The Bible—Authentic and Inspired
THAT God would give his earthly children a revelation of his will and purpose is a reasonable expectation. To suppose that man’s Creator would prefer to remain anonymous, expose himself to the charge of desertion, stigmatize the human race as illegitimate and forever hold man incommunicado respecting his greatest Benefactor and Highest Judge is wholly unreasonable. That God actually did provide an authentic, inspired revelation is evident from an honest examination of the facts.
From early times the books of the Bible have provided much-needed guidance for mankind. Across sixteen centuries of writing time the Bible consistently made known a God of love, wisdom, justice and power. From its pages groping man has learned the history of creation, the purpose of his existence, the origin of sin and death and the thrilling hope of paradise regained. In all ages its friends have found it an inexhaustible fountain of holiness, courage, beauty and practical wisdom. Even its enemies hail it as a literary masterpiece and do their bit toward making it the all-time best seller. And yet the Book of books has not been free from many bitter attacks.
In the nineteenth century, hard on the heels of Darwin’s revival of the Greek evolution theory, some German professors and clergymen launched a critical attack against the reliability of the Scriptures. Their “Higher Criticism” spread to many parts of the world. Many whose faith had already been weakened by Darwin suffered complete spiritual shipwreck. The dual attack illustrated Aesop’s adage: “An open foe may prove a curse, but a pretended friend is worse.”
As the storm of criticism raged against the Bible a startling voice began to speak in its defense. Archaeologists digging in Egypt, Palestine and Mesopotamia began to unearth exciting proof of the Bible’s truthfulness. Biblical cities, kings and nations suddenly came to life through discovery of clay tablets, pottery, statues, inscriptions and long-buried ruins. The Hittites and Canaanites had actually existed! (Ex. 3:8) Assyrian and Babylonian documents vouched for many of the people named at Genesis 10:1-32. Fierce Sennacherib and other kings were proved factual. Jericho’s walls were found, not to have decayed, but to have been knocked down by a great force; the city’s foodstuffs obviously had been burned, just as Jehovah had commanded Joshua. Even King Solomon’s stables were found at Megiddo. Archaeologists began to write books about archaeology and the Bible.—Isa. 36:1; Josh. 6:17, 24; 1 Ki. 4:26.
“The effect of these discoveries,” wrote Sir Charles Marston in The Bible Comes Alive, “is to further discredit the whole process of destructive criticism. Archaeology, a strictly objective science, is disproving the subjective negations spun from the mentality of critics. Those who have shaken popular faith in the Bible, and undermined its authority, are in turn undermined themselves by the evidence that has been brought to light, and their authority destroyed. The spade is driving destructive criticism out of the field of questionable facts into that of recognized fiction. And it is pretty certain that the process will continue.”
While archaeology vindicated the Bible, it did nothing for Darwin’s theory of evolution. In fact, evolution’s notion that early man could not write was flatly contradicted by discovery of what are considered pre-Flood inscribed tablets. Also, geologists and paleontologists were amazed to find that their most authentic acquisitions fully agreed with the Bible account of creation. To this day, evolution has been unable to prove its premise, and much of Darwin’s theory has been abandoned. What remains is a science-fiction faith that asserts what cannot be demonstrated by any field of science.
HONESTY OF THE BIBLE
Minds unprejudiced by discredited “Higher Criticism” and evolution can find ample proof of the Bible’s authenticity. At a time when their neighbors were corrupted by polytheism, magic, necromancy and gross immorality, Bible writers were making known one true God who demanded holiness, purity, and who legislated marvelous laws that were to become the basis of enlightened legal systems. (Deut. 5:6-21) Did those writers lie in saying that they wrote under inspiration? Could liars invent the purest concept of God, morality and justice ever known? Such invention would be a miracle in itself.
After reading in the Bible, columnist Sydney J. Harris wrote: “No other book ever written has vibrated with more agonizing honesty.” Yes, Moses wrote of his failure to give Jehovah credit for a miracle. King David’s sin with Bath-sheba was not hushed up. Peter’s denial of Christ was not glossed over or excused. Obviously Bible writers had genuine fear of the God they served. Their candor makes the Bible a literary phenomenon explainable only by its divine authorship.—Num. 20:7-12; 2 Sam. 11:2–12:14; Mark 14:66-72.
Such events as Israel’s deliverance through the Red Sea were woven into the daily lives and history of Israel, just as France has its Bastile Day and America its Independence Day. The sacred historians were not liars. Nor can the charge of hoax be leveled against the Christians. Liars could not invent a personality possessed of the love, integrity and wisdom found in Christ. Nor would such an unselfish man cheat his friends by false promises. Profane historians, of course, confirmed his existence. In the Roman historian Tacitus’ Annals, XV:44, we read: “Christ, from whom they derive their name, was condemned to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Emperor Tiberius.”
Not to be overlooked is the time of Christianity’s birth. It was an age of Jewish, Greek and Roman culture, an age of doctors, lawyers, courts, writers, administrators and practicing religionists who would have ample motive and means for unmasking Christian imposture. Such an age was hardly the time to undertake a colossal fraud, nor would it be possible to do so in view of the intricate web of details related in the four Gospels. As attorney Irwin H. Linton observes in his book, A Lawyer Examines the Bible: “While romances, legends and false testimony are careful to place the events related in some distant place and some indefinite time, thereby violating the first rules we lawyers learn of good pleading, that ‘the declaration must give time and place,’ the Bible narratives give us the date and place of the things related with the utmost precision.” In proof he cites Luke 3:1, 2, where the Gospel writer mentions seven public officials in order to establish the time Christ began his ministry.
What is more, had the Christians been convicted of lying or fraud, their case before the Jewish Sanhedrin would have been lost. As it was, Supreme Court Judge Gamaliel warned his associates: “Do not meddle with these men, but let them alone; (because, if this scheme and this work is from men, it will be overthrown; but if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them;) otherwise, you may perhaps be found fighters actually against God.” (Acts 5:38, 39) Would Judge Gamaliel entertain such fear of Christianity’s possible divine backing, would the Sanhedrin have followed his advice, if there had been any evidence of a hoax? That the Christians told the truth about Christ’s miracles and resurrection is vouched for by their willingness to endure a lifetime of persecution and even martyrdom for speaking such things. Criminals will deny proved facts in hope of escaping death; the Christians gladly died rather than brand God’s truth a lie. Nor did they die as others have done for fanatically believed dogmas. The Christians had seen and heard things. They knew the difference between a decomposing body and a resurrected Lazarus. There was no mistaking the fact that the blind, deaf, mute and crippled were suddenly able to see, hear, speak and walk. (John 11:32-46; Luke 7:22) What they had seen and heard the Christians could not and would not deny, even under penalty of death. Happily their faith in the teachings that accompanied such miracles gave them sure hope of a resurrection.—John 5:28, 29.
CODE OF HAMMURABI
“But did not Moses borrow from the Code of Hammurabi?” No, nor from any written source except the original documents handed down by Adam and the patriarchs, which Moses identifies as the histories written or possessed by such men as Adam, Noah and Shem. (Gen. 5:1; 6:9; 11:10) Likewise, Moses’ knowledge of the Flood came from the written reports of its survivors, not from Babylonian or other legends based on the catastrophe. To these original histories and laws Moses added the law covenant and the Ten Commandments given by God. Principles and precepts that Jehovah gave the patriarchs were incorporated into the law covenant under direction of holy spirit.
In this connection a statement by Philip Biberfeld, a rabbi, in his Universal Jewish History, is of interest: “The Code of Hammurabi, the Hittite Laws, and the Biblical Laws contained in the Book of the Covenant and other parts of the Bible go back to a common source which is best preserved in the Bible where it has retained its original simplicity . . . The common source that can be traced in all these codes is identical with the Noahidic Laws which, according to the tradition, were the inheritance of all mankind. In the Book of the Covenant this original divine law was promulgated again with the modifications of Biblical legislation . . . All this establishes beyond any doubt the conviction that the simple and lucid formulations of the Bible were not the product of an artificial process of elimination but those of the original version in all their purity and simplicity. This conclusion has implications which extend far beyond the realm of these ancient legislations. It has a decisive bearing on all those instances where the pure and beautiful Biblical traditions are confronted by mythological parallels with all their ugly distortions.”—Pages 153, 154.
Of the many evidences establishing the truth of the Bible, no greater proof could be desired than its inspired prophecy. Man cannot reliably foretell the future. True prophecy comes from the true God, Jehovah, who says: “The first things—here they have come, but new things I am telling out. Before they begin to spring up, I cause you people to hear them.” (Isa. 42:9) Examine the chart of prophecies accompanying this article. The events fulfilling prophecy are occurrences known to you through personal observation or history, Biblical and secular. The predictions were made many years or many centuries before the fulfillments. The fulfillment of these prophecies proves the divine inspiration of the Bible. Any one of Jehovah’s witnesses will be glad to give you further details at your request. Investigate and discover why prophecy has been called a continuing miracle.
This chart by no means exhausts all the fulfilled Bible prophecies, nor have all the evidences of the Bible’s authenticity been explored here. But what we have learned from archaeology, history, prophecy and reason should be enough to convince any honest person that Paul’s statement at 2 Timothy 3:16 is positively true: “All Scripture is inspired of God.”
[Chart on page 247]
BIBLE PROPHECIES FULFILLED
Conquest and subjection of Canaanites by Gen. 9:25
Israelites (Josh. 9:23; 1 Ki. 9:20, 21)
Israel’s request for a monarchy Deut. 17:14
Judah made Israel’s royal tribe Gen. 49:10
Destruction of land city of Tyre by Isa. 23:1-13;
Nebuchadrezzar Jer. 27:1-11;
Conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadrezzar and Jer. 25:1, 2, 8-11;
70-year desolation of Jews’ land Isa. 39:6
Overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus; its perpetual Isa. 13:1, 17-22;
ruin; return of Jews to homeland after Isa 44:24-28;
70 years’ desolation of it Isa 45:1, 2
Conquest of island city of Tyre (by Alexander Zech. 9:3, 4
Defeat and overthrow of Media and Persia Dan. 8:3-8, 20-22
(by Alexander the Great); division of the
Grecian empire among four generals
Jesus’ birth from a virgin in Bethlehem Isa. 7:14;
Appearance and anointing of Jesus as the Dan. 9:24-26
Messiah in A.D. 29 (Luke 3:1-3, 21-23)
Galilee, starting place of Christ’s public Isa. 9:1, 2
ministry (Matt. 4:12-23)
Christ’s betrayal for thirty pieces of silver; Zech. 11:13
Judas’ casting the blood money into the
temple treasury (Matt. 27:3-6)
Sacrificial death of Christ; casting of lots Isa. 53:4, 5, 12;
for his garments (John 19:16-24) Ps. 22:18
Resurrection of Christ on third day Ps. 16:10;
Conquest and destruction of Jerusalem Luke 19:41-44; (by Romans A.D. 70) Lu 21:20-24
World war, food shortages, pestilences, Luke 21:10, 11, 26;
increased earthquake activity, global Matt. 24:12;
fear, wave of crime and delinquency, 2 Tim. 3:1, 2, 5
religion without effect on churchgoers
Appearance of powerful atheistic government Dan. 11:36-38
that worships technical science and force
Earth-wide proclamation by Jehovah’s Matt. 24:14;
witnesses that God’s kingdom is established Isa. 43:10;
and Christ is about to conquer all opposers Ps. 2:1-9;
International family of Christian witnesses Isa. 2:1-4;
worshiping Jehovah and preparing for Matt. 25:21-34;
Armageddon survival Rev. 7:9, 10