2. The Validity of the Bible
The Bible itself is a collection of books that describe a historical record, and reveal a message that is said to come from the all-powerful God. This is a claim that is implicit right through the Bible, with phrases like “The LORD also spoke to me again, saying:” in Isa 8:5. This issue of the validity of Jesus is also spoken of explicitly in Peter,
2 Peter 1:16: For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." NKJV
Here Peter was writing to convince that Jesus really did receive glory from God. Part of the argument here was to say that the “scriptures” were indeed from God, and not to be interpreted in any other way.
2 Peter 1:20: knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21. for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. NKJV
The “scriptures” referred to in that passage were the Jewish scriptures, which form the Old Testament of the Bible. At the time, the New Testament wasn't complete or formalised. It establishes that the Bible is either a fake, or of special significance in having come from God.
The Bible can sustain the assertion that it is from God if it shows something that couldn't be achieved by natural human means. There are two main ways that it does this,
- Describing and explaining events that are beyond human scope. As the Bible is now a very old book, the evidence for this comes from contemporary sources which confirm the accuracy of the events. While these exist, the large time scale makes it hard for these to appear as convincing as records about modern history.
- The second way that the Bible defends it's authority is though it's ability to predict future events. There is a lot of fulfilled prediction in the Bible, but it is the cases where the fulfilment can be clearly shown to be after the date of writing that are of most interest.
One of the notable features of the Bible is how it speaks of the future of the one particular nation. Isaiah speaks of how the nation of Israel belonged to God, and how he had a special connection with it. In Isaiah 43 Israel is said to be a special nation of God..
Isaiah 43:1.: But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. NKJV
He later states how Israel was to be a witness to God.
Isaiah 43:11.: I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior. 12. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses," Says the LORD, "that I am God. NKJV
The Bible contains a number of prophecies of how Israel would be scattered and then regathered. Prophecies of a return to Israel: Eze 11:17, 36:22,24, Jer 30:7,10
Eze 11: 16.: "Therefore say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone." ' 17. "Therefore say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel." ' NKJV
This corresponds to the relatively recent regathering of the people of Israel into their land, and the re-emergence of an ancient nation.
From Jer 16:15 we see that they would be hunted back into the land
Jer 16:14.: " Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that it shall no more be said, 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' 15. "but, 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.' For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers. 16. " Behold, I will send for many fishermen," says the LORD, "and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. NKJV
Indeed we have in our own recent time seen the Jews fished and hunted back into Israel. The atrocities of world-war II were such that it drove Jews back into the region of the ancient country of Israel. They were fished back into the land, and hunted back there.
In The book of Ezekiel, there is a vision of a valley of dry bones, and Ezekiel was told that it was like the nation of Israel. It would be considered a dead nation, of people who had so long gone that their bones were dry. But yet, after a time the bones would be gathered again together and life breathed back into them. Even today, the very existence of the nation of Israel, and its re-emergence against all probability, are a testament to the accuracy of the Bible, and the power of the God described in it.
The prophet Zechariah also reveals great modern insight. It is beyond question that these words were written before the time of Christ, but yet it paints the picture of the Middle East as we know it today. Jerusalem would again be a place of conflict. This did not refer to the Babylonian capture in 586, as that has already occurred.
Zech 12:2.: "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 3. "And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. NKJV
This aptly describes the very difficult region of the middle east today. It is quite clear that these words were written over 2000 years ago, yet they isolate what was to be one of the most troubled regions of our time.
Although this is only a sample of the content of the Bible, it shows how it does strong evidence of authority.