We now come to the proof of inspiration.
In this connection, we should notice that while we value the work of archaeologists, scientists and historians, and have nothing to fear from any of them, our acceptance of the word of God does not rest on external evidence. We believe the Bible because it is the Bible, the word of God. The Bible authenticates itself:
The outstanding example of this is the fact that the Bible records the fulfilment of its own prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus. He is the unity and continuity of Holy Scripture. ‘Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me’, John 5. 39. Far from making predictions which can be interpreted to suit the whims and fancies of the expositor, Bible prophecy is marked by precise details as opposed to vague hints and suggestions. A selection from those which concern the advent of Israel’s Messiah will serve to illustrate this statement. For example, ‘The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be’, Gen. 49.10. The New Testament traces the genealogy of the Lord Jesus back to Judah, and observes, ‘it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda’, Heb. 7.14.1 In Revelation chapter 5, we are privileged to witness a scene in heaven, ‘behold the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book’, v. 5.
Then the precise place in which Messiah was born is given, Mic. 5. 2. The mode of His conception is clearly predicted, Isa. 7.14. This complete accuracy in connection with the Lord Jesus may be observed in every part of the Old Testament. His very words on the cross, and the mode of His death, are recorded beforehand in Psalm 22 verses 1 and 16.
We could mention the accuracy of the word of God in relation to cities and other events. For example, the fulfilment, within the compass of the Old Testament, of prophecies concerning the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions, the seventy years prophecy, Daniel 9, concerning the repopulation and rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the naming of Josiah and Cyrus, long years before their birth, emphasize the amazing accuracy of Holy Scripture.2
We have deliberately kept within the scriptures themselves, but should we look for external confirmation, the amount of material is overwhelming. The prophecy concerning Tyre is one example, ‘I will also scrape her dust from her … It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea’, Ezek. 26. 3-5.
The army of Alexander the Great actually used the ruins of Tyre in constructing a causeway to reach an offshore island to which the inhabitants of the city had fled. The ruins are still in the sea, and fishermen still spread their nets on them! The destruction of Jerusalem is another example, Luke 19. 41-44. The fact that Professor Garstang found remains of foodstuffs - wheat, barley, lentils, dates, onions, olives and pieces of dough - but no metal in the ruins of Jericho, corroborates Joshua chapter 6 verse 19. The fossil remains of tropical growth in Hudson Bay territory,3 and the discovery of thousands of bodies of woolly mammoths in Northern Siberia,4 corroborates, together with other vast evidence, the universal flood of Genesis chapters 6 to 8. The arts and treasures of Nineveh exhibited in the museums of the world fulfil Nahum chapter 3 verse 6.5 The evidence is endless!
The Lord Jesus quoted from eighteen Old Testament books.6 The greatest proof of the authenticity of the Old Testament is given by the Lord Jesus Himself. For example, He endorsed the opening chapters of Genesis.7
It is deeply significant that the very sections of the Old Testament most attacked and lampooned by the critics, were specifically endorsed by the Lord Jesus. To deny the Genesis record of creation, the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and, for that matter, the story of Jonah and the whale, is to call the Son of God a liar.
Matt. 1. 2; Luke 3. 33.
1 Kgs. 13. 2; Isa. 44. 28; 45.1.
The writer has a piece of fossilized palm tree extracted from the tar sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
MICHAEL OARD, Frozen in Time, Master Books, 2004.
Visit the Department of Assyriology in the British Museum.
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 1 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea, Jonah, Micah, Zechariah, and Malachi.
See: Mark 10. 6, 7; Luke 11. 50, 51; Matt. 24. 37; Luke 17. 29.
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