The Bible and history


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The Bible and history
presented by Russ Spangler
March 2, 2012

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The Bible and history

  2. 2.  ―Any fool can count the seeds in an apple. Only God can count all the apples in one seed.‖ Robert H. Schuller ―Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He‘s going to be up all night anyway.‖ Mary C. Crowley ―If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines. Robert Brault ―I believe in God; I just don‘t trust anyone who works for Him.‖ Author Unknown
  3. 3.  ―I don‘t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if he didn‘t.‖ Jules Renard I know God will not give me anything I can‘t handle, I just wish He wouldn‘t trust me so much.‖ Mother Theresa ―Maybe the atheist cannot find God for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman.‖ Author Unknown ―There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‗Thy will be done.‘ And those to whom God says, ‗all right then, have it your way.‖ C.S. Lewis.
  4. 4. MEAN TO YOU?
  8. 8.  At one time secular historical records did not mention some 47 kings mentioned in the Bible…. If the Bible is inspired, it should be historically accurate, right? Merrill Unger has since written: "Old Testament archaeology has rediscovered whole nations, resurrected important peoples, and in a most astonishing manner filled in historical gaps, adding immeasurably to the knowledge of Biblical backgrounds." (Ungers Bible Dictionary, p. 15). More than 25,000 sites showing some connection with the Old Testament have been located in Bible lands.
  9. 9.  Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, former professor of Semitic philology at Princeton Theological Seminary, said, "After forty-five years of scholarly research in Biblical textual studies and in language study. I have come now to the conviction that no man knows enough to assail the truthfulness of the Old Testament. Where there is sufficient documentary evidence to make an investigation, the statements of the Bible, in the original text, have stood the test." Furthermore, the noted Dr. J.O. Kinnaman said, "of the hundreds of thousands of artifacts found by other archaeologists, not one has ever been discovered that contradicts or denies one word, phrase, clause, or sentence of the bible, but always confirms and verifies the facts of the Biblical record." If one discards the Bible as being unreliable, then he must discard almost all literature of antiquity.
  10. 10.  ―Consider another interesting case of Bible precision. When Paul was en route to Rome for trial, the ship upon which he sailed became involved in a terrible storm. When it eventually became apparent that the vessel was in a very dangerous circumstance, the crew cast the ship‘s anchors into the water. At the same time, they ―loosed the rudder bands, hoisted up the foresail, and aimed the ship towards the beach‖ (Acts 27:40 KJV). There is an interesting and subtle point in the Greek text that is not apparent in the King James Version. The original language actually says that they ―loosed the bands of the rudders‖ (plural – see ASV). This is amazingly precise, for in ancient times, ships actually possessed two paddle-rudders, not a single rudder as with modern vessels. In 1969, a submerged ancient ship was discovered in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cyprus. An examination of the ruins gave evidence of dual rudder-oars by which the boat was steered (see National Geographic, November 1974), thus demonstrating the remarkable accuracy of Luke‘s record.‖ Wayne Jackson in the Christian Courier
  11. 11.  History is not just the study of civilizations and all the battles and wars that have come and gone. History is not just the political or economic changes that continually take place. History is not just all the vastly different cultural and social progressions and regressions all down through the centuries……. What history truly is……………IS -
  12. 12. STORY
  13. 13. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,‟ says theLord, „who is and who was and who isto come, the Almighty.” Rev.1:8 NKJV
  14. 14.  ―Our study for this week examines God‘s working in history as seen through the lens of His Word, the Holy Bible. The memory text for this week captures the sweep of God‘s existence in one of the most quoted verses in all of Holy Writ. God is both the beginning and the end, the One who was, is, and is to come—and, lest we forget, ―The Almighty.‖ John is struggling to reduce the supernatural nature of God to something we humans can grasp.‖ Quote from Teacher‘s Quarterly.
  15. 15. Biblical Christians believe that the Bible writers operated within theframework that God had revealed and that He inspired them to recordthe most significant events in human history. God often even providesthe interpretation of these events so that we can understand what theymean. This week we‟ll explore a little of how God has worked in andthrough world history.
  16. 16. 2. The Prophets as Historians All through the Bible, the prophets use the phrase, “The word of theLord” (or an equivalent “Thus says the Lord,” etc.). In short, what theyare saying is, I am not speaking these truths to you; it‟s God speaking them through me. So, you‟d better listen.
  17. 17.  “Bible writers in both testaments insist that GOD DIRECTS HISTORY and reveals Himself in it.‖
  19. 19. “I don‟t know if God exists, but itwould be better for His reputation if he didn‟t.” Jules Renard
  20. 20.  HISTORICAL EVENTS LIKE THE HOLOCAUST?  The 6 million Jews killed were only part of the story. Estimates range as high as 17 million killed – when you include the Slavs - (Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Serbs, and others). THEN WE HAVE… The Armenians – one million plus genocide – during and just after World War I….. The Great Purge – under Stalin - another million…. In 1994 – a mass killing of 800,000 in Rwanda…. Cambodia, Bosnia, Sudan, etc., etc., Hitler said, ―I will rewrite history (my way) when I am done.‖
  21. 21. ―Those who write the history of anevent rarely do so in a manner thatreflects negatively uponthemselves‖.
  22. 22.  Assyrian history does not mention the slaying of the 185,000……………… Plato said, ―those that tell the stories, also hold the power.‖ Herodotus was a very famous early historian, but his agenda was to show the superiority of the Greek system of government over the Persian version. The Japanese version of World War 2 and its beginnings – quite different than ours. Speaking of historical revisionism, I have even heard that the story of who won the civil war is told much differently in certain Southern States………
  24. 24. “It is impossible tobelieve in God after Dachau.”
  26. 26.  BIBLE READERS HAVE A REAL ADVANTAGE HERE: In fact – a true understanding of the Great Controversy is the only way to understand history or make any sense out of it. Texts like Rev. 12:7 begin to explain it: – “And there was war in heaven….” (READ) Eph. 6:12 – “This is no afternoon athletic contest that we‟ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.” Message Bible
  29. 29. ―Each looked for an easiertriumph, and a result lessfundamental and astounding. Bothread the same Bible, and pray tothe same God; and each invokesHis aid against the other. It mayseem strange that any man shoulddare to ask a just God‘sassistance in wringing their breadfrom the sweat of other men‘sfaces; but let us judge not that webe not judged. The prayers of bothcould not be answered; that ofneither has been answered fully.The Almighty has his ownpurposes.‖
  31. 31. TURN TO DEUT. 9:5:‗It is not because of your righteousness or theuprightness of your heart that you go in topossess their land, but because of thewickedness of these nations that the Lord yourGod drives them out from before you, and that Hemay fulfill the word which the Lord swore to yourfathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob‘ ‖ (NKJV).
  32. 32.  Isaiah 41: 21-29 – Another example - God Raised up Cyrus….. Prophecy is the best demonstration that God is in control of History. ―We must believe that God is in control of history and that sinful circumstances cannot undermine this fact. While it is evident that on the Earth sin and its curse are present, it is also evident that it is contained, curtailed and judged.‖ ―And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.‖ (1 John 5:19).
  33. 33.  ―In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counterplay of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will. ‗The Bible reveals the true philosophy of history.‘‖ —Ellen G. White
  34. 34.  For years, philosophers and theologians have debated the issue of God‟s foreknowledge and human free will. Many see the two ideas as incompatible. They argue either that we don‟t have free will or that God doesn‟t know the future.
  35. 35. ―There are two kinds of people:those who say to God, ‗Thy will bedone.‘ And those to whom Godsays, ‗all right then, have it yourway.‖
  36. 36. AND THE WHOLE QUESTION OFPREDESTINATION……―Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.‖ ―I willhave mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will havecompassion on whom I have compassion.‖ v. 15 Calvin became the primary spokesman. He said:"Because if God doesnt predetermine all things,including a persons ultimate destiny, then God isdeprived of some divine power. If you denypredestination, then in some sense you deny God.‖
  37. 37.  Here is Bruce Cameron‘s example: ―If God knew that Jesus would not sin and would defeat Satan at the cross, then God did not risk His Kingdom to save us. If God knew that Jesus would not sin, then how could Jesus have sinned? This suggests that Jesus was not tempted like we are tempted.‖
  38. 38.  1. No doubt God is omniscient. He knows everything from beginning to end. Psalms 139: 2-5; Jeremiah 1:4-5 2. Abraham story. Gen. 22: 1-12. Did God know that Abraham would obey? What did He mean in v. 12 then? 3. Read Job 1:6-12 – How well does Satan know God? If Satan knows that God knows the future, why would he enter into a contest with Him? Would you bet against someone who knows the future?
  39. 39.  Again, Bruce Cameron says: ―(The only reasonable conclusion is that Satan knows that God does not force our free-will. That means that Job could have cursed God and Abraham could have refused to sacrifice Isaac.)‖ If we all agree that we have free-choice, God does not control our decisions, and Satan could reasonably wager with God about a persons future, how can God say that He perfectly knows the future? (Ive got two illustrations that might help.
  40. 40.  First, think about a chess game. Although the players have free choice on what moves they will make, you could list all of the possible moves. Those moves have consequences, so you could list all of the possible consequences. Thus a really powerful computer could "know" what the future is for every move, without knowing what specific move the player would make next.
  41. 41.  Second, assume you are sitting in a big, round, above-ground swimming pool with no water in it. On the outside of the pool is the history of your life from beginning to end. You cannot see this while sitting in the pool, but you can get up and look to see any point in time in your life. Would it be fair to say that you "knew the future?" You could always look and know. But, you could also refrain from looking. Science suggests that time is curved. If God stands outside of time, He can move back and forth and "look" at any point to view the past or the future.)
  42. 42.  What is wrong with my illustrations? (Read Isaiah 55:9. You may have many ideas about what is wrong with my explanations, but the main problem is a mere human trying to explain and understand God. We are not up to it!)
  43. 43. Of course, humans do have free will, free choice. God made us that way. As beings who can love, we had to be given free choice, becauselove that is forced cannot be love. To make us capable of love, God had to make us free. And yet, God‟s power is so great that, even with human free will, He knows the future perfectly, regardless of the free choices that we make.
  44. 44.  Col. 1:17 NKJV states that Christ was: ―before all things, and in Him all things consist‖
  45. 45. According to The SDA Bible Commentary, the wordconsist means literally ― ‗to stand together,‘ ‗to holdtogether,‘ or ‗to cohere.‘ The form of the verb in Greekstresses an original organization and a continuedmaintenance of the organization. The power thatholds the far-flung orbs of the universe on theirappointed courses with mathematical accuracy, thepower that holds the particles of the atom on theirpredetermined orbits, is the same. By the power ofChrist all things cohere. Not only did He bring theminto being, He maintains them each moment.‖—Vol.7, p. 192.
  46. 46.  And yet if you were to plunk a 21rst century scientist or computer genius down in the middle of the Dark Ages or the jungles of Borneo in some primeval tribe, (and of course give him his internet connection) what would his technology look like? As Arthur Clarke wrote: ―Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.‖ - Just think Isa. 55:9 again……..
  47. 47.  Psalms 104 talks about the GOD OF NATURE. How he controls everything and takes care of everything. Read it again……..How does this help show God is in control? Scientists like to talk about a world and a universe that began without God, functions without God and will keep on going without God.
  50. 50.  “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth…. ―Normally, you cannot be sure of the point of a story until you have reached the end. There can always be surprises at the end, and in the best stories there often are. How, then, can we, who are still in this cosmic story, know the point? In our case, we know because God has, through His prophets, revealed it to us. The GOOD NEWS IS THAT GOD KNOWS THE FUTURE………‖
  51. 51.  ―And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.‖God appoints the time. God declares the end.Man is not in control of history.
  52. 52.  I used to be a Commodity Futures Broker. I know how difficult it is to predict future prices, for instance… But there are many pretenders – just watch TV.. Did you know there is even a ―National School of the Prophets Conference,‖ where for $175 you can be trained in the art of ―propheteering.‖ C. Peter Wagner, Dutch Sheets, Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs, Mike Bickle, Ted Haggard and others can train us to be ―prophets‖
  53. 53.  Doug Batchelor said in the Sacramento Study, of all the words that an evangelist can use in his advertising, NONE is more effective than ―PROPHECY.‖ That one word will bring out more people than any other………..
  54. 54. Review the prophecy ofDaniel 2. In what ways isthis one chapterpowerful evidence,proof even, that Godknows the future, andfar in advance, too?This chapter waswritten more thantwenty-six hundredyears ago. Look at howhistory has unfoldedexactly as Godpredicted. In one sense,this prophecy shouldbe more meaningful forus today than for thosewho lived millennia ago.
  55. 55. And that‟s because we,today, looking back athistory, can see exactlyhow these empires cameand went, just aspredicted. If you had readthis prophecy during thetime of Media-Persia, youwouldn‟t have seen therise and fall of theempires that followed.Today, looking back, wecan see much more thansomeone from long agocould see. Thus, theprophecy holds a powerfor us that those in thepast couldn‟t appreciate.
  56. 56. The amazing thingis that despitethese millions ofpeople, all with freewill, who livedduring the longepochs depicted inDaniel 2, the Lordknew exactly whatwas going tohappen, whatkingdoms wouldrise and fall. AndHe knew it far inadvance.
  57. 57. REFLECTION:The prophet Daniel was right about the rise and fall of all those kingdoms: Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome, including the breakup of Rome into smaller powers that still existtoday. From where we stand in history, the only kingdom left is the last one, God’s eternal kingdom (Dan. 2:44). If he was right about all the ones so far,how foolish would it be not to trust him about the last one?
  58. 58. 4. The Great Controversy and HistoryNo matter how apparently chaotic, how seemingly out of control, humanhistory is not unfolding in a vacuum. There‟s a story behind it, a drama, a struggle between two radically different principles. We‟re talking, of course, about the great controversy. Only with that background can we even begin to get an understanding of human history and what it all means.
  59. 59. The amazing thingis that despitethese millions ofpeople, all with freewill, who livedduring the longepochs depicted inDaniel 2, the Lordknew exactly whatwas going tohappen, whatkingdoms wouldrise and fall. AndHe knew it far inadvance.
  60. 60.  Dr. Horn – famous archaeologist in his own right. Great history teacher…. Never forget one of his famous quotes: Fifty years later….
  61. 61.  The so called ―Higher Critics‖ of the Bible (in order to avoid the ―prophecy problem‖) - have often classified Daniel as a late book, written around 164 BC by an anonymous author only masquerading as an ancient prophet. One such critic was Professor R.H. Pfeiffer of Harvard University. He wrote an important book: Introduction to the Old Testament in 1941.
  62. 62.  Well, for a long time critics used to make fun of Daniel because all of the archaeological findings named Nabonidus as the last king of Bablylon, not Belshazzar. Only in 1924 did they find conclusive proof that Belshazzar indeed was co-regent with his father Nabonidus when Cyrus came and took Babylon.
  63. 63.  So a disgruntled Dr. Pfeiffer had to write: ―We shall presumably never know how our author learned ... that Belshazzar, mentioned only in Babylonian records, in Daniel, and in Baruch 1:11, which is based on Daniel, was functioning as king when Cyrus took Babylon.‖
  64. 64.  ―The mystery of how a 2nd century BC Jew might learn something that none of his contemporaries remembered was easier for Professor Pfeiffer to swallow than the thought that Daniel might actually have been written by someone living in the 6th century BC who was able to predict the future.‖
  65. 65. What the Bible teaches, and Ellen White, too, is that events here on earth are linked to the wider conflict, the great controversy between Christ and Satan. This controversy forms the background motif for all that happens here, whether in our individual lives or in the larger course of human history. Everything unfolds in the context of the great controversy. Andthe good news is that, after the Cross, Satan‟s defeat was guaranteed, and this controversy will end, and with it all the pain and suffering and violence and fear and uncertainty that fill human history.
  66. 66.  There is really only one focal point in History. That, of course, is the Cross. This event transformed history. It bridged the gap that sin had created between God and humanity…………
  67. 67. 5 The Cross in History Have you ever noticed that world history is divided by one event? Thatevent was not the rise or fall of some major empire, as one would expect. Nor was it the discovery of a new continent. Instead, world history has been divided by the birth of a single itinerant rabbi living in a relatively obscure part of the vast Roman Empire. Considering the vast number ofJews born at this time, it‟s even more revealing that this one birth, amongso many, should be the marker that has divided world history into its two largest epochs. That birth, of course, is of Jesus.
  68. 68. In the context of God and history, we can better appreciate the significance of salvation. For here, at theCross—with the obvious failureof all humans, and thus, human history—is where the background and also the deepest meaning of world history unfold. The Cross tells us that, by forgiving us and making us His children, Godhas opened up a new future for us, a future in which we no longer need to drag along with us the enormous guilt of ourpast or of our personal history. This guilt has been taken away by One who ―has borne ourgriefs and carried our sorrows‖ (Isa. 53:4, NKJV)
  69. 69. The whole doctrine of salvation can be expressed in this one sentence: God cancels ourhopelessly stranded history and in its place puts His history. Through Him, the history ofslavery to sin is ended in our life. Through Him, the stains of the past should not rise up to accuse, torment, and mock us. Our personal history, which would condemn each one of us, is replaced with Jesus‟ perfecthistory. Thus, in Him we find notonly liberation from our past but the promise of a wonderful future. At the Cross, the Lord guaranteed that, whatever ourhistory or whatever happened inworld history, a new and glorious future awaits us and the world.
  70. 70.  ―Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today the risen Lord Jesus Christ is the central figure of the human race. On our calendars His birth divides history into two eras. One day of every week is set aside in remembrance of Him. And our two most important holidays celebrate His birth and resurrection. On church steeples around the world, His cross has become the symbol of victory over sin and death. This one Man‘s life has furnished the theme for more songs, books, poems and paintings than any other person or event in history. Thousands of colleges, hospitals, orphanages and other institutions have been founded in honor of this One who gave His life for us. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the governments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned have not changed the course of history as much as this One Solitary Life.‖
  71. 71. Read 2 Corinthians5:17–19. Accordingto these verses, whatdid Jesus do for allhumanity? How hasthis event changedhuman history?Our sins have been laid upon the shoulders of a Lord who willingly died beneath a load of human guilt and who, in its place, gave us salvation.And His promised climax of history will grant us eternal history with theAuthor of history. The destiny of every person is involved. The second coming of Christ will be decisive. Both the Old and New Testaments promise a “new heaven and a new earth.”