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Why Follow Jesus?

Chapter 5: The Accuracy of the Bible (2)

Archaeological findings

Archaeology is the scientific study of the remains of the past. The archaeologist studies the remains of ancient cities and houses and examines items like pots and tools found in the ruins. He tries to read any written records on stone, clay or other materials which have not decayed. Archaeologists have worked for many years in lands mentioned in the Bible. It is amazing the things which are constantly coming to light from their findings.

The art of writing pre-dates Moses

At one time scholars critical of the Bible said many things in the Bible could not have happened. Now archaeological discoveries have shown that the things mentioned in the Bible could have happened in the way they are described. For example: at one time it was thought that writing had not been invented in Moses' day, but archaeology has shown this assumption to be wrong.

Pontius Pilate

Until recently we knew about this Roman governor from the New Testament and from the writings of Josephus, Philo and Tacitus. It was in 1961 that a stone slab was discovered at Caesarea (about 65 miles from Jerusalem), inscribed with three names including those of Pilate and the emperor Tiberius. [1]

Customs of many years before Christ

Archaeological discoveries have shown that the customs of 2,000 years before Jesus fit the Bible's account of Abraham. [2] The Genesis account of Joseph in Pharaoh's court uses just the right technical terms and refers to practices followed in Egypt's royal court 1,800 years before Jesus. [3]

The city of Tyre

Ezekiel, writing around 592-580 BC, foresaw the destruction of the city of Tyre. [4] This happened during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Later on, Alexander the Great came and used the ruins of the mainland city to build a roadway to an island. The same prophecy also said that where the city once stood, fishermen would spread their nets, but the city would not be rebuilt. [5] Modern Tyre is not built where the old city stood. Even today, some 2,500 years after the prophecy, fishermen spread their nets on the rocky shore.

Destruction of Nineveh

The prophet Nahum, about 640 BC, wrote about the destruction and desolation of Nineveh. He prophesied that this capital of the Assyrian empire would be destroyed by an overwhelming flood. [6] He also said that the destruction would be total. [7] In about 612 BC, an enemy attacked the Assyrians outside Nineveh and the city was so completely destroyed that its ruins were not even located until the last century, about 2,400 years later. Many examples could be given but the above will serve to show that the Bible has an integrity and authenticity which means that we can read it with confidence.

Prophecies fulfilled

In biblical terms, prophecy is the revelation of God's truth about the past, present and future. These prophecies are often beyond human foresight and are remarkably detailed. The fulfilment of these prophecies in history is confirmation of God's inspiration of His prophets. There are many prophecies mentioned in the Bible. Many have been fulfilled and there are others which are still to be fulfilled. Here is just one example:

The Book of Isaiah is a prophetic book in the Old Testament and was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Yet as we read parts of it, we are struck by the way Jesus Himself lived out the passages in that book. and read it. The beginning of Chapter 53 (verses 1 to 3) speaks of how Jesus was rejected, and goes on to show that, because people didn't understand Him, He was killed (verses 7 to 9). Yet God gave Him a place of honour and greatness (verses 10 to 12).

Other prophets

There are some people today who claim to be able to foretell the future; but consider what they say. Often they are so vague as to be meaningless. The rest of their predictions are sometimes right and sometimes wrong, hardly a significant forecast! Biblical prophecy is different. What the Bible says will happen always takes place. Biblical prophecies are often about things that will happen hundreds of years after the person who made them has died. The fulfilled prophecies of the Bible are strong evidence that it is God's book because only God can reveal the future.


References

  1. cf. Luke 3:1; Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23:1; John 18:28-29
  2. Genesis 12 to 25
  3. Genesis 39 - 41
  4. Ezekiel 26:3-21
  5. Ezekiel 26:5,14
  6. Nahum 2:6
  7. Nahum 3:15

 

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