Power of Apologetics -Truth

//Power of Apologetics -Truth
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Prophesies Prove Jesus is the Messiah

A natural question for every child growing up in a Christian home (and even adult unbelievers) is,

  • “How do I know that the Bible is the Word of God?”
  • “How do I know that Jesus is the real ‘religion’?”
  • Often time there is nagging doubt that, “If I would just take time to read the holy books of the other religions I would find them to be similar to the Bible.”
  • “If I really want to be open-minded about this I should read about the other religions.”

But the answer to that is quite simple. “Save yourself a lot of time. Look at the only holy book that has had predictive prophesy come true and look at the only religion that has had its founder rise from the dead.”

This article looks at the prophesies that Jesus fulfilled by his birth. Sometimes it is thought that Jesus deliberately fulfilled prophesies. Indeed, there are some he deliberately fulfilled, such as riding on a donkey into Jerusalem.

But the ancient Scriptures are filled with predictions of the lineage of the Messiah. No one can control their ancestors or their place of birth. These OT Scriptures taught the people that the Messiah would be:

A son of Abraham.

Around 1500 years BC. the ancient Scriptures predicted “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Gen 12:2-3

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Gen 22:16-18

But Abraham fathered two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. From which line would the Messiah come? Around 1500 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. Gen 21:12

But Isaac fathered two sons, Esau and Jacob. From which line would the Messiah come? Around 1500 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. Numbers 24:17(Also Gen 35:10-12)

But Jacob fathered twelve sons. From which line would the Messiah come? Around 1500 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.  Genesis 49:10

But Judah had many descendants. From which descendent would the Messiah come? Around 800 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted:  A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– Isaiah 11:1

But Jesse had eight sons. From which descendent would the Messiah come?

  • 800 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it  with justice and righteousness  from that time on and forever Isa 9:6
    • Around 550 BC Jeremiah says   “‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.15 “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.’ 17 For this is what the LORD says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, Jeremiah 33:14-17
  • Around 550 BC, after David had died, Ezekiel says,My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd.”37:24ff

And what would be the place of his birth? “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

And what would be the manner of his birth? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.Isa 7:14-15

And what of this modern idea that Jesus is both God and man?

Around 800 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness  from that time on and forever Isa 9:6

So we can see that God predicts the coming Messiah, giving both his lineage and his place of birth. This helps establish the uniqueness of the Bible (where are the prophesies in the other holy books) and the uniqueness of Jesus (what prophesies did the other religious leaders fulfill?).

Josh McDowell references a helpful illustration:

In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just eight prophecies regarding Christ. He says, ”The chance that any man might have … fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (one hundred quadrillion).”

Stoner suggests that “we take 10 to the 17th silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly… Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up [that one marked silver dollar.] What chance would he have of getting the right one?”

Stoner concludes, “Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man,…providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.”

So let us encourage our faith, our children, and unbelievers with the uniqueness of the Bible and the uniqueness of the birth of Jesus. No other holy book has predictive prophesy that points to the Messiah. God gives clues to those who are seekers after him, those who really want to know.

Alister McGrath on Doubt and Unbelief

alister mcgrathDoubt is natural within faith. It comes because of our human weakness and frailty…. Unbelief is the decision to live you life as if there is no God. It is a deliberate decision to reject Jesus Christ and all that he stands for. But doubt is something quite different. Doubt arises within the context of faith. It is wistful longing to be sure of the things in which we trust. But it is not and need not be a problem.

Alistar McGrath as quoted in Disciplines of a Godly Family by Kent and Barbara Hughes

A Response to the History Channel’s Series on Bible Secrets Revealed

If it is Christmas or Easter, some media is out there actively debunking traditional Christianity and looking for “secrets.” In the past, it was Time and Newsweek. But as they have become irrelevant, now The History Channel takes up the torch and evidently just gave us, Bible Secrets Revealed.

Time for the saints to learn their history of the NT. Dr. Michael Kruger is the President of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte and a Professor of New Testament. He responds in three parts.

Part One examines a few of their wrong assumptions and overreaches to begin their series.

Part Two debunks their wrong assumptions about the Egyptian Exodus and Crusades.

Part Three shoots holes in their misunderstanding of how the canon of the NT came to be.

If you watched the series or know someone who did, you might want to read these articles to detox. These are quick reads. All Christians need to know where to find answers to these questions. I am sure this series will hang around in Netflix land for quite a while.

Case For Christ – E-book on Sale!

The electronic version of The Case for Christ is on sale. Only $2.99 for this foundational apologetics book. Lee Strobel interviews fourteen experts to answer questions in three sections:

1. Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?

2. Who was Jesus?

3.  Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

If you have not read this book, it needs to be in your hands and the hands of anyone with questions.  At over 280 pages, that’s a penny a page!

How Can You Say Christ is the Only Way?

HT: BTW

The Muratorian Fragment Defeats The Da Vinci Code

Imagine a historical novel in which the Germans won World War II. We would know it was wrong immediately. The Da Vinci Code is historical fiction where the history is bad.Unfortunately, this bad history has been propagated in the over 80 million copies sold.

But since we don’t know our church history, we don’t recognize bad church history. One of those assertion from The Da Vinci Code is that the Bible was assembled in 325. Here is a quote from a fictional character.

Sir Leigh Teabing, former British Royal Historian  –Da Vinci Code
“The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven…The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. It has evolved through countless translations, additions and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book….There were over 80 gospels and in 325 A.D, Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made him godlike.”

But this is just bad history. There are multiple historical problems with this paragraph. For just one refutation, read this article about The Muratorian Fragment. The author shows we have documentation that 22 of 27 NT books were agreed upon by 180 A.D. In other words, the core of the NT was decided by consensus not a political council quite early in the history of the church!

Because of The DaVinci Code, the culture “knows” the NT was manipulated. Unfortunately they are wrong. Let’s make sure our older children know the truth.

Is There Extrabiblical Confirmation of Good Friday Phenomena?

According to Scripture, the crucifixion of Jesus was accompanied by a number of physical phenomena:

1. The veil of the temple was torn.
2. The darkening of the sun from noon to three pm.
3. The resurrection of dead saints.
4. An earthquake.

Is there any confirmation of these events outside of the gospels? Perhaps.

On this Good Friday, this scholarly article is very interesting.

JETS is a scholarly and respected journal and the professor is from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a seminary with a serious academic reputation. Enjoy.

Why Would God Command Genocide?

Justin Taylor does a good and succinct job of answering this question that some nonbelievers may throw at Christians. And our young people may have this question as well.

When God commanded wiping out the nations of Canaan, doesn’t that make him a moral monster?

Here are his points:

1. As the maker of all things and the ruler of all people, God has absolute rights of ownership over all people and places.
2. God is not only the ultimate maker, ruler, and owner, but he is just and righteous in all that he does.
3. All of us deserve God’s justice; none of us deserve God’s mercy.
4. The Canaanites were enemies of God who deserved to be punished.
5. God’s actions were not an example of ethnic cleansing.
6. Why was it necessary to remove the Canaanites from the land?
7. The destruction of the Canaanites is a picture of the final judgment.

He elaborates on each one.

This might be a good question to quiz our older children.  “Some people say that God’s wiping out of the nations in the OT make him unjust and a moral monster.  What would you say?”

Your Question About Suffering Proves There is a God

“When you say there’s too much evil in this world you assume there’s good. When you assume there’s good, you assume there’s such a thing as a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. But if you assume a moral law, you must posit a moral Law Giver, but that’s Who you’re trying to disprove and not prove. Because if there’s no moral Law Giver, there’s no moral law. If there’s no moral law, there’s no good. If there’s no good, there’s no evil. What is your question?”

—Ravi ZachariasIn response to the objection, “There cannot be a God, because there is too much evil in this world.”
Can Man Live Without God?, p. 182 [HT]

Take Their Questions Seriously – A Seven-Year-Old Wonders About Suffering

Very interesting article where a woman proudly proclaims to be an atheist. An initiating factor seems to be her mother’s inability to explain the problem of suffering.

ironlungpicThe pertinent paragraphs are here:

Now when students ask how I came to believe what I believe, I tell them that I trace my atheism to my first encounter, at age 7, with the scourge of polio. In 1952, a 9-year-old friend was stricken by the disease and clinging to life in an iron lung. After visiting him in the hospital, I asked my mother, “Why would God do that to a little boy?” She sighed in a way that telegraphed her lack of conviction and said: “I don’t know. The priest would say God must have his reasons, but I don’t know what they could be.”

Just two years later, in 1954, Jonas Salk’s vaccine began the process of eradicating polio, and my mother took the opportunity to suggest that God may have guided his research. I remember replying, “Well, God should have guided the doctors a long time ago so that Al wouldn’t be in an iron lung.” (He was to die only eight years later, by which time I was a committed atheist.)

The first time I told this story to a class, I was deeply gratified when one student confided that his religious doubts arose from the struggles of a severely disabled sibling, and that he had never been able to discuss the subject candidly with his fundamentalist parents. One of the most positive things any atheist can do is provide a willing ear for a doubter — even if the doubter remains a religious believer.

Of course, an atheist has a harder time explaining suffering than a Christian but the author doesn’t seem to know that.

Bottom line for the parent: We need to take seriously those questions of a child.

Do you have an answer for why God allows suffering? I will save that for another post.

 Update

7 Questions Everyone Should Answer is the perfect way to address these issues with our children. You can talk about these issues while you ride in the car. Don’t leave your children unprepared.  Check it out.