Who knows the future? – February 2021

9 ​​​​ “I alone am God and that there is no one else like me.
10 From the beginning I predicted the outcome; long ago I foretold what would happen. ​​ I said that my plans would never fail, that I would do​​ everything I intended to do. ​​ 11 I am calling a man to come from the east; he will swoop down like a hawk and accomplish what I have planned. ​​ I have spoken, and it will be done.

12 “Listen to me, you stubborn people who think that victory is far away.” ​​ Isaiah 46 GNB

We thank you that you have come to see more of what the Bible says. ​​ Sadly, today the great majority of people who see the words ‘God’ or ‘Bible’ turn away. All we ask is 10 to 15 minutes of your time to show you some facts that it is likely will be new to you.

We have advertised the way you see, above left, because we think first if someone makes such colossal, some will say, unbelievable claims as are in the verses above, they should be able easily to find the failings of such claims. ​​ Second, since God’s plans seem very impressive, they are well worth a few minutes to test their​​ credibility. ​​ Before we get down to business, let us whet your appetite with a peep into God’s plans that He says, “will never fail”.

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. ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 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.​​ Isaiah 35​​ 

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

4​​  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.​​    Revelation 21

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 are the prophecies made in it 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 a 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 leaders of Israel too were expecting their Messiah, and they quoted to 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 God’s Son, who would, only then, be named Jesus Christ when he came to Israel .

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

But, the key question is, were these prophecies about Jesus Christ certainly written before he lived? ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​

That is, simply put, can it be proved that the Old Testament,​​ so full of​​ prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus that he has since 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 direct him down. ​​ One of these stones went into a cave ahead of the goat, and the shepherd heard a crash from inside that sounded like something breaking.​​

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

 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

There he found some large clay pots, like the ones in the picture. His stone had broken one of the pots,​​ inside which were some parchment scrolls, again, 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.” ​​

We learn 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 only 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. ​​ In fact, there are many other prophecies about people, nations, and events, that happened after The Old Testament it was completed. ​​ Therefore, logic tells us 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​​ 

What is more, if He can so control the writing of His words and the events that followed, it is completely reasonable that He should be able to, and does ensure His word is preserved through the centuries. Historians give us fascinating details of​​ efforts of the enemies of Bible truth, efforts to destroy God’s words and the amazing ways in which it was preserved. God told the Israelites who wrote and copied the manuscripts as they wore out,

2​​  Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish​​ ought​​ from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the​​ LORD​​ your God which I command you.​​  Deuteronomy 4

As a consequence of this command, the​​ scribes took great care copying manuscripts and made meticulous checks between the old and new treasured documents.​​

God tells us He created the earth for a purpose, which includes it being inhabited, and He has explained what is His purpose 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 creation itself witnesses that He is there and the universe is His handiwork.​​

20​​  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the​​ things that are made,​​ even​​ his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:​​   Romans 1

The only way a man or woman can know about life and the future is by reading God’s Word. ​​ There, He has in His Word explained all the mysteries and puzzles 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. …​​ … ​​ 

No man or woman can know God, His will, or His purpose, except they listen to His Word, or His Apostles to whom He has told it. ​​ We invite you to share it with us … …​​

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

These are the wonderful things that God has given to faithful men by His spirit to teach others and record in His word we called the Bible.

16​​  All scripture​​ is​​ given by inspiration of God, and​​ is​​ profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:​​ 17​​  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.​​   2 Timothy 3​​

This is the glad tidings, the good news, the gospel that Jesus and the apostles​​ taught … ​​

1​​  And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village,​​ preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve​​ were​​ with him.​​ ​​ Luke 8​​ 

And details of the many aspects of that gospel can be​​ found in other articles on this website, which we invite you to browse, but we must end this article here. ​​

 

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