Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The most remarkable book in the world.

All photos used by courtesy of Unsplash 

The Bible is a remarkable book, we can even say totally unique.  It is divided into Old Testament, completed four hundred years before the birth of Jesus and the New Testament, completed by the end of the first century AD. The Old Testament has many strands of predictive prophecy and the most important of those predictions apply to the Lord Jesus.  It has been worked our that there are sixty prophecies focused  upon various aspects of Jesus including His birth, death, burial and resurrection. This is an amazing number and they came true in the minutest detail.
These were not vague prophecies capable of many sorts of meaning but clear and precise statements about the Lord. If I were to say that I had a prophetic statement and said “It will rain tomorrow.”  We may wake up and it is sunshine all day and so refute my prophetic statement. Yet it was true (it will rain somewhere on the planet tomorrow) but was too vague and imprecise to be other than absurd.  Bible prophecies are not like that.

These were not the sort of prophecies which were capable of being fulfilled by chance or coincidence.  Nor were they prophecies capable of being self-fulfilling. I could make a statement and call it a prophecy such as, “I will travel to Cardiff next week.”  Again that it is utterly absurd as I am capable of fulfilling that statement which makes it meaningless as a prophecy or prediction about the future.

For the Lord Jesus there were predictions about his birth place and He could have had no influence over that.  It was also prophesied how He would die, namely by crucifixion.  We could go on and mention a further fifty-eight with other statements and suggestions which all relate to Christ and were made over hundreds of years before His birth.  So many in one person!  There maybe could be one or two statements made which could relate to some well known personage such as a president, pope or king but not the detail and range which apply to Christ.

There is a book entitled Science Speaks and was written by Professor Peter W. Stoner and it has been reviewed by American Scientific Affiliation and it was stated, “it…has been found to be …dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented.  The mathematical analysis included is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound, and Professor Stoner has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way.”  He considered just eight prophecies and not  the complete sixty and calculated the probability of them being fulfilled in one persona and worked out that it was  a chance of 1 in 10 to the power of seventeen.  That is ten with sixteen noughts after it.  To make us understand this he illustrated it in this way.

Imagine we put silver dollars all over the state of Texas (which is far bigger in area than the UK) and covered the area to a depth of two feet (24 inches).  This would be a colossal number.  If we marked one of those dollars, stirred the whole lot up and then asked a blind man to wade in and pick up the marked one what are the odds - the same as 1 in 10 to the power of seventeen.  It is unimaginable as it is impossible.

Yet the prophets got not just eight but sixty right and how were they able to do it? Did the prophets write with simple hope that what they said would come to pass or were they inspired by God?  If they wrote in a hopeful manner their chances of getting things right were just about impossible but the fulfilment of so many prophecies relating to the Lord Jesus is such a strong indicator or rather proof positive that God is the author of Scripture.  It is His revelation to mankind and that claim is made upon the strongest grounds of evidence and needs to be taken seriously and that is why the Bible is the most important book we can ever read. It has the greatest message of love ever recorded and the blessings are of eternal worth when the Bible message is embraced and acted upon.

Used by permission of Messages with Meaning (14/05/22)
Written by PAUL YOUNG 

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