"THE BOOK OF PSALMS" Psalm 3 - A Morning Prayer For God's Protection OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS PSALM 1) To note how historical events often served as the impetus for the writing of particular psalms 2) To observe the use and possible meaning of the word "Selah" 3) To consider how David trusted in the Lord to deliver him from his enemies SUMMARY The heading attributes this psalm to David, composed as he was fleeing from his son Absalom (cf. 2Sa 15-18). It is commonly called "a morning hymn" (cf. v. 5) in which the psalmist prays for God's protection. David addresses his complaint to the Lord, how there be many who trouble him. They even taunt him by saying there is no help from God for him (cf. the curses of Shimei, 2Sa 16:5-8). In this psalm (and in many others) we find the word "Selah". The exact meaning is unknown, but it may have served the purpose of providing some musical notation. It seems to be inserted where a pause is desirable for the singer or reader of the psalm to reflect upon the thought or statement just made (1-2). Following his complaint is an expression of comfort received from the Lord in the past. Such consolation prompts him to view the Lord as a shield and his glory, the One who is able to lift up his head. Indeed, the Lord has heard his earlier cry and enabled him to sleep and awake. This gives him renewed courage to face his many enemies (cf. 2 Sam 18:7), even though they numbered in the thousands (3-6). As he starts the new day, he yet again calls upon the Lord to save him, even as He has done in the past. His "morning hymn" ends with the acknowledgment of God as the source of salvation and blessing for His people (7-8). OUTLINE I. DAVID'S COMPLAINT (3:1-2) A. MANY TROUBLE HIM (1) B. MANY RISE UP AGAINST HIM (2) C. MANY SAY THERE IS NO HELP FROM GOD FOR HIM (2) II. DAVID'S COMFORT (3:3-6) A. WHAT GOD IS TO HIM (3) 1. His shield and glory 2. The One who lifts his head B. WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR HIM (4-6) 1. Heard his cry from His holy hill 2. Sustained him during sleep 3. Given him courage against ten thousands of men III. DAVID'S CRY (3:7-8) A. FOR DELIVERANCE BY GOD (7) 1. To arise and save him 2. As God has done in the past a. Having struck his enemies on the cheekbone b. Having broken the teeth of the ungodly B. OF PRAISE TO GOD (8) 1. Salvation belongs to God 2. His blessing is upon His people REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE PSALM 1) What are the main points of this psalm? - David's complaint (1-2) - David's comfort (3-6) - David's cry (7-8) 2) Who is the author of this psalm, and what occasion led to its composition? - David - When he was fleeing from Absalom 3) What was David's complaint? (1) - Many have risen against him, to trouble him 4) What were people saying about David? Who in particular said such things? (2) - There is no help for him from God - Shimei, son of Gera, of the house of Saul (cf. 2Sa 16:5-8) 5) What is the meaning of the word "Selah"? (2) - It is likely a musical notation - Perhaps inserted where a pause is desirable for the singer or reader of the psalm to reflect upon the thought or statement just made (Leupold) 6) How did David view God? (3) - As a shield, his glory, the One who lifts up his head 7) What did David do, and what was God's response? (4) - David cried to the Lord with his voice - God heard him from His holy hill 8) What was David able to do because of God's sustaining him? (5) - To lay down and sleep, and then to awake 9) What else did God make possible for David? (6) - Not to be afraid, even when ten thousands of people surrounded against him 10) For what does David pray? (7) - To arise and save him 11) What had God done for David in the past? (7) - Struck his enemies on the cheekbone - Broken the teeth of the ungodly 13) What does David attribute to the Lord? (8) - Salvation and blessing to His people
"THE BOOK OF PSALMS" Psalm 2 - The Ultimate Victory Of The Messiah OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS PSALM 1) To note the Messianic nature of this psalm 2) To consider its fulfillment as expounded by Jesus and His apostles in the New Testament 3) To take comfort in knowing that the Messiah has ultimate control over world affairs SUMMARY This psalm is Messianic in nature, with its theme being "The Ultimate Victory Of The Lord's Anointed." It is quoted by the apostles and early church in their prayer for help against persecution (cf. Ac 4:24- 30), in which they applied it to the efforts of Pontius Pilate along with Gentiles and those of Israel who crucified Christ. From this reference in Acts we also learn that David was the author. The psalm is divided into four sections (or strophes), in each of which there is a different voice that speaks. The first strophe begins with the psalmist observing the efforts of the nations and their leaders to resist the Lord and His Anointed. They declare their desire to break away from the cords that bind them (1-3). The second strophe depicts the Lord in heaven as laughing in derision over their futile efforts. In righteous anger He declares that despite their resistance He has installed His King (i.e., His Anointed One) on Zion, His holy hill (4- 6). In the third stanza or strophe, the Anointed One speaks, in which He declares the decree of the Lord. He is God's begotten Son, who upon request is given the nations and ends of the earth as an inheritance which He will rule with a rod of iron (7-9). From Jesus and His apostles, we learn that this rule began when He ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God (cf. Mt 28:18; Ep 1:20-22; 1Pe 3:22; Re 1:5; 2:26-27). The psalm ends with the fourth strophe containing the psalmist's counsel of what the leaders of the nations should do: Worship the Lord with reverence, and do homage to the Son lest they incur His righteous anger. For all who put their trust in the Anointed One, they shall be blessed (10-12). OUTLINE I. THE NATIONS' RESISTANCE (2:1-3) A. THE PSALMIST'S INQUIRY (1) 1. Why do the nations rage? 2. Why do the people plot a vain thing? B. THE PSALMIST'S OBSERVATION (2-3) 1. Against the Lord and His Anointed... a. The kings of the earth set themselves b. The rulers take counsel together 2. Against the Lord and His Anointed they say... a. "Let us break Their bonds in pieces" b. "(Let us) cast away Their cords from us" II. THE LORD'S REJOINDER (2:4-6) A. THE LORD'S REACTION (4) 1. He who sits in the heaven shall laugh 2. The Lord shall hold them in deep derision B. THE LORD'S REPLY (5-6) 1. He shall speak to them in His wrath 2. He will distress them in His deep displeasure 3. He will proclaim: "Yet I have set My King on My holy hill Of Zion" III. THE MESSIAH'S RESPONSE (2:7-9) A. THE DECREE GIVEN HIM (7) 1. "You are My Son" 2. "Today I have begotten You" B. THE AUTHORITY GIVEN HIM (8-9) 1. The extent of His rule a. "The nations for Your inheritance" b. "The ends of the earth for Your possession" 2. The power of His rule a. "You shall break them with a rod of iron" b. "You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel" IV. THE PSALMIST'S REPROACH (2:10-12) A. TO KINGS AND JUDGES (10-11) 1. Be wise, be instructed 2. Serve the LORD with fear 3. Rejoice with trembling B. TO THEM AND ALL (12) 1. Kiss the Son lest He be angry a. And you perish [in] the way b. When His wrath is kindled but a little. 2. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE PSALM 1) What are the main points of this psalm? - The nations' resistance (1-3) - The Lord's rejoinder (4-6) - The Messiah's response (7-9) - The psalmist's reproach (10-12) 2) Against whom are the kings and rulers taking counsel? (2) - The Lord and His Anointed 3) What are the kings and rulers saying? (3) - Let us break Their bonds in pieces, and cast away Their cords 4) What reaction does this prompt from the Lord in heaven? (4-5) - Laughter and derision - Wrath and displeasure 5) What will the Lord say to these kings and rulers? (6) - I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion 6) How will the Anointed One (i.e., the Messiah) respond? (7) - He will declare the decree spoken to Him by the Lord (God) 7) Who is the Anointed One? (7) - God's begotten Son 8) As applied by Paul, what "day" was the Messiah "begotten" by God? (7; cf. Ac 13:33) - The day of His resurrection from the dead 9) What did the Lord promise His Anointed One? (8) - The nations and ends of the earth for His inheritance and possession 10) According to Jesus and His apostles, has He been given this authority? If so, when? (cf. Mt 28:18; Ep 1:20-22; 1Pe 3:22; Re 1:5; 2:26-27) - Yes; when He ascended to heaven and set down at the right hand of God 11) What will He do to the nations with this authority? (9; cf. Re 2: 26-27) - Break them with a rod of iron - Dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel 12) What wisdom and instruction does the psalmist give to kings and judges? (10-12) - Serve the Lord with fear - Rejoice with trembling - Kiss (do homage to) the Son - Lest He be angry and you perish when His wrath is kindled 13) What of those who put their trust in the Son? (12) - They will be blessed
"THE BOOK OF PSALMS" Psalm 1 - The Truly Happy Man OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS PSALM 1) To examine the blessedness of the righteous, in stark contrast to the desperation of the wicked 2) To note both the negative and positive elements that lead to the truly happy life 3) To note four examples of parallelism that are indicative of Hebrew poetry SUMMARY The first psalm, didactic in style, serves as an appropriate preface to the entire collection of psalms. Its theme can be described as "The Truly Happy Man" as it depicts the blessedness, or happiness, of the righteous man in contrast to the wicked. The blessedness of the righteous man is described first from a negative perspective, in what he will not do. With the aid of stair-like progressive parallelism, the truly happy man is depicted as not allowing himself to be in the presence or under the influence of the wicked. Instead, he finds delight in meditating day and night on the law of the Lord. His blessedness is pictured as a healthy, fruitful tree, nourished by rivers of water. Whatever he does, he prospers (1- 3). The wicked, in stark contrast, are not so blessed. They are like chaff driven by the wind. In the judgment, they shall not be able to stand. Nor shall they be blessed to be in the congregation of the righteous (4-5). The psalm ends with a contrast between the two "ways." The way of the righteous is known (blessed, providentially cared for) by the Lord. The way of the ungodly shall perish, like a trail leading into a swamp that eventually disappears (6). OUTLINE I. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE RIGHTEOUS MAN (1:1-3) A. HIS CHARACTER (1-2) 1. Described from a negative point of view a. Walks not in the counsel of the ungodly b. Nor stands in the path of sinners - Pr 4:14-15 c. Nor sits in the seat of the scornful - Ps 26:4-5 2. Described from a positive perspective a. His delight is in the law of the Lord
- Ps 40:8; 119:47,48; Jer 15:16 b. In God's law he meditates day and night - Ps 119:97-99 B. HIS PROSPERITY (3) 1. Like a tree planted by rivers of water - Ps 92:12-15; Jer 17: 7-8 a. That brings forth fruit in its season b. Whose leaf shall not wither 2. Whatever he does shall prosper - Josh 1:7-8 II. THE DESPERATION OF THE WICKED (1:4-5) A. NOTHING LIKE THE RIGHTEOUS (4) 1. The ungodly are not so (lit., "Not so, are the ungodly!") 2. They are like the chaff which the wind drives away - Job 21: 17-18 B. THEIR SORRY END (5) 1. The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment 2. The sinners shall not stand in the congregation of the righteous III. A FINAL CONTRAST BETWEEN THEIR TWO WAYS (1:6) A. THE LORD KNOWS THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS (6a) B. THE WAY OF THE UNGODLY SHALL PERISH (6b) REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE PSALM 1) What are the main points of this psalm? - The blessedness of the righteous man (1-3) - The desperation of the wicked (4-5) - A final contrast between their two ways (6) 2) What is the theme of this psalm? - The truly happy man 3) What is the style of this psalm? - Didactic, i.e., designed to teach or instruct 4) What does the blessed man not do, as described in this psalm? (1) - Does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly - Does not stand in the path of sinners - Does not sit in the seat of the scornful 5) What example of parallelism, or thought rhyme, do we find in verse one? - Stair-like progressive parallelism 6) What is the source of delight for the one who is blessed? (2) - The law of the Lord 7) What does the blessed man do to experience such delight? (2) - Meditates in the law of the Lord day and night 8) What example of parallelism, or thought rhyme, do we find in verse two? - Synonymous parallelism 9) What will such a blessed person be like? (3) - A tree planted by rivers of water - That brings forth fruit in its season, and whose leaf shall not wither 10) What example of parallelism, or thought rhyme, do we find in verse three? - Synthetic parallelism 11) What else is said about this blessed man? (3) - Whatever he does shall prosper 12) What are the ungodly like? (4) - The chaff driven away by the wind 13) What will not happen to the ungodly and sinners? (5) - They shall not stand in the judgment - They shall not stand in the congregation of the righteous 14) How are the righteous and the wicked contrasted at the end of this psalm? (6) - The Lord knows the way of the righteous - The way of the wicked shall perish 15) What example of parallelism, or thought rhyme, do we find in verse six? - Antithetical parallelism
"THE BOOK OF PSALMS"
Introduction To The Psalms The value of the Old Testament to the Christian is expressed several times in the New Testament: For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (Ro 15:4) Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1Co 10:11) Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of the Old Testament scriptures he had learned as a child: But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2Ti 3:14-17) Of the books of the Old Testament, this is especially true of the book of Psalms! The value of the Psalms for the Christian is so great, we should do what we can to become more familiar with them. Allow me to elaborate... Why Study The Psalms? As Christians, we are commanded to utilize the Psalms: Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, (Ep 5:19) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Col 3:16) Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. (Jm 5:13) Thus the Psalms are useful for singing praises to God. They are also useful for teaching and confirming that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah. Note the use Jesus made of them (Lk 24:44-47), and also Peter's use of them in his first gospel sermon (Ac 2:25-28,34-35). It has been said that in the Psalms one finds "expressed the eager yearning and longing for God's presence". It certainly contains "prayers and songs of joyous trust and praise." Indeed, every emotion known to man is expressed in beautiful and inspired terms (e.g., joy, anger, praise, repentance, trust, even doubt). Filled with some emotion for which you cannot find the words to express it? It is likely you will find it expressed in the book of Psalms! I would therefore suggest that the Psalms are capable of serving as: * The Christian's "hymnal" to assist us in our praise to God * The Christian's "prayer book" in which we learn how to approach God in prayer * The Christian's "book of evidences" to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ * The Christian's "training guide" for living holy and righteous lives before God The Aim Of This Study It is my prayer that as we study this book we will accomplish the following goals: Become more familiar with Old Testament poetry - This is essential to getting more out the Psalms, and important if we are to avoid misinterpreting them Develop an appreciation and working knowledge of the Psalms - So one may utilize them for his or her own comfort and encouragement, and in counseling and comforting others Glean a clearer picture of God's character - To better understand His love, mercy and deliverance towards the righteous, but also His wrath and judgment against the wicked Learn more of the Christ in prophecy - To note descriptions of His suffering and glorious reign found in the Psalms, some of which are not found elsewhere in Scripture Consider examples of fulfilled prophecies - To see in fulfilled prophecy irrefutable arguments for the inspiration of the Scriptures, and for the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah These are just a few of the reasons why the Book of Psalms should be read and studied by every Christian, and hopefully this study will help to meet these objectives. Characteristics Of Hebrew Poetry Before we get into the background of the Psalms themselves, it may prove beneficial to consider some things about Hebrew poetry. Not only will this help to better understand the nature of the Psalms, but it can also assist in proper interpretation of this portion of Scripture. One of the things that makes Hebrew poetry different is... 1) The Use Of "Thought Rhyme" Also known as "parallelism", thought rhyme involves arranging thoughts in relation to each other. This is done without a concern as to whether certain words rhyme with each other (as found in most modern poetry). In the Psalms, we find several different kinds of thought rhyme: Synonymous parallelism - The thought of first line is repeated in the second line, expressed in different words for the sake of emphasis. A good example is found in Ps 24:2... For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters. (same idea, reworded) Antithetical parallelism - The truth presented in one line is strengthened by a contrasting statement in the next line. Consider this example from Ps 1:6... For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish. (note the contrast) Synthetic parallelism - The first and second lines bear some definite relation to each other (such as cause and effect, or proposition and conclusion). A good example is Ps 119:11... Your word I have hidden in my heart, (cause) That I might not sin against You! (effect) Progressive parallelism - There are several varieties of this form, the most common being: Stair-like - Composed of several lines, each providing a complete element of the aggregate or composite thought. Notice Ps 1:1... Blessed is the man... Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; (note the progression) Climatic - Here the principal idea in the first line is repeated and expanded to complete the thought. An example is found in Ps 29:1... Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones (give what?) Give unto the LORD glory and strength. (the answer) Introverted parallelism - The first line is closely related in thought to the fourth, and the second to the third. For example, consider Psa 91:14... Because he has set his love upon Me, (note line 4) therefore I will deliver him; (note line 3) I will set him on high, (note line 2) because he has known My name. (note line 1) It is often fascinating to note how creative the Hebrew poets were as they composed their poetry using "thought rhyme" rather than "word rhyme". In some cases it even helps in interpreting difficult expressions or phrases. Another characteristic of Hebrew poetry is... 2) The Lack Of Poetic Rhythm Much modern poetry has standard measures of identifiable rhythm, as in the poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb." With the Hebrews, however, the art of poetic rhythm was of secondary consideration. Some suggest that it is not likely that the Hebrew poets had standard measures, worked out and carefully defined. Again, their focus was on "thought rhyme," not "word rhyme." Finally, an important characteristic of Hebrew poetry is... 3) The Use Of Figurative Expression The Psalms are filled with figurative expressions, and as such it is important to keep certain principles of interpretation in mind... a) The figure must be accepted and dealt with as a figure of speech, not as a literal statement For example, in Ps 18:31, the Lord is called "a rock." He is like a rock, but not one literally. In Ps 51:4, David says "Against You, You only, have I sinned." Yet he is confessing his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, in which he sinned not only against the Lord, but against his wife, against Uriah, and many others. David was speaking figuratively for the sake of expressing his deep grief in sinning against God, and we must allow for figurative expressions including hyperbole in poetic writings. One needs to be careful and not develop doctrinal beliefs upon what may be figurative expressions not intended to be taken literally. b) The figure must be interpreted in light of its meaning in the setting in which it was used For example, in Ps 23:4, we find the well-known phrase: "the valley of the shadow of death." It is not uncommon to hear the phrase applied at funerals to the act of dying. In the setting of the psalm, however, it refers to a treacherous place (such as a steep valley, where deep shadows can easily cause a misstep resulting in death), where the guiding hand of a shepherd would be very helpful to sheep to avoid death. It is therefore applicable to any time one is in perilous straits and in need of God's guiding hand. Appreciating these characteristics of Hebrew poetry can help the Psalms become more meaningful, and understanding these characteristics can also help avoid misinterpreting the Psalms to teach doctrines the psalmist had no intention of teaching! Background Material On The Psalms Having examined some of unique characteristics of Hebrew poetry in general, let's now focus on the book of Psalms itself... 1) The Origin Of The Word "Psalm" The Greek word is "psalmos", from the Hebrew word "zmr" meaning "to pluck"; i.e., taking hold of the strings of an instrument with the fingers. It implies that the psalms were originally composed to be accompanied by a stringed instrument. "Psalms are songs for the lyre, and therefore lyric poems in the strictest sense."(Delitzsch, Psalms, Vol. I, p. 7) David and others therefore originally wrote the Psalms to be sung to the accompaniment of the harp. In New Testament worship, we are told to sing the psalms to the accompaniment of the heart: "...in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Ep 5:19) The phrase, "making melody," comes from the Greek word "psallontes" (literally, plucking the strings of). Therefore, we are to "pluck the strings of our heart" as we sing the psalms (i.e., to sing with emotion). 2) The History Of The Psalms The oldest of the Psalms originate from the time of Moses (1400 B.C.). We have three psalms penned by Moses: Exo 15:1-15 - a song of triumph following the crossing of the Red Sea Deut 32, 33 - a song of exhortation to keep the Law after entering Canaan Ps 90 - a song of meditation, reflection, and prayer After Moses, the writing of Psalms had its "peaks" and "valleys"... In David (1000 B.C.), the sacred lyric attained to its full maturity. With Solomon, the creation of psalms began to decline; this was "the age of the proverb." Only twice after this did the creation of psalms rise to any height, and then only for a short period: under Jehoshaphat (875 B.C.) and again under Hezekiah (725 B.C.). 3) The Authors Of The Psalms David - Commonly thought to be the author of the book of Psalms, but he actually wrote only about seventy-three (73), less than half. Asaph - The music director during the reigns of David and Solomon (1 Chr 16:1-7). He wrote twelve (12) psalms. The Sons of Korah - These were Levites who served in the Temple (1 Chr 26:1-19). They wrote twelve (12) psalms. Solomon - At least two (2) psalms are attributed to him (Ps 72, 127). That he wrote many more is stated in 1Ki 4:29-32. Moses - As indicated above, he wrote the earliest psalms; one is included in Psalms (Ps 90). Heman - Contemporary with David and Asaph, and is known as "the singer" (1Ch 6:33). He wrote one psalm (Ps 88) that has been preserved. Ethan - A companion with Asaph and Heman in the Temple worship (1 Chr 15:19). He wrote one psalm (Ps 89). Anonymous - The authorship of forty-eight (48) of the psalms is unknown. 4) The Arrangement Of The Psalms The Psalms were originally collected into five "books", apparently according to the material found within them... Book I (Ps 1-41) Book II (Ps 42-72) Book III (Ps 73-89) Book IV (Ps 90-106) Book V (Ps 107-150) The Psalms can also be arranged into chief "groups"... Alphabetic or Acrostic - These psalms have lines which in Hebrew start with words whose first letters follow a certain pattern. For example, in Ps 119 the first eight lines start with words beginning with the Hebrew letter ALEPH, the second eight lines with words beginning with BETH, etc. This may have been done to aid in the memorization of the psalm. Ethical - These psalms teach moral principles. A good example is Psa 15. Hallelujah - These are psalms of praise, beginning and/or ending with "hallelujah" or "praise Jehovah". Ps 103 is one such example. Historical - Psalms which review the history of God's dealings with His people. A good sample would be Ps 106. Imprecatory - These psalms invoke God to bring punishment or judgment upon one's enemies. Consider Ps 69 as an example. Messianic - Psalms pertaining to the coming Messiah. For example, look at Ps 2 or Ps 110. Penitential - These are psalms expressing sorrow for sins that have been committed. A classic example is David's psalm in Ps 51. Songs Of Ascent (or Songs Of Degrees) - These psalms were possibly sung by pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem to observe the feasts. They are grouped together as Ps 120-134. Suffering - These psalms are cries of those suffering affliction. Psa 102 is a typical example. Thanksgiving - Psalms of grateful praise to Jehovah for blessings received. For example, take a look at Ps 100. The various "styles" of the psalms can be described as... Didactic - Psalms of teaching and instruction (e.g., Ps 1). Liturgical - Responsive readings, for use in special services (e.g., Ps 136). Meditation - The ancient Hebrews were given to meditation, which spirit finds expression in many of the psalms (e.g., Ps 119). Praise and Devotion - Psalms of joyful praise (e.g., Ps 148). Prayer and Petition - Psalms which were sung in an attitude of prayer (e.g., Ps 51). Hopefully, this brief background of the Book Of Psalms will help one gain a better feel and appreciation for this type of Scripture. Review Questions For The Introduction 1) According to Ro 15:4, why was the Old Testament written? - For our learning - That through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope 2) According to 1Co 10:11, why were the events in Old Testament times recorded? - For our admonition 3) As Paul reminded Timothy, of what value were the Scriptures (Old Testament) he had learned as a child? (cf. 2Ti 3:14-15) - They were able to make him wise regarding the salvation through faith in Christ Jesus 4) What is Scripture profitable for, including the Old Testament? (cf. 2Ti 3:16-17) - Doctrine - Reproof - Correction - Instruction in righteousness - To make the man of God complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work 5) What three Scriptures teach Christians to utilize the Psalms? - Ep 5:19; Col 3:16; Jm 5:13 6) What are the Psalms capable of serving for the Christian? - As the Christian's "hymnal" - As the Christian's "prayer book" - As the Christian's "book of evidence" - As the Christian's "training guide" for living holy and righteous lives 7) What will be the aim of this study in the Psalms? - To become more familiar with Old Testament poetry - To develop an appreciation and working knowledge of the Psalms - To glean a clearer picture of God's character - To learn more of the Christ in prophecy - To consider examples of fulfilled prophecies 8) What three characteristics of Hebrew poetry were pointed out in this introduction? - The use of "thought rhyme" - The lack of poetic rhythm - The use of figurative expression 9) List the five different types of "parallelism" described in this study. - Synonymous - Antithetical - Synthetic - Progressive - Introverted 10) What was the original meaning of the word "psalm"? - To pluck 11) In New Testament worship, what is the instrument upon which melody is to be played? (cf. Ep 5:19) - The heart 12) Who wrote some of the earliest Psalms? - Moses 13) When did the writing of Psalms reach its peak? - During the time of David 14) List some of the authors who penned the Psalms in our Bible. - David (73), Asaph (12), the sons of Korah (12), Solomon (2), Moses (1), Heman (1), Ethan (1), anonymous (48) 15) List different "groups" into which the Psalms can be placed. - Alphabetic (Acrostic), Ethical, Hallelujah, Historical, Imprecatory, Messianic, Penitential, Songs Of Ascent (Degrees), Suffering, Thanksgiving 16) List the different "styles" of the Psalms. - Didactic, Liturgical, Meditation, Praise and Devotion, Prayer and Petition
Allah vs. the God of the Bible
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
An honest and objective reading of both the Quran and the Bible reveals a significant clash between the two both in terms of how to conceptualize God, as well as in their respective depictions of the behavior of deity. Allah says and does things that the God of the Bible did not and would not say or do. The Quran’s representation of the sovereignty of God (like Calvinism) contradicts the character of God by attributing actions to Him that are unlike deity.
For example, the Quran repeatedly represents God, on the occasion of the creation of Adam, requiring the angels/djinn to bow down and worship this first human. All do so with the exception of Iblis (i.e., Satan), who refuses to do so on the grounds that Adam was a mere mortal:
Verily We created man of potter’s clay of black mud altered, and the Jinn did We create aforetime of essential fire. And (remember) when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am creating a mortal out of potter’s clay of black mud altered, so, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My spirit, do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves unto him. So the angels fell prostrate, all of them together save Iblis. He refused to be among the prostrate. He said: O Iblis! What aileth thee that thou art not among the prostrate? He said: Why should I prostrate myself unto a mortal whom Thou hast created out of potter’s clay of black mud altered? He said: Then go thou forth from hence, for verily thou art outcast. And lo! the curse shall be upon thee till the Day of Judgement (Surah 15:26-35, emp. added; cf. 2:34; 7:11-12; 17:61; 18:51; 20:116; 38:72-78).
This characterization of deity is completely unacceptable. This one incident alone illustrates that Allah is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible simply would not do what the Quran says He did. Numerous Bible verses convey the complete impropriety—even blasphemy—that the worship of a mere human constitutes. Humans are forbidden to worship other humans (Acts 10:25-26; 14:14-15). Humans are forbidden to worship angels (Colossians 2:18; Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). And, most certainly, angels are not to worship mere humans. The Law of Moses declared that worship is to be directed to God (Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:20). When Satan tempted Jesus, and Satan urged Jesus to worship him, Jesus quoted the deuteronomic declaration from the Law of Moses, and then added His own divine commentary: “and Him only you shall serve” (Matthew 4:10, emp. added). No one, and no thing, is the rightful object of worship—except deity!
Interestingly enough, Satan’s reasoning as reported in the Quran was actually biblical and right. Satan recognized that not only should angels not worship humans, but in view of his own angelic condition, Adam occupied a status that was beneath his own accelerated, celestial existence—a fact affirmed by the Bible: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5; cf. Hebrews 2:9). The Quranic depiction of God ordering Iblis/Satan to worship Adam is a serious breach of divine propriety and a further indication of the Quran’s conflict with the Bible. [Once again, the Quran appears to have been influenced by Jewish sources, since the Talmudists also represent the angels as bestowing special attention and honor on Adam (Sanhedrin 29; Midrash Rabbah on Genesis, paragraph 8)].
The Da Vinci Code and the Dead Sea Scrolls
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
The Schøyen Collection MS 1655/1
In 1947, a number of ancient documents were found (by accident) in a cave on the northwest side of the Dead Sea. This collection of documents, which has become known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, was comprised of old leather and papyrus scrolls and fragments that had been rolled up in earthen jars for centuries. From 1949 to 1956, hundreds of Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts and a few Greek fragments were found in surrounding caves, and are believed by scholars to have been written between 200 B.C. and the first half of the first century A.D. Some of the manuscripts were of Jewish apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings (e.g., 1 Enoch, Tobit, and Jubilees); others are often grouped together as “ascetic” writings (miscellaneous books of rules, poetry, commentary, etc.). The most notable group of documents found in the caves of Qumran near the Dead Sea is the collection of Old Testament books. Every book from the Hebrew Bible was accounted for among the scrolls, except the book of Esther.
The Dead Sea Scrolls make up one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all times. Jews and Christians often point to these scrolls as evidence for the integrity of the Old Testament text. Prior to 1947, the earliest known Old Testament manuscripts only went back to about A.D. 1000. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Bible scholars have been able to compare the present day text with the text from more than 2,000 years ago. What they have found are copies of Old Testament books separated in time by more than a millennium that are amazingly similar. Indeed, the Old Testament text had been transmitted faithfully through the centuries. As Rene Paché concluded: “Since it can be demonstrated that the text of the Old Testament was accurately transmitted for the last 2,000 years, one may reasonably suppose that it had been so transmitted from the beginning” (1971, p. 191).
So what does all of this have to do with The Da Vinci Code? According to Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novelare accurate” (2003a, p. 1, emp. added). Yet notice how Brown uses one of his main fictional characters (Leigh Teabing) in the book. In an attempt to disparage the New Testament documents, Teabing alleged the following about them and their relationship to the Dead Sea Scrolls:
“[S]ome of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert” (Brown, 2003a, p. 234).
“These are photocopies of the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea Scrolls, which I mentioned earlier,” Teabing said. “The earliest Christian records. Troublingly, they do not match up with the gospels in the Bible” (p. 244).
Although Brown asserted on the very first page of his book that “[a]ll descriptions of...documents...in this novel are accurate” (emp. added), and even though he claimed “absolutely all” of his book is based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred (see Brown, 2003b), among the manyinaccurate statements he made in his book are those quoted above regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Simply put, the Dead Sea Scrolls are not in any way “Christian records;” they are Jewish writings from a Jewish religious sect, most of which predate the time of Christ (and thus Christianity) by several decades, and in some cases one or two centuries. These scrolls contain no “gospels.” In fact, Jesus of Nazareth is never even mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Such a reckless use of one of the greatest biblical archaeological discoveries ever should cause readers to see The Da Vinci Code for what it really is—a fictional novel bent on raising unnecessary suspicion about the trustworthiness of the Bible. Interestingly, the “documents” Brown used in hopes of casting doubt on Christianity, are, in actuality, some of the greatest pieces of evidence for the reliability of the Old Testament. What’s more, the Old Testament was “the Bible” of the early church. It is from these “Scriptures” that first-century Christians gleaned a greater understanding about Jesus, Who, as taught in the Old Testament, was the Christ, the prophesied Messiah (Acts 8:32-35; 17:10-11; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). In that sense, the Hebrew Scriptures contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls collection marvelously “match up with the gospels in the Bible.”
Brown, Dan (2003a), The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday).
Brown, Dan (2003b), “Today,” NBC, Interview with Matt Lauer, June 9.
Paché, Rene (1971), The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
“How Come Earth Got All the Good Stuff?”
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Stuart Clark, of New Scientist magazine, recently asked the question, “How come Earth got all the good stuff?” Of all the planets in our solar system that allegedly formed naturalistically “from the same cloud of gas and dust that surrounded the sun more than 4.5 billion years ago,” why is “Earth...so suitable for life” (Clark, 2008, 199:29)? Stuart acknowledged:
We know that its distance from the sun provides the right amount of heat and light to make the planet habitable, but that alone is not enough. Without the unique mix of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur that makes up living things, and without liquid water on the planet’s surface, life as we know it could not have evolved. Chemically speaking, Earth is simply better set up for life than its neighbours. So how come we got all the good stuff? (p. 29).
How did Earth get to be just the right distance from the Sun so that it receives “the right amount of heat and light to make the planet habitable” (emp. added)? How did Earth get such a “unique mix” of all the elements that make up living things? How did Earth “acquire its life-giving water supply?” (p. 29). Did Earth become the “just-right” planet by happenstance?
Clark said that our best hope to find clues about Earth’s origin is from meteorites, since “they formed at the same time as the planets” (p. 29). However, he admitted: “[T]here are subtle differences that are proving tough to explain. For example, the mix of oxygen isotopes in chondritic meteorites does not match those found on Earth. So far no one knows why, but since oxygen is the most abundant element in the Earth’s crust...it is a mystery that cannot be ignored” (p. 29, emp. added). Regarding Earth’s “life-giving water supply,” Clarke suggested that “[t]he most popular explanation is that the water arrived later, in the form of icy comets from the outer solar system that rained down in the period known as the ‘Late Heavy Bombardment.’ As yet, though, there is no firm evidence to confirm this as the source of Earth’s water” (p. 30).
Though atheistic scientists have attempted to answer these and similar questions for many years, still no one has a legitimate naturalistic explanation for what New Scientist calls our planet’s “biggest mysteries” (p. 28). To conclude that Earth received just the right amount of “carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulphur” by time, chance, and non-intelligence is irrational. When does time, chance, and non-intelligence ever produce such wonderful effects? To conclude that the estimated 326 million cubic miles of water on Earth (“How Much Water...?,” 2008) are the result of “icy comets from the outer solar system” raining down on Earth millions of years ago is equally absurd.
The fact is, adequate non-intelligent, random, naturalistic causes for the “just-right” Earth do not exist. The only rational explanation for the precise design of Earth, the cosmos as a whole, and life on Earth is an intelligent supernatural Creator.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork (Psalm 19:1).For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:20-22).The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).
Clark, Stuart (2008), “How Come Earth Got All the Good Stuff?,” New Scientist, 199: 29-30, September 27.
“How Much Water is on Earth?” (2008), Livescience.com, [On-line], URL:http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/070621_llm_water.html.
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
“Are you telling me that just because I don’t belong to your church, or just because I haven’t been baptized into the remission of sins, or just because I use the instrument when I worship God, or just because I don’t attend every worship service, or just because I don’t partake of the Lord’s Supperevery Sunday—that I can’t make it to heaven? I can’t believe that God would condemn me on a technicality! Besides, that’s legalistic!”
Many, many religious people are characterized by this attitude. Their perceptions of God and His grace serve to minimize the necessity of being overly concerned about strict obedience to every command of God. This attitude is manifested in the idea that arriving at correct doctrine is irrelevant to establishing a right relationship with God. But this is precisely what the Bible teaches. Doctrinal purity does not necessarily guarantee a right relationship with God, but a right relationship with God is impossible without doctrinal purity. Both “spirit and truth” (i.e., proper attitude and proper adherence to truth—John 4:24) are essential to a right relationship with God. Even if some religious individuals give the impression that they have gone “overboard” on truth, yet with insufficient attention to proper attitude, no solution is achieved by abandoning, compromising, or softening adherence to truth in an effort to accept those who are determined to remain unconformed to truth.
The very nature of God and truth is at stake in this discussion. Truth, by its very definition, is narrow, specific, fixed, and technical. God is a God of truth Who operates within the parameters of truth. Since He is God, He does not, and cannot, vary from truth and right. Man’s definition of what constitutes a “technicality” rarely matches God’s definition. More often than not, the very items that humans brush aside as unimportant and trivial, are those things upon which God lays great importance. Herein lies the crux of man’s problem. We decide what we think is important, and then proceed to structure ourreligion around those self-stylized premises, assuming divine sanction and “grace.” Never mind the fact that “it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Never mind the fact that “the wisdom of this world” is foolish to God (1 Corinthians 1:20). And never mind the fact that such an attitude and approach betrays great arrogance.
In everyday living, we understand very well the principle that those things that appear to be trivial or mere technicalities can be crucial to survival. The incorrect dosage of medicine in a medical emergency—even milligrams—can mean the difference between life and death. One or two miles over the speed limit can secure the offender a ticket. Accidentally putting gasoline into a diesel engine can ruin an automobile. I suppose one could label each of these examples as “technicalities,” but doing so does not alter the magnitude of their importance or the extent to which they impact reality.
In biblical history, the same principle holds true. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating from one piece of fruit from one tree (Genesis 3). Nadab and Abihu—the right boys, at the right place, at the right time, with the right censers and the right incense—nevertheless were destroyed for incorporating foreign fire into their incense offering (Leviticus 10:1-2). Moses was excluded from entrance into the Promised Land because of his one mistake at Kadesh—striking a rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:7-12). Saul was deposed as king for sparing the best sheep and cattle, and the life of one individual out of an entire nation (1 Samuel 15). Uzzah was struck dead for merely reaching out and steadying the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:6-7). God rejected Uzziah because he entered the temple, merely to burn incense (2 Chronicles 26).
Many more examples could be considered. These are no more “technical” or “trivial” than New Testament regulations pertaining to vocal (as opposed to instrumental) music in worship (Ephesians 5:19), unleavened bread and fruit of the vine at the Lord’s Table (Matthew 26:26-29), and the qualifications of elders and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13). We must refrain from attempting to second-guess God, or deciding for ourselves what we think is important to Him—“that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). We need to be attentive to “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)—even those portions that humans deem unimportant or peripheral. When people are clamoring, “Those matters are not salvation issues,” we need to reaffirm the words of Jesus, “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matthew 23:23).
“The Very Works that I Do Bear Witness of Me”
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Kyle Butt, M.Div.
The Bible begins with the miracle of Creation (Genesis 1:1), and ends with a reminder of the miraculous Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 22:20). Like polka dots on a Dalmatian, wondrous miracles wrought by God and His messengers spatter the biblical text. God created the Universe out of nothing (Genesis 1), and centuries later flooded the entire Earth with water (Genesis 7). He sent ten plagues upon the Egyptians (Exodus 7-12), parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14), and caused water to come from a rock twice during Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness (Exodus 17; Numbers 20). He healed a leper (2 Kings 5), raised many from the dead (1 Kings 17; Matthew 27:52-53), and on two different occasions translated men from Earth to heaven so that they never tasted death (Hebrews 11:5; 2 Kings 2:1-11). Even the Bible itself is the result of the miracle of God supernaturally guiding Bible writers in what they wrote. Rather than being the result of man’s genius, the Bible claims to be “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV). According to the apostle Peter, “[P]rophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21, NIV, emp. added). From revelation to inspiration, from God’s Creation to Jesus’ incarnation, miraculous (supernatural) explanations lay at the heart of numerous biblical (and therefore historical) events.
Some people adamantly claim that any type of miracle is absolutely impossible. Why do they say “no” to miracles? There are many reasons, but perhaps most significant is that they do not believe that God exists (or that if He does, He does not intervene in the natural world). A person who believes that the Universe and its contents evolved through natural processes over billions of years cannot believe in miracles because he or she thinks that nothing exists outside of nature. As the late, eminent astronomer of Cornell University, Carl Sagan, put it: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be” (1980, p. 4). Since a miracle is an extraordinary event that demands a supernatural explanation, no such event ever could occur in a world where only natural forces operate. Once a person denies God and the miracle of Creation, then he or she is forced to deny that miracles of any kind can occur. Christians believe in miracles because they believe that God exists and that the Bible (which reports some of God’s miracles) is His Word, whereas atheists reject miracles because they do not believe in a higher, supernatural Being.
Those who hold to an atheistic viewpoint are correct about one thing: If God does not exist (or as the deist believes, if He does exist, but is unwilling to intervene in His creation), then miracles cannot occur. On the other hand, if God does exist (and evidence indicates that He does—see Thompson, 2003), then miracles not only are possible, but also probable. It makes perfectly good sense to conclude that if God created the Universe, then on occasion He might intervene through supernatural acts (i.e., miracles) to accomplish His divine purposes.
Since the world began, God has revealed messages to mankind “by the mouth of His holy prophets” (Luke 1:70; cf. Luke 11:49-51; Acts 3:21) and worked various miracles through them for the purpose of confirming His Divine will. God gave Moses the ability to turn a staff into a snake and water into blood in order that his hearers “may believe the message” that he spoke (Exodus 4:1-9). Fire from Heaven consumed an altar on Mount Carmel so that Israel might know the one true God and that His faithful prophet Elijah spoke on His behalf (1 Kings 18:36-39). Centuries later, as the apostles went about preaching the Gospel, Mark wrote that the Lord was “working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (16:20). According to the writer of Hebrews, the salvation “which at first began to be spoken by the Lord...was confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (2:3). God bore witness “with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (2:4). Indeed, throughout the Bible God’s spokesmen worked miracles in order to validate their divine message.
In view of the fact that miracles have served as a confirmation of God’s revelation since time began, it should be no surprise that “when the fullness of time had come” (Galatians 4:4), and the promised Messiah, the Son of God, came to Earth for the purpose of saving the world from sin (Luke 19:10; John 3:16), that He would confirm His identity and message by performing miracles. Centuries before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah foretold of a time when “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.... [T]he lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing” (35:5-6). Although this language has a figurative element to it, it literally is true of the coming of the Messiah. When John the Baptizer heard about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples to Jesus asking if He was “the Coming One” of Whom the prophets spoke. Jesus responded to John’s disciples by pointing to the people whom He had miraculously healed (thus fulfilling Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy), saying, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:4-5; cf. Mark 7:37). Jesus wanted them to know that He was doing exactly what “the Coming One” was supposed to do (cf. Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:17), and what the Jews expected Him to do—perform miracles (John 7:31; cf. John 4:48; 1 Corinthians 1:22).
Jesus’ miracles served a different purpose than those wrought by Moses, Elijah, or one of the New Testament apostles or prophets. Unlike all other miracle workers recorded in Scripture, Jesus actually claimed to be the prophesied Messiah, the Son of God, and His miracles were performed to prove both the truthfulness of His message and His divine nature. Whereas the apostles and prophets of the New Testament worked miracles to confirm their message that Jesus was the Son of God, Jesus performed miracles to bear witness that He was, in fact, the Son of God. In response to a group of Jews who inquired about whether or not He was the Christ, Jesus replied,
I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.... I and My Father are one.... If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him (John 10:25,30,37-38).
Similarly, on another occasion Jesus defended His deity, saying, “[T]he works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36). While on Earth, Jesus was “attested by God...with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him” (Acts 2:22, NASB). And, according to the apostle John, “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31, emp. added). As would be expected from the One Who claimed to be God incarnate (cf. John 1:1-3,14; 10:30), Scripture records that Jesus performed miracles throughout His ministry in an effort to provide sufficient proof of His divine message and nature.
REASONS TO BELIEVE IN THE MIRACLES OF JESUS
Regardless of how much credible evidence one is able to set forth in a discussion on the miracles of Christ, certain individuals will never be convinced that Jesus is the Son of God. The Bible makes clear that even a number of those in the first century who saw the miraculous works of Jesus firsthand were not persuaded that He was the promised Messiah (cf. Mark 6:6). Rather than fall at His feet and call him “Lord” (as did the blind man who was healed by Jesus—John 9:38), countless Jews refused to believe His claims of divinity. Instead, they attributed His works to Satan, and said things like, “He has Beelzebub,” or “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons” (Mark 3:22). In light of such reactions to Jesus’ miracles by some of those who actually walked the Earth with Him 2,000 years ago, it should not be surprising that many alive today also reject Him as Lord and God. As previously stated, one of the main reasons for rejecting His deity and the miracles which the Bible claims that He worked is simply because many people deny God’s existence (even in the face of the heavens declaring His handiwork—cf. Psalm 19:1) and the Bible’s inspiration (which also has been demonstrated with an abundant amount of evidence—see Thompson, 2001). Obviously, if one refuses to accept these two foundational pillars of Christianity, he will never be convinced that Jesus worked miracles. Still, both theists and atheists should consider several of the following reasons as to why the miracles of Jesus are credible testimonies of His divine nature and teachings.
Countless Thousands Witnessed His Miracles
Aside from the fact that Jesus’ miracles are recorded in the most historically documented ancient book in all of the world (see Butt, 2000, 20:4-5), which time and again has proven itself to be a reliable witness to history (see Butt 2004a, 2004b), it also is significant that Jesus’ miracles were not done in some remote place on Earth with only a few witnesses. Instead, the miracles of Jesus were attested by multitudes of people all across Palestine throughout His ministry. Jesus began His miracles in Cana of Galilee by turning water into wine at a wedding feast in the presence of His disciples and other guests (John 2:1-11). [Considering how much wine was made after the hosts had already run out (approximately 120 gallons—2:6), it would appear there were many guests at the feast. Exactly how many witnessed the amazing feat, we are not told. But, the apostle John did record that “the servants who had drawn the water knew” of the miracle (2:9), as well as Jesus’ disciples (2:11).] On more than one Sabbath day, Jesus performed miracles in Jewish synagogues where countless contemporaries gathered to study Scripture on their holy day (Mark 1:23-28; Mark 3:1-6). Jesus once healed a sick man at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem where “a great multitude” of sick people had congregated (John 5:3), and He healed a paralytic in a Capernaum house full of “Pharisees and teachers of the law...who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem” (Luke 5:17). The house was so crowded with people, in fact, that those who brought the paralytic could not even enter the house through the door. Instead, they uncovered part of the roof, and lowered him through the tiling. Matthew recorded how Jesus “saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” (14:14, emp. added). Then, later, He took five loaves of bread and two fish and miraculously fed 5,000 men, plus their women and children, while afterwards taking up twelve baskets full of leftovers (Matthew 14:15-21; Mark 6:33:43; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14). On another occasion, Jesus took “a few little fish...and seven loaves” of bread and fed 4,000 men, besides women and children (Matthew 15:32-39).
Truly, countless thousands of Jesus’ contemporaries witnessed His miracles on various occasions throughout His ministry. They were not hidden or performed in inaccessible locations incapable of being tested by potential followers. Rather, they were subjected to analysis by Jews and Gentiles, believers and unbelievers, friends and foes. They were evaluated in the physical realm by physical senses. When Peter preached to those who had put Jesus to death, he reminded them that Christ’s identity had been proved “by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst,as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22, emp. added). The Jews had witnessed Christ’s miracles occurring among them while He was on the Earth. In the presence of many eyewitnesses, Jesus gave sight to the blind, healed lepers, fed thousands with a handful of food, and made the lame to walk.
The Enemies of Christ Attested to His Works
Interestingly, although many of Jesus’ enemies who witnessed His miracles rejected Him as the Messiah and attempted to undermine His ministry, even they did not deny the miracles that He worked. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in the presence of many Jews, “the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, ‘What shall we do? For this Man works many signs’ ” (John 11:47, emp. added). According to Luke, even King Herod had heard enough reports about Jesus to believe that He could perform “some miracle” in his presence (Luke 23:8). Once, after Jesus healed a blind, mute, demon-possessed man in the midst of multitudes of people, the Pharisees responded, saying, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons” (Matthew 12:24). While many of Jesus’ enemies did not confess belief in Him as being the heaven-sent, virgin-born, Son of God, but attributed His works as being from Satan, it is important to notice that they did not deny the supernatural wonders that He worked. In fact, they confessed that He worked a miracle by casting a demon from a man, while on another occasion they scolded Him for healing on the Sabbath (cf. Luke 13:10-17).
Even when Jesus’ enemies diligently investigated the miracles that He performed in hopes of discrediting Him, they still failed in their endeavors. The apostle John recorded an occasion when Jesus gave sight to a man born blind (John 9:7). After receiving his sight, neighbors and others examined him, inquiring how he was now able to see. Later he was brought to the Pharisees, and they scrutinized him. They questioned him about the One who caused him to see, and then argued among themselves about the character of Jesus. They called for the parents of the man who was blind, and questioned them about their son’s blindness. Then they called upon the man born blind again, and a second time questioned him about how Jesus opened his eyes. Finally, when they realized the man would not cave in to their intimidating interrogation and say some negative thing about Jesus, “they cast him out” (9:34). They rejected him, and the One Who made him well. Yet, they were unable to deny the miracle that Jesus performed. It was known by countless witnesses that this man was born blind, but, after coming in contact with Jesus, his eyes were opened. The entire case was scrutinized thoroughly by Jesus’ enemies, yet even they had to admit that Jesus caused the blind man to see (John 9:16-17,24,26). It was a fact, accepted, not by credulous youths, but by hardened, veteran enemies of Christ.
Furthermore, there were some of those among Jesus’ strongest critics who eventually did come to believe, not simply in His miracles, but that the wonders He worked really were from Heaven. John hinted of this belief when he wrote about how there was a division among the Pharisees concerning whether Jesus was from God. One group asked, “How can a man who is a sinner (as some among the Pharisees alleged—EL/KB) do such signs?” (John 9:16). Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night and confessed, saying, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2). Years later, after the establishment of the church, Luke recorded how “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). Truly, even many of those who were numbered among Jesus’ enemies at one time eventually confessed to His being the Son of God. Considering that positive testimony from hostile witnesses is the weightiest kind of testimony in a court of law, such reactions from Jesus’ enemies are extremely noteworthy in a discussion on the miracles of Christ.
Multiple Attestation of Writers
The case built for the authenticity of Jesus’ miracles is further strengthened by the fact that His supernatural works were recorded, not by one person, but by multiple independent writers. Even unbelievers admit that various miracles in Jesus’ life (including His resurrection) were recorded by more than one writer (cf. Barker, 1992, p. 179; Clements, 1990, p. 193). If scholars of ancient history generally rendered facts “unimpeachable” when two or three sources are in agreement (see Maier, 1991, p. 197), then the multiple attestation of Jesus’ miracles by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8) is extremely impressive. Unlike Islam and Mormonism, each of which relies upon the accounts/writings of one alleged inspired man (Muhammad and Joseph Smith, respectively), Christianity rests upon the foundation of multiple writers. Consider also that certain miracles Jesus performed, specifically the feeding of the 5,000 and His resurrection, are recorded in all four gospel accounts. Furthermore, the writers’ attestation of Jesus’ life and miracles is similar enough so as not to be contradictory, but varied enough so that one cannot reasonably conclude that they participated in collusion in order to perpetrate a hoax. Truly, the fact that multiple writers attest to the factuality of Jesus’ miracles should not be taken lightly and dismissed with a wave of the hand.
Interestingly, Bible writers were not alone in their attestation of the wonders that Jesus worked. The first-century Jewish historian, Josephus, mentioned Jesus as being One Who “was a doer of wonderful works (paradoxa)” and Who “drew over to him many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles” (1987, 18:3:3, emp. added). Josephus used this same Greek word (paradoxa) earlier when referring to Elijah and his “wonderful and surprising works by prophecy” (9:8:6). The only instance of this word in the New Testament is found in Luke’s gospel account where those who had just witnessed Jesus heal a paralytic “were all seized with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, ‘We have seen remarkable things (paradoxa) today’” (5:26, NASB, emp. added). A reference to Jesus’ amazing works was also described in one section of theBabylonian Talmud (known as the Sanhedrin Tractate) where Jewish leaders wrote, “On the eve of the Passover Yeshu [Jesus—EL/KB] was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy....’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of Passover” (Shachter, 1994, 43a). Even though the Talmud describes Jesus’ amazing deeds as “sorcery,” and although we may never know for certain whether Josephus truly believed Jesus could work legitimate miracles, both acknowledge that Jesus’ life was characterized by remarkable wonders—testimony that would be expected from certain unbelievers who were attempting to explain away the supernatural acts of Christ.
Bible Writers Reported Facts—not Fairy Tales
It also is important to understand that the Bible writers insisted that their writings were not based on imaginary, nonverifiable people and events, but instead were grounded on solid historical facts (as has been confirmed time and again by the science of archaeology). The apostle Peter, in his second epistle to the Christians in the first century, wrote: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (1:16). In a similar statement, the apostle John insisted: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life...that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us” (1 John 1:1,3). When Luke wrote his account of the Gospel of Christ, he specifically and intentionally crafted his introduction to ensure that his readers understood that his account was historical and factual:
Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed (Luke 1:1-4).
In a similar line of reasoning, Luke included in his introduction to the book of Acts the idea that Jesus, “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). In addition, when the apostle Paul was arguing the case that Jesus Christ had truly been raised from the dead, he wrote that the resurrected Jesus
was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).
This handful of verses by Peter, Paul, John, and Luke, reveal that the Bible writers insisted with conviction that their writings were not mythical, but were based on factual events. Furthermore, they specifically documented many of the eye-witnesses who could testify to the accuracy of their statements. As Henry S. Curr remarked more than half a century ago,
We are not asked to believe in myths and legends of the kind associated with paganism, classical and otherwise, nor in cunningly devised fables or old wives’ tales. We are besought to accept sober stories of incidents which cannot be accounted for in any other way save that God was directly and intimately at work in the matter (1941, 98:478).
The claim that the Bible is filled with miracle myths can be made, but it cannot be reasonably maintained. The evidence is overwhelming that the Bible writers understood and insisted that their information about Jesus and His miracles was accurate and factual, just as were all other details in their narratives and letters. Furthermore, their claim of factual accuracy has been verified time and again by the discipline of archaeology as well as by refutations of alleged discrepancies between the various writings and history.
Jesus’ Signs were Many and Varied
Another characteristic of Jesus’ miracles is that more than a few are recorded in Scripture. One is not asked to believe that Jesus is the Son of God because He performed one or two marvelous deeds during His lifetime. On the contrary, genuine “miracles cluster around the Lord Jesus Christ like steel shavings to a magnet” (Witmer, 1973, 130:132). The gospel accounts are saturated with a variety of miracles that Christ performed, not for wealth or political power, but that the world may be convinced that He was sent by the Father to bring salvation to mankind (cf. John 5:36; 10:37-38). As Isaiah prophesied, Jesus performed miracles of healing (Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:16-17). He cleansed a leper with the touch of His hand (Matthew 8:1-4), and healed all manner of sickness and disease with the word of His mouth (cf. John 4:46-54). One woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years was healed immediately simply by touching the fringe of His garment (Luke 8:43-48). Similarly, on one occasion after Jesus came into the land of Gennesaret, all who were sick in all of the surrounding region came to Him, “and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well” (Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 3:10). Generally speaking, “great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them” (Matthew 15:30, emp. added). “He curedmany of infirmities, afflictions...and to many blind He gave sight” (Luke 7:21, emp. added). Even Jesus’ enemies confessed to His “many signs” (John 11:48).
Jesus not only exhibited power over the sick and afflicted, He also showed His superiority over nature more than once. Whereas God’s prophet Moses turned water into blood by striking water with his rod (Exodus 7:20), Jesus simply willed water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11). He further exercised His power over the natural world by calming the Sea of Galilee during a turbulent storm (Matthew 8:23-27), by walking on water for a considerable distance to reach His disciples (Matthew 14:25-43), and by causing a fig tree to whither away at His command. In truth, Jesus’ supernatural superiority over the physical world (which He created—Colossians 1:16) is exactly what we would expect from One Who claimed to be the Son of God.
Jesus’ miracles were not limited to the natural world, however. As further proof of His deity, He also revealed His power over the spiritual world by casting out demons. “They brought to Him manywho were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word” (Matthew 8:16, emp. added). Luke also recorded that “He cured many of...evil spirits” (Luke 7:21, emp. added). Mark recorded where Jesus once exhibited power over a man overwhelmed with unclean spirits, which no one had been able to bind not even with chains and shackles; neither could anyone tame the demon-infested man (Mark 5:1-21). Jesus, however, cured him. Afterwards, witnesses saw the man with the unclean spirits “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind” (Luke 8:35-36). On several occasions, Jesus healed individuals who were tortured by evil spirits. And, “they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, ‘What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out’” (Luke 4:36).
Finally, Jesus even performed miracles that demonstrated His power over death. Recall that when John the Baptizer’s disciples came to Jesus inquiring about His identity, Jesus instructed them to tell John that “the dead are raised” (Matthew 11:5). The widow of Nain’s son had already been declared dead and placed in a casket when Jesus touched the open coffin and told him to “arise.” Immediately, “he who was dead sat up and began to speak” (Luke 7:14-15). Lazarus had already been dead and buried for four days by the time Jesus raised him from the dead (John 11:1-44). Such a great demonstration of power over death caused “many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did” to believe in Him (John 11:45). What’s more, Jesus’ own resurrection from the dead was the climax of all of His miracles, and serves as perhaps the most convincing miracle of all (see Butt, 2002, pp. 9-15).
In all, the Gospel records contain some thirty-seven specific supernatural acts that Jesus performed. If that number were to include such miracles as His virgin birth and transfiguration, and the multiple times He exemplified the ability to “read minds” and to know the past or future without having to learn of them through ordinary means (cf. John 4:15-19; 13:21-30; 2:25), etc., the number would reach upwards to fifty. Indeed, the miracles of Christ were varied and numerous. He healed the blind, lame, sick, and leprous, as well as demonstrated power over nature, demons, and death. The apostle John, who recorded the miracles of Christ “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31), also commented on how “Jesus didmany other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book” (20:30, emp. added). In fact, Jesus worked so many miracles throughout His ministry on Earth that, “if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).
Power over Affliction
Royal official’s son
Matthew 8:14-18; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41
Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-14
Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:3-12; Luke 5:18-26
Lame man at the Pool of Bethesda
Man with withered hand
Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11
Paralyzed centurion’s servant
Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10
Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48
Two blind men
Deaf and mute man
Matthew 15:29-31; Mark 7:31-37
Blind man outside of Bethesda
Man born blind
Man with dropsy
Two blind men near Jericho
Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52
Power over Nature
Water changed into wine
First catch of fish
Calming a turbulent storm
Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:36-41; Luke 8:22-25
Matthew 14:15-21; Mark 6:30-34; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14
Walking on water
Matthew 14:22-32; Mark 6:45-46; John 6:15-21
Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-9
Money in the fish’s mouth
Fig tree withers
Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14, 20-24
Second catch of fish
Power over Demons
Man in synagogue at Capernaum
Mark 1:23-28; Luke 4:33-37
Mute, demon-possessed man
Two men at Gadara
Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-21; Luke 8:26-40
Blind, mute, demon-possessed man
Matthew 12:22-30; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 11:14-23
Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30
Epileptic, demon-possessed child
Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-43
Power over Death
Widow of Nain’s son
Matthew 9:18-19,23-26; Mark 5:21-24,35-43; Luke 8:40-42,49-56
Jesus’ own resurrection
Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20
The Miracles of Jesus were neither Silly nor Overboard
Admittedly, for some, a number of the miracles that Jesus performed are more easily accepted than others. The fact that a group of fishermen let their nets down into the sea and caught so many fish that the netting began to break (Luke 5:1-11) is not difficult for critics to accept (although not as a miracle). The idea of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead after already being in the tomb for four days, however, is much harder for skeptics to believe. But, neither this miracle nor any other that Jesus worked is unworthy of our consideration because it is silly or overboard. People may reject the miracles of Christ because of their disbelief in the supernatural altogether, or because of their inability to attach naturalistic explanations to various miracles. However, His miracles cannot be denied on the grounds that they are characterized by the absurd and ridiculous—that they are not. As Furman Kearley once stated, “The gospel records are marked by restraint and sublimity in the description of miracles” (1976, 93:4).
The miracles of Christ certainly were extraordinary (otherwise they would not be miracles), yet they were performed (and recorded) with all sanity and sobriety—exactly what one would expect if they really were signs from God. After all, He
is the author and finisher of that unspeakable machine which we call the universe, ever working in accordance with its constitution on the strictest principles of law and order, and thus proclaiming that its Architect is no capricious being but one whose mental attributes are as marvelous as His moral and spiritual qualities. In these circumstances, it would be very strange if the Biblical miracles represented the contradiction of orderly things (Curr, 1941, 98:471).
Since the omnipotent God has chosen to control His infinite power, and to use it in orderly andrational ways, one would expect that when God put on flesh (John 1:1-3,14) and exerted His supernatural power on Earth, it likewise would be characterized as power under control—miracles performed with infinite sobriety and rationality.
Unlike the stories of many alleged miracle workers from the past (or present), Jesus’ miracles are characterized by restraint and dignity. Consider the miracle that Jesus performed on Malchus, a man who was about to arrest Jesus. Instead of doing something like commanding the left ear of Malchus to whither or fall off (after Peter severed his right one with a sword), Jesus simply touched the detached ear “and healed him” (Luke 22:51). A man who was about to turn Jesus over to His enemies has his ear cut off with a sword, and Jesus simply (yet miraculously) puts his ear back in place. What’s more, that is all any Bible writer wrote about the matter. An amazing miracle was worked the night before Jesus’ death, and the only thing revealed is that Jesus “touched his ear and healed him.” As with all of Jesus’ miracles,
[t]here is no attempt to magnify the supernatural features of the incident. The happening is left to speak for itself. If truth be best unadorned, then there are no more effective illustrations of that doctrine than the Biblical records of signs and wonders. The writers do not dwell upon them. They rather take the marvels in their stride. They tell the story as succinctly as they can, and then pass on to deal with something else. That is exemplified very clearly in the Synoptic Gospels. We are told of the moral and physical miracle wrought in a house at Capernaum when four men bore a sick friend to the feet of Jesus, having removed part of the roof and lowered the pallet through the aperture. The man’s sins were forgiven. This was a sign from heaven if there ever was one. His infirmity was also removed and that was another demonstration of our Lord’s claims to be God manifest in the flesh. Matthew then proceeds to recount his call to discipleship and what followed. Procedure like that is repeated again and again. The writers do not linger over the supernatural as a modern novelist might do. The miracle is mentioned at greater or less length, and then the narrative goes on its way. It is true that reference is often made to the amazement created in the crowds which witnessed these mighty works of God; but even that is not emphasized inordinately (Curr, 1941, 98:473).
Furthermore, unlike those in other writings, Jesus’ miracles were not characterized by the sorcerer’s hocus pocus. In fact, there are few parallels to Jesus and the magicians of the ancient world. Even Rudolf Bultmann, the twentieth-century German writer who sought to explain away the miracles of Jesus, admitted that “the New Testament miracle stories are extremely reserved in this respect, since they hesitate to attribute to the person of Jesus the magical traits which were often characteristic of the Hellenistic miracle worker” (as quoted in Habermas, 2001, p. 113). Jesus could have performed any miracle that He wanted. He could have pulled rabbits from hats for the sole purpose of amusing people. He could have turned His Jewish enemies into stones, or given a person three eyes. He could have turned boys into men. He could have lit the robes of the Pharisees on fire and told them that hell would be ten times as hot. He could have formed a dozen sparrows out of clay as a child, and then, in the midst of a group of boys, turned the clay birds into live ones at the clap of His hands, as is alleged in the non-inspired apocryphal book, the Gospel of Thomas (1:4-9; The Lost Books..., 1979, p. 60). Certainly, Jesus could have done any number of silly, outlandish miracles. But, He didn’t. In contrast to the miracles recorded in any number of non-inspired sources, Jesus’ miracles were not characterized by
endless tales of wonders with which literature and folklore of the world abounds. There is no suggestion of magic or legerdemain about the mighty works of God described in the Bible. On the contrary, they are invariably characterized by a sanity and sobriety and reasonableness.... There is nothing extravagant or bizarre about them.... When the miracles of our Lord which are described in the four Gospels are compared with those derived from other sources, the difference is like that of chalk and cheese” (Curr, 98:471-472).
Jesus Worked Wonders that are not Being Duplicated Today
Finally, neither the modern alleged “faith healer” nor the twenty-first-century scientist is duplicating the miracles that Jesus worked while on Earth 2,000 years ago. Pseudo-wonder workers today stage seemingly endless events where willing participants with supposed sicknesses appear and act as if they are being healed of their diseases by the laying on of hands. Nebulous aches and pains and dubious illnesses that defy medical substantiation are supposedly cured by prominent “faith healers” who simultaneously are building financial empires with the funds they receive from gullible followers. Frauds like Oral Roberts, Benny Hinn, and a host of others have made many millions of dollars off of viewers who naively send them money without stopping to consider the real differences between the miracles that Jesus worked and what they observe these men do today.
Jesus went about “healing every sickness and every disease” (Matthew 9:35, emp. added). His miraculous wonders knew no limitations. He could cure anything. Luke, the learned physician (Colossians 4:14), recorded how He could restore a shriveled hand in the midst of His enemies (Luke 6:6-10), and heal a severed ear with the touch of His hand (Luke 22:51). He healed “many” of their blindness (Luke 7:21), including one man who had been born blind (John 9:1-7)! What’s more, He even raised the dead simply by calling out to them (John 11:43). What modern-day “spiritualist,” magician, or scientist has come close to doing these sorts of things that defy natural explanations? Who is going into schools for the blind and giving children their sight? Who is going to funerals or graveyards to raise the dead? These are the kinds of miracles that Jesus worked—supernatural feats that testify to His identity as the heaven-sent Savior of the world.
As should be expected from the One Who claimed to be God incarnate (cf. John 1:1-3,14; 10:30), Scripture records that Jesus performed miracles throughout His ministry in order to provide sufficient proof of His divine message and nature. Countless thousands witnessed His miracles. He performed them throughout His ministry—miracles that in countless ways are unlike the alleged wonders worked by sorcerers, scientists, or “spiritualists” of the past or present. Even Jesus’ enemies attested to the wonders that He worked, which later were recorded, not by one person, but by multiple independent writers who were dedicated to reporting facts rather than fairy tales.
Jesus worked miracles, not for the sake of entertaining individuals or in order to make a profit off of His audiences, but that the world may know that Jesus and God are one (John 10:30,38), and that the Father sent Him to Earth to save mankind from sin (John 5:36). He “did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31, emp. added). Certainly, among the greatest proofs for the deity of Christ are the miracles that He worked.
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