Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in. In today’s program, we continue a two-installment series of classics from our Search the Scriptures Daily archives with the late founder of The Berean Call Dave Hunt and TBC executive director Tom McMahon. This week, they address the question: Can the Bible’s Claims Be Substantiated? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’ve tuned in to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. If you’re new to the program or haven’t tuned in for a few weeks, we’ve been going through Dave Hunt’s book Seeking and Finding God: In Search of the True Faith. Over the last couple of weeks in this first segment of our program, we’ve been giving evidences to substantiate the claims that the Bible makes that it is the only true Word of God. And as we’ve stated, only the Bible has features that really can substantiate its claim. Now, we’ve covered – what? Historical accuracy, its scientific accuracy, its archeological support, its perfect continuity and harmony of content presented by 40 writers over a span of about 1,600 years. Yet, Dave, as miraculous (and I really have to say miraculous) as all of that is, there is something else that is even more astounding in substantiating the claim that the Bible is indeed the only inspired Word of the one true God, and that’s prophecy.
Dave: Mm-hmm, right.
Tom: Now, Dave, I know for some people, prophecy – they say, “I don’t want to go there. It’s too puzzling; it’s too confusing. It involves metaphors, similes, all these kinds of things – too many symbolisms and all of that.” So they avoid prophecy. But prophecy isn’t just predicting the future; I would say the Word of God, the entire Word of God, is prophecy. It’s not only foretelling the future, but it’s forth telling what God wants us to know and understand.
Dave: Tom, prophecy is neglected. It’s not preached in churches; it’s not understood. And I don’t think I’ve mentioned (maybe I have) the book that I’m writing right now, and I have to read what the evolutionists say, what the creationists say, and I’ve listened to many debates, and one thing that disappoints me greatly: the creationists, they all argue science. That’s fine; I can do that too. Never have I heard one of them refer to the Bible. This is the great proof that God is the author of this Book, and there is so much prophecy. And so…
Tom: But, Dave, you know, for some people who don’t understand, as I mentioned, people avoid prophecy because it just seems too puzzling for many people, and I can understand that. But why prophecy…you know, you say, “Well, you can prove the Bible by prophecy.” Now, let’s get very simple here – why do you say that? What would be something that would compel me to believe the Bible because of prophecy?
Dave: Well, Tom, the Bible does say, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” It says, “The invisible things of God from his creation are clearly seen by the things that he has made.”
Tom: So that’s general revelation, right?
Dave: We get that, so I’m not saying prophecy is the only way. Prophecy is the best way, because when you get into these things, the atheist can argue with you, the evolutionists can argue with you: “Well, what about this, and what about that?” When you come to prophecy, no arguments. They cannot argue, and – am I allowed to give one example?
Tom: Give me some examples.
Dave: Okay, let’s take Jeremiah:23:7: “The day is coming, saith the Lord, when they will no longer say, Blessed be the Lord who brought his people out of Egypt into the promised land, but, Blessed be the Lord who brought his people back from all the nations whither he had scattered them.”
Okay, now that didn’t happen originally when they came out of Egypt. They weren’t even scattered; they were in the land for a long time. They were cast out because of their sin, their rebellion against God. But God said He is not going to cast them off forever, and one day He’s going to bring them back. And actually, it says it will be in the last days – one of the reasons we know we are in the last days. Now, if you go to Israel today, you find that they have come back from more than 100 nations! I would say that’s a fulfillment of prophecy.
Tom: Right, and very specific.
Dave: Very specific.
Tom: See, Dave, I think the thing that people forget is that it’s not just a matter of, “Well, that was a good guess.” There are so many prophecies that have been fulfilled that the probability of this happening by chance – it just couldn’t have happened by chance. The mathematical probabilities are zero and beyond.
Dave: Well, Tom, you just pile prophecy on prophecy. Let’s quickly go to Joel:3:2: God says, “I am going to,” in the last days again, “I am going to bring all the nations of the world back to Jerusalem into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I am going to punish them for two things: 1) They have scattered my people everywhere,” which, of course, we know happened. “2) They have divided my land.” And I won’t go into details about that. Britain was given the mandate to see that this became the homeland of the Jewish people scattered everywhere, slaughtered in the Holocaust. What did Britain do? They kept the Jews out, and they let the Arabs in for oil, so that Holocaust survivors in half-sinking ships, within sight of the Promised Land, driven back by the British Navy, put into camps… And I could give you many other examples, but we don’t have time. But Britain lost its empire! I grew up in the days when “Britannia rules the waves,” you know.
Tom: “The sun never sets on the empire,” and so on.
Dave: Yeah, okay. So here we are, Joel:3:2: “In the last days I’m going to punish all nations.” People often say, “Is the United States in prophecy?” We just read it: “all nations,” I think, includes the USA as well. “For two things…” We said, “They have scattered my people everywhere. 2) They have divided my land.”
Now that is an amazing prophecy, because Israel has been conquered by many nations, but they never divided the land; none of them divided the land. The Ottoman Turkish Empire, they kept the whole thing plus a whole lot more – never a thought of dividing it up. Who would you give it to? Why would you divide it? The Babylonians, they didn’t divide the land. So this is an amazing prophecy.
First of all (and without going into any more details about Britain, what Britain did and so forth), UN Resolution 181 – Google it; there it is! – it’s called, “The Partition of the Land.” All the nations joined together to divide the land of Israel. And by the way, they gave Israel 13 percent of what the League of Nations in the Declaration of Principles in 1922 had said belonged to them. So every proposal for peace since, including President Bush’s Roadmap to Peace, so-called – what is the basis of it? What’s the bottom line? “Israel, give them more land, give them more land.”
And God says, “I am angry and I am going to punish the nations of the world for doing this.”
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, I want to get even more basic about prophecy than that. Those are terrific prophecies. There are so many. But you know, I remember that a while back I was asked to – this was a number of years ago – I was asked to speak at a prophecy conference. I mean, you had been speaking at prophecy conferences, but now somebody asked me to speak, and I thought, “What will I do?” I mean, I really wasn’t up on prophecy. It wasn’t at the top of my list. As a matter of fact, I vaguely remember way back you mentioning that prophecy early on for you wasn’t, you know, wasn’t high on your list of really exploring prophecy and using it as you have in the last two or three decades. But anyway…
Dave: Well, because it seemed so complicated. How are you going to sort out all these beasts in Daniel, Revelation? Lot of symbolism, as you mentioned.
Tom: But, Dave, with all of your time in the Bible, think about me. I mean, I couldn’t have been a Christian more than 10 years, but now I have to speak at a prophecy conference. Well, what I had to do was – I thought, How am I going to do this and really give those who came to the conference something that was valuable to them? So I did what I call “Prophecy 101.” In other words, let’s just talk about prophecy, what it is, but let’s just go right up to the first coming of Christ. That’s a slam dunk. I mean, all these prophecies, as you well know – you can go to the Psalms, you can go to Isaiah, and you can basically lay out the scenario of the crucifixion in such detail, you know, and this was written – what? – 500 to 800 years prior to Jesus being crucified. So…
But let’s take some basic things about Jesus. How about where He was born? How about going into Jerusalem on a donkey? I mean, there are so many verses from the Psalms and from the prophets that lay this thing out very specifically.
Dave: Well, Tom, it gives the very day that He would ride into Jerusalem. And in Judgment Day!, I think I have a subheading in one of my chapters: “How Many Candidates for Messiah?” Well, how would you qualify? The Bible lays it out: as you said, you have to be born in Bethlehem of a virgin, but you’ve got to be born at a particular time.
Tom: Would some characters down in history be able to control any of that? Because people said, “Well, you know, Jesus manufactured some of these.” Could He decide where He was going to be born?
Dave: Well, not if He’s not God.
Dave: But Daniel 9 says, “It will be 69 weeks of years after the command to restore Jerusalem that the Messiah will ride into Jerusalem (on that donkey you were talking about).” He will be hailed by the people, and four days later they will be crying, “Away with Him! Crucify Him!”
Now, the day that He would ride into Jerusalem, that’s very specific, and you can look it up. Here it is: Sixty-nine weeks of years from the command to restore, rebuild Jerusalem. That’s 483 years.
Now, go back and we can – I don’t know that we want to go into all these details, Tom, but if we go back, we will find out…Nehemiah 2, for example, Nehemiah is – I mean, the Bible is so fantastic – he is in Babylon. Jerusalem has been destroyed, but they have been given permission to go back to the land, but Nehemiah is still there. They’ve been given permission to rebuild the temple, and Nehemiah and a couple of friends come back. They’ve been in Jerusalem. He says, “How are things going?”
And they say, “Well, it’s a sorry rebuilding of the temple. I mean, it doesn’t look anything like Solomon’s. And besides that, the walls are broken down, the gates are burned with fire. It just sits there defenseless.” And Nehemiah weeps.
Now, he has to go in – he’s the king’s cupbearer – he has to go in before the king. And you don’t go in before the king with a…
Dave: Right. You’re supposed to be, you know, “Top of the morning to you, king!” But he can’t.
Tom: An Irish king, you’re thinking. Anyway…
Dave: Right. But he can’t. He dries his eyes; he tried, but he can’t hide the grief in his face. And the king says, “I perceive that you have a great sorrow. What is it?”
He says, “It’s my people.” And then he explains: “The walls are broken down; it’s Jerusalem. The walls are broken down, the gates are burned with fire.”
“Well, what do you want from me?” says the king? I think he must have had a great affection for Nehemiah; he must have been serving him very well.
Nehemiah says, “Would you give me the right to rebuild Jerusalem?”
So this is not rebuilding a temple; some people get confused. No, no, this is rebuilding Jerusalem.
And the king says, “Granted,” and he writes out a letter.
Now, you don’t have to search the archaeological records to see if you can’t find a letter that was dated back there so you get the date. We know that it was 69 weeks of years from the command to rebuild Jerusalem, because Nehemiah tells you in verse 2: “It was in the month Nisan, and it was in the 20th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who ruled from 465 BC until 425 BC.” He had a long rule. So the 20th year of his reign would be 445 BC, Nisan 1st, and you can sit down and calculate it. People have calculated it various ways, and they only come out about one-year difference, depending on what year they start with. Some of them start with 444 BC, some with 445.
But anyway, Tom, how would you qualify to be the Messiah? Then you’ve got to get yourself crucified, and then you’ve got to rise from the dead.
Tom: Dave – well, if you’ve just joined us, we’re going over how incredibly miraculous prophecy is, how it defies any sense that it could have happened by chance. And, Dave, I want to go over a couple of verses just to show you God, who calls Himself the God of prophecy, what He thinks about this, what His view is on it. This is Isaiah:46:9-10: “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
Now let me give you another one. This is God’s challenge – this is Isaiah:41:22-23: “Let them [that is, the idols of the nations] 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.”
So only God, who is infinite, omniscient, transcendent, beyond time, can know and declare what will take place before it happens. And, Dave, that’s the proof that you have been arguing for. That’s the proof that many have lost in looking at the Bible or dealing with things such as atheism and agnosticism and all of these things.
Dave: Well, Tom, it impacts the gospel, because the gospel is preached from prophecy. They didn’t have Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; they had the Old Testament. And Paul, when he went into the synagogue (Acts 17), he opened the Scriptures, he reasoned with them three Sabbath days out of their Scriptures. It says, “…opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered these things, and that this Jesus I preach unto you is Christ.” See, that really bothered people: “Well, how – wait a minute, wait a minute – who’s going to follow a dead Christ?”
Well, He’s not dead, He’s risen. But look, He was rejected, He was despised by His own people – they said, “Away with him! Crucify him!” How can you fit that into the Messiah, and then He’s the Messiah? Well, it’s all foretold: He would be hated and rejected of men, and so forth.
Tom: And, Dave, you know, you mentioned Acts 17 – well, let’s go to the verse that we use as our theme verse for The Berean Call. You have these Jews in the synagogue in the city of Berea, the Greek city of Berea. Paul has come to them, and why is he there? Just as you mentioned, he’s preaching that Jesus is the Messiah, the One that the prophets foretold! He didn’t use the New Testament; he went to the old Tanakh, as the Jews would call it, the Old Testament…
Dave: The New Testament wasn’t written.
Tom: Right. So…and these Jews are commended. Why? Because, first of all, they listened to what the apostle Paul had to say; they were open minded, okay? But then the real commendation comes because they listened to what he had to say, but then they “searched the Scriptures daily.” What Scriptures? The prophets, the Old Testament prophets…
Tom: “…to see if these things were so.”
Dave: So, Tom, if you went to 1 Corinthians 15…Romans:1:16 says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes it.” You’ve got to believe the gospel to be saved. Well, what about the gospel? What is the gospel? Well, the Bible doesn’t just lay it out A, B, C in very many places, but one of the places where it certainly does that is 1 Corinthians:15:1-4. And Paul says, “This is the gospel that I preached unto you, which you received, by which you were saved, wherein you stand, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”
Now, if you preach the gospel (and I’m not trying to be critical, I’m trying to help myself as well as others), and you leave out “according to the scriptures,” then you haven’t really preached the gospel according to Paul.
“This is the gospel I preach, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, that He was buried and that He rose the third day, according to the scriptures.” You see, the reason for that, Tom, is quite obvious. I just come around and I say, “Yeah, I knew this guy back there and he got crucified, and I think there have been witnesses that saw that he rose from the dead,” and so forth. Wait a minute! I want to have something backing this up, and if there are specific prophecies saying that this is exactly what would happen, then I’ve got the proof. I’ve got the evidence. This is really essential for the gospel.
Tom: And, Dave, for those – maybe we have some young believers who have started reading the Bible for the first time, and we recommend that they just start in Genesis, work their way through; or if they want something from the New Testament, begin with the Gospel of John. Certainly that would be an encouragement. But I like going back to Genesis, Dave, because that’s really what lays it out. You have, first of all, the first prophecy, the first prophecy being Genesis:3:15. Now, can you comment on that?
Dave: Well now, we wouldn’t want to offend our Catholic people, but it says that God is speaking to the serpent, and he’s speaking to Adam and Eve. He’s rebuking all of them. And to the serpent He says, “…the seed of the woman will bruise your…you will bruise his heel.” We’re talking about the seed of the woman as the Messiah. This is a virgin birth; it doesn’t say seed of man and woman. The seed of the woman is coming, and He is going to bruise your head. He’ll deal you a death blow, but you will bruise His heel. Now, in Catholic Bibles, and I have a number of old Catholic Bibles – they’ve changed it now in the modern ones, because, I guess they were embarrassed…
Tom: Right, to do away with old Bibles that would claim that this is Mary.
Dave: Right. It doesn’t say the seed of the woman, it says the woman; and you know Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – I don’t know whether…did you wear it?
Tom: Of course.
Dave: You wore the Miraculous Medal?
Tom: Oh absolutely, and the scapular. I did all that.
Dave: Well, Mary allegedly appeared to Catherine Labouré – what was it? – 1832 or something like that.
Tom: Right, 1830s.
Dave: Yeah, in Paris. And she told her who she was, and she appeared actually with her foot, her heel, on the head of the serpent.
Dave: And she said, “Mint a medal with this image.” So it’s not just – well, Tom, you could better explain it than I can, but many – would we dare say most of the false doctrines comes from visions.
Dave: I’m sorry, apparitions, right. So here we have, not Jesus, not the seed of the woman, but the woman, and this is why she is presented as co-mediatrix, co-redemptrix, and that she actually, by her pain, paid for our sins.
Tom: Yeah. Dave, we’re out of time right now, but there is so much in Genesis that needs to be understood with regard to prophecy, God pointing to the cross, okay? We have tunics of skin in Genesis:3:21. These things were types of Christ pointing to Jesus the Messiah who would come and pay for the sins of the world, pay them in full. So next week we’ll pick up with this.
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. The complete radio discussion of Dave’s “Seeking and Finding God” is available from The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael, thanks for being here, and please join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.