Berean Bible Study Notes
Learning to be a Berean - Lesson 3
Today's study: Bible Apologetics, Internal Evidence
This Bible study will again cover some "apologetics" for the Bible. Remember that "apologetics" means defense, so Christian apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith.
God promises to preserve His word, FOREVER. Here are some of those verses:
Matthew 5:17-18 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Luke 16:17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.
1 Peter 1:24-25 For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever."
These verses go beyond promising that the "intent" of God's Word will be preserved, or that general doctrine will be preserved. The first two verses here promise that the very letters themselves will be preserved forever.
Now, either that is true or it isn't. Last time, we had evidence from outside the Bible that it is true - and this time we'll have evidence from within the Bible itself that that is true. However, this ultimately comes down to our faith - we believe God or we don't. I'm not talking about "faith" as the world means it - that any sincere faith in anything will do. I'm not talking about the faith that anyone has in their chosen religion, like the faith of the Muslim in the Koran. I'm talking about real, saving faith - the kind that only comes through the Holy Spirit.
With that faith, I can know, for certain, that there are no "lost" books of the Bible - because that would mean that something HAD dropped out of God's Word. With that faith, I know that everything that IS there is there for a reason - every name, every place, every date, every everything. I know that what's there is meant to be there. It's one of those "I know that I know that I know" things, and is pretty much impossible to explain to someone who isn't quite there yet. Please, don't feel inadequate if you aren't there yet. Everyone is at a different place in his or her walk with Jesus, and that faith will come as you spend time in God's Word:
Romans 10:17 Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Phillipians 1:6 He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
The greatest proof of God's Word being exactly that - God's Word, is right there - what it does within you. My little challenge to you is to prove that to yourself. Three to four chapters a day will get you through the entire Bible in about a year. Just pray every time you read for God to help you get out of it what He wants for you to get out of it - to understand what He wants you to understand. It is a little like a pregnancy - some parts are easier than others - but just try it, and see what those months give "birth" to! (Unlike a pregnancy, you can get through it faster if you want to!)
Only the true God knows the end from the beginning. He foretells the future with 100% accuracy. Absolutely no other book in the entire world can make such a claim - not the Koran, not the Book of Mormon, not the books of the eastern religions - none.
God knew that there would be religious confusion and many books claiming to be His Word. So, He included His "authentication" stamp on the one we should believe. In Isaiah, there is a whole section where God dares the people to ask their idols the future, to prove that they are gods. He says that only the true God does this:
Isaiah 41:21-23 "Present your case," says the LORD. "Set forth your arguments," says Jacob's King. "Bring in your idols, to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods."
Isaiah 45:20-21 Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it - let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.
Isaiah 46:10, 11 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. . .What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.
Isaiah 48:5 I told you these things long ago, before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, 'My idols did them; my wooden images and metal god ordained them.'
God is saying that only He, the true God, tells what's going to happen in the future and then causes it to come to pass. He makes it a test of being God! In the book of Isaiah (you'll notice that all the quotes above are from Isaiah), He does this over and over again. A very interesting place where He does that is in Chapter 44 & 45. Isaiah wrote around 700 B.C., and in Chapters 44 & 45, the prophet records a prophecy about a man named Cyrus, who would be king of the Persian Empire over 150 years later. Here God says that Cyrus would cause the city of Jerusalem and the temple to be rebuilt. At the time this was written, Jerusalem and the temple had not been destroyed yet. In fact, the Persian Empire didn't even exist as a world power. The people of Isaiah's day must have really wondered about this prophecy!
The LORD , Not Idols
6 "This is what the LORD says-
Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come-
yes, let him foretell what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."
Jerusalem to Be Inhabited
24 "This is what the LORD says-
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the LORD ,
who has made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
25 who foils the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
and turns it into nonsense,
26 who carries out the words of his servants
and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, 'It shall be inhabited,'
of the towns of Judah, 'They shall be built,'
and of their ruins, 'I will restore them,'
27 who says to the watery deep, 'Be dry,
and I will dry up your streams,'
28 who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd
and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt,"
and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid." '
1 "This is what the LORD says to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
so that gates will not be shut:
The King James is not so polite & tells it like it is. (The Hebrew text used in both translations appears to be the same, both here and in Dan 5:6, so I don't know why this is translated differently) It may seem like a small point, but it was a prophecy in itself. Basically, God was saying that the king would be so upset that he would mess himself:
Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
2 I will go before you
and will level the mountains ;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD ,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
4 For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honor,
though you do not acknowledge me.
5 I am the LORD , and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
men may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD , and there is no other.
7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD , do all these things.
11 "This is what the LORD says-
the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
do you question me about my children,
or give me orders about the work of my hands?
12 It is I who made the earth
and created mankind upon it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
I marshaled their starry hosts.
13 I will raise up Cyrus  in my righteousness:
I will make all his ways straight.
He will rebuild my city
and set my exiles free,
but not for a price or reward,
says the LORD Almighty."
The book of Isaiah was written more than 100 years before Cyrus was even born, yet it called him by name. You may remember what happened. The Jews had been taken captive to Babylon and their city and temple destroyed (because they hadn't followed God, but had trusted in idols). The prophet Jeremiah said they would be in captivity for 70 years. After that time, the Persians, with Cyrus as their ruler, conquered Babylon without a fight. The king's son (Belshazzar) who was co-regent with the real king (Nabonidus), was having a huge banquet. Daniel 5 tells what happened:
1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. 2 While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father  had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. 3 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. 4 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.
Again, the King James tells it like it was - the king was so scared that he messed himself:
Dan 5:6 Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
7 The king called out for the enchanters,
and diviners to be brought and said to these wise men of Babylon,
"Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be
clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and
he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom."
8 Then all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9 So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.
10 The queen,  hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. "O king, live forever!" she said. "Don't be alarmed! Don't look so pale! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. King Nebuchadnezzar your father-your father the king, I say-appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. 12 This man Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means."
13 So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, "Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15 The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. 16 Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom."
17 Then Daniel answered the king, "You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.
18 "O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the peoples and nations and men of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes.
22 "But you his son,  O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
25 "This is the inscription that was written:
Mene , Mene , Tekel , Parsin 
26 "This is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."
29 Then at Belshazzar's command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians,  was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
According to Herodotus (the Greek historian who wrote in 440 BC), the streets of Babylon, leading on each side to the river, were secured by two leaved brazen gates, and these had been left open when Cyrus's forces entered the city in the night. They came through the channel of the river (The Euphrates river went right under the huge wall that surrounded Babylon. The Persians had lowered the depth of the river by diverting the water), in the general disorder brought about by the great feast which was being celebrated. "Otherwise," says Herodotus, "the Persians would have been shut up in the bed of the river, as in a net, and all destroyed. The gates of the palace were also imprudently opened to ascertain the occasion of the tumult; when the two parties under Gobrias and Gadatas rushed in, got possession of the palace, and slew the king."
Ten days later, Cyrus arrived, and according to Jewish tradition, Daniel showed him the prophecy about him in the book of Isaiah. Here's what Josephus, the first century Jewish historian says about it in Antiquities of the Jews - Book XI:
"Thus saith Cyrus the king: Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites worship; for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets, and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country of Judea."
This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision: "My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple." This was foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the Divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written; so he called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their city Jerusalem, (2) and the temple of God, for that he would be their assistant, and that he would write to the rulers and governors that were in the neighborhood of their country of Judea, that they should contribute to them gold and silver for the building of the temple, and besides that, beasts for their sacrifices.
And, here's part of what Cyrus himself says about it in cuneiform writing on The Cyrus Cylinder:
In all lands everywhere he searched; he looked through them and sought a righteous prince after his own heart, whom he took by the hand. He called Cyrus, king of Anshan, by name; he appointed him to lordship over the whole world. . . Without battle or conflict, he permitted him to enter Babylon. He spared his city, Babylon, a calamity. Nabonidus, the king, who did not fear him, he delivered into his hand. . . The people of Babylon . . .and the shameful yoke was removed from them. Their dwellings, which had fallen, I restored. I cleared out their ruins.
What is the significance of all this? God foretold the exact details of the conquering of Babylon more than 150 years before it happened, calling Cyrus by name. People who choose not to believe this have no choice but to try to force the book of Isaiah to have been written AFTER the events happened. However, you can see that that would make no sense. No one argues about the date of the Cyrus cylinder. It was clearly created around 500 BC. And, on the cylinder itself, Cyrus quotes a portion of the prophecy of Isaiah.
Here is more information on this whole fascinating event:
The Fall of Babylon
Herodotus, Cyrus Captures Babylon
The following is from the above link:
Cyrus, from the Hebrew (pronounced) koe-resh, was the name of a great Persian king (see Ancient Empires - Persia) who ruled over the conquered Babylonian empire (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), thereby eventually allowing the exiled-to-Babylon people of Judah (see Why Babylon?) to return to Jerusalem in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Although Cyrus was, by nature, a geopolitically-covetous, and hence war mongering, king bent on conquest, he was, as the Bible plainly states, specifically used by God for that purpose, just as numerous others have at "course adjustment" times of history (e.g. God used the pagan Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar not only for Judah's prophesied exile, as explained in "Why Babylon" above, but also to deliver one of the most detailed prophecies of the Bible, see Nebuchadnezzar's Dream).
For God, Prophecy isn't as much about having the ability to predict the future as it is about having the power to make things happen, anytime, anywhere, i.e. "Blessed be the Name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings" (Daniel 2:20-21 KJV)
Cyrus is first mentioned in the last 2 verses of 2 Chronicles and the first 3 verses of Ezra (which are the same, being a continuation) in which The Lord "stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia" so "that the word of The Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished" (i.e. God didn't just predict future events, He directly made prophecy happen):
"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of The Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath The Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up." (2 Chronicles 36:22-23 KJV)
"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of The Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of The Lord God of Israel, He is the God, which is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:1-3 KJV)
Cyrus took possession of the items that had been looted from the Temple in Jerusalem (see Temples and "My Father's House") by the Babylonians, so they were returned with the people of Judah, as stated in the Scriptures. If the Ark of the Covenant had been looted from the Temple along with all of the other items, it would have been returned at that time - but it wasn't returned because the Ark never left Jerusalem - see Raiders Of The Lost Ark:
"Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of The Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah" (Ezra 1:7-8 KJV)
Cyrus provided all the necessary finances and materials for the rebuilding of Jerusalem:
"They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia." (Ezra 3:7 KJV)
After Darius succeeded Cyrus "the king of (conquered) Babylon," Cyrus' decree was carried out:
"But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God. And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the Temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor; And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the Temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place."
"Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished. Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter." (Ezra 5:13-17 KJV)
"In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits; With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house."
"And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the Temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the Temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God." (Ezra 6:3-5 KJV)
That is just one of many other verifiable prophecies, including the fall of Tyre.
Fulfilled Prophecy as an Apologetic, the Fall of Tyre
More articles, in case this interests you!
Fulfilled Prophecy as Evidence for the Bible's Divine Origin
The following is from the above link:
2,000 prophecies including approximately 200 about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
While a few of the prophecies have not yet been fulfilled (for example, the Second Coming of Christ), there are no prophetic failures.
While there are both obvious and subtle prophecies, most are very detailed and specific.
No other religion has specific, repeated, and unfailing fulfillment of predictions many years in advance of contingent events over which the predictor had no control.
Studies of psychics show only around 8% of their predictions come true and virtually all of these can be attributed to chance and a general knowledge of circumstances.
Fulfilled prophecy is powerful evidence that the Bible is divine rather than human in origin.
Objection: Jesus manipulated events to fulfill prophecy. Answer: (a) Many prophecies were out of his control (ancestry, place of birth, time of death). (b) His miracles confirmed Jesus to be the Messiah. (c) There is no evidence that Jesus was a deceiver. (d) In order to manipulate all the people (including his enemies) and even his disciples to make it appear that he was the Messiah, Jesus would have needed supernatural powers. If he had such powers, he must have been the Messiah he claimed to be.
Examples of Non-Messianic Prophecies
The Succession of Great World Kingdoms (Daniel 2:37-42). Even negative critics agree that Daniel foretold the governments in order of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
Cyrus King of Persia (Isaiah 44:28-45:1). Since Isaiah lived between about 740 and 690 BC (2 Kings 25-21) and Cyrus did not make his proclamation for Israel to return from exile until about 536 (Ezra 1), there would have been no human way for him to know what Cyrus would be named or what Cyrus would do.
Israel to Be Returned to Its Land A Second Time (Isaiah 11:11-12). The first was under Nehemiah and Ezra subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The second was in 1948. No other culture in history has been restored, especially after so much time and genocidal hatred. (Some say that the "second time" will be on the last day.)
The Closing of the Golden Gate (Ezekiel 44:2-3). The Golden Gate is the eastern gate of Jerusalem, through which Christ made his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday before the crucifixion (Matthew 21). Ezekiel predicted its closing and in 1543 Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent closed the gate and walled it up, not knowing he was fulfilling prophecy. It remains sealed to this day exactly as the Bible predicted, waiting to be re-opened when the Lord returns.
The Destruction of Tyre (Ezekiel 26:3-14). The prophecy was partly fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city and left it in ruins. Alexander the Great later attacked the seemingly impregnable Island of Tyre by taking the stones, dust, and timber from the ruined mainland city to build a causeway to the Island. This prophecy is comparable to saying that Chicago will be destroyed and never rebuilt.
The Doom of Edom (Petra) (Jeremiah 49:15-17). Given the virtually impregnable nature of the ancient city carved out of rock and protected by a narrow passageway, this was an incredible prediction. Yet, in 636 AD it was conquered by Muslims and today stands deserted but for tourists.
Flourishing of the Desert in Palestine (Ezekiel 36:33-35). Since before the turn of the twentieth century, Israel has been renovated and Israel's agriculture is flourishing.
Destruction of Jerusalem (Mark 13:1-2). Fulfilled literally when the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem and the temple buildings. According to historian and eyewitness Josephus, some of the stones were 37 feet long, 12 feet high and 18 feet wide. Stones were even pried apart to collect the gold leaf that melted from the roof when the temple was set on fire.
There are many articles you can find on the trustworthiness of the Bible. Here are a few. To find others, try searching on “How do I know the Bible is true?” Please use discernment.
Fulfilled Prophecy: Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible -
The Bethlehem Miracle
Can you prove the Bible is true?
How do you know the Bible is true?
Amazing Evidence for the Trustworthiness of the Bible
Fulfilled prophecy about Jesus
What about Jesus? Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies of the coming Messiah, many of which were beyond his control (if he was just a man, that is), such as where he would be born, who would betray him, the amount that he would be betrayed by, how he would die and on and on.
Prophecy, the Bible and Jesus
The following is all from the above link at the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, which was in turn taken from Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.
How do you respond to someone's claim that the Bible is not inspired? Is there a way to prove inspiration or, at least, intelligently present evidence for its inspiration? The answer is "Yes!" One of the best ways to prove inspiration is by examining prophecy. There are many religious books in the world that have many good things to say. But only the Bible has fulfilled prophecies--with more fulfillments to come. The Bible has never been wrong in the past, and it won't be wrong in the future.
One approach to use with an unbeliever is to turn to Psalm 22 and read verses 12-18. This is a detailed description of the crucifixion--1000 years before Jesus was born. After you read the section ask him what it was about. He'll say, "The crucifixion of Jesus." Then respond with something like, "You're right. This is about the crucifixion. But it was written 1000 years before Jesus was born. And on top of that, crucifixion hadn't even been invented yet. How do you think something like this could happen?" After a brief discussion, you could show him (or her) a few other prophecies like where Jesus' birthplace was prophesied (Micah 5:2), that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), that His side would be pierced (Zech. 10:10), etc.
Born of the Seed of the Woman
Gen. 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Matt. 1:20, "But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit."
Born of a Virgin
Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
Matt. 1:18,25, "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary...was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit... But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."
Son of God
Psalm 2:7, "I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son today I have become your Father."
Matt. 3:15, "And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'"
Seed of Abraham
Gen. 22:18, "and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."
Matt. 1:1, "record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:"
Son of Isaac
Gen. 21:12, "But God said to him, 'Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.'"
Luke 3:23-34, "Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli...the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,"
House of David
Jer. 23:1, "The days are coming, declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land."
Luke 3:23-31, "Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli...the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,"
Born at Bethlehem
Micah 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
Matt. 2:1, "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem."
He shall be a Prophet
Deut. 18:18, "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him."
Matt. 21:11,"The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
He shall be a Priest
Psalm 110:4, "The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: 'You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'"
holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your
thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we
He shall be a King
Psalm 2:6, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill."
Matt. 27:37, "Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS."
He shall judge
Isaiah 33:22, "For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us."
John 5:30, "By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me."
He would be preceded by a Messenger
Isaiah 40:3, "A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'"
Matt. 3:1-2, "In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'"
Rejected by His own people
Isaiah 53:3, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
His side pierced
Zech. 12:10, "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one mourns for an only son."
John 19:34, "Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water."
Psalm 22:1, Psalm 22:11-18, "For the director of music. To the tune of "The Doe of the Morning." A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?...Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."
they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him,
along with the criminals -- one on his right, the other on his
The Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy
following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner in Science
Speaks (Moody Press, 1963) to show that coincidence is ruled out
by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the
modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies,
'we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the
present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1017."
That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us
comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by
supposing that "we take 1017
dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of
the state two feet deep.
The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 1079. It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies by accident."
This information was taken from the book Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.
Here are a few more articles on how Jesus fulfilled prophecy:
Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus Christ
TWENTY-FOUR HOURS IN THE LIFE OF JESUS
MESSIANIC PROPHECIES FULFILLED IN JESUS by Josh McDowell
A Ready Defense, by Josh McDowell (several other chapters available online)
More Articles - Use Discernment
The structure of the Bible itself
In 1890, a man named Ivan Panin made a discovery about the incredible mathematical structure of the text of the Bible in the original Greek and Hebrew. Panin was born in Russia on December 12, 1855. He took part in plots against the Czar when he was young and was exiled. He studied in Germany for a few years and then came to the United States. He graduated from Harvard University in 1882. During those years, he was a humanist and an agnostic, but sometime after graduation, he became a Christian.
In 1890, he was reading John 1 in the Greek. In the Greek, the text said, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with the God, and the word was God." He was curious as to why the definite article was used with "God" in the first instance but not the second. Being a man who liked to get to the bottom of things, he made a list of all the times in the New Testament where God was preceded by "the" and where it wasn't. When he compared the two lists, he discovered a mathematical relationship between them. He found it strange, and continued to investigate the mathematics behind the Scriptures, both in the Hebrew and the Greek. What he found was a phenomenal pattern of "sevens" that seemed to be in every verse of every book. In 1899, he responded to a "Letter to the Editor" from a man who had doubted that the last twelve verses of Mark actually belonged in the Bible (Panin's letter is below) and offered a challenge to anyone who could refute him. To this day, over 100 years later, no one has. There have been those who ridiculed his work and say they have refuted it, but they haven't even come close.
Ivan Panin was greatly disappointed that people didn't seem to care what an amazing thing this was, but didn't let that stop him. He wound up spending the next 50 years of his life painstakingly exploring the numerical structure of the Scriptures. He created over 43,000 handwritten pages during this time, while making a subsistence living on a little farm with his wife. Although Panin published small pamphlets on his own, it wasn't until 1941 that Karl Sabiers published a more substantial amount of Panin's work in his book, Mathematics Prove Holy Scriptures. Ivan Panin died the next year, in 1942.
Here is Ivan Panin's original challenge, published in a letter to the editor in the New York Sun, in 1899:
The Inspiration of the Scriptures Scientifically Demonstrated -
1. The first 17 verses of the New
Testament contain the genealogy of Christ. It consists of two main
parts: Verses 1-11 cover the period from Abraham, the father of the
chosen people, to the Captivity, when they ceased as an independent
people. Verses 12-17 cover the period from the Captivity to the
promised Deliverer, the Christ.
Let us examine the first part of this genealogy.
Its vocabulary has 49 words, or 7 x 7. This number is itself seven (Feature 1) sevens (Feature 2), and the sum of its factors is 2 sevens (Feature 3). Of these 49 words 28, or 4 sevens, begin with a vowel; and 21, or 3 sevens, begin with a consonant (Feature 4).
Again: These 49 words of the vocabulary have 266 letters, or 7 x 2 x 19; this number is itself 38 sevens (Feature 5), and the sum of its factors is 28, or 4 sevens (Feature 6), while the sum of its figures is 14, or 2 sevens (Feature 7). Of these 266 letters, moreover, 140, or 20 sevens, are vowels, and 126, or 18 sevens, are consonants (Feature 8).
That is to say: Just as the number of words in the vocabulary is a multiple of seven, so is the number of its letters a multiple of seven; just as the sum of its factors of the number of the words is a multiple of seven, so is the sum of the factors of the number of their letters a multiple of seven. And just as the number of words is divided between vowel words and consonant words by seven, so is their number of letters divided between vowels and consonants by sevens.
Again: Of these 49 words 35, or 5 sevens, occur more than once in the passage: and 14, or 2 sevens, occur but once (Feature 9); seven occur in more than one form, and 42, or 6 sevens, occur in only one form (Feature 10). And among the parts of speech the 49 words are thus divided: 42, or 6 sevens, are nouns, 7 are not nouns (Feature 11). Of the nouns, 35, or 5 sevens, are Proper names, seven are common nouns (Feature 12). Of the Proper names 28 are male ancestors of the Christ, and seven are not (Feature 13). Moreover, these 49 words are distributed alphabetically thus. Words under 'alpha - epsilon' are 21 in number, or 3 sevens; 'stigma - iota' 14, or 2 sevens; 'lamda - upsilon' also 14. No other groups of sevens stopping at the end of a letter are made by these 49 words, the groups of sevens stop with these letters and no others. But the letters, alpha, epsilon, stigma, iota, lambda, upsilon, are letters 1, 5, 6, 10, 12, 22 of the Greek alphabet, and the sum of these number (called their Place Values) is 56, or 8 sevens (Feature 14). This enumeration of the numeric phenomena of these 11 verses does not begin to be exhaustive, but enough has been shown to make it clear that this part of the genealogy is constructed on an elaborate design of sevens.
Let us now turn to the genealogy as a whole. I will not weary your readers with recounting all the numeric phenomena thereof: Pages alone would exhaust them. I will point out only one feature. The New Testament is written in Greek. The Greeks had no separate symbols for expressing numbers, corresponding to our Arabic figures, but used instead the letters of their alphabet: just as the Hebrews, in whose tongue the Old Testament is written, made use for the same purpose of theirs. Accordingly, the 24 Greek letters stand for the following numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900.
Every Greek word is thus a sum in arithmetic obtained by adding the numbers for which its letters stand, or their numeric values. Now the vocabulary to the entire genealogy has 72 words. If we write its numeric value over each of these 72 words and add them, we get for their sum 42,364, or 6,052 sevens, distributed into the following alphabetical groups only: alpha - beta have 9,821 or 1,403 sevens; gamma - delta, 1,904 or 272 sevens; epsilon - stigma, 3,703 or 529 sevens; theta - rho, 19,264 or 2,752 sevens; sigma - chi, 7,672 or 1,096 sevens. But the numeric value of the 10 letters used for making these groups is 931 or 7 x 7 x 19, a multiple not only of seven but of seven sevens.
Let Mr. W.R.L. (the man who had attacked the credibility of a portion of the Bible in a previously published letter) try to write some 300 words intelligently like this genealogy, and reproduce some numeric phenomena of like designs. If he does it in 6 months, he will indeed be a wonder. Let us assume that Matthew accomplished this feat in one month. 2. The second part of this chapter, verses 18-25, relates the birth of the Christ. It consists of 161 words, or 23 sevens; occurring in 105 forms, or 15 sevens, with a vocabulary of 77 words or 11 sevens. Joseph is spoken to here by an angel. Accordingly, of the 77 words the angel uses 28 or 4 sevens; of the 105 forms he uses 35 or 5 sevens; the numeric value of the vocabulary is 52,605 or 7,515 sevens; of the forms, 65,429 or 9,347 sevens. This enumeration only begins as it were barely to scratch the surface of the numerics of this passage. But what is specially noteworthy here is the fact that the angel's speech has also a scheme of sevens making it a kind of ring within a ring, a wheel within a wheel. If Mr. L. can write a similar passage of 161 words with the same scheme of sevens alone (though there are several others here) in some three years, he would have accomplished a still greater wonder. Let us assume that Matthew accomplished this feat in only 6 months.
3. The second chapter of Matthew tells of the childhood of the Christ. Its vocabulary has 161 words, or 23 sevens, with 896 letters, or 128 sevens, and 238 forms, or 34 sevens; the numeric value of the vocabulary is 123,529 or 17, 647 sevens; of the forms, 166,985 or 23, 885 sevens; and so on through pages of enumeration. This chapter has at least four logical divisions, and each division shows alone the same phenomena found in the chapter as a whole. Thus the first six verses have a vocabulary of 56 words, or 8 sevens, etc. There are some speeches here: Herod speaks, the Magi speak, the angel speaks. But so pronounced are numeric phenomena here, that though there are as it were numerous rings within rings, and wheels within wheels, each is perfect in itself through forming all the while only part of the rest.
If Mr. L. can write a chapter like this as naturally as Matthew writes, but containing in some 500 words so many intertwined yet harmonious numeric features, in say the rest of his days - whatever his age now, or the one to which he is to attain: if he thus accomplished it at all, it will indeed be marvel of marvels. Let us assume that Matthew accomplished this feat in only 3 years.
4. There is not, however, a single paragraph of the scores in Matthew that is not constructed in exactly the same manner. Only with each additional paragraph the difficulty of constructing it increases not in arithmatical, but in geometrical progression. For he contrives to write his paragraphs so as to develop constantly fixed numeric relations to what goes before and after. Thus in his last chapter he contrives to use just 7 words not used by him before. It would thus be easy to show that Mr. L. would require some centuries to write a book like Matthew's. How long it took Matthew the writer does not know. But how he contrived to do it between the Crucifixion, AD 30 (and his Gospel could not have been written earlier), and the destruction of Jerusalem, AD 70 (and the Gospel could not have been written later), let Mr. L. and his like-minded explain.
Anyhow, Matthew did it, and we thus have a miracle - an unheard-or literary, mathematical artist, unequaled, hardly even conceivable. This is the first fact for Mr. L. to contemplate.
A second fact is yet more important: In his very first section, the genealogy discussed above, the words found nowhere else in the New Testament occur 42 times, 7 x 6; and have 126 letters, 7 x 6 x 3, each number a multiple not only of seven, but of 6 sevens, to name only two of the many numeric features of these words. But how did Matthew know, when designing this scheme for these words (whose sole characteristic is that they are found nowhere else in the New Testament) that they would not be found in the other 26 books? That they would not be used by the other 7 New Testament writers? Unless we assume the impossible hypothesis that he had an agreement with them to that effect, he must have had the rest of the New Testament before him when he wrote his book. The Gospel of Matthew, then, was written last.
5. It so happens, however, that the Gospel of Mark shows the very same phenomena. Thus the very passage called so triumphantly in today's SUN a 'forgery,' the Last Twelve Verses of Mark, presents among some sixty features of sevens the following phenomena: It has 175 words, or 25 sevens, a vocabulary of 98 words, or 2 sevens of sevens, with 553 letters, or 79 sevens; 133 forms, or 19 sevens, and so on to the minutest detail. Mark then, is another miracle, another unparalled literary genius. And in the same way in which it was shown that Matthew wrote last it is also shown that Mark, too, wrote last. Thus to take an example from this very passage: It has just one word found nowhere else in the New Testament, theta, alpha, nu, alpha, sigma, iota, upsilon, omicron, sigma, deadly. This fact is signaled by no less than seven features of sevens, thus: its numeric value is 581 or 83 sevens, with the sum of its figures 14, or 2 sevens, of which the letters 3, 5, 7, 9 from the beginning of the word have 490, or 7 x 7 x 5 x 2: a multiple of seven sevens, with the sum of its factors 21, or 3 sevens. In the vocabulary it is preceded by 42 words: 7 x 6; in the passage itself by 126 words, or 7 x 6 x 3, both numbers multiples not only of seven, but of 6 sevens. We have thus established before us this third fact for Mr. L. to contemplate: Matthew surely wrote after Mark, and Mark just as surely wrote after Matthew.
6. It happens, however, to be a fourth fact that Luke presents the same phenomena as Matthew and Mark, and so does John, and James, and Peter, and Jude, and Paul. And we have thus no longer two great unheard-of mathematical literati, but eight of them and each wrote after the other.
7. And not only this: As Luke and Peter wrote each 2 books, John 5, and Paul 14, it can in the same way be shown that each of the 27 New Testament books was written last. In fact, not a page of the over 500 in Wescott and Hort's Greek edition (which the writer has used throughout) but it can be demonstrated thus to have been written last.
The phenomena are there and there is no human way of explaining them. Eight men cannot each write last, 27 books, some 500 pages, cannot each be written last. But lets assume that one Mind directed the whole, and the problem is solved simply enough: by this Verbal Inspiration - of every jot and tittle of the New Testament.
There remains only to be added that by precisely the same kind of evidence the Hebrew Old Testament is proved to be equally inspired. This the very first verse of Genesis has seven words, 28 letters, or 4 sevens: to name only two out of the dozens of numeric features of this one verse of only seven words
NEW YORK SUN, November 21, 1899 - CORRECTED
To this letter several replies appeared in the SUN, but not a single answer. For in only three ways can it be refuted.
1. By showing that the facts are not as here given.
2. By showing that it is possible for 8 men to write each after the other 7: for 27 books, or some 500 pages, to be each in turn written last.
3. By showing that even if the facts be true, the arithmetic faultless, and the collection of the numerics honest, it does not follow that mere men could have written this without Inspiration from above.
Of the nine noted rationalists, one was not 'interested' in the writer's 'arithmetical doings;' two 'regretted' that they had 'no time' to give heed thereto; another 'did not mean to be unkind, but...'; the rest were silent.
To this day, there has never been anyone who actually refuted Ivan Panin's work. There have been those who tried to ridicule it, such as in Miracles in Edgar Allen Poe, where they have taken ONE line from a poem and found patterns of seven in it. However, the Bible seems to have these patterns in every verse of every book. Personally, I find the possibility very intriguing, and it makes sense to me. However, my faith is not based on this, and if it turned out to not be true, my faith would not be harmed.
More articles on the amazing patterns of seven in the Bible:
BIBLE NUMERICS EXAMINED NOTE: If you read other parts of this web site, please use discernment. This is a very good article, but other articles on this site do tend to be a little (sometimes a lot) on the "edge."
IS GOD A MATHEMATICIAN?
Mathematical Codes Found in The Bible
The Astonishing Pattern of SEVENS in Genesis 1:1
More articles on fulfilled prophecy and other Bible treasures, in case you're interested:
Ezekiel's 430 Days
Ezekiel Prophesied the 1967 Recapture of Jerusalem
Other articles about Ezekiel's prophecy (use discernment!)
The Value of Pi
The Mysteries of Pi and e
How do we know the right books were selected for the Bible? - Links to other articles
A very good little book:
Hidden Treasures in the Biblical Text
Now, remember how we started this study. Our faith doesn't come because of some "proof" we've been given of the Bible's validity. Our belief in the Bible's validity comes from our faith. All these things we've gone over the last two studies are simply to help you lay to rest all those challenges to the Bible that you've been hearing and seeing in books, movies, you name it. There are those who believe that apologetics will help someone believe. That is true ONLY IF the Holy Spirit has also been working on that person. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to believe the gospel. Once we believe the gospel, these things can be edifying. Otherwise, an unbeliever will simply dismiss them as nonsense.
The next study will cover information on the original languages of the Bible.
Learning to be Bereans Bible Study
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11
© 2010 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 9/17/2010. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.
Berean Bible Study Home Page