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Some time ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a man who had no belief whatsoever in the Scriptures as any sort of divine revelation from God. He was a writer who was articulate and well-educated. While he was well-read, he was completely ignorant of any evidence for the truthfulness of the Christian faith and the Scriptures which reveal it. He said the Bible was simply a book written by men, just like any other book. I said, “That’s very interesting. I would like to read some statements to you about someone and have you tell me, assuredly, without question, about whom I am reading.”
He agreed and I began to read:
- “Those who hate me without cause are more numerous than the hairs of my head” (Ps 69:4).
- “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and His Anointed One” (Ps 2:2).
- “Even my friend in whom I trusted, one who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps 41:9).
- “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered” (Zec 13:7).
- “Then I said to them, ‘If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.’ So they weighed my wages, 30 pieces of silver. ‘Throw it to the potter,’ the Lord said to me—this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the Lord, to the potter” (Zec 11:12–13).
- “They are striking the judge of Israel on the cheek with a rod” (Mc 5:1).
- “I gave My back to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who tore out My beard. I did not hide My face from scorn and spitting” (Is 50:6).
- “They pierced my hands and my feet” (Ps 22:16).
- “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1).
- “Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: ‘He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him; let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him’ ” (Ps 22:7–8).
- “They gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Ps 69:21).
- “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me” (Ps 22:14).
- “Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted” (Is 53:4).
- “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth” (Is 53:7).
- “They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing” (Ps 22:18).
- “He submitted Himself to death” (Is 53:12).
- “He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels” (Is 53:12).
- “You may not break any of its bones” (Ex 12:46).
- “He protects all his bones; not one of them is broken” (Ps 34:20).
- “They will look at Me whom they pierced” (Zec 12:10).
- “They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man at His death, although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully” (Is 53:9).
- “For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see the Pit” (Ps 16:10).
- “You ascended to the heights, taking away captives; You received gifts from people, even from the rebellious, so that the Lord God might live there” (Ps 68:18).
- “The Lord declared to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool’ ” (Ps 110:1).
I said to him, “About whom did I read?”
He replied, “Well, you obviously read of the life and ministry and suffering and death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.”
I said, “Is there any question in your mind about that?”
He answered, “No, that could refer to no one else.”
I replied, “Well then, I would want you to understand that all of the Scriptures I just read to you are taken from the Old Testament, which was completed some four hundred years before Jesus was born. No critic, no atheist, no agnostic has ever once claimed that any one of those writings was written after His birth. In fact, they were translated from Hebrew into Greek in Alexandria some 150 years before He was born. If this is merely a book written by men, would you please explain to me how these words were written?”
He said, “I haven’t the faintest idea.” He was completely nonplussed. He had never heard those things before in his life. Indeed, they cannot be explained by any purely humanistic presuppositions.
It is noteworthy that in no other religious writings in the world do we find any specific predictive prophecies like we find in the Scripture. You will find no predictive prophecies whatsoever in the writings of Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Lao-Tse, or Hinduism. Yet in the Scripture there are well over two thousand prophecies, most of which have already been fulfilled.
They are so specific in nature that they burn all the bridges behind them. If they are not fulfilled, it leaves no room for excuse. How can these be explained? Of all the attacks that have ever been made upon the Scripture, there has never been one book written by a skeptic to disprove the prophecies of the Scripture. Though the Bible has been attacked at every other place, the one place where God rests His inspiration is that the things He foretells come infallibly to pass.
The Bible prophecies are altogether unexpected! I know of no one ever prophesying that any other human being would rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. That is exceedingly improbable. The chance of it happening by coincidence is incalculable. No, the Bible is not merely a book written by men; it is a book written by God through men, and the heart of its prophetic message is Jesus Christ.
The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith, ed. Ted Cabal et al. (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007)