Our troubled world – November 2020

Our troubled world

 25  The​​ LORD​​ is​​ good unto them that wait for him, to the soul​​ that​​ seeketh him.​​ 26​​  It is​​ good that​​ a man​​ should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the​​ LORD. Lamentations 3

We want to​​ demonstrate​​ that the Bible is undoubtedly a book of truth because of the amazing things it promises to those who heed it’s message and follow the man, Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God and offered as the saviour of men and women. ​​ 

But let us first give you a quick​​ look at the Bible to show you why​​ the​​ rock solid truth of the​​ promises it contains are​​ such a very important issue.

The Bible promises Jesus will establish peace and prosperity.

3 ​​​​ Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the​​ land, and verily thou shalt be fed.​​ 4 ​​​​ Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.​​ 5 ​​​​ Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.​​ 6 ​​​​ And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as​​ the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ Psalm 37

He promises the wicked and all evil shall be removed from the earth.​​ 

9​​  For​​ evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the​​ LORD, they shall inherit the earth.​​ 10​​  For yet a little while, and​​ the wicked​​ shall​​ not​​ be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it​​ shall​​ not​​ be.​​ 11​​  But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.​​   Psalm 37

Beauty and tranquillity​​ of nature will be re-established like the Garden of Eden.​​ 

1​​  The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and​​ the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.​​ 2​​  It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and​​ singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon,​​ they shall see the glory of the​​ LORD,​​ and​​ the excellency of our God.​​ 3​​  Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.​​ 4​​  Say to them​​ that are​​ of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come​​ with​​ vengeance,​​ even​​ God​​ with​​ a recompence; he will come and save you.​​ Isaiah 35​​ 

Just one more​​ Biblical insight into the future, before we look at the key question.

6​​  The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.​​ 7​​  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat​​ straw like the ox.​​   Isaiah 11

So, the Bible promises wonderful things for the individual in a world free of evil and wickedness. ​​ A world at peace, full of beauty, comfort, joy and much more. Clearly, we need to know the integrity and reliability of the​​ book before we commit to studying its pages. The best test of the Bible is prophecies made and recorded before the event. For instance, the Jews, who knew the Old Testament scriptures, were expecting the coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ. ​​ For instance,​​ when John the Baptist was preaching and baptising we read in Luke,

15​​  And as​​ the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John,​​ whether he were the Christ, or not;​​ 16​​  John answered, saying unto​​ them​​ all, I indeed baptize you with​​ water; but​​ one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.​​   Luke 3​​ 

Long before that, soon after Jesus was born, we read again, in the same gospel,

25​​  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name​​ was​​ Simeon; and the same man​​ was​​ just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.​​ 26​​  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that​​ he should not see death, before he​​ had seen the Lord’s Christ.​​ 27​​  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,​​ 28​​  Then​​ took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,​​ 29​​  Lord, now​​ lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.​​ Luke 2​​ 

More significant than that were the wise men that came from the East,​​ 

2​​  Saying,​​ Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  ​​ Matthew 2

This greatly disturbed Herod, the cruel, power-hungry ‘king’ who was puppet ruler under the Roman occupancy of Israel and wanted no rival.​​ 

4​​  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together,​​ he demanded of them where Christ should be born.​​ 5​​  And they said unto him,​​ In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,​​ 6​​  And​​ thou Bethlehem,​​ in​​ the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.​​    Matthew 2

The​​ Priests​​ too were expecting their Messiah, and they quoted Herod the Old Testament prophet Micah,

2​​  But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,​​ though​​ thou be little among the thousands of Judah,​​ yet​​ out of thee shall he​​ come forth unto me​​ that is​​ to be ruler in Israel;​​ whose goings forth​​ have been​​ from of old, from​​ everlasting.​​   Micah 5

There are many more Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. ​​ The 2nd​​ Psalm is all about him.

2​​  The​​ kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the​​ LORD, and against his anointed,​​ saying,​​ 3​​  Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. … …​​ 7​​  I will declare the decree:​​ the​​ LORD​​ hath said unto me, Thou​​ art​​ my Son;​​ this day have I begotten thee.​​   Psalm 2

The leaders of the Jews, the​​ High Priest​​ and the Roman authorities between them put Jesus to death, but​​ his Heavenly Father raised him up​​ to life​​ again.

3​​  Then assembled together​​ the chief​​ priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,​​ 4​​  And consulted​​ that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill​​ him.​​   Matthew 26

So we come to​​ the key question. Can it be proved that the Old Testament, so full of prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus that​​ have been​​ fulfilled, was written well before his birth? ​​ An amazing sequence of events began in 1947 when a young Arab shepherd was collecting his flock and saw one of his goats up on the rocks.

He did not want to climb up the rocks to try and retrieve the goat, so he picked up some stones and started to throw them ahead of the goat to try to​​ drive​​ it​​ down. ​​ One of these stones went into a cave ahead of the goat, and he heard a crash that sounded like something breaking inside.​​ 

This puzzled him and he decided to clamber up the rocks to see what was inside the cave.​​ 

 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

Inside the cave he found some clay pots, like the ones in the picture. His stone had broken one of​​ the pots, inside which were some parchment scrolls, a bit like the one inset on the left. The account of what happened next is a long and detailed one. Let a few facts from Wikipedia summarise the significance of these scrolls.​​ 

“The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Jewish religious manuscripts that were found in the Qumran Caves in the Judaean Desert.” ​​ 

981 texts (scrolls) were discovered in 11 caves but not all of them are of the Bible.​​ 

“There are 225 Biblical texts of the Hebrew Bible included in the Dead​​ Sea Scrolls, or around 22% of the total”. ​​ The youngest of the Hebrew Bible manuscripts is dated 150 BCE.

“Scholarly consensus dates these scrolls from the last three centuries BCE and the first century CE. The texts have great historical,​​ religious, and linguistic significance because they include the second-oldest known surviving manuscripts of works later included in the Hebrew Bible.” (Old Testament). ​​ “The Dead Sea Scrolls contain parts of all, but one, of the books of the Tanakh, of the Hebrew Bible.” ​​ The book of Esther is the one not represented.

Now you will see why we wanted you to know, if you don’t already, about the Dead Sea scrolls. ​​ Scholars and scientists, Christian and non-Christian are agreed that​​ there is overwhelming evidence that the youngest books of the Old Testament were written at least 150 years before Jesus was born, and that there are many manuscripts of earlier books that are older than that. ​​ 

This means that, certainly, there is a God who is in control of this world​​ because no man or woman could have known about the birth and life of Jesus in Old Testament times except by reading God’s Word in the Hebrew Bible. Therefore all the words that God instructed the Hebrew prophets to write about Himself and His​​ purpose are absolute truth.  ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

5​​  I​​ am​​ the​​ LORD, and​​ there is​​ none else,​​ there is​​ no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:​​ 6​​  That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that​​ there is​​ none beside me. I​​ am​​ the​​ LORD, and​​ there is​​ none else.​​ 7​​  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the​​ LORD​​ do all these​​ things. … …​​ 11​​  Thus saith the​​ LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker,​​ Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.​​ 12​​  I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I,​​ even​​ my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.Isaiah 45​​ 

He tells us He created the earth for a purpose, which includes​​ it being inhabited, and He has explained what​​ His purpose is in His Word – the Holy Scriptures – the Old and New Testaments.​​ 

18​​  For thus saith the​​ LORD​​ that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it,​​ he created it not in vain*, he formed it to be inhabited: I​​ am​​ the​​ LORD; and​​ there is​​ none else.​​ 19​​  I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in *vain:​​ I the​​ LORD​​ speak​​ righteousness, I declare things that are right.  ​​​​  *vain =​​ תֹּהוּ​​ -​​ tōhû ​​ (Hebrew) ​​ meaning: ​​ to lie waste; to lie waste; a​​ worthless​​ thingIsaiah 45

God says the only way you could know about life and the future is by reading His Word. He has explained​​ all the mysteries and puzzles in this Word that we need to know to reach the joys we mentioned near the beginning of this article. ​​ 

9​​  But as it is written,​​ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God​​ hath prepared​​ for them that love him.  ​​​​ 

God​​ says the only way we​​ can know, His will, and His purpose,​​ is to​​ listen​​ to​​ His Word, or if Paul His Apostle to whom He has told it, shares it with us … …​​ 

10​​  But​​ God hath revealed​​ them​​ unto us​​ by his Spirit:​​ for the Spirit searcheth all things,​​ yea, the deep things of God.​​  1 Corinthians 2