With our struggling economy we have to trust more and more upon the standards that we have grown accustomed to. We expect that our dollar is valued the same in every
store we shop. We trust that the gallon of milk which we purchased at one store is equivalent to the gallon that we could purchase at the store on the other side of town.
We can clearly see what would happen if each store owner used their own standard. Chaos would ensue.
God has given us a standard to live by. II Tim. 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Let us examine what the scriptures say happen to those
that used their own standard.
When we seek to use our own hearts as a standard to live by we fail to please God. Jeremiah once wrote, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself:
it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jer. 10:23).” Man’s failure to please God on his own terms is clearly seen in the book of Judges.
In this book we see judges sacrificing their daughters (Jud. 11) and laying with prostitutes (Jud. 16). We see priests using graven images (Jud. 17).
Furthermore we see a distinct pattern develop throughout the book. Israel sins, gets punished by neighboring countries, God sends a judge to deliver them,
Israel lives faithfully during the judges life, and then it would repeat. The reason Israel sinned is explained in the last verse of the book.
“Every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Jud. 21:25).” We can expect God to be just as displeased with us today when we choose to use do what is
right in our eyes.
God stresses purity for his priests. Priests under the Mosaic Law had to be without physical blemishes, married to Jewish women, and pure in their daily conduct (Lev. 21-22).
When God appointed Aaron and his sons as priests he further assured their purity with a blood sacrifice (Lev. 8). Two priests, Nadab and Abihu, learned this lesson the
hard way. In Lev. 10:1-2 the burned incense before the Lord with strange fire; that is fire that God did not authorize. As a result, God sent a fire to consume them.
God warned, “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified (Lev. 10:3).” The lesson is this.
It does not matter what God has done to purify you and how much you have done to remain pure as priests in His kingdom. If we desire to come near God and
to glorify Him we must do it His way.
God will not send a “Holy Thunderbolt” to correct our misconduct, but He will not overlook our manmade religions (Matt. 15:1-9).
God gave specific commands concerning the moving of the Ark of the Covenant:
It was to be carried by the Kohathites of the tribe of Levi (Num. 3:30-31).
It was to be moved with the golden staves that God designed (I Chron. 15:15).
It was not to be touched, lest you die (Num. 4:15).
In II Sam. 6:1-7 we read a story where each of these laws were violated. Uzzah and Ahio were given the task of moving the ark. The bible does not tell us they were sons
of Kohath. It was not carried by the golden staves, but upon a new cart. Finally, when they reached the threshing floor of Nacon, the ox stumbled and Uzzah touched the
ark to keep it from tipping over (II Sam. 6:6). Uzzah’s violation of the law was full of good intentions. But, the anger of the Lord burned against him and the Lord
struck him dead (II Sam. 6:7). It does not matter how good our intentions are, if we violate the law of God we are still sinning.
Paul warned that men would continue to do their will and call it religion. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from
the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils…Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be
received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth (I Tim. 4:1, 3).” And, “Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with
the using; after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body;
not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh (Col. 2:21-23).” “Will worship” is self-imposed worship. It is worship without divine guidance.
What should this tell us about those that forbid what God has authorized and authorize what God has forbidden?
We can understand the Bible, but there are some obstacles that make some parts of it hard to understand. The Bible was penned between 3,400 and 2,000 years ago.
Since that time how we live has changed a lot. Another obstacle is that it was penned in a different language than what we speak. Thankfully, there are many tools
to help us overcome these obstacles. Historical books and artifacts shed light on the geographics, politics and cultures of Bible times. There are lexicons that
help understand the meaning of each word in its original language. But there is still one more barrier to our understanding the scriptures.
“For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” Mark 6:52
The condition of our own heart is the biggest hurdle to jump in our quest to understand the Bible. Pessimistic, antagonistic, fault finding attitudes about the Bible
will make you incapable of understanding it. So be sure to read your Bible with an open mind.
Last week I asked “Can we understand the Bible?” In answering this question, consider these scriptures. “For God does not show favoritism.” Rom. 2:11(NIV).
Would not God be showing favoritism if the Bible were written in a way that only really smart people could understand it? “…He is patient with you, not wanting
anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9(NIV) If God doesn’t want any to perish, wouldn’t he write his requirements of repentance in a way
we could understand? “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.” Ephesians 5:17(NIV) If God is fair and just, how could he command us to
understand his will knowing that it is impossible?
God does not want to set us up for failure by revealing his will to us in some secret code, or mysterious language. Pick up your Bible today, and know that you CAN understand.
The Bible has over a thousand pages, contains 1,189 chapters, over 31,000 verses and over 700,000 words. Contained in it are laws, histories, songs, poetry, mail, prayers,
prophecy, wise sayings and genealogies. And on top of all that some of it is meant to be taken literally, and some figuratively. In light of all this many have asked,
“Can we understand the Bible?”
“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise
and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.’”
The men God used to pen the Bible were fishermen, tent makers, tax collectors and farmers. God revealed his will to us with simple words by simple men so that the
simple could understand.
Article 5: Can the Bible be Trusted?
For centuries people have been critical of the information provided in the scriptures. Critics have attacked its authenticity in a realm of areas.
Some claim that the bible contradicts modern science. Others claim that the bible is historically inaccurate. Still, some claim that the bible contradicts
its own pages.
These claims are made for a variety of reasons. However, when one truly considers why such claims are made, it really all comes back to one reason.
Someone is trying to tear down the bible as a source of authority on how one should live their lives. The bible was not written to teach man about science,
although, scientific facts are revealed in its pages. The bible was not written to tell the whole history of man, although many historical facts are found in
its pages. The bible was written to tell God’s redemption story.
From the beginning, God revealed who He was through the creation accounts (Gen. 1-2). The fact that He is our creator teaches us that he has the right to have
certain expectations of us. If you designed a computer, you expect it to work the way you want it to work. Such is the same with our creator. Man failed to
keep God’s commandments. The first man and first woman failed (Gen. 3). Since then, every person that has the ability to reason has failed. For Paul said,
“there is none righteous no not one (Rom. 3:10). God then began to reveal his redemption plan (Gen. 3). This was kept a mystery, as Paul calls it (Rom. 16:15),
until the times were fulfilled so that Jesus of Nazareth, God’s only begotten son, could come and redeem man (John 3:16).
This “plan of redemption” is what these men are really critical of. These critics do not want to be held accountable. They do not want to know that there
is some higher power that can and will judge them based upon the lives that they live (Ecc. 12:14).
This however does not answer their claims of falsehoods in the bible. It merely explains why they make such claims. So, is the Bible accurate or, is it just
a book of stories made up by men?
Let us begin by examining the realm of science. As mentioned earlier, the bible was not written to teach us about science. However, the bible does reveal
some scientific truths.
In times past, scientists believed that the different ethnic groups in this world contained different types of blood. Their beliefs led them to attack what the bible
said on the matter. Acts 17:26 “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed,
and the bounds of their habitation.” If you were to take the blood of men from every different ethnic group and examine them under a microscope, you could not tell whose
blood belonged to whom. Scientists believe this today. Had they accepted bible teaching they would have always accepted it.
With the rise of evolution, scientists believed that all life came from a single-celled organism. They also believed that since all life came from the same ancestor
all cellular structures must be the same. This is called the “Continuity Theory.” As modern science became technological enough to truly study the cell, they learned that
not all cells are made alike. Under a microscope it can be immediately determined whether a cell belongs to a fish, bird, or man. This is exactly what the Bible taught
nearly 2000 years ago. I Cor. 15:39 “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.”
Did you know that even within the last 100 years doctors were using “bleeding” to treat disease? While “modern” medicine understood that blood could be contaminated,
they did not understand the real value of blood until the 1940’s. It was at this time that doctors understood that life was made possible by keeping blood in the body.
Moses, nearly 1500 years before Christ graced this world, wrote, “the life of all flesh is the blood thereof (Lev. 17:14).”
Psa. 8:8 mentions the “paths of the sea.” Matthew Maury, the father of oceanography, used this information to begin his studies of the oceans in the mid 1800’s.
Job 26:7 says that God “hangeth the earth upon nothing.” Yet, Isaac Newton didn’t prove this to be true until 1697.
Isa. 40:22 refutes a long held belief that the Bible calls the earth flat. God reveled long ago that he earth was round, not flat. Nearly 400 years before it was
widely accepted by “modern” thinkers.
Now, let us examine the realm of history. Does the bible have historical inaccuracies? Critical historians have often claimed that the bible is full of historical
inaccuracies. Let us examine of few of these past claims.
The Hittite empire is mentioned in 47 different passages in the bible. They were not described as a small nomadic people, but rather a people with kings (I Kings 10:29;
II Kings 7:6; II Chron. 1:17). Furthermore, God considered them to be greater (in power) than the Israelites were when they took the land of Canaan (Deut. 7:1).
But, until 1871 not one mention of their existence was known outside of the bible. This lack of information was a leading charge against the accuracy of the bible.
Then in 1906-1907 Hugo Winckey found 10,000 tablets from the ancient Hittite Empire (Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible Dictionary). This discovery not only revealed their existence,
but their existence as the political power they were described as in II Kings 7:6.
Critics once regarded Belshazzar of Dan. 5:1-31 as a mythical character created by the author of Daniel. However, Babylonian artifacts were eventually discovered that
Belshazzar did co-rule as king over Babylon.
At one time many believed that King David was to be likened to King Arthur. Both were nothing more than fanciful legends. Yet, in 1993 a 3000 year old monument was
unearthed that referred to the “house of David” in Northern Israel.
The flood account of Gen. 6-9 has long been called an erroneous story. But, did you know that a global flood has been recorded by countless tribes and ancient histories
throughout the world? Nations such as Babylon, Sumeria, China, India, and Egypt all have global flood stories. Some Native American tribes have flood stories.
The Aborigines of Australia have a global flood story. While the stories are mythological in nature in these other cultures, three things are taught in each.
1. Universal destruction of the human race and all animals.
2. A boat or an ark to provide a means of salvation.
3. Those on the ark replenished the whole earth.
Yet, despite the growing evidence many still doubt it happened.
When one studies the scriptures with an open mind, the truth comes out. Although critics will continue to attack the word of God, there is one area that they are silenced.
Did you know that the Bible prophesied of major historical events? Unlike “prophets” today, the bible is 100% accurate. It was not merely good guess work or the reading
of the “times.” Let us examine a few of these prophecies.
Nineveh, the capital of the city of Babylon was destroyed in 612 BC. God’s prophets had prophesied its destruction multiple times.
Nahum dated 661-612, Isaiah 10 written 773 BC and Zephaniah dated 625 BC all prophesied in some detail what would happen to Nineveh. Isaiah’s was more than 100
years before it fall.
Speaking of Isaiah, he not only said that Babylon would fall, he also foretold that a conqueror named Cyrus would destroy Babylon
(Isa. 44-45). One might argue
that nations rise and fall, but to name the man responsible more than 100 years before he was born is undeniably prophetic.
Tyre, a chief city of the Philistines, was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar in 585-572 and destroyed by Alexander the Great in
332 BC. Ezekiel’s prophecy against Tyre
was dated at 586 BC.
Did you know that God’s prophets prophesied about Alexander the Great? In Daniel 8, which was written in the 6th Century,
more than 200 years before Alexander was
born, foretells of the Greek Empire and its “Great King.”
Did you know the bible was written by more than 30 different authors over a period of 1400 years? Despite the vast differences in time, culture and language the theme
of the bible, God plan for saving man, remained unchanged from Genesis to Revelation. Still, many critics believe the bible contradicts itself. Let us look at some
common alleged contradictions of the bible.
Was the Sermon on the Mount preached on a mountain (Matt. 5:1) or in a plain (Luke 6:17)? While the sermons are similar,
they are not the same sermon.
It is clearly not the same location and therefore a different crowd is listening. Is it so hard to believe Jesus would reuse a basic “outline?”
Why are the genealogy accounts in Matt. 1 and Luke 3 different? Matthew traces his genealogy through Joseph, Jesus’
father by “law.” Luke traces his genealogy
through Mary, Jesus only earthly parent.
Was Jesus taken into Egypt while an infant? In Matt. 2:14-23 mentions that Herod the Great sought the life of every male child
ages 2 and under in the city
As a result of this, God had Joseph take Mary and Jesus into Egypt. After Herod’s death they returned to Nazareth. Luke’s account mentions nothing of Egypt. Is this a
contradiction? Hardly. No single Gospel records every act by Christ or his parents. Luke simply mentions that after they had returned to Nazareth to raise Jesus.
Many alleged discrepancies can be answered by simply reading the whole text. For example, many claim that the bible contradicts itself in
story of blind men
found in outside of Jericho (Matt. 20:30; Luke 18:35-38). Matthew records two blind men, while Luke records one. But, the entire story reveals that they were two different
events. Luke’s healing occurred when they came near to Jericho. Matthew’s healing occurred when they left Jericho (Matt. 20:29).
You will find what you are looking for. If you want the truth, you will find it. However, many want to disbelieve the bible so they look for reasons to discredit
God’s word. Yet, when the word is examined to determine whether these alleged contradiction in science, history, prophesy, and its own pages are true, the contradictions
are found to be just that; alleged. They do not exist. Let us trust in God’s word.
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