah 34: 7) as one of only two cities that survived Nebuchadnezzar's invasion.
(10) Egyptian chariot wheels from the historical era proper to Israel's exodus from Egypt have been found at the bottom of the Red Sea. (Wyatt Archaeological Research and Museum, 2502 Lynneville Tennessee, Cornersville, TN, 37047, 931-293-4745, www.wyattmuseum.com)
(11) Certain Stellae, or stone monuments, found in 1956 in Haran prove the existence of King Belshazzar. He was the king of Babylon who got Daniel the prophet to interpret the famous 'writing on the wall' in (Daniel chapter 5).
(12) Speaking of Daniel, here's one of his prophecies that actually came to pass, historically: In (Daniel 8: 1 - 12) we see Daniel having a vision of a ram with two horns being attacked by a goat with one big horn. The goat destroys the ram but it's one horn is split into four horns. From one of these four horns grows a little horn that will terrorize Israel. In verses 20 - 27 the vision is interpreted by the angel, Gabriel, and explained to Daniel. The ram with the two horns were the kings of Medes and Persia. The goat was Greece and it's one big horn was Alexander the Great. In 323 B.C. Alexander the Great died at the age of 32 with no heirs and his kingdom was divided among his four generals, one of which was a man named Seleucus. From the Seleucid empire rises Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a despicable man that hated Jews and invaded Jerusalem during his reign from 175 B.C. to 164 B.C. Daniel predicted this tyrant's desecration of the temple in Jerusalem and that is, indeed, what Antiochus IV Epiphanes did. Atheists have fought against the validity of this prophecy by claiming the book of Daniel was fabricated by a "mystery writer" in the 2nd century B.C. after these events had already taken place to bolster the Maccabean resistance to Seleucid opponents. "Mystery-writer" is the best they can come up with, of course, but suffices because any alternative to accepting accurate Biblical prophecy will do when you hate God.
(13) Here's another biblical prophecy that came to pass, historically: The prophet Isaiah's ministry ran from 740 B.C. to 680 B.C. In (Isaiah 44:28 and 45: 1) Isaiah prophesies that someone named Cyrus will issue a decree to rebuild Jerusalem after it has been destroyed. 150 years later Jerusalem has, indeed, been destroyed by Babylon, but Babylon has been overthrown by the Persian King, Cyrus, who orders the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the return of the Jews to their home.
(14) In fact, the Cyrus Cylinder was found during excavations over ancient Babylon in 1879 - 82, and verifies the decrees of the emperor in 538 B.C. concerning the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem, as mentioned in (Ezra 1: 1-3). This relic is now housed in the British Museum.
(15) Skeptics deny the existence of Jesus, but then cite the accounts of the Roman historian, Thallus, and the Greek historian, Phlegon, to discredit the three hours of darkness that occurred during Jesus' crucifixion (Matthew 27: 45) as merely the result of a solar eclipse. They don't realize that when they do that they are unwittingly admitting that the event happened. It doesn't matter HOW it happened. God can use natural causes as easily as he can use miracles. What they might want to know, however, is that it just might have BEEN a miracle, sure enough. Jesus died on the day of Passover, which is during the full moon, making a solar eclipse impossible.
(16) Skeptics also deny that an earthquake happened after the crucifixion of Jesus (Matthew 27: 51), but then turn around and cite the Talmuds and the work of the Jewish historian, Josephus, to claim that the tearing in two of the huge temple veil after Jesus was crucified was merely a natural, sequential effect of the earthquake occurring at the time. Empirical evidence found by renowned geologist Dr. Steven Austin has confirmed this earthquake.
(17) Also documented in the Talmuds and the works of Josephus are the strange signs that occurred in the temple for forty years after the crucifixion of Jesus. The middle lamp of the Menorah went out every day and could not be kept lit. The huge brass doors of the Hekel, which took twenty men to open and close, would open by themselves when no one was around. For forty years straight the lottery of the goats, in which the High Priest drew either a black stone or a white stone out of a container, turned up a black stone, the odds of which are 2 to the 40th power, or slightly over a trillion to one. Also, the scarlet thread which was hung on the sanctuary door and supposed to turn white when the scapegoat was released never turned white again. These bad omens continued until 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, just as Jesus had prophesied would happen in (Luke 19: 43-44).
(18) In his work "The Annals" Tacitus, the famous Roman historian wrote, "...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 it's origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome..." (The Annals 15.44). Atheists argue that this particular part of his work is a forgery (while accepting the rest of it, of course), but that doesn't make any sense. A Christian forger wouldn't have included such a clear hatred for Christianity and someone who hated Christianity would have been better served denying Christ's existence altogether.
(Q) Yeah, but what about the Council of Nicaea?
(A) For those that haven't heard of it, the Council of Nicaea was the council of bishops that Emperor Constantine assembled in 325 A.D. to settle divisions within the church by deciding what got put in the Bible and what didn't. As you might guess, Atheists use this as grounds to discredit the Bible, claiming there's no way it isn't flawed or corrupted after being so exposed to man's influence. There are all kinds of speculations. Some say Constantine used the threat of banishment to prompt acceptance of certain doctrines. Others say he simply tossed the pile of epistles at a table, keeping the ones that stayed on it and discarding the ones that fell off.
What's interesting to note, however, is that of all the speculative accounts that discredit the Bible, never is just one of them agreed on. They're all accepted, even if they contradict each other, just so long as they discredit the Bible. It's the same way Agnostics pit elements of other religions against Christianity, but don't follow those religions. They're just looking for something - anything - to discredit Christianity.
As far as tampering with God's word goes, consider the passage in (Jeremiah chapter 36) where King Jehoiakim destroys the scroll God told Jeremiah to write and give to him. God told Jeremiah to write it again and verse 32 says, ...and there were added besides unto them many like words." In other words, it was even better the second time. We've already seen that God often uses natural events to do his work. Sometimes that includes interference from man.
One of the things that convinces me, personally, of the Bible's authenticity is that it's not filled with perfect stories about perfect people doing perfect deeds. Israel, for example, broke every single one of God's covenants except for the one that was unconditional. King David committed adultery and then murder (2nd Samuel 11: 2-15). In fact, in (Psalms 51:3) David said his sin was ever before him. King Solomon had 700 pagan wives (1st Kings 11: 1-8) and built statues and temples in their pagan gods' honor (which resulted in Israel being divided into two nations, Ephraim and Judea). Peter, Jesus' closest apostle, denied being a friend to Jesus three times in a row (Mark 14: 66-72). The apostle Paul persecuted and murdered Christians (Acts 8: 1-3) before he became one himself (Acts chap. 9).
If the Bible were truly a delusional book written to brainwash the masses, it wouldn't tell us that our sinful, carnal desires are destructive urges made attractive by Satan's power of illusion and deception. It would repeat the lie Satan told to Eve in (Genesis 3:5) and say that sin was our birthright and that by committing enough of it we can become like God. It would tell us that God sabotaged our precious sin and embedded it with destructive results out of jealousy, and that one day, when the true god shows up, he'll let us have our sin without consequences. The fact is, sin IS destructive and disguised to be attractive, and for more on that read the article, 'Hell and sin are not man-made concepts.'