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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Several weeks ago a brief article was printed in our local newspaper that dealt with the subject of recent archaeological discoveries that presumably provided evidence of a number of people, places, and events mentioned in the Bible to be actually true.
For example: Israeli archaeologists digging in the Golan Heights area unearthed a piece of stone from an ancient monument with the words "King of Israel" and "House of David" inscribed upon it. The new scholarly consensus is that David of the Old Testament was real. Not because the Bible says so, says Ronny Reich of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, but because "archaeology has found it." There were other examples given about certain expeditions made which proved that places like Shechem and Ekron at one time did in fact exist thousands of years ago.
There was even the mention about recent excavations that have uncovered a string of ancient Egyptian forts along the Sinai's Mediterranean coast. The "experts" tell us that such a discovery offers a plausible explanation for an Exodus story that has long puzzled scholars -- for why Moses would lead his people out of Egypt through the Sinai wilderness instead of along the shorter coastal route. Poor old Moses forgot to stop by the nearest 7-11 store and buy him a map. These pathetic, puzzled scholars need to read Exodus 13:17-18 which says, "And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt."
After having read the article, I jumped up and down with ecstatic joy because I can now accept, at least parts of the Bible, to be factual and true based upon some archaeological findings. Let's all give a big thundering applause to the science of archaeology. Quite frankly, I'm sick and tired of people telling me what I can and cannot believe about the Bible.
I don't need some highly-educated fool like a sophisticated archaeologist with more degrees than a thermometer dictating to me what parts of the Bible are facts and what parts are myths. I have never based my belief that the Word of God is true on archaeology. I believe the Bible to be true, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, because of the faith God has given me to believe His Word wherein He says that His Word is true. "Thy word is true from the beginning..." (Ps.119:160). The Bible is true. It is all true. The very first word that begins the Bible is true and everything else it says is true. No archaeological discovery is going to change that.
I believe the Bible to be absolutely true and trustworthy, from the beginning to the end, based upon the following reasons:
There are hundreds of prophecies that can be found in the Bible. Some have been fulfilled in the past and some are yet to be fulfilled in the future. Not one of God's prophecies in the Scriptures have yet failed to come to pass as predicted. In fact, there was given a specific criteria in the Old Testament to determine whether or not a prophecy given was true or false.
The criterion of genuineness was not the prophet's claim to speak from the Lord, but the complete fulfillment of his predictions: "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) God never makes blunders or misses the mark. His arrows of truth have always hit the bull's-eye. The Bible has a 100% accuracy rate. No other book can make that claim.
The fact of past fulfillment of prophecy ought to give us confidence and assurance of whether future events will transpire as predicted. The manner of past prophetic fulfillment indicates the manner of future prophetic fulfillment. "The only way to know how God will fulfill prophecy in the future," says one author, "is to ascertain how He has done it in the past." J. Dwight Pentecost said, "From God's viewpoint, prophecy is a unit, indivisible on the time basis. Since it is a unit, that method used in those prophecies that are now fulfilled will also be the method used to fulfill those prophecies that await future fulfillment."
The very first prophecy in the Bible can be found in Genesis 3:15 where it speaks of Christ's death and Satan's defeat. This was gloriously fulfilled at Calvary. It has been said that at the first advent of Christ, over 300 prophecies were completely fulfilled. Everything from His supernatural, virgin birth (Isa. 7:14), to the place of His birth (Micah 5:2), to His betrayal for 30 pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12- 13), to His crucifixion (Ps.22:16-18) as foretold in the Old Testament were accomplished in the New Testament.
How did God fulfill prophecy in the past? Sir Robert Anderson of Scotland Yard, making a scientific study of prophetic fulfillment in Scripture, says: "There is not a single prophecy, of which the fulfillment is recorded in Scripture, that was not realized with absolute accuracy, and in every detail; and it is wholly unjustifiable to assume that a new system of fulfillment was inaugurated after the sacred canon closed."
The bottom line is this: every prophecy that has been fulfilled has been fulfilled literally. Prophecies yet to be fulfilled will also be literally fulfilled. God's Word is true. You can count on it, depend on it, trust it. The apostle Peter referred to the Word of God as a "more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed..." (2 Pet.1:19). I believe God's Word to be true because of:
The apostle Peter tells us there "are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises" (2 Pet. 1:4). The Bible is crammed full of promises that God has given to His people. We are reminded that these promises are "exceeding great"-- matchless, superior, excellent, incomparable; they are also "precious"-- invaluable, cherished, loved, priceless. The promises of the Bible are great because they came from a great God; they are precious because they were bestowed upon us by a precious Saviour (1 Pet. 2:7) who shed His precious blood (1 Pet. 1:19) in order that we might have the precious faith (2 Pet. 1:1).
From Genesis to Revelation there is recorded and revealed unto us God's great and precious promises and there is not one of them that He has failed to keep. God promised Noah He would destroy the world by a flood. It happened. God promised Abraham he would have a son. It happened. God promised Moses and the children of Israel they would be given the land of Canaan. It happened.
And the list could go on and on. But the greatest promise found in God's Word is that I'm told that if I repent of my sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, I will have everlasting life and be saved forevermore. I am living proof of that exceeding great and precious promise. As a child of God I am given the promise the Lord will give me strength when weak, guidance when confused, comfort when in sorrow, encouragement when discouraged, and protection when attacked. My Lord and Saviour has yet to fail in keeping His promises to me. And He never will because He cannot lie (Num.23:19; Titus 1:2).
Samuel Chadwick was quoted as saying: "I have worked over the Bible, prayed over the Bible for more than sixty years, and I tell you there is no book like the Bible. It is a miracle of literature, a perennial spring of wisdom, a wonderful book of surprises, a revelation of mystery, an infallible guide of conduct, an unspeakable source of comfort." I believe the Bible is true in its every part because of:
There is no other book in this entire world that has ever been written as powerful as the Word of God. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
It was through the Word of God that revealed unto us what vile, depraved, lost, ruined, undone, wicked, hell-deserving sinners we really were. This is why Paul emphatically declared without embarrassment, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16) The Bible is dynamite; it is dynamic. God has chosen to use the faithful proclamation of His Word to save sinners and "unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor.1:18).
Without a doubt the Word of God is powerful and able to change the hearts and lives of people. No other book can do that. God uses His Word to bring conviction to the lost and correction for the re deemed. As a seed, it has regenerative power (1 Pet. 1:23); as a lamp, it has illuminating power (Ps.119:105); as water, it has cleansing power (Jn.15:3; Eph. 5:26); as milk, it has nourishing power (1 Pet. 2:2); as bread, it has sustaining power (Mt. 4:4); as meat, it has strengthening power (Heb. 5:14); as honey, it has satisfying power (Ps.19:10; 119:103); as a sword, it has convicting power (Heb. 4:12).
No other book has transformed and shaped the lives of men as has the Bible. Just how powerful is it? Someone once wrote: "The Bible is immeasurable in influence, inexhaustible in adequacy, infallible in authority, personal in application, regenerative in power, inspired in totality. All of its enemies have not torn one hole in its holy vesture, nor diluted one drop of the honey of its hive, nor shortened its march of triumph by one step, nor weakened its life one pulse beat." After all these years, it is still "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword."
The great archaeologist, Dr. Melvin G. Kyle, once said, "There has never been found anything that discredits statements of facts in the Bible. Almost the entire list of names, places, and events of the Bible have been corroborated by the findings of archaeology." Because of his archaeological work, Sir William Ramsay, the famous Oxford scholar, admitted "the longer I study the New Testament, the more convinced I become of its absolute trustworthiness. Christianity is the religion of truth; it is founded on truth, absolute and perfect truth." To quote the words of Jesus Himself concerning the Word of God, He said: "thy word is truth" (Jn.17:17).
I believe God's Word to be true because of its prophecies, its promises, and its power. I believe the Bible is true and accurate, inspired and infallible, in every part. Not because of archaeological discoveries, but because God said His Word was true. "In spite of the devilish criticism hurled against this Precious Book, all of us may safely tie to it, judge all things in the light of it, and live happily by its precepts." (R. S. Beal) We better believe the Bible is true, every part of it, every word of it, or else we are warned: "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." (Hebrews 3:12)
The Bible today is more needed than ever before in the history of mankind. God's Word is the target of Satan's enmity. While this has always been the case, he seems to have intensified his assault, and as never before this Book of books is being attacked as though it were man's greatest menace. Edward F. Hills once wrote: "Take your stand with Christ and receive from His hands the True Text of holy Scripture which He has preserved for you by His special providence. Then, armed with the sword of the Spirit and sheltered by the shield of faith, press on to victory."
When all of the theories and philosophies of man will have fallen by the wayside, God's precious and holy Book, the Bible, will still shine forth in all its resplendent glory and its truth will be fully sustained. While it is true that the grass withereth and the flower fadeth, let us never forget that "the word of our God shall stand for ever" (Isa.40:8).