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Remarkable Evidence for Intelligent Faith

Since the time this book was completed, its author, Howard Homenchuk, has passed away. However, his enduring faith in Jesus and the joy, peace, and love it brought him will always be remembered by his family, church, and community. Howard dedicated many years to writing this book, even while living with cancer and facing challenges to his overall health. His hope was for it to be shared with his family and the world, and while it may not have been formally published, it is still important to share it with others. Howard believed that faith in God is not blind, but rather is supported by evidence of God’s involvement in our world, and by the truth of His revelations. He wrote this book to share the fruits of his faith and to provide evidence for an intelligent and sustaining belief in God. As you read this book listen for the voice of our Creator, Who loves you and wants you to know Him. Take the time to consider the reasonable evidence offered, and consider how you might take it personally. May this book encourage you in your own journey of faith and may you share it with others who might benefit from its message. May Howard’s labor of love inspire and inform, and ultimately draw you closer to God.

Since the time this book was completed, its author, Howard Homenchuk, has passed away. However, his enduring faith in Jesus and the joy, peace, and love it brought him will always be remembered by his family, church, and community. Howard dedicated many years to writing this book, even while living with cancer and facing challenges to his overall health. His hope was for it to be shared with his family and the world, and while it may not have been formally published, it is still important to share it with others.
Howard believed that faith in God is not blind, but rather is supported by evidence of God’s involvement in our world, and by the truth of His revelations. He wrote this book to share the fruits of his faith and to provide evidence for an intelligent and sustaining belief in God. As you read this book listen for the voice of our Creator, Who loves you and wants you to know Him. Take the time to consider the reasonable evidence offered, and consider how you might take it personally.
May this book encourage you in your own journey of faith and may you share it with others who might benefit from its message. May Howard’s labor of love inspire and inform, and ultimately draw you closer to God.

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Remarkable Evidence

for Intelligent Faith

Howard Homenchuk, MDiv, FOCC


TABLE OF CONTENTS

A NOTE TO THE READER. 4

DEDICATION 5

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 6

INTRODUCTION 7

WIRED FOR GOD—GENETIC BLUEPRINT 10

Relationship Between Faith and Health 10

Search for the Brain’s Biological Center that Experiences God 13

Neurotheology: New Science Into the God-Brain Connection 17

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED 23

Prophecy of Successive World Empires 26

Prophecy: Neo-Babylonian Kingdom (605 - 539 BCE 28

Prophecy: Medo-Persian Empire (539 – 331 BCE) 28

Prophecy: Macedonian Greek Empire (331 – 168 BCE) 29

Prophecy: Roman Empire (168 BCE – AD 476) 29

Prophecy: European Nations (AD 476 to History’s End) 31

Prophecy: God’s Eternal Kingdom 35

21 ST CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 38

How We Got the Bible 39

Book Title and Preparation 39

Organization of the Bible 40

Meaning of Testament 41

Origin and Authorship of the Bible 42

Theme of the Bible 43

Challenges to Preserve the Bible 45

Threats Against the Message 46

The Protestant Reformation and Dissemination of the Bible 48

Post-Reformation Assaults Against the Bible 51

Old Testament Evidence Proving Reliability of Manuscripts 55

New Testament Evidence Proving Reliability of Manuscripts 57

Major Indicators for Reliable Manuscripts​ 59

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 61

PROPHETIC PANORAMA OF THE MESSIAH 64

Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled in One Day 76

Science of Mathematics Confirms Messiah 91

SECULAR & JEWISH SOURCES ON JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANS 94

Jewish Sources 100

2 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 106

First Century Eyewitness Accounts 108

Comparisons of Prophetic Predictions with Fulfillment of the Resurrection 109

Opponents of Christianity and Resurrection Become Proponents 111

Other Supporting Evidence for the Resurrection 115

The Rapid Spread of Christianity 123

The Centerpiece of Resurrection for Christian Faith 123

ARCHEOLOGY – DIGGING UP EVIDENCES FROM THE PAST 128

Archeology—A New Science 129

Archaeological Discoveries Confirm the Bible 130

Book of Daniel Vindicated 136

Prominent Archaeologists Validate the Bible 140

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 143

The Conquest of Tyre 143

Babylon the Great – Its Predicted Desolation 148

Egypt 154

Future Predictions Conclusion 161

WIDESPREAD INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE 163

Culture 163

Democratic Government 168

Law and Justice 169

Education 170

Literature 171

APPENDIX A - MY STORY WITH DANIEL 2 176

APPENDIX B - GOD’S COVENANT 178

APPENDIX C - THE FALL 181

APPENDIX D – GOD’S LAW REFLECTS HIS CHARACTER 185

APPENDIX E – MATHEMATICS VERIFIES JESUS’ MESSIAHSHIP 186

The Three- Part Prophecy of 490 Years 187

Starting Point for the Seventy- Week (490 Years) Prophecy 187

Dating Artaxerxes’ First Decree 188

REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH 3


Dear Reader,

Since the time this book was

completed, its author, Howard

Homenchuk, has passed away.

However, his enduring faith in Jesus

and the joy, peace, and love it brought

him will always be remembered by

his family, church, and community.

Howard dedicated many years to

writing this book, even while living

with cancer and facing challenges to

his overall health. His hope was for

it to be shared with his family and

the world, and while it may not have

been formally published, it is still

important to share it with others.

Howard believed that faith in God

is not blind, but rather is supported

by evidence of God’s involvement in

our world, and by the truth of His

revelations. He wrote this book to

share the fruits of his faith and to

provide evidence for an intelligent

and sustaining belief in God. As

you read this book listen for the

voice of our Creator, Who loves you

and wants you to know Him. Take

the time to consider the reasonable

evidence offered, and consider

how you might take it personally.

May this book encourage you in

your own journey of faith and

may you share it with others who

A NOTE TO THE READER.

might benefit from its message.

May Howard’s labor of love

inspire and inform, and ultimately

draw you closer to God.

4 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


This book is dedicated to Lyndon

Mattheis, Luther and Sheila Salvan,

and Robert Ramsay. Lyndon, your

caring relationship and timely

referral for parenting counseling

helped Gary resolve a faith crisis

with the help of “Evidence for

Faith”. Luther and Sheila, as a

compassionate couple, you welcomed

Robert into your home and referred

him for counseling during a time

of family distress and a crisis of

faith. Through studying “Evidence

for Faith”, Robert found a renewal

of his faith and reconciliation with

his family. Robert, your generous

support and assistance with typing

the manuscript made this book

possible for readers. I am grateful

for your help and the impact you

have had on the lives of others

through your actions and support.

DEDICATION

REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH 5


This book would not have been

possible without the help of many

individuals who contributed their

time, expertise, and support. I am

deeply grateful to Bob Ramsay,

who not only expressed interest in

my project, but also volunteered to

transform my handwritten script

into a typed and easy-to-read

manuscript. He also created three

meticulous block charts and provided

ongoing support and mentorship

throughout the publishing process.

I would also like to thank Keith

Clouten, retired university library

administrator and published

author, for taking the time to read

my manuscript and offer helpful

suggestions and encouragement.

I am grateful to Mishell, the

illustrator who brought my picture

charts and images to life with her

creativity and attention to detail.

I would like to express my humble

appreciation to my relatives and

friends who showed interest

in the subjects of “Evidence

For Faith” and encouraged me

throughout the writing process.

Above all, I am thankful to my

Divine Helper who guided me in the

selection of topics, research, and

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

writing of this book. I give Glory to

God for His guidance and support!

6 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


INTRODUCTION

The genesis of Remarkable

Evidence for Intelligent 1 Faith 2 was

surprisingly in the shopping aisle

of Costco. That’s where I bumped

into Gary and his wife Tammy 3 .

He had been referred to me earlier

by a mutual friend for parental

counseling. After some friendly

talk, Gary suddenly blurted out,

“I think I’m losing faith. I’m not

sure if I believe in God anymore.”

I listened attentively as he

unburdened about his pent-up

spiritual crisis. I affirmed his faith

conflict as real and perplexing to

him. I explained how our culture

bombards us with critical messages

that often devalue or dismiss God

and the Bible. The effect of these

repeated negative voices may

challenge our faith, especially if we’re

not spiritually grounded. That’s why

it’s so important to expose ourselves

daily to a devotional environment

that will nourish our faith.

Faith is like a plant that needs to be

watered if it is to grow. With careful

nurture, your faith, like the plant,

will not only grow, but thrive.

I assured Gary he was not alone.

I knew of others who had faced

a similar faith struggle and were

1 The word” intelligent” is derived from two Latin words; the preposition inter, meaning “between,” and the

verb lego, meaning “to choose” or “select.” Thus, intelligence consists of choosing between a range of competing

possibilities with discrimination, choosing a certain one, and ruling out another. Michael Behe, William A.

Dembski, Stephen C. Myer, Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe (San Francisco: Ignatius Press,

Sept. 25, 1999), 41.

2 The word “faith” from the Greek noun pistis means also “trust” and “belief”, and will be used

interchangeably throughout this book.

3 Real first names used with permission.

INTRODUCTION 7


helped through it. The good news

is that there is much intelligent

evidence found in the Bible and

in history to support our faith.

I then informed Gary that I had

developed a number of Bible study

guides that address the spiritual

concerns he had raised. I extended

an invitation to meet with him

and Tammy to explore these

evidences for faith. They agreed.

Tammy had secure faith, but happily

joined our sessions in support of her

husband. We met weekly for four

sessions, covering the information

in several chapters of this book

(now expanded). By the end of the

second study Gary’s understanding

grew into a ripening faith. Even

before the final session together,

I noticed Gary’s countenance

brightened, and with gratitude he

shared his personal experience of

a growing confidence in the Bible,

and his renewed faith in God.

What made the difference? Evidence!

“God never asks us to believe without

giving sufficient evidence upon which

to base our faith…all established by

testimony that appeals to reason,

and this testimony is abundant. 4 ”

Faith leading to understanding,

built on the foundation of Biblical

evidence, is what transformed

Gary’s spiritual life.

Months later another personal

experience, similar to Gary’s

recovery of faith, occurred.

Robert, a friend concerned about

a relative struggling with family

problems, requested counseling.

If you met Robert, you would

likely be impressed with his

intelligence and eloquence.

Previously a college teacher, he was

now employed as an aeronautics

mechanic. Robert presented his

concerns regarding interpersonal

family relations. But he soon

identified the primary underlying

issue as a spiritual one. Though

regularly attending church, Robert

recognized he was in a faith crisis.

When I suggested studying the same

lessons that renewed Gary’s faith,

he readily agreed. By the second

study, Robert was enthusiastically

engaged in exploring reasons for

faith. As he discovered more about

fulfilled prophecies, reliability of

Bible manuscripts, and archeology

agreeing with Bible history, Robert’s

faith grew. He exuded vibrant joy

over his rediscovered faith and

renewed relationship with God. As

a result of his spiritual recharge,

4 Ellen G. White, Happiness Digest (Silver Springs, MD: Better Living Publications, copyright 1994), 50,51.

Original copyright, 1892, by F.H.Revel.

8 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


positive changes occurred within

his family dynamics. God had

become alive again in his faith-life.

Why am I reciting Gary and Robert’s

transformative stories? Certainly,

their experiences are neither isolated

nor exceptional. I believe they

represent many others going through

similar crises of faith. All around us

live neighbors, friends, coworkers,

and–like me–family who are longing

for satisfying answers and peace

of mind for spiritual questions.

How then can you address these

spiritual struggles? What strategy

can help you? May I suggest a

starting place: begin by exposing

yourselves to faith-building,

evidence-supported, reliable truth

such as found in the chapters of this

book. For others, like Gary’s wife,

you may already possess a certainty

of faith. Then, indeed, this study is

a way of reinforcing your journey

of faith with God and His Word.

There are those wishing to be

revived from faltering faith or loss

of faith in the Bible and God. Some

may wish to experience faith in

God and His Word for the firsttime.

Many need to boost their

faith with intelligent evidence. Still

others seek to share this abundant

evidence for faith with a sincere

seeker. With each of you in mind,

Evidence for Faith was written.

INTRODUCTION 9


— Chapter 1 —

WIRED FOR GOD—GENETIC BLUEPRINT

In my position as hospital chaplain,

I facilitated several group therapy

sessions relating to life’s spiritual

dimension. In assessing the residents’

spiritual needs and strengths, I used

a discovery tool developed by Dr.

Elizabeth McSherry, a researcher on

spirituality. In a survey conducted

with hundreds of patients, she asked,

“What matters most in your life?”

From a list of 16 options participants

would choose their top three or

four priorities. She named this list,

“Ultimate Values.” The consistent

leading five Values selected (even

for ‘hardcore’ patients) were in this

order: God, family, health, security,

and peace 5 . Knowing and loving God

consistently rated number one of life’s

priorities and pursuits. My group

surveys reported similar results.

Through the ages, we have sought

to know God in various ways:

embarking on pilgrimages to

sacred sites or “holy” mountains,

within mystical writings and

rituals, through fasting, building

temples and sanctuaries for

worship. We peer through powerful

telescopes into distant galaxies

for traces of His presence.

New research, however, indicates

God may be found much closer to

home. It appears God has a specific

place in our minds—because of

the way our brains are wired.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN

FAITH AND HEALTH

A few decades ago, scientists began

trying to answer the question on

5 Presented in a lecture by Dr. Elizabeth McSherry at Dayton, Ohio, 1989, that the author attended.

10 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


the relationship between faith and

health. Why do we observe that

faith helps make people healthier

and contributes to faster recovery

from sickness and disease? This

line of questioning has led to new

discoveries about just how our

brains are hard-wired for God.

Let us explore some of the

accumulating evidence regarding

faith’s positive impacts on our

health and well-being; what

are some of the novel scientific

discoveries that point to the genetic

blueprint for God in our brain?

Study of Heart Patients:

Religious Faith Best

Predictor of Survival

In 1995, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Medical Center did a study of 232

heart patients. They found “the best

predictor” of survival was the degree

to which patients drew strength

and comfort from their religious

faith.” Those without such faith were

three times more likely to die.

Study on Faith and

Social Factors

Other research demonstrated

that church-goers have lower

blood pressure than non-church

goers, and half the risk of dying

from coronary heart disease 6 .

Some looking at these findings might

conclude, ‘Well, maybe it’s just the

social aspect of church-going—

being with others—that produces

such positive effects on health.’

But one heart surgery study

isolated the social factor. The

study focused on two areas 7 :

1. How much individuals drew

comfort from their faith, and

2. How much they participated

in social groups.

The results? Both factors appear

to have distinct benefits, and they

make a powerful combination. As

Time magazine reported, “those

who were both religious and

socially involved had a significant

fourteen-fold advantage over

those who were isolated or lacked

6 A) Daniel Coleman, “Religious Faith and Social Activity Helps Heal, New Research Finds,” New York Times

(Feb 4, 1995).https://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/04/us/religious-faith-and-social-activity-help-to-heal-newresearch-finds.htmlwww.nytimes.com/1995/02/04/US.

B) Laura Rowley, “5 Surprising Scientific Reasons for Attend Church.” https://lightworkers.com/5-surprisingscientific-reasons-to-attend-church.

7 Koeing H. G, King D. E., and Carson V. B., Handbook of Religion and Health, 2nd ed. (New York, NY:

Oxford University Press, 2012).

WIRED FOR GOD—GENETIC BLUEPRINT 11


a faith 8 .” Here we observe two

good reasons the Bible encourages

church-going (i.e.,“assembling

ourselves together 9 ”): the derived

social and spiritual benefits.

Dr. David Larson’s

Study: Prayer Helpful

in Bypass Surgery

Dr. David Larson, a researcher for

the National Institute of Healthcare

Research studied the role of faith in

health. He documents that 97% of

patients reported prayer was helpful

in coping with bypass surgery.

“Belief,” or what Dr. Larson and

other researchers call the “faith

factor,” equips one with ability to

better cope with health challenges.

John Hopkins’ Study of

Faith and Illness

According to John Hopkins

Medical Record, November 1998,

40% of 542 hospitalized adults

reported that their religious faith

was the most important factor

in coping with their illness.

In two national surveys by Time/

CNN (June, 1996) and USA Weekend

(February, 1996), over 70% of patients

believe that spiritual faith and prayer

can aid in recovery from illness.

Dr. Harold Koenig’s Report:

Religion Most Important

Coping with Illness

Dr. Harold Koenig, professor of

psychiatry and medicine at Duke

Medical Center, also reports on

the relationship of religious faith

and practice to coping with health

problems: “Not only is religion

vital to the identities of many

people, it is often used to cope with

troubling circumstances—especially

sickness and disease. In certain

parts of the United States, nearly

90% of medical patients report

that religious belief and practices

are important ways that they cope

with and make sense of physical

illness, and over 40% indicated

that religion is the most important

factor that helps them cope 10 .”

No wonder that scientists and

researchers were eager to look into

why spiritual beliefs and experiences

with God make people healthier,

more hopeful, and happier.

8 Quoted by Mark Finley, “Wired for God,” It Is Written Telecast (January 22, 1997).

9 Hebrews 10:25

10 Dr. Harold Koenig, Spirituality for Patient Care, 3rd ed. (West Conshohoken, PA: Templeton Foundation

Press, 2013). See HavenBradfordGow, libertymagazine.org/article/religious-faith-promotes-well-being/

January-February-2008.

12 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


SEARCH FOR THE BRAIN’S

BIOLOGICAL CENTER THAT

EXPERIENCES GOD

Dr. Herbert Benson Shifts

Studies to the Brain

But it was Harvard physician Herbert

Benson that moved studies on faith

and spirituality from results (better

health, and more rapid recoveries)

to the origin of the biological center

that experiences God—the brain.

In 1975, Benson wrote the bestseller,

The Relaxation Response

in which he developed a simple

technique to help people reduce

stress by relaxing the body. He

noticed a subgroup of patients who

benefited more than the others

from the “relaxation response.”

Who are they? People who said

they felt a sense of closeness to God

while meditating. They sensed the

intimate presence of a Higher Power.

So Benson and others studied what

was happening to these people when

they experienced closeness to God.

They examined the brain and how it

is wired and the way different parts

of the brain react when stimulated.

Eventually these scientists managed

to pinpoint the headquarters of

religious experience in the brain.

It can be found primarily, though

not exclusively, in a small almondshaped

structure in the frontal lobe

called the amygdala. The amygdala,

along with the hippocampus and

hypothalamus, make up the limbic

system of the brain. It is the limbic

system that controls emotions,

sexual pleasure, deep-felt memories,

and, it appears, spirituality 11 .

What seems clear is that human

beings are engineered for religious

faith, which has a direct influence

on our physiology and health. Says

Dr. Benson, “Our genetic blueprint

has made believing in an Infinite

Absolute part of our nature. In other

words, humans are wired for God 12 .”

Dr. Ana-Maria Rizutto—

"Birth of the Living God”

Near the same time as Dr. Benson’s

findings, Dr. Ana-Maria Rizutto

pioneered a clinical study on the

relationship between the brain and

God. In her book, The Birth of the

Living God 13 she reports her patients’

11 “Understanding the Stress Response,” Harvard Medical School (Harvard Health Publishing,March,2011):

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response Also Joseph Liu, “How

Our Brains Are Wired For God,” Pew Research Center: Pew Forum Faith Angle Conference (May,2008).

Speaker Andrew Newberg, Ass’t Professor, Dep’t of Radiology, Univ. of Pennsylvania.

12 Herbert Benson, Timeless Healing: The Power of Biology and Belief (New York: Simon and Schuster

Publisher, 1997), 208.

13 Ana-Maria Rizutto, MD, The Birth of the Living God (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1979).

WIRED FOR GOD—GENETIC BLUEPRINT 13


innate observations and experiences

with God. And in 1998, at their

plenary session held in San Diego

which I attended in conjunction

with the American Chaplains’

Convention, the American Psychiatric

Association recognized Dr. Rizutto’s

pivotal work by presenting her

with the Oskar Pfister award.)

Dr. Rizutto’s study involved 20 inhouse

patients—10 men and 10

women—in a private hospital using

an extensive questionnaire describing

their life-history and feelings for

God 14 . The pertinent question to be

answered in the empirical study (i.e.,

based on observation and experience)

was, What are the possible origins of

the individual’s private representation

of God, and over the following

years what are the developments

of those experiences of God 15 ?

This formation of the representations

of God, Rizutto finds, begins in

childhood between the ages of

two or three. “Representation,”

she explains, is simply language

for the way the God-image is

understood and experienced

in the individual’s brain 16 .

In other words, God is a function

of the psychic 17 , i.e., the spiritual

center of humans is in the brain.

Just as we are physical, emotional,

social in nature, so also we

possess the capacity for spiritual

experiences within. Some call

that “the God-spot.” University

Library Administrator and author,

Keith Clouten describes the inborn

”image of God” this way: ”Everyone

has an invisible trademark in us:

‘Designed By God 18 .’” In other words,

humanity is image-bearers of God.

However, God is not only a

representation, or image within 19 ,

but has also to do with external

reality. Thus, God is at the same

14 In the interview, the patients described themselves from early childhood on through the different stages of

life—their physical health, their most traumatic and most positive experiences, their object losses (including

pets and toys), their self-images, their loved and most hated objects, and their most intensely-felt unfulfilled

emotional needs, as well as their religious experiences in each developmental stage. Questions were also

included which related to their present and future object relations to God, particularly their wishes to be with

God in an after-life. Rizutto, Living God, 8,9.

15 Rizutto, 3.

16 Rizutto, 14.

17 Webster’s Eleventh New Collegiate Dictionary, “ psychic”: 2. “lying outside the sphere of physical

science or knowledge”; “Spiritual in origin or force.” 3. “Sensitive to nonphysical or supernatural forces and

influences.”

18 This concept, shared in Clouten’s Bible Class in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada; March, 2020.

19 In the book of beginnings (Genesis), the archetype of the human family, consisting of male and female,

is described as “created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). However, sin’s effects perverted and almost

14 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


time both subjective and objective

in a paradoxical way 20 . This is not

to say, as New Age philosophy does,

of personal “godhood” or “God-

Self 21 ,” but that there is a point of

contact for a God-relationship, a

meeting place in our being reserved

for God-Creator. The Bible uses the

metaphor of the Christian’s “body”

(representing the whole person)

as the spiritual “temple,” wherein

the Holy Spirit of God resides 22 .

In this sense, religion (relational

rather than institutional) “is an

integral part of our being human,

truly human in our capacity…

[for] nonvisible but meaningful

realities…beyond the boundaries of

our senses.” 23 According to Rizutto,

“there is no such thing as a person

without a God representation.” 24

Still, a person may believe or choose

not to believe. “Even someone who

believes intellectually that there

must (original italics) be a God

may feel no inclination to accept

Him 25 unless in a representation

he can accept emotionally.” 26

In spite of the fact that for some, God

may be losing meaning by “being

rejected, ignored, suppressed, or

focused temporarily unnecessary,”

nonetheless, “God cannot be fully

repressed,” and He is “always

potentially available for further

acceptance or further rejection.” 27

Dr. Rizutto’s research that explains

a God-influence for everyone born in

our world, accentuates what Scripture

already teaches: “the true Light…

gives light to everyone coming into

obliterated His image in all of humanity. Still, traces of God’s image remain in every soul. The object of Christ’s

redemption is to restore, or recreate within humanity the moral image of God, and by so doing, re-establishing

a mutually loving relationship.

20 Isaiah 57:15: ‘For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, Whose Name is Holy: I dwell in

the high and holy place; with him (and her) who has a contrite and humble spirit….”

21 Richard & Linda Nathan, A Glittering Web Glossary of New Age Terms, “Enlightenment,” “Higher Self.”

From lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?=31454,posted Feb. 17, 2020.

22 2Corinthians 6:19,20: “…[Y]our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from

God...therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit ,which are God’s.”

23 Rizutto, 114.

24 Rizutto, 47.

25 “God will be referred to in a customary way, i.e., in the masculine gender and with a proper name

(God). This study will show, however, that the representation of God originates from either male or female

representations” according to the individual. Rizutto, 2.

26 Rizutto, 48.

27 Rizutto, 178, 179.

WIRED FOR GOD—GENETIC BLUEPRINT 15


the world,” 28 and, “the grace of God…

has appeared to all people.” 29

Dr. Arlene Taylor—

Lecturer on Brain Studies

Noteworthy in this field of brainspirituality

studies is Dr. Arlene

Taylor of Realization Inc., a

researcher of such studies and

worldwide speaker. She, too,

concludes: “specific areas of the

brain…are distinctly affected

by prayer and other religious

experiences.” 30 Without the technical

support of brain scans, Dr. Taylor

hypothesizes that “spirituality may

be part of the lower right quadrant

in the right hemisphere, as well as

the pre-frontal cortex” of the brain. 31

Andrew Newberg and Eugene

d’Aquil—Brain Researchers

Some secular thinkers relegate

religion to one’s psychological

invention to help cope with the

struggles and uncertainties of

life. But researchers Andrew

Newberg and Eugene d’Aquil 32

offer another explanation, both

satisfactory and scientifically

based: the religious impulse is

rooted in the biology of the brain.

Their revolutionary conclusion based

on both long-term investigation

of brain function, and by using

high tech imaging, peered into the

brains of meditating Buddhists

and Franciscan nuns at prayer

(that they attribute to a perceptible

presence). What they discovered

was that intensely focused spiritual

contemplation triggers a change

in the brain activity that supports

the religious experience as solid,

tangible reality—not subjective

psychology, or wishful thinking.

Their studies found greater activity

in the frontal lobes, and in particular

the prefrontal cortex, the part

of the brain just above the eyes.

It is the frontal lobes that play a

vital role in processing spiritual

activities and religious beliefs. 33

28 John 1:9 (NIV). Capital “T” is supplied, and refers to the “Word,” Jesus Christ” (verse 14).

29 Titus 2:11(NIV).

30 Quoting email correspondence directly from Dr. Taylor on March 5, 2017, relating to my inquiry about the

location in the brain respecting spirituality.

31 Email correspondence with Dr. Taylor, March, 2017.

32 Unfortunately, Dr. d’Aquil died in August 1998, leaving Newberg to continue their ground-breaking

research.

33 The summary work of researchers Newberg and d’Aquil are referenced from two sources: a) Andrew

Newberg, MD, and Mark Robert Waldman, Born to Believe (New York, NY: Free Press, A Division of Simon &

Schuster, 2006) and b) consulting several internet book reviews.

16 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


NEUROTHEOLOGY: NEW

SCIENCE INTO THE

GOD-BRAIN CONNECTION

These pioneering explorations

of understanding the complex

relationship between spirituality and

the brain has birthed a new discipline

called neurotheology 34 —“neuro”

refers to the nervous system and

brain; “theology” 35 signifies the study

of God. 36 Thus, neurotheology, also

known as spiritual neuroscience,

seeks to understand the relationship

between the mind and religious

experience with God—grounded

in religious belief and spiritual

practices. It applies science

and the scientific method to

the phenomenon of spirituality

through brain imaging studies. 37

Neurotheology, as a scientific

specialty, has expanded with robust

interest within the academic world as

well as among the general population.

Its popularity is indicated by the

publication of a host of books and

numerous articles featuring the

“God-brain connection.” 38 Scientists

who probe the interaction between

a subject’s brain and religious

experience seek also to verify the

location(s) in the parts of the brain

responsible for spirituality.

Recently, researchers at Yale and

Columbia Universities interviewed 27

young adults to gather information

regarding their spiritual experiences.

The subjects underwent MRI

brain scans while reciting their

own religious experiences. The

researchers noted similar patterns of

activity in the brain’s parietal cortex.

However as Dr. Potenza, professor

of psychiatry at Yale, stressed:

"other brain areas are probably also

involved in the formation of spiritual

experiences" 39 In another study,

University of Missouri researcher,

Dr. Brick Johnstone agrees with

Potenza’s findings: “we have found

a neuropsychological basis for

spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one

34 The terminology of “neurotheology” was made popular by James Ashbrook, a theologian who merged into

a neuroscience student. Samantha Shukla, et.al., “Neurotheology—Matters of the Mind or Matters That Mind?”

J Cli Diagn Re Jul;7(7):1486-1490.

35 The term “theology” is limited to theistic religions, specifically to Judeo-Christian and Islamic.

36 Newberg, Born to Believe, 175.

37 For a full treatment of the subject, see Dr. Andrew Newberg’s book,,Principles of Neurotheology (New

York:Routledge Press,2016).First published 2010 by Ashgate publishers.

38 Credit to Dr. Andrew Newberg for the term “neurotheology”

39 Lisa Miller, et.al., “Neural Correlates of Personalized Spiritual Experiences,” Cerebral Cortex,

2018;DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhy102.Quoted by “Where the Brain Processes Spiritual Experiences,” Science Daily

(Yale University,June,2018),1.

WIRED FOR GOD—GENETIC BLUEPRINT 17


specific area of the brain” 40 Moreover,

Johnstone observed the brain’s

dynamic interplay: “Spirituality is

a much more dynamic concept that

uses many parts of the brain…but

they all work together to facilitate the

individual’s spiritual experience.” 41

with this promise: “He did all this

because He wants men (and women)

everywhere to search for Him with

all their hearts, and if they do so,

will find Him, because He is not far

from any of us. ‘In Him we live and

move and have our being, which

makes all of us His offspring.’” 42

Beneficial and Harmful

Meditation Practices—

Dr. Neil Nedley

The inescapable conclusion is that

God appears to be hard-wired into

the human brain. And to go a step

further, our brains function in such a

fascinating way that God is not only

real, but also reachable. The Bible

assures those who reach out for God

While prayer and meditation

exercises can be mapped out by

brain scans, yet according to Dr. Neil

Nedley, an expert on brain function,

and author of holistic treatment of

depression: Depression: the Way Out,

not all spiritual practices are of equal

value. He raises a note of caution.

Recent studies he cites in his book

demonstrate that Judeo-Christian

prayer and meditation differ

from Eastern religions’ practices,

both in the brain waves affected,

and the results experienced. 43

40 Brick Johnstone, et.al., “ Right Parietal Lobe-Related ‘Selflessness’ as the Neuropsychological Basis of

Spiritual Transcendence.” International Journal of the Psychology of Religion, 2012 DOI:10.1080/10508

619.2012.657524. Quoted in “Distinct ‘God-spot in the Brain Does Not Exist, Study Shows,” Science Daily

(University of Missouri-Columbia,April 19, 2012):1.

41 Johnstone, “Neurological Basis of Spirituality,” Psychology of Religion:1. Quoted in “ Distinct God-spot,”

Science Daily,1.

42 Acts 17:27,28: Jack Blanco, The Clear Word Bible: A Paraphrase to Nurture Faith and Growth

(Hagerstown MD: Review and Herald Pub., Assoc., 1994),1239.

43 Neil Nedley, MD, Depression, the Way Out (Ardmore, OK: Nedley Publishing, 2001), 164-166. Citing: Rice

PL, the concentration techniques: “Meditation and biofeedback,” Stress and Health: Principles and Practices

for Coping and Wellness (Pacific Grove,CA: Brooks/Cole Pub., 1987), 305-313.

Biblical meditation is having our minds actively engaged in contemplating: a) God’s word, b) His works, and c)

God Himself.

18 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Specifically, in the practice of

Judeo-Christian meditation and

prayer, beta waves of the brain

predominate. That means the

reasoning powers of the frontal lobe

are engaged in active reflection by:

» Reflecting on God’s goodness.

» Thanking Him for helping

in specific ways.

» Seeking to know His will generally

and in perplexing situations.

» Praying for others who

have specific needs.

By contrast, research in the practice

of Eastern religious meditation,

demonstrates a prevalence on the

alpha brain rhythm. Alpha waves

are a lower frequency—8 to 13 cycles

per second—than beta rhythm.

In alpha frequency, an individual

enters into a trance-like state

where the frontal lobe activity is

weak, and cannot critically analyze

incoming information. In fact, in

Eastern-based practices of yoga

and transcendental meditation,

alpha rhythm predominates. 44

In this regard, Eastern meditation

is strikingly similar to methods

hypnotists use, for example, focusing

on a single word (called a mantra),a

breath, a single shape, or a body

part (navel or forehead), plus a quiet

atmosphere and a passive attitude.

This passive attitude with the alpha

brain waves (i.e., emptying the

mind or putting it into a neutral

state) illustrates one of the greatest

problems with this meditative style.

Given, it may provide temporary

relief and relaxation by removing

the mind on certain stressors,

but the practice doesn’t appear to

help in subsequently dealing with

stressors in a constructive way.

In fact, Eastern techniques and

relaxation training may have harmful

effects on the nervous system.

a) His Word: God’s Revelation in Scripture

Psalm 1:2, “His (the blessed man) delights in the law of the Lord. (The Torah includes all the inspired books of

Moses in which grace precedes and encompasses law).

Joshua 1:8, “The book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night,

that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” (When we thoughtfully consider God’s Word in

our minds, the Holy Spirit will change our hearts and lead us to willing obedience.)

b) His Works: Creation, Salvation, Miracles

Psalm 77:12, “I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.”

Psalm 143:5, “I meditate on all Your works; I muse (margin “ponder) on the work of Your hands.”

c) God Himself: His Character and Attributes

Psalm 63:6, “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.” (The last thoughts of

the day are directed to God.)

44 Nedley, “Stress Without Distress,” Depression, 164.

WIRED FOR GOD—GENETIC BLUEPRINT 19


In a classic study, yoga produced

higher levels of sympathetic nerve

activity with increased adrenal

output than an American control

group. The physical reaction

was similar to experiencing a

sudden stressor that creates the

fight and flight response. 45

In another research project,

Dr. Larry Dossey studied stress

hormones before, immediately

following, and two days after

patients’ surgery. It yielded a

surprising result. With those who

had formal relaxation training,

their immune-weakening stress

hormones significantly increased.

Others in the group-study who

apparently addressed their anxieties

and fears without using “escapism”

relaxation techniques, did not show

the rise in stress hormones. 46

Noticeably, when alpha waves

predominate, the reasoning powers

of the frontal lobe are suppressed.

In such a mental state, a person may

record information and suggestions

without interpretation, and without

frontal lobe evaluation. The

individual would then be extremely

vulnerable to mind control.

By comparison, Biblical meditation

and prayer engage active reflection

that helps focus the frontal lobes

(reason and decision-making). Here

the emphasis is on “communion

with God, thinking His thoughts,

sensing His presence, and knowing

His will.” In addition to providing

release from stress, this beta-type

meditation allows an “opportunity

to get meaningful answers and

solutions to life’s problems.” 47

All the recent discoveries between

spirituality and health, along with

the findings on religious practices

of meditation and prayer relating

to our brain, give new meaning

to our innate spiritual nature.

In a pinnacle of praise to the Creator,

the Psalmist David is awestruck

with God’s handiwork in his human

existence. “For You created my

inmost being, You knit me together

in my mother’s womb. I praise you

because I am fearfully (awesomely)

and wonderfully made.” 48

45 Wengler, MA and Baghi BK, “Studies of autonomic function in Practitioners of Yoga in India,” Behavioral

Science (1961):312-323. Cited in Nedley, Depression, 168.

46 Larry Dossey, Healing Words: the Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine (New York, NY: Harper

Collins Publishers, 1993), 62, 63. Cited in Nedley, 168.

47 Nedley, 165.

48 Psalm 139:13,14(NIV).

20 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Conclusion—Brain Wired to

Search For and Experience God

Indeed, the Creator has reserved a

spiritual place for Himself in our

“inmost being,” centered primarily

(but not only) in the brain’s prefrontal

lobe. He purposely designed our life

as spiritual beings; a loving God Who

cherishes a personal relationship

with us, His special creation.

However, we can exercise our

free choice and miss out on God.

Our brain can be re-wired, as

Dr. Rizutto’s research points out;

we can ignore, repress, or shortcircuit

the potential of experiencing

God in a fulfilling relationship.

Or, on the positive side, we can

respond and foster that inner

longing for God leading to the

“true light that gives light to every

person coming into the world.” 49

The eventual aim of this revelation

of Jesus Christ (“the Light of the

world” 50 ) is to restore the likeness

of God’s character in humanity.

Human desire is to need God.

Just like hunger calls for food, just

like thirst calls for water, just like

tiredness calls for rest, so our inner

spiritual longing calls for God and a

meaningful relationship with Him. 51

In reality, God is calling us back into

the primary relationship and purpose

for which we were originally created.

Paul Johnson describes the vacuum

within intended for God that

only God fully satisfies. “God has

shaped a peculiar vacuum inside

us—a vacuum shaped…[for] God.

Nothing satisfies that vacuum

except God Himself. You can put

money, homes, wealth, power,

fame, or anything you want into

the vacuum but it doesn’t fit. Only

God fills it, fits it, and satisfies.” 52

49 John 1:9.

50 John 8:12.

51 Passages to a Personal Relationship with God. If you choose to satisfy your inner longing for God

and experience a living relationship with your Creator-Savior, then, to start, may I recommend some

tried-and-proven resources listed below that have met the spiritual needs of countless others:

Gospel of John in the New Testament. John’s Gospel is a primer on the Christian life. From personal

experience, disciple John highlights the love of God in sending Jesus as the world’s living Savior and the

abundant new life He freely offers to all who “ believe.”

“Steps to Christ” (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing, copyright 1908), by Ellen G. White. This classic

on the Christian life is translated into 165 languages. The Biblical steps in becoming a new believer and

spiritually growing in relationship with Jesus Christ is clearly presented.

“Basic Christianity”(Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing, 1971,reprinted in 1998) by John

R.W. Stott. Combines the author’s scholarship with a pastor’s heart in achieving an intellectually satisfying

guide for Christian faith, and the proper outworkings of these basic beliefs in the daily life of believers.

52 Paul H. Johnson, Master Plan (Westchester, Ill: Good News Publishers, n.d.), n.p. Cited in McDowell, New

WIRED FOR GOD—GENETIC BLUEPRINT 21


God’s invitation extends to everyone,

backed-up with His assuring

promise: If you search for Me

with a sincere and truthful heart

you will reach Me. “Then you will

call upon Me and go and pray to

Me, and I will listen to you.

“And you will seek Me and find

Me when you search for Me

with all of your heart.” 53

Evidence, 326.

53 Jeremiah 29:13.

22 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


— Chapter 2 —

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED

Wanting to know the future

piques our curiosity. Sometimes,

however, our interest in what

will happen tomorrow or next

year and beyond can trigger

anxiety. In reality, life ahead of

us is unknown and uncertain.

Our Planet Earth is almost daily

hammered with heart-breaking

disasters, powerful earthquakes,

devastating floods, violent

hurricanes, and frightening virus

pandemics. These events are beyond

our control and, unfortunately, cause

suffering, sudden destruction, and

loss of life. In these unparalleled

times it leaves us wondering, What

does the future hold for our planet

and for us? How can we face the

future with hope rather than fear?

You and I can reason from cause

to effect, but we are never quite

sure our deductions are right,

or if they will last. Our personal

past and present history can be

read like an open book. However,

knowledge that penetrates future

events cannot be humanly read, and

is inscrutable as a sealed book.

Where then can we safely turn

for guidance about the future?

One of the Bible’s most amazing

and convincing features is

prophecy. And what is prophecy?

Briefly put, prophecy is God’s

ability to read the future and to

predict something in advance of

it happening. This extraordinary

dimension of God’s Divine attributes

is named omniscience, i.e., “all

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED 23


knowing”—an eternal perspective

of past, present, and future.

We may face the future with

confidence knowing that God knows

what lies ahead of us. Bible prophecy

reveals striking evidence that God

possesses the future road map—the

Key Knowledge to the mysteries of

our world and universe. 54 Through

prophecy God writes history in

advance, thus giving us a glimpse

into unfolding future happenings.

During these times of uncertainty,

people everywhere yearn for places of

certainty: prophecy meets that need.

It is estimated a quarter of the Bible

is predictive in nature. According

to Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical

Prophecy, 55 8,532 of 31,124 verses

making up the Bible contain subject

matter relating to the future! There

are prophecies about nations, cities,

individuals, as well as panoramic

views of world history. 56

To convey His will and purposes in

prophecy, God appoints prophets.

They serve as spokespersons for the

prophetic message given by God to

the designated people and places. 57

In ancient times, however, a class

called psychics also claimed special

abilities to foretell future events.

And today, some claim to possess

these same powers (In Daniel’s

prophecy ahead, we will observe

the showdown between God’s

prophet and a world ruler’s psychics,

magicians, and astrologers).

What then is the difference between

the prophet of God and the selfproclaimed

psychic? Fair question!

Both make predictions; both claim

to foretell something of the future.

Then who is authentic? Whose

predictions are reliable? The

answers we will explore hinge on

two words: Source and Accuracy.

Prophecy Fact Sheet 58 reports that

each year during late December or

early January, many newspapers

and magazines print “predictions

of the top psychics” for the coming

year. Their forecasts have been

tested many times with a simple

experiment: saving the newspaper

54 The Bible declares that “ in …[God] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3.

55 J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy (Hodden & Stoughton, 1973), 681. Cited in Bryan Ball,

Can We Still Believe the Bible? (Victoria, Australia: Signs Pub., 2007), 94.

56 There is no predictive prophecy in the Koran, the Gedwa, or in Buddhism.

57 For fulfilled prophecy to take place, three key participants must interact: 1.The Giver of the Prophecy—God,

the Divine Source of the deliberate message; 2.The Messenger of the Prophecy—the prophet, the spokesperson

in behalf of God (see Amos 3:7); 3. The Receiver of the Prophecy—the intended people or place.

58 Prophecy Fact Sheet, “Predicting the Future,” Website: http://web2.ph.vtexas.edf-index.files/prophecy.

shtmi.

24 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


articles and reading them a year

later. The result is always that “at

best, only 5 – 10% of predictions

bear any resemblance to actual

events”—which is far below even

the chance level. Put another way,

this means that 90 - 95% of their

predictions never come to pass.

By contrast, God puts Himself on

trial as the true God before our

intelligence by testing whether His

predictions are ALL accurately

fulfilled —100% of the time.

I am the Lord, that is My name

See, the former things have come

to pass,

And new things I now declare

Before they spring forth,

I tell you of them. 59

God repeats the challenge to all

contenders (all other “gods”) to

declare by their word what would

happen before it actually does.

Remember the former things of old,

For I am God, and there is no other 60

Declaring the end from the beginning

And from ancient times things that

are not yet done

Saying, My counsel shall stand. 61

We may ask God, “How can You

say, ‘there is no other that knows

the future?’” He responds:

» “I declare” prophecy

» “The end from the

beginning” the future

» “My counsel shall stand”

accuracy of fulfillment

» “I am God” Source of

prophecy, the True God

Herein rests the ultimate test:

when predictions consistently

come to pass, their fulfillment

invariably points both to accurate

prophecies and their true Source—

God. This claim is no boast; only

objective proof for all to see.

How then should we evaluate

prophecy? Simply, does the

prophecy pass the integrity test?

Match the prediction with the

actual facts. Are its claims to

accurate evidence, unsupported or

confirmed? Here’s the challenge:

“Never disdain prophetic revelations

but test them all. Hold to what is

good (true).” 62 A spectacular test

case ahead involves an ancient

monarch’s prophetic dream.

59 Isaiah 42:8, 9 (NRSV)

60 In the ancient world, God’s prophets repeatedly exposed material gods as powerless. There was no life in

them. They can’t speak. They can’t impart knowledge. They can’t do good or evil. While their idols need to be

made, God declares He is the Maker, the Creator of heaven and earth and all life. See Jeremiah 10:2-15; Isaiah

43:7-9.

61 Isaiah 46:9,10. Cf. Isaiah 14:24:“As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.”

62 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21 (Moffat translation).

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED 25


PROPHECY OF SUCCESSIVE

WORLD EMPIRES

Have you dreamed something that

you forgot when you awakened in

the morning, yet a strong impression

lingers that your dream seems

significant? However, try as you

might, you can’t recall it—and that

bothered you. Such was the case for

King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient

Babylon. His dream, impressed

on his mind as informative, was

impossible to recall—and it deeply

disturbed him. 63 Perhaps the king

imagined the dream to be a future

omen. (Ancients believed that gods

revealed their will in dreams.)

In anxious spirit, he summons the

wise men of his court, presenting

them with the options of either

rich rewards or an awful threat.

“Tell me my dream and what it

means and you shall live in honor

and receive great gifts. Fail, and you

shall all die and be cut into pieces.” 64

Lumped together with the “wise men”

is a young Hebrew captive named

Daniel, and his three companions,

who were not present to hear the

king’s ultimatum. After three years

of attending the King’s university,

they had been selected on their

merits to serve in the ruler’s court. 65

When Daniel receives the dreadful

news, he approaches the king

and gets permission for time to

decipher his dream. Immediately,

Daniel and his three companions

bring the matter before their God,

petitioning Him for heavenly

wisdom and guidance. In a night

vision 66 God answers their deadline

request, and reveals to Daniel

Nebuchadnezzar’s secret dream.

The next morning, with calm

assurance, youthful Daniel

stands in the presence of the

world’s most powerful monarch,

ready with an answer.

Before telling the dream and its

meaning, notice who Daniel ascribes

power to read future history:

he takes no credit to himself;

the psychics on earth discredit

themselves; but he gives credit

due only to the God in heaven.

We are privileged to possess the

actual transcript of this conversation

that took place in the king’s throne

room 2,600 years ago. “The secret

which the king has demanded,

63 Daniel 2:1,3.

64 Daniel 2:6, 5.

65 Daniel 1:5, 18-21; 2:1.

66 Daniel 2:19,23.

26 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


the wise men, 67 the enchanters 68 ,

the magicians 69 , and astrologers 70 ,

cannot declare to the king. But

there is a God in heaven Who

reveals secrets and He has made

known to King Nebuchadnezzar

what shall be in the latter days.” 71

Then Daniel unveils to

Nebuchadnezzar the symbolic

picture that God has revealed

to him in night vision.

“You saw, O King, a great image,

‘awesome,’ in the form of a

man from head to toe, made

up of different metals:

» Head of fine gold

» Chest and arms of silver

» Belly and thighs of bronze

» Legs of iron

» Feet partly iron and

partly baked clay

» A stone was cut out without

hands and struck the image

and became a great mountain

and filled the whole earth.” 72

You can imagine the king exclaiming

his excitement, “Yes! Yes! That’s

exactly what I saw in my dream!

But now tell me, what does it all

mean? ”Daniel replies, “This is

the dream. Now we will tell the

interpretation of it before the king.” 73

The man- statue God has shown

in your dream reveals the course

of “mankind’s” history. Its various

metal body parts stand for

successive world-ruling nations.

These world powers start from your

time Nebuchadnezzar, followed

by future world governments,

ending with divided nations living

in the “latter days.” 74 The climax

to this prophetic dream, Daniel

explains, introduces an otherworld

kingdom, not temporary,

but eternal—the establishment of

the everlasting kingdom of God.

67 Wise men were charged with discovering the will of the gods. C. Mervyn Maxwell, PhD, God Cares

(Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1981), vol. 1(The Message of Daniel), 39.

68 Enchanters were trained to keep the gods happy. Maxwell, God Cares, 39. They believed that the events of

people’s lives, even trivial ones, were controlled moment by moment by natural forces. In order to understand

nature, they observed the behaviour of birds in flight, studied things like the livers of sheep, the spread of an oil

drop over water in a vessel, the shape of clouds at sunset, and the stars.

69 Magicians and sorcerers attempted to protect the people by warding off demons. Maxwell, God Cares, 39.

70 Astrologers interpreted omens and predicted the future. Maxwell,39.

71 Daniel 2:27,28.

72 The Dream: Daniel 2:31-35. This prophetic image follows the flow of history from antiquity to end-time.

73 Daniel 2:36.

74 Daniel 2:28.

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED 27


Now prophet Daniel is ready to fill

in details of inspired history. By

prophecy, he delineates the major

ancient world empires appearing

like links in a chain, consisting of

six consecutive historical periods. 75

PROPHECY: NEO-

BABYLONIAN KINGDOM

(605 - 539 BCE

Daniel addresses the king:

“You are this head of gold.”

Nebuchadnezzar (605 – 562 BCE),

the current monarch, stands as the

prominent representative of the

Neo-Babylonian Kingdom. Several

lesser rulers (562 – 539 BCE) making

up the kingdom of gold follow.

Fulfillment in History: Fittingly,

gold represents Babylon; known

as the “golden city. 76 The Greek

historian Herodotus reported on

Babylon’s lavish use of gold. Walls

of the main temples were overlaid

with gold. The temple precinct that

housed the great golden image of

its chief god Bel Marduk is seated

on a golden throne before a golden

table and a golden altar.” 77 It is has

been calculated that 20 tons of gold

were used in this temple alone.” 78

Nebuchadnezzar had boasted his

kingdom would last forever. Many of

the bricks unearthed from the ruins

of Babylon had his words engraved,

“May it last forever.” However, Daniel

announced a different message to the

king from the King of Kings: “another

kingdom will follow Babylon.”

History books verify prophecy; the

Neo-Babylonian kingdom ruled as

the dominant world power for a

short time from 605 to 539 BCE.

PROPHECY: MEDO-PERSIAN

EMPIRE (539 – 331 BCE)

Daniel continues explaining the

dream identifying the next kingdom.

“After you, (Nebuchadnezzar)

another kingdom inferior to you,”

with chest and arms of silver.

A multitude of thoughts must have

swarmed within the king’s mind with

the news that his kingdom would

be replaced by an inferior one.

Fulfillment in History: The two arms

of the statue appropriately represent

the united dual kingdoms of the

Medes and Persians. The metals, too,

have significance. As silver is inferior

to gold, so compared to Babylon,

75 Interpretation: Daniel 2:36 – 45.

76 . Isaiah 14:4.

77 Herodotus, Histories Book I, 178 – 183; translated by A.D. Godley (Cambridge,Mass: Harvard University

Press, 1946), vol. 1, 221 – 229, cited in Howard Peth, 7 Mysteries Solved (Follbrook, CA:Hart Research Center,

2002), 466, 467.

78 Bryan Ball, “Can We Still Believe The Bible?” (Victoria,Australia: Signs Publishing Company,2007), 58.

28 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Medo-Persia would rank inferior in

magnificence, achievements, and

influence. The conquerors of Babylon

“adopted the culture of the complex

Babylonian civilization, for their

own was far less developed.” 79 The

Medo-Persian Empire lasted only two

hundred years, whereas Babylon’s

history goes back to its founder,

Sargon the Great in 2334 BCE. Yet,

in territory, the Persian Empire

expanded more up to that time,

encompassing three million square

miles across three continents. Silver

stood a fitting symbol for Persia

since it was the very metal used for

currency in their taxation system.

PROPHECY: MACEDONIAN

GREEK EMPIRE

(331 – 168 BCE)

Without interruption, Daniel

continues speaking about the

next part of the image.

“Then another, a third

kingdom of bronze which shall

rule over all the earth.”

Fulfillment in History: The image’s

mid-section of bronze stands for the

Macedonian Greeks, beginning with

Alexander the Great. The Greeks

were known to be experts in molding

bronze. Herodotus makes reference

to Greek pirates as “men of bronze

from the sea.” 80 Greek warriors were

distinguished by their brazen armor:

protective gear of bronze breastplates

and helmets. Another Greek historian

Thucydides, depicts Athens as “the

goddess of the Brazen House.”

PROPHECY: ROMAN EMPIRE

(168 BCE – AD 476) 81

Now Daniel moves to the last and

longest ruling world empire coming

on the scene of future history.

“The fourth kingdom shall

be strong as iron.”

Fulfillment in History: The

Macedonians ruled the world for

nearly two centuries. But time

marches on with their empire

being replaced by another.

In 168 BCE the Roman Empire

overthrew the Greeks. Just as

legs form the longest part of the

body, so Rome had the longest

79 Frances D. Nichol, ed., The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, Daniel (Washington, DC:

Review and Herald Pub.,1955), 773.

80 Herodotus I,152,154. Cited in Nichol, Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 774.

81 The Roman Emperor Constantine divided the empire into Eastern and Western parts (symbolic of the

image’s two legs) in AD 326. Soon after, Western Rome fell to the ten separate barbarian tribes which later

divided into mostly European countries, varying in strength. The Eastern part continued as the Byzantine

Empire, which was conquered by Muslims in AD 1453. See Jon L. Dybdahl, ed., Andrews Study Bible (NKJV)

(Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2010), footnote for Daniel 2:41: “the kingdom shall be

divided.”

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED 29


reign of any of the ancient empires

depicted in the interpreted dream.

The Roman standard was raised

over nations across Europe, North

Africa, and deep in Asia. It held

sway for five hundred years. It was

also the last kingdom to rule the

ancient Mediterranean world.

Iron, being stronger than the other

metals (gold, silver, bronze) correctly

typified the strength, toughness, even

brutality exercised by Rome. The

chief method of capital punishment

for non-Romans (slaves, rebels,

criminals) was crucifixion. At any

time, the 120- mile Appian Way

was lined with hundreds of victims

openly suffering excruciating pain

with limbs pierced by long iron nails.

The sayings, “iron- fisted” and “iron

grip,” accurately describe Rome’s iron

power. The prophetic symbol of iron

is unmistakably evident in Rome’s

weaponry and armory. Roman spears

(pilium) consisting of a wedgeshaped

iron head, attached to either

a wood or iron shaft. Swords made

of steel. 82 Roman shields framed in

iron. Leather boots clad with iron

cleats. Mail armor covering the torso

fabricated mostly of woven iron. 83

The distinguished English historian,

Edward Gibbon, though neither a

Christian nor believer in the Bible,

unknowingly uses the very word

descriptions of Daniel’s prophecy and

places the sequence of world empires

in the very same order—strikingly

symbolizing empires by the very

same metals. He wrote: “The images

of gold, or silver, or brass that might

serve to represent the nations and

their kings were successfully broken

by the Iron monarchy of Rome.” 84

How many world empires does

Daniel predict from his time? And

how many empires does historian

Gibbons write about? Both report

exactly four— no more, no less.

Furthermore, the selection of metals

has symbolic meaning also. There

is a noticeable decrease in metal

quality—“decline from glittering

gold to lackluster iron.” 85 Gold being

more valuable, silver less, bronze less,

and iron on the lower scale. Since

82 In Roman times, steel was made up from a mixture of iron with 2% carbon.

83 Wikipedia.org/wiki/Appian Way.

84 Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 4, chap. 38, 41. However, the decline

and fall of ancient empires, including Rome, was first written, not by Edward Gibbon, the eighteenth- century

historian, but by Daniel the prophet in the sixth century BCE. In his six volumes, Gibbon, in eighteenth-century

AD, tells retrospectively the very predictions God foretold many centuries in advance.

85 Lee G.Gugliotto, Handbook for Bible Study (Hagerstown MD: Review and Herald Publishing

Association,2000), 279.

30 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


the golden empire of Babylon, this

implies an inferiority 86 , or steady

decline in the nations following,

both in influence, achievement, and

“in the scale of moral worth.” 87

Yet, at the same time, the metals

increase in hardiness “from malleable

gold to inflexible iron.” 88 Gold less

hard than silver, silver less hard than

bronze, and iron (steel) the hardest.

89

This infers, in a negative sense,

increased toughness manifested

in the strength and military

fierceness of succeeding empires,

climaxing in the Roman power.

Eventually, Rome began to

disintegrate, and, soon after,

fell to the barbarian invasions

from the north and east. Again,

history confirms prophecy

with amazing accuracy.

PROPHECY: EUROPEAN

NATIONS (AD 476 TO

HISTORY’S END)

Daniel interprets the final phase of

human history with the breakup of

the last empire into separate nations.

“The toes 90 of the feet were partly

of iron and partly of clay”… “partly

strong and partly fragile.”

“The kingdom shall be divided.”

Fulfillment in History: This “division”

of “toes” came about when invading

tribes overran and carved up the

Western Roman Empire. These

nations, “partly strong and partly

fragile,” remain separate –some

weaker, (clay) some stronger (iron)—

remnants of the Roman Empire. 91

Europe’s map today resembles most

of the original ten tribes (“toes”).

Listed below are their old names

alongside their modern counterparts.

» Anglo-Saxon – Great Britain

» Alamani – Germany

86 Daniel 2:37 – For Babylon, notice words: “power”, “strength,” and “glory.” Daniel 2:39 – For succeeding

nations notice the word, “inferior.”

87 Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assoc.,1917), 502.

88 Gugliotto, Handbook, 279.

89 Daniel 2:40 – For the last empire, Rome, notice words: “strong as iron,” “breaks,” “ shatters,” “ crushes.”

90 The “toes” of Daniel 2 (10 in number infers the break-up nations from the Roman Empire) stands in direct

parallel with 10 horns (powers) in the companion prophecy of Daniel 7. While Daniel 2 defines world- nations

by symbols of four metals, Daniel 7 depicts the same nations by four wild beasts.

91 “Iron was the hardest and most unified metal known in the ancient and classical worlds. From the strongest

and most unified nation, the territory that had made up the Roman Empire would go to being the weakest and

most divided. Such was the fate of Rome as described by the prophecy.” W.H. Shea, Daniel (Nampa, Idaho:

Pacific Press, 2005), 102.

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED 31


» Burgundians – Switzerland

» Franks – France

» Lombards – Italy

» Seuvi – Portugal

» Visigoths – Spain

» Heruli

» Vandals

» Ostrogoths

The last three tribes have no modern

names. They were destroyed in

the fifth and sixth centuries. 92

According to the “toes” prophecy,

the nations making up modern

Europe will never unite politically

into a single empire. To make a point

crystal clear, Daniel adds: “they will

mingle with the seed of men; BUT

they will not adhere one to another. 93

For centuries many attempts have

been made to reunite Europe through

warfare, diplomacy, and primarily

through intermarriage—"the seed of

men.” The Revised Standard Version

(RSV) Bible translates the verse

this way: “they would mix with one

another in marriage.” For example,

in the nineteenth century, Queen

Victoria married off her children and

grandchildren to European royalty,

attempting to create from separate

countries a united Europe. At the

outbreak of World War I almost all

the ruling houses of Europe were

inter-related. 94 Yet all efforts to form

a political monolith ended in defeat.

No matter how many battles are

fought, or marriage alliances

arranged, or treaties signed, leaders

failed to reunite the European

continent or the world. Six notable

characters have stepped on the stage

of history attempting to rule Europe

from one throne or one federation—

but all failed. Charlemagne tried

in the eighth century, Charles V in

the sixteenth, Louise the14th in the

sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,

Napoleon 95 in the nineteenth century,

Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adolph Hitler

in the twentieth century. Despite all

92 Papal Rome, supported by the armies of Emperor Augustus and King Clovis of France, overthrew the

Vandals in AD 534, and the Ostrogoths in 538. The Heruli, the tribe that conquered Rome in AD 476, was

eventually defeated by the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian under his general, Belisarius. See Shea, Daniel,

116, 117.

93 Daniel 2:43 (NKJV). The New Living Translation (NLT) reads: “This mixture of iron and clay also

shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through

intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.”

94 Maxwell, God Cares, 36.

95 While marching to Moscow, the French forces bogged down in an early winter, resulting in the Russian

troops decimating Napoleon’s men. Napoleon had by far the best army in Europe, but they were no match for

the Word of God (Daniel 2:43). In 1815, as he fled from the battlefield of Waterloo, he cried out, “God Almighty

is too much for me.” In the beginning of his military career he boasted: “In five years I shall be master of the

world.” Discover online: www.bibleschool.com/courses/discover/guide.

32 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


attempts to reunite the nations of

Europe, they remain divided. God’s

Word has stopped every ambitious

would-be European, or world leader

by seven unbreakable words: “they

will not adhere one to another.” 96

Against the global aspirations and

powerful military of a contemporary

Alamani ruler (Hitler) stood out one

man armed with these seven more

powerful words of prophecy. His

name was Franz Hasel, a Christian

pastor and pacifist drafted into the

Nazi army at the unlikely age of 40

at the beginning of World War Two.

Assigned to Pioneer Company 699

with elite troops, his unit repaired

and built bridges in and behind

the dangerous front lines. His

company had advanced deep inside

Russia, taking many casualties.

At first, sarcastically called “the

Bible reader,” Hasel soon gained the

respect of his unit. In training, he’d

earned the reputation as a sharp

shooter. Yet his conviction forbade

him to take another’s life, so he

fashioned a wooden pistol to replace

the real one in his holster, which

remained untouched throughout

the war. Also, Hasel refused to

salute officers with the familiar

German greeting, “Heil Hitler.”

He soon faced a new problem in

Russia, which he, nonetheless,

carried out at the risk of his

own life: warn the Jews in the

local villages to flee before the

rearguard Secret Service (SS)

could find and shoot them.

One day toward the end of the war

his commanding officer called Hasel

into his office and asked him a very

direct question. “Hasel, do you

believe Germany is going to win the

war?” This posed a catch 22 situation.

If a patriot, he’d be expected to reply,

“Of course we’ll win,” but as a student

of Bible prophecy, Hasel knew

Germany would not win the war. At

that moment he asked, “Is that an

official or an unofficial question, sir?”

The unwritten code between officers

and soldiers was: “official” if hands

stayed off the table, and “unofficial”

when hands were placed on the table.

The go-ahead signal was clear.

Invited in the officer’s private

audience were a sergeant and

lieutenant, both historians in civilian

life — high school teacher and college

professor, respectively. Opening his

Bible, Hasel began telling the story of

96 Agreements and peace pacts among nations have been signed, sealed—and broken. “As many as 4,568

treaties and international agreements were submitted before the old League of Nations between May 10, 1920

and May 19, 1939. But the treaties did not prevent World War 11.” Roy Allan Anderson, Unfolding Daniel’s

Prophecies (Mountain View,CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assoc., 1975), 51.

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED 33


Nebuchadnezzar’s prophetic dream.

Then from his wallet he pulled out

a well-worn card. On the front was

pictured the image of Daniel 2; on

the back Hasel’s hand-typed dates

for the decisive wars and ruling

ancient world empires: Babylon,

Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome,

and the divided European nations.

“Do I have everything correct?” Hasel

asked the historians. “I’d be grateful

if you would point out any errors.”

“No!” the astonished officers replied.

“No errors! Everything is accurate!”

Hasel continued to explain that they

were now living in the time of the

feet of iron and clay. “’They do not

cleave (“join,” or “hold”) together,’

and for that reason we will not have

a united Europe or world empire.

So, I don’t believe Hitler is correct.

Hitler’s Third Reich cannot last. This

war has to fail because of Biblical

prophecy, and how everything has

been accurately fulfilled in the past.”

When the engrossing Bible

study ended, all the officers

stood thoughtful and silent. The

commanding officer followed up

by borrowing Hasel’s Bible.

A week later, with Hasel in his

office the commander said, “Hasel,

I appreciate what you shared with

me.” He looked around and lowered

his voice. “From now on we will

no longer operate a third of our

motorized vehicles. The gasoline

we save, I want you to store in

drums and cannisters so that

when the end comes we will have

enough fuel to get back home.”

Several months later, in May 1945,

the war ended. The unit faced

the challenge of retreating and

getting back to Germany. Of the

original 1200 in Hasel’s unit, only

seven survived. Among the few

survivors was the commanding

officer, a new believer in Daniel’s

prophecy, and Hasel, a man of

committed faith and courage who

shared the accuracy of fulfilled and

fulfilling prophecy in real time. 97

God’s foreknowledge is amazing!

Because God has been right on

all that has come to pass in this

prophecy, we can surely trust the

Bible for what He says will happen

97 The recollection of Franz Hasel’s WW 2 story is credited to three reliable sources: 1. The riveting book

about Franz Hasel and his family who dared practice their faith in Hitler’s Germany, written by Franz’s

daughter, Susi Hasel Mundy, A Thousand Shall Fall (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2001). 2. The

first-hand account of Dr. Michael Hasel relating his father’s Bible study conversation with German officers

(See Youtube, “Franz Hasel Story”). 3. My personal phone conversation with Dr. Michael Hasel, Professor of

Religion at Southern Adventist University, expanding further upon his father’s Bible study of Daniel 2 with

German officers in his unit.

34 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


in the final event, yet future. (For

my personal encounter with the

prophecy of Daniel 2, see Appendix

A, My Story With Daniel 2.)

PROPHECY: GOD’S

ETERNAL KINGDOM

Now Daniel reaches the climax

of all prophecy and the goal

of history, i.e. the ushering in

of God’s eternal kingdom.

“The God of heaven will set up a

kingdom 98 which shall never be

destroyed…and consume all these

kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”

Where are we now living in reference

to Daniel’s prophetic image? In the

toenails of end-time history! Every

part of the prophecy has come to

pass—except one. The final

superpower to rule the world will not

be temporal but eternal, thus ending

faulty human rule, and beginning

God’s secure government!

Fulfillment in History: In an

unknown day, still to come, the

Kingdom of God will become a

worldwide event ushering in a visible

kingdom that will last forever. Past

and present kingdoms represented

in Daniel’s image will soon crumble.

In their place, the “King of nations” 99

will set up His everlasting kingdom

of righteousness and peace. In this

final event, the “rock”—not part of

the image, and stronger than all

the metals—strikes like a missile,

causing the image to shatter into

pieces, replacing earthly kingdoms

with God’s universal stone kingdom.

This prophecy, as the previous ones,

is “certain,” and “sure,” 100 yet still in

the future. No person can compute

the time of Jesus’ kingdom arrival

98 Jesus descends from heaven with the saints after 1000 years in heaven, and establishes His reign on earth

with New Jerusalem as His eternal capital in the “new heavens and new earth.” See Revelation 20:7- 21:5.

99 Jeremiah 10:7.

100 Daniel 2:45.

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED 35


here 101 , but by “signs” 102 He has given,

we can know when His coming is

near 103 . And everyone will be fit to

enter His kingdom then, whoever has

first let Jesus set up His kingdom of

grace presently in his or her heart.

When God establishes His universal

government, the earth will be

restored to its original perfection

and beauty. 104 Citizens residing

there will experience neverending

life of health, harmony,

and happiness. Thus, the Lord’s

prayer will be fully realized: “Your

kingdom come”; “Yours is the

kingdom and power…forever.” 105

The arrival of God’s kingdom is the

final yet-to-be fulfilled prophecy

of Daniel 2. When on earth Jesus

left the promise to His disciples

then and followers afterwards, “I

will come again and receive you to

Myself.” 106 Since Jesus fulfilled the

specifications of Messiah at His first

coming, 2000 years ago, according

to the time prophecies in Daniel 9, 107

we are given assurance according to

prophecy in Daniel 2 He will return

as King to earth at His Second

Coming. 108 By His sovereign will God

guarantees the ultimate outcome

of this world’s history according to

His foretold plan of restoration.

Then, with the Lord’s kingly reign, 109

planet earth will finally be free of

wars, famines, tsunamis, natural

and environmental disasters, as

well as “man’s inhumanity to man.”

We can look forward to the end of

101 Matthew 24:36: “But of that day and hour nobody knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father

only.”

102 Matthew 24:3- 31; Luke 21:7 – 28; 2 Timothy 3:1 – 9. “Signs,” or pointers to His return, are seen in the

physical world; and by social, religious, political, and economic conditions.

103 Matthew 24:32- 33: “… when you see these things, know that it is near, at the door.”

104 Revelation 21:1,5:. “Now I (Apostle John) saw a new heaven and earth, for the first heaven and earth were

passed away.” “Behold, I (God) make all things new.”

105 Matthew 6:10. See also Daniel 7:27: “Then…the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be

given to the people, the saints of the Most High, His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.”

106 John 14:3. Cf. Revelation 11:15: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and

of His Christ and he shall reign forever and forever.”

107 See Appendix E, Mathematics Verifies Jesus’ Messiahship.

108 The Second Return of Jesus to this world is a New Testament theme mentioned 250 times, an average of

once every 25 verses.

109 Revelation 20:1-6 describes an interval of 1000 years where the saints reign with Christ in heaven. “When

the 1000 years have expired” (according to Revelation 21:1-5, 22-27; 22:1-5,14) the New Jerusalem descends

“out of heaven” (Revelation 3:12; 21:2) with the saints to planet earth and becomes their permanent home.

Awesomely, it is on this previous planet- in- rebellion, after the re-creation of “a new heaven and a new earth,”

where the ”Lord God” and the “Lamb” relocate the universe’s headquarters. “ Behold, the tabernacle of God is

with men (humankind) and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with

them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).

36 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


injustices and inequities prevalent

in our present world. The last book

of the Bible, Revelation, pictures

a perfect world of enjoyment and

safety, absent of all suffering in our

new environment. This better day

coming is graphically portrayed

by a series of “no-mores.” 110

• No more tears and crying

• No more death (no more

saying “goodbye”)

• No more sorrow

• No more pain

• No more sea (perhaps figurative

of no more separations or

barriers—racial, ethnic, language,

or any other distinctions)

Here’s the best news! God includes

us all, with a personal invitation

to share in the happiness of

His eternal paradise home.

110 Revelation 21:1- 4.

PROPHECY—FUTURE FORECASTED 37


— Chapter 3 —

21 ST CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE

The story 111 comes from ancient

Greece of a dying father who called

his two sons to his bedside.

“My treasure is buried in

my fields,” he said. “If you

would be rich, dig for it.”

The father died and the two boys,

thinking his treasure was a chest

of money hid in the field, set out

eagerly to find it. With spades and

mattocks, they dug with great

enthusiasm and perseverance, but

seemingly without success. They

carefully turned the soil in every

field, digging deeper than a plow

had reached. But they discovered no

sign of the hoped-for treasure chest.

Spring came. The sons abandoned

their search in order to sow the

111 From Arthur Maxwell, Your Bible and You (Washington, D C: Review & Herald Pub., 1959), 22 – 24.

38 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH

field with corn. Then came summer

and harvest-time. And what a

harvest! A bumper crop like none

before! In digging the land so

thoroughly, the sons had won the

riches they searched for. Their

wise father’s plan succeeded.

We also have inherited a precious

treasure that has come down through

many centuries. It too is buried, not

in a field, but in a Book. And He who

has willed this treasure to us says,

“If you would be rich in the best and

most beautiful things life has to offer,

search this Book. Dig into it with

all the available tools you have. And

within it you will find the richest

treasures to satisfy your soul’s desires

for peace and true happiness.”

This book, of course, is the Bible!


HOW WE GOT THE BIBLE

The Bible is like a telescope.

When you peer through it you see

something magnificent beyond.

However, if you look at just the

telescope, what you see is merely

the external instrument. In the

same way, the Bible must be looked

into 112 —its internal messages—to

see what is beyond the cover by

discovering its unique treasure

within—especially, the remarkable

evidence for intelligent faith.

So, what can we discover about the

Bible? Who wrote it? How did it come

down to us? Does it speak to my felt

needs and current world issues? Can

I, as many others before me, trust

the Bible for the claims it makes?

BOOK TITLE

AND PREPARATION

A book is known by its title. A glance

at this Book’s cover reads: “Holy

Bible.” “Holy” implies something

beyond the ordinary; sacred writings

with reference to God. Many call it

“God’s Book,” or the “Word of God”—

a synonym for what God says.

In the original Greek language, the

word “Bible” is plural (biblia) and

translates as “Books.” Indeed, the

Bible is made up of a collection of

many books, actually a library of

66 books in all, bound together in

one volume. Many of these are not

really books in the usual sense.

Some are merely letters; a few

messages so short they could be

copied on two or three typed pages.

The production of the Bible is

truly an amazing story! The Bible

covered 1600 years in preparation,

written by 35 authors spanning a

millennium and a half from about

1500 BCE to AD 95. Two of the

most prolific writers are Moses,

credited with the first five books

(Pentateuch), and the Apostle

Paul who wrote all 13 Epistles, or

letters to various churches and

leaders. Other prominent writers

are David who wrote many of

the Psalms; and Solomon for his

wisdom literature. Then there’s a

category of apocalyptic 113 writers like

Daniel and John, the Revelator.

The fraternity of Bible writers

lived at different times in history,

belonged to different cultures,

came from different backgrounds

and occupations that represent

112 Throughout the book all emphasis using italics are the author’s, unless otherwise noted—even within

quotations of writers.

113 Apocalyptic writing is a vivid picture of end-time cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the powers of

evil and evil-doers, vindicates and delivers the faithful, and ushers in the universal reign of righteousness and

peace.

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 39


an international mix from three

continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe.

For example, Moses led one of the

first freedom movements for a whole

nation. Following in his footsteps,

Joshua, the valiant army captain

established Israel in the Promised

Land. There was David who rose

from shepherd boy to king. A Hebrew

captive, Daniel, distinguished

by an “excellent” character, was

elevated to the position of Prime

Minister of Babylon, and in the

next world empire of Medo-Persia,

ruled as one of its three governors.

Other Bible authors were selected

from a mixture of occupational

backgrounds: Elisha, a farmer;

Amos, a herdsman; Jeremiah, a

priest- in- training; Matthew, the tax

collector; Luke, the doctor; Peter,

the fisherman; and many others.

ORGANIZATION OF THE BIBLE

The sixty-six book library, making

up the Holy Bible, forms naturally

into two major divisions called

the Old Testament and the New

Testament. The original language

of Old Testament books is Hebrew,

with a few portions appearing in

Aramaic. 114 The New Testament

books are penned in Greek, not

the classical Greek used in literary

works, but in Koine Greek, the

common language of the people.

The Old Testament consists of

39 books written before the first

advent of the Messiah, while the

New Testament contains 27 books

written after the advent of Jesus,

the Christ (Messiah). Whereas the

OT points forward to the Promised

Messiah who will come, the New

Testament, from our perspective,

looks backward to the fulfillment of

the Messiah who has come. In other

words, the OT anticipates the Christ

and the NT reveals Him in Person.

More specifically, the Gospel

writers tell us the story of Jesus,

leaving an eyewitness biography

of Jesus’ divine-human earthly

life and ministry of teaching,

healing, and forgiving.

The Book of Acts forward to the

Bible’s last book, Revelation,

narrates the dynamic expansion

of Christianity to the then known

world 115 , even under severe

persecution. Ultimately, the climactic

event of the ages features deliverance

and triumph for God’s people,

inheriting His eternal kingdom.

114 Aramaic portions of the OT: Ezra 4:8 – 6:18; 7:12 – 26; Daniel 2:4 – 7:28; Jeremiah 10:11.

115 Colossians 1:6.

40 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


It’s noteworthy that both sacred

and common history share the

same defining time- posts:

• BC—before Christ, or BCE –

before the Common Era

• AD – the year of our

Lord (i.e., His birth)

These chronology markers also

serve to divide Old and New

Testaments—before the arrival of

the Christ, and the time following

His birth. In other words, it can be

said, all history revolves around

“His-story”—the Person of History.

MEANING OF TESTAMENT

The term “testament,” besides

referring to the Bible’s two

main divisions, generally

translates as “covenant.”

What is a covenant? We understand

human covenants involve a legal

agreement between parties, each

bound by certain conditions in

a relationship or transaction,

whether personal or business. A

prime example of entering into a

covenant relationship is marriage,

an arrangement between husband

and wife pledging lasting love and

loyalty to each other. Purchasing

a home is another example of a

binding agreement—a business

transaction with terms or conditions

of amounts and times for mortgage

payments— or payment in full.

God’s covenant has a purpose, too.

Put in religious terms, covenant is

the Divine pledge and arrangement,

initiated by God’s love and grace,

to restore the broken relationship

between fallen humanity and God

through the promised Messiah. 116

Whenever individuals respond by

accepting God’s covenant proposal,

then, past separation from God is

replaced with belonging to God

as expressed in His covenant

promise: “I will be their God and

they shall be My people.” 117

Bible students widely accept the

subject of the covenant as the

Bible’s meta-narrative 118 or grand

story—the central messagethread

throughout the Bible.

116 See Appendix B, God’s Covenant. The Latin origin of the word “religion” comes close to understanding

the Biblical covenant. Re-lesion (cut), i.e., “repair what is broken.” And what is broken is the relationship

between God and humanity. Jesus came with the committed purpose to repair that “cut,” and heal humanity’s

brokenness.

117 Hebrews 8:10.

118 Meta-narrative refers to God’s overarching story or storyline running throughout Scripture that gives

meaning and purpose to world history and our lives.

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 41


ORIGIN AND AUTHORSHIP

OF THE BIBLE

When you pick up a book, after

reading the title, what’s the first

thing you want to know? Its author!

Who wrote the book? Surprisingly,

after reading the title, Holy

Bible, when you look inside at the

copyright page the information

about the author is missing.

As noted earlier, many individuals

over one and a half millennia

contributed in writing portions of

the Bible. But the question remains:

Who really authored the Bible?

Basically, what does the Bible say

about itself and its origin? Among

literally hundreds of references,

we highlight two New Testament

passages that contain a wealth of

information about the origin and

nature of the Bible. By subdividing

these texts, we learn from the Bible’s

own Self-witness and internal unity.

Number 1: 2 Peter 1:21: “For

prophecy never came by the will of

man, but holy men of God spoke as

they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

• “Prophecy (God’s Word)…

came by the Holy Spirit.”

Sublimely and profoundly,

Scriptures have their origin and

authority in God, the Spirit. The

overarching unity of Scripture

is based on Its Divine origin.

• “Holy men of God spoke.” The

“holy men of God,” the Bible

calls “prophets.” These agents

faithfully “spoke” on God’s behalf,

and communicated His message.

The Spirit-inspired Word was

the basis of their authority.

• “Prophecy never came by the

will of man.” Prophecy comes

not from human invention, but

Divine composition. Prophets

speak the message from God,

not out of their own volition.

• “Prophets…are moved by the Holy

Spirit.” “Moved” is a descriptive

Bible word. It pictures the wind

driving a sailing boat in the right

direction. In a similar manner,

the “Spirit of God” moves upon

prophets, directing their minds

to communicate His message.

Number 2: 2 Timothy

3:16: “All Scripture is given

by inspiration of God.”

As God’s Word, the whole content

of Scriptures claims to be truthful

and trustworthy. Because of its

Source, the Bible holds a unique and

higher authority that supersedes

all others: human reason, religious

tradition, personal experience, or

cultural values. In other words,

42 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


all of the agencies above need

to be tested against the norm or

measuring rod of Holy Scripture.

The Bible alone qualifies as the

standard for testing all teaching

and subjective experience.

The phenomenon of “inspiration”

literally means “God-breathed.”

God in-spired (from aspire-“to

breathe upon”) the prophet’s mind

to receive and deliver His message.

“Scripture is not the result of human

genius, human reason, or human

research, but of being ‘breathed upon’

[inspired] by God…as its Author.” 119

To sum up, how can we understand

the relationship between the Divine

Author and human writers?

» Scriptures bear the Divine imprint

of the Holy Spirit. Though prophets

are the human agents of the

Scriptures, the Source of revelation

is God. Thus the Bible is a clear,

infallible revelation of God’s will.

» The writers, holy men of God,

recorded (“wrote”) the revelation

under divine “inspiration.” God

guided the writers’ minds in their

writing process. In turn, prophets

acted as God’s mouthpiece,

or His “penmen,” but not His

pen. 120 All the while the prophet’s

personality, individuality, and

style of expression are retained.

» The Bible represents a union of the

Divine and human—Divine truth

spoken and written through human

personality; and heard, read, and

understood in human language.

The same Holy Spirit Who

inspired the writers of the Bible

also promises to enlighten you

as a sincere reader of this Holy

Book —the written Word of God.

THEME OF THE BIBLE

The whole Bible is an inclusio. 121 This

expression stands for a narrative

“sandwich”—something that starts

and ends the same way. In the last

three chapters of Revelation (the last

book in the Bible), we meet the same

themes that are arranged in the first

three chapters of Genesis (the first

book in the Bible), just in reverse

order, i.e., it ends where it begins.

119 Gerhard F. Hasel, PhD, Understanding the Living Word of God (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press

Publishing Association,1980),69.

120 The statement that Bible writers were “God’s penmen,” and “not God’s pen,” is first attributed to Calvin

E. Stowe, Origin and History of the Books of the Bible, Both Canonical and Apocryphal (Hartford, CT: Hartford

Pub. Co., 1868),19. In other words, God inspired the prophet’s mind, or thoughts, rather than giving wordby-

word dictation, known as mechanical, or verbal inspiration. (Incidentally, Professor Stowe’s wife was the

acclaimed novelist of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.)

121 Dr. Elizabeth V. Talbot, Revelation, the Fifth Gospel (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Pub., 2014), 10, 11.

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 43


• Notice the sequence of topics

beginning in Genesis 1 to 3:

• Creation—beginning of

human history—Genesis 1

• Intimacy with God—Genesis 2

• Entrance of the evil villain by

whose deception arises human sin

and death on earth—Genesis 3

Turn now to the last three chapters

of Revelation that announce a

reversal of those series of events

in Genesis, coming full circle:

• Re-creation of earth to the original

pristine conditions –Revelation 22

• Intimacy with God and eternal

life are restored—Revelation 21

• The villain Satan and his cohorts

are defeated, and evil and evil-doers

cease to exist forever—Revelation 20

In-between the narrative “sandwich”

is traced humanity’s fall 122 and

God’s impassioned rescue 123 mission

enacted over more than six millennia.

In his epic poems, Paradise Lost

and Paradise Regained, English

poet, John Milton, captures the same

beginning, midsection, and ending

story portrayed in the Bible. The

opening three chapters of Genesis

pictures the perfect paradise home

of our first parents, fresh from the

Hand of their Creator. Harmony,

love, and peace that first existed,

sometime afterward, devolved

into distrust and rebellion against

their Maker. Their tragic fall 124

bore serious and long-lasting

consequences: initial separation

from God, banishment from their

Paradise home, degeneration in the

created natural world, distortion

of the image of God in humanity,

and subjection to eventual death.

The contrast is stark between life in

the perfect world and the conditions

on earth after sin entered, making

the earth a less-than-perfect

environment. “Instead of only roses,

now there were thorns. Instead of

only flowers or vegetable plants,

now there were weeds. Instead

of long life and health, there was

sickness and pain and death.” 125

In spite this legacy, all is not

hopeless—either in the storyline

of Milton’s Paradise poems, or in

the Biblical narrative. Knowing

the end from the beginning, God

foresaw humanity’s sin- problem

122 See Appendix C, The Fall.

123 See Appendix B, God’s Covenant.

124 See Appendix C, The Fall.

125 John T. Baldwin, L. James Gibson, Jerry D. Thomas, Beyond Imagination (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press,

2013), 81. See also Romans 5:12.

44 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


and grim predicament. In response,

Divine love had already conceived

a plan to redeem what was

lost—known in Scripture as “the

everlasting covenant,” whereby the

human race with all its liabilities

might be reclaimed. Faithful

to His covenant promise, God

acted in time 126 and on time. 127

Thus, by the “mystery of

redemption” 128 hope is made

alive again for humanity. The

lost dominion in the Garden of

Eden, Christ came to restore

in the Garden of Gethsemane,

and ultimately on the Cross of

Calvary. His Self-sacrificing love

transacted the “great exchange”—

losing his life to save ours. 129

“Christ was treated as we deserve,

that we might be treated as He

deserves. He was condemned for

our sins, in which He had no share,

that we might be justified [put right]

by His righteousness, in which we

had no share. He suffered the death,

which was ours, that we might

receive the life, which was His.

‘With His stripes we are healed.’” 130

And one future day on God’s

calendar, when sin is forever

removed, Eden Paradise will be

transplanted on renewed earth.

The people of God will gain the

“everlasting possession.” 131 They

will be restored to their intended

harmony with God in a sinless

environment of everlasting life:

joy, peace, and extensive learning.

Thus, God’s original plan will

come full circle— beginning and

ending with a perfect world and

mutually loving relationships.

CHALLENGES TO

PRESERVE THE BIBLE

The remarkable account of the

Bible’s preservation seems as

miraculous as its inspiration. Divine

oversight is evident not only in the

production but also the protection

of Scriptures. Through many

centuries this Book has survived

126 John 1:14.

127 Galatians 4:4.

128 Genesis 17:8; Ephesians 1:9-11; Hebrews 11:16.

129 Romans 3:22-26; Colossians 1:13,14;Romans 4:6,8: (“ the great exchange” ),“God imputes righteousness”;

“the Lord shall not impute sin.”

130 Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing, original copyright 1896,

copyright 1940), 25.

131 Genesis 17:8; Hebrews 10:34.

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 45


several major challenges; among

them, damage to materials, threats

against its messages, and assaults

toward manuscripts (Scriptures).

Damage to Materials

The first difficulty facing the

preservation of Sacred Books was

simply the aging process. Over time

how will the materials on which

Scripture is written withstand

the erosive forces of weather and

environment? In the ancient world

a variety of writing materials

existed, as well as methods to keep

them from decay and damage.

The primary writing material was

papyrus, invented in Egypt. Papyrus

plants or rushes grew mainly along

the banks of the Nile. From the

plant stem, narrow strips were cut

out, then, laid in two layers, one

lengthwise and the other crosswise.

These strips were then glued,

pressed, hammered, and rubbed

smoothly, making a sheet. The

sheets were glued end to end into

long rolls. Writing was entered in

columns with pen and carbon ink,

the rolls thus forming scriptural

scrolls. 132 (Papyrus may be regarded

the forerunner of modern paper.)

Papyrus was popularly used until the

third- century AD. It was cheaper

in cost than animal hides and

therefore used extensively by the

apostles and also copyists in the early

Christian Church. The oldest papyrus

fragment dates to 2400 BCE. 133

Other materials commonly used

for writing the Bible were:

» Parchment—hides of

sheep and goats

» Vellum—calve skins (The

oldest leather scrolls date

to around 1500 BCE.)

Animal skins were especially fragile,

yet the hot and dry climate conditions

served as an ally in preserving

these manuscripts. In addition to

environmental conditions, man-made

ways of preservation were effective.

Manuscripts made of parchment were

wrapped with linen cloths and stored

in containers kept in air-tight rooms.

THREATS AGAINST

THE MESSAGE

Threats in Old Testament Times

In OT history, God’s way of

preserving Scriptures and a

knowledge of the true God was

through His chosen representatives.

To ancient Israel, this spiritual

132 Dr. Siegfried Horn (Professor of Archaeology), Bible Dictionary, Commentary Reference Series, vol. 8,

”Writing Materials” (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub., 1960), 1160.

133 Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Writing Materials,” 1160, 1161.

46 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


task was entrusted; first to live out

the Biblical principles, and then to

share these God-given messages to

spiritually transform surrounding

nations. But on both accounts the

record is dismal: failure of leaders

and people to live out their covenant

relationship with God, and remiss

as representatives of the true God

to carry out their sacred mission to

be “a light to the nations.” 134 Thus,

the saying about human nature

generally seems to ring true, “As the

leader goes, so go the people.” 135

As a consequence of persistent

unfaithfulness to their covenant

relationship with God 136 , history

records the eventual defeat and

captivity of both kingdoms: Israel

subjected by Assyria in 722 BCE,

and Judah conquered by Babylon

in three separate campaigns: in

605, 597, and finally in 586 BCE

when Jerusalem was destroyed.

During the reigns of these two

kingdoms, the Scriptures were

mostly neglected and lost sight of.

However, on the few occasions that

spiritual revival awakened the nation,

it always started with the recovery

and teaching of the Scriptures. 137

Threats in New Testament Times

In the first few centuries of

Christianity, the Bible was faithfully

preserved and widely circulated.

Under strict standards, loyal Jewish

scribes reproduced portions of OT

writings. 138 Also, with Christian

congregations springing up in every

part of the Roman Empire, devoted

Christian copyists supplied handwritten

copies of NT Scriptures. 139

Then came the Dark Ages, a period

of 1,000 years, when tradition and

formalism supplanted God’s Word.

The then dominant church prohibited

laypeople access to the Bible. (Even

clergy had limited access to the few

134 After the monarchy of Solomon, the kingdom of Israel divided into two kingdoms: Israel in the north and

Judah to the south. Twenty kings ruled Israel from 931 – 722 BCE, and of that number, only one ruler was

“partly good” and the rest were “evil” rulers. The kingdom of Judah faired somewhat better. From 931 – 586

BCE twenty kings reigned over Judah and of these, four were “right and evil”, four were “right”, and twelve

were “evil.”

See Andrews Study Bible, 437,438; Listings for “Kings of Israel” and “Kings of Judah”(See Isaiah 42:6; 49:6;

Acts 13:47; Jeremiah 32:32-35).

135 1 Kings 14:16—“the sins of Jeroboam (king of Israel) who sinned and who made Israel sin.” Isaiah

3:12—“those who lead you cause you to err” ( margin reading: “lead you astray”).

136 Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Leviticus 26:14-46.

137 Examples: King Josiah’s reform based on the lost-and-found Book of the Law: 2 Kings 23:1-25; Ezra, the

priest’s reform started by teaching the exiles from captivity from the Book of the Law: Nehemiah 8.

138 See ahead: Old Testament Evidence, “Manuscripts.”

139 See ahead: New Testament Evidence, “Manuscripts.”

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 47


available Latin Bibles.) The Bible

was outlawed during this period.

Strict penalties were enforced for

reading or possessing portions

of Scripture: loss of property,

imprisonment, torture, even loss

of life. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs 140

chronicles the tragic human stories

perpetrated against those with

conscientious persuasion— all in

the name of God and Christianity.

Regrettably, along with positive

Biblical reforms, early Protestantism

did not escape imitating the longstanding

history of religious

oppression. Protestant churches

that followed in the steps of the

Church of Rome, formed alliance

with civil government to restrict

liberty of conscience. An example

of this is given during the sixteenth

and seventeenth centuries where

dissenters to the Church of

England underwent persecution.

Nonconformist ministers were forced

to flee from their churches, and

many— pastors and people— were

subjected to fine, imprisonment,

torture, and martyrdom. 141

Both religious and civil history teach

the moral lesson that suppressing

the Bible, and depriving freedom

to followers of its teachings,

will eventually lead to loss of

human rights and democracy—

stripping away people’s freedom of

conscience, religion, and speech.

THE PROTESTANT

REFORMATION AND

DISSEMINATION

OF THE BIBLE

Reformers: The Change-Makers

If the Dark Ages was marked by a

hidden, forbidden Bible, then the

Reformation launched into the

world an accessible and open Bible.

In various European countries,

Reformation leaders arose, spurred

on with the commitment to make

God’s Word heard and available

in the language of the people.

In Gloustershire, England stands

a lonely monument in honor of the

Reformer William Tyndale who, for

the common people, completed the

first English translation from original

Greek and Hebrew manuscripts 142 .

For this work, Tyndale was put

to death by the ruling church.

140 John Foxe, The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, rewritten and updated by Harold J. Chadwick (North

Brunswich,NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1997).

141 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View CA: Pacific Press Pub.,1911),443. Text

copyright,1950.

142 Wycliffe translated the first-ever English Bible, however, not from the original languages of the Bible but

from secondary sources, i.e., Latin texts (with few copies in circulation).

48 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Earlier, replying to a learned

doctor who argued, “it were better

to be without God’s laws than the

pope’s,” Tyndale replied, “If God

spare my life, I will cause a boy

that drives the plow to know more

of the Scriptures than you do.” 143

Then, in the early sixteenth century

a monk and doctor of theology at

the University of Wittenberg, named

Martin Luther, applied himself to the

study of Scripture and to lecturing

upon the Bible (the Psalms, Gospels,

and Epistles). He acknowledged no

foundation for religious faith than the

Holy Scriptures—not human rites,

tradition, or earthly mediators. 144

Constantly, his life was in jeopardy

from both religious and state

authorities. A decree denounced

Luther, and his writings were

ordered to be destroyed. And

“all persons [were] forbidden to

harbor him and give him food,”

or “aid and abet” him in anyway,

or if done, severe penalties were

inflicted such as “imprisonment”

and “their property confiscated.” 145

Right away, Elector of Saxony,

Frederick and other princes siding

with Luther’s reforms, devised a

plan for the Reformer’s safekeeping

at Wartburg Castle. From that

quiet retreat during the following

years, Luther performed a most

important service for his countrymen

(and the Reformation generally)

by translating the New Testament

into the German language. 146

At the same time, the newly

invented Gutenberg Press became

the driving force in advancing

both the Reformation and the wide

distribution of Luther’s Bible.

The Roman Catholic Church followed

with its own translation from the

Latin Vulgate into English (1582

– 1609) called the Douay-Rheims

143 White, Great Controversy, chapters: “John Wycliffe,” 79 – 96; “Huss and Jerome,” 97 – 119.

144 Though many mighty reformers preceded Luther and many followed since his time, yet his name stands

synonymous as the most influential leader of the Reformation. See White, Great Controversy, Reformers:

John Calvin, LeFeure, Louis de Berquin (a second Luther) 216, and Waldenses of France; John Zwingli

of Switzerland; Tyndale and Latimer of England; Olaf and Laurentius Petri of Sweden; the Albigenses of

Italy; Menno Simons of Netherlands; John Knox of Scotland. See chapters: “The Waldenses,” 61 – 78; “On

Luther,” 120 – 170, 185 – 210; “The Swiss Reformer,” 171 – 184; “The French Reformation,” 211 – 236; “The

Netherlands and Scandinavia,” 237 – 244; “Later English Reformers,” 245 – 264.

145 White, Great Controversy, 167.

146 Luther’s New Testament was translated into the German language in 1522 and the full Bible was

completed by 1530. Luther was also a prolific writer. From just 1518 to1519 he produced 45 publications

containing 1600 pages. A few years later “he was not only the most widely read (and most disputed) author of

Europe, but the most diligent of the sixteenth century.” Christopher Berger, “Not Just Another Heretic.” Online

Commentary, Adventist Review (October 5,2018):3.

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 49


Version (the Church declaring

itself the sole interpreter).

Then in 1611, the Protestant King

James of England commissioned

a committee of Bible scholars who

translated the Bible into the common

language of the people, known

as the Authorized Version (now

entitled the King James Version

[KJV]). It was “appointed to be

read in all English churches.”

Bible Translations

Today, many reliable translations

of the Bible are available to readers

in the English language, such as:

• The New American Standard Bible

(NASB): 1971. This translation

attempts to stay to the original

languages of Scripture as closely

as possible, which leads to wordfor-word

or literal translation

that at times might seem rigid.

• The New International Version

(NIV): NT—1973; OT—1978.

This is a dynamic equivalency 147

translation which means a phraseby-

phrase translation that seeks

to be faithful to the original

thought of the Biblical writers.

• The New King James Version

(NKJV): 1982. This version

represents a careful updating

of the KJV. It preserves the

accuracy as well as the rhythm

and beauty of the original KJV.

• The New Revised Standard

Version (NRSV): 1989. It is a

literal translation that eliminates

masculine-oriented language where

possible, making it gender inclusive.

• The English Standard Version

(ESV): 2002. It emphasizes a

word- for- word translation in

contemporary English. It positions

itself as a bridge translation

between the simple readability of

the NIV and the precisely accurate,

more literal rendering of the NASB.

Paraphrase Bibles

Paraphrase Bibles are popular due

to contemporary language and

easier style of reading. Paraphrases

seek to restate in simplified but

relatable ways the ideas given

in the original languages. Some

popular paraphrases are:

• Good News Bible (NT:

1966; OT: 1971) 148

• The Living Bible (1971)

147 Not so much concerned with the original words as the original meaning.

148 The purpose of the Good News Bible is tersely expressed in its Preface: “ The Bible is not some great

literature to be admired and revered; it is Good News for all people everywhere—a message both to be

understood and to be applied in daily living.”

50 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


• Contemporary English

Version (CEV: 1991)

• The Message (2002)

• New Living Translation (NLT:

1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015)

If you are wondering which version

to use, that depends on your purpose.

For serious Bible study, it is helpful

to consult several good versions, as

already listed (NASB, NIV, NKJV,

NRSV, ESV). For personal and

family devotions, a paraphrase (as

listed above) may offer a fresh way

of connecting with God’s Word. 149

Today, the Bible is the most widely

published and translated book of

all time. Wycliffe Global Alliance,

a united group of Bible translators,

reports that until October, 2020,

the Bible in portion or whole

has been translated into 3,415

languages, of about 7,360 spoken

languages in the world. 150 As of

now, the Bible can be read by nearly

90% of earth’s population. 151

Bible societies underpin the same aim

as the Reformers—making the Bible

accessible and affordable to all people

in their language for individual

reading and blessing. And where

the Bible is made available and its

message followed, the result is lifechanging

power in individual lives

and nations. So declares John Carter,

international Bible expositor for fifty

years on every continent: “Wherever

the Bible goes, you have liberty,

life, happiness, and prosperity.” 152

POST-REFORMATION

ASSAULTS AGAINST

THE BIBLE

So far, we have mentioned the

internal attacks against the Bible

in the BCE era and Dark Ages.

But following the Reformation

period a new wave of opposition,

external to the Church targeted

the Bible as well as God.

French Revolution

One striking case in point on

assaults against the Bible is

the French Revolution of 1793.

Discontent and opposition fed a

popular uprising sparked by various

causes: economic, social, political,

as well as religious. The Revolution

149 The explanations for the various Bible translations and recommendations for reading are largely credited

to Dr. Gerhard Pfandl, Associate Director of the Biblical Research Institute, “Listen to the Word Translations

and Bible Study,” Adventist Review (Silver Spring, MD: January 2020):42.

150 www.wycliffe.net/statistics. Wycliffe Global Alliance is an association of over 100 Wycliffe member

organizations from over 60 countries as of February, 2011. Also Wikipedia; Wycliffe Global Alliance.

151 www.wycliffe.net/resources/statistics

152 John Carter, “Saving the World One Child at a Time,” The Carter Report (PO Box 1900, Thousand Oaks,

CA 91358: June, 2018).

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 51


abolished the monarchy and

declared France a republic. Later,

the papacy also was overthrown

and the pope imprisoned. 153 The

French Assembly passed laws

against the religious class:

» Abolishing Christian

religion and worship

» Eliminating the Bible

» Declaring “no God” 154

“Religion, law, social order, the

family, the state and the church

were all smitten down.” 155 Bibles

were collected and publicly burned

with scorn. The law of God, with

its moral precepts, was repudiated.

In little time France adopted public

worship of the “Goddess of Reason”

in the person of a lewd woman. 156

The very foundation of the nation’s

prosperity was being threatened

because of abandoning the

cornerstone of Bible principles:

justice, tolerance, truth, equity,

morality, and doing good. Instead

of achieving freedom, the nation

soon eroded into anarchy, license

and ruin. Thus, began the “Reign

of Terror,” starting with the

decree of September 5, 1793 and

lasting until July 27, 1794. 157

However, just three years after the

suppression of the Bible, religion and

God, the French Assembly declared

a complete reversal. A resolution was

introduced to replace the previous

decree and gave open toleration to

the Scriptures and religious practice.

The resolution lay on the table six

months when it was taken up and

passed without one dissenting vote.

In 1797, June 17th, Camille Jourdan,

in the Council of Five Hundred

brought up the memorable report on

the “Revision of the Laws Relative

to Religious Worship.” It included

annulling both the Republic’s

restrictions on papal worship,

and the papal restrictions on

Protestantism. The report consisted

of a number of propositions, such as:

1. That all citizens might buy

or hire edifices for the free

exercise of religious worship.

5. That entrance to assemblies for

the purpose of religious worship

should be free to all citizens.

153 Don. F. Neufeld, ed., Bible Students’ Source Book, Commentary Series, vol. 9, numbers 1161, 1162, 1163,

1164 (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing,1962), 701-703.

154 White, Great Controversy, “The French Revolution,” 270, 287.

155 White, Great Controversy, 286.

156 White, Great Controversy, 273-275.

157 What followed was a wave of executions: in Paris alone a reported 2,639 deaths and in all France the

official reported death sentences reached 16,594.

52 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


6. That all other laws

concerning religious worship

should be repealed. 158

“The Bible, so long and so sternly

repressed before was placed

in honor and was openly the

BOOK of free Christianity.” 159

During the Renaissance the French

atheist, Voltaire, predicted the

extinction of the Bible in one century.

“A hundred years from now you will

never hear of it [the Bible]. Possibly

you might see a copy of it in the

museum, but otherwise it will be

gone. It is a thoroughly discredited

book.” 160 Although, in only fifty

years after his death, the Geneva

Bible Society purchased his house

and used his press to print stacks

of Bibles for distribution around

the world. Jesus said, “Heaven and

earth will pass away, but My words

will by no means pass away.” 161

Hitler’s National Reich

Closer to our time, another

external threat against the Bible

came from Hitler’s plan during

World War II to displace the Bible

with Mein Kempf, 162 and destroy

Christianity and the Jews. What

the Hitler government envisioned

for Germany’s New World Order

was clearly set out in a thirtypoint

program of the National

Reich Church. A few of the thirty

articles convey the essentials:

1.The National Reich Church of

Germany categorically claims the

exclusive right and the exclusive

power to control all churches

within the borders of the Reich:

it declares these to be national

churches of the German Reich.

7.The National Church has

no scribes, pastors, chaplains

or priests, but National Reich

orators are to speak in them.

158 George Croly, The Apocalypse of St. John (London: Gilbert & Rivington, 1838), 143, 144. Quoted in Loren

M. K. Nelson, Understanding the Mysteries of Daniel and Revelation (Printed in USA by Loren M. K. Nelson:

2010), 267, 268.

159 Croly, The Apocalypse, 143,144. Quoted in Nelson, Daniel and Revelation, 268.

160 Cited in R.T. Kendall, ed., The Word of the Lord (Marshall Pickering, 1988), 48. Quoted in Bryan Ball,

Can We Still Believe The Bible? (Victoria, Australia: Signs Publishing Company, 2007), 30.

161 Matthew 24:25.

162 Mein Kempf was written by Hitler in 1925 (Volume One), and 1926 (Volume Two), while he was in

prison for political crimes. Mein Kempf, translated into English, means “my struggle,” or “fight.” The book is a

combination autobiography and ideology. In it, he describes his political and military strategies for rebuilding

Germany, conquering Europe, planning genocide of the Jews (which during WWII cost the lives of six million

Jews), and glorifying the Aryan race. This book is rightly considered one of the most powerful, divisive, and

destructive in modern history. (The above is sourced from several book reviews on the www.)

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 53


13. The National Church demands

immediate cessation of the

publishing and dissemination

of the Bible in Germany.

19.On the altars there must be

nothing but Mein Kempf (to the

German nation and therefore to

God, the most sacred book) and

to the left of the altar a sword. 163

J. M. Boice makes an accurate

assessment that for much of history

“the Bible was an object of extreme

hatred by many in authority.” 164

Unfortunately, in some countries

today, persecution of Christians 165

and prohibiting the Bible under

oppressive activity still persists.

Prohibition of the Bible has now been

lifted, but for much of the first half

of the twentieth century, countries

like the former Soviet Union

and China ruthlessly suppressed

owning, or circulating the Bible.

The same is true presently of some

fundamentalist Islamic States where

distribution of Bibles is prohibited

under threat of punishment.

Assaults on Reliability

of Manuscripts

(The Latin word manuscriptum

means “written- by- hand.”)

Close on the heels of the

Reformation, a new peril arose.

When the circulation of the Bible

could not be stopped by frontal

attack, a more subtle approach

crept in to undermine the value

of the Bible’s content. Another

major assault on the Bible was

leveled by critics who contested the

reliability of manuscripts. Some

objections they raised were:

» How accurate were the copyists?

» How faithful to the original was the

transmission of the Bible texts?

» Is what we read of the Bible today

what was written in the past?

Fair questions! Yet, truth can

always stand scrutiny. Let’s

turn now to openly investigate

answers to these arguments by

examining historical sources.

163 Thirty-point Program for Germany’s Nation Reich Church, pdf by Alfred Rosenberg.

164 J. M. Boice, Standing on the Rock (Hodder and Soughton, 1977), 62.

165 According to one Christian radio broadcaster (May, 2021) that number worldwide is more than 200

million.

54 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


OLD TESTAMENT EVIDENCE

PROVING RELIABILITY

OF MANUSCRIPTS

Masoretes

The Hebrew Bible (OT) was

conserved by a school of Jewish

scholars known as Masoretes

who copied and handed down the

standard texts of Scripture. Their

scribal work was carried on from

AD 500 to about 1000. (During this

time vocalization was supplied to

the Hebrew consonants.) Believing

they were dealing with the Sacred

Word of God, they took meticulous

steps to copy correctly to ensure the

absolute accuracy of every text.

Labor intensive editing was

required in accordance with the

highest uniform standards, as

Floyd Hamilton explains: “The

words and verses of the whole

Old Testament were counted,

and the middle verse and word

were ascertained. The number

of words and verses of each book

was likewise found and the middle

verse and word were ascertained.

“Whenever any scribe copied the

Old Testament, in whole or in part,

he counted the verses, words, and

letters in each section, book, and the

whole Old Testament thus assuring

meticulous accuracy in the copy.” 166

Furthermore, in order to preserve

and to transmit absolute accuracy of

the Hebrew Bible, any defective script

or imperfect copies were immediately

destroyed by burning or burying.

Dead Sea Scrolls

Invention of the printing press

opened the way for the first Hebrew

Bible (OT) to be printed in 1526. The

oldest existing complete Hebrew

manuscript of the Old Testament,

the Leningrad Codex, comes from

the first decade of the eleventhcentury

AD. That meant there

was a gap of about 1,500 years

since the last book of the OT—

Malachi—was written (400 BCE).

For many years, the probability

of finding an earlier Hebrew text

(especially in the BCE era) to prove

its reliability seemed bleak. But that

possibility changed dramatically

in 1947, not from a Hebrew scholar

or archaeologist, but a Bedouin

shepherd boy. Out of boredom

grazing sheep in the wilderness,

Mohammed Dhib began throwing

stones in a cave on the barren

Judean hillside by the shores of the

Dead Sea. To his surprise, he heard

the sound of breaking pottery and

166 Floyd Hamilton, The Basics of Christian Faith (Harper & Row, 1964), 204.

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 55


upon investigation discovered (now

named) the Dead Sea Scrolls—the

greatest discovery in the history

of archeology. Between 1947 and

1956, eleven caves named the

Qumran Caves have yielded a

treasure of parchment manuscripts.

The scrolls survived in excellent

condition over 2000 years by

being wrapped in linen cloth and

carefully sealed in elongated jars.

The origin to these manuscripts goes

back to the BCE era to a monastic

community of Essene Jews living

in the wilderness of Qumran.

Found in the Qumran Caves were

portions from all thirty-nine books

of the Old Testament, except the

Book of Esther. One cave contained

35,000 fragments of scrolls. Script

identification and carbon 14 dating

place the scrolls, found in all caves,

from 200 BCE to the beginning

years of the first-century AD. 167

Professor B. K. Waltke

summarizes the significance of

the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS):

“The presence of a text type among

the DSS (about 200 BC to AD 100)

identical with the one preserved by

the Masoretes, whose earliest extant

manuscript dates to c. AD 900,

gives testimony to the unbelievable

achievement of some scribes in

faithfully preserving the text.” 168

One of the leading authorities of Old

Testament textual studies, Dr. Frank

M. Cross, Jr. writes: “The new scrolls

give evidence of the antiquity…

which has survived in the form of

the traditional Hebrew Bible.” 169

Internationally known Bible scholar,

Millar Burrows, a specialist in the

text of Isaiah said: “Without the

exception of…relatively unimportant

omissions…the whole book is here,

and is substantially the same book

preserved in the Masoretic text.” 170

To sum up, how big is the discovery

of the Dead Sea Scrolls? What the

1,000-year gap between the Essene

copyists in BCE time and Masoretes

copyists in AD time proves is:

• The accuracy of the copyists’

meticulous work on manuscripts.

167 Hasel, Living Word , 86.

168 B. K.Waltke, The Textual Criticism of the Old Testament (published c. 1955), 52. Note: the oldest existing

complete Hebrew manuscript of the OT, the Leningrad Codex, comes from the first decade of the eleventhcentury

AD. Gerhard Pfandl, “Is the Bible Historically Reliable?” Perspective Digest (vol.21, issue 2:2016).

www.perspectivedigest.org.

169 Frank M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies (Garden City, NY:

Doubleday, 1958) 169.

170 Millar Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls (Viking, NY, 1955), 90.

56 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


• The faithful transmission of the

Hebrew text over a millennium.

• The reliability of the Bible we read

today being essentially the same

one inspired at the time of writing.

Perhaps equally remarkable to this

discovery in 1947 is the lengthy

preservation and Providential care

over manuscripts. The Judean

desert was the one place in the

world where scrolls could survive

for centuries—the lowest place on

earth, 1,300 feet below sea level.

There, manuscripts were protected

inside caves in a dry-bone climate.

NEW TESTAMENT EVIDENCE

PROVING RELIABILITY

OF MANUSCRIPTS

There is something especially unique

about New Testament documents.

They are more numerous and

better preserved than any other

ancient writings. Thousands of

manuscripts ranging from the

smallest fragment of a few verses to

entire books link together in forming

the complete New Testament.

To date, New Testament

manuscripts (MSS) number: 171

• 5,800 in Greek

• 10,000 in Latin

• 9,300 in other ancient

languages: Slavic, Gothic,

Ethiopic, Coptic, Armenian.

In addition, more than one million

quotations from the church fathers

exist (late first- century AD to

700) that can almost reproduce

the whole New Testament. 172

By comparison, Homer’s Iliad

(800 BCE) is a distant second with

1,757 MSS. And the first complete

preserved text of the Iliad dates to

the thirteenth-century AD. 173 For

Caesar’s Gallic Wars, written 58

to 50 BCE, 251 good copies exist,

dating 900 to 1,600 years later than

Caesar’s time. 174 Then there’s Roman

Tacitus’ Annals written from AD

14 to 68, with 33 copies available

today. The earliest copies (Books

1 to 6) date from AD 850, and the

others (Books 11 to 16) from AD

171 gospelcoalition.org, “An Interview with Daniel B. Wallace on the NT MSS,” Director of the Center for the

Study of NT MSS.

172 Bible.ca, “The Earliest NT Manuscripts: the Integrity of the NT”—Special 2013 series. Also, Peter

Roenfeldt, “The Miracle that Shakes the World,” Adventist Review (April 23, 1998): “If the NT were destroyed,

the collection of Biblical quotes of the Church Fathers would be sufficient to reconstruct practically the entire

New Testament.”

173 www.equip.org. Professor Clay Jones, The Biographical Test Updated, Subtitle: Homer (ninth- or tenthcentury

BC), Iliad..

174 www.equip.org; Jones, Updated, Subtitle, “Caesar,” (c.100 – 44 BC), Gallic Wars.

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 57


1050. The average time away from

the original writing is 900 years. 175

Authors Metzger and Ehrman put

in perspective the comparison of

ancient secular writings to New

Testament manuscripts (MSS):

“The work of many of these ancient

authors has been preserved only

in MSS that date sometime in the

Middle Ages, far removed from the

time at which they lived and wrote.

“In contrast, the NT offers a wealth

of material, and instead of a lapse

of about a millennium, several

papyrus MSS (portions of the NT)

available today were copied within

a century or so after the writing

of the original documents.” 176

In pinpointing the writings of the NT,

Bible scholars agree that the original

books—known as autographs—

were written before the close of

the first century. And the entire

NT, a collection of 27 books, was

completed within seventy years.

A Comparison of Representative Ancient

Works with the New Testament 177

Writer

Work

Date

Written 178

Earliest MSS Time Gap # Copies

Homer Iliad 800 BCE c. 400 BCE 400 yrs 1757

Caesar Gallic Wars 100-40 BCE 9th C AD 950 yrs 251

Tacitus Annals AD 100

Copyist

from

Ephesus,

Asia Minor

John Rylands

Papyri (P52)

1st half: AD

850

2nd half:

AD 1050 or

AD 1100

750-950 yrs 33

AD 85 – 95 AD 125 or less 40 or less yrs 1

175 www.equip.org; Jones, Updated, Subtitle, “Tacitus,” (AD 56 – c.120), Annals.

176 www.equip.org; Jones, Updated, Subtitle, “New Testament.” Quoting Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D.

Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 4th edition, (New

York: Oxford, 2005), 51.

177 Credit to Professor Clay Jones for borrowed ideas from the major category headings of his chart. Some

dating figures, however, are updated. See www.equip.org, “The Biographical Test Update.”

178 Dates derived from: Lee J. Gugliotto, Handbook for Bible Study (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald

Pub., 2000), chap. 16, “Biblical Data for the Four Gospels,” 362-373. Also Andrews Study Bible, “Date of

Writing” for each NT Book..

58 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Writer

Work

Date

Written 178

Earliest MSS Time Gap # Copies

Copyist

New

Testament

c. AD 48-96

(autographs)

AD 125 to 350 40-345 yrs 179

Majority of 5800

Greek MSS up to

Codex Sinaiticus

Specialists in ancient documents,

whether sacred or secular, rely on

several indicators to assess texts

for being authentic and reliable.

MAJOR INDICATORS FOR

180

RELIABLE MANUSCRIPTS​

• Script identification (the

science of paleography).

A prime example of closeness of time

to the original NT writing is John

Rylands Papyrus, 181 a fragment of

John’s Gospel with a median date

of AD 125. This partial manuscript

dates almost a half century, or less,

from when John wrote his Gospel

(written around AD 90-96).

• Carbon 14 dating.

• The same consistent text

reading in several MSS.

• People living at the time of the

writing could dispute the texts

in circulation. (There exists no

contesting of NT documents.)

• The greater number of MSS

allows for comparisons to

verify the true text reading.

• The general rule applies that the

closer the MSS are in time to the

writing date, the more reliable.

179 wikipedia.org/Biblical manuscript

180 Gigliotto, Handbook, 313,314,320,327,330-332; Horn, Dictionary, 970.

181 Known as Papyrus 52, this scrap of papyrus has John 18:31-33 on one side, and John 8:37-38 on the

other. C.H. Roberts, the discoverer in 1934, sent photographs of P52 to three leading papyrologists in Europe;

and they dated the papyrus piece no later than AD 150, and as early as AD 100. See thegospelcoalition.org. “An

Interview with Daniel B. Wallace On the NT Mss,” March 22, 2012.

21st CENTURY REASONS YOU CAN TRUST THE BIBLE 59


This makes the timeline only about

110 years removed from the Apostle

John’s last Bible book, Revelation. As

F. F. Bruce of England’s Manchester

University convincingly writes: “If

the NT were a collection of secular

writings, their authenticity would

generally be regarded as beyond

doubt.” 183 In fact, there is no body

of literature in history that enjoys

such a treasure of ancient MSS as

the NT. The English classical scholar

Sir Frederic states: “It is re-assuring

at the end to find that the general

result of all these discoveries and all

this study is to strengthen the proof

of the authenticity of the Scriptures,

and our conviction that we have in

our hands in substantial integrity,

the veritable Word of God.” 184

Another early manuscript is the

Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri 182

(named after the original owner)

discovered near the Nile River

in Egypt. These papyri contain

all four Gospels, the Book of

Acts, ten Epistles of Paul, and

a portion of Revelation. Some

of this material dates as early

AD 150, and the Epistles and

Revelation from about AD 200.

182 Thegospelcoalition.org./ Since finding the Chester Beatty Papyrus, as many as 11 NT papyri from the

second century have been discovered.

183 Bible.ca, “The Earliest NT Manuscripts: the Integrity of the New Testament”—Special 2013 Series.

184 Frederick Kenyon, The Story of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1967), 113.

60 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


— Chapter 4 —

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY

Over recent decades an interesting

phenomenon has happened—a

surge of interest in Jesus. Not only

with Christians but culture; not

only in churches but in movies and

television. In the past, Hollywood

produced only a trickle of movies

about Jesus and not always

authentic portrayals according

to the four Gospels. Nonetheless,

in our modern culture, His story

has found its way into movies:

» King of Kings, 1927

» The Robe, 1953

» The Greatest Story Ever Told, 1956

» Ben Hur, 1959

» The Gospel According to

Saint Matthew, 1964

» Jesus Christ, Superstar, 1973

» Jesus (from miraculous birth

to resurrection), 1979

» Jesus, the Life, Work, and

Death of Jesus, 1999

This trickle of Jesus’ stories has

turned into a torrent of movie and

television releases lately, such as:

» The Miracle Worker: The

Story of Jesus (animation

using sophisticated stopact

puppets), 2000

» Gospel of John (narrated

by Christopher Plummer),

full movie, 2003

» The Passion (Mel Gibson), 2004

» The Son of Man (South Africa,

depicting a black Christ), 2005

» The Nativity Story (A big miracle

in a little manger), 2006

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 61


» Jesus and Paul: the Word,

the Witness, 2013

» The Mystery of Jesus (CNN

Series), 2004 and 2009, and

television series 2013

» The New Jesus Film (The

story of the life of Jesus: His

birth, life, death, resurrection,

and salvation), 2013

» Son of God (Christ from birth,

His teachings, His crucifixion

and resurrection), 2014

» Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus’ birth to

His death and resurrection), 2016

» Jesus (A new film for a

New Generation), 2017

» The Life of Jesus Christ (The life

and teachings of Jesus), 2017

» The Second Coming of Christ, 2018

In addition to English-speaking films

on Jesus’ life, many productions

are available in major languages—

Spanish, Italian, German, and

French. As well, many of the

English-speaking Jesus’ films are

dubbed into other languages.

The question is germane, Why this

consumer appetite and interest,

more than ever, to know who Jesus

was and is—His Person, His claims,

His history, His relationship with

us? That Jesus of Nazareth walked

this earth, and lived among us

for 33 years is now established by

both Biblical record and historical

verifiers of the same era.

While living on earth, Jesus

made two radical claims: one to

Deity (being the eternal nature of

God), the other as the Messiah, 185

meeting the qualifications foretold

by Old Testament prophets (see

Prophetic Panorama of the Messiah,

No. 11, “Messiah’s Mission”).

What that evidence says, pointing to

Jesus as the Messiah of the World,

we will now explore. According

to Edwin Yamanchi, professor of

history at Miami University: “we

have better historical documentation

of Jesus than any other religious

founder such as Zoroaster, Buddha,

or Mohammed. Many centuries

before Jesus was born, His ancestry,

birth, youth, preaching/healing

ministry, suffering, reception

and rejection, death, burial,

resurrection, and ascension to

heaven were all pre-written in detail

by Old Testament prophets.” 186

185 The Son of God Who became the Son of Man—the unique God-man—to qualify as Messiah-Savior-

Intercessor. See Philippians 2:5-8; Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14, 17; 2:14; John 1:14; Galatians

4:4.

186 Edwin Yamanchi, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus, eds., Michael J.

Wilkins and J. P. Moreland (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub.,1995), 221, 222. Cited in Josh McDowell, The

New Evidenee Demands a Verdict (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1999), 136.

62 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Based on the findings of Bible scholar

Canon Lidden, the Old Testament

writings contain 332 distinct

predictions for the Messiah. The title

“Messiah” in the Hebrew language

translates to “Anointed One”

(Maschiach). The official title of Jesus

of Nazareth in the New Testament is

“Christ” (Christos) that also means

“Messiah,” or “Anointed One.” With

the definite number of specifications

(332) in the Old Testament

regarding the coming Messiah, we

are enabled to pick out one Man

from all history, from all nations,

from all peoples, and be absolutely

sure that one Man is the Messiah.

Our task now will be to examine the

credentials for the One, true Messiah.

An unfailing way of discovering

the Messiah’s credentials is the

Comparative Method. How this

method works is taking Messianic

predictions in the Old Testament

and comparing them with the literal

fulfillments in corresponding New

Testament passages. This proofmethod

of prediction/fulfillment was

consistently used in Scripture by both

the apostles and Jesus Himself. 187

Christ’s life story is an amazing

fulfillment of prophecy. Much of the

Old Testament is the story of Christ’s

life written in advance; the New

Testament is the same story told in

fulfillment. We turn now to study

these convincing evidences of the

Messiah in prophecy and history.

Chart 1 below provides a summary of

the Old Testament prophecies with

their New Testament fulfillments.

187 (a) In the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, after reading to the congregation in the synagogue at Capernaum

the important Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 61:1,2, Jesus announced, “This day is this Scripture (OT) fulfilled

(NT) in your ears.” Luke 4:16-21.

(b) As Jesus drew near to the cross, He said to His disciples, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem and all things that

are written by the prophets (OT) concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished (fulfilled)(NT).” Luke 18:31.

(c) On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus said, “this which is written (OT) must be fulfilled in Me….”(NT) Luke

22:3. Note the word “must.”

(d) After his resurrection (NT), while talking to His two disciples on the Emmaus road, He began “at Moses and

all the prophets…and expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself .” (OT) Luke

24:27; cf. Luke 24:44.

(e) In Peter’s sermon at the Gate of the Temple, he climaxed his argument for the Messiah, Jesus Christ, by

saying, “But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets (OT) that Christ

should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.”(NT) Acts 3:17-19.

(f) Paul’s method of preaching the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles was matching Old Testament predictions

with fulfillments in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. “I declare unto you the gospel…by which also you

are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (OT), and that He was buried, and that He

rose again the third day (NT) according to the Scriptures….” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 63


PROPHETIC PANORAMA

OF THE MESSIAH

Chart 1: The Messiah in Prophecy and History

OT Predictions Events/Details NT Fulfillments

Isaiah 9:6,7 and 7:14 God in humanity John 1:14 Matthew 1:21

Isaiah 7:14 Biological miracle birth Matthew 1:18, 20, 21

Daniel 9:25 Time of birth – 4 BCE Galatians 4:4

Micah 5:2 Place of birth – Bethlehem Matthew 2:1, 5

Isaiah 11:1,2 Psalm 78:68 From genealogy of Jesse and David

Matthew 1:1 Luke 3:31

Romans 1:3

Genesis 49:10 Psalm 78:68 From the tribe of Judah Hebrews 7:14 Revelation 5:5

Hosea 11:1 Flight to Egypt Matthew 2:15

Isaiah 11:1

Settled in Nazareth

Matthew 2:19, 22, 23 Acts 2:22

Luke 18:37

Malachi 3:1 Isaiah 40:3 Messenger announces Messiah Matthew 3:1-3 Luke 1:76, 77

Daniel 9:25

Exact year of baptism /anointing

Luke 3:23 Matthew 3:13, 16

Luke 3:1-3

Isaiah 61:1, 2 Messiah’s mission Luke 4:18 -21

Isaiah 35:4, 5

Isaiah 49:6 Isaiah 42:6, 7

Messiah’s miracles of blessing

Universal Savior

Matthew 11:4, 5 Matthew 9:35

Acts 2:22

Luke 2:30-32 Acts 13:47, 48

Romans 3:29, 30

Zechariah 9:9 Enters Jerusalem on a colt Matthew 21:4-10 Luke 19:35-37

Daniel 9:26, 27 Exact time of death Luke 18:31-33 Matthew 27:46

Isaiah 53:9

Honorable burial—rich

man’s grave

Matthew 27:57-60

Psalm 16:9b, 10 Resurrection exactly on third day Acts 2:31-33 Mark 16:6

Psalm 68:18

Jesus ascends to heaven

Acts 1:9, 11 Matthew 27:51-53

Ephesians 4:8

64 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


OT Predictions Events/Details NT Fulfillments

Daniel 12:1b, 2 Psalm 50:3-5

Daniel 7:27

Jesus’ Second Coming

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 2

Thessalonians 1:7-10 John

14:2, 3

Now we will examine these

fulfillments of prophecy in more

detail. (Note to you, the reader:

as a convenience for quicker

reading and emphasis, key words

are highlighted in italics.)

No. 1 - God in Humanity

Prophecy

“For unto us a Child

is born, Unto us a

Son is given…And His

name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor,

Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6,7

Behold, the virgin shall

conceive and bear a

Son, and shall call

His name Immanuel.”

Isaiah 7:14

Fulfillment

“The Word became

flesh and dwelt among

us.” John 1:14

“Spoken by the Lord

through the prophet

saying, “Behold, the

virgin shall be with

child, and bear a Son,

and they shall call

His name Immanuel,

which is translated,

God with us.”

Matthew 1:21

“The Word (Christ) became flesh

and dwelt among us”(John 1:14).

The Person of Messiah has two

natures mysteriously blended into

a single personality: very Divine

and very human—the unique Godman.

Christ was born one with

humanity in order to save us.

No. 2 - Biological Miracle Birth

Prophecy

“Therefore, the Lord

Himself shall give you

a sign: Behold, the

virgin 188 shall conceive

and bear a son.”

Isaiah 7:14

Fulfillment

“Now the birth of Jesus

Christ was as follows.

After His mother

Mary was betrothed

to Joseph, before they

came together, she

was found with child

of the Holy Spirit…for

that which is conceived

in her is of the Holy

Spirit. And she will

bring forth a Son,

and you shall call His

name Jesus” (Savior)

Matthew 1:18, 20, 21

The birth of this Divine-human

Person would be supernatural.

Jesus was born of a virgin mother,

and the only Person who ever was

conceived of the Holy Spirit—

Jesus becomes Immanuel—God

with us. “That Holy One” (Luke

1:35), at conception, enters into

the life-stream of human nature.

188 The Hebrew word almah translates as “virgin”, a “young woman of marriageable age.” Almah is much like

the English term “maiden” and has “overtones of virginity about it.” In all eight occurrences of almah in the OT,

none refer to a married woman or one who is no longer a virgin. See John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, (1-39).

The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans,1986), 210-212.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 65


No. 3 - Time of Birth – 4 BCE

Prophecy

(See full explanation

in Appendix E,

Mathematics Verifies

Jesus’ Messiahship)

No. 4 - Place of Birth

– Bethlehem

Prophecy

“But you, Bethlehem,

Ephrathah, though you

are little among the

thousands of Judah,

yet out of you shall

come forth to Me the

One to be Ruler in

Israel, whose goings

forth are from old,

from everlasting.”

Micah 5:2

Fulfillment

“But when the fullness

of time (right time)

had come, God sent

forth His Son, born

of a woman….”

Galatians 4:4

Fulfillment

“Now after Jesus was

born in Bethlehem of

Judea in the days of

Herod, the king….”

Matthew 2:1 Where

was Christ to be born

? “... in Bethlehem

of Judea, for thus

it is written by the

prophet.” Matthew 2:5

Prophecy gives us the “address” of

the town where the Messiah would

be born—one obscure village on the

map of the world. “Of all continents,

one is chosen: Asia; of all states, one

is chosen; Canaan. All provinces of

Palestine are eliminated save one:

Judea; all the cities of Judea are

eliminated save one: Bethlehem

Ephrathah, a tiny village having at

the time fewer than one thousand

inhabitants.” 189 Moreover, there were

two Bethlehems—one in Judah, the

other in Zebulum (Joshua 19:15).

The former is the exact fulfillment

of prophecy—Bethlehem in Judah.

No. 5 - From Genealogy

of Jesse and David

Prophecy

“There shall come

forth a rod (“shoot”)

from the stem

(“stump”) of Jesse

(David’s father) and a

Branch (Messiah) shall

grow out of his roots.

The Spirit of the Lord

shall rest upon Him.”

Isaiah 11:1, 2 “The Lord

has sworn in truth to

David…I will set upon

your throne the fruit

(“offspring”) of your

body.” Psalm 32:11

Fulfillment

“The book of the

genealogy of Jesus

Christ, the Son of

David, the son of

Abraham.” Matthew

1:1 “Jesus…the son

of Jesse.” Luke 3:31

“Jesus Christ, the son

of David.” Matthew

1:1 “Concerning His

Son Jesus Christ, our

Lord, who was born

of the seed of David

according to the flesh.”

Romans 1:3

Jesse had eight sons (1 Samuel

16:10, 11); whereas custom favored

the firstborn, the Divine choice

selected the youngest son: Messiah

would be a descendant of David

on the human side, from the one

family line of Jesse, David’s father.

The Pharisees knew that Messiah

must be the “Son of David” and

answered such (Matthew 22:41-46).

In Luke’s Gospel, Christ’s genealogy

is recorded through Mary. Heli, in

chapter3, verse 23, refers to Mary’s

father who is Joseph’s father-in-

189 Fred John Meldau, Messiah in Both Testaments, 5th printing (Denver, Colorado: The Christian Victory

Publishing Company, 1967), 28.

66 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


law. The word “son” (of Heli) is not

in the original text but supplied

by translators (thus in italics), and

should be understood for Joseph

as “son-in-law.” In the genealogical

record of Matthew 1:16, it is

written that “Jacob begot Joseph.”

Obviously, Joseph could not have

two fathers, therefore, he is “son”

of Heli only in the sense of being

married to Heli’s daughter; thereby

being his “son-in-law.”(Luke 3:23)

No. 6 - From the Tribe of Judah

Prophecy

“The scepter

(symbol of

kingship) shall

not depart

from Judah,

nor a lawgiver

from between

his feet until

Shiloh comes.”

Genesis 49:10

Fulfillment

“For it is

evident that

our Lord arose

from Judah.”

Hebrews 7:14

“Behold the tribe

of Judah, the

Root of David.”

Revelation 5:5

Shiloh means variously “offspring,”

“he to whom it (scepter) belongs,”

“peace- giver,” and refers to the

appearance of the Messiah. Jacob

had twelve sons after which the

twelve tribes of Israel were named.

Messiah cannot come from eleven

of the twelve tribes. Psalm 78: 68

foretold that God “chose the tribe

of Judah.” So, Messiah must come

through the ancestry of Judah.

No. 7 - Flight from Egypt

Prophecy

“Out of Egypt I called

My Son.” Hosea 11:1

Fulfillment

“He (Joseph) took the

young Child and His

mother by night and

departed for Egypt,

and was there until the

death of Herod, that

it might be fulfilled

which was spoken by

the Lord through the

prophet, saying, ‘Out

of Egypt I called My

Son.’” Matthew 2:15

Immediately after Jesus was born,

the King threatened His life, so His

family fled to Egypt in fulfillment

of Hosea’s prophecy (11:1). When

the danger was past, God called

Him back to Israel again (Matthew

2:21), en route to Nazareth of

Galilee (Matthew 2:22, 23).

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 67


No. 8 - Settled in Nazareth

Prophecy

“There shall come forth

a rod (shoot) from the

stem (trunk) of Jesse,

and a Branch shall

grow out of its roots.”

Isaiah 11:1

Fulfillment

“Now when Herod was

dead, behold an angel

of the Lord appeared

in a dream to Joseph

in Egypt saying, ‘Arise,

take the young Child

and His mother,

and go to the land of

Israel.’ But when he

heard that Archelaus

was reigning over

Judah instead of his

father Herod he was

afraid to go there. And

being warned by God

in a dream, he turned

aside into the region of

Galilee. And he came

and dwelt in a city

called Nazareth that

it might be fulfilled

which was spoken by

the prophets, ‘He shall

be called a Nazarene.’”

Matthew 2:19, 22, 23

“Jesus of Nazareth, a

Man attested by God.”

Acts 2:22

The Messiah is called the “Branch”

(Hebrew neh-tzen) meaning the

“Separated One,” or “the Nazarene.”

In identifying the true Messiah, it

is important to notice the divinely

ordered places where the Messiah

would live according to prophecy.

He must be “born in Bethlehem.”

He must have stayed for a period of

time “in Egypt.” And He must have

“dwelt in a city called Nazareth”

of Galilee. In His ministry among

the people He was called “Jesus of

Nazareth” (Luke 18:37; Acts 2:22).

No. 9 - Messenger

Announces Messiah

Prophecy

“Behold, I send My

messenger and he will

prepare the way before

Me.” Malachi 3:1 “The

voice of one crying in

the wilderness, prepare

the way of the Lord.”

Isaiah 40:3

Fulfillment

“In those days John the

Baptist came preaching

in the wilderness of

Judea, and saying,

“Repent, for the

kingdom of heaven

is at hand. For this is

he who was spoken of

by the prophet Isaiah,

saying, ‘The voice

of one crying in the

wilderness, Prepare

the way of the Lord.’”

Matthew 3:1-3

Two characters are mentioned in

these Old Testament prophecies:

“the Messenger,” the precursor

to the Messiah, and “the LORD.”

Whose are their identities?

Matthew 3:3 quotes Isaiah 40:3 to

indicate that the one sent to “prepare

the way of the Lord” applies to

the person and ministry of John,

the Baptist. “LORD” (YHWH) in

the Hebrew language translates

a name of God —Yahweh— that

means “the Eternal One,” “ the

Self-Existent One.” Therefore, the

Messiah must be Divine. And John

announces the arrival of this Divine

Messiah in the Person and ministry

of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1-4).

68 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Apostle John describes Jesus

as the “unique Son” (John 3:16),

as the only One possessing the

blend of being truly human; “the

Son of Man,” and truly Divine;

the “Son of God,” in one Person.

(See previous numbers: 1, 2, 5)

No. 10 – Exact Year of

Jesus’ Baptism—Anointing

Prophecy

“Know therefore and

understand that from

the going forth of the

command to restore

and build Jerusalem

until Messiah the

Prince there shall

be seven weeks and

sixty-two weeks.”

Daniel 9:25

Fulfillment

“Now Jesus Himself

began His ministry at

about thirty years of

age.” Luke 3:23 “ …

then Jesus came from

Galilee to John at the

Jordan to be baptized

by him.” “When he

had baptized Jesus…

behold the heavens

were opened to Him,

and He saw the Spirit

of God descending like

a dove and alighting

upon Him.” Matthew

3:13, 16 “Now in the

fifteenth year of the

reign of Tiberius

Caesar the word of

God came to John the

son of Zacharias in the

wilderness. And he

went into all the region

around the Jordan

preaching the baptism

of repentance.”

Luke 3:1-3

As noted earlier, “Messiah” in

Hebrew (OT) means “Anointed”;

the Greek word, “Christ” (NT) also

means “Messiah”—“Anointed One.”

The historical date of Jesus’ anointing

is confirmed by two main lines of

evidence. First, is the established

date of Emperor Tiberius Caesar.

The date that John baptized Jesus in

the Jordan River, and, at the same

time, when the Holy Spirit anointed

Jesus was the fifteenth regal year

of Tiberius. His reign began in AD

12 (co-ruled the first two years with

his father, Augustus Caesar, until

his death in AD 14). Then adding

Luke’s fifteen years to AD 12 bring

us to the year AD 27. 190 This year

dates the Messiah’s inauguration

(“anointing”) to public ministry.

The second historical evidence

for Christ’s anointing is Daniel’s

prophecy of “70 weeks” (Daniel

9:24, 25). 191 The beginning

date of this prophecy is tied to

Persian King Artaxerxes’ decree,

supporting Jewish migration to

their homeland to rebuilt their

capital city, Jerusalem, and to reestablish

judicial and civil rule.

The beginning date of Artaxerxes’

decree (“command”) coincides

with his 7th year of reign (Ezra

190 To arrive at the date AD 27 for Tiberius Caesar’s fifteen regal year, see explanation of Dr. William H. Shea,

Daniel (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Pub., 2005), 160.

191 For prophecy’s year-day principle of interpretation, see Appendix E—Mathematics Verifies Jesus’

Messiahship.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 69


7:8)— the year 457 BCE. From the

year 457 BCE 192 “until Messiah,”

according to the prophecy, is 483

years, which again reaches to the

fall of AD 27. 193 (See Appendix E—

Seventy Weeks Prophecy Chart.)

No. 11 – Messiah’s Mission

Prophecy

“The Spirit of the Lord

is upon Me, because

the Lord has anointed

Me to preach good

tidings to the poor. He

has sent Me to heal

the brokenhearted, to

proclaim liberty to the

captives…to proclaim

the acceptable year of

the Lord, to comfort

all who mourn.”

Isaiah 61:1,2

Fulfillment

“He [Jesus] went into

the synagogue on the

Sabbath day, and stood

up to read…the book

of the prophet Isaiah…

where it was written:

‘The Spirit of the Lord

is upon Me because

He has anointed Me

to preach the gospel

to the poor; He has

sent Me to heal the

brokenhearted, to

proclaim liberty to the

captives and recovery

of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those

who are oppressed;

to proclaim the

acceptable year of the

Lord.’ Then He closed

the Book…and He

began to say to them,

‘Today this Scripture

is fulfilled in your

hearing.’” Luke 4:18-21

192 Shea, Daniel, 157, 158. Shea establishes the date of 457 BCE, Artaxerxes’ seventh regal year, as a fixed

astronomical and historical date by four main evidences:

1) Olympiad (every four years) dating records kept by Greek historians from 776 BCE to AD 393.

2) Ptolemy’s Canon: reigns of kings from the seventh century BCE.

3) Babylonian Business Tablets dating kings from 776 BCE to AD 393.

4) The Elephantine Papyri from Egypt: records of Jews on the island of Elephantine. Dates use both Persian-

Babylonian lunar calendar and Egyptian solar calendar. All documents make reference to Persian King

Artaxerxes I and all concur with the same time of his reign.

193 The prophecy of 70 years in Daniel 9, which includes the dates 457 BCE and AD 27, follows the Jewish

civil calendar. Also, when prophetic time is used in the Bible, a symbolic “day” stands for a literal year

(Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6). Shea establishes the prophetic “year-day principle” by 23 scholarly lines of

evidence. See William H. Shea, “Year-Day Principle,” part 1, Selected Studies on Prophetic Interpretation, vol.

1, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series (Hagerstown,MD: Review and Herald, 1992), 56-88.

70 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


No. 12 – Messiah’s

Miracles of Blessing

Prophecy

“Behold, your God will

come…and save you.

Then the eyes of the

blind shall be opened

and the ears of the deaf

shall be unstopped.

Then the lame shall

leap like a deer, and

the tongue of the dumb

sing.” Isaiah 35:4,5

Fulfillment

“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 unto

them.” Matthew 11:4,

5. (Cf. 9:35) “Hear

these words: Jesus

of Nazareth, a Man

attested by God to you

by miracles, wonders

and signs which God

did through Him in

your midst.” Acts 2:22

No. 13 – Universal Savior

Prophecy

“You should be My

Servant…to restore

the preserved ones to

Israel; I will also give

you as a light to the

Gentiles (nations),

that You should be My

salvation to the ends of

the earth.” Isaiah 49:6

(Cf. 42:6,7)

Fulfillment

“For my eyes (prophet

Simeon) have seen

Your salvation which

You have prepared

before the face of all

peoples, a light…to

the Gentiles, and the

glory of Your people

Israel.” Luke 2:30-32

(Compare Acts 13:47,

48) “Is He a God of

the Jews only? Is He

not also the God of the

Gentiles? (nations)

Yes, of the Gentiles

also, since there is

one God Who will

justify…through faith.”

Romans 3:29, 30

One significant sign of the Messiah

is His benevolent ministry of

healing and blessing people.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 71


No. 14 – Enters Jerusalem

on a Colt of a Donkey

Prophecy

“Rejoice greatly…O

daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king is

coming to you; He

is just and having

salvation, humble,

lowly and riding on

a donkey, a colt, the

foal of a donkey.”

Zechariah 9:9

Fulfillment

“All this was done that

it might be fulfilled

which was spoken by

the prophet, saying,

‘Tell the daughter to

Zion (Jerusalem),

Behold your king

is coming to you,

lowly, and sitting on a

donkey, a colt, the foal

of a donkey.’ “So the

disciples went and did

as Jesus commanded

them. They brought

the donkey and the

colt, laid their clothes

on them, and set Him

on them. “Then the

multitudes…cried

out saying, ‘Hosanna

(praise) to the Son

of David! Blessed is

He Who comes in the

name of the Lord.’”

Matthew 21:4-10 (Cf.

Luke 19:35-37)

Five hundred years before, prophet

Zechariah predicted that Messiah’s

work would reach a triumphant

climax as He rode on the colt of a

donkey, the status symbol of royalty

for Israel at that time. Jesus was

appearing in His role as King of the

spiritual kingdom of divine grace.

(See Matthew 21:5 – “king”)

No. 15 – Exact Time of Death

Prophecy

“And after sixty-two

weeks Messiah shall

be cut off (margin:

“suffer the death

penalty”), but not for

Himself.” “But in the

middle of the week He

shall bring an end to

sacrifice and offering.”

Daniel 9:26, 27

Fulfillment

“Behold, we are going

up to Jerusalem,

and all things that

are written by the

prophets concerning

the Son of Man will be

accomplished (margin:

“fulfilled”). For He

will be delivered to the

Gentiles and will be

mocked and insulted

and spit upon. They

will scourge Him and

kill him. And the third

day He will rise again.”

Luke 18:31-33 (Cf.

Matthew 27:46)

As noted earlier, the 69 weeks come

to an end in AD 27 when the Messiah

is predicted to officially begin His

public ministry. But “after” AD 27,

the “Anointed One” would be “cut

off” in the middle of the 70th week,

i.e., three and one half years later

than AD 27, which comes to the

spring of AD 31. He would then suffer

and die as the innocent 194 Lamb of

God 195 prefigured in Isaiah 53.

Each year when Jewish families

observed Passover, the Passover lamb

was roasted with “a spit… thrust

lengthwise through its body, and

another transversely from shoulder

194 “He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth” (verse 9). Four times Pilate declared

Jesus to be innocent and faultless.

195 “ He was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (verse 7).

72 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


to shoulder; every Passover lamb

was thus transfixed on a cross.” 196

The verb translated “cut off” is a

Hebrew idiom, which means, “to

be killed,” “cut off from the land

of the living.” 197 The verb is in the

passive form (action upon Him),

meaning that someone else would

cause His death. The “Anointed One”

is not going to die naturally; He is

going to be cut off, be killed. 198

Another prophecy in Isaiah 53:7

declared Jesus would be brought

as a lamb to the slaughter. Jesus

was not legally sentenced, but

murdered, as Peter states to the

Jewish leaders on the Day of

Pentecost: “You have taken by lawless

hands, have crucified, and put to

death (Jesus of Nazareth) Whom

God raised up” (Acts 2:23, 24).

This prophecy was fulfilled when the

religious leaders of Judea conspired

with the Roman government

authorities to have Jesus of Nazareth

crucified like a common criminal. 199

(See Appendix E, Mathematics

Verifies Jesus Messiahship for

the exact year, month, day, and

hour of the Messiah’s death.)

While Jesus’ crucifixion was an

unjust, horrendous crime, yet

God’s eternal covenant pledged

for our sake that Jesus would be

“the Lamb of God slain from the

foundation of the world” 200 as our

Sacrifice, Savior, and Substitute 201

by which He “shall justify many.” 202

Looking through the lens of God’s

promised covenant transforms

the Roman Cross, the implement

of punishment and shame,

into the instrument (for us) of

Christ’s salvation and love. The

cross is changed into a symbol

of reconciliation between God

and humanity. 203 “His death

was not a tragic failure of a

196 A.T. Pierson, Many Infallible Proofs,”204.Quoted in Meldau, “Messiah,” 93 (footnote).

197 Verse 8.

198 Shea, Daniel, 163, 164. (Emeritus Professor of Old Testament at Andrews University Seminary.)

199 Matthew 27: 1, 2.:“When morning came all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus

to put him to death. And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate, the

governor.”

200 Revelation 16:8; Acts 2:23.

201 Isaiah 53:7-10..

202 Isaiah 53:11. “Justify”—to make us right with God. Justification by faith, salvation by grace, is the grand,

central truth of the New Testament. See Romans 3:22-24; Titus 3:4-7.

203 1 Corinthians 1:23; Hebrew3s 12:2; Romans 5:8-10.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 73


prophet, but a divine necessity

of God’s providence.” 204

Also, in the middle of the week, the

death of the Messiah would “bring

an end to the [typical] sacrifice

and offering” (Daniel 9:27) service

performed daily in the sanctuary

service, which pointed to His atoning

sacrifice—there and then fulfilled.

No. 16 – Honorable Burial

in Rich Man’s Grave

Prophecy

“They made His grave

with the wicked—but

with the rich at His

death.” Isaiah 53:9.

“They (men) appointed

Him His grave with the

wicked (but) He was

with a rich man after

His death.” Isaiah 53:9

(Franz Delitzsche’s

translation)

Fulfillment

“Now when evening

had come, there came

a rich man from

Arimathea named

Joseph…This man

went to Pilate and

asked for the body

of Jesus. Then Pilate

commanded the

body be given to him

(Joseph) wrapped it

in a clean linen cloth,

and laid it in his new

tomb…hewn out of

the rock; and he rolled

a large stone against

the door of the tomb.”

Matthew 27:57-60

located in the Valley of Hinnon, a

gorge near Jerusalem. The Jewish

rulers would have given Jesus the

same dishonorable “burial” as

assigned the two thieves flanking

Jesus’ Cross. BUT instead, the

Roman authorities handed over His

body to Joseph, a “rich man.” Joseph

then prepared His body, and placed it

in his new garden tomb. The reason

given for His honorable burial,

which was different from what Jesus’

enemies planned, or “appointed,” for

Him, is “because He had done no

violence, nor was any deceit in His

mouth” (Isaiah 53:9), i.e., the absolute

innocence of the Divine Sufferer. 205

“At once we see an agreement

between the Gospel history and

the prophetic words which could

only be the work of God in both

prophecy and its fulfillment.” 206

Instead of a proper burial,

customarily, the corpses of criminals

were burned in the fires of Topheth

204 Hans LaRondelle, Christ Our Salvation: What God Does for Us and in Us (Mountain View, CA: Pacific

Press Pub.,1980),16.Cf. Matthew 26:54; Luke 9:22. The Gospel of Luke uses the specific word “must,” or “is

necessary” (Greek, dei) forty-four times to indicate Jesus’ life, work, and death were not the result of chance or

accident but a deliberate fulfillment of His Father’s will as prewritten in Hebrew Scriptures. Also Acts 2:23,24.

205 Meldau, Messiah, 73.

206 Meldau, Messiah, 73.

74 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


No. 17 – Jesus’ Resurrection

on the Third Day

Prophecy

“My flesh also will

rest in hope. For You

will not leave My soul

in sheol (the grave),

nor will You allow

Your Holy One to see

corruption.” Psalm

16:9b, 10

Fulfillment

“He (David) foreseeing

this spoke concerning

the resurrection of the

Christ, that His soul

was not left in hades

(the grave), nor did His

flesh see corruption.

This Jesus God has

raised up of which we

are all witnesses.” Acts

2:31-33 “You (women)

seek Jesus of Nazareth,

Who was crucified.

He is risen! He is not

here (in the tomb).”

Mark 16:6

(For further treatment of Jesus’

resurrection see Chap. 6, The

Resurrection of Jesus—Prediction

and Historical Account.)

No. 18 -Jesus Ascends to Heaven

Prophecy

“You have ascended

on high. You have

led captivity captive.

You have received

gifts among men.”

Psalm 68:18

Fulfillment

“While they (disciples)

watched, He was taken

up, and out of their

sight. “This same Jesus

Who was taken up

from you into heaven,

will so come in like

manner as you saw

Him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:9, 11 “Therefore,

He says, ‘When He

ascended on high, He

led captivity captive,

and gave gifts to men.’”

Ephesians 4:8

At Jesus’ ascension He “led captive

a host of captives,” 207 understood

as referring to those “saints” held

captive by death, and raised with

Him in a special resurrection as

the “first fruits,” representatives

as a guarantee of the end-time,

general “resurrection of life.” 208 (See

Matthew 27:51-53; 1 Corinthians

15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.)

207 Psalm 68:18; Ephesians 4:8. Paul applies the description of “captives” in the Psalm to a special group of

captive “saints” held by death who are resurrected and ascend to heaven with Jesus.

208 John 5:28,29.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 75


No. 19 – Jesus’ Second Coming

Prophecy

“And at that time

your people shall be

delivered, everyone

who is found written

in the book (of life).

And many of those

who sleep in the

dust of the earth

shall awake, some

to everlasting life.”

Daniel 12:1b, 2 “Our

God shall come, and

shall not keep silent;

a fire shall devour

before Him.” “He shall

call to the heavens…

and to the earth, that

He may judge His

people: Gather My

saints together with

Me, those who have

made a covenant with

Me.” Psalm 50:3-5

“Then the kingdom

and dominion and

the greatness of the

kingdoms under the

whole heaven shall be

given to the people,

the saints of the Most

High…an everlasting

kingdom.” Daniel 7:27

Fulfillment

“For this we say to

you by the word of

the Lord, that we who

are alive and remain

unto the coming of the

Lord will by no means

precede those who are

asleep. For the Lord

Himself shall descend

from heaven with a

shout, with the voice of

an archangel, and with

the trumpet of God.

And the dead in Christ

shall rise first. Then

we who are alive and

remain shall be caught

up together with them

in the clouds to meet

the Lord in the air.

And thus we shall

always be with the

Lord.” 1 Thessalonians

4:15-17 “…when the

Lord Jesus is revealed

from heaven with

His mighty angels,

in flaming fire these

(disobedient ) shall

be punished with

everlasting destruction

from the presence of

the Lord…when He

comes in that Day to be

glorified in His saints.”

2 Thessalonians 1:7-

10 (Cf. John 14:2, 3;

Acts 1:9-12)

The teaching of the Second Coming

is not as clearly or extensively

explained in the OT as the NT, in

part, because the Messiah had not

yet come the first time, and there

was no particular need to distinguish

between a First and Second Coming.

To the OT prophets, “the day of the

Lord,” or “that day” (Isaiah 2:12;

Zechariah 14:4), was essentially

a day of divine judgment for the

wicked and glorious deliverance

for God’s redeemed people. 209

MESSIANIC PROPHECIES

FULFILLED IN ONE DAY

In his book for evidences of the

Christian faith, author Josh

McDowell numbers twenty-nine

specific prophecies 210 from the

Old Testament which speak of the

farcical trial, betrayal, suffering,

crucifixion, and burial of Jesus

Christ, all literally fulfilled in one

day. Remarkably, these prophecies

are spoken by various inspired

voices over different time periods

ranging from 1,000 to 500 BCE.

Chart 2 provides a summary

of the prophecies that were

fulfilled by Christ in one day. 211

209 Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Second Coming,” 976.

210 McDowell, New Evidence, 183.

211 For brevity, I have condensed the list of prophecies fulfilled in one day, from McDowell’s twenty-nine, to

nineteen.

76 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Chart 2: Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled in One Day

OT Predictions Events/Details NT Fulfillments

Isaiah 53:7 Silent before accusers Matthew27:12

Psalm 35:11 Accused by false witnesses Matthew 26:59, 60

Psalm 41:9 Betrayal by a friend Matthew 26:48-50

Zechariah 11:12 Betrayed for 30 silver coins Matthew 26:14-16

Zechariah 11:13 Money purchased potter’s field Matthew 27:7

Zechariah 13:7

Isaiah 50:6

Micah 5:1

Isaiah 53:5

Isaiah 50:6

Psalm 22:7

Isaiah 53:5

Psalm 22:16

Isaiah 53:5

Disciples scattered from Jesus

Flogged with Roman scourge

Spit on his face and beat Him

Mark 14:50

Matthew 26:31

John 19:1

Mark 15:15

Mark 14:65

Mark 15:16, 19

Mocked Him Luke 23:35, 36

Crucifixion Luke 23:33

Isaiah 53:12 Crucified with thieves Mark 15:27, 28

Psalm 22:18 Cast lots for Jesus’ garments John 19:23, 24

Isaiah 53:12 He prays forgiveness for persecutors Luke 23: 33, 34

Psalm 69:21

Gall and vinegar for his thirst

Matthew 27:34

John 19:28-30

Amos 8:9 Mysterious darkness over land Luke 23:44, 45

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 77


OT Predictions Events/Details NT Fulfillments

Psalm 22:14

Psalm 34:20

Psalm 22:17

Psalm 40:12

Psalm 69:20

Bones disjointed but not broken John 19:33, 36

Died of a broken heart John 19:34

Isaiah 53:9 Buried in rich man’s tomb Matthew 27:57-60

Now, we will survey each of these prophecies,

and their fulfillment in more detail.

No. 1 – Silent Before Accusers

Prophecy

“He was

oppressed and

He was afflicted

yet He opened

not His mouth.”

Isaiah 53:7

Fulfillment

“While He was

being accused by

the chief priests

and elders,

He answered

nothing.”

Matthew 27:12

Unlike other victims, the Servant

of the Lord would be silent before

His persecutors—He answered

not a word. He was patient

under suffering and injustice.

Roman Law: Under both Pilate,

Roman governor of Judea, and

Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, Jesus

was acquitted of all charges—

political and religious offenses.

His case should have rightfully

been dismissed. “No man shall

be put twice in jeopardy” is a

judicial maxim that has come

to us from the Romans.

Jewish Law: The gross injustice

against Jesus before the supreme

court of the Jews is summed up by

lawyer Dupin in his tract on The

Trial of Jesus Before the Sanhedrin.

“ (Dupin)… has satisfactorily shown

that throughout the whole course of

that trial the rules of the Jewish law

of procedure were grossly violated,

and that the accused was deprived

of rights, belonging even to the

meanest citizen. He was arrested

in the night, bound as a malefactor,

beaten before his arraignment,

and struck in open court during

the trial; He was tried on a feast

day and before sunrise; He was

compelled to incriminate Himself,

and this, under an oath and He was

sentenced on the same day of the

78 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


conviction. In all these particulars,

the law was wholly disregarded.” 212

No. 2 – Accused by

False Witnesses

Prophecy

“Fierce (“false”

KJV) witnesses

rise up; they

ask Me things

I do not know.”

Psalm 35:11

Fulfillment

“Now the chief

priests, the

elders, and all the

council sought

false testimony

against Jesus to

put Him to death,

but found none…”

“But at last two

false witnesses

came forward.

They found

none.” Matthew

26:59, 60

Primarily, the immediate reference

applies to prophet David, but

since David is a type of Christ,

as such, the Scripture also has

a Messianic application, as

later inspired writers quote.

Regarding false witnesses at the

farce trial of Jesus, Bunch comments,

“the use of false witnesses was a

very grievous infraction of Hebrew

law. It not only disqualified a

judge, who was supposed to seek

evidence only in behalf of the

accused, but it also condemned

the false witnesses to suffer the

penalty they sought to bring upon

the accused. Those who testified

falsely against Jesus were therefore

themselves deserving of death.” 213

Under Hebrew law judges could not

charge or prosecute the accused.

Unlike our judicial system, judges

were the defenders, and only the

witnesses could make charges

and testify against the defendant.

Between Pilate and Herod, four times

Jesus had been declared innocent.

No. 3 – Betrayal by a Friend

Prophecy

“Even my own

familiar friend

(literally, “the

man of my

peace) in whom

I trusted, who

ate my bread,

has lifted up his

heel against me.”

(margin: “acted

as a traitor”)

Psalm 41:9

Fulfillment

“When He had called

His twelve disciples

to Him…and Judas

Iscariot, who also

betrayed Him.”

Matthew 10:14 “Now

His betrayer had

given them (chief

priests) a sign, saying,

‘Whomever I kiss

(kiss of peace) He is

the One; seize Him.’

“But Jesus said to

him, ‘Friend, why

have you come?’”

Matthew 26:48-50

212 Taylor G. Bunch, Behold the Man! A Review of the Trials and Crucifixion of Jesus (Mountain View, CA:

Pacific Press Pub., 1940), 155, 126.

213 Bunch, The Man, 103.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 79


No. 4 – Betrayed for

Thirty Silver Coins

No. 5 – “Blood Money”

Thrown Down in the Temple

Prophecy

“Then I said

to them, ‘If it

is agreeable to

you, give me my

wages’ (“price”);

so they weighed

out for my wages

(“price”) thirty

pieces of silver.”

Zechariah 11:12

Fulfillment

“Then one of the twelve

(disciples) called Judas

Iscariot went to the

chief priests and said,

‘What are you willing

to give me if I deliver

Him to you?’ And they

counted out to him

thirty pieces of silver.

So from that time he

sought opportunity

to betray Him.”

Matthew 26:14-16

Prophecy

“So I took the

thirty pieces of

silver and threw

them into the

house of the Lord

for the potter.”

Zechariah 11:13

Fulfillment

“Then he (Judas)

threw down the

pieces of silver

in the temple

and departed.”

Matthew 27:5

No. 6 – Money Purchased

Potter’s Field”

The Mosaic code upheld “justice

for all,” and condemned those who

perverted judgment by bribes or

false witnesses (Exodus 23:1-3,

6-8). It has been the law of nearly

all nations, in all ages, that giving

and receiving bribes disqualifies

a judge and nullifies the verdict. 214

Judas had covenanted with the

chief priests to betray Christ and

deliver Him into their hands for

thirty pieces of silver, the price

of a dead slave (Exodus 21:32).

Prophecy

“So I took the

thirty pieces of

silver and threw

them into the

house of the Lord

for the potter”

(burial place).

Zechariah 11:13

Fulfillment

“And they (chief

priests) consulted

together and

bought with

them the potter’s

field, to bury

strangers in.”

Matthew 27:7

The priests used the betrayal money

to buy a field (not something else) as a

graveyard for the poor, strangers, and

criminals. The field was called Akel

Dama, i.e., Field of Blood (Acts 1:19).

214 Bunch, The Man, 116.

80 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


No. 7 – Disciples

Scattered During Jesus’

Trial and Crucifixion

Prophecy

“Awake, O

sword, against

My Shepherd….

Strike the

Shepherd, and

the sheep will

be scattered.”

Zechariah 13:7

Fulfillment

“Then they all

forsook Him

and fled.” Mark

14:50 “Then

Jesus said to

them (disciples),

‘All of you will be

made to stumble

because of Me

this night, for

it is written: I

will strike the

Shepherd and the

sheep of the flock

will be scattered.’

” Matthew 26:31

The despondent disciples fled “for

fear of the Jews” (John 20:19) that

they might not meet the same fate

as their Master. (However, with

the resurrection of Jesus, boldness

replaced timidity as they proclaimed

the living Messiah. See Chapter

7, The Resurrection of Jesus—

“Prediction and Historical Account.”)

No. 8 – Flogged with a

Roman Scourge (Whip)

Prophecy

“I gave My back

to those who

struck me.”

Isaiah 50:6 “They

will strike the

Judge of Israel

with a rod on His

cheek.” Micah 5:1

“By his stripes

(margin: “blows

that cut in”)

we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5

Fulfillment

“So then Pilate

took Jesus and

scourged Him.”

John 19:1 “So

Pilate, wanting

to gratify

the crowd…

delivered Jesus

after he had

scourged Him

to be crucified.”

Mark 15:15

Roman custom enforced scourging

victims before crucifixion. The

Roman scourge was a cruel

instrument of torture, made of

leather attached with pieces of sharp

metal or bone that cut and tore apart

the flesh of the victim, leaving a

bleeding, mangled pulp. The lash was

applied to different parts of the body,

including the face. Sometimes the

victim was so unmercifully beaten

that the veins, muscles, and sinews

were exposed, and even the intestines

became visible. So inhumane and

brutal was a Roman scourging

that death sometimes resulted. 215

215 Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Scourge,” 965. Also Meldau, Messiah, 66.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 81


No. 9 – Spit on His

Face and Beat Him

Prophecy

“I gave…My

cheeks to those

who plucked

out the beard; I

did not hide My

face from shame

and spitting.”

Isaiah 50:6

Fulfillment

“Then some

began to spit on

Him…and to beat

Him.” “And the

officers struck

Him with the

palms of their

hands.” Mark

14:65 (Cf. Luke

22:63) “Then

the (Roman)

soldiers…struck

Him on the head

with a reed and

spat on Him.”

Mark 15:16,19

Spitting on another was regarded by

the Jews as an expression of greatest

contempt—the insult of insults.

Both, officers of the Jewish council

and Roman soldiers spat on Jesus,

and physically beat Him— though

declared innocent by governor Pilate.

No. 10 – Mocked Him

Prophecy

“All those who

see Me ridicule

Me; they shoot

out the lip

(margin: show

contempt with

their mouth).”

Psalm 22:7 “He

is despised and

rejected by men.”

Isaiah 53:3

Fulfillment

“Even the

rulers…sneered.

The soldiers also

mocked Him.”

Luke 23:35, 36

It was the custom of the time to

turn condemned criminals over

to soldiers and the populace for

torment, mockery and ridicule

as part of their punishment.

“Three times Jesus was buffeted

(roughly beaten) and persecuted

in this manner: by the Jews,

by the soldiers of Herod, and

by the soldiers of Pilate.” 216

Said Tacitus, the Roman historian;

“To the sufferings of those who

were put to death were added

mockery and derision.” 217

In mockery of Jesus’ claim to

be “king,” the Roman soldiers

conducted a mock trial. (Altogether

Jesus was hurried through 6 sham

trials, regardless of being declared

216 Bunch, 189.

217 Tacitus, Annals XV, 44. Quoted in Bunch, 190.

82 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


innocent in four of them.) A royal

purple robe was thrown around

His bruised and mutilated body. A

wreath of cruel thorns, two to three

inches long and sharp as needles,

punctured the skin of His head,

and the trickling blood resulted in

matted, disheveled hair. They slapped

His face, plucked the hair off His

beard, 218 and— the ultimate insult—

spat on His face. This horrible sight

was a fulfillment of the prophecy:

“many were astonished…and His

visage (appearance) was marred

more than any man.” 219 His face was

disfigured beyond recognition.

“Through it all Jesus maintained a

dignified silence 220 and conducted

Himself with a kingly bearing that

astonished even His tormentors.” 221

No. 11 – Crucifixion

Prophecy

“The

congregation of

the wicked has

enclosed Me.

They pierced

My hands and

My feet.” Psalm

22:16 “He

was wounded

(margin: “pierced

through”) for our

transgressions.”

Isaiah 53:5 (Cf.

Zechariah 12:10)

Fulfillment

“And when they

had come to

the place called

Calvary, there

they crucified

Him.” Luke

23:33 (Cf.

John 20:25-27)

Crucifixion was the worst

punishment of the time and it was

reserved for robbers, slaves, and

foreigners (not Roman citizens).

It was both physically intensely

painful and emotionally degrading.

The victim hung upright and

naked on a wooden cross, skin

pierced by iron nails five to seven

inches long, driven through his

wrists and ankles. Crucifixion

executed an excessively brutal way

218 Isaiah 50:6

219 Isaiah 52:14.

220 Isaiah 53:7: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” (Prophecy)

Matthew 27:12: “While He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.”

(Fulfillment)

221 Bunch, 175.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 83


to die; the most humiliating and

excruciating 222 form of death.

Place of Crucifixion: The

place of execution by crucifixion

is described in the Bible in three

prominent languages of the time: in

Latin, called “Calvary;” in Hebrew

“Golgotha;” and in Greek “Skull”

(Kranion)—the summit of the hill

resembling the shape of a skull.

Time of Crucifixion: Jesus was

crucified at “the third hour” (Mark

15:25), or 9 o’clock in the morning,

and died six hours later at “the

ninth hour,” or three o’clock in

the afternoon (Mark 15:34, 37). In

accordance with ancient Jewish

Passover ritual in the Temple court,

the sacrificial lamb was necessarily

a male and without blemish. “The

animal was slain on the eve of

14th of Nissan after the Tamid (the

“daily” evening burnt offering) had

been killed, i.e., at three o’clock, or,

in the case the eve of Passover fell

on Friday, at two.” 223 Thus in the

Passover service and time, type

(slain Passover lamb) met anti-type

(slain Lamb of God- Jesus Christ).

Instrument of Torture,

Cross: Artistic portrayals of the

cross differ somewhat from the

facts of history. Regarding the

Roman cross, Chandler writes:

“The pictures of crosses in works

of art are misrepresentations in

that they are too large and too

high. The real historical cross

was slightly longer than the

victim. His head reached near

the top’ his feet hung only 12 - 15

inches from the ground.” 224

Revan elaborates further

on the construction of the

seat-rest and foot-rest:

“A piece of wood was fashioned to

the upright portion of the cross

toward the middle and passed

between the legs of the condemned

who rested upon it. Without that,

the hands would have been torn

and the body would have sunken

down. At other times, a small

horizontal rest was fixed beneath

the feet and sustained them.” 225

The common Jewish method for

the death penalty from the time

222 The English word “excruciating,” which expresses extreme pain, is derived from the Greek words for

‘cross”(the insrument of torture) and “to crucify”(the act of crucifixion).

223 https://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11934-passover-sacrifice. Reference credited to Pastor Jeff

Potts shared in his sermon on March 20,2021 at Lacombe Alberta, Canada: “Seven Last Sayings of Jesus.”

224 Walter B. Chandler, The Trial of Jesus, vol.2 (New York: Federal Book Co., 1925), 56. Quoted in Bunch,

194, 195.

225 Ernest Revan, The Life of Jesus, 364. English translation by Charles E. Wilbour, The Life of Jesus (New

York: Carleton Pub., 1864). Quoted in Bunch, 195.

84 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


of Moses 226 to the Apostles’ time

was by stoning. Religious leaders

twice attempted to stone Jesus,

and failed. 227 Prophecy, however,

declared Jesus’ hands and feet would

be “pierced”, that is, under Roman

authority Jesus would die, not by the

method of stoning, but of crucifixion.

Physical Suffering: Before and

After Crucifixion: During the terrible

ordeal before crucifixion, Jesus was

brutally manhandled, beaten, spat

upon, mocked, flogged, and crowned

with blood-emitting thorns. Drawing

from records of history and medical

science, Geike gives the following

in depth, graphic description of

physical torture during crucifixion:

“The suffering in crucifixion, from

which death as last resulted, rose

partly from the constrained and

fixed position of the body, and of the

outstretched arms, which caused

acute pain from every twitch or

motion of the back, lacerated by the

knout, 228 and of the hands and feet,

pierced by the nails. These latter

were, moreover, driven through parts

where many sensitive nerves and

sinews come together, and some of

these were mutilated, others violently

crushed down. Inflammation of

the wounds in both hands and feet,

speedily set in, and erelong rose also

in other places, where the circulation

was checked by the tension of the

parts. Intolerable thirst, and everincreasing

pain, resulted. The

blood, which could no longer reach

the extremities, rose to the head,

swelled the veins and arteries in it

unnaturally, and caused the most

agonizing tortures in the brain. As,

besides, it could no longer move

freely from the lungs, the heart grew

more and more oppressed, and all

the veins were distended. Had the

wounds bled freely, it would have

been a great relief, but there was

very little lost. The weight of the

body itself, resting on the wooden

pin of the upright beam; the burning

heat of the sun scorching the veins,

and the hot wind, which dried up

the moisture of the body, made

each moment more terrible than

that before. The numbness and

stiffness of the more distant muscles

brought on painful convulsions, and

this numbness, slowly extending,

sometimes through two or three

days, at last reached the vital parts,

and released the sufferer by death.” 229

226 Leviticus 20:2; Deuteronomy 22:20-24; Leviticus 24:11-16..

227 John 8:59; 10:31-33.

228 Knout—a whip used for flogging.

229 Cunningham Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ (New York: John B. Alden, 1885), 781, 782. Quoted in

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 85


No. 12 – Crucified With Thieves

Prophecy

“Because He

poured out

His soul unto

death, and He

was numbered

with the

transgressors.”

Isaiah 53:12

Fulfillment

“With Him they

also crucified

two robbers,

one on His right

and the other on

His left. So the

Scripture was

fulfilled which

says, ‘And He

was numbered

with the

transgressors.’”

Mark 27:28

In this prophecy, the word

“transgressors” does not refer

to ordinary sinners, but to

“criminals,” “robbers” (Hebrew

poshim), open transgressors of the

law of God and government. 230

No. 13 – Cast Lots For

Jesus’ Garments

Prophecy

“They divide My

garments among

them, and for My

clothing they cast

lots.” Psalm 22:18

Fulfillment

“Then the

soldiers,

when they

had crucified

Jesus, took His

garments and

made four parts,

to each soldier

a part, and also

the tunic. Now

the tunic was

without seam,

woven from the

top in one piece.

They said…’Let

us not tear it

but cast lots

for it…that the

Scripture might

be fulfilled…”

John 19:23, 24

The condemned was escorted to the

place of execution by a detachment

of four soldiers. 231 To them, the

victim’s apparel was awarded. Every

Jew wore five articles of apparel:

1. Sandals

2. Headgear

Bunch, 198, 199.

230 Meldau, 75.

231 John 19:23.

86 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


3. Girdle

4. Cloak or robe (Greek,

himation)—outer garment, a

mantel for a covering at night.

5. Tunic (Greek, chiton)—inner silk

garment, woven in one piece

with a slit for the head. 232

The soldiers divided the first four

items among themselves and cast

lots for the seamless tunic. Details

that seem trivial and insignificant

like “dividing garments” and “casting

lots” for one piece of clothing, which

was prophesied 1,000 years earlier,

loom significant when fulfilled with

minute accuracy. This impressive

evidence adds confirmation

for the Messiah’s identity.

No. 14 – Christ Prays

Forgiveness for His Persecutors

Prophecy

“He bore the

sin of many

and made

intersession

for the

transgressors.”

Isaiah 53:12

Fulfillment

“When they had

come to the place

called Calvary,

there they

crucified Him.”

“Then Jesus

said, ‘Father

forgive them.’”

Luke 23:33, 34

“Forgive” is a loaded term that stands

for Jesus’ divine “intercession,” or

mediation for others, and explains

the whole purpose and meaning of

His death on the cross. Not only for

the thieves on either side of Christ,

not only for His executioners before

Him, not only for the very ones who

ridiculed, betrayed, and rejected

Him, but in behalf of the whole

human family He died to purchase

for all the offer of “forgiveness of

sins,” and its result, “peace.” 233

232 William Barclay, The Gospel of John, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: Saint Andrews Press, 1963), 295.

233 Mark 10:45—He came “to give His life a ransom (buys us back with God).” Matthew 27:28—He “shed” His

life-blood “for many for the forgiveness of (our) sins.”

Romans 5:1—“having been justified by faith (made right with God by believing in and receiving His death for

us) we have peace with God.”

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 87


No. 15 – Gall and Vinegar

Offered for His Thirst

Prophecy

“They also gave

Me gall for My

food and for

My thirst they

gave me vinegar

to drink.”

Psalm 69:21

Fulfillment

(1) “They gave

Him sour wine

mingled with

gall to drink.

But when He

had tasted it,

He would not

drink.” Matthew

27:34 (2) “ Jesus,

knowing that all

things were now

accomplished,

that the Scripture

might be

fulfilled, said,

‘I thirst’. Now

a vessel full of

sour wine was

sitting there;

and they filled a

sponge with sour

wine, put it on a

hyssop, and put it

to His mouth. So

when Jesus had

received the sour

wine He said,

‘It s finished.’”

John 19:28-30

Twice Jesus was offered something to

drink. The first time (1) He was given

wine (oinos) mixed with gall and He

rejected it. Why? It was fermented

wine mixed with myrrh (Mark 15:23).

Myrrh was a pain killer and rendered

the victim partially unconscious.

He needed a clear mind, free of

intoxication or dullness. To this end,

His faith must keep strong hold on

God, and to complete His mission of

salvation in behalf of the human race.

The second (2) time Jesus did accept

the offer of sour wine or vinegar

(oxos), a non-intoxicating drink 234 ,

bringing some relief for his parching

thirst from the beating sun.

No. 16 – Mysterious

Darkness Over the Land

Prophecy

“And it shall

come to pass in

that day, says the

Lord God, that I

will make the sun

go down at noon,

and I will darken

the earth in

broad daylight.”

Amos 8:9

Fulfillment

“Now it was

about the sixth

hour and there

was darkness

over all the

earth until the

ninth hour.

Then the sun

was darkened.”

Luke 23:44, 45

In Jewish reckoning, the darkness

started “the sixth hour,” which is

twelve o’clock noon, and ended

234 For a study of “wine” in the Bible, see the scholarly research of Samuel Bacchiocchi, Wine In the Bible

(Berrien Springs, MI: Biblical Perspectives, 2001). www.biblicalperspectives.com.

88 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


“the ninth hour,” three o’clock in

the afternoon. Some would suggest

that the darkening of the sun that

afternoon was only a natural event

caused by an eclipse. But that idea

would be incorrect on two fronts:

astronomy and history. The fact is

an eclipse of the sun is impossible

when the moon is full, as it was at

that Passover season. The darkness

was supernatural! Roman historian,

Julius Africanus (AD 221) and the

written records of others establish

another evidence for the credibility

of the Scriptural account.

(For a detailed historical account of

the “darkening,” see Chap. 4, Secular

and Jewish Authorities On Jesus

and Early Christians: “Thallus.”)

No. 17 – Bones out of

Joint but not Broken

Prophecy

“He guards

(keeps) all His

bones, not one of

them is broken.”

Psalm 34:20

“All my bones

are out of joint.”

Psalm 22:14

“I can count

all My bones.”

Psalm 22:17

Fulfillment

“When they

(soldiers) came

to Jesus and

saw that He

was already

dead, they did

not break His

legs.” “These

things were

done that the

Scripture should

be fulfilled, ‘Not

one of His bones

shall be broken.’”

John 19:33, 36

The Passover lamb was a type of

Christ—“the Lamb Who takes away

the sin of the world.” 235 Throughout

the year, the bones of the lamb

might be broken to extract the

edible marrow for eating, but not

so for Passover season. Israelite

law required that for the Passover

lamb “nor shall you break one of

its bones.” 236 So not a bone of the

Messiah was to be broken. The

soldiers pierced Jesus’ hands, His

feet, His side and each time the nails

and spear went between the bones

but did not break them (but would

235 John 1:29.

236 Exodus 12:46.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 89


have injured or severed nerves,

tendons, veins, and muscles).

The prophecy makes a subtle

distinction; while no bones would

be “broken,” yet, “all” His bones

would be “disjointed,” pulled

out of place from the strain of

hanging by His hands and feet.

No. 18 – Died of a Broken Heart

Prophecy

“My heart fails

Me.” Psalm 40:12

(Cf. Psalm 22:14)

Fulfillment

“One of the

soldiers pierced

His side with

a spear, and

immediately

blood and water

came out.”

John 19:34

Prophecy declared that Messiah

would die as a result of a “broken,”

or ruptured heart. Beyond the

physical, painful sufferings of Jesus,

delineated previously (See Prophetic

Panorama of the Messiah, No. 11:

“Crucifixion, Physical Suffering”),

He endured overwhelming mental

anguish and agonizing spiritual

struggles. The following burdens

are some of what He bore, in behalf

of every person, that abruptly

terminated His life by a broken heart:

• Bearing the sins of the world,

crushing His spirit 237

• Bearing the punishment for

all sins, as our Substitute

• Experiencing the guilt of sinners 238

• Sensing a forsaken, separation from

His Father—so offensive is sin 239

• Attacked by Satan’s fierce

temptations: to escape His

intense suffering; to come down

from the cross; and to leave the

human race to perish— caused

Him anguish of heart. 240

(His decision remains resolute: “… for

the joy that was set before Him [the

results of His sacrifice—seeing souls

saved in His kingdom] (He) endured

the cross, despising the shame….”

Hebrews 12:2. See also Isaiah 53:11a.)

There is evidence from the New

Testament record that Christ

died of a broken heart. When the

Roman soldiers “pierced His side”

with a spear, “immediately blood

237 Isaiah 53:12; Hebrews 9:22; 1John 2:2.

238 “Iniquity” (avon—perversity, guilt ) Psalm 32:2; Isaiah 53:6,11;Ezekiel 36:33.

239 Matthew 27:46.

240 Satan working through human agents: Matthew 27:39-43: people, rulers, and scribes; Luke 23:39:

unrepentant thief; John 19:1-3: Pilate and soldiers. In the isolated wilderness of temptation (Matthew 4:1-

11), Satan approached Christ by addressing doubt: “If You are the Son of God.” This same strategy of doubt he

projected into the minds of Christ’s opponents at the Cross.

90 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


and water came out,” indicating

that the heart had been “ruptured

before,” thus signifying He died

of a broken heart. The lymphatic

fluid (water) separating from

the red blood produced “blood

and water,” 241 which describes a

process known as extravasation.

No. 19 – Buried in

Rich Man’s Tomb

Prophecy

“And they made

His grave with

the wicked—but

with the rich

at His death.”

Isaiah 53:9

“They (men)

appointed Him

His grave with

the wicked (but)

He was with a

rich man after

His death.” Isaiah

53:9 (Franz

Delitzsche’s

translation)

Fulfillment

“When evening had

come, there came

a rich man from

Arimathea, named

Joseph…this man

went to Pilate and

asked for the body of

Jesus…When Joseph

had taken the body, he

wrapped it in a clean

linen cloth, and laid

it in his new tomb.”

Matthew 27:57-60

(See explanation in Prophetic

Panorama of the Messiah:

No. 16: “Honorable Burial

In Rich Man’s Grave.”)

Remarkable Summary

Think about this: Who could have

pre-written the life of Abraham

Lincoln or Eleanor Roosevelt or

any other person 500 years before

birth? Yet this literary miracle

has happened for one Man only

in the whole history of the world.

Nowhere in any literature of the

world, secular or religious, can one

duplicate the astounding miracle

of the pre-written life of Christ.

Canon Dyson Hague elaborates

on this unparalleled fulfillment:

“Christ is the only Person ever born

into this world whose ancestry, birthtime,

forerunner, birth-place, infancy,

manhood, teaching, character, career,

preaching, reception, rejection,

death, burial, resurrection and

ascension were all pre-written in the

most marvelous manner centuries

before He was born. Who could draw

such a picture of a man not yet born?

Surely God, and God alone.” 242

SCIENCE OF MATHEMATICS

CONFIRMS MESSIAH

In addition to the Comparative

Method of prediction/fulfillment,

another, and unique way of

confirming the identity of the

Messiah is by the science of

Mathematics. Dr. Peter Stoner,

241 Meldau, 61.

242 Meldau, Messiah, 3 (footnote).

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 91


mathematics professor, applied

sound mathematical principles of

probability to just eight 243 of 332

Messianic prophecies. He reports

in his book, Science Speaks, 244

that the chances that any man

might have lived in the past or

present and fulfilled just these

eight prophecies is calculated at 1

in 10 17 i.e., 10 to the 17 th power, or

1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000

(17 zeros after 1).

To illustrate the bigness of this

number, he says, “Take 10 17 in silver

dollars, then lay them on the surface

of Texas. They would cover the state

two feet deep. Now, mark one of

these dollars and stir the whole mass

extending over 1,000s of square

miles. Blindfold a man and ask him

to pick up only one silver dollar.

The first coin he would pick up was

the right one with a check mark.

“Now, the chance of him finding that

one marked silver dollar in the state

of Texas would be the probability

the prophets had for just eight of

their prophecies coming true in any

one man in the future. And they

all came true in Jesus Christ.” 245

In e-mail correspondence with Dr.

Stoner in January of 2007, attorney

Lee Stroebel, former agnostic and

author of The Case For Christ,

credited Dr. Stoner’s statistical

odds of these Messianic prophecies

coming true (as documented in

Science Speaks) with giving him

confidence to believe in Christ. 246

In another calculation, Stoner used

48 prophecies (even though he could

have used all 332) and arrived at

the conservative estimate that the

probability of 48 prophecies being

fulfilled in one person is 10 to 157 th

power. 10 to 157 th power contains 157

zeros! How large is that number?

Let’s try to illustrate this number

using, not silver dollars this time,

243 These eight prophecies pertaining to the Messiah, and their fulfillments by Christ recorded in the New

Testament, are:

Christ to be born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2/Matthew 2:4-6.

Forerunner of Christ: Malachi 3:1/Mark 1:2-8.

Christ to enter Jerusalem on a donkey: Zechariah 9:9/Matthew 21:4-11.

Christ to be betrayed by a friend: Psalm 4:9/Luke 22:21.

Christ to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver: Zechariah 11:22/Matthew 26:15.

30 pieces of silver thrown down and used to purchase a potter’s field: Zechariah 11:13/Matthew 27:3-10.

Although innocent, Christ kept silent when on trial: Isaiah 3:7/Mark 14:60, 61.

Christ crucified: Psalm 22:16/John 19:17, 18.

244 Dr. Stoner was chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College

until 1953. See Peter W. Stoner, Robert C. Newman, Science Speaks (Chicago: Moody Press, 1976), 106.

245 McDowell, New Evidence, 193.

246 www.berean publishers.com/the-odds-of-eight-messianic-prophecies-coming-true.

92 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


but electrons—objects extending

in all directions from earth to six

billion light years. (Remembering

the distance of one light year is

6.4 trillion miles.) That would be

a big ball but not nearly enough

to measure 10 157 of electrons. The

length of space required would

be—get ready for this mindstaggering

number—trillions and

trillions of the same gigantic balls

combined together and still more!

Now imagine marking just one

electron in that astronomical

number. Stir them all up. Then

appoint one person to travel in a

futuristic rocket ship to anywhere in

space—and as long as it takes. Then

tell him to stop, take a high-powered

microscope and find that one marked

electron in the vast expanse of

space on his first try. What do you

think would be his chances of being

successful? Remember, this number,

10 157 , represents the chances of only

48 prophecies coming true in one

person. All this illustrates why it

is absolutely impossible for anyone

to have fulfilled the Messianic

prophecies by chance. The immensity

of the number 10 157 helps prove why

the science of probability shows we

are dealing with the Supernatural—

God gave this information. 247

And all the requirements to

fulfill these prophecies are met

in one Person in all history—

the historical Jesus Christ.

For what reason were the Messianic

prophecies written and their exact

fulfillment recorded? In the words

of the wise man Solomon, “Let us

hear the conclusion of the whole

matter.” 248 The apostle John answers:

“These are written that you may

believe [the evidence] that Jesus

is the Christ (the Messiah), the

Son of God, and that believing you

may have life in His Name.” 249

247 For the illustration of electrons see: https://sites.google.com/site/hbtvnet/02-365-messianic-propheciesfulfilled.

248 Ecclesiastes 12:13.

249 John 20:31.

MESSIAH’S CREDENTIALS IN PROPHECY & HISTORY 93


— Chapter 5 —

SECULAR & JEWISH SOURCES ON JESUS AND

EARLY CHRISTIANS

How does the “Biblical Jesus”

compare with the “historical Jesus”?

Is the real Jesus found in writings

outside the Bible as He is in the Bible?

The most detailed record of Jesus’

life, death, and resurrection

comes from eyewitness accounts

in the four Gospels and other

New Testament writings dated

between AD 50 and 60. Scholarly

consensus considers these records

genuine and reliable history. 250

Alongside the biblical accounts,

there exist also non-Christian

historical records of Jesus and His

followers from mid-first century to

the fifth-century AD. Testimonies

of these independent historians,

philosophers, and political leaders

offer indisputable evidence that

Jesus of Nazareth was an actual

historical person who lived on earth

2,000 years ago. Edwin Yamauchi,

professor of history at Miami

University, states that we have more

and better historical documentary

evidence for Jesus than for any

other religious founder—Zoroaster,

Buddha, or Mohammed. 251

The ancient records include

writings from Roman, Greek,

and Jewish sources, and their

hostility to Christianity and

250 See chapter Twentieth-first Century Reasons You Can Trust the Bible—“Manuscripts.”

251 Edwin Yamauchi, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus, eds. Michael

J Wilkins and J. P. Moreland (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub., 1995), 221, 222. Cited in McDowell, New

Evidence, 136.

94 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Christ only strengthen their

credibility of reporting. Most

of these writers lived during or

shortly after the time of Christ.

Ryan Turner has compiled 42

sources, within 150 years of

Jesus’ death, which mention His

existence and many events in His

life. 252 In addition to NT authors,

many respected historians/

writers provide independent, nonbiblical

testimony in support of

many of the Biblical claims about

Jesus, including His teachings,

His miracles, His crucifixion, His

resurrection, and His divinity.

Dr. Simon Gathercole makes

this profound observation

regarding Jesus’ existence and

confirming historical sources:

“Strikingly, there was never a

debate in the ancient world about

whether Jesus of Nazareth was a

historical figure. In the earliest

literature of Jewish rabbis, Jesus

was denounced as”…[an] illegitimate

child and a sorcerer.” Among pagans

[secular], the satirist Lucian and

philosopher Celsus dismissed Jesus

as” a scoundrel”…“but we know of

no one in the ancient world who

questioned whether Jesus lived.” 253

Thallus—AD 52

Thallus is perhaps the earliest

secular historian to allude to Jesus. 254

His history covers the Eastern

Mediterranean world from the

Trojan War to his own time. In the

third book of his histories, Thallus

writes of a mysterious darkness

that enveloped the country and

beyond during the late afternoon

when Jesus was dying on the cross.

As is the case with the majority

of ancient literature, Thallus’

writings have been lost, 255 but not

252 See: https://carm.org/jesus-exist (for 42 sources with reference to Jesus)

Nine (9) New Testament Authors: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter, and Jude.

Twenty (20) Early Christian Writers Outside the New Testament: Clement of Rome, Clement, Ignatius,

Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, Fragments of Papias, Justin

Martyr, Arstides, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Quadratus, Aristo of Pella, Melito of Sardis, Diognetus,

Gospel of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, and Epistula Apostolorum.

Four (4) Heretical Writings: Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth, Apocryphon of John, and Treatise on

Resurrection.

Nine (9) Secular Sources: Josephus (Jewish historian), Tacitus (Roman historian), Pliny the Younger (Roman

politician), Phlegon (freed slave who wrote histories), Lucian (Greek satirist), Celsus (Roman philosopher),

Mara Bar Serapion (prisoner awaiting execution), Suetonius, and Thallus.

253 Dr. Simon Gathercole, “What is the Historical Evidence That Jesus Lived and Died?” See theguardian.

com/world/2017/April14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-lived-and-died.

254 Biblical scholar F. F. Bruce references Thallus as “perhaps the earliest secular historian to mention Jesus.”

Cited in D. M. Murdock, Who Was Jesus? (Seattle, WA: Stellar House Pub., 2011), 100.

255 Example of lost ancient histories: Herod the Great’s secretary named Nicolas of Damascus, wrote

SECULAR & JEWISH SOURCES ON JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANS 95


before the “darkness” event was

quoted by a later historian, Julius

Africanus, in his History of the

World (c. AD 221). In this book,

Africanus disputes the argument of

Thallus who attributed the midday

darkness to a solar eclipse.

“On the whole world there pressed

a most fearful darkness and the

rocks were rent by an earthquake,

and many places in Judea and

other districts were thrown down.

The darkness Thallus, in the…

third book of his history, calls,

as appears to me without reason,

an eclipse of the sun.” 256

Why Africanus calls Thallus’

explanation “unreasonable” is

because a solar eclipse could not take

place at the time of full moon—and

it was the season of the Passover

full moon when Christ died.

While Thallus mentions neither

the name Christ or His crucifixion

directly, yet the phenomena he

writes about—the darkness and

earthquake—are in full agreement

with the Gospels’ account

surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion. 257

Historian Dr. Paul Maier

comments about the world-wide

extraordinary day-darkness and

great earthquake in a footnote in

his 1968 book, Pontius Pilate.

“This phenomenon evidently was

visible in Rome, Athens, and other

Mediterranean cities, according to

Tertullian…it was a ‘cosmic’ or ‘world

event.’ Phlegan, a Greek author from

Carcia writing a chronology soon

after AD 64, reported that in the

fourth year of the 202 Olympiad (i.e.,

AD 33) 258 there was ‘the greatest

eclipse of the sun,’ and that ‘it became

night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e.,

noon] so that the stars even appeared

in the heavens, there was a great

earthquake in Bithynia and many

things were overturned in Nicaea.’” 259

These phenomena —darkness

and earthquake —coincide with

the Gospel writers who recorded

supernatural events at the cross as

a sign from God—“Truly this was

Universal History, a Roman history which consisted of 144 books, and none of them have survived. Gary

Hamermas and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids,MI: Kregal, 2004), 233.

Cited by Ray Turner: https://carn.org/Jesus-exist.

256 Chronography 18,1. See https://www.neverthirsty.org/about-christ/historical/quotes-Thallus.

257 Matthew 27:45, 51: “Now from the sixth hour (noon) until the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.) there was darkness

over all the land.”…and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split….” Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44, 45.

258 The actual historically accepted date of Christ’s death is the spring of AD 31.

259 Dr. Paul Maier, Pontius Pilate, 2nd ed.(Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Pub., 1990), 369. Cited in Lee Strobel,

The Case for the Resurrection (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 23.

96 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


the Son of God.” 260 This miraculous

testimony was given by God to

confirm the faith of later generations.

Tacitus—AD 55-120

Cornelius Tacitus, a Roman

historian who lived through the

reigns of more than a half dozen

Roman emperors, has been called

the “greatest historian” of ancient

Rome. He was regarded for his

“integrity and essential goodness.”

Modern historians view his

Annals 261 to be the best source

for Roman history of that era.

For example, it is from Tacitus’

Annals we learn that Nero blamed

Christians for the devastating fire of

Rome in AD 64 that many believed

Nero himself had ordered. (Tacitus

himself was disdainful of Christians

and Christ, which gives credence to

his historical record about them.)

“Consequently, to get rid of the

report, Nero fastened the guilt…on

a class hated for their abominations,

called Christians by the populace.

Christus 262 from whom the named

had its origin, suffered the extreme

penalty during the reign of Tiberius

at the hands of…Pontius Pilate, a

most mischievous superstition,

thus checked for the moment, again

broke out in Judea, the first source

of evil, but even in Rome….” 263

From where would Tacitus have

obtained his information about

Christ? First, early in his career

when Tacitus was Proconsul of Asia

(Provincial Governor), modern

historian Mykytiuk points out, he

likely supervised trials, questioned

those accused of being Christians,

and judged and punished those

found guilty. Second, Tacitus was a

senator under Emperor Vespasian,

which gave him access to the

Acta Senatus, the Roman Senate’s

archives. These records could have

contained reports surrounding

Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. 264

Historian Tacitus confirms

several elements witnessed in

New Testament Scriptures:

» Christus (Latin for Christ) lived in

Judea in the first- century AD.

» Christians derived their name

from an historical person called

Christus, the Founder of Christians.

260 Matthew 27:54-- testimony of centurion guarding Jesus.

261 Tacitus’ Annals written in AD 116 covers Roman emperors Augustus to Nero.

262 Christus is Latin for Christ.

263 Tacitus, Annals. c. AD 116, Book 15, Chapter 44. Cited Strobel, Case for Christ , 82.

264 Lawrence Mykytiuk, “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible,” Biblical Archeological

Society, Jan./Feb., 2015. See hhps://www.biblicalarcheology.org.

SECULAR & JEWISH SOURCES ON JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANS 97


» Christ was executed under

Pontius Pilate during the reign

of Emperor Tiberius. 265

» The Christian movement that

started in Judea, shortly after

Jesus’ death, spread as far as

to Rome (as is reported in the

Book of Acts, even as Christians

are persecuted for their faith).

Historian Yamauchi refers to

Tacitus’ passage as “probably the

most important reference to Jesus

outside the New Testament.” 266

Pliny the Younger –AD 112

Plinius Secundus, more commonly

known as Pliny the Younger, was

Governor of Bythynia and a Roman

historian who writes about Christ

and Christians. In AD 112, Pliny

sends a letter to Emperor Trajen

asking advice how to treat Christians

who refuse to pay homage to the

emperor and their gods. He consults

Trajen on this issue because a great

multitude from every class, both

men and women, boys and girls,

stand accused as Christians. He asks

Trajen’s advice about the appropriate

way to conduct legal proceedings

against these followers of Christ.

“They [Christians] were in the habit

of meeting on a certain fixed day

[Sabbath] 267 before it was light,

when they sang alternate verses

in a hymn to Christ, as to a god,

and bound themselves by a solemn

oath, not to any wicked deeds, but

never to commit a fraud, theft,

or adultery, never to falsify their

word, nor deny a trust when they

should be called upon to deliver it

up, after which it was their custom

to separate, and then reassemble

to partake of food, but of an

ordinary and innocent kind.” 268

Even when facing severe Roman

persecution, Pliny states that

Christianity has attracted persons

of all societal ranks, all ages of

men, women, and children from

both the city and the country.

In the same letter, Pliny goes on

to say he also “made them curse

Christ which a genuine Christian

cannot be induced to do. 269 ”

The Emperor’s reply is also

preserved, commending Pliny for

his anti-Christian actions and

not to punish those Christians

265 Tacitus also concurs with ancient Christian creeds: “Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate.”

266 Quoted in Strobel, Case for Christ, 82. Cited in https://probe.org/ancient-evidence-for-Jesus-from-non-

Christian-sources-2/.

267 Acts 13:14,42,44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4.

268 Pliny, Epistles 10:96. http.www.vroma.org/~hwalker/Pliny.

269 Pliny, Epistles, 10:96.

98 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


who are forced by the Romans

to retract their faith.

“You have adopted the right

course, my dearest Secundus, in

investigating the charges against

Christians who were brought before

you…if indeed they should be brought

before you and the crime is proved,

they must be punished; with the

restriction, however, that where the

party denies he is a Christian.” 270

The Pliny passage provides us

with a number of interesting

insights into the beliefs and

lifestyles of early Christians.

» Christians regularly met

on a certain, fixed day for

worship (weekly Sabbath).

» Their worship was directed

to Christ, believing in His

divinity and resurrection.

» Pliny understood Christians

were worshiping an actual

person who had lived on earth.

» Early Christians upheld a high

moral code, bound by a solemn

oath, in following Jesus’ teachings.

» Pliny’s reference to sharing a

common meal likely alludes to

the observance of Communion

Service and the fellowship

meal among believers. 271

In his short letter, Pliny mentions

Christians and the name of

Christ ten times 272 —confirming

the reality of Christ’s existence

on earth and the conviction of

early Christian communities

in His resurrection to life.

Lucian of

Samosata—AD 127-180

Lucian of Samosata was a secondcentury

Greek satirist who spoke

sarcastically of Christ and Christians.

However, at the same time he did

affirm Christ as a real person.

“The Christians…worship a man

to this day—the distinguished

personage who introduced their

novel rites, and was crucified on

that account…[It] was impressed

on them by their original lawgiver

that they are all brothers, from the

moment that they are converted

and deny the gods of Greece,

and worship the crucified sage,

and live after his laws.” 273

270 Pliny, Epistles,10:96

271 Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus (Joplin: Missouri Press Pub., 1996), 199. Cited in Michael Gleghorn,

https://probe.org/ancient-evidence-for-Jesus-from-non-christian-sources-2/3/8.

272 Gary Habermas, Historical Jesus. www.biblicaljesus.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/basics.tour/1D2/

Historical-Jesus.htm. (2 of 3)

273 Lucian, “The Death of Peregrin,”, in The Works of Lucian of Samosata, 11-13, trans. by H. W. Fowler and

SECULAR & JEWISH SOURCES ON JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANS 99


From this account we can add to the

description of Jesus from secular

sources. In The Works of Lucian of

Samosata, Lucian acknowledges:

» Christians worshiped Jesus.

» Jesus introduced new teachings

such as: the brotherhood (and

sisterhood) of all believers,

the importance of new-birth

conversion, denying other gods, and

living according to Jesus’ laws.

» He was crucified “on that account,”

i.e., worshiped as the God-man

(implying Jesus a greater God than

the gods of Greeks or Romans).

JEWISH SOURCES

In addition to Roman secular

sources mentioning Jesus and His

followers, there exist a number

of ancient, albeit, unsympathetic

Jewish sources describing Jesus.

Still, the Jewish perspective provides

valuable 274 historical evidence for

the life of Jesus outside the Bible.

Josephus—AD 37–100

Flavius Josephus was born in

Jerusalem and belonged to a

Jewish aristocratic and priestly

family. After a stint as a freedom

fighter against the Romans, he

turned defector and became part

of the emperor’s inner circle. Under

Emperor Vespasian, Josephus

secured employment in Rome as an

historian. Among his famous works

was Antiquities of the Jews, written

in AD 93, recording the origin of

Jewish nationhood to first-century

Judaism, and a minor focus on early

Christians and their Founder, Christ.

Unquestionably, Josephus ranks as

the single most important Jewish

historian of the ancient world.

On two occasions in his Antiquities,

Josephus mentions Jesus. One

passage describes the Jewish

Sanhedrin’s condemnation of

one named James. This James,

says Josephus, was “the brother

of Jesus, the so-called Christ.” 275

The brother relationship agrees

with the Biblical description by

Paul as “the Lord’s brother.” 276

Another reference is truly

remarkable in what is called

Testimonium Flavianum:

F. G. Fowler,vol.4 (Clarendon,Oxford: 1949). Quoted in Michael Gleghorn, Evidence for Jesus from Non-

Christian Sources, 6/8. http://probe.org/ancient-evidence-for-Jesus-from-non-christian-sources-2/. Cited in

Habermas, Historical Jesus, 206.

274 This study will limit to two major Jewish sources nearest in time to Jesus’ crucifixion, i.e., historian

Josephus, and Rabbinical writings, Babylonian Talmud.

275 Josephus, Antiquities, 20.200. Cited in Bruce, Christian Origin, 36. Quoted in www.uncover.org.uk/

questions/whats-the-evidence-outside-the-Bible-for-Jesus-life-and-teaching/4/10.

276 Galatians 1:19.

100 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


“About this time there lived Jesus,

a wise man, if indeed one might

call him a man. For he…wrought

surprising feats…He was [the] Christ.

Those who had…come to love him

did not give up their affection for

him. On the third day he appeared…

restored…. And the tribe of

Christians…has…not disappeared.” 277

While the majority of scholars regard

Josephus’ short account of “James,

the brother of Jesus,” as authentic,

controversy surrounds the longer

passage. 278 Even if we disregard the

questionable parts of this passage,

yet, the core passage originated with

Josephus, and we are still left with

a good amount of corroborating

information about the Biblical Jesus.

» First, Jesus performed surprising

deeds—an allusion perhaps to

His miracle-working power.

» Second, Jesus was called

Christ by some people.

» Third, Jesus was crucified

under Pilate.

» Fourth, His followers became

known as Christians.

» Fifth, His followers continued

loyal discipleship after His death.

The bottom line is that Josephus

rooted Jesus in history—a

living, unique, historical Person

of the first-century AD.

The Babylonian

Talmud—AD 70–200

The Babylonian Talmud is a

collection of Jewish rabbinical

writings compiled between AD

70 and 500; the earliest period

of compilation occurred between

AD 70 and 200. 279 There are a few

clear references to Jesus in the

Talmud, but the most significant

one from this period 280 says:

“On the eve of Passover Yeshu was

hanged. For forty days before the

277 Josephus, Antiquities, 18:63-64. Cited in Yamauchi, Jesus Outside the New Testament, 212. Quoted in

https://probe.org/ancient-evidence-for-jesus-from-non-Christian-sources-2/.

278 Most scholars believe the core of the passage originated with Josephus; some parts were later altered

by Christian scribes, possibly between the third and fourth centuries. Cited in Yamauchi, Jesus Outside the

New Testament, 212.. For instance, the claim that Jesus was a wise man seems authentic, but scribes would

have inserted “Jesus was the Christ”, especially when later, Josephus refers to Jesus as “the so-called Christ.”

(Antiquities, Book 20:200), or the claim that Jesus “on the third day appeared” to His disciples is quite unlikely

coming from a non-Christian, by acknowledging His resurrection.

279 Habermas, The Historical Jesus, 202, 203. Cited in www.uncover.org.uk/questions/whats-the-evidenceoutside-the-bible-for-Jesus-life-and-teaching/.

280 While the earliest Talmudic writings of Jewish rabbis appear in the fifth century, their tradition indicates

they are faithfully transmitting teachings from the 1st century BCE to the second century AD, known as the

early Tannaitic Period. Cited in https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-there-any-evidence-for-Jesusoutside-the-bible/6/10.

SECULAR & JEWISH SOURCES ON JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANS 101


execution took place, a herald…

cried, “He is going forth to be stoned

because he has practiced sorcery

and enticed Israel to apostasy.” 281

So, what does the passage tell us?

» First, it refers to someone

named Yeshu (or Yeshua).

The name of Jesus in Hebrew

translates as Joshua.

» Second, the passage says Jesus

was “hanged.” Doesn’t the New

Testament say He was “crucified”?

Yes! The term “hanged” functions

as a synonym for “crucified.” The

Bible means the same thing when it

alternates between both terms. 282

» Third, what of the herald crying,

Jesus was “to be stoned”?

According to the Biblical account,

the Jewish leaders planned to

stone Jesus, but those plans

were changed by the Roman

authorities who administered

His execution by crucifixion. 283

» Fourth, the passage also tells us,

from the Jewish angle, why Jesus

died by crucifixion: “because

He has practiced sorcery and

enticed Israel to apostasy.”

“Since this accusation comes from

a rather hostile source, we should

not be too surprised if Jesus is

described somewhat differently

than in the New Testament.” 284

Significantly, both accusations in

the Talmud are similarly leveled

by religious opponents against

Jesus in the Gospels: the Pharisees’

charge of “sorcery”— that Jesus

cast out demons by Beelzebub, the

ruler of demons—; and “enticing

Israel to apostasy”— where Jewish

leaders accused Jesus of stirring up

“our nation” with His teaching. 285

However, these charges only tend

to confirm the New Testament

witness of Jesus’ healing miracles

and powerful teaching ministry.

281 : The Babylonian Talmud,, translated by I. Epstein (London: Soncino, 1935), vol. III, Sanhedrin 43a.281.

Cited in Habermas, The Historical Jesus, 203. Quoted in coldcasechristianity.com/is-there-any-evidence-for-

Jesus-outside-the-bible/6/10.

282 Matthew 27:31: “ led Him away to be crucified.”

Galatians 3:13: “who hangs on a tree.”

Luke 23:39: “criminals “were hanged” with Jesus.

Luke 23:33: “they crucified Him and the criminals.”

283 See John 8:58, 59; and 10:31-33; Matthew 27:27-31.

284 Michael Gleghorn, “Ancient Evidences for Jesus From Non-Christian Sources” (August 30, 2014 5/8. See

https//probe.org/ancient-evidences-for-Jesus-from-non-christian-sources-2/.

285 Luke 23:2,5; Matthew 12:22-28.

102 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


» Fifth, the Talmud further confirms

the timing of Jesus’ crucifixion—“on

the eve of Passover,” i.e., Friday. 286

The following chart summarizes

what ancient non-biblical sources

have taught us about Jesus and

surrounding events in harmony

with New Testament records.

286 John 18:28; 19:14; 19:31.

SECULAR & JEWISH SOURCES ON JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANS 103


References to Jesus: Non-Biblical

Compared to Biblical Sources

References to Jesus

Biblical Events

Non-Biblical Sources

(Roman, Greek, Jewish)

New Testament Sources

Lived in Judea

Tacitus

Matthew 2:1, 5,

6 Luke 2:4-7

Wise Man Josephus, Lucian Luke 2:40, 47

Powerful and

Pliny, Lucian, Talmud

Luke 4:14, 15 Mark

revered teacher

Performed

miraculous acts 287

Executed by crucifixion

Crucified under

Pontius Pilate

Crucified on eve

of Passover

Eventful mid-day

darkness and earthquake

marks crucifixion

Possible reference to faith

in Jesus’ resurrection

Followers believed He

was the Christ or Messiah

Christians worshiped

Jesus as God

Josephus, Talmud

Josephus,

Lucian, Talmud

Josephus, Tacitus

10:17 Matthew 22:16

Matthew 4:23; 15:30,

31 Luke 4:30; 6:17-19

Matthew 27:31

Luke 23:33

Mark 15:15 Luke

23:23, 24 John 19:16

Talmud John 18:28; 19:14, 31

Thallus, Phlegan

Josephus

Josephus, Pliny

John

Pliny, Lucian

Matthew 27:45,

51 Mark 15:33

Luke 23:44, 45

Matthew 28:2-

6 Luke 24:1-7

John 20:24 – 29 1

Corinthians 16:3-8

6:69 Matthew

16:16 John 20:30, 31

Matthew 14:33;

John 20:28

287 Miracles of Jesus: 9 nature miracles; 18 personal healings (besides healing “multitudes”); 5 personal

exorcisms (besides “those tormented with unclean spirits”); 3 raisings from the dead. See Andrews Study

Bible, 1246 (Chart).

104 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


References to Jesus

Biblical Events

After Christ’s death, 288

His loyal followers spread

His teaching world-wide

Non-Biblical Sources

(Roman, Greek, Jewish)

Tacitus, Pliny, Josephus

New Testament Sources

Matthew 28:18-

20 Acts 1:8; 8:1,4;

11:19-21; 13:49

Colossians 1:23

288 The conviction and testimony of Christ’s resurrection propels His disciples to spread His Gospel to all the

world. See Acts 2:32; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

SECULAR & JEWISH SOURCES ON JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANS 105


— Chapter 6 —

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD;

HISTORICAL RECORD

The story is told of Michelangelo

visiting several great art galleries in

Europe. He was deeply impressed

by the large number of paintings

depicting Christ hanging on the

cross. He asked, “Why are so many

art galleries filled with paintings

of the crucifixion? Why do artists

concentrate on Christ’s death

as if it were the last word, the

final scene? Christ’s dying on the

cross lasted for only a few short

hours, but to the end of unending

eternity, Christ is alive! Christ

rules and reigns and triumphs!”

The vision of the resurrection

so inspired Michelangelo, that

he fashioned the magnificent

sculpture, The Resurrected Christ.

Christians world-wide confess faith

that Jesus truly “died, was buried,

and that He rose again the third day

according to the Scriptures, and that

He was seen “by many witnesses.” 289

Yet modern rationalists,

motivated by their stated biases

of completely rejecting miracles

and the supernatural, criticize

the resurrection event.

On the other hand, Luke presents an

historical record in his Gospel and

Book of Acts of the resurrection of

Jesus as a knowable event validated

on the testimony of many “eye

289 1 Corinthians 15:3-5.

106 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


witnesses.” 290 Luke further writes

that Jesus showed Himself alive

by “many infallible proofs” (Greek

language, pollis tekmeriois—“many

convincing, decisive proofs”). 291 This

expression indicates the strongest

type of legal evidence 292 that supports

unmistakable “demonstrable

proof” 293 of the resurrection.

Today, we would call this empirical

evidence, or “science.” Tekmeriois

carries with it the certainty of

conviction in contrast to what was

only probable or circumstantial.

What we know about Jesus’

resurrection is not from second

or third- hand sources, but from

personal eye- witnesses. And eyewitness

evidence is the strongest of

all arguments in the court of law,

especially this is true when accounts

are confirmed by more than one

witness; and by “many,” as the case of

Jesus’ resurrection, it is irrefutable.

The apostles wrote down their

experience of Jesus after His

resurrection: what they heard, saw,

touched, and experienced together.

This evidence they made available

through their first-hand testimony

recorded in New Testament

Scriptures: “ This Jesus God raised

up, of which we are all witnesses.” 294

Paul, who later witnessed the

personal appearance of Jesus,

confessed his faith with former

witnesses that Jesus truly “died,

was buried, and that He rose

again the third day according

to the Scriptures,” and that

He was seen by “five hundred”

believers and disciples alike. 295

In our study together, we will explore

the following aspects of Jesus’

resurrection account and its powerful

tekmeriois (demonstrable proofs).

• First-century eyewitness accounts.

• Comparison of Resurrection

predictions with their fulfillment.

• Present-day opponents become

convinced proponents.

• Supporting evidence of

other individuals, groups,

and physical objects.

290 Luke 24:48; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

291 Acts 1:3. Walter Bauer, William F.Arndt, and Wilber Gingrich, eds., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New

Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 4th rev. ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), 815.

292 Bernard Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidence (Chicago: Moody Press, 1953), 192. Cited in McDowell,

New Evidence, 213.

293 . Clark Pinnock,” A Dialogue on Christ’s Resurrection,” Christianity Today (April, 1968): 2. Cited in

McDowell, New Evidence, .213,214.

294 Acts 2:32.

295 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 107


• Testimonials for the Resurrection as

the centerpiece of Christian faith.

• Jesus’ twofold offer of

resurrection life.

FIRST CENTURY

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS

During Jesus’ 40 days on earth from

His resurrection to His ascension

to heaven, the Bible supplies

numerous eyewitness encounters.

On the first day of His resurrection,

Jesus’ agenda demonstrates personal

concern for His saddened and

discouraged disciples and followers.

In that morning He met Mary beside

the tomb—and she recognized Him

when He spoke her name, “Mary.”

296

That Sunday evening He walked

with two disciples to the village

of Emmaus, seven miles from

Jerusalem, and they recognized Him

with joy when He “broke bread” in

their home. 297 On the same night,

He visited the disciples secluded

in a house in Jerusalem; and to

help them believe He was real, He

showed them His pierced hands

and feet and ate some fish. 298

In all, the Bible records fourteen

post-resurrection appearances

of Jesus. These meetings

include a variety of persons,

places, circumstances, and

emotional responses. Note the

sequence of Jesus’ appearances

following His resurrection: 299

1. To the blinded Roman

guards at Joseph’s tomb 300

2. To Mary Magdalene

in the garden 301

3. To women returning

from the tomb 302

4. To Peter later in the day

in Jerusalem 303

5. To Emmaus disciples 304

6. To the apostles without

Thomas in the upper room 305

296 John 20:10-17.

297 Luke 24:13-35.

298 Luke 24:36-49. First-day appearances credited to Peter Roenfeld, “Miracle That Shakes the World”,

Adventist Review; April 23, 1998.

299 Credit for list of Jesus’ appearances to Peth, 7 Mysteries Solved, Appendix D, 791.

300 Matthew 28:3,4,11-15.

301 Mark 16:9; John 20:14.

302 Matthew 28:1, 9, 10.

303 Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5.

304 Luke 24:13-35.

305 Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-24. When Jesus appeared in their presence through locked doors, the

disciples were terrified supposing “ they had seen a spirit.” To demonstrate to the disciples His body was real

108 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


7. To the apostles with Thomas

present in the upper room 306

8. To the seven by the

Lake of Tiberias 307

9. To the multitude of

500-plus believers on a

Galilean mountain 308

10. To James in Jerusalem 309

11. To the eleven disciples

in Jerusalem 310

12. To the eleven apostles at

His ascension from the

Mount of Olives 311

13. “Saints” who rose and

ascended with Christ in a

special resurrection. 312

14. To Paul at Damascus 313

(post-ascension appearance)

15. To John, the Revelator on the

island of Patmos 314 (vision:

“Revelation of Jesus Christ”)

COMPARISONS OF

PROPHETIC PREDICTIONS

WITH FULFILLMENT OF

THE RESURRECTION

Jesus Himself predicted He would

die, and then be raised from the

dead, which each of the four Gospels

record. 315 These predictions of His

own resurrection were pre-written

Scripture based on what David

foresaw 1,000 years earlier. The key

Old Testament reference is Psalm

16:9-11; where the Messiah, in burial,

would not “undergo corruption” and,

in fact, would rise from the dead. 316

“You (God) will not leave My soul

in sheol (the grave).” In this passage

and to convince the reality of their faith and sight “ he ate in their presence”…“ a piece of broiled fish and some

honeycomb.”

306 John 20:26-29.

307 John 21:1-23.

308 1 Corinthians 15:6.

309 1 Corinthians 15:7.

310 1 Corinthians 15:7; Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:33-52; Acts 1:3-12.

311 Acts 1:3-12.

312 See The Messiah in Prophecy and History, Chart 1: note for No. 18, “ Jesus Ascends to Heaven.”

313 Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8.

314 Revelation 1:9-19.

315 Matthew reports that Jesus said, “He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Matthew 16:21.

Mark records Jesus’ words, “the Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill Him

and after three days He will arise.” Mark 9:31.

Luke discloses Jesus’ private announcement to His disciples what will happen to Him in Jerusalem: “He would

be mocked, insulted, flogged, and put to death. But on the third day He will rise again.” Luke 18:32, 33.

John writes what Jesus repeated many times: “Destroy this temple (referring to His body) and I will raise it

again in three days.” John 2:19.

316 Andrews Study Bible, footnote on Psalm 16:8-11, 682.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 109


the language transcends beyond

the experience of David who did

undergo corruption in the grave

and did not rise from the dead. It

“finds fulfillment in the New David,

God’s ‘Holy One’ who (unlike David)

was resurrected from the dead.”

“Therefore, my heart is glad…

My flesh also will rest in hope [of

resurrection]. For You will not

leave My soul in sheol [the abode of

the dead] nor will You allow Your

Holy One to see corruption.” 317

During Jesus’ public ministry

when He came to raise Lazarus

from the tomb, he was dead

already four days, and by this time

in the hot Middle East climate

there was a “stench.” 318 The body

was in the process of decaying or

“corruption. ”But by contrast, Paul

testifies to a sign of Messiahship,

declaring, “He (Jesus) Whom God

raised up saw no corruption.” 319

The key New Testament account

of Jesus’ resurrection is in Luke’s

Gospel, Luke 24:44-47:

“Then He said to them, ‘These are

the words which I spoke to you

while I was still with you 320 that

all things must be fulfilled which

were written in the Law of Moses

and the Prophets and the Psalms

concerning Me. And He opened

their understanding that they might

comprehend the Scriptures.

“Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is

written, and thus it was necessary

for Christ to suffer and rise from

the dead the third day, and that

repentance and remission of sins

should be preached in His Name to

all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’”

In His three and a half years of

public ministry Jesus never predicted

His death without adding that He

would rise, 321 describing His coming

resurrection as a “sign” for belief.

317 For further confirmation of the comparison method (prediction/fulfillment) read Acts 2:25-31 and 13:30-

37. As Peter points out in his sermon on Pentecost, David is speaking of someone other than himself, i.e., a

“Holy One.” Speaking prophetically “what was ahead; he spoke of the resurrection of Christ” (Acts 2:31).

318 John 11:39.

319 Acts 13:37.

320 For Jesus, His resurrection announcement to His followers was not an afterthought, but a forethought.

321 At six different times during His earthly ministry, Jesus made statements that predicted both His death

and afterwards, His resurrection:

1.In the temple. (as a “sign” to Jews at Passover) John 2:19-22.

2.In Galilee. (as a “sign” to scribes and Pharisees) Matthew 12:38-40.

3.At Caesarea Philippi. (as a “test” to His disciples) Matthew 16:21.

4.In Galilee (prediction to His disciples) Matthew 17:22, 23.

5.In vicinity of the temple (to Jewish leaders at the Feast of Tabernacles) John 10:11.

6.Going up to Jerusalem (third prediction to His disciples) Matthew 20:17-19.

110 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


What does it mean when we say

the bodily resurrection of Jesus is

an historical event? Briefly stated,

it happened! We know when—

spring of AD 31. We know where—

the place was a garden tomb near

Golgotha Hill, outside Jerusalem

gates. We know even the time of

rising to life again—the third day

(inclusive reckoning) sometime

near the dawn of Sunday morning.

The disciples on the Emmaus Road

who walked and talked with Jesus

testified to the eleven disciples of

Jesus, “The Lord is risen indeed.”

The Greek term ontos means “really,”

“surely,” “actually.” That is to say, the

Resurrection actually took place as

an historical event on the third day

from His death. (See Appendix E, 70

Weeks Prophetic Chart for precise

dates of Jesus’ birth, anointing to

ministry, and His sacrificial death.)

OPPONENTS OF

CHRISTIANITY AND

RESURRECTION

BECOME PROPONENTS

In recent times some critics have set

about to shatter the foundations of

Christianity, including the event of

Jesus’ resurrection. In the process

of diligent investigation, (in the

cases below) some found themselves

strangely convicted by the powerful

story of Jesus and the evidences

(tekmeriois) about Him in recorded

Scriptures and written history.

Frank Morrison: In the twentieth

century, Frank Morrison, a trial

lawyer in England, promised himself

that one day he would write a book

to disprove the resurrection. Brought

up in a rationalistic environment,

and skeptical of Christianity, 322 yet

he had the reputation of being an

honest person. He started from the

most critical approach to the New

Testament documents. His purpose

was to omit any suggestion of the

miraculous, and thus, do away

with the resurrection of Jesus.

But when he came to carefully study

the facts, he had to change his mind.

He wrote his book with conclusions

the opposite of his first intentions.

His first chapter is significantly

entitled, “The Book that Refused

to be Written.” Morrison writes

of his shift of perspective: “It was

as though a man set out to cross a

322 Since a young man, Morrison believed “His (Jesus’) history rested upon very insecure foundations” and

that “the particular form [documentary criticism] in which the narrative of His life and death had come down

to us was unreliable.” Yet, Morrison viewed Jesus with admiration as an exemplary man: “ For the person of

Jesus Christ Himself, however, I had a deep and even reverent regard. He seemed to me an almost legendary

figure of purity and noble manhood.” See Frank Morrison, Who Moved the Stone? (London: Faber and Faber,

1930,reprinted 1971), 9,10.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 111


forest by a familiar and well- beaten

track and came out suddenly where

he did not expect to come out. The

point of entry was the same; it was

the point of emergence (original

italics) that was different.” 323 He

concludes among other things, that

the death and resurrection of Jesus

foretold by Jesus and empirically

witnessed (observed, experienced)

by others was true and authentic!

His study led him to become a

follower of Jesus Christ. Morrison

made a complete turnabout from

unbelief to compelling belief. His

book, Who Moved the Stone? has

become a best seller, a classic on

the reality of the resurrection that

still remains undisputed. 324

Gilbert West and Lord

Lyttleton: Two young men from

upper society who attended Oxford

University, determined to attack

the very basis of Christian faith.

Lyttleton selected to prove that Saul

of Tarsus was never converted to

Christianity, and hadn’t traveled

to numerous places in the Roman

Empire on missionary trips. West

chose to demonstrate that Jesus

never rose from the tomb.

After a couple of years passed, they

met to discuss their findings. Both

were a little sheepish-looking for

they both had come independently

to similar and startling conclusions.

From careful examination, Lyttleton

found that Saul of Tarsus did become

a radically new man through his

conversion to Jesus Christ, and

retraced Paul’s authentic travel

journeys. West’s investigation

discovered the evidence pointed

unmistakably to the fact that Jesus

did rise from the dead. His book can

still be found in a large library with

the title, Observations on the History

and Evidences of the Resurrection

of Jesus Christ. He writes, “No

intelligent jury in the world would

fail to bring a verdict that the

resurrection is a true story.” 325

Josh McDowell: Searching

for meaning and purpose, Josh

McDowell began a pursuit for

answers to know what life is all

about. As a teen, he appeared an

example of what Thomas Aquinas

323 Morrison, The Stone? 9.

324 References for Frank Morrison’s story are: a) Morrison, The Stone,9-12.

b) J.N.D. Anderson, “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ” (Christianity Today (March 29, 1968):9.

c) Michael Green, Man Alive (Downer’s Grove, Ill: Intervarsity Press, 1968), 54, 55. Both b) and c) cited in

McDowell, New Evidence, 209,216

325 Green, Man Alive,”53-56. Cited in McDowell, 219.

112 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


wrote, “there is within every soul a

thirst for happiness and meaning.”

However, in his search he’d given

up on religion and church. Then,

at a university Campus Crusade

meeting, he was challenged to

examine Jesus Christ and His

claim as the Divine Son of God. At

the same time, McDowell also had

set out to disprove Christianity.

Josh says, “I had biases and

prejudices not for Christ, but contrary

to Him.” Then a turn-around

happened! He adds, “I confirmed

through investigation what I wanted

to refute.” He found the evidence

overwhelming in favor of the Son of

God, 326 and that He resurrected from

the dead. “I became a Christian.”

For McDowell, Christianity was

not “a leap into the dark,” but

rather “a step into the light.” 327

McDowell then wrote the popular

and credible book on Christianity,

a defense on arguments for

Christianity: The New Evidence

that Demands a Verdict. According

to World Magazine, The New

Evidence was named the thirteenth

most influential book of the last

50 years on Christian thought. 328

Lee Strobel: For much of his life,

Strobel was an atheist. The idea of an

all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving

Creator of the universe seemed so

absurd. It appeared not worthy of

his time to check it out for himself.

His education was in journalism

and law, and for years he served as

legal editor of the Chicago Tribune

where the staff prided themselves in

skepticism. They didn’t take anyone’s

word at face value, instead, preferring

to get at least two sources to confirm

a fact before printing it. 329 A sign

in a colleague’s cubicle reflected

the cynicism: “If your mother says

she loves you—check it out!”

Though difficult for him to admit

now, Strobel’s life lacked a moral

framework. “I lived a very immoral,

drunken, profane, narcissistic, and

even self-destructive life.” He also

had anger issues that distressed

both his wife and daughter.

326 The term “Son” in Hebrew and Aramaic (and adopted in the Greek New Testament) does not mean

physical descent or birth, but attributes of God (Galatians 3:7; Mark 3:17). Thus, the name “Son of God” refers

to Jesus sharing divine attributes of the Godhead.

327 McDowell, xxxiii.

328 Now past 80, in his lifetime McDowell has addressed more than 25 million people, giving over 27,000

talks in 126 countries. He has reached more than 10 million young people in 115 countries. See Josh.org/aboutus/josh-bio/updated7/17/19.

329 Unknowingly, following a Biblical principle that a matter in court cases needs to be established by, not

one, but two or three witnesses (see Deuteronomy 19:15; 2 Corinthians 13:1).

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 113


One afternoon, his wife Leslie,

rocked the marriage by announcing

that after a time of spiritual

searching she decided to become a

follower of Jesus. While he expected

the worst, in the following months

he began to see positive changes in

her character and values. Finally,

she invited him to church, and he

accepted—partly because he was

impressed by the changes he saw and

partly to get her out of this Christian

group she was getting entangled with.

The pastor’s message that morning

on “Basic Christianity” stunned

him, and shattered so many of his

misconceptions of Christian faith.

So he decided to use his journalistic

and legal training to systematically

investigate whether there was

credibility to any religion—especially

Christianity. This launched Strobel

into a two-year spiritual quest.

The key question around which

he tested the truth or falsity of all

religions was, “Did Jesus, or did

He not, return from the dead?” 330

Strobel assessed the Gospels

and New Testament accounts

as an investigative reporter.

“If Jesus not only claimed to be

Divine, but then He also returned

from the dead after three days in

a tomb—well, that would be pretty

convincing evidence that He was

telling the truth.” He concludes,

“I was forced to evaluate them

[the New Testament books] for

what they undeniably are: a set of

ancient historical documents.” 331

Strobel was intrigued with what

the Gospel writer Luke states on

matters, “such as the resurrection,”

which is firmly established by ‘many

convincing proofs.’” 332 He liked how

Luke wrote an “orderly account of

the things that have been fulfilled

among us” by eyewitnesses “ so

that you may know with certainty”

about Jesus’ life, teachings, miracles,

death, and resurrection. 333

After opening his life to God,

God gave him “a new heart and

put a new spirit” 334 in him.

“Soon my character began to change.

And so did my values. And so did

my morality and my attitude and

my philosophy and my worldview

and my relationships and my

330 Lee Strobel, The Case For The Resurrection (Grand Rapids,MI: Zondervan,2009),10.

331 Strobel,The Resurrection,10,11.

332 Acts 1:3.

333 Luke 1:1-4.

334 Ezekiel 36:26.

114 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


priorities. Over time my whole life

began to change—for the good.” 335

Lee Strobel testifies to his conversion

to Jesus Christ, and Christian

commitment to the veracity of Jesus’

resurrection in his surprising book,

The Case For the Resurrection. 336

OTHER SUPPORTING

EVIDENCE FOR

THE RESURRECTION

Women as First Witnesses:

Matthew, the Gospel writer records

something very significant that

happened on resurrection morning.

The angel, 337 and later Jesus, 338

first met together with women.

In other words, women were the

primary witnesses to the good news

of the living, resurrected Christ.

In a peculiar way, this points to

the historical validity of the event,

since women were not accepted as

witnesses in Jewish society of firstcentury

Palestine. Their testimony

was regarded as so worthless that

they were not even allowed to serve

as legal witnesses in a Jewish court

of law. If Matthew had invented the

story (as some have accused) he

would hardly highlight the witness

of women if he wanted to convince a

first-century audience. If Matthew’s

account were a legend, he would

have certainly portrayed male

disciples, such as Peter or John, as

first discovering the empty tomb

and meeting with the risen Christ.

The fact that women are the first

witnesses to the empty tomb is most

plausible to explain the reality—they

were the discoverers of the empty

tomb. After witnessing the burial

on Friday, they decided to pay their

last respects and love for Jesus after

Sabbath, on Sunday morning.

The reality is the Gospel writers

were recording the plain facts of

the resurrection as they happened.

It is to this great truth that 339 the

women are instructed to tell the

disciples, and further inform them

to meet Jesus in Galilee, 340 as

Jesus foretold while with them. 341

The Soldiers’ Report: The Jewish

leaders recalled Jesus’ prediction

of His resurrection: “after three

335 Strobel , The Resurrection,56.

336 Strobel’s life-changing story is recited in his book, The Case For the Resurrection (Grand Rapids, MI:

Zondervan, 2009), Part 1, “My Journey Into the Evidence,” 9-12.

337 Matthew 28:5.

338 Matthew 28:9.

339 Acts 2:23, 24.

340 Matthew 28:10.

341 Matthew 26:32.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 115


days I will rise.” 342 And on Sabbath

(the next day after crucifixion) they

went to Pilate requesting Roman

guards to secure the tomb under

the pretext, “lest His disciples come

by night and steal Him away.” 343

Pilate yielded to their request, and

ensured three security measures:

a detachment of Roman guards, a

great stone over the tomb’s opening

(already secured by Joseph), and the

Roman seal across the rock door. 344

Early Sunday morning “an angel of

the Lord descended from heaven,

and came and rolled back the stone

from the door…His countenance

was like lightning…And the guards

shook for fear of him and became

like dead men [i.e., fainted].” 345

Shortly after this encounter, the

women who came to the tomb met

the angel who told them, “Do not be

afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus

Who was crucified. He is not here,

for His is risen.” 346 It is this news—

Jesus has risen—that the stunned

delegation of soldiers confides with

the Jewish leaders. Recovering from

the blinding experience with the

angel, yet still dazed and terrified,

“some of the guard came into the city

and reported to the chief priests all

the things that had happened.” 347

There and then a cover-up deal is

struck. Urged upon the soldiers is

a bribe consisting of a “large sum

of money,” and a promise the chief

priests would “appease” Pilate for

their freedom from punishment for

the missing body (since sleeping on

duty—the concocted excuse—was

punishable by severest penalties,

even death).“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.” 348

The plot had obvious weaknesses.

First, the disciples were hiding in

the upper room, afraid of sharing

342 Matthew 27:63.

343 Matthew

344 Matthew 27:62-65. Sealing occurred by means of a cord passing across the stone at the mouth of the

sepulcher, fastened at either end of the rock by sealing clay. Henry Alfort, The Greek Testament: With A

Critical Revised Text: Prolegomena: And A Critical and Exegetical Commentary, vol. 1, 6th ed. (Cambridge:

Deighton, Bell, and Co., 1868). Cited in McDowell, 234.

345 Matthew 28:4.

346 Matthew 28:5, 6.

347 Matthew 28:11.

348 Matthew 28:12-15.

116 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Jesus’ fate. Second, the huge

stone 349 was rolled away without

any of the 100 guards 350 disturbed

next to the tomb. Third, how could

the guards identify the party or

know what happened if they were

asleep. Fourth, with no plan or

means, where would the disciples

place the body of Jesus—from

there, to what other burial place?

Matthew records that the soldiers

agreed to the deception of a false

report. However, was Pilate left in

the dark? Before Pilate left Jerusalem

for his residence in Caesarea, his

headquarters, he most likely would

have received reports already in

circulation of Jesus’ resurrection.

As Desire of Ages fittingly points out,

“The very efforts made to prevent

Christ’s resurrection are the most

convincing arguments in its favor.” 351

The Jewish Leaders: During

the sham trial of Jesus, Jewish

leaders brought false witnesses

against Jesus. They misconstrued

His words that He would destroy

their revered temple and rebuild

it in three days. 352 And on the day

following His death (the Sabbath)

the Jewish leaders appealed to Pilate

for a guard over the tomb “until the

third day,” remembering His words

when alive, “that after three days I

will rise.” 353 What they feared they

tried to prevent—His resurrection!

By visiting Pilate, the religious

leaders pursue the unusual behavior

of breaking their own tradition of

Sabbath laws (and with an unclean

Gentile) to request a guard for Jesus’

tomb, which Pilate supplies. In taking

such precautions, New Testament

scholar, Leon Morris, points out that

the Jewish leaders “did more than

they knew.” 354 Certainly, the Jewish

leaders would have condemned the

Roman soldiers with negligence of

duty had the body of Jesus been

stolen on their watch. Furthermore,

they would have complained to

Pilate, and demanded the arrest

and punishment of the disciples

for the alleged crime. In both cases

349 The “stone” is described as large and heavy. Mark—“very large” (16:4). Matthew—“large stone” (27:60). It

usually required several men to remove it.

Thorburn T. J. The Resurrection Narratives and Modern Criticism (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubver

Co., 1910), 97, 98. Cited in McDowell, New Evidence, 232

350 “Centurion” is captain of 100 soldiers (Matthew 27:40).

351 White, Desire of Ages, 778.

352 Matthew 25:59-61; 27:63,64.

353 Matthew 27: 62-66.

354 Leon Morris, cited by George R. Knight , Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Daily Devotional (Hagerstown,

Maryland: Review and Herald Publishing, 2013), October 26 reading.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 117


above, the record is silent because

the occurrences never took place.

In fact, the disciples had no reason

for taking away Jesus’ body that

had been honorably laid in Joseph’s

tomb. In reality, the disciples

didn’t have the reason, means, or

opportunity to actually remove His

body. 355 Why would they do that

and then knowingly and willingly

die for what they would know was a

contrived lie? Also, if Jesus had not

risen from the grave why then was

the public and repeated claim that

Jesus had risen not been challenged

by Jewish leaders? Typical Jewish

non-response was when Peter

addressed “men of Judah and all

who dwell in Jerusalem,” showing

from Old Testament Scriptures the

prediction of Christ’s resurrection 356 .

Furthermore, in the trials of the

apostles at Jerusalem not once is

the resurrection of Jesus referred

to or refuted. 357 This silence of the

Jews about Jesus’ body is loud

testimony to the factual happening.

Later, during Paul’s three missionary

tours, the Jews made all kinds of

personal attacks on him, but again,

avoided the objective evidence of

the resurrection—the undisputed,

silent witness of the empty tomb. 358

In our time, a dissenting Jewish view

of the resurrection is published by

Rabbi Pichas Lichas in his book, The

Resurrection of Jesus. He testifies: ”I

accept the resurrection of Jesus, not

as an invention of the community of

disciples but as an historical event.” 359

The Empty Tomb: Pilate secured

the tomb of Jesus against invasion

by three actions: one, positioning

a detachment of Roman guards;

two, placing a heavy and large-sized

stone over the tomb’s entrance; and

three, affixing the Imperial Seal of

Rome over the tomb which would

be a high crime to remove. In spite

of the precautions, sometime near

dawn, when the women arrived at the

site; the stone was rolled away, the

seal was broken, and the guards had

disappeared from their post of duty.

Who removed the stone? The

enemies of Jesus had no motive for

removing the body (on the contrary,

to contain it). The friends of Jesus,

who fled from the crucifixion scene

had neither the power nor courage

355 Strobel,The Resurrection,28.

356 Acts 2:14, 23, 24. Verse 32: “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.”

357 Acts 4.

358 Acts 13:30, 33, 34, 37; 17:3, 18; 26:23; 28:23.

359 Pinchas Lichas, The Resurrection of Jesus (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2002), Back cover.

See also the chapter, “The Must of the Resurrection,” 85-93.

118 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


to face a formidable company of

soldiers. Certainly, not the Roman

soldiers, unsympathetic to both

Jews and Jesus’ followers, with

allegiance only to Caesar.

If not the disciples, if not the Jewish

leaders, certainly if not the Roman

soldiers, who then opened the

tomb? The Gospel writer Matthew

describes supernatural phenomena

associated with Jesus’ resurrection.

“Behold, there was a great

earthquake, for an angel of the

Lord descended from heaven, and

came and rolled back the stone

from the door, and sat on it.

“His countenance was like

lightning…and the guards shook

for fear of him, and became

like dead men [fainted].” 360

When alive, six times Jesus foretold

His rising from the dead, on “the

third day.” 361 And it happened

right on time! The narrative of the

Gospels explains the historical

evidence, describing the events of

the first Easter. The body of Jesus

had not been tampered with by

friend or enemy; He was raised by

the authority and power of God. 362

The Graveclothes: After soliciting

permission from Pilate, the body

of Jesus was taken from the cross

by Joseph of Arimathea, a new

follower, and placed in his own tomb.

The body of Jesus was wrapped

for burial in a linen cloth with 100

pounds of aromatic spices 363 mixed

in a gummy paste between the folds.

“This procedure was customary

Jewish practice and similar to

Egyptian mummification.” 364

There’s a remarkable detail recorded

in the Gospel narrative: while

the body of Jesus was gone, the

grave-clothes were not gone. After

the women notified the disciples

(who were in hiding in the upper

room) that Jesus had risen, both

Peter and John raced to the burial

place and glanced into the empty

tomb. What they observed under

close investigation were: the stone

slab, linen grave clothes lying on

it, and the head cloth. The head

napkin, placed over Jesus’ face,

was lying to the side, neatly folded.

360 Matthew 28:2, 3.

361 The Biblical “third day” takes into consideration inclusive reckoning, i.e. parts of three days are included

and reckoned as three days: Friday after 3:00 p.m. (His death) until sundown, Sabbath (full day), and Sunday

morning—completing the third day, when Jesus arose from the tomb.

362 Acts 52:24: “Whom God raised up”; cp. 1 Peter 1:21: “God Who raised Him from the dead.”

363 Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 16:1, 2.

364 Joe Jerus, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Hoax or History? (Knoxville, TN: Campus Advent

Ministries, Cury Copy Center; 1994), 8.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 119


Regarding the linen clothes, the

Greek translation suggests they were

“lying” or “collapsed,” not scattered

around the tomb, but placed on the

slab where His body had been. 365

Remarking on the tomb robbery

conspiracy theory, 366 Merrill Tenney

explains, “No robbers would have

rewound the wrappings in their

original shape, for there would

not have been time to do so. They

would have flung the clothes

down in disorder and fled with

the body, 367 or more likely to have

escaped with the wrapped body.

Such orderliness is inconsistent with

grave robbing and body snatching

theories—and especially with a

sentinel of guards around. The

grave clothes give a silent witness

of the impossibility of theft.”

Change in Disciples: John R.

W. Stott proposes the strongest

evidence for belief in the resurrection

is the dramatic change occurring

in the disciples: “Perhaps the

transformation of the disciples of

Jesus is the greatest evidence of

all for the resurrection.” 368 During

Jesus’ ministry the disciples failed to

comprehend the predictions of His

sufferings and death. 369 Even when

the event happened, the disciples

did not realize the truth of the

resurrection. 370 As a result, the hours

spent by Jesus in Joseph’s tomb were

the gloomiest in the disciples’ lives.

Following the crucifixion, they were

fearful, doubtful, and in despair.

They lost all hope because they

failed to grasp Jesus’ promise of His

resurrection on the third day. During

this time the disciples were hiding for

“fear of the Jews,” 371 afraid of sharing

the same fate of death as Jesus.

But a striking transformation

effected a complete reversal of their

beliefs and emotions. On the day

of the crucifixion they were filled

with sadness. On the first day of the

week, news of Jesus’ resurrection

filled them with joy. Because of

365 John 20:2-8. See J. N. D. Anderson, “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ”, Christianity Today (12 April,

1968 ):7, 8. Cited in McDowell, New Evidence, 247. Also John R. W. Stott, Basic Christianity, 2nd edition,

(Downer’s Grove,IL: Intervarsity Press, 1971), 53, 54.

366 Frank Morrison refutes six hypotheses that attempt to explain away the historical eyewitness accounts

of Jesus’ resurrection. See Frank Morrison, Who Moved the Stone? (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1971

edition), 88-102.

367 Merrill C. Tenney, The Reality of the Resurrection (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1972), 119. Cited in

McDowell, New Evidence, 268.

368 Stott, Basic Christianity, 58.

369 Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 12:40.

370 Luke 24.

371 John 20:19.

120 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


the resurrection—of personally

meeting again with Jesus—His

followers were lifted from despair

into profound belief. The disciples

had been transformed from selfpreservation

to the point where they

were willing to endure persecution

and even martyrdom. Just a read

through the Book of Acts and we

see how the disciples were willing

to suffer for their conviction that

Jesus indeed rose from the dead

and lives forevermore. But the

disciples didn’t just believe Jesus

rose from the dead; it was for the

truth of the resurrection they

were willing to live and to die. 372

Further, Philip Yancey aptly

describes the direct link between

the completely changed disciples

and their first-hand proof of Jesus’

resurrection: “What else explains the

whiplash change (italics supplied)

in men known for their cowardice

and instability?” 373 Within just six

short weeks, a remarkable turnabout

change happened for the disciples,

notably; Peter, James, and Thomas!

Peter: The vacillating Peter, who

denied Jesus three times during

the dark night of Jesus’ trial, had

gone out in his own dark night to

weep bitterly. Then he shows up

on the Day of Pentecost preaching

with power before “men of Judah

and all who dwell in Jerusalem.” 374

In his morning sermon he quotes

Scriptures with renewed faith in

the crucified Messiah and risen

Lord. 375 He preaches so boldly and

so powerfully by the Spirit to a vast

crowd that 3,000 believe in Christ

and are baptized in one day.

James: Another “whiplash change”

is seen in the life of James; the

step-brother of Jesus, who was

a holdout during Jesus’ lifetime.

Both Gospels of Mark and John

report that none of Jesus’ brothers

believed in Him. 376 But when we

reach the narrative of Acts, the

list that the writer Luke gives of

the assembled disciples includes

“James”—evidently a believer now.

What made the difference? He

had seen the risen Jesus! Among

others, “He was seen by James.” 377

As a result of that encounter, James

didn’t just become a Christian; he

later became leader of the Jerusalem

372 All the disciples, except John, died a martyr’s death.

373 Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan,1995), 216.

374 Acts 2:14.

375 Acts 2:22-39.

376 Mark 3:21; 6:3, 4; John 7:3-5.

377 1 Corinthians 15:7.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 121


Church. 378 James was so thoroughly

convinced of Jesus’ Messiahship

because of the resurrection that he

died a martyr, as both Christian

(Clement of Alexandria) and

Jewish (Josephus) sources attest.

Thomas: Among the disciples,

Thomas was most skeptical of Jesus’

resurrection. Even after hearing

from the others of the wonderful

appearance of the risen Lord, saying,

“We have seen the Lord,” he was

unwilling to exercise faith dependent

on first-hand testimony: “Except I

shall see in His hands the print of

the nails and put my finger into the

print of the nails, and thrust my hand

into His side, I will not believe.” 379

A week later, while the disciples are

eating their evening meal, they talk

of the evidences Christ gave them in

the prophecies. Then “Jesus came,

the doors being shut and stood in

the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you.’”

Turning to Thomas, He says, “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.” With no further need

of proof, Thomas confesses his faith

in Jesus: “My Lord and My God!” 380

While Jesus accepts Thomas’ faith

based on empirical evidence, He

recognized in future generations

faith would be established on the

testimony of eyewitnesses. “Thomas,

because you have seen Me, you

have believed. Blessed are those

who have not seen, and yet have

believed,” 381 —and will believe in

Me in the twenty-first century.

In conclusion, arguably the foremost

authority on the resurrection, Dr.

Gary Habermas, in an interview

by Lee Strobel, sums up his

investigation and belief in the

reality of Christ’s resurrection. “All

of the evidence from the Gospels

and Acts—incident after incident—

witness after witness, corroboration

on top of corroboration—is

extremely impressive. There may

not be any more thoroughly attested

event in ancient history.” 382

378 Acts 15:12-21; Galatians 1:19.

379 Here Thomas bears testimony to the reality of Jesus’ crucifixion; touching the wounded body parts where

spikes had been driven through His hands and feet and where the soldier’s spear had pierced His side.

380 John 20:26-28.

381 John 20:29.

382 Lee Strobel, Resurrection, 37. Habermas has compiled a list of more than 2,200 sources in French,

German, and English in which experts have written on the resurrection from 1975 to the present (2009). See

Strobel, Resurrection, 44.

122 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


THE RAPID SPREAD

OF CHRISTIANITY

The resurrection became the central

proclamation of the early Christian

Church from the very beginning. 383

The earliest Christians didn’t just

endorse Jesus’ teaching; they were

convinced they had seen Him alive

after His crucifixion. That’s what

changed their lives and propelled the

Christian Church. The resurrection

was the center of their faith. 384 The

disciples not only preached it—

that God raised Jesus and we are

His witnesses; they suffered for

it and were ready to go to prison,

to the flogging post, and to die.

Within a few years of Christ’s

resurrection, this religious

movement spread rapidly across

the Roman Empire. Christianity

moved westward to Asia Minor,

Greece, Rome, Gaul (France), and

Britain; eastward toward India

and China; and south into Africa.

Nothing else but the historical

reality of the bodily resurrection of

Jesus (and “His Kingdom of God”

message) can satisfactorily explain

the existence, endurance, and

expansion of Christianity. It was

said of Christians at Antioch in the

early days of the Church: “they have

turned the world upside down.” 385

THE CENTERPIECE OF

RESURRECTION FOR

CHRISTIAN FAITH

(John 11; 1 Corinthians 15; 1

Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Testimonials

» “The Resurrection is the foundation

of Apostolic Christianity.”

J. Sparrow-Simpson.

» “Without the belief in the

Resurrection, the Christian

faith could not have come

into being.” William Craig.

» “Faith in the Resurrection is

the very keystone of the arch

of Christian faith and when it

is removed all must inevitably

crumble into ruin.” H. P. Liddon.

» “To me, Christianity stand or falls

on the Resurrection.” T. Harmack.

» “Perhaps the transformation

of the disciples of Jesus is the

greatest evidence of all for the

Resurrection.” John. R. W. Stott.

» “Without the hope of the

Resurrection the whole fabric

of Christianity unravels.”

Dr. Siegfried Horn.

383 Acts 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 10:41; 13:30, 31.

384 1 Corinthians 15.

385 Acts 17:6.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 123


» “In the whole story of Jesus

Christ, the most important event

is the Resurrection. Christian

faith depends on this. Historical

evidence for the Resurrection is

stronger than any other miracle

narrated….” 386 William Lyon Phelps.

» “The Resurrection turned

catastrophe into victory. Because

God raised Jesus from the

dead, He could be proclaimed

as Messiah after all (Acts 2:32,

36).” William Lane Craig.

» “The Resurrection of Christ is

the very citadel of the Christian

faith. This is the doctrine that

turned the world upside down

in the first century, that lifted

Christianity preeminently

above Judaism and pagan

religions of the Mediterranean

world.” Wilbur M. Smith.

Again, the witnesses of Jesus’

resurrection and persuasive

testimonials of others since that

time, muster powerful evidence of

the Messiahship of Jesus, and the

truth of the whole Christian faith.

Jesus’ Offer of

Resurrection Life

The testimony of a believer’s changed

life can also be cited as a proof of

Jesus’ resurrection. The evidence

of personal experience proves for

oneself the reality of His Word—

instead of relying on the word of

another. We can “taste” 387 and

experience for ourselves the evidence

of Divine love and transforming

power. 388 Literally, millions of people

since those early days of Christianity,

up to our present time, have been

radically changed in character and

habits by accepting the invitation

to believe in Jesus Christ as their

Divine Savior and risen Lord. His

resurrection “authenticated the fact

that He was the living Savior.” 389

This mystery of real-life change is

compared in the New Testament to

a “new birth.” 390 Jesus illustrates

the beginning of the Christian life

by this miracle of birth— by being

“born again.” Our first birth was

natural and physical; the second

birth is supernatural and spiritual. 391

In reality, the beginning of this new

life is created in us by “the Spirit”

386 See McDowell, New Evidence, 215.

387 Psalm 34:8: “O, taste and see the Lord is good.”

388 Romans 1:16.

389 White, Desire of Ages, 829.

390 John 3:3-5; 1 Peter 1:23 – new birth described as “born again,” or birth, a “second time.”

391 John 3:8: “born of the Spirit”;1 Peter 1:23: “born again”; 1 John 3:9: “born of God.”

124 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


of God and made possible through

the provision of Christ’s death for

us and His resurrection power. 392

Marvelously, Christ’s life is lived

within the believer’s life. These

remarkable changes that happen with

Christian conversion are lived-out

testimonies of individuals coming

from diverse cultures, nationalities,

backgrounds, and times. And for

each one who receives Jesus by

trusting Him as personal Savior,

God makes that person a “new

creation,” 393 a spiritual person,

indwelt by the Spirit of God. As

a result, the believer’s heart is

changed— evidenced by new motives,

new priorities, and new lifestyle.

As it is in the natural world, so also

in the spiritual realm: there is no life

without growth. Spiritual change, or

conversion, begins a lifelong process

of continuing spiritual growth while

living in union with Christ. By the

believer’s daily submission of his/

her will and way to the Lord 394 and

by “abiding” 395 in Christ, the “inner

nature is being renewed daily.” 396

The Spirit recreates heart and mind

into the image of God— reshaping

character into attributes that reflect

His likeness. 397 God’s saving grace is

“a principle in the life” that day- byday

“transforms the character and

controls the conduct.” 398 In grateful

response to the Savior for “newness

of life” 399 and His spiritual blessings,

life’s greatest joy and highest

privilege is to serve our loving

God and the family of humanity.

To all who believe, Jesus promises,

“Because I live, you will also live.” 400

Experiencing “life” in connection

with Jesus involves two dimensions:

present life of faith, and everlasting

life to come. Both are real and

transforming. First, new life in

Christ (as described above) begins

392 Romans 6:5-8.

393 2 Corinthians 5:17.

394 Matthew 6:10b;

395 John 14:17,23; 15:5,9,10. With those who “ love Him and keep His word (the Bible),” the Trinity (“Father,”

”Christ,” and “Spirit”) “dwells” in spiritual union and believers “become partakers of …(God’s) Divine nature”(2

Peter 1:4). It is this vital connection that produces ‘fruit” in spiritual growth and Christ-like character (John

15:5; Galations 5:22,23; 2 Peter 1:5-8).

396 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NRSV). See also 2 Peter 3:18; 2Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 2: 6,7; Galations 5:22-25.

397 Ephesians 4:23,24. See Appendix D, God’s Law Reflects His Character.

398 White, Desire of Ages, 556.

399 Romans 6:4.

400 John 14:19; 3:16: “Believing” in John’s Gospel is always present continuous tense, i.e., “continues to

believe,” rather than a particular moment in time. It involves continual action of believing over time-- ongoing

in the believer’s daily experience.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 125


the “more abundant life” 401 here and

now. Simply put, “second birth”

represents a spiritual resurrection

from one’s old life in exchange for life

anew in Christ, 402 and the beginning

experience of eternal life. 403 Indeed,

“ redemption is in Christ Jesus,” 404

and that redemption that was in Him

becomes ours by the co-operation

of faith. 405 Throughout life, the

believer is continually dependent

on fresh supplies of God’s grace:

both in granting forgiveness for

confessed and forsaken sin, as

well as imparting power over sin

for victorious, holy living. 406

The second dimension is future

with the promise of resurrection

“life” assured as a consequence of

Jesus’ resurrection to His “glorious

body” 407 Believers will participate

in the literal physical “resurrection

of life.” 408 Jesus’ resurrection

represents the believer’s end-time,

general resurrection, those who

sleep in death and who will awake to

everlasting life at the trumpet call of

the Life-giver. 409 When Jesus returns

to earth again, as He promised, 410

at that time the joyful redeemed 411

“put on immortality” 412 —and never

die. Bible writer Titus points to this

anticipated epiphany for believers

as “the blessed hope.” 413 Then faith

shall be sight. God will personally

and visibly “abide” with His people,

i.e., make His home with them:

“Look! God’s dwelling place is now

among the people, and He will

dwell with them. They will be His

people, and God Himself will be

with them and be their God.” 414

Finally, God’s everlasting covenant

is fully realized, and the onceseparated

relationship is graciously

restored in loving fellowship

that endures throughout the

ceaseless ages of eternity.

401 John 10:10.

402 Romans 6:4.

403 1 John 5:11,13.

404 Matthew 1:21. The name “Jesus” means “ the Lord is salvation.”

405 Romans 3:24.

406 Matthew 1:21; 9:6a; 1John 1:9; 1Corinthians 15:57; 1Peter 1:13-15; 2:24; Jude 24; Titus 2:12,13.

407 Philippians 3:21.

408 John 5:29; Luke 14:14: “the resurrection of the just.”

409 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; John 5:28,29; 11:11,12.

410 John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16.

411 Hebrews 9:28.

412 1 Corinthians 15:54; Colossians 3:4.

413 Titus 2:13.

414 Revelation 21:3 (NIV). The author has capitalized the pronouns referring to God.

126 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Thus, for Christ’s followers, living

faith in the Lord now and hope in the

future immortal life is guaranteed by

the certainty of Jesus Christ’s literal,

and glorified resurrection. In joyful

tribute, Michelangelo’s Resurrected

Christ echoes Jesus’ assuring words,

“I am the resurrection and the life”

and the one “who believes in Me,

though he may die, he shall live.

And whoever lives and believes in

Me shall never die.” 415 AMEN!

415 John 11:25, 26.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: BIBLICAL RECORD; HISTORICAL RECORD 127


— Chapter 7 —

ARCHEOLOGY – DIGGING UP EVIDENCES FROM

THE PAST

While prophecy reveals history in

the future, archeology rediscovers

history in the past. How important

is the Bible as an historical source

in contributing to our knowledge

of ancient world history? You may

be surprised to learn (as I was)

that when George Washington

was President of the United States

(1789 – 1797), there was nothing

definitely known about the history

of the peoples of the world prior to

400 BCE— the date of the oldest

reliable histories of Greece and

Rome. 416 In other words, in the

lifetime of George Washington

there was not a single document

known to be in existence that was

written during the same time period

as Old Testament history. 417 Yet,

there was the Bible claiming to

give the history of the world, not

to 400 BCE, but to 4,000 BCE.

Until the eighteenth century, the

Bible was universally accepted as

a reliable and trusted history book

of ancient times. However, since

evidence was lacking from secular

416 Arthur E.Lickey, God Speaks To Modern Man (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub., 1952), chapter

16, “Is the History of the Bible True?” 141.

417 When Adam Clark published his famous Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (1810-26)… “ nothing

whatever was known about the world in which the Bible arose except what could be extracted from extant

Greek and Latin authors. The ancient orient was mute. From the chaos of prehistory the Bible projected…with

no contemporary evidence to demonstrate its authenticity and its origin in a human world.”

W. F. Albright, Recent Discoveries in Bible Lands (Pittsburg: The Biblical Colloquium [1955] ); New York:

Funk & Wagnall’s Co., 1955), 1,4. Quoted from Neufeld, Source Book, no. 67, “Archeology,” 39.

128 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


sources to support the Bible, some

historians raised questions regarding

the reliability of Biblical history.

Also, with the rise of higher

criticism 418 of the late eighteenth

and nineteenth centuries, the Bible

was challenged as true history—

Biblical events, characters, cities,

even nations were doubted. It was

discounted as a reliable basis for

reconstruction of history. Critics

said these “errors” in the Bible

must be adjusted to fit the facts

of archeology. However, it was

these very facts of archaeological

discoveries that turned the table

on higher criticism. With each dig,

the spade of archaeologists, and

the dust heaps of ancient sites only

confirmed the Book of Ages.

ARCHEOLOGY—A

NEW SCIENCE

The science of archeology was born

in 1798 during Napoleon’s invasion

of Egypt. Besides generals and

soldiers, he took along a “brain trust”

of 120 scholars, linguists, poets,

and scientists. Their assignment

was to search the land for whatever

antiquities may be found. They

examined relics of a dead past;

and on temple walls, burial

chambers, and other monuments

observed strange hieroglyphics.

In the little town of Rosetta, a

military engineer named Bouchard

unearthed the greatest discovery,

a slab of black basalt—the famous

Rosetta Stone (which is now in

the British Museum). It contains

inscriptions of three languages—

Greek, Egyptian demotic, and

hieroglyphic (picture language).

Greek could be understood, but

the other two were dead scripts of

Egypt. It took a Frenchman, Jean-

Francois Champollion twentyone

years, strenuously working to

solve the language enigma. That

key achievement opened the vast

treasures of Egypt’s ancient language,

lore, and history to the world. 419

How big was Bouchard’s

archaeological discovery? The

Rosetta Stone is said to be more

important in ancient history than

are all the inventions of Thomas

Edison for modern life. 420

Archeology, as a new science, derives

its meaning from two Greek words:

418 Presuppositions of Higher Criticism:

If no extrabiblical evidence exists (i.e., sources apart from the Bible) then the record is unreliable history and

belongs to legend or myth.

Philosophy of naturalism makes no room for supernatural happenings and miracles of the Bible.

419 Roy F. Cottrell, We Can Believe—Archeology Confirms the Bible Story (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press

Pub., 1959), 5, 6.

420 Orley Berg, Treasures in the Sand (Boise, Idaho: Pacific Press Pub., 1993), 10.

ARCHEOLOGY – DIGGING UP EVIDENCES FROM THE PAST 129


» arche—ancient, old, beginning

» logos—word, study

Thus, archeology is the study

of ancient civilizations with

discoveries of physical remains

from dug-up ruins.

From ancient societies,

archaeologists bring to light past

knowledge of: their economy,

culture, social life, literature and

inscriptions, architecture, forms of

government, language, and history.

Archaeologist Randal W. Younker

offers this interesting definition:

“Archeology…is a scientific way of

‘resurrecting history’” 421 by uniquely

filling in the gaps of missing history.

Around the middle of the

nineteenth century, interest in

Biblical archeology attracted the

attention of some of the world’s best

scholars. 422 As a specialty, Biblical

archeology focuses on ruins and

remains covering various sites in

the Near and Middle East 423 “that

touch directly or indirectly upon

the Bible and its message.” 424

ARCHAEOLOGICAL

DISCOVERIES CONFIRM

THE BIBLE

Jericho

Many critical scholars 425 argued that

the Battle of Jericho did not occur nor

was the city inhabited as indicated

by the Biblical narrative for that

time period. 426 According to Bible

chronology, Joshua led the Israelites

after their fortieth year of wilderness

wandering beginning in 1450 BCE.

They embarked on their conquest of

Canaan in the year 1410 BCE. The

first city overthrown was Jericho—a

Divine judgment on the “vilest and

most degrading in the religion of the

Canaanites, worshiping Ashtorah,

the goddess of the moon.” 427

421 Randall W. Younker, PhD, “To What Extent Do Archeological Discoveries Confirm the Bible?”

Dialogue,vol., 27,issue 2, 2015. Dr. Younker is professor of Old Testament and Biblical Archeology at Andrews

University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and is the director of the Institute of Archeology and Director of the

Siegfried Horn Museum.

422 Archeologists Sir Frederic Kenyon, Professor W. L. Albright, and Sir Flinders Petrie, and later still; Dr.

Nelson Glueck, Sir Leonard Woolley, Dr. Siegfried Horn, Dr. G. Earnest Wright. See Bryan Ball, Can We Still

Believe the Bible? (Victoria, Australia: Signs Pub., 2007), 50. Other notable archeologists are referenced in this

study also.

423 The older term,“Biblical Archeology,” although still used by many writers with an interest in Biblical

history, is not favored by some contemporary archeologists. See Ball,“Still Believe?” no.1, 68.

424 Merrill F. Unger,Archeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids,MI: Zondervan Pub. House,1954)

9. Quoted by Lee J. Gugliotto, Hand-Book for Bible Study (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Pub.

Assoc.,2000), 82.

425 Shortened for “higher criticism” scholars.

426 See Joshua 6.

427 Ellen G. White, The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub., copyright,

130 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Regarding the Battle of Jericho—

myth or fact? Who was right— the

critics, or the Bible record?

Between 1930-1936, John Garstad

excavated an area where he

uncovered walls of an ancient city,

soon confirmed as ancient Jericho—

the walls fallen flat as described

in the Bible. Garstad dated the

destruction to about 1400 BCE. 428

Dr. Bryant Wood, a worldrenowned

ceramic expert, writing

in Biblical Archeology Review

(BAR) confirmed this date on a

host of evidence, agreeing with

the earlier date (within a decade)

of Garstad 429 (i.e., 1410 BCE).

Furthermore, the work of

British archaeologist Kathleen

Kenyon in Jericho, as Wood

points out, correlates with the

Biblical account in that:

1. The city was strongly fortified.

2. Its destruction occurred after

harvest time in the spring.

3. The inhabitants had no

opportunity to flee with

their foodstuffs.

4. The siege was short.

5. The walls were leveled.

6. The city was plundered

and burned. 430

BAR editor Hershel Shanks in a

subsequent issue states, “Most

scholars we have talked to do not

disagree with Wood’s dating of the

evidence,” 431 i.e., dating the Exodus

of Israel from Egypt to Caanan in the

mid-fifteen- century BCE. This date

harmonizes with 2 Kings 6:1 and the

conquest of Jericho in 1410 BCE.

Further confirmation of

above dating comes from:

a. Carbon 14 samples taken from the

destroyed layer of Jericho, dated at

1410 BCE, the very time the Bible

records the fall of Jericho, and

b. Pottery chronology that precisely

fits the Bible’s chronology.

Thus, the science of archeology

bears witness to the accuracy of

1958 by Review and Herald Publishing), 487.

428 Bryant G. Wood,”Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?A New Look at the Archeological Evidence,” BAR

(March/April, 1990):44-57. Quoted in Berg, Treasures, 128.

429 Wood,” Dating Jericho’s Destruction: Bienkowski Is Wrong on All Acounts,” BAR (September/

October,1990) 45-49,68. Quoted in Berg, 128.

430 Berg, 128. See Archive, Archeology.org/online/review/Kenyon. Also Hana Koriech, Beyond Jericho (June

18, 2008).

431 BAR, “Hershel Replies to Dever” (September/October, 1990), 18.Quoted in Berg,129

ARCHEOLOGY – DIGGING UP EVIDENCES FROM THE PAST 131


Biblical history, and specifically,

to Jericho’s population then,

and dating of its fall. 432

The Hittite Kingdom

The spade and trowel have unearthed

the remains of ancient nations, before

known only in Bible times. Such

was the Hittite Kingdom mentioned

frequently in the Old Testament 433

as a dominant ancient power;

but nothing was left in classical

historical records. The Hittite name

and existence went unrecognized

by historians outside the Bible.

So critics doubted such a people

and empire ever lived and could

disappear unnoticed from history.

Other than Biblical records, the

Hittites left behind no trace—

until archaeologists made some

amazing discoveries. Nineteenthcentury

scholars began to notice

that newly deciphered ancient

records mentioned an important

but previously unknown nation.

The Egyptian inscriptions calls

the country Kheta; and in the

Assyrian texts, Hatti. In 1884

two scholars, A.H. Sayce and W.

Wright published their views that

certain unknown hieroglyphics in

rock sculptures and inscriptions in

parts of Asia Minor belong to the

Hittites, the descendants of Heth. 434

Later discoveries, listed below

in series of time, proved their

conclusions to be correct.

Amarna Tablets/Letters: A

key find came in 1887 when a local

Egyptian woman accidentally dug

up clay tablets in cuneiform alphabet

from the ruined city of Amarna

(the ancient Egyptian capital of

Akhetatan), and sold them in the

antiquities market. The Amarna

432 a) Andrews Study Bible, footnote for Joshua 6:1-27, 270. (See 12 points of correlation with archeological

data and Biblical record.)

b Berg, Treaures, 128, 129.

A keen amateur archeologist, Orley participated in the 1965 excavations at Gezer with Hebrew Union College

Biblical and Archeological School of Jerusalem under the direction of Dr. Nelson Glueck and Dr. G. Ernest

Wright. He also has written several books dealing with archeological testimony to the Scriptures, and has

conducted group tours of Bible lands, and lectures on Biblical archeology. www.ministrymagazine.org/

archives/198/04.

433 Reference to the Hittite Kingdom is mentioned 46 times in 15 books of the Old Testament. For example:

Abraham purchased a burial cave from the Hittites. Hittites were among seven nations in Palestine during

Israel’s conquest of Canaan. David had Hittite soldiers in his army. Solomon had Hittite wives; Hittites in his

labor force and had lively trade dealings with “the Kings of the Hittites” (see Genesis 25:9,10; Deuteronomy

4:38; 1 Samuel 26:6; 2 Samuel 11:6; 1 Kings 11:1, 10:29; 2 Chronicles 8:7; 1:17).

434 Horn, Bible Dictionary, 481.

“Heth” is listed in the genealogical tables (Genesis 10; 1 Chronicles 1) as the son of Canaan from the

descendants of Ham. Heth is therefore the fore-father of the nation of the Hittites. See William Smith, Smith’s

Bible Dictionary, “Heth” (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1967), 235.

132 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Tablets, or Letters as they came

to be known, make up an initial

collection of 350 clay tablets from

the official archives of the kings,

Amenhotep 111 and Ikhnaton, dating

to the fourteenth century BCE. 435

They consist mainly of diplomatic

correspondence exchanged between

Egypt and the rulers of ancient Near

and Middle East nations— prominent

among them were the Hittites.

The Letters also bear importance

in establishing both the history

and chronology of the fourteenth

century giving new knowledge of

the Hittite Empire and people. 436

Furthermore, the Amaran Tablets

give evidence for the vastness of the

Hittite nation inhabiting central

Asia Minor. Werner Keller’s book

shows a map of the Hittite Empire

around 1400 BCE, stretching from

the Black Sea in the north, to Egypt

in the south, and the entire eastern

side of the Mediterranean coast. 437

Boghazkoy Excavations: Of

special interest were excavations that

began in 1906 at a site in Turkey—

Boghazkoy about 100 miles east

of the present capital Ankara. By

1911, archaeologist Hugo Winckler

and others found the ancient

capital of the Hittites, Hattusha.

At the city gates appeared lifesized

carvings etched on black

basalt. The carvings depict what

the Hittite warriors looked like.

They were a small people with

large noses, receding foreheads,

and thick lips. Their long hair hung

over their shoulders. Short aprons

fastened around their waists with

wide belts. Their shoes and boots

stylized with upturned toes. 438

Among the burned ruins at

Boghazkoy, Winckler also discovered

another ancient library of 10,000

tablets, buried for nearly 3,000

years, which served as the archives

of Hittite kings. Some tablets were

written in Babylonian cuneiform

(wedged-shaped characters), some

in Akkadian language that Winckler

could immediately read, and some in

an unknown script. In 1915 B.Hroncy

435 Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Amarna,” 33.

436 Berg, Treasures, 165.

Note: The standard edition of the Amaran Tablets is the text by J. A. Knudzton published in 1907. His edition

(Knudzton, 1915) includes 358 of the known 382 itemized tablets and fragments discovered at Tell el-Amarna.

Most of the remaining have been collected and republished by Anson F. Rainey of Tel-Aviv University (Rainey,

1970), 2nd ed., 1978. See Amaran Tables, Shlomo Izre’el.

437 Werner Keller, The Bible As History (Book Club Associates: rev. ed., 1980), 112. Cited in Ball, Still

Believe? 63.

438 Ball, Still Believe? 62. Horn, Bible Dictionary, 480.

ARCHEOLOGY – DIGGING UP EVIDENCES FROM THE PAST 133


deciphered the latter script that

proved to be the Hittite language. 439

Many of the tablets relate to

government documents giving

striking evidence that this

had been the Hittite’s capital

of a once-mighty nation.

Carchemish Excavations:

Further light was shed on the

Hittite people from excavations

at Carchemish (a later Hittite

capital), southeast of the present

border of Turkey and Syria. The

discoveries show the Hittites were

remarkable for their commercial

and trading abilities as well as

their expertise in warfare. 440

In terms of cultural values, Dr.

Horn notes that this hardy people

“possessed higher ethical values

than most other nations,” especially

noticeable in “ the Hittite laws

and penal codes which [are] the

most humane of any known from

that period of antiquity.”' 441

No wonder the lost Hittite Empire

is “one of the most fascinating

sagas of exploration in the

history of archeology.” 442

Eventually, the Hittite Kingdom

vanished in 1200 BCE. The first

capital Hattusha fell to the Peoples

of the Sea. 443 Thereafter, the Empire

divided into independent citystates,

the most important being

Carchemish. When Carchemish

fell to the Assyrians under

Sargon II in 717 BCE, the last

remnant of an impressive Hittite

Kingdom came to an end. 444

For centuries the Hittites were

forgotten until archeology found

their rightful place among the

major nations in ancient history.

In view of these archaeological

discoveries, the respected

Encyclopedia Britannica corrected

and updated its coverage of the

Hittites. Roy Cottrell points out that

in their 1860 edition, eight lines

were devoted to the Hittites, and one

edition voiced skepticism of Scripture

statements concerning the Hittites.

However, the edition of 1947 presents

a well-balanced account of more

439 Horn, Bible Dictionary, 480. Also Britannica com/Hugo Winckler/German archeologist.

440 www.wsu.edu/meso. Cited in Ball, Still Believe, 63

441 Horn,Bible Dictionary, 482.

442 C. M. Ceram, The Secrets of the Hittites (New York: Alfred A. Knoph, 1956), n.p. Cited in Berg, Treasures,

163

443 Peoples of the Sea are made up from a confederation of tribes, their origin is unsure, but many trace them

to Sicily, the Aegean Sea, or the Anatolia region of Turkey. www.history.com/news/who-were-the-sea-peoples

444 Berg, 168.

134 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


than ten pages of double-column text

describing the Hittite people’s history,

culture, and polytheistic religion. 445

Today, you may visit the Hittite

Museum, opened in 1968, located in

Ankara, Turkey. Named the Ankara

Archaeological Museum, it displays

the richest collection of artifacts from

the Hittite era. Bible history, which

long stood alone, gained a recent

ally—archeology—by confirming

evidence for the Hittite nation which

has risen from ancient ruins.

“The forgotten Hittite nation has

been accorded an ‘archaeological

resurrection,’ and the authenticity

of the Scripture narrative has

been fully established.” 446

King Sargon of Assyria

The name Sargon, King of Assyria,

occurs only once in the Bible 447

while in all available records of

secular history his name was

missing. The critics questioned

such a character ever lived, and

accounted the history unreliable.

Then in 1840 archaeologists began

excavating the ruins in Nineveh

and discovered a lavish palace.

The front of the palace displayed

colossal winged bulls with human

heads. The massive walls were

covered with decorative reliefs

and an inscription read, “Sargina.”

On this site was erected the very

palace built by King Sargon.

Fourteen barrel- cylinders containing

historical records were uncovered

in the palace. They include many

of the names and places we

read about in the Bible. One of

the cylinders refers to Sargon’s

campaign against Ashdod, the very

campaign mentioned in Isaiah.

“In a sudden rage, I did not (wait

to) assemble the full might of my

army (or to) prepare the camp (ing

equipment), but started out towards

Ashdod (only) with those of my

warriors who…never leave my side…I

besieged (and) conquered the cities

of Ashdod, Gath, Asdudimmu.” 448

Archaeologists also found a prized

tablet at Khorsabad known as the

Khorsabad King List. The tablet

lists the names of successive kings

and the years of their reign, one

being King Sargon II, from 722

– 705 BCE. A similar king list

445 Roy F.Cottrell, We Can Believe (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub., 1959), 32.

446 Cottrell, 32.

447 Isaiah 20:1: “In the year that Tartan* came into Ashdod (when Sargon the King of Assyria sent him) and

fought against Ashdod and took it.” *Assyrian inscriptions reveal that “Tartan” was not a proper name, but a

title meaning “Commander- in- Chief.” See Berg, 178.

448 Pritchard, The Ancient Near East, 197.

ARCHEOLOGY – DIGGING UP EVIDENCES FROM THE PAST 135


was unexpectedly found in 1953

by archaeologist Dr. Siegfried

Horn. While visiting a family of

friends in Baghdad, he noticed

the children in the yard playing

with an old clay tablet. Out of

curiosity, he examined the tablet

and to his amazement recognized

it contained a list of Assyrian

kings, similar to the Khorsabad

list, which also included the name

of King Sargon. It is known as the

SDAS 449 Assyrian King List, now

located in the Iraqi Archaeological

Museum in Baghdad. 450

We can read the Bible with renewed

confidence given the added evidence

of secular history independently

affirming Biblical events and

individuals—one famous example

being King Sargon of Syria.

BOOK OF

DANIEL VINDICATED

King Belshazzar

The very mention of the name

Daniel brings to mind the Bible

story of Daniel thrown into the

den of hungry lions and of God’s

miraculous deliverance. But how

has Daniel fared in the critics’ den?

The Book of Daniel has probably

been the object of more criticism

than any other book in the Bible. 451

Critics charged that the Bible

exaggerated the greatness of Babylon

and one of its kings, Belshazzar,

was fictitious. The Bible had placed

Belshazzar as the last king of

Babylon. 452 This posed a problem

that the critics eagerly seized upon.

According to Babylonian inscriptions

found up to that time, Nabonidus

was the last king. There was in fact,

no record outside the Bible that a

king by the name Belshazzar ever

lived. Whole books were written

in an attempt to disprove the Book

of Daniel using this “nonexistent”

king as a chief argument.

Again, archeology came to the

rescue. Notice the build-up

of unassailable evidence over

the next hundred years:

» In 1861 for the first time, the

name “Belshazzar” appeared

on a Babylonian text. 453

449 Seventh-day Adventist Seminary.

450 Berg, Treasures, 178, 179.

451 Berg, Treasures, 209. For an excellent treatment in defense of the Book of Daniel in reply to the critics’

main arguments, see Horn, Bible Dictionary, Daniel,” 249-251. Note: In particular, the Dead Sea Scrolls at

Qumran settles the authorship by Daniel, and dating of his Book. At least eight copies were discovered along

with a commentary known as Florilegium, that refers to “the writings of Daniel the prophet.”

452 See the narrative of Belshazzar as the last king in Daniel 5, particularly verses 2, 31, and 32.

453 H. F. Talbot, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 19, 295. Cited in Nichol, Commentary, vol.4, 806.

136 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


» Then in 1882, the now famous

Chronicle of Nabonidus read that

Belshazzar’s father was in Tema,

Arabia during his retirement

years while his “son” was in

Babylon. 454 (The name “Belshazzar”

did not appear in the text.)

» In 1884 another tablet named

Belshazzar as the “son” of

Nabonidus (but not king). 455

» But the crowning evidence

came to light in 1924 in an

inscription where King Nabonidus

declares, “I entrusted kingship

to my son Belshazzar.” 456

This inscription affirms the Bible

account, first, that Belshazzar was

a real historical person and next,

that he ruled as King of Babylon. In

other words, father Nabonidus and

son Belshazzar, shared rulership

as co-regents of the Babylonian

Empire. 457 As well as settling

all doubts about a kingship for

Belshazzar, the inscription gives

credence to the authorship of the

Book of Daniel, by Daniel, living in

the sixth century BCE. 458 Although

seeming problems may appear in

the Biblical record, given time,

archaeological evidence eventually

comes forward showing the Bible

reliable even in smallest of details.

Archaeologist, Dr. Siegfried Horn

puts this meaning on the finding

of Belshazzar: “The rediscovery

of Belshazzar forms another

glorious chapter in the history

of biblical archeology.” 459

Nebuchadnezzar, King

and Builder of Babylon

Critical scholars used to question

whether Nebuchadnezzar was

really the great builder and king

written about in the Book of

Daniel. 460 Instead, they argued the

city was probably the later work

of Semiramis of Greek legendary

fame. Until 1956, many scholars

454 Theophilus G. Pinches, Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archeology, vol. 7, 1882, 150. Cited in

Nichol, Commentary, vol. 4, 807.

455 Nichol, Commentary, vol. 4, 807.

456 Sydney Smith, “Verse Accounts of Nabonidus,” Babylonian Historical Texts (London: 1924), 88. Cited in

Nichol, Commentary, vol. 4, 807.

457 D. J. Wiseman, Illustrations From Biblical Archeology (Tyndale Press, 1958), 75. Note: Belshazzar coreigned

with his father Nabonidus (555 – 539 BCE) during the last ten years of his reign. See Andrews Study

Bible, “Daniel,” 1118.

458 The Nabonidus inscription sheds light on another puzzling detail in the Book of Daniel that was lost

for many centuries. Daniel 5:29 places Daniel as “the third ruler in the Kingdom” of Babylon. It’s clear now:

Nabonidus was first, Belshazzar was second, and Daniel third ruler.

459 Dr. Siegfried H. Horn, Light From the Dust Heaps (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1955), 68.

460 Daniel 4:30: “The King spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon that I have built for a royal dwelling’….”

ARCHEOLOGY – DIGGING UP EVIDENCES FROM THE PAST 137


denied Nebuchadnezzar ever

existed. His name was mentioned

in the Bible and by another ancient

historian of the third century BCE,

Berossus, whose writings are mostly

lost. So once again, the critics

concluded the Bible inaccurate.

Now they know differently by

several archaeological discoveries.

A clay tablet found in the

ruins of ancient Babylon

describes Nebuchadnezzar’s

royal palace that he had built.

It mentions him by name and

confirms the Biblical account of

Nebuchadnezzar saying, “Is this

not Babylon that I have built.” 461

When Nebuchadnezzar completed

the restoration of the temple that

his father started, he wrote:

“All the peoples of many nations…I

put to work on the building

of Etemenanki [temple]…the

high dwelling of Markuk my

lord [chief god] I placed at its

summit…I beautified the pinnacle

of Etemenanki with splendid

bricks of blue enamel.” 462

Furthermore, excavations of Babylon

by German archaeologist Kolkeway

uncovered from the rubble inscribed

tablets, and most significantly, bricks

stamped with Nebuchadnezzar’s

name. These bricks, numbering

in the millions, are known as

“Nebuchadnezzar II bricks.” 463

Even by today’s standards, ancient

Babylon, 55 miles south of modern

Baghdad, Iraq, ranks a “great” city,

10 miles in circumference. The city

boasted its highly fortified walls—

outer double walls, 24 and 26 feet

wide, and inner double walls, 12 and

22 feet wide. Inner walls also lined

the Euphrates River that flowed

through the city. The space between

the walls was sometimes filled in,

with room on top enough for four

horses side by side in chariot races. 464

Its palaces were built from huge

granite and marble blocks, and

giant cedars hauled 700 miles

over desert. The steeped and

watered Hanging Gardens holds

the reputation as one of The Seven

Wonders of the Ancient World.

The city’s Ishtar Gate, which

archaeologists uncovered, measures

170 feet long and 40 feet high.

Its great walls display richly

decorated forms of dragons, lions,

461 www.bible-history.com/archeology/Babylon/Nebuchadnezzar-cylinder.html. Daniel 4:30.

462 André Parrot, Babylon and the Old Testament (New York Philosophical Library, 1958), 49. Cited in

Berg,Treasures, 204.

463 Ball, Still Believe? 58

464 Berg, 203.

138 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


and other animals in glazed tiles

of sparkling colors. The bricks of

the outer walls illuminate yellow,

the gates blue, the palaces rosered,

and the temples white. 465

Through the Gateway extends

the broad Procession Street, 75

feet wide, laid with brick. On one

side of each large brick bore the

inscription, “Nebuchadnezzar,

King of Babylon.” The walls of

the Procession Street parade 60

varicolored lions, alternating with

60 bulls in glazed brick reliefs. 466

In the Royal Ontario Museum in

Canada, archaeologist Orley Berg,

spied a clay cylinder on which

Nebuchadnezzar boastfully declares,

“Let the learned read again and

again all my deeds which I have

written in my inscriptions…[and] the

praise I deserve from the gods. 467

Many of the inscriptions have a

direct reference to the Book of

Daniel. In Daniel 4:30 we read of

his similar boast: “Is not this great

Babylon, that I have built for a royal

dwelling by my mighty power and

for the honor of my majesty.”

Because of archaeological

excavations, we know more about

Nebuchadnezzar now than about

any other ancient king. And today,

all scholars agree that he was one

of the greatest builders of all time.

Again, archeology vindicates what

we read in the Book of Daniel, and

particularly, the accurate account of

King and builder Nebuchadnezzar.

“Nebuchadnezzar emerges from

the archaeological dust as a great

builder and king as portrayed

in the Book of Daniel.” 468

Daniel and the Lion’s Den

In chapter six of Daniel’s book,

the prophet records his overnight

imprisonment in the den of lions.

But critics insisted in no way was the

lion’s den used as a form of capital

punishment in Babylon during

the reign of Darius, the Mede.

Then excavator Dieulafoy discovered

a pit used as a cage for wild animals.

The inscription above it read, “The

place of excavation where men

who angered the king died torn

by wild animals.” At the palace

in Shushan (Suza) a recorded list

465 Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Babylon,” 107.

466 Berg, 202.

467 Berg, 204.

468 Berg, 204.

ARCHEOLOGY – DIGGING UP EVIDENCES FROM THE PAST 139


was found of 484 men of high

rank who died in a lion’s den. 469

The Fiery Furnace

The three Hebrew youth faced a

life-and-death decision: to bow

in public worship to a Babylonian

image, or refuse to bow, and die in a

“fiery furnace.” The Book of Daniel

narrates their steadfast loyalty to

the God of heaven. So enraged is the

King that he commands the furnace

to be heated seven times more. But

those who died from the intensity of

the flames were not the youth, but

the “mighty men of valor” charged

to bind and cast them into the

“exceeding hot furnace.” 470 The young

men were miraculously delivered

alive by their God, without the smell

of fire or smoke on their clothing.

Again, the critics disbelieved

the existence and use then, of

a “fiery furnace” What do you

suppose the archaeologists dug

up? Excavators found what looked

like a brick kiln and an inscription

in Babylonian script, which read:

“This is the place of burning

where men who blasphemed the

gods of Chaldea died by fire.” 471

No one suggests this was the actual

furnace into which the Hebrews

were thrown, then delivered, but

it does demonstrate the Scriptural

account is consistent with religious

practice in ancient Babylon of using

the “fiery furnace.” Archaeologist

Dr. Horn describes this type of kiln

as a cone-shaped brick structure,

with an opening in one side of the

wall. The material for the fire was

probably chaff mixed with crude oil

obtained from the open oil wells. 472

PROMINENT

ARCHAEOLOGISTS

VALIDATE THE BIBLE

By countless discoveries over 200

years, archeology has demonstrated

the Biblical records to be historically

factual and reliable. Many times

over, excavations from the past

confirm our understanding of the

Bible without contradiction. Names

of Biblical places, personalities, and

events match up with archaeological

findings and secular history.

469 GodSaidManSaid.com (Article 1492, “Archeology Certifies Bible, Miracles and All”). Also Dr. Paul

McCoy’s 468 page book, Scripture Insights from Science and Archeology (Pleasant Word, 2010).

470 The narrative is recorded in the Book of Daniel, chapter 3.

471 Harry Rimmer, Dead Men Tell Tales (London: Oxford University Press, 1944), 325.

www.christiancourier.com/article,Daniel3:6ff, “Did They Really Burn People?” by Wayne Jackson. Also Roy F.

Cottrell, Triumphs of Archeology (Nampa,ID: Pacific Press,1953), 74.

472 Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Furnace,” 376.

140 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


World prominent archaeologists

attest to the harmony existing

between the Biblical records and

archaeological discoveries.

• Nelson Glueck: archaeologist,rabbi

,and former president of Hebrew

Union College—Jewish Institute

of Religion, summarizes his lifework

observations that one after

another of discoveries consistently

supports the truthfulness

of Biblical documents.

“It is worth emphasizing that in

all this work, no archaeological

discovery has ever controverted

(contradicted) a single properly

understood Bible statement, and has

often led to amazing discoveries.” 473

• William F. Albright, late president

of the American School of Oriental

Research is regarded as the greatest

archaeologist of the twentieth

century. 474 He concludes that, first,

“the extraordinary evidence of

archeology authenticates God’s

Word,” and, second, that “radical

critical theories have been refuted

by uprooting false assumptions

that used to be paraded as settled

facts. The excessive skepticism

shown toward the Bible [by higher

criticism] has been progressively

discredited. Discovery after

discovery has established the

accuracy of innumerable details

and has brought us increased

recognition of the Bible as

a source of history.” 475

• Yale archaeologist, Miller Burrows,

both exposes the underlying

cause of critics’ disbelief, and also,

contrasts that with the steady

rise of respect among scholars

for the Bible as a collection of

dependable historical documents.

“The excessive skepticism of many

liberal theologians stems not from

a careful evaluation of the data,

but from an enormous disposition

against the supernatural.” 476

Burrows adds this positive response

among archaeologists: “On the

whole, however, archaeological

work has unquestionably

strengthened confidence in the

reliability of the Scriptural record.

473 Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert (New York, N.Y: Stows, Cadahy, Farrow, 1959), 136. Cited in

Apologetics 315.com.

474 Dr. Siegfried H. Horn, “Quotations from Professor W. F. Albright’s Writings,” Ministry (Archives, 1973,

February). Dr. Horn gives tribute to the outstanding, life-long contributions of Albright to archaeology, and

confirmation of the Bible.

475 W. F. Albright, The Archeology of Palestine, rev. (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1960), 127, 128. Quoted

from McDowell, New Evidence, 61.

476 Miller Burrows, What Mean These Stones? (New York: Meridian Books, 1957) 1. Cited in McDowell, 62.

ARCHEOLOGY – DIGGING UP EVIDENCES FROM THE PAST 141


More than one archaeologist has

found his respect for the Bible

increased by the experience of

excavation in Palestine.” 477

With discovery after discovery,

archeology continues to make its

contribution to Biblical references by:

1. Validating the accuracy

of the Bible’s historical

facts and stories, causing

Biblical truth to triumph.

“Just one,” said he, and then with

twinkling eye,

“The anvil wears the hammers out,

you know.”

“And so,” I thought, “The anvil of

God’s Word,

For ages skeptic blows have

beat upon,

Yet, though the noise of falling blows

was heard,

The anvil is unchanged,

the hammers gone.” 479

2. Exposing the faulty positions of

critics’ attacks on the historical

accounts of the Bible.

In his poem, “The Anvil,” John

Clifford underlines how the critics’

assaults have failed, and how God’s

Word passes the tests of time because

“the Word of God stands forever.” 478

Last eve I paused beside a

blacksmith’s door,

And heard the anvil ring the

vesper chime;

Then looking in, I saw upon the floor,

Old hammers worn with

beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,”

said I,

“To wear and batter all these

hammers so?”

477 Miller Burrows, These Stones, 176. Cited in McDowell, New Evidence, 62. Also www.creationwiki.org/

Biblical-_archeology-_quotes.

478 Isaiah 40:8.

479 www.onlythebible.com/Poems/the-Anvil-of-Gods-Word-the-Bible.

142 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


— Chapter 8 —

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS

The Bible makes this high

declaration: Sovereign God rules over

the whole world and holds nations

accountable for cruel treatment and

flagrant wrongs. 480 Being Supreme

Ruler He intervenes as the Guarantor

of both mercy and justice. He gives

nations lengthy probationary time

to correct inhumane and cruel

practices. However when nations

reach a certain limit and continue

a course of “defiling the earth and

transgressing the laws” 481 then mercy

is exhausted and justice follows.

Divine justice comes in the form of

lawsuits against merciless nations

and just judgments are measured

out. With the nations cited below

these judgments actually consist

of specific prophecies that remain

fulfilled to our day. Thus, before the

intelligent world and universe God’s

sovereign actions are vindicated as

“just and true” in all His ways.

THE CONQUEST OF TYRE

Tyre, situated on the eastern shore

of the Mediterranean Sea, was one

of the most illustrious city- states of

the ancient world. A map today would

locate ancient Tyre fifty miles south

of Beirut, Lebanon. She prospered

as a seaport, commercial center,

and chief stronghold of Phonecia.

While world power Babylon ruled

the land, Tyre possessed the greatest

navy of its time, and held the

distinction as “queen of the sea.”

At the crossroads of worldwide

trading, Tyrians exported their

480 Jeremiah 10:7; Revelation 15:3,4.

481 Isaiah 24:5

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 143


manufactured products of textiles,

glassware, pottery, and copper

goods; and also traded in slaves.

The prophet Isaiah describes her

trading prowess as a “marketplace

for all nations.” 482 It would compare

to the “New York” of Asia. This

status greatly enriched Tyre’s vast

“treasures of gold and silver.” 483

Historically, Tyre was made up of two

centers; one built on the mainland,

the other an island a half- mile

from shore. The mainland, known

as Old Tyre, became the settlement

for its residents, whereas the island,

named New Tyre, served as the

main deep- water harbor operating

shipyards and warehouses. 484

Tyre’s maritime might with their

fleet of ships was greatly feared by

its enemies. But, both its prosperity

and tyranny would not last. In 586

BCE the prophet Ezekiel predicted

the downfall and destruction of

Tyre. Through His spokesman,

God pronounced a warning of

disaster against Tyre with some

bold and astonishing predictions.

The oracle 485 reads: “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 like

the top of a rock. It shall be a place

for spreading nets…Behold, I will

bring against Tyre from the north

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon…

he will heap a siege mound against

you. He will direct his battering rams

against your walls, and with his axes

he shall break down your towers….

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 for spreading

of nets and you shall never be rebuilt,

for I the Lord have spoken it….’”

“Nebuchadnezzar…caused his army

to labor strenuously against Tyre…

yet neither he or his army received

wages (booty)” from Tyre, for the

labor they expended on it. 486

Ezekiel’s prophecies above

regarding the end of Tyre entail

seven specific predictions:

1. Tyre’s initial invader is

identified both by name and

482 Isaiah 23:3.

483 Ezekiel 28:4.

484 Nicol, Bible Commentary, vol. 4, comments on Ezekiel 26:2, 667.

485 Oracle is simply a divine communication through a prophet. In this case, understood as God’s legal

lawsuit against Tyre. See Amos 1:9.

486 Ezekiel 26:3 – 5, 7 – 9, 12, 14; 29:18.

144 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


nation—i.e., Nebuchadnezzar,

King of Babylon.

2. Other nations are to be

involved in the punishment

of Tyre for its wickedness.

3. The city is to be leveled flat

like the top of a rock.

4. Tyre is to become a place

where fishermen spread their

nets to dry and to mend.

5. The stones, timber, and very

soil are to be laid in the sea.

6. Neither Nebuchadnezzar nor

his army will profit by any

booty in capturing Tyre.

7. The old city of Tyre will

never be rebuilt.

A careful reading of Ezekiel 26:1-14

reveals the exactness of detail in this

multi-dimensional prophecy. Both

prophecy and history verify, not

one, but three separate fulfillments

of judgment pertaining to Tyre,

progressive over time. The clue

to understanding these various

fulfillments is Ezekiel’s use of

personal pronouns: he/his, they, I. 487

1. The first phase of judgment is

fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar

and his army. In verse 7,

Nebuchadnezzar is introduced

as the conqueror of Old Tyre

by the pronoun “he.” From

verses 7 – 11 the pronouns

“he,” or “his,” are applied

specifically to the activities of

Nebuchadnezzar seven times.

2. The second phase of prophecy

fulfillment is addressed to

“they” (plural). This pronoun

is used five times in verses

3 – 6, and 12 – 14, and refers

to “many nations.” However,

this later conquest is primarily

under leadership of the

world leader, Alexander the

Great of Macedonia, who

marshaled the neighboring

nations against Island Tyre.

3. The third phase of fulfillment

is represented in verses 13 and

14 by the pronoun “I.” Beyond

the human agents employed in

carrying out God’s judgment,

God Himself overrules, and

directly intervenes in the affairs

of nations—the Sovereign God

and Governor of Nations. As

recompense, God destined

Tyre never to be rebuilt.

The chart below places all

three fulfillments on this

progressive timeline.

487 The three pronouns (he, they, I) represent three separate, just actions against Tyre, progressive over time.

This insight credited to Andrews Study Bible, footnotes for Ezekiel 26:2 – 21, 1074.

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 145


protected island, beyond the reach

of Nebuchadnezzar’s landlocked

troops, who were without ships.

Being the world ruler, Babylon

received the customary tribute

from Tyre for a time. But later,

Tyre rebelled by discontinuing

its payments. Their opposition

resulted in swift retribution from

Nebuchadnezzar by attacking

Tyre in 585 BCE, a siege lasting

13 years (585 – 572 BCE). 488

The Babylonian army “labor(ed)

strenuously against Tyre,” so much

so, that “every head was made bald

and every shoulder rubbed bare.” 489

Finally, the city was conquered and

destroyed—catapulting the walls

and breaking down her towers,

exactly as predicted—but gaining

none of Tyre’s known riches before

departing (another detail predicted).

So, what happened for Babylon to

leave with not much to show for it?

Remember, the island fortress?

During the siege, the people of

Tyre loaded their possessions

and treasuries onto ships to their

Thereafter, the Tyrians

made no attempt to rebuild

on the mainland site.

To some it may have appeared that

Ezekiel’s prophecy was unsuccessful.

True, the prophecy of Tyre’s

destruction happened, but still its

surface was strewn with rubble

and clearly had not been made

bare like the top of a rock – yet!

Ezekiel died. New Tyre continued

trading from the island city for

nearly two and a half centuries, while

mainland Tyre remained in ruins

as Nebuchadnezzar left it. “But like

the stars in the vast circuit of their

appointed paths, God’s purposes

know no haste and no delay.” 490

Then in 332 BCE arrives Alexander

the Great with his efficient army

capturing other coastal cities and

demanding island Tyre’s surrender.

With his military genius, it took

him only seven months to complete

the total conquest Nebuchadnezzar

had started more than 200 years

earlier. Once again, the island

fortress seemed impenetrable.

488 Josephus quotes the “records of the Phoenicians” saying: “Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for 13 years in

the days of Ithobel their king….” C. Apion, 1,21.

489 Ezekiel 29:18.

490 White, Desire of Ages, 32.

146 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Alexander’s first strategy to

attack by ships failed, being

outnumbered by the Tyrian fleet.

Then he figured out a most unusual

but brilliant course of action. Faced

with a 1,000- meter stretch of

water, Alexander rallied his army

to construct a causeway from the

mainland across the sea to the island

city. Ezekiel had foreseen this bold

undertaking centuries before it

actually happened. He wrote: “They

will lay your stones, your timber,

your soil in the midst of the water.” 491

For building material for the

land bridge, Alexander used the

rubble from walls and buildings

destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. To

these, he added timbers from the

mountains of Phonecia. But he

still needed more material; so he

scraped all soil in and around the

old city and laid it in the sea. 492

By using a combination of tactics—a

marching army over the causeway

equipped with mounted torsion

catapults to break through the

walls, and an armada of ships from

“many nations” 493 —after seven

months Alexander completed

the conquest of New Tyre. 494

491 Ezekiel 26:12.

492 The island was somewhat connected to the mainland by a natural bridge submerged about two meters

under water, and becoming deeper the closer to the island harbor. It was on this foundation Alexander laid

debris, timbers, and soil into the sea from Old Tyre.

493 Alexander, the Greek historian in the second century BCE, describes the coalition of Greek city-states

and Phoenician city-states, altogether from about 12 different nations. Eighty Phoenician ships joined the fleet:

10 ships from Lycia; 50 oar ships from Macedonia; about 120 ships from kings of Cyprus; and others. See The

Anabasis of Alexander, 2:18-24. Quoted from Matt Davies Video: The Amazing Prophecy About Ancient Tyre:

Ezekiel 26:1 – 14. For an historical perspective, see John Mixture, Alexander’s Triumph of Tyre (2000).

494 The question may arise, How do we know which Tyre is referred to in Ezekiel’s prophecy—mainland Tyre,

the island citadel, or both?

• The Biblical prophecy points unmistakenly to the site of Old Tyre, on the mainland continent, for the

following reasons:

The references to “horses, and chariots,” and “wagons” restrict them to the mainland. Nebuchadnezzar

never reached the island. (Ezekiel 26:7, 10).

• References to “fields,” and “daughter villages.” (Ezekiel 26:6)

• Its walls and towers were broken down; and stones, timber, and dust put in midst of water. (Ezekiel 26:12)

• Because of “abundance of his horses their dust will cover you” and your walls will shake. (Ezekiel 26:10)

• The context of Ezekiel 26:14 describing Tyre being levelled “as the top of a rock,” and “a place for spreading

nets” accords only with the topography of Old Tyre. (Ezekiel 26:4, 5)

• In Israel’s history, the city of Tyre was inherited by the tribe of Asher, and was within the boundaries of

neighboring continental cities. (Joshua 19:29)

• Ancient Tyre was an independent city -state, whereas modern Tyre is just a city within modern Lebanon,

and is some distance from Old Tyre, which is a barren rock covered with silt and the sea.

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 147


Interestingly, when ancient Tyre

was powerful and thriving, Sidon,

a sister city 25 miles north was in

a state of decay. From a human

standpoint, we might expect

Tyre would survive and Sidon

disappear. The opposite occurred.

How could any person, unless

divinely inspired, have known

that ancient Tyre would be so

completely demolished and remain

unbuilt. We can only marvel once

again at the accuracy of Bible

prophecy, remarkably fulfilled

in the smallest of details. “ …

[E]ach fulfillment increases the

strength of the evidence, not by

addition, but multiplication.” 495

BABYLON THE GREAT – ITS

PREDICTED DESOLATION

Located 50 miles south of modern

Bagdad, Babylon was known as one of

the greatest cities of ancient times—

even by today’s standards. Situated

on the famous Fertile Crescent in

the valley of the Tigris-Euphrates

Rivers, its rich soil yielded bumper

harvests. The river Euphrates,

which flowed through the city gates,

guaranteed an endless supply of

water. Inside the walls, there was

enough land to grow sufficient

food to outlast any enemy attack.

The celebrated Hanging Gardens

watered from the river by hydraulic

pumps, stood out as one of The Seven

Wonders of the Ancient World.

The city covered 10 miles in

circumference, 496 surrounded by

fortified walls—the outer and inner

walls separated by a wide and deep

moat. The huge double inner walls

measured twelve and twenty-two

feet thick and 70-80 feet high. 497

The outer wall provided width

enough for three chariots to race

side by side and with room to pass.

The building material for walls,

houses, and streets consisted

of ordinary clay bricks since

no local source of stone was

available. However, the spectacular

• Today, the ancient city is protected as a wetland by international agreement—Ramsar Convention (see

website: Nature Reserves; Ramsar Sites International Service).

• After visiting Tyre in 1783-85, the French scholar Volney stated: “at the time when Nebuchadnezzar laid

siege to it, Tyre was on the continent.” See Travels Through Syria and Egypt, Vol. 2, 257. See http:/www.

ministrymagazine.org/archive/1941/06nebuchadnezzars-siege-of-tyre.

495 Earle Albert Rowell, Prophecy Speaks (Tacoma Park, Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub., 1933),

49

496 By comparison with other ancient cities; Nineveh was 8.5 miles around, Imperial Rome six, and Athens

only four. See Berg, Treasures, 203.

497 Classical writers such as Cteseas and Cleitarchus depict the wall some 40 miles in length and about 75 feet

in height, but nowhere near the height of 300 feet given by Greek historian, Herodotus—perhaps mistaken for

the 300 feet high Ziggurat (temple tower), and similar-sized temples.

148 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


architecture displayed in luxurious

palaces, and imposing temples

were erected from glazed brick, and

huge imported granite, and marble

blocks, as well as giant cedars.

A first-time visitor approaching the

capital city is struck with a sense of

awe and wonder; gazing at towering

walls, high arched gates, and

hundreds of immense, magnificent

structures, including three hundred

temples, all displaying a rainbow of

brilliant colors: the outer walls of

yellow, the gates blue, the palaces

rose-red, and the temples glistening

white. The walls exhibit relief

figures—bulls, lions, and dragons. 498

Babylon’s dominant landmark was

the temple acreage of Marduk, which

contained the great temple tower or

ziggurat. Equivalent to a sixty-story

skyscraper (600 feet), it extended

upward in a solid pyramid shape with

seven levels, each of different colors.

The main temple was located at the

foot of the ziggurat while the top level

consisted of the temple dedicated

to the national god, Marduk. 499

Greek historian Herodotus writes

about those climbing to the summit:

“when one is about half-way up, one

finds a resting place and seats.” 500

So impressive was Babylon’s splendor

that even the prophet Isaiah ranked

it as the “glory of the kingdoms.” 501

For 2,000 years Babylon, the Great

lasted as a thriving ancient city, and

from this capital in 605 BCE Neo-

Babylon emerged as the greatest

world-nation. Then in 565, at the

pinnacle of its power, God speaks by,

not one, but two prophets, delivering

a prophecy of judgment upon

Babylon for committing excessive

injustices and cruelty. As the world

ruling power, the message of its

impending doom seemed all the more

incredible. Babylon prided itself on

being invincible, and boasted no

fear of attack from other nations.

However, a Power greater than

Babylon through the prophecies of

Jeremiah and Isaiah pronounced

upon her certain defeat and downfall.

We will now examine the transcript

of these prophecies in Scripture,

followed by a summary of the

major predicted events, and

then review their fulfillment

in the light of history.

498 Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Babylon,” 107.

499 Shea, Daniel, 72.

500 Britannica (1967 edition), vol. 2, 950. Cited in Peth, 7 Mysteries, 457.

501 Isaiah 13:19.

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 149


Jeremiah’s Prophecies

Against Babylon​ 502

» “Babylon is taken.”

» “Out of the north a nation

comes up against her which

shall make her land desolate.”

» “She shall not be inhabited.”

» “How the hammer of the

whole earth has been cut

apart and broken.”

» “Her cities are a desolation, a

dry land and a wilderness, a

land where no one dwells.”

» “They shall not take from

you a stone for a corner nor a

stone for a foundation, but you

shall be desolate forever”.

» “The broad walls of Babylon shall

be utterly broken and her high

gates shall be burned with fire.”

» “Thus Babylon shall sink and

not rise from the catastrophe.”

Isaiah’s Prophecies

Against Babylon​ 503 ​

Amazingly, in 712 BCE, Isaiah,

another prophet, prior to Jeremiah,

also prophesied Babylon’s overthrow

and complete desolation. Isaiah

dramatizes the fall of Babylon

as a Divine judgment (“the

day of the Lord”), overtaking

the city by God’s agents. 504

» “It will not be inhabited,

nor will it be settled from

generation to generation.”

» “Behold I will stir up the

Medes against them.”

» “To Cyrus, whose right hand I have

‘strengthened’ (margin reading)

to subdue nations before him.”

» “To open before him (Cyrus)

the double doors so that the

gates will not be shut.”

» “Nor will the Arabians pitch

tents there, nor will shepherds

make their sheepfolds there.”

» “Babylon shall become a heap…

without an inhabitant.”

» “But the wild beasts of the

desert will lie there”(“owls,”

“ostriches,” “wild goats,” “hyenas,”

“jackals,” and “porcupines”).

Summary of Major Predictions

• Babylon will be conquered, naming

the conquering nation, “Media,”

and the specific leader, “Cyrus.” 505

502 Quotations in bullet points are from Jeremiah 50:2, 3, 13, 23; 51:26, 30, 37, 43, 58, 64.

503 Quotations in bullet points are from Isaiah 13:17, 19-22; 44:28; 45:1-5.

504 Isaiah 13:2-6.

505 History records that Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire, reigned from 559 to 530 BCE when

he was killed in battle. “Cyrus was an outstanding soldier and statesman…and left behind him a reputation for

justice and clemency.” Britannica (1967 edition), vol. 6, “Cyrus”, 960. Cited in Peth, 7 Mysteries, 462.

150 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


• The gates of the river flowing

through the city are left

open, enabling Cyrus’ army a

surprise attack and capture.

• The towering walls will be

completely broken down and her

massive gates burned down.

• Babylon shall be destroyed,

never to be rebuilt.

• Babylon shall never be reinhabited,

or resettled in the future.

• Her cities will be desolated,

turned into dry land and

a wilderness (desert).

• Shepherds make no

sheepfolds there.

• Wild beasts of the wilderness

occupy the ruins.

• The roving Arabs will not

pitch their tents there.

• The large stones will not be removed

from Babylon for construction

of other buildings thereafter.

Another striking example of history

told in advance is God’s prediction

of Cyrus the Great. That Cyrus

would be the conqueror of Babylon,

is foretold by God’s prophet Isaiah

about the year 760 BCE. Yet, Cyrus

was only born about 599 BCE, thus

making his prophecy a century

and a half ahead of time. So Isaiah

prophesied and died before Cyrus

was even born. “It would be like

George Washington predicting that

a man named Dwight Eisenhower

would help liberate Europe in

1945!” 506 God spoke through Isaiah:

“Behold I will stir up the Medes

against them (Babylonians)”—a

nation “out of the north.” 507

What makes this prophecy more

remarkable is in Isaiah’s time, the

major enemy of Babylon was militant

Assyria; the Medes were scarcely

a united nation. And the Persians,

who later conquered the Medes and

formed the Medo-Persian Empire,

were then an insignificant power.

Though Cyrus was a skillful Persian

leader, how could he possibly defeat

Babylon? No weapons were a match

against Babylon’s high, strong-walled

defenses. Also, huge two-leaved gates

of brass barred all entrance from the

riverbed to the city. A keen strategist,

Cyrus learned of an approaching

annual festival lasting several days

when the whole city would indulge

in revelry and drunkenness. Cyrus

planned on the last day of feasting

to make the channel of the river his

506 Roy E. Gane, “To Serve and To Save,” Isaiah, ed. Clifford Goldstein, Adult Sabbath School Bible Study

Guide (Nampa,ID: Pacific Press Pub.,Assoc., Feb. 23, 2021), 71.

507 Isaiah 13:17; Jeremiah 50:3.

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 151


highway into the enemy’s stronghold.

At the given hour Cyrus’ soldiers

diverted the river into a large

artificial lake. Silently, they crept

along the empty riverbed under the

double walls. Because of the drunken

party, security was careless, and (as

divinely predicted) the river gates

were left open and unprotected. In

a surprise attack, the seemingly

invincible city fell without resistance.

The city was taken over intact by

Cyrus in 539 BCE, and was made one

of the capitals of his new empire. 508

Writing about Babylon as a

vanquished and vanished nation,

Encyclopedia Britannica renders

the astonishing fact: “this is the

end of the history of Babylonia.” 509

The final ruin of the city came

centuries later, but as predicted,

after the prophecies were written.

Several rebellions against Persian

rule, during Darius I and Xerxes’

times, led the latter mentioned king

about 480 BCE to punish the city

by “destroying its palaces, temples,

walls, and burning its gates.” 510

Thereafter, millions of clay-baked

bricks from the ruins of old Babylon

were used to build many structures

in surrounding villages, such as

Hilla, three and a half miles south.

And in 312 BCE, Seleucus I Nicator

built Seleucia as his capital some

miles away on the banks of the Tigris.

Even in modern times the river dam

of Hindiya, Iraq, was built with many

ancient bricks from Babylon. 511

Mounds of debris (“heaps”) mark

the former areas of old Babylon.

Today, “covered by the shifting

sands of the desert, it (was)

virtually a lost city, until recently

discovered by archaeologists.” 512

Over the years, I have become

acquainted with people from

different nations (as you have):

Egyptians, Asians, Ethiopians,

508 Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Babylon,” 107. (See Jeremiah 51:30). Also Peth, 7 Mysteries, 461-463.

Greek historian Herodotus, writing from the fifth century BCE relates that on the night the city fell “ its gates

were not closed by careless guards who also had been drinking.” Herodotus, The History of Herodotus,

translated by Henry Cary (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1917), 67 – 71. Cited in Peth, 7 Mysteries, 461.

509 Britannica (1967 edition), vol. 2, “Babylonia and Assyria,” 968. Cited in Peth, 463.

510 Jeremiah 51:58. Those mighty walls, visible for miles around as Babylon’s defense against invading armies

“shall be utterly broken down.” By comparison, the Great Wall of China, not nearly as high or strong (but older)

is still standing today against war and weather over centuries, while Babylon’s walls were reduced to ruins. See

Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Babylon”, 107.

511 Horn, 107.

512 Maxwell, Your Bible, “Prophecies that Came True,” 384. German archeologist, Robert Kaldeway, dug on

the site of old Babylon for 18 years, from 1899 to 1917, one of the most massive excavations ever undertaken.

The treasure he uncovered was the main entrance gate, the burned-out Ishtar Gate.

Since Kaldeway, more than 20 digs, in lesser times, have taken place. See Berg, 201, 202.

152 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Jamaicans, Icelanders, and Persians,

now called Iranians. But I’ve never

met a Babylonian. Have you? For

centuries, no one has seen a native

of Babylon. Why? Prophecy! Their

place and identity no longer exist.

An all-knowing God declared

of Babylon: it “shall NEVER be

inhabited, neither shall it be DWELT

in from generation to generation.” 513

Babylon the Great, that mighty

metropolis once filled with countless

homes and multitudes of inhabitants

(over time, its highest census of

200,000 people) is no more.

God’s expression, “Babylon shall

become heaps” is an apt description.

Everywhere are seen mounds of

baked clay in heaps. And the rubble

and ruins of the city lie buried.

After Babylon fell, treasure seekers

dug for valuables, leaving heaps

of debris and nothing more.

British archaeologist Austen Henry

Layard, after uncovering the site

between 1840- 1850, wrote:

Shapeless HEAPS of rubbish cover

for many an acre the face of the

land… On all sides, fragments of

glass, marble, pottery, and inscribed

bricks [called Nebuchadnezzar

II bricks]…render the site of

Babylon a naked and hideous

waste. Owls start from the scanty

thickets and the foul jackal

skulks through the furrows.” 514

Instead of people resettling the

ruined city, now birds and a variety

of wild animals dwell there.

Twentieth–century archaeologist,

Orley Berg, writes of his

visit to ancient Babylon:

“It was a miserable hot day in

July. The lonesome miles of

barren landscape gave little

reminder of what had once been

the ‘garden of God.’ The great

system of canals and ditches that

had once been a major industry

had long since gone to ruin.” 515

Yet, there is more to the prophecy.

God also tells: “nor will the Arabian

pitch tents there, nor will the

shepherds make their sheepfolds

there.” Isn’t this amazing! God

foresaw that the Arabs, a nomadic

people at the time of Babylon’s

greatness, would still wander

around with camels just as they

did then—but the Babylonians are

lost history. Today, you may see

Arabs with camel trains going from

513 Isaiah 13:20. Cf. Jeremiah 50:39.

514 Austen Henry Layard, Discoveries Among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon (New York: Harper, 1856),

413. Cited in Maxwell, Your Bible, 384.

515 Berg 201.

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 153


Bagdad past Babylon, and although

Arabs will pitch their tents at nearly

any location, they are superstitious

regarding Babylon. If one is hired

as a guide, he can’t be induced

to stay overnight in its ruins.

And it’s not surprising that with

wild animals in the territory

of ancient Babylon, along

with desert conditions, no

shepherd grazes sheep there.

And finally, what about the prophecy,

“stones” shall not be removed from

Babylon’s ruins? “They shall not

take from you a stone for a corner,

nor a stone for a foundation.” 516

As mentioned earlier, clay brick was

used in the construction of homes,

streets, and walls; whereas, temples

and palaces employed marble and

granite stone—excellent building

materials. We know Alexander

used the ruins of Tyre to build his

causeway; from the ruins of Memphis

the Egyptians built Cairo. But in

this case, God placed restriction on

the removal of immense amounts

of valuable stone left in Babylon’s

ruins, never to be exported by

others for their buildings. 517

To sum up: Babylon’s defeat; Median

Cyrus named the conqueror; the

massive walls broken down; the

desolated city never to be rebuilt

or resettled; occupants of wild

beasts; Arabs’ aversion to tent

there; the unremoved valuable

“stones;” all stand witness to

accurate prophecy told in advance,

and historically fulfilled in every

detail, so that the evidence may

impress our intelligence to trust in

the Bible and its Divine Author.

EGYPT

Egypt ranks among the oldest

and most developed nations of

the ancient world. Due to the

remarkable black, fertile soil in the

Nile Valley, Egypt was renowned

as “the granary of the world.” In

addition, Egypt was notable as a

leader of civilization; eminent in

the sciences 518 — in astronomy,

and mathematics; advanced in

irrigation; and famous for the

great pyramids, an engineering

marvel admired to this day.

516 “Stone” has reference to building material, not a small stone such as a pebble, but a building block or

cornerstone—large, but varying in size.

517 Scripture is silent as to God’s edict to leave the blocks and pillars of stone with the ruins. Perhaps the

association of the temples with idol worship, and the palaces with extravagance and debauchery, are possible

reasons.

518 In Egypt, medical science was advanced to the point that specialists cared for eyes, and dentists for teeth—

even using gold fillings. See Ball, Still Believe? 107.

154 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Egypt was so ancient that she

boasted a 2000- year unbroken

line of kings (pharaohs), longer

than any nation. To any person or

nation living then, all would have

predicted Egypt’s prominence and

prosperity to go on endlessly.

But in 587 BCE, at its height as a

world power, the prophet Ezekiel

was instructed to deliver a series

of prophecies of judgment 519

against Egypt. Its grandeur and

glory that seemed destined to last

forever, would fall into decline

and desolation. In Ezekiel 29 and

30, 520 Egypt’s fate is foretold in

the following seven predictions.

Seven Predictions About Egypt

1. Egypt Conquered

by Babylonians

» “I will bring a sword

against you.” (29:8)

» “I will give the land of Egypt

to Nebuchadnezzar, King

of Babylon.” (29:19)

In this prophecy, the very conqueror

is identified by name and nation—

Nebuchadnezzar, King of the

Babylonian Empire. History testifies

to Nebuchadnezzar’s decisive defeat

of Amasis, Pharaoh of Egypt in 568

BCE. A fragmentary tablet dated in

the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar

mentions a military campaign

between him and Amasis of Egypt. 521

In that conquest, Nebuchadnezzar

attacked the Pharaoh’s palace at

Taphanes, burned the temples of

519 God’s judgment on Egypt was one of seven nations (Ezekiel 25 – 32) represented in Old Testament times

as a legal lawsuit for its wickedness and cruelty (chapter 31:11, 12). The entire earth is under an “everlasting

covenant” (Isaiah 24:50); an international code of human standards in which all nations have ethical duties

of civility and humanness (Amos 1-2). God in his universal sovereignty [as Lord of the whole earth- Zechariah

4:14] is the Guarantor of justice and decency among the nations in their treatment of each other, and those

nations who violate the universal norms of proper behavior receive divine sanctions for their crimes. Numerous

prophecies may be classified as divine lawsuits (God’s proceeding against various nations) for “defiling” the

earth and transgressing “the laws.” (Isaiah 24:5)

Commentary above from Andrews Study Bible, footnote for Ezekiel 25:1-32:32, 1072.

In God’s mercy, nations are given lengthy probationary time to correct inhumane and cruel practices, and yet,

because judgment is not immediate, their hearts are “fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

520 Ezekiel 29:8-16,19; 30:13, 14. Also Jeremiah 46:25, 14; Isaiah 19:6,8.

521 J. B. Pritchard, The Ancient Near East Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 2nd ed. (Princeton, NJ:

1955), 308. Quoted in Horn (Professor of Archeology and History of Antiquities, Andrews University), Bible

Dictionary, “Nebuchadnezzar,” 760.

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 155


the Egyptian gods, and smashed

the obelisks 522 of Heliopolis. 523

2. Egypt’s Land Desolated

and Cities Ruined

• “Egypt shall become desolate

and waste.” (29:9)

• “I will make Egypt desolate

in the midst of countries

that are desolate.” (29:12)

• “Among the cities that are

laid waste, her cities shall be

desolate forty years.” (29:12)

• “I will make the land of Egypt

utterly waste and desolate from

Migdol to Syrene, as far as the

borders of Ethiopia.” (29:10)

“Migdol to Syrene” are the territorial

boundaries of Egypt, with Ethiopia

as Egypt’s southern neighbor on

the Nile. Various cities Ezekiel cites

were assigned to temporary ruin

during a period of forty years. 524

Many Bible students refer this

forty- year period of time to the

conquest of Egypt by the Persians

under Cambysis beginning in 52[4]5

BCE until about 487 BCE. 525

Two of Egypt’s largest cities,

however, would lie in perpetual

ruin. (See point No. 3.)

3. Permanent Ruin of Two

Cities—Thebes and Memphis

» “I will destroy the idols and cause

images to cease from Noth” (ancient

Memphis). (Ezekiel 30:13)

» “(I will) execute judgment on No”

(ancient Thebes). (Ezekiel 30:14)

» “I will bring punishment on

Amon (sun god) of No (Thebes)

and Pharaoh and Egypt with

their gods….” (Jeremiah 46:25)

» “Noth (ancient Memphis) shall

be waste and desolate, without

inhabitant.” (Jeremiah 46:19)

The calamities happening to

both Noth and No had particular

significance, being Egypt’s two

ancient capital cities. Ancient

Thebes (No) functioned as the

capital in Lower Egypt (South),

while Memphis (Noth) served as the

northern capital of Upper Egypt.

Judgment on Thebes

In the ancient world, Thebes was the

largest city, 36 square miles in size,

with a population of about 75,000

522 Obelisks are tall pillars devoted to sun worship. See prophecy of this destruction recorded in advance in

Jeremiah 43:12, 13.

523 Andrews Study Bible, 1079, footnote on Ezekiel 29:8-16.

524 Ezekiel lists the cities: Pathros, Zoan, On, Pi Beseth, Tehaphnehes, Aven. See Ezekiel 30:14-18.

525 Ball, Still Believe? 108.

156 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


residents, 526 exceeding such powerful

cities as Nineveh and Babylon.

Homer speaks of Thebes as “the

city of 100 gates.” The city exhibited

some of the most magnificent

monuments, 527 obelisks, and colossal

statues, as well as private houses

as high as four or five stories.

Amon was the chief god of Egypt, and

the temple dedicated to his name in

Thebes became the largest religious

structure ever built in the world—

on some 60 acres. It was so big that

St. Peter’s, Milan, and Notre Dame

cathedrals would fit in its area. 528

It took generations of Pharaohs to

complete the temple, now known

as the Temple of Karnack. 529

As predicted by contemporary

prophets, Ezekiel and Jeremiah,

“punishment” finally fell on Egypt,

recalling the boastful challenge

of an earlier pharaoh to Moses,

“Who is the Lord that I should

obey His voice to let Israel go?”

(Exodus 5:2). In 525 BCE the Persian

invader, Cambyses, completed

the destruction of cities begun by

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. In

a revolt against heavy taxation,

Egypt was finally and completely

crushed by the Romans under

Cornelius Gallus in 30/29 BCE 530 .

Judgment on Memphis

Ancient Memphis, fifteen miles

south of modern Cairo, rated

among the largest cities then,

with a circumference of about 19

miles, and a population of about

30,000. 531 The city’s main temple

was dedicated to Ptah, one of Egypt’s

most famous deities in the pantheon

of some 2,000 gods. 532 Adjacent to

Memphis stood the necropolis, or

“the city of the dead”—the place

of burial for royalty—inscribed

with Egyptian hieroglyphics on

monuments, “the city of pyramids.”

In contrast to the images scattered

around Thebes, Ezekiel declared

the idols would be smashed and

removed from Memphis (Ezekiel

30:13). The few remnants that

have been found are placed in

526 According to British archeologist and historian, Ian Morris, the estimated population of about 75,000

lasted from about 1500 BCE until about 900 BCE. See Thebes-Egypt-Wikipedia. However, estimates of

population data over the centuries for Thebes vary with authorities on Egypt.

527 These monuments were built to honor the living, the dead, and the divine.

528 Karnak Temple, p. 2; https://discoveringegypt.com/karnak-temple/

529 Horn, Bible Dictionary, “Thebes,” 1085, 1086.

530 Horn, 1086.

531 According to British archaeologist and historian, Ian Morris. See Thebes-Egypt-Wikipedia.

532 Gary Webster, Mysteries Unearthed, Adventist Media: Youtube.

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 157


or near museums as evidence of

such ancient worship objects. 533

Memphis fell into ruin after the

Arab conquest of Egypt, and stones

of its buildings and monuments

were carted away to build the city

of New Cairo. 534 So complete was

the ruin of Memphis, that for a

long time its location was lost,

until recent explorations. 535

Egyptologist Amelia B. Edwards

describes the former site of ancient

Memphis: “This is all that remains

of Memphis…a few rubbish heaps,

a dozen or so broken statues,

and a name…One can hardly

believe that a great city EVER

flourished on this spot or can

hardly understand how it should

have been effaced so utterly.” 536

Until the archaeological digs, most of

the city had lain beneath cultivated

fields and the village of Mit Rahina.

In all other cities of Egypt,

tourists today see idols and

images everywhere—but NOT in

the once great city of Memphis.

The prophecy was specific and

accurate: “images” would “cease.”

4. Rivers Dried Up

» “I am against…your rivers.”

(Ezekiel 29:10)

» “I will make the rivers dry and

all that is in it. The river will be

wasted and dried.” (Isaiah 19:5)

» “The brooks…will be emptied

and dried up.” (Isaiah 19:6)

» “The fishermen would mourn…who

cast hooks into the river and spread

nets on the waters.” (Isaiah 19:8)

Egypt was dependent on the Nile and

its tributaries for its very existence.

A low Nile would leave the irrigation

channels dangerously dry and result

in a waste and desolate land. (See

point No. 5). Notice that Ezekiel

predicts “rivers” (plural) would dry.

Encyclopedia Britannica explains:

“It is probable…the Egyptians

landscape was very different from

that of today…twelve branches of

533 David Goldie Down, “The Lost Nation,” Signs of the Times (Australia: February, 1978):8

534 World Book Encyclopedia (1955 edition), vol. 5, “Egypt,” 2224. Cited in Howard Peth, 7 Mysteries, 456.

535 Smith, Smith’s Bible Dictionary, “Memphis,” 395. The major excavations were made by British

archaeologist Sir William Matthew Finders Petrie from 1907 to 1912, and uncovered the majority of the ruins

as seen today. See “Memphis, Egypt”, Wikipedia. Since World War I about 20 digs have taken place; more

recently in April, 2015 by Russian archaeologists directed by Galina Belova, uncovering the “White Wall” of

ancient Memphis. https://www.com/...russian_archeologists_find_white_wals_of_ancient_memphis...

536 Amelia B. Edwards, A Thousand Miles Up the Niles (Philadelphia: David McKay,n.d.), 97-99. Cited in

Peth, 7 Mysteries, 456.

158 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


the Nile were said to flow through

it (the delta) in ancient times.” 537

The drying up of the Nile River

and its branches affected the

Egyptian economy and way of life. In

particular, fishermen mourned both

the loss of fish and their livelihood.

In times past, Memphis was on the

border of the Nile; today, the river is

some distance away. History verifies

the prophecy— “the rivers…dried up.”

5. Land Made Waste

and Desolate

» • “The land of Egypt shall become

waste and desolate.” (Ezekiel 29:10)

» “I will make the land

waste.” (Ezekiel 30:12)

The drying of the Nile and its

former branches directly affected

the network of canals for irrigation.

In addition, over time, various

conquering nations left the

man-made irrigation system in

disrepair. In turn, this resulted

in water shortages, making the

land “waste” and “desolate.” Rich

grainfields and cornfields, once the

trademark of the fertile Nile delta,

gave way to wasteland desert.

Today, says Encyclopedia

Britannica: “Windblown sand

dunes and stony and sandy

plains comprise approximately

90% of Egypt’s land.” 538

Any resident of Egypt or

traveler visiting the country

today sees firsthand the living

fulfillment to prophecy—sandy

wasteland and desolation.

6. Temporary Uprooting and

Promised Restoration

» “Among the cities that are laid

waste, her cities shall be desolate

forty years.” (Ezekiel 29:12)

» “I will scatter the Egyptians

among the nations and

disperse them throughout the

countries.” (Ezekiel 29:12)

» “At the end of forty years I will

gather the Egyptians from the

peoples among whom they were

scattered.” (Ezekiel 29:13)

» “I will bring back the captives

of Egypt and cause them to

return to the land of Pathros

(Upper Egypt) to the land of

their origin.” (Ezekiel 29:14)

The sentence assigned to Egypt

was very different from that of the

city-state of Tyre. Whereas Tyre’s

destruction would be permanent—

neither rebuilt nor reinhabited—

Egypt, on the other hand, would

537 Britannica (1967 edition), vol. 8, “Egypt, ”41. Cited in Peth, 455.

538 Britannica, “Egypt,” Plate II, facing 61. Cited in Peth, 7 Mysteries, 456.

PROPHECIES TO UNJUST NATIONS 159


recover from city desolation, and

be revived a peopled- nation.

First, however, Egypt’s population

would be made captive and scattered

abroad among different nations and

her cities would remain desolate

for forty years. Afterwards, unlike

captives of other nations that

remained slaves, or integrated into

their new country, the Egyptian

captives would be returned to “the

land of their origin.” Many Bible

scholars refer this time period (40

years) 539 to the conquest of Egypt

by the Persians under Cambyses,

beginning in 525 BCE, and

lasting until about 487 BCE.” 540

The prophet Ezekiel offers no

information regarding why their

captivity was limited to forty years.

Perhaps the discipline of captivity,

and being away from home taught

the necessary lessons. Or, perhaps

the sentence was suitable for the

“crimes.” Whatever the reasons

may be, here we see not only the

justice side of God to correct

injustice among nations, but also

the merciful side being exercised;

banishment being temporary, and the

opportunity to restore national life.

7. National Identity but

Ruled by Other Nations

» “Egypt shall be a lowly

kingdom.” (Ezekiel 29:14)

» “They will not rule over the nations

anymore.” (Ezekiel 29:15)

» “I will sell the land…and make

the land waste and all that is

in it by the hand of strangers.”

(Ezekiel 30:12 KJV)

Egypt stayed a world power for

centuries, dominating many nations.

Nonetheless, Ezekiel’s prophecy

predicts a permanent reversal of

status: “it shall be a lowly kingdom,”

even “the lowliest of kingdoms.” In

place of ruling over other nations,

Egypt would largely be controlled by

foreign powers —“strangers.” True to

Ezekiel’s forecasts, Egypt has been

ruled or controlled by: Persians,

Greeks, Romans, Saracens, Turks,

British, French, and has been a

part of the United Arab Republic.

While Egypt would remain an

independent nation, its status

was perpetually “diminished,”

in power and importance. One

Commentator remarks: “…[T]

hough she survived all her foreign

rulers, she has never risen to her

former greatness and prestige.” 541

539 In later Bible times, 40 years may represent, in round numbers, one generation.

540 Ball, Still Believe? 108.

541 Nichol. Commentary, vol.4, comments on Ezekiel 29:15, 679.

160 REMARKABLE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT FAITH


Another setback the prophet foretold

was there would never again be a

royal line in Egypt: “No longer will

there be a prince in Egypt.” (Ezekiel

30:13) In the Hebrew language

in which Ezekiel writes, the word

“prince” signifies authority by right,

and not the other Hebrew words

for prince that express delegated

authority. Abdul Nasser came into

power in the 1950s as the first native

Egyptian ruler for more than 2,000

years, but he was not a prince by

royal blood, or royal lineage. The

once mighty Pharaohs (“princes”)

of Egypt had long disappeared. 542

Floyd Hamilton correctly describes

the sacking of Egypt’s wealth

and its remarkable decline:

“Century by century…it (Egypt)

gradually shrank in importance,

both politically and economically,

until all the old wealth was gone,

[Ezekiel 30:12] the people were

poverty stricken and the country

was reduced politically until it

was a base (‘lowly’) nation.” 543

To sum up the amazing

predictions and accurate

fulfillments, Egypt would:

» Descend in power,

importance and wealth.

» Remain an independent nation,

but become “lowly” in stature.

» Be largely controlled or

ruled by foreign powers.

» Become a land made

waste and desert.

FUTURE

PREDICTIONS CONCLUSION

In conclusion, whether we speak

of Daniel’s universal kingdoms, or

Jeremiah’s amazing judgment on

Great Babylon, or Ezekiel’s complete

destruction of proud Tyre, or Ezekiel

and Jeremiah’s prophetic destiny

for Egypt—from world power to

“lowliest of kingdoms,”—these and

many other “predictions, like a

scroll, unroll in historical events

from the times of the prophets…