Course: History and Authenticity of the Bible
Inspiration — Part Two
All that is in the law, the prophets, and the psalms are concerning Me. (cf. Luke 24:44)
In Matthew 5 He said,
Not one jot [the smallest letter in the Hebrew language] or one title [the marking on a letter to distinguish it from another letter that looks like it, not one marking on any of those letters] will ever pass away until all these things be fulfilled” (cf. Matthew 5:18).
In the Bible there are two kinds of prophecy. There is fulfilled prophecy and of course, unfulfilled prophecy. What amazes many people who have not done an in-depth study of the Scripture is that there is much more fulfilled prophecy than they ever dreamed—volumes of it—which you could easily make a case for in proving that the Bible is the word of God. We have predictions of nations, empires, rulers in the Bible before they ever came into existence even those nations named. And we have evidence that before they ever came into power, the information was already there in the Scriptures. So we know about that. We have predictions about the destruction of nations in the Bible long before it happened. Even before the nations described as being destroyed came into existence. So, don’t ever forget that fulfilled prophecy is a biggy! What’s the most famous one that we know was fulfilled? What subject? Jesus Christ, yes. We have all this prophecy about His first coming. So we have a lot of ways to prove the inspiration of the Bible.
I have a little booklet that is used a lot with evangelism of Jewish people called “Who Is the Messiah?” And there are no New Testament verses in it at all. And what it does is it proves that whoever the Messiah is, He had to come before the Temple was destroyed and after it was destroyed. You say, “What do you mean?” Well, He had to come after the temple built by Solomon is destroyed—can’t come before that. And He has to come before the second temple designed by Herod is destroyed. Did you know the Bible predicts that? And so, when you nail down who the Messiah is, there aren’t many choices. So I do what I call a process of elimination in this little booklet called, “Who Is the Messiah?” And we just walk down, just taking the facts about who it can be. And it comes down that if it’s not Yeshuaof Nazareth, it’s got to be somebody exactly like Him, who did exactly what He did at the same time period in which He lived.
So again, in terms of fulfillment, certainly inspiration guarantees the accuracy. If there ever was anything that was not fulfilled, the Bible is not truthful then. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but His words will never pass away” (cf. Matthew 24:35). That’s why we count on the unfulfilled prophecy being fulfilled because up to this point, everything has all been fulfilled.
Now, when God told Ezekiel after the Babylonian captivity that He would once again bring Israel back into the land and they’d become a nation again; the dry bones would come to life (Ezekiel 37:4). They would die and come back to life. Do you think that was fulfilled? I do. Otherwise, I don’t know what in the world is going on over there in the land of Israel unless that isn’t a fulfillment. Otherwise we’ve got something happening that looks just like it, but isn’t it. When the Jews took the old city of Jerusalem, did the remark of Jesus get fulfilled? Some people say that they may not have it for long. They may lose it again.
Now, is it a fulfillment of prophecy that they have the city of Jerusalem? That’s an interesting question. If it’s not then what is it? Because Jesus said it was going to happen. So, how do you explain that? And a lot of my friends who don’t want to believe that it is prophecy being fulfilled will say, “Well, it’s in unbelief.” That doesn’t help you because the Bible teaches it will be in unbelief. Now what are you going to do?
At the end of the Tribulation when Christ comes again and they on Him whom they pierced and Israel turns to Him, and believes, and repents, and is cleansed, it calls them “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (cf. Zechariah 12:10). We didn’t have that until 1967. Isn’t that interesting? Now, do you believe that the inhabitants of Jerusalem are actually going to look on Jesus and then believe? Well, if they believe then, they’re not saved now, right? So did they come back to Israel and get the city in unbelief or belief? It’s in unbelief. Everybody agrees it’s in unbelief. They just don’t believe that it’s going to happen when they’re unbelievers.
See, I love taking the Bible literally because it answers it all for me. It’s a very simple little plan I’m under. I believe all of this is going to be happening exactly like God said.
Let me ask you another one. you believe that the trees, the actual, named trees (which are kind of unique trees) that Isaiah says will grow in the land in the end times, do you believe that the trees that are growing there now are a fulfillment? Because all of the breeds of those trees that he mentions are all growing there now. And they didn’t grow there before 1948. What do we do about that? Do we just say, “Well, it’s sort of the same.” No it isn’t. It’s exactly the same. All the trees God mentioned are all growing there now!
When Ezekiel 34:25-31 said that in the last day, previous to the great return of the Lord, you’re going to see the land filled with trees. It’s going to be a land of forests. There weren’t any trees there in 1948. So how many trees are there now? I don’t know, hundred thousand, thousands. And some get real excited, millions maybe! I don’t know if you know this or not. There are billions. In that little piece of real estate there are billions of trees. See, I actually believe Jesus is going to come real soon. But I will tell you this, when He comes you will know it is a written, final revelation from God and everything that He said will be fulfilled. You see, it is inspiration, a guarantee of the accuracy and the reliability of everything it says in terms of fulfillment.
The second issue is in terms of interpretation. 2 Peter 1:20-21 says that “No prophecy of the Scripture [of the writing] is of any private interpretation. Holy men of God [those who were separated for this task] were moved [or carried along] by the Holy Spirit.” They didn’t make it up!
Who interpreted the Bible? People talk about how you interpret the Bible? That is a good question actually! I’m trying to study the interpretation that’s already there. I mean, God has already interpreted the Bible. He’s already interpreted it by many quotations He interprets the Bible. Right? We have something in the New Testament that’s quoting an Old Testament passage and interpreting what it means. So by quotation doesn’t He interpret the Bible? Sure He does. So God’s already interpreted that Bible.
Number two, not only by quotations but by direct statement. Jesus said, the entire Bible is “concerning himself.” Now, did He interpret the entire Old Testament in that one slot? Yeah, He sure did. He said, “It is all about Me.”
One day I’m sitting with a bunch of Jewish guys in a little kibbutz in northern Galilee while there’s some shooting going on with the war in Lebanon. And we’re sitting there and it’s late at night. Of course because the war is going on, they’re kind of prophetic . Every time a war happens they get real prophetic. Is this the battle of Armageddon? What’s happening here? So all these Jewish guys they were all Orthodox also. And we were talking about the Bible and I have a lot of fun with them. One of them said to me, “You know David, we really like you but you’ve got to stop snowing the people here.”
I said, “I beg your pardon?”
“Look we heard you today. Today you said that from Genesis to 2 Chronicles [which is the last book of the Hebrew Old Testament] that all of the books are speaking of Yeshua” Now, this guy is talking to me, he says, “I memorized Bereishit[which is Genesis in Hebrew], I memorize BereishitThere’s not one verse in that whole book about Yeshua”
Now, what would you do if these five guys were looking at you? I’m sitting there thinking, “What am I going to do?”
So I said, “Well, there is a verse and it comes real early. I’m not going to get into the “In the beginning God…” thing, cause you guys are going to get all upset. Or the plural pronouns about God and who God is talking to, because you guys say it’s a majestic plural.” So anyway I say, “I’m going to take you to Genesis 3:15.”
And God said, “I will put enmity between thee [talking to the snake] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and he shall bruise thy head [crush the head of the snake] and he [in the process] will bruise your heel.”
I said, “There.”
They said, “There, what?”
I said, “Well, get out your Bibles.” They carried them with them. I don’t know if you know that or not; all Jewish guides do. They pulled them out of their little sacks, laid them down, gave me a Hebrew Bible.
They said, “All right let’s go. We’re going Hebrew not English.”
I said, “You bet. No problem.” Genesis 3:15. We got it all laid out.
They said, “Jesus is not in there. That’s a wrong interpretation.”
See, the Bible has already interpreted itself. I know it is the word of God. I know it’s inspired because it interprets itself accurately. Now watch!
I said, “Well now, the seed of the snake. Who’s that? Who are the children of the snake?” They wouldn’t answer. Of course, I already knew what they believed so I knew why they wouldn’t and that’s why I asked them.
“Why will you not tell me?”
“We just can’t.”
“Who is the seed of the woman?”
“Oh, that’s the Jewish people.”
I said, “Really? That’s kind of hard to believe.”
They said, “Why it’s always been the Jewish people.”
“No, it is singular and not plural.
“Well, the word seed can be singular or plural, refers to descendants or one. How do you know it’s one?”
“Oh, because it says he shall bruise thy head. It’s just one descendant of the woman who will crush the head of the snake.” I said, “Who’s the snake?”
“Satan, okay we agree! It’s that wonderful. We agree. The snake is Satan. Now, text said that some person that’s coming from the woman is going to kill the snake because when you crush the head of a snake, I mean, it’s all over for it. What about his biting the heel? Because whoever this seed of the woman is who comes, who’s going to crush the head, at the same exact moment in the Hebrew grammar, as you guys well know, he bites the heel of that woman’s son.”
One of the guys popped up and said, “Well that isn’t fatal. I got bit by a snake. The best place you can get bit is in your heel because it’s very hard for it to penetrate and for the poison to go in there. And you can get it out quickly.”
I said, “Exactly correct. Therefore, whatever blow it was, it was not fatal. And whatever blow it was it was a reversed effect. Because by biting the heel, he was crushed with the heel and destroyed.” said, “Now when is that going to occur?”
“Well, in the future.”
“Who’s the seed of the snake? Well, they didn’t want to say. You know why? Because they believe it’s the Gentiles. Gentiles are from Satan; they are Satan. And Jews are the seed of the woman and they’re going to ultimately triumph over them. But it troubled them that it was singular. It’s singular. It’s not plural. He shall bruise the head.
I said, “Now I’ve got to go to bed. I am so tired. It’s late. It’s 2:00 in the morning. Look, we’ll talk about it in the morning.”
The next morning as we are lining up for the bus, all five of these guys came to me and said, “We’ve been up all night trying to figure out who this person is.”
I said, “Well, you know that’s why it’s so beautiful to just believe that Yeshua was correct when He said ‘it was all about Me.’ You see, you guys want to attack me for saying that from Genesis to 2 the entire Old Testament is about Him. It obviously is. If He’s in chapter three, I’ll bet He’s in chapter one and you guys just haven’t figured it out yet.” Now, that is only one fun illustration.
When you say inspiration, I just want you to know that this thing is not open to any private interpretation. Our job in studying this Book is to find out what the interpretation of the Bible is. I think we need a little bit more illustration. I don’t want to drill something in the ground, but I want to make sure you understand what I’m talking about.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.
Amen? What a great verse! But you know the next one everybody skips over. Even in the commentaries.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of the world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom [meaning its] knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Corinthians 1:19-21)
What? No wonder guys just kind of skip over that! It is basically saying that wisdom is preaching the cross and foolishness is not doing it. And they move right along. Wait a minute! You see if you want to understand the Bible, you have to understand that the Bible already interprets itself.
This is a quotation from the book of Isaiah dealing with the story of Hezekiah. Assyria had already taken the northern tribes into captivity. And under the leadership of the great king Sennachrib that invaded Judah, they went to the five cities of the plains, the Philistine cities, Gath and Ekron and Ashdod and Ashkelon and Elah. They conquered all five of those. Then they come and surround Jerusalem and they are basically mocking them (my translation) saying, “We’re going to have you for lunch tomorrow.”
Now at that point, the Jews are panicking. They are trying to communicate with them. They go to good king Hezekiah, who’s a wonderful king. And they are trying to give him wisdom about this. What should we do? And they say, “We’ve got to negotiate with them.” Now, people tried to do that in Nehemiah’s day. They said, “Why don’t we come out to the plain of Ono and negotiate, talk this over. And Nehemiah said, “Oh no!” He’s not going.”
Now, let me tell you the background behind this story. The reason Assyria invaded Judah was because of the wisdom of these counselors of Hezekiah. Because Hezekiah had seen the destruction of the northern tribes and said, “What are we going to do to protect ourselves?” And the answer is: “We make a treaty with Egypt and therefore Egypt will support us, then Assyria won’t invade.” On the contrary, that is the reason Assyria did invade, because they made a treaty with Egypt. Should Israel have made that treaty? No. It says, “Woe to those who go to Egypt to help. Instead you should seek the Lord alone.” What a tremendous lesson!
So now, he’s back in the same boat again. They caused this by their foolish wisdom and reasoning. And now they are coming into the land again. Now what do we do? Let’s try to talk to them. That didn’t work the first time. It’s not going to work the second time either. And Hezekiah, confused by it all, good king that he is he went into his private chambers. The Bible says that he got on his knees and he called on the name of the Lord. And he said, “God if you will not deliver us this is not going to happen. We are finished.”
That night the Lord sent the angel of the Lord to the Assyrian camp and he killed 185,000 Assyrians. And God gave them a wonderful victory because of one man deciding he needed to trust the Lord, which tells us that in evangelism, we need to depend on the power of the gospel not our own reasoning.
You see if you follow through it, you come down to 1 Corinthians 2:2-5.
I determine not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified. I was with you in weakness and fear and much trembling. My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, [like Hezekiah’s counselors] but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
I think I’m preaching. I feel it. But anyway, I don’t mean to do that, but sometimes I get excited. Do you understand what I’m saying to you? How would you know that’s the point of that passage?—because we have first the quotation, and secondly we have a direct application in 1 Corinthians 2 by Paul to the issue. So you see the Bible interprets itself in terms of fulfillment and in terms of interpretation. And one more that we have already been dealing with, in terms of completeness.
Now this might surprise you, but it is a little different way of looking at this than what we’ve been through already. Go to Matthew 23:35. This was spoken that last week before our Lord went to the cross, right before the Olivet discourse prophecy. It’s talking about woe, telling the scribes and Pharisees what is going to happen to them because of their hypocrisy. And in the middle of this, Jesus called them “serpents and generation of vipers. And how can you escape the damnation of hell!” He was a rather straight forward preacher, wouldn’t you say? That is verse 33.’
Now Matthew 23:35,
That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Able [What book is that in? Genesis.] unto the blood of Zecharias, son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar.
What book is that in? It’s in 2 Chronicles, which is the last book in the Hebrew Old Testament. In other words, the entire books of the Old Testament were spoken by Christ as though it were a final completed revelation from God, especially as it related to martyrs. Everybody see that? From the blood of righteous Able until the blood ? all the righteous blood shed. And He gave you the entire Old Testament.’
Now come to Hebrews 2:1-4. We need to say something about that before we conclude here today.
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, [through the agency of them] and every transgression and disobedience a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?*
Did angels, messengers actually give direct revelation? Did they? Sure. They were messengers from God. The angel of the Lord appeared unto them over and over again—Hagar, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. Okay. If the word spoken by angels, (messengers) was steadfast…in other words, it worked! It came true. And every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward. They got what they deserved, what God said was coming. Remember the revelation by the angels who spoke to them about Sodom and Gomorrah and the two angels went and delivered God’s message and pulled Lot out and brought the judgment. That’s what he’s talking about. If all this happened and it did…now here’s the punch line: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,” if we don’t listen to God’s revelation?’
Which revelation are you talking about? “Which at the first…” Now, who’s he writing to?—the Jews who do not except the New Testament. He said, “Now how can we escape if we neglect?” He took an Old Testament story, applied it now to New Testament truth about Jesus Christ. How can we escape? “It was first spoken by the Lord, [Here we’ve got the gospels.] and was confirmed.”’
Now, the word confirmed, bebaioo in Greek, is a legal term out of the courtroom. Now we might say it was authenticated, or made reliable, clearly shown that it was true. “It was confirmed unto us [the writer and the readers of Hebrews] by them that heard Him.” They heard His revelation. Was Paul one who heard the revelation of God? Yes. He says so in Galatians 1. These men who wrote the Scriptures heard this direct revelation. It was confirmed unto us by them.’
How did God confirm unto us that what they were speaking is direct revelation and should be added to the Old Testament? Would not the Jewish people who hear my whole class say, “I loved your class all the way up until you started talking about the New Testament. It seems to me like you are adding to God’s revelation.”’
Now how do we know that? How did the “us” know that those who claimed to have direct revelation really did have direct revelation? How did they know? How was it confirmed? Here he answers (Hebrews 2:4), “God bearing them witness.” God’s going to confirm it to them. How?— “…with signs, and wonders, and with diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will.” Is He talking about all the spiritual gifts? No. He is only talking about the miraculous sign gifts. Signs is used seventy times in the New Testament— miracles and wonders.’
Now that’s very interesting. Ready? Acts 2, this is the Day of Pentecost. How would the Jewish people react?
Ye men of Israel harken unto the words that I say. This Jesus of Nazareth whom you crucified and slain, God’s made both Lord and Christ. And they were pricked to the hearts and said, men and brethren what shall we do? Repent and be baptized every one of you. (cf. Acts 2:22-23, 38)
How do I know what these guys are saying? It says very clearly in verse 43, “Fear came upon every soul and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”
How did God confirm that this revelation was truly from God? By signs and wonders and miracles—wow!’
Acts 5 says,
By the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people. And of the rest durst no man to join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. (Acts 5:12-14)
Now these Jewish people are really believing this was coming from God. How did they know? By the signs and wonders and miracles!’
Go to 2 Corinthians 12:12,
Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience and signs and wonders and mighty deeds, or miracles.
You see if you compare Scripture with Scripture, you will have all the answers you need.
How do I know that the New Testament revelation that was given by these men, how do I know that they really got it from God? The answer is by the signs and wonders and miracles that they did as apostles.’
These signs that Jesus even did are written that you may believe that He’s the Messiah, the Son of God and believing you’ll have life through His name” (John 20:31).
I want you to know that God sometimes heals people, even externally obvious. And He does it even in a meeting, and He’ll do it even in a local church or maybe with just a handful of Christians praying for one another. God can do that. But isn’t it interesting, that the signs, wonders, and miracles of the apostles are kind of altered a bit today. We wouldn’t want anybody to think that I could just touch you and you came back to life. We wouldn’t want anybody to believe that just the shadow could heal any disease you had. But you know a lot of people believe that it will.’
Look people—God does miracles and God heals, but this showmanship, this entertainment stuff, this is not what we read in the Bible. And anything they say that ought to be added to the Scriptures, I’m sorry; this [the Bible] is a complete and final revelation from God. It’s done. It’s all over.’
You see, the Jews required the sign. That’s what it says in 1 Corinthians 1:22. That’s why they knew that the New Testament revelation was truly of God. There was no doubt that miracles had been done. Amen?’
Okay, let’s pray.
Thank You, dear Lord, for all Your many blessings. Help us Lord to seek Your face and to carefully look at Your word that we might not come up with presumptuous remarks. Lord, I know that You have great power. You can do the miraculous and You’re still doing that today. But that You have no longer chosen to do that through Your apostles and prophets in the way that You did it. You have now asked for elders, more than one of them, pray for people, to seek Your face and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick. The Lord will raise them up. Help us Lord, to see Your hand directly doing it. But the evidence that You gave of Your New Testament revelation, is done. It’s finished. It’s over. The foundation has been laid. We have a complete sufficient written revelation from God. We thank You and we praise You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
* All Scriptures not personally read by the instructor have been graciously narrated by Stephen Johnston.’