Jumat, 13 Februari 2009

Is There Anything Left You Can Trust?

In these morally challenged times - when billions are embezzled through corporate fraud; when trusted, spiritual leaders prove false; when lying in politics seems to be the norm; when those you depend on the most often hurt you the deepest - is there anything left you can trust? Yes! You can fully trust the Bible! Why? Just take a look at the evidence...
1. What does the Bible claim about itself?

The Bible says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." 2 Timothy 3:16. "Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21. "The scripture cannot be broken." John 10:35.

Answer: It claims to be inspired. It was written by men who were guided by the Holy Ghost. It cannot be broken or proved untrue.

2. How did Jesus demonstrate His confidence and belief in Scripture?

Jesus said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone." "It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Matthew 4:4, 7, 10. "Thy word is truth." John 17:17.

Answer: Jesus quoted Scripture when meeting the temptations of Satan. He also stated that the Bible is truth (John 17:17). Jesus often quoted Scripture as authority for the truth He was teaching.

3. Do Bible prophecies confirm inspiration?

The Bible says, "I am the Lord . . . new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them." Isaiah 42:8, 9. "I am God . . . Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done." Isaiah 46:9, 10.

Answer: Bible predictions of things to happen in the future confirm the inspiration of Scripture as they come to pass. Notice the following examples of fulfilled Bible prophecies:

A. Four world empires to arise: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8).
B. Cyrus to be the warrior to capture Babylon (Isaiah 45:1-3).
C. After Babylon's destruction, it would never be inhabited again (Isaiah 13:19, 20; Jeremiah 51:37).
D. Egypt would never again have a commanding position among the nations (Ezekiel 29:14, 15; 30:12, 13).
E. Earth-shaking calamities and fear toward the end of time (Luke 21:25, 26).
F. Moral degeneracy and decline of spirituality in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

4. Can we expect scientific statements made in the Bible to be accurate?

The Bible says, "Thy word is true from the beginning." Psalms 119:160. "The Spirit . . . will guide you into all truth." John 16:13.

Answer: Yes, the Bible is true. The Holy Spirit, who guided the Bible writers, always speaks the truth. Here are a few Bible statements that have been confirmed by science:

A. "He . . . hangeth the earth upon nothing." Job 26:7. This scientific fact is from Job, the Bible's oldest book.
B. "He . . . sitteth upon the circle of the earth." Isaiah 40:22. The Bible said the earth is round centuries before man found out.
C. "To make the weight for the winds." Job 28:25. Long before scientists knew, God said air has weight.
D. "By Him [Jesus] all things consist." Colossians 1:17. The word "consist" here literally means "hold together" or "cohere." Many Bible translations put it "hold together." This is the answer to the nuclear physicists' worrisome question about the atom. The real mystery of the atom does not involve its benumbing mega-power, but rather, "Why doesn't the atom fly apart?" Scientific knowledge says it should, but it doesn't. Some scientists are wondering what puzzling power, completely unknown to them, is holding it together. The Bible says that mysterious power is the Creator, God Himself.

5. Are biblical health principles tuned to the twenty-first century mind?

A. Cover body waste with dirt (Deuteronomy 23:12, 13).
The Bible provision of Moses' day that body waste should be buried was 3,500 years ahead of its time and saved countless thousands of Jewish lives. Major problems still arise when sanitation is not properly handled.

B. "Neither let us commit fornication." 1 Corinthians 10:8.
The word "fornication" denotes all kinds of immoral sexual conduct. There would be no AIDS epidemic if this up-to-date Bible counsel were obeyed, nor would abortion be the international scandal that it now is.

C. Leave alcoholic beverages alone (Proverbs 23:29-32).
If this extremely effective Bible solution were implemented, just think what it would mean:

Refusing to abstain from alcohol has brought untold woe to many.
1. Millions of alcoholics becoming sober, respectable citizens.
2. Millions of families reunited.
3. Millions of broken homes mended.
4. Multiplied thousands of lives saved by sober driving.
5. Thousands of government, business, and professional leaders making clear-minded decisions.
6. Billions of dollars available for humanitarian use.

Note: God not only tells us how to succeed with joy amid today's harrowing problems, but He also gives us the miraculous power to do it (1 Corinthians 15:57; Philippians 4:13; Romans 1:16). Bible health principles are relevant and desperately needed, but few are listening. (For more on health, see Study Guide 13.)

6. Are the historical statements of the Bible accurate?

The Bible says, "I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right." Isaiah 45:19, RSV.*

Answer: Yes, Bible historical statements are accurate. What God says in His book is true. Sometimes, temporarily, evidence may not be found to substantiate certain historical facts from the Bible, but in time the evidence surfaces. Note the following:

A. For years skeptics said the Bible was unreliable because it mentions the Hittite nation (Deuteronomy 7:1) and cities like Nineveh (Jonah 1:1, 2) and Sodom (Genesis 19:1), which they denied ever existed. But now modern archaeology has confirmed that all three did, indeed, exist.

B. Critics also said that Bible-mentioned kings Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1) and Sargon (Isaiah 20:1) never existed. Once again, it has now been confirmed they did exist.

C. Skeptics also said the Bible record of Moses was not reliable because it mentions writing (Exodus 24:4) and wheeled vehicles (Exodus 14:25), neither of which they said existed at the time. They, of course, know better today.

D. At one time the 39 kings of ancient Israel and Judah who reigned during the divided kingdom were authenticated only from the Bible record, so critics charged fabrication. But then archaeologists found cuneiform records that mentioned many of these kings and, once again, the Bible record was proved accurate. Critics have repeatedly been proved wrong as new discoveries confirm biblical people, places, and events. It will always be so.

*The Revised Standard Version of the Bible (C) 1946, 1952, 1971 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission.

7. One of the greatest miracles of the Bible is its unity. Please ponder the following amazing facts:


A. The 66 books of the Bible were written:
1. On three continents.
2. In three languages.
3. By about 40 different people (kings, shepherds, scientists, attorneys, an army general, fishermen, priests, and a physician).
4. Over a period of about 1,500 years.
5. On the most controversial subjects.
6. By people who, in most cases, had never met.
7. By authors whose education and background varied greatly.

B. Yet, though it seems totally inconceivable,
1. The 66 books maintain harmony with each other.
2. Often new concepts on a subject are expressed, but these concepts do not undermine what other Bible writers say on the same subject.

C. Talk about astounding!
Ask people who have viewed an identical event to each give a report of what happened. They will differ widely and will virtually always contradict each other in some way. Yet the Bible, penned by 40 writers over a 1,500-year period, reads as if written by one great mind. And, indeed, it was: "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21. The Holy Ghost "moved" them all. He is the real Bible Author. The four Gospels do sometimes differ in the way they report the same event, but they complement each other.

8. What evidence of Bible inspiration is found in the lives of people?

The Bible says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Answer: The changed lives of those who follow Jesus and obey Scripture constitute the most heartwarming proof of Bible inspiration. The drunkard becomes sober; the immoral, pure; the addicted, free; the profane, reverent; the fearful, courageous; and the rude, kind.

Christians have an inner joy and peace that others do not possess.

An American skeptic was visiting an island whose natives were originally cannibals. When he spotted an old man reading the Bible, he ridiculed him for reading a book "full of myths which had already been exposed." The native smiled at him and said, "My friend, be grateful we do believe this book. Otherwise, we would be serving you for dinner." The Bible really does change people, and this amazing fact confirms its inspiration.

9. What evidence for Bible inspiration emerges when we compare Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah with New Testament happenings in the life of Jesus?

The Bible says, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He [Jesus] expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27. "For he [Apollos] vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ." Acts 18:28, NKJV.*

Answer: The Old Testament predictions of the Messiah to come were so specific and so clearly fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth that both Jesus and Apollos used these prophecies to prove to the Jews that Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah. There are more than 125 of these prophecies. Let's review just 12 of them:

ProphecyOld Testament Scripture New Testament Fulfillment
1. Born in BethlehemMicah 5:2Matthew 2:1
2. Born of a virginIsaiah 7:14Matthew 1:18-23
3. Of David's lineageJeremiah 23:5Revelation 22:16
4. Attempted murder by HerodJeremiah 31:15Matthew 2:16-18
5. Betrayal by a friendPsalms 41:9John 13:18, 19, 26
6. Sold for 30 silver coinsZechariah 11:12Matthew 26:14-16
7. CrucifiedZechariah 12:10John 19:16-18, 37
8. Lots cast for His clothesPsalms 22:18Matthew 27:35
9. No bones brokenPsalms 34:20; Exodus 12:46John 19:31-36
10. Buried in rich man's tombIsaiah 53:9Matthew 27:57-60
11. Year, day, hour of His deathDaniel 9:26, 27; Exodus 12:6Matthew 27:45-50
12. Raised the third dayHosea 6:2Acts 10:38-40

Jesus fullfilled more than 125 Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah.

Dr. Peter Stoner, former chairman of the departments of mathematics, astronomy, and engineering at Pasadena College (California), worked with 600 students for several years applying the "principle of probability" to the prophecies of the Messiah's coming. They chose just eight from the many available and finally decided the chances of all eight being fulfilled in one man in a lifetime is one in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. What would the odds be on the more than 125 prophecies of the Messiah? It couldn't just happen!

*The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (C) 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
10. What great advantage does a person have who accepts the Bible as God's inspired word?

The Bible says, "I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts." Psalms 119:100. "Thou . . . hast made me wiser than mine enemies." Psalms 119:98. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are . . . my thoughts [higher] than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9.

Answer: A person who accepts the Word of God will soon know the answers to many complex challenges that secular scholars will never figure out. For example, the Bible teaches:

A. God created the earth and all living organisms in six literal, 24-hour days (Exodus 20:11; Psalms 33:6, 9).
B. A worldwide flood destroyed every living thing except the sea life and what was inside Noah's ark (Genesis chapters 6, 7, 8).
C. The different languages of the world began at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

The Bible account of the Flood provides the answers secular scholars are searching for.
God, who has always existed and knows everything, shares the above three truths with us, recognizing that we could never figure them out on our own. We know only "in part" now (1 Corinthians 13:9). And God's knowledge is "past finding out." Romans 11:33. Evolutionists will never know the age of the earth because it was created with apparent age, as were Adam and Eve. The couple were only one day old on their second day of life, but they appeared to be mature. Man's measuring instruments cannot allow for apparent age. In such cases, they are not trustworthy. Believe the Bible, and you will always be ahead of the speculation of secular scholars and the worldly-wise.

11. What crucial world happenings have brought the power and appeal of the Bible into sharp focus?

Answer: The failure and collapse of communism and the weakening and inconsistency of the theory of evolution have spotlighted the Bible.

Note: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics tried communism, atheism, and also evolution, which is Marxism's number one tenet. They all failed. The resultant new democracies realize that only one thing will work, and they are almost with one voice crying out to Christendom: "Bring us the Bible and Christian preaching and teaching. We must now build on the unshakable foundation of prayer and the Christian faith. Nothing else compares. Nor will anything else answer life's great questions and bring peace to the hearts of our people. Please don't keep us waiting! We desperately want and need the Bible, God, and Christianity now." Once again, God's Word triumphs.

Evolution, like communism, is losing its grip and credibility. We must remember that it is nothing more than an unproved, shaky theory. We will mention three items only:

True science is always in harmony with the Bible because God is the author of both.

1. Robert Gentry's book
Creation's Tiny Mystery has unsettled many evolutionists with its apparent, clear evidence of instant creation. (Mystery in the Rocks, an easy-to-understand book based on his research, may be purchased from Amazing Facts.)

2. Molecular biology's recent demonstration that the single cell is vastly complex makes the accidental origin of life in a single cell a mathematical absurdity.

3. The widely different ages now being assigned to the Grand Canyon layers by current scientific measurements, as opposed to those assigned previously, make evolutionists and their prior measurements seem reckless and irresponsible. The atheistic theory of evolution that humans and apes came from common ancestors scorns the concept that people were created in the image of God. It denies the existence of God, totally disavows Jesus as Saviour, negates the Bible, and ridicules the truth of an eternal home in heaven. Satan loves the evolution theory because it destroys the credibility of salvation. Communists are learning. Will we?

12. Why does the Bible have such universal appeal?

The Bible says, "Thy word is a . . . light unto my path." Psalms 119:105. "These things have I spoken unto you . . . that your joy might be full." John 15:11. "In the image of God . . . created he them." Genesis 1:27. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16. "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:3.

Answer: Because it answers life's most puzzling questions:

A. Where did I come from? God created us in His image. We did not accidentally emerge as nondescript globs from some primeval slime. We are sons and daughters of God, the Mighty King (Galatians 3:26). We are so precious to God that when Adam and Eve sinned, He gave His Son to die and pay the penalty for our sins so we could be free. He wants to restore us to His image and then, shortly, take us back to Eden, the home Adam and Eve lost.

B. Why am I here? Our aims for life today should be to discover the Bible's wonderful answers to life's puzzling problems and to accept Jesus' offer to restore us to His image (Romans 8:29).

C. What does the future hold for me? There is no guesswork about the future. Jesus will come very soon to take His people to the fabulous home He has prepared for them in heaven. There, with supreme joy and happiness, people will live forever (John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:3, 4).

13. I am thankful to God for giving me positive answers to life's most puzzling questions.


Thought Questions

1. I'm offended that the Bible gives such repugnant, graphic descriptions of sin in recording the lives of some Bible characters. Is this really necessary? (Romans 15:4 )Yes. It is one of the great facts that give credibility to the Bible. Most biographies skip or soften the bad and often overstate the good. Telling it like it is gives people confidence the Bible can be trusted; it doesn't cover up. Further, Satan's strategy is to convince people they are such great sinners God cannot or will not save them. What joy sweeps over such people when they are shown Bible cases of people like them (and worse) whom God delivered from sin and justified (Romans 15:4)!2. Is all of the Bible inspired? Many believe only parts of it are. (2 Timothy 3:16 )The Bible has the answer: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16. The Bible does not simply contain the word of God. Rather, it is the Word of God. The Bible is the information and operations manual for a human life. Ignore any of it and you will have unnecessary difficulties and problems.3. The Bible is an ancient book with old-fashioned wording and concepts. Don't you feel it is unsafe to rely on something so far removed from our enlightened day? (1 Peter 1:25 )No. Its age is in its favor. That is, in fact, one of the proofs of its inspiration. The Bible says, "The word of the Lord endureth for ever." 1 Peter 1:25. The Bible stands as a rock. It is God's book--His Word. It cannot be destroyed. Men and even entire nations have burned, banned, and tried to discredit and destroy the Bible, but instead, they discredited themselves. They are gone, and their attacks on the Bible are forgotten. Yet the Bible remains a best-seller, in constant demand. Millions would die for it, if necessary. Its message is God-given and 100 percent up-to-date. Before you study it, pray and ask God to open your heart as you read.4. Some of the most brilliant people in the world, who have carefully studied the Bible, believe no one can understand it. If the Bible is truly God's book, shouldn't everyone be able to understand it? (1 Corinthians 2:13 )Bright people who can understand and explain virtually anything are often quickly stopped in their tracks when they read the Bible. The reason is that spiritual things "are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:13, 14. The deep things of the Word will never be understood by a secular mind, no matter how brilliant. Unless one honestly seeks an experience with God, he cannot understand the things of God. The Holy Spirit, who explains the Bible (John 16:13; 14:26), is not understood by the carnal, secular mind. On the other hand, the humble, even uneducated Christian who studies the Bible receives amazing understanding from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10).5. The Bible is full of errors. How can you believe it is inspired? (Isaiah 28:9 )The overwhelming majority of so-called errors in the Bible have been demonstrated to be simply errors of judgment or lack of understanding on the part of those who make the complaint. They are not errors at all, but simply truth misunderstood. The inspired Bible:

1. Will always tell you the truth.
2. Will never mislead you.
3. Can be fully trusted.
4. Is reliable and authoritative, not only in spiritual matters but also in other matters it addresses, including history and science.

Satan is always digging up some supposed flaw in Scripture, which is not surprising. He found fault even with God and heaven. Copyists may have miscopied in some cases, but no such supposed happening or any other alleged error affects the truth of God's Word. Doctrine is built not upon one Bible passage, but upon the total of God's comments on any subject. We are unaware of any alleged error of any kind that would affect the truthfulness of the content of Scripture. Some things in Scripture are yet difficult to reconcile. There will always be room for doubt to those who prefer to doubt. We believe that even alleged errors, not yet fully explained, will (as in the past) soon be exposed as false alarms. The harder people work to undermine the Bible, the brighter its light shines.

Quiz Questions

1. Which fulfilled prophecies confirm the Bible's inspiration? (4)

___ Cyrus would capture Babylon.

___ Ronald Reagan would become president of the United States.

___ Egypt would never again be a strong, leading nation.

___ Morals would degenerate in the last days.

___ Germany would have a 20-year drought.

___ Babylon, once destroyed, would never be inhabited again.

2. Jesus showed His belief in Bible inspiration by: (1)

___ Talking loudly on the subject.

___ Quoting from it as He taught.

___ Calling fire down on those who doubted.

___ Announcing it from the temple steps.

3. Which scientific facts from the list below does the Bible mention? (3)

___ The earth is round.

___ Air has weight.

___ God keeps the atom from flying apart.

___ The formula for water is 'H2O'.

___ Seawater is salty.

4. Which of the following health rules appear in the Bible? (2)

___ Drink four gallons of water daily.

___ Leave alcoholic beverages alone.

___ Run every morning and night.

___ Abstain from immoral sexual conduct.

5. The following statements about the Bible are true: (3)

___ About 40 people helped write the Bible.

___ The Bible was written over a period of 10,000 years.

___ Only parts of the Bible are inspired.

___ The real Bible author is the Holy Spirit.

___ The Bible is a best-seller.

6. Which of the following did the Bible predict about the Messiah's life? (3)

___ Would be born in Nazareth.

___ Would fly to heaven often.

___ Would be sold for 30 pieces of silver.

___ Herod would try to kill Him.

___ Would be crucified.

___ Would be raised to life after seven years.

7. What Bible rule, if followed, would best prevent AIDS? (1)

___ Do not be sexually immoral.

___ Do not worship graven images.

___ Eat meals regularly.

8. Which statements below are true about evolution? (3)

___ It is an unproved theory.

___ It undermines Christianity.

___ It is a proved fact.

___ It proves that human beings and apes have common ancestors.

___ It is a strong tenet of communism.

9. Which statements below help prove Bible inspiration? (5)

___ Its biographies include bad as well as good.

___ It changes the lives of its followers.

___ Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus.

___ It predicted the rise of the four world kingdoms.

___ Its unity.

___ It tells the day and hour of the second coming of Jesus.

10. God created the earth in six literal, 24-hour days. (1)

___ True

___ False

11. In Noah's day, a worldwide flood destroyed every living thing except the sea life and what was inside the ark. (1)

___ True

___ False

12. The different languages of the world originated at the Tower of Babel. (1)

___ True

___ False

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