Here is attached the writing I promised. I have another in the works and mostly waiting for this one to go out to your readers. It is my contention that everything rises or falls on the truth or not, of the Bible record. If the Bible is true or not true is the question everyone ought to face. Myself included!
I trust these historical facts and records will motivate some to think and reason together with the Lord as to their real need for life and eternity. The Lord’s love for us is fixed and cannot be changed even by the best of deniers…He loves and is love and that love demands His righteousness and judgement on and of sin….sure am glad I know Him and and am known by Him.
In Christ and Happy,
Dear Readers of Gary’s Blog:
I trust this simple discourse will bring many to realize the historic accuracy of the Bible.
The Bible record cannot be successfully challenged on the basis of history…the Bible is what it claims to be, the Word of God….The God Who loves so very much He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life…. Having received the Lord Jesus as my personal Saviour some 48 plus years ago I highly recommend Him to all. Please consider this information and ask yourself, “What if it is true?”
In Christ and Happy,
Pastor Sutton, Wm
Gary: I will intersperse my comments in red.
Dear atheist and agnostic Readers: Pastor Bill is a childhood family friend and a very nice, kind man. If you wish to comment please do me a personal favor and be polite to him. Thank you!
ACCURACY OF PROPHECY
Perhaps the most compelling of evidences demonstrating that the Bible is the word of God is its unswerving ability to accurately predict future events, often in minute details. Specific prophesies are conspicuously absent from the 26 other religious books that claim to be scripture, including the Muslim’s Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedas, and Buddhist writings. This in itself should be a major eye‑opener to the honest skeptic. God through the prophet Isaiah once challenged the pagan idolaters of that time; Isaiah 41:23 (KJV) “Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.”
Here is a list of all the failed prophecies in the Bible: here and another list here.
THE JEWISH NATION
Perhaps the greatest and most obvious testimony to the accuracy of Biblical prophecy is provided by the people and nation of Israel. The Jews went without a homeland for 1900 years, just as God had promised numerous times in the Old Testament, as a reluctant judgment on His rebellious chosen people. Moses warned Israel that if they corrupted themselves, then “the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other (Deut 28:64, KJV)”. Remarkably, God restored the Jews to their ancient homeland, fulfilling many other specific Old Testament prophesies.
It is inconceivable to me how the honest skeptic could deny God’s handiwork in the history of the people of Israel. Throughout history the “wandering Jew” has been hated and despised, yet despite the unbelievable persecution they endured, the Jews somehow managed to maintain their identity such that when God’s time clock warranted they were able to re‑group as a nation in their ancient homeland. Indeed, history is replete with once great nations which were eventually overrun and defeated, but whose people were over time absorbed into the culture of the conquering nation. The fact that this did not happen to the Jews is nothing short of miraculous. There are American Jews, German Jews, Russian Jews, etc.; have you ever heard of a German Babylonian, or an American Philistine? The plight of this small percentage of humanity is certainly unique and unprecedented in the annals of world history. Jews themselves trumpet their resilience during centuries of persecution as a sign that the Jewish God is the one, true God. However, this in no way proves that Christianity is the one true religion or that Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, the Creator of the Universe, as Christians claim.
The Basques of northern Spain and southwestern France have existed for circa 45,000 years, much longer than the Hebrews/Jews have existed. Does their continuous existence for such a long period of time, almost always under the occupation and domination of other peoples, indicate that God has blessed them and protected them from assimilation?
The Jews have certainly been the subjects of horrific persecution ever since 70 AD, especially at the hands of the Nazis. But other peoples have long histories of persecution and suffering such as the Kurds, the Armenians, and the Roma (Gypsies). These peoples have also survived. Is their survival a sign of God’s protection and the truthfulness of their religions and belief systems ??
Finally, who can deny the volatility of the Middle East, with Israel as the boiling point, and the worldwide focus of attention she receives. Bear this in mind when reading the following Bible passage, written almost 2500 years ago, and also consider that this was written at a time when Jerusalem was in complete ruins; Zechariah 12: (KJV) 2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. How do we know when Zechariah was written? There is nothing specific in this passage. A Jew is predicting that his capital city will one day be great. Is that so unusual? Has Jerusalem ever been a great and powerful city?
Zechariah 14:2‑3 (KJV) 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. Is this a prophecy about a future event or is this a “prophecy” about a completed event: the sacking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar?
As noted author Dave Hunt so aptly put it:
The fulfillment of hundreds of specific prophecies in the ancient and modern history of the Jewish people is God’s great sign to mankind‑‑a sign that no one can mistake or deny…Jewish history stands as a universal visible monument to God’s existence. This is true if one assumes as fact that the Old Testament authors were writing prophecies regarding events to occur in the future, and not writing “prophecies” about events that had already happened. Most non-fundamentalist Bible scholars now believe that the Book of Daniel, for example, is a forgery, written in the third or second century BC during the occupation of Palestine by the Greek Empire. For evidence that the Book of Daniel is a forgery, read here and here.Here again is the list of failed Bible prophecies: Failed Bible Prophecies
Predicted Fate of Numerous Cities and Nations
What if I were to give you the following predictions:
1. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran) will destroy all but the island portion of New York City.
2. Many nations will fight against New York City.
3. The debris from the buildings in New York City will be thrown in the water to access Long Island.
4. New York City will be made a bare and flat like the top of a rock.
5. Fishermen will spread their nets over the heap that was once New York City.
6. New York City will never be re‑built.
7. New York City’s glory will never be restored.
8. I will be laughed at and mocked, and disregarded as a lunatic.
I’m sure the last one is about the only one I would get right! I would certainly have earned my rightful place in the heap of ridicule. What is amazing is that the prophet Ezekiel made these same predictions (except for 8, of course), with Nebuchadnezzar replacing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Tyre replacing New York City/Long Island ‑ his prophecy was fulfilled to the last detail! This would indeed be remarkable if it can be demonstrated that the author of Ezekial had truly prophesied these events long before they happened and not recorded them after they had happened and pretended his book had been written long before it actually was.
The fact is that Nebuchadnezzar did not take Tyre. Ezekiel made a mistake.
At the time Ezekiel made this prophecy (Ezekiel 26), Tyre was a powerful city holding a stature much like that of New York City today. Three years after the prophecy Nebuchadnezzar indeed laid siege to the city. The inhabitants all but abandoned the city and moved off‑shore to a nearby island, where they fortified themselves and remained a powerful city for several hundred more years.
During this time it must have seemed that Ezekiel’s prophecy was not wholly correct, but then came Alexander the Great, who eventually built a causeway to the island using debris from the old mainland city of Tyre! More conquerors were to follow. It wasn’t until the 12th century A.D. before the final prophetic chapter was closed on the once great city of Tyre. Its fitting that a secular historian would eventually write the following:
…[Tyre] never regained the place she had previously held in the world. The larger part of the site of the once great city is now bare as the top of a rock ‑ a place where the fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry.
Let’s see how well the previous description of present‑day Tyre matches what the Bible had to say:
“And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.
It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations (Ezek 26:4‑5 KJV).” Again, prophecy or writing after the fact as if it were prophecy? Here is a link to a counter argument against the “Tyre prophecy”: here and here
The Tyre prophecy is but one of many Old Testament prophesies of minute detail relating to cities or nations that have already been fulfilled. So detailed that it is as if the event had already occurred and someone is simply recording known historical facts.
Anyone can verify the numerous fulfilled prophesies of such cities as Sidon, Edom, Samaria, and nations such as Egypt, Babylon, and Rome.
The above prophecy makes it sound as if the entire city of Tyre will remain a desolate place, however, if this is true, how then is it possible that both Jesus and Paul visited this city in the New Testament??
Speaking of Egypt, there is another prophecy also recorded in Ezekiel that I would like to share with you:
“and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt (Ezek 30:13, KJV).” Twenty‑five hundred years have passed since this prophecy, and during this period of time not one of its numerous ruling princes were Egyptian!
This would be similar to my predicting that their would never again be an American elected President of the United States, and having it actually come true. I am not familiar with this prophecy. I will have to investigate it.The rest of Ezekiel’s prophecy against Egypt was a total failure. Ezekiel prophesied that Egypt would be made desolate and its population scattered among the nations. That did not happen. Here is a article that discusses this prophetic failure.
Dr. D. James Kennedy wrote of an encounter he had with a Jewish man who said he did not believe in Christ. Dr. Kennedy responded that he was sorry to hear that, and added “…Since He is the Messiah of the Jewish people who was promised in the Old Testament, you have rejected your own Messiah.” He then went on to share with the Jewish man a few verses of scripture:
Psalm 22:7‑8 (KJV)
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. This passage could be referring to any Jew who was suffering hardship.
Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Jews have a ready (and very good) refutation that the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 is the nation of Israel, not Jesus. Click here to read this fascinating Jewish article: here
Psalm 41:9 (KJV)
9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. Nonspecific. Could be referring to anyone.
Psalm 22:16 (KJV)
16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. Is “pierced” the correct English translation in this verse? Read here for an interesting refutation to the claim that Psalm 22 is a prophecy about Jesus: here
Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. As stated above, this entire passage is referring to God’s Suffering Servant, the nation of Israel, not any one individual.
Zechariah 12:10 (KJV)
10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Nonspecific.
When Dr. Kennedy finished reading these scriptures to the Jewish man, he asked him to whom these verses were referring to. The man responded that “Obviously they are talking about Jesus… So what?”. Dr. Kennedy then pointed out that all the verses he had just read to him were from the Old Testament! The man was stunned and demanded to see the passages with his own eyes9. An orthodox Jew would never be fooled by this well-worn missionary trick. Only someone who is a nominal, secular Jew would fall for it.
I recommend that every Christian read the book by orthodox Jewish author, Asher Norman, “Twenty-six Reasons why Jews Reject Jesus” in which he dismantles the Christian claim that the Jewish Bible (the Old Testament) has even one prophesy about Jesus.
According to secular sources, crucifixion was invented as a method of capital punishment no earlier than the 6th century BC. This is 4 centuries after David wrote in Psalms 22:16, “They pierced my hands and my feet”. Even if critics try to persuade against a 1000 BC date for Psalms 22, they can’t deny this Psalm existed in the Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls that were translated around 200 BC. Does the critic really want to try to convince us that a Jesus pretender would want to self‑fulfill such a terrible way to die? Again, read this counter argument: here
The Old Testament contains 333 prophesies regarding the Messiah, most of which were fulfilled by the first coming of Jesus Christ. Even the most liberal critics acknowledge that these prophesies were written at least 400 years before Christ. Mathematicians have easily shown that the odds of all these prophesies being fulfilled by chance in one man is greater than the number of atoms in the universe many times over. The question must be asked: Did Jesus fulfill Old Testament prophecies or did the anonymous Christian authors of the Gospels create stories and details about Jesus to “fulfill” Old Testament prophecies. Many Bible scholars believe that the author of Matthew, in particular, scoured the OT to find prophesies for which he could create stories for Jesus to fulfill. Christians don’t want to consider this possibility, but in the real world which is more likely: a man fulfills the prophecies of a god, or an author made up his “facts”?
NEW AGE “PROPHETS”
Some critics will point to the “success” of non‑biblical “prophets” such as Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and Jeane Dixon, to name a few. A careful and subjective check of their methods, however, reveals that their predictions were really no better than you or I or the local fortune‑teller could make. Take Jeane Dixon, for example. The prediction that made her famous, regarding the assassination of JFK, was really not that amazing after all. She predicted that “the Democratic contender will win, but he will be assassinated or die in office, though not necessarily in the first term”. Considering the history of past presidents, and the fact that she allowed 8 years for the event to occur, her chance of success was 7 to 3! She also prophesied that WWIII would begin in 1954, Nixon would defeat Kennedy (contradicting her earlier prediction!), and Jacqueline Kennedy would not marry Aristotle Onasis (she married him the next day!). This is but a handful of her false prophesies.
I would say that Jean Dixon was just about as accurate as Ezekiel. Not very.
These “prophets” were also frequently so vague in the predictions they made that you could mold them into about any historical event you wanted. Its amazing to read about the events that Nostradamus supposedly prophesied about, then compare the details of the event with what Nostradamus actually wrote. You’re left asking, how in the heck did they draw those conclusions?! Note that these “experts” on Nostradamus’s work were only able to make their claims after the supposedly predicted event had passed. This complete lack of a priori analysis, coupled with the incredibly vague nature of the Nostradamus “prophesies”, should be more than enough reason for the honest inquirer to dismiss any claims of prophetic success put forth by Nostradamus’s advocates. In contrast, most of the Biblical prophesies are specific and detailed, with quite a few interpreted a priori.
To the Christian the afore‑mentioned individuals are easily exposed as false prophets based on the Biblical tests for a prophet. The Bible forbids the use of occult artifacts, which all were guilty of, and more importantly,
Deuteronomy 18:22 (KJV)
22 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. Jesus prophesied that he would be in the tomb for “three days and three nights”. However, a careful reading of the Synoptic Gospels has Jesus in the tomb for only TWO nights. Therefore, if we follow the instructions of Deuteronomy 18:22, we must judge Jesus as a false prophet.
The Bible contains over 2000 prophesies that have been fulfilled, many with very specific details. One must ask himself why he would remain skeptical in light of this incontrovertible evidence. Because the evidence is forged/fraudulent. It would seem that if someone was honestly seeking the truth, it would certainly be a worthwhile effort to at least investigate a handful of these prophesies. Psalm 22 would be a good start ‑ it contains several prophesies describing Christ’s crucifixion, a method of execution that wasn’t invented until several centuries after King David wrote about it. A Bible and an encyclopedia is all one would need to verify the prophetic accuracy of Psalm 22. Unless…an anonymous first century author, writing far away in a foreign land, in a foreign language, decades after the man in question is dead, scours the Old Testament for prophecies, and then makes up details about the dead man’s life to fit those prophecies.
Isaiah 48:5 (KJV)
5 I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.
It would be extremely difficult for the honest skeptic to dispute the overwhelming archeological support for the historical accuracy of both the Old and New Testaments. Absolutely not true. Modern archeologists no longer consider the Bible as a reliable, accurate source for ancient history or ancient archeology. The overwhelming majority of archeologists in the world, including those of the nation of Israel, have publically stated that the stories of the Patriarchs, the Hebrew Slavery in Egypt, the Forty Years in the Sinai, the Conquest of Canaan, and the great of kingdoms of the biblical David and Solomon, as well as Solomon’s temple, are fictional folk tales. They are not historical. There is ZERO archeological evidence for these biblical claims. Fundamentalist Christian “experts” continue to fight this consensus opinion, but they are considered the fringe. Numerous items discussed in the Bible such as nations, important people, customary practices, etc. have been verified by archeological evidence. So Egypt, Babylon, and the city of Tyre, etc. existed. That doesn’t prove that an ancient Hebrew god drowned the entire world with a forty-day-long thunderstorm, parted the Red Sea, or impregnated a Jewish virgin to give birth to his half-human/half-divine son. Bible critics have often been embarrassed by discoveries that corroborated Bible accounts they had previously deemed to be myth, such as the existence of the Hittites, King David, and Pontius Pilate, just to name a few. The noted Jewish archeologist Nelson Glueck summed it up very well:
It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. This statement is very, very dated and according to the overwhelming majority of archeologists, dead wrong.
When compared against secular accounts of history, the Bible always demonstrates amazing superiority. Not true. Just one example: Is it really possible that the great pharaoh of Egypt and his entire army is drowned in the Red Sea chasing after run away slaves…but no one in Babylon, Greece, or any other surrounding nation mentions this fantastic, monumental Egyptian defeat in their writings or engravings?? Why is the insignificant King Ahaz mentioned in the writings of Babylon, but the great King David and King Solomon are never even once mentioned by the Babylonians, Egyptians, Hittites or anyone else?? The noted biblical scholar R.D. Wilson, who was fluent in 45 ancient languages and dialects, meticulously analyzed 29 kings from 10 different nations, each of which had corroborating archeological artifacts. Each king was mentioned in the Bible as well as documented by secular historians, thus offering a means of comparison. Wilson showed that the names as recorded in the Bible matched the artifacts perfectly, down to the last jot and tittle! The Bible was also completely accurate in its chronological order of the kings. On the other hand, Wilson showed that the secular accounts were often inaccurate and unreliable. Famous historians such as the Librarian of Alexandria, Ptolemy, and Herodotus failed to document the names correctly, almost always misspelling their names. In many cases the names were barely recognizable when compared to its respective artifact or monument, and sometimes required other evidence to extrapolate the reference.
I believe one of the more overwhelming testimonies regarding the depth of archeological evidence for the New Testament is in the account of the famous historian and archeologist Sir William Ramsay. Ramsay was very skeptical of the accuracy of the New Testament, and he ventured to Asia minor over a century ago to refute its historicity. He especially took interest in Luke’s accounts in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, which contained numerous geographical and historic references. Dig after dig the evidence without fail supported Luke’s accounts. Governors mentioned by Luke that many historians never believe existed were confirmed by the evidence excavated by Ramsay’s archeological team. Without a single error, Luke was accurate in naming 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 islands. Ramsay became so overwhelmed with the evidence he eventually converted to Christianity. Ramsay finally had this to say:
I began with a mind unfavorable to it…but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.
Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy…this author should be placed along with the very greatest historians.
Ramsay died in 1939, therefore his scholarship and his opinions are very dated (outdated).
Today, the opposite is happening. More and more people are leaving Christianity due to modern research and archeology which demonstrates that the Bible is full of errors and discrepancies.
The classical historian A.N. Sherwin‑White collaborates Ramsay’s work regarding the Book of Acts:
Any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.
Discoveries ranging from evidence for the Tower of Babel location??, to Exodus, to the Walls of Jericho, all the way to the tombs of contemporaries of St. Paul, have greatly enhanced the believability of the Bible. Though this vast archeological evidence does not prove God wrote the Bible, it surely must compel the honest skeptic to at least acknowledge its historical veracity. For the believer its yet another reassuring testimony to the reliability of the Bible. In the words of the University of Yale archeologist Millar Burrows:
…Archeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the scriptural record. More than one archeologist has found respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine.
Modern archeology indicates there was no Slavery in Egypt, no mass Exodus of Jews, no Wandering in the Sinai, no Conquest of Canaan, and no great United Kingdom of David and Solomon. Click here to read the details: