Seven Reasons Why I Believe
THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD
From the book CHRISTIAN FOUNDATIONS
by Dr. Ian Richard Kyle Paisley
(WStS Note: This etext was typed and reformatted by Katie Stewart from a reprint (1971-- uncopyrighted) of the original edition.)
THE BIBLE IS the Grand Charter of Christianity. To undermine, discredit and reject the Bible is to undermine, discredit and reject Christianity. Christianity is rooted and grounded upon the Bible and if the foundations be destroyed what will Christians do?
The popular assertion of present-day shallow thinkers that their Christianity rejects the Old Testament but accepts the New is, to say the least, unrealistic, for the New Testament is based on the Old. Both are inseparably united and of necessity when one is rejected the other also must be refused. What the seed is to the plant so is the Old to the New. How can the plant be received and the seed which produced it rejected?
The first task then of any inquiry into Christianity must be an examination of the claims of the Bible.
THE CLAIMS OF THE BIBLE
The Bible claims to be the Word of God and by staking this claim the Bible simply but plainly declares its divine authority, complete infallibility and absolute sufficiency.
(a) Its Divine Authority. Its authority is grounded upon God Himself. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-- "Ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
The Bible's authority is not derived from reason. The Bible does not appeal to reason and demand obedience because our reason sanctions its teachings. Its authority is not rational in that sense, although we believe the Bible to be reasonable ultimately, because it is the Word of Him Who is the source of all reason. Our reason needs to be approved by the Bible and not the Bible by our reason.
The Bible's authority is not derived from the emotions. The Bible does not appeal to our feelings and demand obedience because our feelings acquiesce in its teachings. Its authority is not emotional, and our feelings need to be approved by the Bible, and not the Bible by our feelings.
The Bible's authority is not derived from the Church. The Bible does not appeal to the Church and demand obedience because the Church decrees its teachings. Its authority is not ecclesiastical and the Church needs to be approved by the Bible, and not the Bible by the Church.
The Bible claims that its authority is derived from the God Who breathed it. Its authority is divine.
(b) Its Complete Infallibility. Its infallibility is complete. John 10:35-- "The Scripture cannot be broken."
In all its words it can make no mistake. All it says, in the sense in which it says it, is true. What it records as history is real history. Its descriptions of the processes of nature, though not described in scientific language, are as popular statements infallibly true to what appears and hence scientifically correct. When the mistakes of men or the lies of Satan are given it is an infallible record of mistakes or of lies that we have.
(c) Its Absolute Sufficiency. Its sufficiency is absolute. Galatians 1:8-9 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
All that we require to know in regard to faith and practice is contained in the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation. John 20:31 "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name."
Thus the Bible claims to be the Word of God, and as such is divinely authoritative, completely infallible and absolutely sufficient.
When I say that I believe the Bible is the Word of God, then I affirm that I believe it to be of divine authority, completely infallible and absolutely sufficient.
In these days when theological definitions are discountenanced and human speculation has attempted to eclipse divine revelation it is essential that we define what we mean when we say the Bible is the Inspired Word of God.
The old line modernists speak of the inspiration of the Bible but inspiration is also ascribed to Shakespeare and other masters of literature. For them inspiration stands for "human genius." The new modernists of the neo-orthodox (so near and yet so far) schools of Barth and Brunner define inspiration in another manner. The Bible is the Word of God because particular passages have conveyed from time to time a divine message to man. To man at times the Bible becomes a word of God. This theory does not hold the Bible to be the Word of God but rather declares that under some circumstances parts of it become a word of God. As both these views dethrone the whole idea of a real divine revelation I reject them.
When I speak of the Bible as the Word of God I do not only mean that it contains the Word of God but that it is the Word of God.
I affirm that the Bible is an authoritative revelation to us from God in which God's thoughts are conveyed to us with infallible accuracy and that the very words which clothe the thoughts are from God Himself. This is what is known as verbal inspiration.
Let me quote two great statements which set out the historic Protestant belief in regard to the Bible. The first is from the pen of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, rightly acclaimed as the Prince of Preachers. After his withdrawal from, and censure by, the modernistic Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland and a little time before his call to higher service, Mr. Spurgeon along with six like-minded brethren, drew up a doctrinal statement which they called "A Confession." This confession contained the following concise statement on the Inspiration of the Bible:--
"We the undersigned, banded together in fraternal union, observing with growing pain and sorrow the loosening hold of many upon the truths of Revelation, are constrained to avow our firmest belief in the verbal inspiration of all Holy Scripture as originally given. To us, the Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but is the Word of God. From beginning to end, we accept it, believe it, and continue to preach it. To us, the Old Testament is no less inspired than the New, the Book is an organic whole. Reverence for the New Testament accompanied by scepticism as to the Old appears to us absurd. The two must stand or fall together. We accept Christ's own verdict concerning 'Moses and all the prophets' in preference to any of the supposed discoveries of so-called higher criticism."
The second statement constitutes the finding of one of the greatest of Presbyterian Assemblies ever convened. In 1893 the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America, an assembly whose membership included America's greatest merchants, jurists, educators and statesmen as well as her greatest missionaries, evangelists, and theologians, put the following of record:--
"The Bible as we now have it, in its various translations and revisions, when freed from all errors and mistakes of translators, copyists and printers, IS THE VERY WORD OF GOD and consequently without error."
It is for the historic Protestant position as defined in these statements that I contend.
VERBAL INSPIRATION ESSENTIAL
Only verbal inspiration could secure an infallible revelation. Dr. James Gray, for many years head of the famous Moody Bible Institute, often used the following illustration:--
"A stenographer in a mercantile house was asked by his employer to write as follows: 'Gentlemen: We misunderstood your letter and will now fill your order.' Imagine the employer's surprise, however, when a little later this was set before him for his signature: 'Gentlemen: We misunderstood your letter and will not fill your order.' The mistake was only of a single letter, but it was entirely subversive of his meaning. And yet the thought was given clearly to the stenographer, and the words, too, for that matter. Moreover, the latter was capable and faithful, but he was human, and it is human to err. Had not his employer controlled his expression down to the very letter, the thought intended to be conveyed would have failed of utterance."
If in simple matters such verbal superintendence is necessary in order to secure accuracy how much more when the mysterious and transcendent revelation of God is being communicated. Without verbal inspiration no written revelation could be reliable.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BELIEVED IN VERBAL INSPIRATION
It is clear from a study of the language of the Lord that He believed in verbal inspiration. In confounding the Sadducees He built the doctrine of the immortality of the spirit and the resurrection of the body on the tense of the verb "to be."
He drew attention to the Bible statement "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" and not that God was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (see Matthew 22:32-- "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.")
Again, in Matthew 5:18 He emphasized that inspiration extended to the smallest Hebrew letter, the yod, and to the smallest distinguishing mark, the tittle. "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
To sum up, all Scripture is inspired of God
(2 Timothy 3:16-- "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.");
the writers are inspired of God
(2 Peter 1:21-- "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.");
every letter is also inspired
(Galatians 3:16-- "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.")
and inspiration extents to every jot and tittle
(Matthew 5:18-- "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.").
No better testimony to the extent of inspiration could be borne than that by Dean Burgon:
"The Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth on the throne. Every book of it, every chapter of it, every verse of it, every syllable of it, every letter of it, is the direct utterance of the Most High."
Having defined what I mean when I say the Bible is the Word of God, I now want to give seven reasons why I believe it to be so.
FIRST REASON: THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE FACT OF THE BIBLE
The greatest fact of all time is the Bible. How a book which has been so universally attacked could survive and attain to such a place of eminence is a miracle eloquently testifying to its supernatural origin.
Because the Bible forthrightly condemns sin, the hatred of sinners has been hurled against it. Because the Bible in plain and unmistakable language debases the pride of man, proud man has set himself the task to discredit it. Because the Bible uncovers the satanic underworld it is the object of the diabolical attacks of hell. Because the Bible declares that salvation is by grace alone all false religions have sought to extinguish it.
The Bible condemns every man and condones no man; it accuses every man and excuses no man; it abases human reason and exalts revelation; it repudiates the natural and rejoices in the spiritual, glorying not in flesh but in faith.
Attacked from all quarters and giving no quarter, the Bible has an Ishmaelite experience, its hand is against every man and every man's hand is against it, but wonder of wonders, it continues to dwell in the midst of the brethren.
Princes, philosophers, prelates, politicians and poets have all conspired against it. It has been insulted by the scorn of fools. It has become the jest of infidels and the joke of sceptics. It has been assailed consistently and persistently by professed scholars and has been made the butt of the critic. Assaulted by every known plan of hell, it has come forth unscathed from the inferno. Like the three Hebrew children it has been in the fire and like them it has been wonderfully preserved and there is not a smell of burning upon it.
The fire has yet to be lit that can destroy it. The steel has yet to be forged that can scar it. The weapon has yet to be devised that can overthrow it. The scholarship has yet to be developed that can discredit it. The science has yet to be created that can demolish it. The plan has yet to be devised that can annihilate it.
The cunning of hell and the craft of earth have combined against the Bible but it stands unmoved, for it is as W. E. Gladstone, one of England's greatest Premiers has described it, the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture.
As the Bible has stood the hottest broadsides of hell it will not be affected by the popguns of modernism.
In the past century Voltaire thought he had demolished it and boasted that in one hundred years Christianity would be a museum piece. As a result, infidelity ran riot in France. Voltaire, however, passed screaming into eternity, but the Bible has not passed away. Moreover, Voltaire's printing press was used to print the very Scriptures which he boasted he had demolished and his house became a depot for the Geneva Bible Society.
"WILL THE OLD BOOK STAND?"
Will the Old Book stand, when the "higher critics" state
That grave errors are discovered on its page?
Will it save the sinful soul? Will it make the wounded whole?
Will its glorious truth abide from age to age?
Will its message still abide, when the scientists decide
That its record of Creation is untrue?
Tell us the ascent of man is by evolution's plan;
Will its principles the sinful heart renew?
When in language wondrous fair, "Christian Scientists" declare
That there is no evil, only mortal mind.
When mental treatment fails, and seeming death prevails,
May we in the Bible consolation find?
When infidels parade the mistakes which Moses made,
When the truth of Revelation they deny,
Will the Ten Commandments still the demands of justice fill?
Will its word support us when we come to die?
Yes, the Word of God shall stand, though assailed on every hand,
Its foundations are eternally secure;
It will bear the critic's test, and the idle scoffer's jest,
Its saving truth forever shall endure.
So I believe the Bible is the Word of God because it remains with the passing and injuries of time, a temple unprofaned by the foot of the enemy, a building of God, amidst the crumbling ruins of the centuries.
SECOND REASON: THE UNITY OF THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
The unity of the Bible is one of the greatest evidences of its supernatural origin. This unity stands out in bold relief as we consider--
The Diversity of the Bible's Writers
This diversity extends to their historical position. The Bible consists of sixty-six books written by some forty different authors over a period of a millennium-and-a-half (1,500 years). The first writer, Moses, died about 1450 years before the last writer, John, was born. Yet none of these writers ever denounced, criticised or condemned any inspired teaching in the books of the others. Their historical position was diverse, but their spiritual position was one and the same. Such a diversity creating such a unanimity must of necessity strike the candid reader of Holy Scripture with profound wonder, and surely underlines the unimpeachable conclusion that One Divine Mind was behind this One Book.
This diversity also extends to their social condition. The writers of the Bible, socially speaking, had no common denominator. They were men actually very diverse in social condition, physical temperament and mental ability. Some were sovereigns, others were subjects; some were lawyers, others were labourers; some were conquerors, others were captives; some were farmers, others were fishermen; some were scholars, others were shepherds; some were priests and others were physicians, and some were prophets and others were poets. From such a motley and heterogeneous group one could expect but pandemonium, but behold instead a Pentecost! Their social condition was diverse, but their spiritual condition was one and the same. Again, such a diversity creating such a unanimity must of necessity strike the candid reader of Holy Scripture with profound wonder and surely underlines the unimpeachable conclusion that One Divine Plan was behind this One Book.
Further, this diversity extends to their particular language. The writers employed three different languages-- Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. If the works of any forty authors up to A. D. 100 written in three different languages on any one subject were translated and bound in one volume what a volume we would have, a volume full of diverse theories and mutually destructive tenets, scarcely understandable, its only unity being material, having been bound in the same volume, printed on the same paper and upon the same press. Although the last book of the Bible was written about 1500 years after the first book was written, yet it harmonises perfectly with it, and the whole Book is such a perfect whole, every truth being so dovetailed and every doctrine being so interwoven that the effect of the different languages employed adds rather than detracts from the harmony of the whole Book, which instead of being behind the times is actually always ahead of the times. The writers' particular languages were diverse, but their spiritual language was one and the same. Again, such a diversity creating such unanimity must of necessity strike the candid reader of Holy Scripture with profound wonder, and surely underlines the unimpeachable conclusion that One Divine Power was behind this One Book.
Again, this diversity extends to their actual style. The Bible contains the loftiest kind of poetry and the profoundest type of prose. Symbolism and imagery woven into the highest oratory, arguments and reasonings sharpened with the keenest logic, lamentation of the deepest pathos and joy expressed in the most exalted language, are all intermingled together to form a symmetry of golden truth. The actual style is diverse, but the spiritual tone is one and the same. Again, such a diversity creating such a unanimity must of necessity strike the candid reader of Holy Scripture with profound wonder, and surely underlines the unimpeachable conclusion that One Divine Purpose was behind this One Book.
Finally, this diversity extends to their characteristic outlook. The characteristic outlook of each writer is plainly portrayed in the several writings. The personality of each writer tinges the inspired message from their pens. Characteristic expressions and manners peculiar to the writers are subtly embalmed in their writings, but the whole, even to the very words, is divinely given. As different wind instruments all playing the same notes retain their own particular individuality though sounded by the same breath, so the writers of the Bible, though absolutely controlled by the same divine breath of inspiration nevertheless retain their own particular individuality. The characteristic outlook is diverse, but the controlling uplook is one and the same. Again, such a diversity creating such a unanimity must of necessity strike the candid reader of Holy Scripture with profound wonder, and surely underline the unimpeachable conclusion that One Divine Person was behind this One Book.
The unity of the Bible is further manifested in:
The Details of its Wording.
For example, take the word "sweat" as it occurs in the Bible. It is mentioned only three times:
(1) Genesis 3:19-- "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground."
(2) Ezekiel 44:18-- "They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat."
(3) Luke 22:44-- "And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."
Notice the complete symbolic and doctrinal harmony and symmetry. In Genesis 3:19 "sweat" is part of the curse of sin. In Ezekiel 44:18, no garments which would cause "sweat" were to be worn by the priests in the service of the sanctuary. This service was holy, hence no symbol of sin was permitted even in the priest's garment. Again, these priests were typical of the sinless One Who alone could be our Great High Priest. In Luke 22:44 He Who was made sin was identified with the curse, and therefore was bathed in the bloody "sweat" of Gethsemane's passion and agony. Think a moment of the fact that Ezekiel wrote about 1000 years after Moses, and Luke about 500 years after Ezekiel. Though there could be absolutely no collusion, yet there is absolutely no collision. In view of this we can assert that no artful conniver could devise such unity. The Power behind such harmony in detail is surely divine. Many such examples of profound unanimity could be given, but this one is sufficient to affirm the unity of the Bible as manifested in the details of its wording.
The Unity of the Bible is further demonstrated in:
The Doctrine of its Writings.
The Doctrine of the Bible is "Jesus Christ and Him Crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2-- "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.") Christ alone could say, "In the volume of the Book it is written of Me." (Psalm 40:7). The Subject of the Bible is Christ. The Object of the Bible is Christ. Its symbols symbolise Christ; its types typify Christ; its predictions predict Christ; its gospels glorify Christ; and its epistles expound Christ. He is the genesis and genius of the Book. He Himself is its unifying principle and person and hence, no potency can disintegrate the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture. Touch the Bible anywhere and you touch Christ somewhere. Only by revelation could those who lived generations before Christ describe Him so accurately and intimately and the unanimity in regard to His Person and Work is an irrefutable demonstration that He Himself must have revealed Himself to them. They must supernaturally, like Abraham, have "seen His Day" as no other satisfactory explanation can account for their intimate accuracy.
Surely this impregnable unity is a most convincing testimony to the Bible's authenticity, infallibility and divinity.
THIRD REASON: THE VERACITY OF THE FULFILLED PROPHECY OF THE BIBLE
The Bible is unique. Hundreds of years and in some cases over a thousand years before certain events took place, the Bible made precise predictions concerning those events. No other sacred book ventured to make such predictions. The Bible is the only book which dared to stake its claim to divinity on the accuracy of its prophecies.
In the following passage in Isaiah God challenges the idol-gods of the heathen to predict future happenings. Isaiah 41:21-23-- "Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together."
The idol-gods are impotent in this matter, and in contrast to their impotency God declares His Omnipotence. Isaiah 46:10-- "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure:"
The fulfilled prophecies of Scripture amply demonstrate the truth of this statement of Jehovah.
It is surely to be regretted that the vast field of fulfilled prophecy is largely forsaken by Bible students today. The devil knows that here conclusive proof of the divine origin of the Bible is furnished, so Higher Criticism which is only Infidelity in an ecclesiastical suit, has set about to destroy these great prophetic Scriptures.
Five Rules by which the Truthfulness and Supernaturalness of any Prophecy can be Demonstrated.
Any prophecy can be tested by the application of the following five rules:--
The prophecy must declare something concerning future events. It must be of such a nature that not only a lapse of time must take place between the giving of the prophecy and its fulfillment but also it must be fulfilled in such a way which precludes any possibility of the prophet himself effecting it.
That which is predicted must be such an unveiling that no human foresight could have guessed it. It must be of such a kind that it could not possibly have been deduced from known facts and principles.
The prophecy must be definite and precise in its details. General statements may often give a remarkable forecast of events but exact and precise predictions which forecast accurately even the smallest details preclude the utter impossibility of any thing else but supernatural revelation.
The prophecy must stake a definite claim that it is divine.
The prophecy must be fulfilled at such a time and in such a manner that the whole prediction is completely and unassailably realised.
If these rules are applied to the fulfilled prophecies of Scripture, it will be found that on every occasion these prophecies stand the test.
The prophetic field in Scripture includes predictions concerning Christ, the Jews and the Gentile nations.
We can only consider on prophecy concerning Christ, the great prophecy of Isaiah, chapter fifty-three.
"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Even if this prophecy is brought down to the very latest date to which the "higher critics" have assigned it, it was still uttered many hundreds of years before the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Even a casual examination of the precise details of the prophecy and their exact realisation in the sufferings of Christ cannot but impress the candid reader. No wonder such attempts have been made to explain away this prophecy. For example, the sceptic Bolingbroke asserted that Jesus by a series of deliberate provocative actions brought on His own crucifixion in order to give His disciples the triumph of an appeal to this old prophecy.
The invincible power of fulfilled prophecy is thus demonstrated when infidels are compelled to invent absurdities in order to evade the force of its almighty appeal.
Our Lord is not only predicted in direct prophecies but the characters, institutions, ceremonies, offerings and feasts of the Old Testament are also prophetical. These types all point to Christ. Dr. R. A. Torrey has well said:--
"The modern critical theories regarding the construction of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy go all to pieces when considered in the light of the meaning of the types of the Old Testament. I have never known a destructive critic that knew anything to speak of regarding the types. One cannot study them thoroughly without being profoundly convinced that the real author of the Old Testament, back of the human authors, is God."
The court chaplain of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, was asked by his royal master to prove the inspiration of the Scripture in a word. He answered, "Your Majesty, the Jews."
The Jewish race is the living monument to every generation that the Bible is the Book of God. Take, for example, the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy. Here we have predicted by Moses the tragic history of the rebellious Jewish nation.
Deut. 28:49-53,68-- "The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee... And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you."
The Roman power here is clearly indicated by Moses, although that power had not yet come into being. Notice the mention of the eagle, the very symbol of Imperial Rome.
The invader was to be of a tongue unknown to the Jews. History affirms that the Jews were ignorant of the Latin language. The wars of the Jews with their many terrible sieges fulfil in every detail the awful predictions here made.
The return of the Jews to Egypt as slaves whom no one wanted to purchase was also fully realised. Those Jews who did not perish in the destruction of Jerusalem were shipped to Egypt. There some were sent to the mines to labour constantly until they died. Others were sold into slavery. Josephus records that 100,000 slaves glutted the markets of Egypt. Hence the prophecy of Moses was fulfilled to its last detail, "no man shall buy you."
The Gentile Nations
Many great prophecies of the Gentile nations lie scattered through the Old Testament. Take but one, the great prophetic dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter two. Here the three great world empires, Medo-Persian, Graeco-Macedonian and the Roman, which were to follow the Babylonian empire were clearly predicted. The division of the Roman empire was indicated by the two legs, while the rise of democracies, the rule of the people, was declared by the symbol of clay. Part of the iron was still to remain however, so today monarchies and republics exist side by side in the very territory once occupied by the Roman Empire.
After even a brief consideration of the field of fulfilled prophecy, the divinity of the Bible is remarkably demonstrated. The Inspired Word as well as the Incarnate Word can declare, "And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe." John 14:29.
FOURTH REASON: THE INEXHAUSTIBILITY OF THE WISDOM OF THE BIBLE
"We present you with this book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is wisdom, this is the royal law, these are the lively oracles of God."
These words, used in the presentation of the Bible in the Coronation ceremony of the British monarchs simply sum up the fact that the Bible is an inexhaustible Book.
Man can exhaust what man has produced and written. Man cannot exhaust what God has produced and written.
The inexhaustibility of the Bible is an evident token of the divinity of its origin. The greatest of intellects singly and in concert have studied the sacred volume, but the depths of the riches of the Book are still unmined. Fresh light and truth continually burst forth from its bosom, enlightening and instructing the diligent student of its contents.
Other volumes have soon been outdated both in their principles and precepts but the Bible still remains ahead of fast moving time. Humanity has outgrown its own productions but the fact that humanity has never yet grown up to the Bible proves that it is divine.
What book can interpret the past like the Bible? What book can interpret the present like the Bible? What book can interpret the future like the Bible?
Select any individual book of the sacred volume and with careful study an meditation, unending fields of investigation open up before us. The wisdom of God and His overruling superintending care for the Bible are continually demonstrated.
Take for example, the book of Isaiah. We examine it and discover that its chapters are the same in number as the books of the Bible, sixty-six. How fascinating our study becomes when we consider the contents of the book and find that it is indeed the Bible in miniature.
In 1250 one Cardinal Hugo divided the Bible into chapters. Was it mere coincidence or the overruling providence of God which determined that Isaiah should have its sixty-six chapters? I am not contending for the divine right of all Hugo's chapter divisions, but I am drawing attention to the fact of the overruling superintendence of God in both the preservation and regulation of the Books of the Bible. This is also demonstrated in the very order in which the books of the Scriptures are arranged in our Bible today. A study of this order shows that the books of the Old and New Testaments are placed in wondrous parallel according to their historical, doctrinal and prophetic contents.
Further, the Bible has a two-fold division, the Old and New Testaments. How intriguing when we discover that Isaiah has its two-fold division, the first section containing the same number of chapters as there are books in the Old Testament, thirty-nine, and the second containing the same number as there are books in the New Testament, twenty-seven.
In the opening of Genesis we have "The heavens and the earth." (Genesis 2:1) and in the opening of Isaiah we have the prophet's appeal to the "heavens and earth." --"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken." Isaiah 1:2.
The burden of Genesis is man's way of ruin and God's way of redemption. A similar theme is the burden of the first chapter of Isaiah, the genesis of this miniature Bible.
The second book of the Bible is Exodus, dealing with the going out of the Israelites from Egypt and the giving of the law at the holy mount. In the Exodus of Isaiah, which is chapter two, we read:-- "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." Isaiah 2:3.
The last words of Malachi are judgment and judgment is the theme of Isaiah chapter thirty-nine.
Chapter forty commences the second division of Isaiah, the division which corresponds to the New Testament. The New Testament opens, of course, with the gospels which tell of Christ at whose birth the angels shouted "Peace on earth". Isaiah forty commences with the gospel (the good tidings) "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God." Isaiah 40:1. Notice the very expression "good tidings" in verse nine. "O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!" Isaiah 40:9.
The first great character of the New Testament is John the Baptist. Isaiah speaks of him in verse three of this chapter, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness."
At His baptism by John our Lord Jesus was manifested to Israel. Then the heavens were opened and the Father's voice rang forth "This is My beloved Son." We have the corollary of that in Isaiah 40:9 in the exclamation "Behold your God."
The great doctrinal centre of the New Testament is the Cross Work of Christ. How wonderful that the exact centre of Isaiah's New Testament in miniature is the great fifty-third chapter. What other chapter in the whole Bible depicts the Cross so grandly?
The forty-fourth chapter is the Acts of Isaiah's New Testament. How appropriate is verse three "For I will pour waters on him that is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground."
The forty-fifth chapter is the Romans of Isaiah's New Testament. The theme of the Roman Epistle is Justification by Faith. How fitting then that this chapter should close with the words "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified."
Keeping in mind that the New Testament was not written until many hundreds of years after Isaiah's death, how can we account for this unique New Testament in miniature on a mere human basis? Man could not have planned such a thing. Undoubtedly this is the finger of God.
As we stand on the brink of the unbounded ocean of the fullness of Scripture, definition and description become impossible. With arms uplifted in adoration to the great Source of the Book we can but break forth in the awed and exultant exclamation of Paul, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33.
FIFTH REASON: THE ADAPTABILITY OF THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE
It is surely a striking fact that although the Jews were the privileged depositories of the Bible revelation, and the greater part of the Bible was therefore primarily national in character, yet the Bible is an international Book. This fact is even more remarkable when we consider that the Hebrew was the most exclusive and continues to be the most exclusive race on the face of the earth, and that the Bible writers were characteristically dominated with this Jewish exclusivism. By divine choice the Jewish people were severed in feeling, religion, policy and destiny from the rest of the race in such a manner that even adversity and dispersion could not destroy their peculiar isolation. How strange that such an exclusive race could produce an inclusive Book. Only the high-born origin of the Bible can explain the mystery. It is plainly manifested that the Jewish race became not merely the recipients of the divine message but also the spokesmen to proclaim that message to the ear and heart of the entire world. The Bible's adaptability is self-evident being demonstrated in:
(1) The Bible, the most translatable of all books-- a Book for all races. There is a universal standing about the Bible which cannot be denied. The Bible is the World Book, and as the World Book it is national and yet international, local yet worldwide, bounded yet unbounded, and limited yet unlimited.
It is enclosed in little space, yet it encloses all. "There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." (Psalm 19:3-11). Prof. T. Lewis wisely comments:
"Every other assumed revelation has been addressed to but one phase of humanity. They have been adapted to one age, to one people or one peculiar style of human thought. Their books have never assumed international character or been capable of any catholic expansion. They could never be accommodated to other ages or other parts of the world. They are indigenous plants that can never grow out of the zone that gave them birth. Zoraster never made a disciple beyond Persia or its immediate neighbourhood. Confucius is wholly Chinese as Socrates is wholly Greek."
The Scriptures and the Scriptures alone speak to both north and south, east and west. The fact that the Bible is the most translatable and the most translated of all books indicates its universal character. Translations at best are both unappealing and unfamiliar, but the Bible adapts itself to the language in which it is clothed and to the land into which it comes. It is readily admitted that the most English of all books is the Authorised Version of the Scriptures, yet in seeming paradox there is no book so German as the German Bible. Only the scholarly linguist thinks of the Greek and Hebrew originals when the living Word is read. It matters not the language, the mode of life or the degree of civilisation, the Bible adapts itself miraculously to all. To the European and the Eskimo, the African and the American, the Asiatic and the Australian, the Bible becomes singularly their own Book. In the lands which have already a vast library of sacred and venerated literature, the Bible enters, and like the sun outshines all lesser lights. In other lands the written language has to be created in order that the sacred volume might be translated, and even with the advent to these lands of the best of literature, the Bible easily retains foremost place for the divine crystal spring unsullied will be preferred to the muddy stream of human intellect. In view of this surely we can but say that the God who made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth hath also made one Book for all nations of men who dwell on the face of the earth.
Again, the Bible's adaptability is demonstrated in:
(2) The Bible, the most seasonable of all books-- a book for all ages.
The Bible is never outdated. It is always in advance of the advancing ages, and yet its unchanging message is equally adaptable to all. Studied by the far-off schools of the prophets in the hoary ages of the past, it still retains its place in the curriculum of the greatest universities of the present. Many other volumes have been perused, patronised and praised by past generations, but their literary glory died with the generation which gave them birth. They were but productions of time and products of clay, and with the passing of time in common with their authors, they returned to the dust.
Not so with the Bible, for passing time, instead of diminishing its glory has but added greater luster to its shining, and in its passing the grip of this one Book upon the world has been forged into an indissoluble bond. The fast flowing currents of passing millenniums which have erased the imprint of innumerable volumes from the sands of man's knowledge have had no damaging effect on this one volume. Other volumes have been washed out of the consciousness of the race, while this volume has been indelibly washed in.
The Bible stands today in solitary grandeur like a rock of white marble rearing its head majestically out of a dark lonely sea in defiance of the surging billows which hurl themselves unrelentingly against its base.
Not only is it unerasable by the passing times, but it is always abreast of the times and the advancing times in all those fields which really matter actually gain momentum from it. Progression is the natural outcome of obedience to its precepts, while fleet of foot retrogression follows hard on the heels of disobedience to its commands. It is the bold crusader of every movement, marking the real progress of the race being always wiser than man's highest wisdom and always purer than his holiest ideal. Even a cursory study of the secular history of the nations of Europe amply illustrates this. The answer which the enquiring prince received from the great British Queen when he desired to gain the secret of the Imperial Empire's might, "The secret of England's greatness is the open Bible" was without doubt the right answer. The Bible open and obeyed casts prosperity with both hands upon its faithful exponents. In contradistinction the Bible closed and condemned casts adversity with both hands on its faithless opponents.
The history of man's dealings with man written in the books of man can be superseded, but the history of God's dealings with man written in the Book of God can never be superseded.
The prophecy of man concerning man, written in the books of man fails, but the prophecy of God concerning man written in the Book of God never fails. Man's words to man written in the books of man are soon forgotten, but God's Word to man written in the Book of God can never be forgotten. Man's promises to man written in the books of man are broken, but God's promises to man written in the Book of God can never be broken. Man's speech to man written in the books of man is soon outdated by passing time, but God's speech to man recorded in the book of God outdates passing time. Man's language to man written in the books of man soon decays, but God's language to man written in the Book of God never decays, having ever a dew-like freshness. The Bible is a solitary book. In contrast to other volumes it can be said of it as of its Maker-- "They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment... But Thou art the same, and Thy years shall have no end." --Psalm 102:26,27.
Its nature is as the nature of God, for like God it is not the I WAS, but the I AM-- the Immediate, the Present, and the Ever Now.
A glory gilds the sacred page,
Majestic like the sun.
It gives a light to every age:
It gives, but borrows none.
The Hand that gave it still supplies
The gracious light and heat.
Its truths upon the nations rise,
They rise, but never set.
The Bible's adaptability is further demonstrated in:
(3) The Bible, the most practical of all books-- a Book for all peoples.
The message of the Bible is the most practical message ever embalmed in writing. There is not an experience known to the pilgrims of this planet for which the Bible has not a word either of direction or correction. It prescribes for all cases ever known or ever to be known by man.
There are seven Greek words used to describe the seven stages of man's development according to Philo:
1. Infancy, paidion, child.
2. Childhood, pais, boy.
3. Youth, meirakion, lad.
4. Adolescence, neaniskos, young man.
5. Manhood, aner, man.
6. Decline, prebutes, old man.
7. Senility, geron, aged man.
In infancy, childhood, youth, adolescence, manhood, decline and senility, yes, in every stage of man's physical and spiritual history the Bible has a message which is adaptable to all.
How children delight in the stories of the Bible. All classes and conditions of young folk find something fascinating and appealing in the immortal records of Bible history. Adam driven out from the Garden and Abraham brought into Canaan, Noah building the Ark and Nehemiah building the walls, Joseph the slave boy and statesman and Joshua the servant and soldier, and David the shepherd boy giant killer, and Daniel the dreamer lion tamer are stories which enshrine themselves in the hearts of the young; while nothing touches tender innocency like the glad tidings of Bethlehem and Calvary. Parts of the Bible may remain closed for the present but children have more than enough to go on with in these great Bible histories which are able to make them wise unto salvation.
When innocency is scarred with sin and upon the horizon of expectant youth there breaks the storm of irresistible temptation, wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way but by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.
In the trials and tribulations of life's rugged pathway, in the joys and pleasures of life's sunshine the Bible has always a message suitable to our experience and need.
Indeed, as the night alone reveals to us the stars of celestial glory, and the firmament then becomes crowded to its farthest depths with orbs of light, so in the night of sorrow the stars of promise otherwise hidden come out to cheer our hearts until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
In old age the Bible still has a fresh message for our tired hearts, while the silence of death itself is broken for us with the assurance from the sweetest lips that ever spake, "Certainly I will be with you." --"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:20).
"Bring me the Book," said Sir Walter Scott on his deathbed. "What book?" his attendant inquired, not knowing to which volume the dying author referred. "Can you ask?" was the reproving answer, "there is but ONE."
SIXTH REASON: THE VITALITY OF THE HEARING OF THE BIBLE
"So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." --Romans 10:17.
A friend of mine, Ted Sherwood, an ex-welterweight champion boxer, once told me this story. Ted was saved from the depths of sin and, fired with the zeal of an unabated first love, was very anxious to win others to Christ. When he preached he went through all the movements of the boxing ring and to all criticisms of his peculiar mannerisms he would innocently reply, "Well, ain't I fighting the devil anyway?" One night Ted found himself amongst the throngs at Hyde Park. Disgusted at so many people listening to so much verbal trash, he decided he must attract as many of the crowd as possible away from the various meetings and preach to them the gospel which transformed his life. Tugging at his Bible-- Ted's Bible always seemed too large for his pocket-- he eventually got it out and set it on the ground. Taking off his coat he placed it over the Bible. Then he started to jump around the coat, shouting in consternation "It's alive! it's alive!" The crowd ran from the other meetings to see what was happening, and when Ted had a very large congregation around him he picked up his coat, lifted up his Bible and shouted "It's alive!" "What did you do then?" I questioned. "O told them how this Book found me dead in the graveyard of pollution and how it imparted new life to Teddy Sherwood the debauched, drunken and blaspheming boxer," he replied.
Yes, Ted was right. The Bible is a living book. It is a volume of vital power. The power of the Bible is seven-fold in its nature. It has power--
1. To convict of sin. Acts 2:37.
2. To regenerate the heart. 1 Peter 1:23.
3. To produce faith. Romans 10:17.
4. To cleanse the life. John 15:3.
5. To edify the believer. Acts 20:32.
6. To impart eternal life. 1 John 5:13.
7. To perfect the whole man. 2 Timothy 3:17.
A sailing vessel was wrecked off one of the South Sea islands. A member of the crew who, along with some others managed to reach the shore, became greatly alarmed, for he recognised the island as the home of a notorious cannibal tribe. He left his companions and climbed the summit which skirted the shore to reconnoitre and when he reached the summit his shipmates saw him swing his arms in terrific excitement, and then point to something over the hill. They soon clambered up to where he was and with great delight saw the steeple of a meeting house which had been built in the former cannibal village. That building took all the fear out of their troubled hearts. Their necks were safe on that cannibal island. The advent of what other book could have wrought such a change?
The living power of the Scriptures demonstrated daily in the glorious transformation of lives is an irresistible proof that the Bible is what it claims to be, the very Word of God.
SEVENTH REASON: THE CALAMITY OF REJECTING THE BIBLE
"Lo they have rejected the Word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?" --Jeremiah 8:9
One of the greatest proofs that the Bible is the Word of God is the tragic calamities which follow on its rejection. The alternative to accepting the Bible is a potent argument in favour of the divine origin of the Book. That alternative as illustrated in the corrupted lives of infidels and sceptics, in the wrecking of families and the debasing of communities and even nations, goes to form a dark background against which the Bible shines forth in heavenly purity.
The transformation of those who have accepted from the heart the Bible as the Word of God and the degradation of those who have rejected from the heart the Bible as the Word of God, are stubborn facts which mere denials cannot obliterate.
Dr. R. A. Torrey once issued a challenge, a challenge which no one was able to accept. Here is Torrey's challenge:
"Show me a man that is living a life of absolute surrender to God, living under the control of the Spirit of God, living a life of devotion to the Spirit of God, living a life of devotion to the highest welfare of his fellow-men, a life of humility and of prayer, and I will show you every time a man who believes the Bible to be God's Word.
"On the other hand, show me a man who denies or persistently questions whether the Bible is the Word of God and I will show you a man that is leading either (mind you, I say 'either' not 'all') a life of greed for gold or of lust, or of self-will or of spiritual pride.
"I challenge any man to furnish me an exception. I have been looking for one literally round the world, and I have never found one."
Whether men like it or not, a loose theology is bound up with loose living and unbelief in the head is the child of sin in the heart. Does infidelity flourish in the company of the pure in heart? Never! Infidelity is at its strongest in the public-house, the gambling den and the blasphemer's club.
The testimony of Joseph Baker, a member of the Mother of Parliaments and an ex-President of the British National Secular Society cannot be invalidated.
"I have seen the dreadful effects which infidelity produces on men's characters; I have had proof of its deteriorating effects in my own experience; its tendency is to utter debasement."
Mrs. Mary Benjamin, an eyewitness of the deathbed agonies of the notorious infidel Thomas Paine writes:
"I was invited by a distant connection... to go and see T. Paine on his deathbed... The scene to me was appalling, and I wished to leave at once. I remember him as he lay, his head near and close to the door we entered, his glaring rolling eyes; uttering imprecations; apparently in agony of body and mind; his screams could be heard at a great distance. As I shrank back they said (there were many there) he called on Jesus Christ for mercy, and next blasphemed."
Such was the end of one who rejected the Bible.
The awful results following the dethronement of the Bible are around us today. We are now reaping the harvest of the sowing of modernism. Lawlessness is the great characteristic of the hour. The rising tides of sinful pleasure have engulfed the nation. Crime is on the increase. Divorce courts are glutted with business. Ethical standards have given way. Morals have gone to pieces. The home, the bulwark of society, has been breached. Sodom has been resurrected. Hell has broken loose, and daily the appalling downgrade gathers momentum. Believing he evolved from the beast, man has become a beast.
Our lamentation is that of the prophet, "Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the streets and equity cannot enter." --Isaiah 59:14.
"Where will it all end?" I have been asked. "In hell," is the only reply. Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Well may Jeremiah say, "Lo, they have rejected the Word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?... Therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.." Jeremiah 8:9,12.
To reject the Bible is to reject the God of the Bible. To reject God is to reject the Commandments of God. To reject the Commandments of God is to reject the Authority of Heaven. To reject the authority of Heaven is to accept the Anarchy of Hell.
The more I study the calamity which follows the rejection of the Bible the more I am convinced that the Bible is the inbreathed Word of God.
In view of this impregnable fact, surely we need to get back to the Bible, back to Bible preaching, back to Bible praying and back to Bible practicing. A revival of Bible Christianity alone can save the situation. A rediscovery of the Word of God brought about the glorious Reformation of four-hundred years ago and thank God the Bible dynamite is just as potent today.
Let us then let the Bible rule our hearts and homes and refuse to support those who dare to trifle with it in the pulpit. Above all things, let us seize the unfailing promises of the Book and never rest night nor day from prayer until the God of the Bible visits us with a gracious revival.
"Go, search the Scriptures," saith our Lord,
"They testify of Me";
"Tis truth's eternal, great record,
From every error free.
There my eternal Godhead shines
With bright, refulgent rays;
There beam Jehovah's great designs,
From everlasting days.
There the great gospel scheme behold,
Chief of the works of God,
Replete with grace and love untold,
And pardon, bought with blood.
There's armour for the trying day,
Both shield and helmet too;
And grace, the fainting soul to stay,
And always something new.
There's balm to heal the wounds of sin,
On life's fair tree it grows;
And blood to wash your garments in,
From Jesus' side it flows."
O may the Spirit's influence sweet
Shine on the glorious whole,
Its precepts guide my roving feet,
And promise feast my soul.
Let Revelation's glories shine,
And spread from sea to sea;
Till reason stoops to faith divine,
And owns her sovereign sway.