Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Blind Faith?

“You Christians are just holding on to blind faith in that Bible of yours.”

Have you ever heard this before? It isn’t always said directly, but it’s constantly being alluded to in newspapers, magazines, colleges, and on tv. It seems like the only smart people this world recognizes are those who deny the truth of the Bible. Christians are stereotyped as narrow-minded, hateful, and ignorant people.  While part of that is true - we do hold to the Word of God at the exclusion of everything else - it isn’t a blind faith we’re holding onto. Numerous fields of study support the faith we’ve held for millennia. Archaeology, biology, paleontology, physics and even astronomy all lend their support to what we have already chosen to believe - God’s Word is true!

Some of the most incredible evidence of the credibility of the Bible lies in its prophecies. Many, many prophecies of the Old Testament were directly fulfilled in Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection. These are often referred to as the messianic prophecies. Other prophecies in scripture are prophesying of events that haven’t occurred yet, these can be referred to as future prophecies.  Still others were prophesied in the past and have been fulfilled in the course of history. I call these historical prophecies.

One major Biblical prophecy has moved from unfulfilled to historical within the last 70 years.

Amos 9:14-15 carries this prophecy: “I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,” Then Ezekiel prophesies in chapter 37 that the world would hear the commotion when Israel’s dry bones come back to life.

In 1948, Israel re established their independence and confirmed it in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. The whole world heard the commotion as the small army of the new nation of Israel defeated the combined forces of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Since then, Israel has had to defend itself in no fewer than seven full-scale wars and a number of smaller “conflicts”. Every time they come out victorious against larger and superior forces. They’ve been planted by God, and the prophecy holds - they will never be pulled up from the land God gave them.

Another prophecy that has been fulfilled in history was given by Isaiah in 732 BC. Isaiah prophesied in the 13th chapter of his book, “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation.

In 538 BC - two hundred years later - the Medes and the Persians did exactly that. Babylon was overrun by the Medo-Persian armies and defeated. Within a single night (Daniel 5) the invincible Babylonian empire was dissolved into the Medo-Persian empire. 260 years later, the Selucids fulfilled the last part of Isaiah’s prophecy. They forcibly removed the inhabitants of the city of Babylon and took them to Selucia. From that year until now, Babylon has never been inhabited. (Interestingly, Saddam Hussein tried to rebuild it. However, all he could do was build one of his palaces there...there is still no city of Babylon!)

Other prophetic events of the scriptures include:
-The succession of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman, and
divided Roman empires prophesied (Daniel in 600 BC)
-The Greek king that conquered the Persian empire, fulfilled by Alexander
the Great (Daniel in 543 BC)
-That the said Greek king wouldn’t leave his kingdom to his heir, but it
would be divided into four. This was fulfilled when four of Alexander’s
generals killed his sons and divided his kingdom among themselves
(Daniel in 543 BC)
-The destruction of Jerusalem - fulfilled in 70 AD - and the persecution of
Christians in the Roman empire (Jesus in 30 AD)

Many more prophecies in God’s Word have been fulfilled by events in history. These fulfilled prophecies are just one of the many reasons our faith in God’s Word isn’t “blind.”

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