Jesus - The Facts - Real, like You and I
Jesus Is The Truth!
What is the Truth about the Bible?
We are told by Jude to "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3)
That is my mission - to help you to "contend earnestly for the faith."
Textual criticism at universities, institutions, and other places endeavors to recover the originals in the former Greco-Roman region, as much as is humanly possible. Have they succeeded? By any measure, you bet they have. They have recovered 95 percent of the inspired and original words of the Bible, with some scholars placing the number as high as 99 percent. Quite a remarkable and unprecedented achievement for any text coming out of the Greco-Roman world.
When one reads the Bible they really need to know these facts so you can be reassured by what they are reading. I am sure you have heard its critics misleading the public about the complete trustworthiness of Scripture within and out education and church sources. Articles here criticizing the Lord Jesus Christ after He arose for them to give them hope.
Some of the critics of the Bible and its trustworthiness have ample access to the vast media outlets to spout off out-right deception, diversion, and untruths without rebuttal. One of the frequent Bible critics is Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, who is among those that have frequent access to the national media. The goal is to sow doubt in those who are on the border of making a decision to follow Jesus Christ.
They sow doubt by asserting or implying “the New Testament has undergone such a degree of prejudicial corruption that its message and theology is shaky and biased." Ehrman and others say no one can be sure of its original doctrines, such as the deity of Christ. Never forget, Satan is the author of all doubt. Ehrman is on very thin ice.
However, there are just as many world-class textual critics who disagree with Ehrman and others if not directly, then indirectly. Perhaps this short article will provide readers with information that balances out the hyper-skepticism and downright deception employed by some scholars.
The New Testament we have today was originally written on papyri, vellum or parchment and then enclosed in a hard cover to protect the documents all the way back to 60 A.D. The first written on papyrus while the latest written on paper. The papyri are followed in order by uncials, minuscule, and finally, lectionaries. The earliest complete copies of the New Testament are Codex Sinaiticus (350 A.D.), Codex Vaticanus (1209 A.D.), and the Textus Receptus (60 A.D.).
“Codex” refers to the book form written on front and back used exclusively by Christians for making copies of Biblical writings. Both date to the early fourth century. There are three primary groups of earliest manuscripts:
Go back to 1898 and imagine yourself find thousands of papyrus fragments in the ancient garbage dumps of Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. Many were secular, but around 35 of them contain portions of the New Testament. The Beatty Papyri were purchased from an Egyptian dealer in 1934. In this collection, 3 are very early manuscripts and contain a large portion of the New Testament. The Bodmer Papyri were purchased in Egypt during the 1950’s and 60’s. In this collection, there is one papyrus that dates all the back to the second century, while others date to the late third or early fourth century.
Finally, a quantity considered, the New Testament is represented far more than any other piece of ancient literature. Consider the Greed and Roman manuscripts of four well-known Greek and Roman works: Homer's The Illiad, dates to 750 BC. To date, 647 manuscripts of this book have been found. Only 190 contain a complete copy. Compared to other classical Greek writing, Homer’s work is an exception. Copies of his work are much more plentiful than other ancient books. Caesar’s Gallic War, dates to 50 B.C. However, just nine to ten manuscripts exist with the earliest copy dating only to 900 A.D. Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War dates to 450 B.C. Eight manuscripts have been found with the earliest copy dating to 900 A.D. There are some fragments of this book dating back to the time of Jesus.
Finally, Tacitus’ Histories written in 100 A.D. with just two manuscripts available. One dates to 800 A.D, the other to 1000 A.D. Now compare this to the number of ancient writings containing the New Testament. It is staggering. As of this writing, over 5686 Greek New Testament manuscripts have been found (Taylor, p. 1999).
Over 10,000 Latin New Testament manuscripts dating from the 2nd to 16th century have been located. The earliest substantial amount of the New Testament. Some manuscripts have also been found in a number of other languages, including Coptic, Syriac, Gothic, and Arabic. Taking all languages together, over 25,000 handwritten copies of the New Testament have been recovered.
But there is more. Almost the entire New Testament could be reproduced by quotes from the ancient church fathers. “So extensive are these citations that if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, they would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament” (Metzger & Ehrman, 2005).
The substantial number of ancient manuscripts is continually growing. “Every decade and virtually every year new manuscripts are discovered across the globe. Meanwhile, the average classical author’s writings are found in about twenty extant manuscripts” (Komoszewski, Sawyer, & Wallace, p.369).
Some fragments contain just a verse or two but still count as a manuscript. The average size of a New Testament manuscript is around 450 pages. I hope you have learned from this short essay and are gaining more and more confidence in the Bible you have as the inspired Words of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
What is Truth?
Pilalte's rhetorical question still rings out over time - "What is truth?" He had Truth standing before him.
Remember the song - "He lives inside my heart?" Christians need to up their game and become the representative of Jesus Christ when they make the decision to say and do the things they do. "Do not take the Lord's Name in vain" is more about lifestyle than cursing. This is a big problem inside the body of Christ. Christians who are identified as such, and yet their actions do not line with what Christ did and commanded. Multiply this by the millions and it is no wonder Christianity is declining in America while Islam is increasing in the world.
Let me demonstrate. Many of you are genuinely seeking to learn more about Christianity and being a good representative of the Lord. Let us learn in a short essay. Having said this, I believe the real Truth to be the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the truth? Can we prove that Jesus really walked the shores of the Galilee? Titus Flavius Josephus (37 to 100 A.D.) seemed to believe so. In his Antiquities Book 18, in Chapter 18 he says, "Jesus was a wise teacher who was crucified by Pontius Pilate…” The number of extra biblical sources are too numerous to mention.
The facts – Jesus was both a real man and anointed God among us. Both Josephus, a Jew, and Cornelius Tacitus, a Roman Gentile confirm this fact. Both are in agreement in writings just after Jesus was executed. Josephus mentions the transcendent activities of John the Baptist, as well as Jesus Christ historical execution by Pontius Pilate, encouraged by Herod (a half Jew). (see Josephus Antiquities of the Jews)
Arguably the greatest discovery of the 20th century next to DNA was the Dead Sea Scrolls. The settlement of Khirbet Qumran held about one hundred millennial sealed clay jars containing about 1,200 manuscripts. Within this, there were over 300 Biblical texts including the Great Isaiah scroll with all of the books 66 chapters copied in about 125 B.C. Pretty amazing considering the age. No non-Biblical secular texts from the similar time have been discovered in such a complete form.
Chapter 53 of Isaiah, also known as the Holy of Holies, contains 12 verses that summarize the entire New Covenant. The verses explain what Jesus Christ had to endure during his time on terra firma that He created told by the Prophet of the Lord some 700 years before the Messiah was born. Isaiah, a godly Prophet, lived during the years 740-680 B.C. and was born into an influential, upper-class family giving advice to the royalty of the time concerning the foreign affairs of Israel.
Isaiah had a dismal Word from the Lord: "Go, and tell this people: Keep listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand. Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed." This verse could be said to the unbelieving of our generation as well.
Through the words of the Prophet Isaiah, the heart and tears of the Lord cry out to the people who are deaf, blind, and dumb to the purposes of the Lord. Isaiah gave the people around him as he alternated between rebuke and comfort. God used the Prophet Isaiah to issue some of the most profound prophecies describing the future sometimes hundreds and thousands of years in advance.
Isaiah gave his prophecies in a variety of poetry forms from chapters 1 - 35. Then there is a change of pace to prose in chapters 36 - 39. During this departure he gives us very important events and happenings during the reign of King Hezekiah, even calling the King stupid. Then a change at chapter 40 onward Isaiah continues to give us incredible prophecies, comfort, and rebuke. Chapter 53 lies in the center of the remaining 26 chapters. Of course, I have previously stated chapter divisions were not in the original text but were added in the 13th century in the New Testament and the 15th century with the Old Testament.
I guess I have every translation of the Bible known to man but I really like the New American Standard Bible and the Holman Bible Commentary for study. It divides chapters 40-66 as follows. The purpose of Peace: 40-48; the Prince of Peace: 49-57; the program of Peace. In Isaiah 48.22 the Lord says something our generation needs to understand: "There is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord." I would suggest you will find that this verse is as today as it was then. God repeats this warning in Isaiah 57.21.
The Peace divisions are the purpose of Peace: 40-48; No peace for the wicked: 48.22; the Prince of Peace: 49-57; No peace for the wicked: 57.21; and the Program of Peace: 58-66. In the middle of the second section is Chapter 53. One of my mentors states, "The two ethnic roots of Judaism are actually divided over chapter 53. The Ashkenazi Jews removed these verses from their Bible altogether. The Sephardic Jews thankfully left it in." (Missler April 2017 Personal Update)
Then came the Dead Sea Scrolls that contained the full Isaiah roll of 66 chapters containing of course chapter 53. What is more amazing is the Dead Sea Scrolls date to the second century B.C. before the precious Lord Jesus Christ. That means that the existence of the Dead Sea Scrolls pre-date Jesus and contain the amazing chapter 53 in its entirety. We know that Isaiah's book was written between 740 and 686 B.C. long before the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
What I find amazing is the fact that the Israeli Museum contains a section on the Isaiah Scroll containing Isaiah 53 for all to see and read. This passage is so important that it is referenced in all four Gospels of the New Testament. It is also referenced in Luke's Acts of Jesus Christ, Romans, and 1st Peter. Just a little history here. The Persians were the inventors of the crucifixion and were adopted by the Romans saved for the most violent offenders. (Retief, Cilliers; South African Medical Journal 2013, p. 93) As you may know, stoning was the official form of capital punishment of the Jews.
It was David in Psalms 22 who wrote an amazing prophecy of the coming King. He spoke of the Lord being forsaken, His thirst, His bones not being broken, His pierced hands and feet, His being spit on and humiliated. One can hardly read these things without a tear in one's eyes. Psalms 22 was written by King David some 1,000 years before Christ's crucifixion. Zechariah wrote another verse that touches me deeply when he said in part "They will look on Me whom they have pierced." (Zechariah 12.10) This verse states that Jesus Christ will return in His Second Advent with the same scars and piercings that he incurred during his crucifixion.
Do not forget that the very purpose of Christ's death is written in Isaiah 53 centuries before He is born. The Bible is a supernatural book written by God through obedient men who could not fully understand what they were given by God, but nevertheless, they wrote it down faithfully. In academics today it is popular today to credit the first 39 chapters to Isaiah the son of Amoz. Then they erroneously state that 40 through 66 was written by an entirely different person hundreds of years later Deutero-Isaiah. They believe the first 39 chapters of warnings and rebukes from God were written by the prophet Isaiah and the last chapters 40 through 66 were written Deutero-Isaiah sometime after Babylon captivity.
The fact remains that the Prophet Isaiah gave God's Words of events that occurred long after Isaiah's death. Secular historians and Bible critics have dismissed these prophecies in total and say they were all written after the events occurred. They totally dismiss the divine inspiration of the Prophet Isaiah. A.B. Davidson is one of the Bible critics who share the view it was written after the fact and not by Isaiah. The Prophet Isaiah does not adhere to Davidson and the secular critics. Isaiah's prophecies speak not only of the land of Judah, the surrounding nations including Assyria but to the nations and people of today.
Let's read Isaiah 30.8 which says where God is speaking: "Now go, write it on a tablet before them and inscribe it in a scroll that it may serve in the time to come as a witness forever." When God says it, we can count on it despite the critic's opinions to the contrary. Remember it was the Assyrians who conquered the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. The complacent Jews of the day were warned and some listened but a majority did not and were scattered to the four corners of the earth. Judah got the same warning and narrowly escaped the same fate. God protected Judah because of the faithful King Hezekiah who trusted in the Lord and heeded the warning of Isaiah. However, Isaiah speaks of a future event when in 586 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar concurred Jerusalem and Judah and put them in captivity for some 72 years.
In fact, God speaks through Isaiah about the coming King Cyrus the Great who the Lord calls by name in Isaiah 44.28 - 45.26 where it says in part, "Thus say the Lord to Cyrus His anointed whom I have taken by the right hand." Why Cyrus? "That man may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other." Isaiah constantly throughout his prophecies speaks to the distant future. The reason He does this through men is to show His eternal power and might. It is a man who is the real problem because they do not have eyes to see or ears to hear.
Isaiah records God speaking, "I declared the former things long ago and they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. Because I know that you are obstinate and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead bronze. Therefore I declared them to you long ago before they took place I proclaimed them to you so that you would not say 'My idol has done them.' My graven image and my molten image have commanded them." (Isaiah 48.3-5)
There are many external proofs that cooperate Isaiah as the author of this book. The Dead Sea Scrolls which has no division after chapter 39 which attest to Isaiah as the author. The fact that the beautiful writing is pure post-exilic Hebrew as opposed to the Babylonian influence like seen in Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The proofs go on and on, but here for another time.
We are justified by faith by Jesus Christ alone when each of us stands before God. (re. Galatians 4.1-11) We have historical, archeological, and geological scientific facts that support the Bible and most important man to ever walk on the face of the earth to be examined so we can be sure and make up one's own mind. Jesus Christ is the most genuine and honest person ever to live. He was both fully Man and fully God. Here are some facts about the Messiah.
Jesus Christ was an equal opportunity offender when it came to religious hierocracy. He also stood up to the religious society of His time, loved those others the religious community ignored, healed the sick, died and arose again for each of our sins. John 14.6 is where Jesus was talking specifically to Thomas. He said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." There is none other than He that can provide a justification for you and the God that created you. Paul discussed justification by faith in Galatians Chapters 1-3.
John 14.6 is the most controversial scripture in the Word of God. it invalidates any religion not based on Him. Regardless of what you have said or done, through God's Grace, He loves you. In the book of John is one of the most famous verses in the Bible. It reads, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." The next verse reads, "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3.16-17) God's Grace is extended to you so that your soul might be saved and peace might be in your life through Him.
A former persecutor of the Christian Way Paul said it this way for those that are doing what is right in your own eyes. (Proverbs 21.2) He said, " But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5.8) The Apostle Paul made it clear what the Gospel is and why it is true in 1st Corinthians Chapter 15. He explains, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and the He was buried and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."
It is either God's Way or your own way. The sign in Bangor, ME, says it all. How is that working out? I hope the information provided has inspired you to investigate and come to your own conclusion. When you do, like me you will find that Jesus Christ is the only Way to God. Time is of the essence. I hope you make the right decision.
Why does this small town garner so much attention? Because it is God's footstool on the earth. Why did God pick the Jews? He just did.
Another great picture of Jesus Christ our Lord!
Non-religious Evidence of Jesus Christ
Ancient Texts of Non-Historical Jesus
Biblical Studies Syllabus
Do you believe Jesus Christ is Truth?
© 2015 Gary E Hill