Sunday, April 17, 2016

Why Would I Believe In the Bible?

     After all, it's one wild book. It's got seas splitting down the middle so people could walk through it, ax heads floating, asses talking (that would be donkeys, not...never mind), giants, fallen angels marrying women, virgins giving birth, folks walking on water, people rising from the dead, man! Has it got some stories!
I figured after the last blog, and all the talk about piles of empirical data on the side of atheist evolutionists, I might want to talk about what the Bible has that would cause me to believe in it.
There was a story on the internet about someone suing Italy for the Romans killing Jesus. I commented that nobody killed Jesus. He gave up His life voluntarily so that we might be saved from our sins. Someone posted back and asked if I knew how ridiculous that sounded. I had to write back and say that I did. I didn't want to write a two thousand word essay explaining why I believed such a ridiculous idea, so I just suggested that he read the Bible if he was interested in knowing the details. In the two years since, I've felt like I should have written the essay. I guess this is that essay.
I really don't expect to change anyone's mind with this. I've figured out that people believe what they want to believe, and unless they are looking to be convinced, you're not going to convince them it's daytime if you show them the sun. The Bible can be easily proven a hundred different ways to be the Word of God, but if you don't want to believe it, you just aren't going to.
This blog is for people that do believe, or at least want to, if someone would just show them one piece of proof.
I read a long comment by a guy who said that Christians don't think. They are not allowed to. If you think, then you will doubt. If you have a single doubt, then you can't be saved because salvation requires absolute faith.
Well, I think. I also listen. I've found out that no matter what you've experienced, there is a way to discount it. I've mentioned before, Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” Everything in my life can be seen as a miracle...or not.
I've been told that I believe because that's what I've been taught. Others don't believe because they've been taught not to. So who's right?
I will tell you that everything that is written in the Bible that can be verified one way or the other has been proven to be true. Others have told me that isn't true. That all kinds of scientific evidence has been collected contradicting the Biblical account. I say that scientific evidence is either misinterpreted or fraudulent.
I can tell you, and this is not hypothetical, that science has found a link between abortion and breast cancer. If you believe in abortion rights, you will no doubt tell me that is fraudulent.
The point is: Unless you've experienced it personally, everything you think you know is hearsay. We can trade this stuff back and forth all day, with each person claiming the other has been lied to. To Christians who think – like me, all this stuff can cause you to wonder if maybe you do believe in fairy tales. After all, everything can be explained away...almost.
For those Christians, like me who probably think too much, there is one place you can turn for proof.
With that one word, I've probably lost a whole lot of readers. (Actually, I wish I had a whole lot of readers to lose.)
You see, the Bible, among other things is a history book. Written over two thousand years ago, it presents a complete history of Israel, from the beginning of time to the end of the world. There are those that will tell you the Bible was really written in the 4th century AD by the Catholic Church. I always find this argument amusing. If the Catholic Church wrote the Bible, you would think that some of their doctrine would be found in there somewhere. The fact is, the Catholic Church turned itself inside out for centuries trying to keep the Bible out of the hands of the masses for fear they would find out that the church's teachings and the Bible have virtually nothing in common. But that's OK. What's a few hundred years between friends. You can say it was written eighteen hundred years ago and it would still be amazing what it says about Israel.
To believe the Bible, you must believe that every word of it was written by men who were led by the Holy Spirit. In other words: God.
Now God, being omniscient knows everything. He alone knows the future in its entirety. So an easy way to test whether the Bible is the Word of God is to see how it relates to what has actually been  going on. Controversy swirls over whether this thing or that thing actually happened or if it actually went down according to the Bible's telling of it. But when it comes to Israel, it's pretty easy to check the facts.
Let's take a quick look at what the Bible says about the nation of Israel. I try not to do a whole lot of “chapter and verse” because we're just having a discussion here and I've seen an incredible amount of garbage being sold using chapter and verse. What I like to do when I'm researching something is to take the chapter and verse that's given and go read the whole chapter. I get a little better context that way and a lot of times, I end up learning something I didn't even intend to.
With that in mind, you can go to the forth chapter of Deuteronomy and read where God, even as the brand new nation of Israel is preparing to cross the Jordan and take possession of the land, is already telling them that the day would come when they would anger Him to the point of throwing them from the land and making it desolate, while what's left of the children of Israel will be scattered all over the world. The first few chapters of Ezekiel make the same point and go into a little more detail, showing that they would be chased around for centuries by folks intent on killing them all off.
Several of these people are in the Bible itself. Haman comes to mind, from the book of Ester. Daniel talks about the “abomination that brings desolation.” History has shown that to be Antiochus IV Epiphanes from around 170 BC. I love bringing this guy up, mainly because I finally figured out how to pronounce his name. Daniel prophesied about him over six hundred years before he was born. He brought on the revolt of the Maccabees that gave rise to the Hanuka celebration, and Jesus uses him as a model for the anti-Christ.
Then the Romans in 70 AD sacked Jerusalem and tore down the temple, just like Jesus said they would do and in 135 AD the Romans expelled the Jews from Jerusalem, tore down the city and put up another city with a whole different name: Ælia Capitolina. Suddenly, Israel and particularly Jerusalem no longer exist.
This gave rise to all sorts of bizarre interpretations of the Bible. Early church leaders were intensely antisemitic. They began teaching that Israel had been judged by God for killing Jesus and that the church now replaced Israel in all the prophesies concerning future events. The church now receives all God's blessings as related in the Old Testament and the Jews have received all the curses. This was all very easy to sell because Israel no longer existed.
During the Middle Ages, Jerusalem got its name back as the crusaders and the Muslims fought over control of the “City of Our Lord.” While the two groups fought battles all over the area, the one thing they had in common was they both loved killing Jews. The Protestant soldiers used to hold contests to see how many Jewish babies they could fit onto a single sword.
Then there were the French, Spanish, and Portuguese Inquisitions which mainly were concerned with converted Jews who were accused of failing to quit being Jews. They would still observe the Sabbath on Saturday, or celebrate Passover or whatever. Since before the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, the church was more concerned with not having anything in common with the Jews than they were with observing the teachings in the Bible.
Then we had Hitler. He was so Satanically obsessed with killing off the Jewish race that he actually succeeded in garnering sympathy for the Jews. Looking back through history, that was quite a trick.
Through all of this, it became easier and easier to discount the Bible as a collection of cool stories that couldn't possibly have actually happened, other than a few historical points here and there.
Then a funny thing happened. On May 14th 1948, Israel was suddenly reborn as a Jewish nation again. Just as the Bible said it would in Isiah chapter 66 (“Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?”), in Ezekiel, chapters 33, 36 and 37 and the 31st chapter of Jeremiah, among other places. You will note that these three books were written during the Babylonian captivity, but not all that is said can be applied to the Israel that existed between their return from that captivity and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. For instance: the quote that I snuck in above from Isiah, and the repeated reference to them being scattered all over the world. In the eleventh chapter of Isiah it says, “The Lord shall set His hand again a second time to recover the remnant of His people.” I encourage you to read these chapters in a good study Bible. Read the footnotes and chase down the references supplied.
Now, I fully understand that nobody likes Israel. Nobody ever liked Israel. I said I wouldn't do this, but you gotta check out Psalm 83:4 – They have said, “Come, let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” As you read the next few verses of that psalm, those tribes listed represent the five nations (look them up) that all attacked Israel on May 15th, 1948 – the very day after the United Nations voted Israel into existence. Israel didn't even have a single tank. At its narrowest point, it was only nine miles wide. If the armies assembled against it could have only managed to move through those nine miles, they would have cut the new nation in half and victory would have been assured.
But NO!...They couldn't get it done.
Over the next 25 years, Israel was attacked again and again, yet the attacks only served to increase the size of the nation. Now we hear all these reports about how the Jews are illegally occupying the land and how they are oppressing the Palestinians and on and on and on. The stories I've heard about the Zionist conspiracies defy the imagination. They are behind everything – I mean EVERYTHING that is wrong in this world.
I'm not here to make a political argument, though it does seem a little unreasonable to me to begrudge a people their own country with a land mass that would qualify as the seventh smallest state in America. It's size is somewhere between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. But God didn't grant this land to the Jews because they were such wonderful people. God promised this land to Jacob (Israel) and his descendants as an ever lasting inheritance because Abraham, Jacob's grandfather was His friend.
So to sum it all up: Israel historically, militarily, politically and logically has no business being there. Of all the stories in the Bible, the very existence of Israel today is about the most unbelievable. Yet there it is – just like the Bible said it would be and despite every attempt to make it go away.
When they succeed in destroying Israel, then you can try to convince me that the Bible isn't in fact, the Word of God.

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