The Bible - The Most Important Book Ever Written
The Word of God remains forever
How do you find out the history of anything? It would be wise to trace it back to the origin of whatever you are researching..In other words you would have to do your homework. That also applies to the Word of God which is an accurate history of the Jews. They painstakingly passed it on to generations some 6,000 years ago onward.
Obviously, a major part of the history of the Bible is the New Testament, which also was accurately determined by a diverse group of Christians and historians for over almost 2,000 years. It literally has changed the history of Western Civilization for the better. Millions of lives dynamically changed as a result of the contents in the Bible.
The Bible was written by an unlikely and diverse group of men on direct instructions from an extraterrestrial source, the Holy Spirit who spoke the words directly from God. He gave the exact words to men, most who did not know each other, all the way from the sheepherder up to kings. The one common thread, they each were led by the Holy Spirit of God. Some skeptical critics say the Bible is an ancient document filled with translation inaccuracies.
If that be the case, and it is not, then one would have to reject other ancient writing as well. Take for example Homer, Aristotle, Pliny and many others which would have to be rejected using the same logic. However, God is in control even though Satan's influence is increasingly felt as his time on the earth becomes shorter. But the pieces of evidence for the Word of God continue to mount up.
Take for example the total of Greek manuscripts discovered are quite revealing: To date currently 5,686 Greek manuscripts exist today for the New Testament alone. Additionally there are codecs of over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The totals supporting the New Testament manuscripts are over 24,000. (Re. Geisler and Bocchino p. 256)
Taking the Greek New Testament manuscripts, which out-number the previously mentioned historicity documents by the thousands, there is also a relatively short time span between the oldest New Testament manuscripts compared to when originally penned.
Matt Slick, Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, in a recent article at CARM, said, "Compare the Bible time-span with the next closest which is Homer's Iliad where the closest copy of the original is 500 years later. Undoubtedly, a longer time-period allows for more textual corruption in transmission. How much less so for the New Testament documents with the time frame shrinking as original manuscripts are found?" (Slick, Manuscript Evidence)
In addition to manuscript evidence, there is the growing volume of archaeological evidence. Take for example a 2003 discovery of a Nazareth Roman bathhouse from 2,000 years ago which is from the time of Christ, and in the town where he was raised. (Re. Cook, Where Jesus bathed, and others)
In an update on this discovery from 2007, Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede, one of the original archaeologists on the site states, "The only real surprise to many may be the conclusion that Nazareth was anything but a nondescript village with a handful of poor Jews." (Zoabi, Understanding of Nazareth)
Another archaeological discovery that lends credence to Biblical accounts is the Abla tablets, discovered in Northern Syria in the 1970s dating back as far as 2300 B.C.. In the tablets the name "Canaan," a name critics once said did not occur at that time. The tablets mentioned all five "cities of the plain" in Genesis 14, each previously assumed to have been legends of fantasy. They are fact.
Sir William Ramsay, an agnostic at the time, confirmed the Book of Luke as historically accurate, and convinced him that which Luke wrote about was also true. Dr. Ramsay's research confirms Luke's Gospel. (Missler, The Gentle Gospel, Dr. Luke)
There are literally hundreds of archaeological discoveries that verify the information in the Old and New Testaments. These include the cities of Babylon, Ur, Jerusalem, Akko, Apollonia-Arsuf and many more. (Halley 42)
Prophecy is God's handiwork. In the Book of Isaiah it states, "It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hannah and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11.11, 12) Israel became a nation again on 14 May 1948.
Then there is Daniel's 70 weeks of years prophecy. Doubters have been around shortly after the beginning of time. Scripture recognizes prophecy as a "medium for divine communication." (Edersheim 122) The prophet has always revealed God's words in almost 2,500 prophecies of the Old and New Testaments with approximately 20 percent remaining to be fulfilled. Of these, just before the coming Rapture, during and at the conclusion of Tribulation, with the remainder forming the scope of the Millennium. Most spoke prophecies without any personal experience to compare with what they spoke. For example, Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself a Lamb for the burnt offering." (Genesis 22.8)
Abraham was referring to Isaac as the sacrifice, but prophetically it spoke of the forthcoming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Daniel was down on his knees fervently praying to God near the end of the 70 year captivity by the Babylonians. He had been reading the prophecy of Jeremiah and knew that the Jews were near the end of the captivity in Babylon. The angel Gabriel startled Daniel by touching him on the shoulder, giving him the most remarkable prophecy in the entire Bible Daniel 9.24-27.
These four verses include the following segments:
9.24 The Scope of the Entire Prophecy;
9.25 The 69 Weeks;
9.26 An Interval between the 69th and 70th Week;
9.27 The 70th Week.
The entire scope of Daniel's 70 weeks of years prophecy, given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel, is available in this verse:
Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." (Daniel 9.24)
Some Biblical scholars suggest this verse has already been fulfilled. However, can it be said that there is a limit to the transgressions against the Jewish people? Is there an clear end of sin in the world today? You cannot answer in an affirmative manner to any of those.
In the next verse, please note the location and time:
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times." (Daniel 9.25)
Being a professor, I am going to let you chase down the rest of the fascinating story. I will tell you the following. The last verse of Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy fits perfectly in understanding Revelation chapters 6-19, the unveiling of what will happen to a sinful world in the most documented period in the entire Bible. There are some strong indications that the nearly 2,000 year gap is about to end. That being the case, the time is short.
God's warning through the prophet Hosea rings more true today than ever, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4.6). Clearly, there is a difference between wisdom and information. The two are not synonymous. This is where the Bible enters the picture. Although there is greater access to the Word of God than there ever has been, most pay scant attention to its contents, yielding disastrous results. Solomon warned us: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14.12; 16.25).
"There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land." (Hosea 4.1) "The priest did not say, 'Where is the Lord?' And those who handle the law did not know Me." (Jeremiah 2.8) The apostle Paul stated to Timothy, "Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Timothy 3.7) Our generation, if wise, will repent and beg God for forgiveness, and then come back to the Word of God.
What is the result of not repenting and getting back into the Word of God? “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4.6). When looking into the Book of Hosea, there are many parallels between Israel then and the current predicament of the United States. There are consequences for a nation who turns their back on the God who established them, and the same is true for individuals.
Ignoring or rejecting revealed spiritual knowledge alienates us from God, cutting us off from His guidance. God's law, the primary source of knowledge in the way we should live operates as a spiritual force everywhere. (Romans 7.14) Whether recognized or not, the law of God is self-enforcing. Humanity pays a heavy penalty for breaking it; we see the confirmation dramatized every day in media reports of human suffering (compare Jeremiah 2.19). (Hill, My People are Destroyed)
Read and understand the prophet Jeremiah: "Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these I delight says the Lord." (Jeremiah 9.23, 24)
Jesus comforting words for we who are born-again is an ideal place to end, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6.37) We can all thank God for that, amen.
Note: This was originally an essay as part of my undergraduate work at Bible University of Canada. In October 2016 I was awarded a Doctorate of Biblical Studies.
Works Cited on this Article
Anderson, Sir Robert . The Coming Prince. 1886. Reprint. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2008. Print.
Hill, Gary. The Evidence Mounts for the Bible - Northern Maine Christianity. Welcome to Examiner.com. N.p., 10 June 2012. Web. 14 June 2013.
Hushbeck, Elgin L.. Consider Christianity evidence for the Bible. Rev. and expanded. ed. Gonzalez: Energion Pub., 2005. Print.
Josephus. Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Books 18-19 (Loeb Classical Library, No. 433) (Bks. XVIII-XIX Vol 12). Loeb Classical Library, 1965. PDF.
Keller, Werner. The Bible As History; 2nd Revised Edition. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1981. Print.
Missler, Chuck. "The Gentile Gospel - Dr. Luke." Koinonia House. N.p., 1 May 2001. Web. 10 June 2013.
Slick, Matt. "Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability." Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, 1 Jan 2013. Web. 8 Jun 2013.
The Old Scofield® Study Bible, NKJV, Classic Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 1999. Print.
Zoabi, Heba. "The story of place: Discovery Roman Bathhouse Changes Understandings of Nazareth's History." The Ground Report. Open News Platform Inc, 12 Apr. 2007. Web. 9 June 2013.