Bible Proofs And The Historicity Of Jesus
The burden rests on the believer to “prove” that the Bible is what it claims to be. In order to do this, it must be demonstrated that the Bible is a reliable and faithful witness, both historically and scientifically. If the Bible passes these tests, then the accusations the critics make about it are proven to be false.
The Unity Of The BibleThe Bible was written over a period of 1500 years by approximately 40 different writers who lived in different parts of the world, and were from many different walks of life. These writers wrote in at least three different languages. They wrote about hundreds, if not thousands, of controversial subjects. But, in all this diversity, there is a profound unity which is best described as the scheme of redemption. It is this grand theme that works its way through the entire Bible, from beginning to end. It was God’s eternal purpose to redeem mankind in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:10-11), and the Bible makes this unquestionably clear. Included in this are the great Bible doctrines of God, man, morality, sin, salvation, and immortality. In all that it says about these things, there is not a false or discordant note. Never does one writer affirm something that another denies. Although the critics often point to alleged contradictions, these are always resolved by careful study.
If the Bible is a revelation from God, and I affirm that it is, then there is one essential that must be inherent within it: It must consist solely of TRUTHS! If the Bible were simply an anthology or selection of selected literary pieces from different writers on some general theme, it would undoubtedly contain contradictions. The fact that it exhibits none of these contradictions functions as proof that the Bible is what it claims to be.
Historical FactsAccording to philosophers, anthropologists, and sociologists, America’s prevailing worldview is “postmodernism.” Moving beyond modernism, with its emphasis on facts (scientific or otherwise), postmodernism says that reality is purely a matter of individual and social perceptions. There is nothing “out there” independent of human or social interpretation. Consequently, when a postmodernist reads a book, he is not trying to learn what the author is saying. Instead, he asks himself, “What does this mean to me?” It is his subjective think-sos that become the “real meaning” of the book. This means that two different readers, unencumbered by the “tyranny of facts,” can “discover” two contradictory “meanings,” both of which, the postmodernists are quick to tell us, are equally “true.” This kind of “unity in diversity” is celebrated by these postmodernists as a “good” thing. In the same way, they assert that Western monotheism and Eastern pantheism, although logically contradictory, are both mutually “true” in the sense that they are the paradigms or systems through which different societies construct their own “realities.” However, in actual practice, postmodernists are quite sympathetic to Eastern religions. This is because of Eastern religions’ assertions that all religions are but man’s imperfect attempts to describe what he believes to be ultimate reality. This is exemplified by the Hindus who claim that there are, in fact, many paths leading to God/heaven—all of which are equally “true.” Like the postmodernists, they are tolerant of every view except that one view which claims to be the only correct view. They deny the idea that man can know “the truth” about God. To Eastern religionists, all religions are simply “a way,” and according to postmodernists, each culture has its “own truth.” All this, of course, violates the law of non-contradiction which says, basically, that two contradictory statements cannot both be true at the same time and in the same way. But, according to the postmodernists and the Eastern religionists, there is no such thing as true truth.
It ought to be apparent that postmodernists are as crazy as crazy can get. Nevertheless, it is this kind of craziness that permeates our society today. “Facts” or “truth” mean nothing to those who think this way, as evidenced by the general theory of evolution, which contradicts all the known facts of science, but continues to be believed by the overwhelming majority of people today, or the recent O.J. Simpson trial, where the preponderance of factual evidence indicating the guilt of Simpson was rejected by the jury. It is unfortunate, but true, that the historical accuracy of the Bible can have no impression on anyone infected with such a total disregard for truth and truthfulness. But, for those who continue to be interested in historical truth, it is still possible to distinguish truth from falsehood, fact from theory, and divine revelation from religious propaganda. For those who have not lost their minds to postmodernism, it is still possible to put the Bible to the historical accuracy test. If it were to fail this test, the Bible could easily be relegated to the garbage heap of religious propaganda. On the other hand, if it passes, and it does, this is but one more proof that it is what it claims to be.
A historical fact is either the historical event itself or a piece of accurate information about that event. Contrary to what many of us might think, there is no such thing as a “meaningless fact.” Even on its surface, such thinking must be seen as blatantly absurd. Why? Because, what the fact is, is its meaning. For example, the meaning of the fact that James Garfield was the twentieth President of the United States is obvious: A man named Garfield was the twentieth man to be the head of the executive branch of the government of the country named the United States. Therefore, meaning is inherent in the concept of fact.
The Historicity of Jesus ChristThis understanding of things must be present when one thinks about Jesus of Nazareth. Was He a real person? Did He perform miracles? Was He crucified? Was He resurrected? Was He, in fact, the Son of God? Yes, it is a historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed. And furthermore, no credible critic has even questioned this fact. Yes, all the historical evidence indicates that Jesus performed miracles. In this connection, it could be noted that although His opponents accused Him of being in league with Beelzebub, they did not deny that He performed miracles (Matthew 12:24). Later, when those who claimed to derive their miraculous power from Jesus were confronted, their distracters testified: “‘What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.’ And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’ So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done” (Acts 4:16-21).
Josephus (37/38 A.D. to circa 95 A.D.), in his Jewish Antiquities (XVII.3.3), wrote: “There was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it be right to call him a man: for he was a doer of marvelous works, a teacher of men who received the truth with pleasure; and he won over to himself many Jews and many of the Greek (race) also. This one was the Christ. And when, upon accusation of the leading men among us, Pilate had condemned him to (the) cross, those who had loved (him) at the first did not cease; for he appeared to them alive again on the third day, as the divine prophets had spoken these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And even until now the ‘sect’ of Christians, named after this one, has not ceased.” Even if this is not a genuine statement by Josephus, and many suspect it isn’t, it is believed that the “paragraph preserves a genuine reference to Christ by Josephus, which has, however, been subjected to modification by Christian scribes” (F.F. Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament, page 38). As Ferrell Jenkins points out in his informative study guide, Introduction to Christian Evidences, even a number of Jewish scholars believe this excerpt must originally have been a reference to Jesus (page 120).
Moreover, the greatest critics of Christianity for the first four centuries did not question the reality of Jesus’ and His disciples’ miracles. In The Memoir of Richard Watson it is recorded that Richard Watson, in 1776, wrote a series of letters to the historian Edward Gibbons, in which he offered a defense for Christianity to the distinguished author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In part, Watson said: “Three men of distinguished abilities rose up at different times and attacked Christianity with every objection which their malice could suggest, or their learning could devise: but neither Celsus in the second century, nor Porphyry in the third, nor the Emperor Julian himself in the fourth century, ever questioned the reality of the miracles related to the Gospels.”
The miracles (signs and wonders) of Jesus were recorded in the Bible so that one might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and doing so, might have everlasting life (John 20:30-31). They provided evidence that He was the Christ (Matthew 11:2-5), and that the Father was with Him (John 3:2). Today, those who believe miracles are impossible attempt to divorce the historical Jesus from the miraculous. In doing so, they deconstruct the biblical stories about Jesus and interject their own preconceived biases. That is to say, they believe Jesus did not and could not perform miracles because miracles are, in their opinion, quite impossible. Even so, it is a fact that many who came in contact with Jesus were convinced that He performed miracles. If the testimony of these witnesses is found to be credible, then there is overwhelming evidence that the miracle-working Jesus was God’s “only begotten Son” (1 John 4:9).
There is one key fact, if proven to be false, that would destroy the validity of Christianity once and for all. Even the Bible says, “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19, NKJV). Therefore, our time would be well spent examining the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When we examine the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, are we looking for scientific or legal evidence? In this case, scientific evidence will not be forthcoming. Although we are accustomed to thinking that in order to be true something must be proven scientifically; in truth, very little can be proven this way. For example can you prove scientifically that you were born? Can you prove scientifically that you graduated from high school or college? Using the scientific method, can you prove you are married?, or that you worshipped with the saints last Sunday evening? None of these things can be proved scientifically, but all these things are important and can be proven or verified. Many historical facts, including those I just mentioned, are proven by means of legal evidence, which consists of circumstantial evidence and the testimony of witnesses. There is a birth certificate, signed by witnesses, that testifies to our birth. There is another certificate, testified by witnesses, that you graduated from grade school, high school, or college. If you are legally married, more than likely there is a marriage certificate, signed by witnesses, testifying to this fact. And of course, if you wanted to prove you were at services last Sunday evening, you would have to rely upon the testimony of witnesses. With this in mind, we need to examine the testimony concerning Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
Jesus Was DeadAlthough there are some critics who claim that Jesus did not really die on the cross, and we’ll examine some of these a little further along in this study, no serious critic has made such a claim. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that Jesus was crucified during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. This has been well established by non-biblical sources, as well as the eyewitness accounts recorded in Scripture. For example, the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (born A.D. 52-54), writing of the reign of Nero, had this to say: “But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also” (Annals, XV, 44). There are other references to Jesus or His disciples, such as the Roman historian Seutonius (A.D. 120) in Life of Claudius and Lives of the Caesar, and Pliny the younger (A.D. 112) in his Epistles.
The centurion who was in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion testified to Pilate that Jesus was, in fact, dead. In Mark 15:44-45, the Bible says: “Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph” (NKJV). Later on, when the Roman guards at the tomb of Jesus were induced to lie by saying His body had been stolen by His disciples, it never occurred to anyone to deny that Jesus had actually died. That He had died was an historical fact. He had been tried publicly and crucified publicly. Consequently, no one ever thought to claim He never died. Only later, well after the fact and far removed in time from the circumstances, did some claim Jesus never died.
The Burial Spices And Linen ClothesThe Jews had a unique way of burying their dead. This is alluded to in John 19:38-40, which says: “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight [Gamaiel, the great Jewish teacher had 86 pounds of spices used in his funeral]. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury” (KJV). Notice that Jesus’ body was wrapped in linen clothes with the spices. Consequently, if He had not already been dead, which He surely was, the manner of burial would have suffocated Him. The fact that the body of Jesus would have been immobilized by such a burial method is obvious. Nevertheless, it is further evidenced by what Jesus said after raising Lazarus from the dead: “Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go’” (John 11:43-44, NKJV). Wrapped according to the burial method of the Jews, Lazarus was “bound hand and foot” and had to be “loosed” in order to be free.
All this becomes extremely important when we begin to consider the arguments of those who deny Jesus resurrected. Some argue, for instance, that Jesus did not die on the cross, but merely swooned. Having been put in the tomb by those who thought He was dead, He later recovered, removed the graveclothes, pushed the stone from the entrance of the tomb, overcame the guards, and then went on His way administering to others but was never administered to personally, and finally died an old man with grandchildren in India. Not if He was buried “according to the manner of the Jews”! Remember, if He had only swooned, as these critics claim, then His burial according to the manner of the Jews would have killed Him. If by some miracle, which the critics don’t believe in anyway, He had survived, He would then have had to free Himself from the wrappings of the graveclothes, which Lazarus, buried according to the manner of the Jews, could not do. Is such a claim credible? Absolutely not! J.N.D. Anderson, in his article “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ” in Christianity Today magazine makes this point quite clear: “Well,...it’s very ingenious. But it won’t stand up to investigation. To begin with, steps were taken—it seems—to make quite sure that Jesus was dead; that surely is the meaning of the spear-thrust in his side. But suppose, for argument’s sake, that he was not quite dead. Do you really believe that lying for hour after hour with no medical attention in a rock-hewn tomb in Palestine at Easter, when it’s quite cold at night, would so far have revived him, instead of proving the inevitable end of his flickering life, that he would have been able to loose himself from yards of graveclothes weighted with pounds of spices, roll away a stone that three women felt incapable of moving, and walk miles on wounded feet?” (page 7).
The Tomb And The StoneIn Matthew 27:57-60, the Bible says: “Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed” (NKJV). From this testimony we learn that Jesus was not buried in some unknown place. He was buried in the tomb of a very well-known man in the community. Consequently, His grave would be well-known to many in the community. Pilate, as well as many others, would know exactly where Jesus was buried. If, as some suggest, it later was falsely argued by His disciples that He had risen from the dead, the authorities could have easily gone to the grave and produced His body if it were not so. Nothing of the kind was ever reported.
We must keep in mind that the body of Jesus could not possibly have been confused with any other body because it was buried in a new tomb where no other body had ever laid (cf. Luke 23:53). Therefore, on Sunday morning, Jesus’ body would either be in the tomb, and the resurrection story would be proven a hoax, or the body of Jesus would be missing. The historical facts indicate the body was missing. In Mark 16:1-4, the Bible says: “Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?’ But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large” (NKJV). It is interesting to note that in the Bezae manuscripts, dated to the 2nd century, there is a scribal insertion that says the stone of verse 4 was so large that it took 20 men to move it. Nevertheless, on Sunday morning the stone was rolled away and Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb.
The Guard (Kustodia) and the SealIn Matthew 27:62-66, the Bible says: “On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, ‘Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise. Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, “He has risen from the dead.” So the last deception will be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard [imperative rather than indicative—AT]; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard” (NKJV). That this guard was a Roman guard is substantiated in Matthew 28:11-15, which says: “Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, ‘Tell them, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.” And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.’ So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day” NKJV).
So, on Sunday morning there was, at the bequest of Jesus’ enemies, a contingent of Roman soldiers guarding the tomb of Jesus to prevent His disciples from stealing His body and then claiming that He resurrected from the dead. This Roman guard placed a Roman seal across the large stone door to the tomb (Matthew 27:66). To break this seal meant crucifixion upside down. It was a terrible death with one’s guts eventually coming out one’s mouth. Are we to believe that Jesus’ disciples, who were in hiding, afraid that they were next to be crucified, would have enough nerve to attack and overcome this contingent of Roman soldiers and break the Roman seal? This is not at all a very likely scenario. Actually, Jesus’ enemies did us all a favor. If, after all these precautions were taken, Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb that Sunday morning, then the evidence continues to build that He did exactly what He said He would do before His death: “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31, NKJV).
By Sunday morning it was obvious something had happened! The tomb was empty, right? Wrong!!!! The tomb was not empty. Yes, the body of Jesus was no longer in the tomb, but the tomb was not empty, and what remained in the tomb made believers of John and Peter. In John 20:1-8, the Bible says: “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’ Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple out ran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed” (NKJV). In Luke 24:12, the Scriptures say, “But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened” (NKJV). What these two men saw in the tomb convinced them that Jesus had, in fact, resurrected from the grave. What, then, did they actually see? They saw the “linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together by itself” (John 20:6). Commenting on this passage, R.C.H. Lenski says: “This is the astounding phenomenon: ‘the linen bands lying.’ Nothing whatever had been done with them, they were merely lying. We are not to imagine that they had been unwound from the body as was done with the grave bands of Lazarus when he came to life. Neither had they been cut or stripped off in some other way. They lay just as they had been wound about the limbs and the body, only the body was no longer in them, thus the wrappings lay flat [or at least caved in—AT]. All the aromatic spices were exactly as they had been strewn between the layers of linen, and these layers, one wound over the other, were numerous, so all those spices could be held between them...No human being wrapped round and round with bands like this could possibly slip out of them without greatly disturbing them. They would have to be unwound, or cut through, or cut and stripped off. They would thus, if removed, lie strewn around in disorder or heaped in a pile, or folded up in some way. If the body had been desecrated in the tomb by hostile hands, this kind of evidence would appear. But hostile hands would have carried off the body as it was, wrappings and all, to get it away as soon as possible and to abuse it later and elsewhere. But here the linen bands were. Both their presence and their undisturbed condition spoke volumes. Here, indeed, was a sign to behold. It corroborated what the women had told Peter and John on the way out to the tomb: Jesus was risen from the dead!” (The Interpretation of John, page 1342).
Neither the Jews nor the Romans could produce Jesus’ body, nor could they explain where it went. The lie that was told, implausible as it was, was that His disciples stole His body while the Roman soldiers slept (Matthew 28:13). Of course, Jesus’ body was gone and the evidence left behind in the tomb indicated that the work that had been done there was of Divine and not human origin.
His AppearancesOne of the most well-attested events in history is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The accounts of His appearances after His resurrection are recorded for us by eyewitnesses to whom He showed Himself alive over a 40-day period. As Luke says in Acts 1:3, to these He “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” (NKJV). In a letter to the Corinthian church around A.D. 56, the apostle Paul mentions the fact that over 500 people at one time had witnessed the resurrected Christ. Most of those he mentioned were still alive as he wrote the letter (1 Corinthians 15:6). The historical evidence is more than sufficient to satisfy the curiosity of the honest inquirer. This can be seen not just from a positive defense that can be made for the resurrection, but also by the lack of any evidence for an alternative explanation. Actually, the theories presented as alternative explanations require more faith that the resurrection itself.
In his book, Who Moved the Stone? (1971), Frank Morrison, who was an agnostic journalist, originally undertook to write a book refuting the resurrection. After an extensive investigation, he changed his mind and professed his belief in the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. He discovered that Jesus was publicly put in the tomb on Friday, but on Sunday morning the body was missing from the tomb. If He did not rise from the dead, as He claimed He would before His death, then someone took the body. He concluded there were three interested groups that could have taken the body: the Romans, the Jews, or His disciples. The Romans, he concluded, would have no reason to steal the body, since they wanted to keep the peace in Palestine. Stealing the body of Christ would not lead to this objective. On the other hand, the Jews would not have taken the body because the last thing they wanted was for there to be any reason for a proclamation of the resurrection. This was the purpose of them asking for the Roman guard. Finally, the disciples had no reason to steal the body, and if they did, they later died for a lie they created. Of course, the religion they later proclaimed made it clear that lying was wrong. Therefore, their actions would have been inconsistent with what they knew to be true. Consequently, Mr. Morrison concluded that the only reasonable explanation is that Jesus resurrected, and that the eyewitnesses make it clear that this, in fact, happened. Although those 1st century disciples were not as scientifically sophisticated as 20th century man, even so, they knew the difference between someone who was dead and someone who wasn’t. As the apostle Peter said, “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” (2 Peter 1:16, NKJV).
Now, the obvious historical significance of Jesus’ resurrection cannot be ignored: If Jesus resurrected, then He was who He said He was. This truth was not lost on the apostle Thomas when he witnessed the risen Christ: “Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:24-31, NKJV).
Scientific KnowledgeIf the Bible is God’s divine revelation, then it is essential that the statements of Bible writers, when describing or mentioning physical laws of the universe, other than allowances for poetic license, must agree completely with all known facts of science (this does not necessarily include theories). In addition, they must do this regardless of the accepted theories and level of scientific knowledge of the age in which they were written. If it can be demonstrated that between the observations of science and a simple, direct interpretation of the Bible narrative there exists a harmony such as would be expected of a book having the same author as the physical world, then this is ample proof that the Bible is what it claims to be—a divine revelation from God. If proof of this can be shown, then you will have witnessed a miracle in the scientific age as unexplainable as any recorded in the Bible. How do I know this to be true? Because, it is beyond comprehension that men who lived 2000 to 4000 years ago could, without this age’s scientific instruments, arrive at the same knowledge as men of science have in the past three hundred years.
Leeuwenhoek’s invention of the microscope in 1776; the use of shock waves in the study of the ocean floor; the use of the world’s largest radio telescope; the invention of the micron microscope; the use in space of the Hubbel telescope; these and countless other instruments have caused to be recorded in the scientific journals of our day discoveries of this universe’s secrets that otherwise would be impossible for the unaided human mind to know. But, as evidence of their divine guidance, the writers of the Bible have included scientific truths in non-scientific terms; truths that for centuries the skeptics have considered as errors because it disagreed with their darkened understanding; truths that have come to light recently due to painstaking and costly research; truths that without the development of recent instruments would have been impossible for us to know. A study of the Bible shows no reflection of scientific error. This is the second part of the miracle I wrote about earlier. Not only does the Bible predescribe later scientific discoveries, but it does so without allowing entrance of any error that was believed in the age in which it was written.
The question confronting us now is by what means did the writer’s of the Bible, none of whom could be considered scientists, acquire an amazingly accurate knowledge of certain major discoveries of the last three centuries? This study is intended to bring to your attention the ”facts“ of these writings. The answer to the question, “By what means?,” is for you, the reader, to ponder.
The Earth Is SphericalBible Writers:
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 8:27, “He drew a circle on the face of the deep” (NKJV).
Isaiah 40:22, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” (NKJV).
ANALYSIS: The Hebrew word Khug is translated “circle.” A more exact connotation would be “sphericity” or “roundness.”
FACT: The earth was known to be “rounded” or “spherical,” including the ocean face or water lines.
History of Science:
Although some of the early Greeks, influenced by Aristotle, believed the earth was spherical, by 1520 A.D. the common man held the earth to be flat until the introduction of the compass and improved sailing vessels made possible the voyages of Columbus, Magellan, and others. These great discoveries caused a revolution in map making, which finally brought general acceptance of the fact that the earth is spherical.
The Earth Is Not SupportedBible Writers:
Job 26:7, “He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing” (NKJV).
ANALYSIS: A clear statement in non-scientific terms.
FACT: Job wrote that the earth is not mechanically supported.
History of Science:
As was previously noted, the world’s scholars and scientists, with the exception of a few early Greeks, believed in the Ptolemaic system that the earth was rigidly supported and all movement was in the heavens.
After the invention of the telescope in 1608, Sir Isaac Newton discovered that the earth’s weight is not supported, but suspended in its orbit by attraction to the sun. Newton published his findings in Principia in 1687. In this work, Newton presented for the first time what now is referred to as the “Law of Universal Gravitation.” The magnitude of this issue is comprehended when one considers the weight of the earth, which is six billion trillion tons, and realizing that to replace the gravitational pull of our sun, it would take the strength of a steel cable 8000 miles in diameter.
The Universe Is A Continuously Spreading ExpanseBible Writers:
Genesis 1:8, “God called the expanse ‘sky.’ And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day” (NIV). In verses 14-19, it is recorded that the sun and stars were “in the expanse of the sky.”
Jeremiah 31:37, “Thus says the LORD: ‘If heaven above can be measured,...I will also cast off all the seed of Israel For all that they have done, says the LORD’” (NKJV).
ANALYSIS: What did Moses mean by the word “expanse,” or “firmament,” as it is most frequently translated? The Hebrew word is raqiya, and it derives its root meaning from the “spreading out of something pounded, such as metal as it is continuously beaten with a metalsmith’s hammer.” Thus the word may be defined as a “spreading out expanse,” which is present continuous action, therefore implying no limit has yet been reached. It should be noted that this word is used only in connection with the physical heavens, and never refers to the area of God’s throne. By applying the literal meaning to the above passage, we understand Moses to be saying that “the spreading out expanse” is called heaven, and the sun, moon, and stars are in the “spreading out expanse” of heaven.
FACT: Moses stated that the visible heaven is made up of a continuously spreading out expanse, while Jeremiah depicts God as implying it cannot be measured by mere men.
History of Science:
Until the aid of modern instruments, all mankind’s theories treated the universe as finite and limited.
The leading American astronomer of his time, Simon Newcomb, believed the most distant star to be only 3260 light-years away. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year (approximately six trillion miles).
In 1948, after years of planning and construction, the 200-inch instrument at Mount Palomar reached out two billion light-years into space. It is now thought that there are billions, perhaps trillions of galaxies in our universe. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is 100,000 light-years in diameter, containing a 100 billion stars. Further, it was learned that these galaxies were moving away from us, the further away, the faster they are moving. Consequently, modern-day scientific thought says our galaxy is part of a spreading out expanse or universe.
The Stars Are InnumerableBible Writers:
Jeremiah 33:22, “‘As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured,...’” (NKJV).
Hebrews 11:12, “‘...As the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore’” (NKJV).
FACT: Both writers contended that the number of stars are as innumerable as are the sand of all sea shores.
History of Science:
Hipparchus taught there were less that 3,000 stars. Ptolemy counted 1056 stars and claimed there could not be more than 3,000.
Galileo used a telescope the first year it was invented and was the first to discover that the stars are, in fact, innumerable.
Gradually, through the invention of better instruments, modern science says there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy and trillions of galaxies in the universe, of which ours is the average. This means that if a man were to count the stars in our Milky Way at the rate of 200 per minute, it would take him 1,000 years. When we think of this magnitude, we must think of how great our Creator is: “Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26, NKJV).
The Recesses Of The DeepBible Writers:
Job 38:16, “Have you...walked in the recesses of the deep?” (NIV).
In 2 Samuel 22:16, David mentioned the “valleys of the sea” (NIV).
FACT: Both Job and David spoke of “recesses” or “valleys” of the sea.
History of Science:
Juan de la Costa made the first sounding of the oceans in this year. They were made in shallow water near the coast and were placed on his map. This did nothing to change the universal opinion that the ocean floors were flat, sandy beds like our deserts.
With a weight on the end of a hemp line, Sir James Clark Rose made the first true oceanic sounding, reaching a depth of nearly 2000 fathoms.
The H.M.S. Challenger was the first vessel outfitted solely for sea exploration. The famous expedition of this ship (1872-76) marks the beginning of modern deep-sea exploration. This expedition discovered one isolated depth of 4,500 fathoms (5½ miles) in the Pacific Ocean, and was the first to discover an underwater trench or canyon.
Before the invention of echo-sounding equipment, it was generally thought that the bottom of the oceans would consist of plains, plateaus, and gently rolling terrain. Now we know that it has valleys and mountain ranges, and even canyons, to equal all the forms we find on dry land. The echo-sounding research developed in submarine warfare later developed into a practical scientific tool. After the war, the Navy equipped its vessels with echo-sounding and recording equipment. Since sounding can be taken while the ships are moving, much of the ocean floor began to be mapped. The systematic crisscrossing of both private and military boats using sounding equipment has, since 1945, given us our current knowledge. We now know that these gigantic underwater canyons circle the globe at great depths. The Marianas Trench near the Philippines, for example, is over 7 miles deep. The Tonga Trench is a mile deeper than Mount Everest is high, and the Peru-Chile Trench has one wall that rises over 42,000 feet high. When compared to these sea canyons, our Grand Canyon is but a miniature.
For the first time in man’s history, a complete map of the ocean floor has been compiled and was made available, showing the complete “recesses of the deep.”
Ocean CurrentsBible Writers:
David said in Psalm 8:8 that God has subjected all things to men, including, “all that swim the paths of the sea” (NIV).
ANALYSIS: The Hebrew word “paths” carries the literal meaning of “customary roads.”
FACT: David knew there were “paths” or “customary roads” in the sea, and that sea life passed through these paths.
History of Science:
Matthew Fontaine Maury is called “The Pathfinder of the Seas.” This American is the father of today’s oceanography. A statue of him stands in Richmond, Virginia. Inscribed on the base of this monument is a reference to Psalm 8:8, which mentions the "paths of the sea." His Physical Geography of the Sea was the first textbook of modern oceanography, and he is credited as being the first person to undertake a systematic and comprehensive study of the ocean. There is an apocryphal story associated with Maury's listening to a reading of Psalm 8:8 and determining to find the "paths of the sea" mentioned there, but there seems to be no historical evidence for such a story. Nevertheless, Maury’s systematic and comprehensive charting of the “paths of the sea,” has aided commercial fishermen in finding the schools of fish that are frequently found passing through the "paths of the sea" in search of the food (plankton, etc.) that these currents carry along, just as God's Word had said.
Water-Vapor CycleBible Writers:
Job 36:27-28, “For He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man” (NKJV).
In Ecclesiastes 1:7, Solomon wrote: “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again” (NKJV).
ANALYSIS: The Hebrew and English meaning of “distill” is the idea that the small moisture droplets of steam or vapor condense and collect into water drops large enough to become heavy and fall.
FACT: These Biblical writers recognized the basic mechanics of the water-vapor cycle. All rivers empty into the sea from higher ground. Drops of water are drawn up forming vapor clouds. These “mist” droplets are transported as clouds until they distill in rain and thus “return” to the “place from which the rivers come.”
History of Science:
Aristotle is accredited with being the first to understand the water-vapor cycle that produces rain. His Meteorlogica became a standard treatise for 2000 years. In it he theorized that clouds and rain are caused by condensation of water-vapor from the atmosphere that had gotten there by evaporation of water at the surface of the earth. His observations concluded that this was only a localized cycle, where rain replaced the water in the area from which it vaporized.
Until it was known that the earth was spherical, the common belief was that the rivers flowing in to the oceans did not cause the ocean to rise because an equal amount of water was spilling off the ends of the earth. Before Magellan’s discovery, no scientist conceived the idea that it was the water of the ocean that was being cycled to provide the fresh water of the rivers.
It was not until the 18th century that it was concluded that clouds can transport moisture away from the area in which they were formed. From observations at only a few points, Benjamin Franklin was the first to recognize that individual storms move from place to place over the earth’s surface. The river-to-sea-to-river water cycle was published by Benjamin Franklin from his observations, thus greatly aiding the study of weather by men.
It is now known that the precipitation and evaporation rate for earth is approximately 16,000,000 tons per second. This is equivalent to an annual rainfall for the entire earth of three feet.
All Matter And Energy Completed At Universe’s OriginBible Writers:
In Genesis 2:1-2, Moses declared: “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (NKJV).
ANALYSIS: The phrase “all the host,” which is the Hebrew kal tsbaah, carries the meaning of “everything in them,” or “everything therein.” Thus, Moses wrote that the heavens and the earth were complete, indicating that nothing, neither matter nor energy, has been needed or added since the time of the universe’s beginning.
History of Science:
Historical records demonstrate that man’s concept of the universe was never one of a closed, finished system after its origin. There was the constant strong belief in a continual creation, or the “spontaneous generation” of living things, and the disappearance into nothing of many objects.
Mayer formulated the law of mass and energy conservation which is also known as the First Law of Thermodynamics, which is considered to be the most important and basic law of all physical science. This law states that the sum total of all energy in the universe remains constant, but one form of energy may be converted into another. A companion law is the law of mass conservation, which states that although matter may be changed in size, shape, form, etc., the total mass cannot be changed. These laws teach that no creation or destruction of matter or energy is now being accomplished anywhere in the universe. They teach that the universe is functioning on that matter and power with which it originally began. We have since learned that forms of energy and matter can be interchanged, but in the process, no new energy or matter is brought into, or taken out of, existence.
The Universe Is DecayingBible Writers:
Isaiah 51:6: “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not be abolished” (NKJV).
ANALYSIS: To “grow old like a garment” is to deteriorate or decay through age and use.
FACT: The Bible pictures the total universe as deteriorating through age from its original finished state.
History of Science:
The first indication science had that the universe was growing old and being used up was the discovery of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or as it is sometimes referred to, The Law of Entropy. This law is of almost as great a significance to science as the First Law of Thermodynamics. It says that in any energy transfer or change, although the total amount of energy remains unchanged, the amount of usefulness and availability that the energy possesses is always decreased. As the total of useless energy increases, the amount of useful energy decreases by the same amount. This ratio is called “entrophy.” Since all activities of nature, including biological, physical, chemical, etc., involve energy transfers, there must be an ever decreasing supply of usable energy for maintaining the energizing processes in the universe.
An example of this is shown by the use of the spectroscope in analyzing the sun. This study revealed that hydrogen in the sun is being converted to helium at the rate of 4,600,000 tons per second in the process of producing radiant energy. This means that eventually the sun will burn itself out. This is true of all the stars also, so that the physical universe is, beyond question, growing old, wearing out, and running down.
All Flesh Is Not The SameBible Writers:
In 1 Corinthians 15:39, the apostle Paul wrote: “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds” (NKJV).
ANALYSIS: The word “flesh” in Hebrew denotes “meat.”
FACT: Paul noted that all flesh is not the same and recorded four types: men, beasts, birds, and fish.
History of Science:
Men have always held that flesh, or meats, were basically the same. Matthias J. Schleiden (1838) and especially Theodore Schwann (1839) established the cell theory, recognizing the cell as a basic unit of structure in both plants and animals. Having only the use of the light microscope, these men and their contemporaries could not make close and accurate observations of individual cells. Their conclusion, therefore, was that all cells were identical and did not originate from other cells. This “common cell theory” was held for years. The cell was considered to be the common building block of all life, thus giving further argument to the theory all flesh is the same. It was argued that all meat had the same construction, built of these common cells.
It took the invention of the electron microscope in the early 1930s to give science the tool it needed to look into the cell structure. H. Busch, in 1926, formulated the principle for the operation of this instrument. The best light microscope could not reveal structure below 1/100,000 of an inch. The electron microscope can enlarge this over one-hundred times. The latest combination light-electron microscope can focus images to 1/2,000,000 of an inch. With these instruments it has been learned that there are many different types of cells, rather than one basic cell. A piece of flesh today can be easily analyzed to determine its species. It is interesting that modern science’s division of animal life is man, beast, fish, and fowl.
Life Is In The BloodBible Writers:
In Leviticus 17:11, Moses wrote, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (NKJV).
ANALYSIS: The Hebrew definition for “life” is that which makes it possible for an animal to breathe; also vitality.
FACT: Moses pronounced that “the life of the flesh is in the blood.”
History of Science:
350 B.C. Blood-letting is known to have been practiced as early as the 4th century B.C. Herephilos, a physician of the Museum at Alexandria, advocated it as a means to rid the body of disease. Many of his contemporaries also used it as a cure, considering blood a carrier of disease instead of life.
The barber-surgeons of this country were the professional blood-letters until the early 19th century, hence the origin of the red stripe on their poles. A conscientious barber-surgeon would bleed a person to free him of disease. This was done while trimming the patient’s hair.
The importance of the blood in the biological mechanism has only been comprehended with any adequacy in recent years. In this century, scientists have discovered that the continuance of life depends upon the continued temperature, control, waste removal, and transportation of water, food and regulators to the cells and all parts of the body, and therefore the very life and nourishment of the body are furnished by the blood.
Mankind Is Of One BloodBible Writers:
In Acts 17:26, Luke recorded Paul as saying, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (NKJV).
History of Science:
Until this time there were considered to be five distinct original races based on skin color as outlined by Johann Friedrich Blumenback, the founder of Anthropology. These races were thought to be perpetuated by the differences in the blood of each. Although later anthropologists developed other systems to determine original races, such as characteristics of the body, languages, location, etc., there was little agreement as to what and how many original pure races there were.
In 1900, Karl Landsteiner discovered that all human blood has one common base—plasma. Blood can be divided into four basic types, differing in the types of cells carried in the plasma. Comparative studies have demonstrated that human populations all over the world contain almost equal proportions of the four blood types.
The race concept of classical anthropology and biology had proved itself unsatisfactory because it was based on the “blood line” theory of inheritance, which assumed that heredity is transmitted from parents to offspring through blood. Although this theory has been thoroughly invalidated by Mendel’s Laws of heredity, it continues to be credited almost universally by laymen, and even colors the thinking of some scientists.
Today we know that heredity is passed through genes. Science now concludes that all men have a common ancestor.
How was it possible that writers of the Bible could talk accurately about things we have only recently discovered? The only reasonable answer is that they were provided this information by inspiration. Consequently, this remarkable knowledge serves as proof that the Bible is exactly what it claims to be—a divine revelation.
Fulfilled ProphecyFulfilled prophecy is another powerful proof that the Bible is what it claims to be. Many years before historical events occurred, the Bible was giving rather detailed accounts of these distant events. In the space that follows, we will examine some of these.
Prophecies About ChristHenry Liddon is credited with the statement that there are 332 prophecies fulfilled in Christ. The mathematical probability that all of these could be fulfilled in one person by sheer chance alone has been calculated to be the number 84 followed by 123 zeros. Some have suggested that Jesus knew of the prophecies and simply went about the task of fulfilling them. The nonsense of such thinking is absolutely overwhelming when one considers the fact that a “mere-man Jesus” would have no ability to manipulate where he would be born (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6). This prophecy was made at least 700 years before the birth of Jesus. In addition, there are many prophecies about Jesus that were fulfilled by His enemies, who would not knowingly fulfill a single verse of Scripture about Him:
Only a Divine mind could have conceived such a character through the centuries, recorded these things about Him; and only a Divine person could have fulfilled the predictions. This must lead one to the conclusion that Jesus is the Christ of God and that the Bible is a special Divine revelation.
- Sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12; Mt. 26:14-15).
- The money to be cast to the potter (Zech. 11:13; Mt. 27:3-10).
- He was wounded and bruised (Isa. 53:5; Mt. 27:12-14).
- His hands and feet were pierced (Ps. 22:16; Lk 23:33; Jn. 20:25,27).
- He was crucified with thieves (Isa. 53:12; Mk. 15:27,28).
- The people were to shake their heads at the crucified one (Ps. 22:7; Mt. 27:39).
- The people were to ridicule Him (Ps. 22:7; Mt. 27:41,43).
- His garments to be parted and lots cast (Ps. 22:18; Jn. 19:24).
- His bones would not be broken (Ps. 34:20; Jn. 19:33,36).
- His side would be pierced (Zech. 12:10; Jn. 19:34,37).
The City Of SamariaBible Writers:
Micah 1:6: “‘Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the field, places for planting a vineyard; I will pour down her stones into the valley, and I will uncover her foundations’” (NKJV).
FACT: Prophetic events concerning the city of Samaria summarized:
- Its ruins would become as a “heap of ruins in the field.” Places within the city would be cleared of ruins and debris would be gathered into piles, similar to the “heaps” created in the clearing of farm land.
- In clearing the site, the building stones would be pushed off the terraces into the valley below.
- Even the foundations of buildings and road beds would be dug up in an effort to clear land for planting.
- Eventually, Samaria would be planted in vineyards.
The city was built as the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. King Omri built it on isolated Mt. Sameron, which is completely surrounded by an almost circular valley. Mt. Sameron was terraced around from the valley floor to about the 400 ft. elevation for building sites.
Herod the Great beautified the city, including the construction of palaces and temples.
Muslims defeated the Crusaders defending the city and totally destroyed it so that it has never been rebuilt. Arabs living in the vicinity cleared much of the ruins to covert the ancient city’s site to agricultural purposes. In clearing the land, they dug up building foundations and roadways, either piling the rubble in heaps, or dumping it down to the lower terraces and eventually to the valley floor.
Now grape vines and olive trees can be seen growing in many clearings. Usually, ancient cities were built upon the ruins of their predecessor. After being rebuilt 8 times, God did what He said He would do—He stopped the rebuilding and converted the land back to agriculture.
The City Of BabylonBible Writers:
Isaiah 13:19-22: “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will caper there. The hyenas will howl in their citadels, and jackals in their pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, and her days will not be prolonged” (NKJV).
Jeremiah 50:12-13: “Your mother shall be deeply ashamed; she who bore you shall be ashamed. Behold, the least of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land and a desert. Because of the wrath of the LORD, she shall not be inhabited, but she shall be wholly desolate. Everyone who goes by Babylon shall be horrified and hiss at all her plagues” (NKJV).
Jeremiah 51:25-26: “‘Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, who destroys all the earth,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will stretch out My hand against you, roll you down from the rocks, and make you a burnt mountain. They shall not take from you a stone for a corner nor a stone for a foundation, but you shall be desolate forever,’ says the LORD” (NKJV).
Jeremiah 51:36-37, 42: “Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. Babylon shall become a heap, a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant...The sea has come up over Babylon; she is covered with the multitude of its waves. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land and a wilderness, a land where no one dwells, through which no son of man passes’” (NKJV).
FACT: Prophecy concerning Babylon summarized:
- The city would become ruins and be perpetually uninhabited. The Arab would not make his camp there nor graze sheep there, and the caravans would not pass through it.
- Wild beasts would live in the palaces and houses.
- Its protective moat, a man-made sea extending the Euphrates River from the walls up to a distance of 64 miles, would become dry; yet pools of water would cover portions of the city within the walls.
- Her stones would not be taken for other buildings, but she would become heaps, the walls broken down, and the ziggurat burned, and the famous “Hanging Gardens” on the man-made mountain of stone, known as one of the seven wonders of the world, would be destroyed.
- Babylon would remain a perpetual desolation and astonishment.
- Her exceedingly fertile valley would become a dry, parched wilderness and desert.
Due to several previous centuries’ lack of rain, the Euphrates River became saline. This river-borne salt eventually destroyed the fertility of the land around the city and the city eventually dwindled in population.
The elaborate network of canals built to assure great productivity and to control flooding of the Euphrates River had become filled-in due to lack of maintenance, thus causing the whole area to become swampy.
Theodoret writes that by this time there were no longer any Assyrians or Chaldeans living there, only a few Jews.
The Euphrates River changed its course from the canal passing through the center of the city to a new route many miles to the east, thus causing the man-made sea to dry up.
Benjamin of Tudela visited the site and found nothing but utter desolation. Because of infestation by scorpions and serpents, the palace proved to be inaccessible.
Babylon is desolate except for wild animals that can be seen living among the ruins. As the walls of the buildings deteriorated, the mortar caused the soil to be tainted with nitrous compounds that poisoned the soil. Due to the soil’s deterioration and local superstition, the Arabs will not camp nor graze flocks near this ancient city. For over 4000 years it was on a major trade route, but no longer.Babylon was acclaimed to be the oldest and most beautiful city the world had ever known. It now lies stripped of its life and beauty. Other than normal erosion and weathering, the city exists today with its bridges, buildings, and walls as it did 2000 years ago. Its walls, which once stood 300 feet high and 80-120 feet thick, were made out of brick and are weathered down completely in places. The stones of the famous ziggurat still show signs of having been burned with intensive heat. The building materials of the city were not removed and used again as is customary.
Over the centuries, the rising water table in the plain has rendered much of the remains of earlier centuries inaccessible by causing one quarter of the city to be under pools of water and swamps.
The Iraqis boast that they are going to rebuild the 14 square miles of this once great city, but don’t hold your breath. Alexander the Great attempted to rebuild the city and died there. Having become completely desolate, it remains as a monument of God’s working in the affairs of men. If God caused the strongest nation in ancient times to become desolate, He can do the same to any nation that grows in sin and forgets God.
The City Of TyreBible Writers:
Ezekiel 26:3-5: “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre 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 spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD; ‘it shall become plunder for the nations’” (NKJV).
Ezekiel 26:12: “‘They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water...I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD...‘I will make you a terror, and you shall be no more; though you are sought for, you will never be found again,’ says the Lord GOD’” (NKJV).
FACT: Prophecy summarized:
- Many nations, as waves of the sea, would come against Tyre.
- The walls and buildings would be torn down and cast into the water. All stone, timber, and even the soil down to bedrock, would be covered by the sea.
- The site would be made a bare rock and used as a place for the spreading and repair of fishing nets.
- The city would cease to exist or be found.
The rich and famous city of the seafaring Phoenicians came under siege by Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon. After 13 years of land siege, the Phoenicians built a second and smaller city on an island a half mile out in the Mediterranean Sea. Using their ships, they removed themselves from the threat of the Babylonian Empire. The ruins of the original city seem to contradict Ezekiel’s prophecy.
Alexander the Great conquered the coastal cities to acquire their navies and then sent them against the new city of Tyre in constant waves. Growing impatient with this, he had his army build a causeway the width of two chariots from the shore of the old city to the island of the new city. He ordered that all building material from the original city be collected and placed in the sea to make this causeway. When the quantity of stone and timber proved insufficient, he ordered the ground to be scraped down to the bedrock to provide fill dirt. When the causeway was completed, he marched his army over the causeway and over the walls of the new city to defeat the Phoenicians and destroy their city.
The city the prophets spoke against for God is now a large bare rock. For centuries, the site has been used by fishermen to spread and mend their nets. Other than historical records, there is no evidence that one of the world’s richest cities ever existed. It cannot be found again. A nation state strong enough to withstand the siege of mighty Babylon was brought down through a series of specific events that had been foretold by writers of the Bible, proof that the Bible is exactly what it claims to be—God’s word.
ConclusionThe Bible is what it claims to be, and this is proven by its unity, historicity, pre-scientific knowledge, and fulfilled prophecy. Furthermore, Jesus was who He said He was. His resurrection proves it (Romans1:4). There are, of course, other things to be said, but these are enough for the moment. Surely you know what all this means, don't you?
(Note: Much of the information for this article was taken from Has God Spoken, by Arnold Schnabel, and Introduction To Christian Evidences, by Ferrell Jenkins.)