Tom: Thanks, Gary. You are listening 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. The reliability of the Bible is our subject for today, and it has been for the last few weeks. We’re taking our time and carefully considering how trustworthy the Bible is because if it’s not truly reliable, then we have no sure way of hearing from God. Now, Dave, perhaps someone among our listeners just heard me say that and is protesting that I am excluding all sacred books, as well as eliminating the possibility that God could speak to everyone personally. Are these reasonable objections?
Dave: Well, God can speak to . . . I don’t know about everyone, because most people are closed to God speaking to them. He spoke to Abraham, He spoke to the prophets. Now, that raises a problem however, because how would you know it was God that was speaking to you? We have many supposed holy books out there. Many of them do not make the claims that the Bible makes. We have talked about it in the past. Ezekiel, for example, at least fifty times, “The Word of the Lord came unto me saying, son of man . . .” you know, and so forth. So, let’s say that there were supposed other scriptures. Of course, it raises another problem, because the Bible says they are all wrong. The Bible claims to be the only true Word of God.
Tom: Right, and even if it didn’t imply that—but it says it directly—there are contradictions. The Qur’an says one thing, the Bible says something else, and they both can’t be true.
Dave: But we’re . . . I think you were going back even farther than that. Let’s say we don’t know what the scriptures are. Why can’t God just talk to anyone and everyone and so forth? Well, how is God going to prove to us? I suddenly claim that I’m inspired of God, as Muhammad claimed he was inspired of Gabriel.
Tom: Well, let’s take you and me, and I do too.
Dave: Yeah, okay. So, here we are, let’s try our new religion. We claim we are inspired of God. There are plenty of cults that . . .
Tom: But we’ve got a problem here, Dave. I think we are about to have a division here, because some of the things that I believe that I heard may not line up with what you heard, and we’ll have a split.
Dave: Forget you, Tom! I’m the guy that’s going to do it.
Tom: (Laughing) Okay!
Dave: And I’m going to be very careful not to contradict myself. But that doesn’t prove that God is speaking through me. So, you have a whole problem here; it’s difficult. Someone stands up and claims to speak for God. How do we know that he does? Now, the advantage that the Bible has (and we have talked about it in the past but we will do it again), forty different men over sixteen hundred years, every person who speaks, you have thirty-nine others testifying, I mean, in agreement, in harmony with him, although they didn’t know him—most of them didn’t. They came from different cultures and so forth.
Now, in the Qur’an you have one man, Muhammad—and we talked about it, the problems, that it was taken down on pieces of bark and leaves and sticks, and some of it was lost, and they disputed about what should be in there and what shouldn’t be in there. There are contradictions, unscientific statements, and so forth. The Bible has been checked out by—well, the skeptics, the critics, the atheists, have attacked the Bible like no other book for centuries, examined it with a fine-toothed comb. So it has withstood the test of time. Now there are people who would still say there are contradictions in the Bible. Well, let me know—what are they? What are the contradictions? Lay it out for me. I have read as many of these men as I can find who talk about contradictions, unscientific statements, and so forth. I don’t know of any, but show me.
So, we do have a solid basis. In other words, God has given us proof that He has spoken to us in the prophets and in His Son, Jesus Christ. Now, no other book, no other scripture of any religion, can say that, and, as we’ve mentioned, the Bible says all the rest of them are wrong. Well, then, we will go with the Bible.
Tom: Dave, there is another aspect. It’s objective. For example, we were just talking about you hear from God, I say I hear from God—very subjective. I don’t know what you’ve heard from God. It’s just what you tell me you’ve heard. You don’t know what I’ve heard from God. But . . .
Dave: What you say you heard from God or what I say I’ve heard from God.
Tom: Exactly. And again, if they’re in conflict, we’ve got a problem. Is God saying one thing to you and saying the opposite to me? Or are we deluded here? But what I’m getting at is with the Bible we have objective revelation. We may differ in terms of our interpretation of passages but at least we come to something that God has revealed according to the claim of the Bible, and we can discuss it, we can talk about it. And I don’t say, “Well, I didn’t hear that.” I am looking at God’s Word; you’re looking at God’s Word.
Dave: Well, not only that, Tom. It’s not just revelations from God, but we have history. We have . . . this is about—look, the Qur’an for example. It doesn’t give you the broad scope even of the history of the Babylonians, the Hittites, the Canaanites, the Israelites, and we can verify it. We can go back; we can archaeologically verify that what is said is accurate historically. Then we have prophecy after prophecy after prophecy . . .
Tom: Dave, before you go on with that, this brings us to the question—one of the main questions that we are going to be discussing. Again, this is out of your book, In Defense of the Faith. Those who would like to follow along with something in front of them—many of these questions are taken from In Defense of the Faith.
Dave: Yeah, tell me the page, Tom, so I can follow too!
Tom: Okay, we’re on page 68.
Dave: Sixty-eight, okay.
Tom: All right, let me read this first question.
Dave: This is a question that comes out of my files of many that I’ve been asked down through the years.
Tom: Question: “I’ve been told that there is a great deal of archaeological evidence proving that the Bible is not reliable.”
Now, you just said the opposite, but I am sure you can defend what you said. “I don’t remember the details and perhaps none were given, but the impression I’ve gotten from several professors at the university is that the archaeological evidence against the Bible is pretty solid.” So . . .
Dave: (slight chuckle) Well, first of all, whoever asked this question doesn’t give us the details.
Tom: Well, did they? Did they have examples when you were asked the question?
Dave: No. No, no. What are the examples now? I can remember—we’ve talked about this in the past—remember, the Hittites didn’t exist? Well, I visited the Hittite Museum in Ankara, Turkey. At one time they said, “Oh, archaeological evidence proves there were no such people as the Hittites . . .”
Tom: Or lack thereof.
Dave: Right. And there are a number of books out there written by archaeologists. In fact, there are some archaeologists who went to the Middle East to prove that the Bible wasn’t true, and they found the contrary. So, I don’t know what this supposed evidence is. We mentioned the Hittites, and then in 1993, at Tel Dan—the now famous Aramaic Stone in scripture fragment referring to the House of David—some scholars had denied that David was a historical figure.
But, Tom, archaeological evidence against the Bible? I don’t know of any. There is no such thing! Now, at times, archaeologists have said, “Well, we don’t find evidence to support this.” Like here, they were saying we don’t find the evidence that David ever existed, but we find that evidence! So, I do not know of any archaeological evidence against the Bible, and there are mountains of archaeological evidence supporting the Bible in museums around the world!
Tom: Well, you mentioned the Hittites. According to this writer’s perspective, that is, the person who asked the question, there was no evidence to that. Now you can get a PhD in Hittite History from the University of Chicago! So where did that come from?
Dave: (chuckling) Yeah, but he’s saying—this person was saying that he hears professors saying there is archaeological evidence against the Bible. I don’t know what that would be—no such thing, but much archaeological evidence supporting the Bible. And that in itself, Tom, speaks volumes, because the Book of Mormon, for example—we’ve mentioned it before—they can’t even find a pin, they can’t find a coin, they can’t find anything! See, you can’t just write a book about things, events, people, places, cities, and so forth, and make this up. You just can’t do that—well, you can do it; Joseph Smith did it—he made it up, and now there is no evidence, no one can find any evidence. That is not the case with the Bible—the evidence is overwhelming with no contradictions.
Tom: Dave, you offer a number of examples in your book; I want to go over some of them—the Pilate Stone, for example. Not too long ago, where was it? In Caesarea on the Sea, a quarry stone was used as a seat in an arena, right? What was the significance of that?
Dave: Well, that would be one example, I guess, because the skeptics said they couldn’t find any evidence that this man named Pilate even existed, you know, who was the judge of Jesus . . .
Tom: Right. Major figure . . .
Dave: Yeah! So, there should have been some evidence—well, of course, we had it in Josephus.
Tom: But people still challenge that: “Well, it could have been changed.”
Dave: Yeah, they said the Christians added to it and so forth. Pretty hard to say that because Josephus was so highly honored of the Romans that they had a statue for him in Rome, and his books were in the library there—I don’t think they got changed.
But anyway, what turns out to be the reason why you didn’t find evidence was because Pilate offended Caesar, and he told them to wipe out all evidence. So this stone that you find, this slab, standing there in Caesarea Maritima (“by the Sea”) today—well, it had an inscription about Pilate on it, but they . . .
Tom: On the underside.
Dave: Well, no, it wasn’t the underside; it was just the right size for a seat in an amphitheater, so they put the inscription underneath.
Tom: No sense throwing away a good slab, right?
Dave: That’s right! That’s not easy to make. So no one would see, no one would know it was there. But an earthquake came and destroyed the amphitheater and knocked that thing over, and the archaeologists—what do you know? They find an inscription regarding Pilate on it. So this was just another example.
When they say there is archaeological evidence that contradicts the Bible—no such thing! What they are saying is, there is a lack—you know, something that the Bible talks about that we can’t find archaeological evidence for. Well, we’ve found tons of archaeological evidence for everything else. “Oh here’s something—Pilate.” Well, we couldn’t find any evidence. Well, you found it, and that has been repeated a number of times.
Tom: Dave, another example is the City of Jericho, the walls. There have been many excavations in that area, and let me just give you some of the results. “The city was” (based on the archaeological digs, they could tell that) “. . . the city was strongly fortified that the siege didn’t take long enough for the supplies to be used up. The invaders did not loot the city. (Interesting!) The walls were not knocked down but fell straight down, and a portion of the wall that was left standing had housing attached.” Now, this just fits hand-in-glove with what the scriptures lay out, and it’s supported by evidence. And again, there are just so many examples along this line.
Dave: Tom, I have absolute confidence in the Bible and, of course, unlike any other book, the Hindu Vedas, Bhagavad-Gita, Qur’an, Book of Mormon, or anything else—no one reads those to find out where to dig to find ancient civilizations, ancient cities, and so forth. You read the Bible and the descriptions the Bible gives, and you go there to find these ancient cities or these ancient people. So from that standpoint, archaeological evidence, the evidence is absolutely overwhelming, the Bible is accurate!
Now, when you find the Bible accurate in every detail—for example, in the details concerning a people group, a nation, cities, kings, and so forth, well, if it’s accurate in that area, then that would give you confidence, at least, that it would be accurate in other areas. Now, we still want to check them out, but when we do check them out, like prophecy for example, we find the Bible is absolutely 100 percent accurate.
Well then, it gives us the prophecies of the Messiah (maybe I’m getting ahead of you, Tom, but anyway, when it comes to telling us about God and about what went wrong between God and man, and the basis of a solution, a reconciliation between God and man, we would have confidence in accepting that as well. Furthermore, it rings true to our conscience. This is not some hocus-pocus. This is not some panacea that is offered. This is not some appeasement of some god, but it is on a righteous basis that our conscience verifies. In fact, our conscience verifies the Ten Commandments, all except for the one command to keep the Sabbath, which was not intended for Gentiles but only for Jews, and yet the conscience of every human being bears witness to the Ten Commandments. As the Bible says, “God has written them in their hearts.”
Tom: Dave, I want to look at something that relates to this, but it’s also in keeping with what we’ve been hearing. We’re a couple of weeks—three weeks—away from September 11 (9/11), as we’re recording this, and we still have ideas and thoughts running out there about Islam and about the religious beliefs, and so on. Now, what I want to get at here is that we are hearing a lot of people defending Islam and the Qur’an, and they’re giving their interpretations of what the sacred book of the Muslims, how you should take it, what you should believe in it, and what you should not believe in it, and so on.
Now, with the Bible you can’t do that. What we are talking about here—you’re talking about archaeology, science, history, and so on. You can’t just say, “Well, it’s a little off . . . ” as some do: “It’s a little off as far as far as science goes.” They would reject the first eleven chapters of Genesis, for example: “Well, that’s kind of mythological,” or “It’s so general”; “It’s allegorical,”—all of these things.
You can’t do that with the Bible. The Bible—it’s got to be true in everything that it claims, everything that it asserts . . .
Tom: Or it’s worthless! I mean, it’s worse than that—we’ve said it before: it’s a fraud, because that’s what it claims. It claims to be true.
Dave: Exactly. Well, the Qur’an, as we’ve said, does not have those verifications. The Qur’an has contradictions, many. It has unscientific statements. Furthermore, the god of the Qur’an—of his 99 characteristics, not one is love. There is no basis in the Qur’an for forgiveness of sins. There is no way that Allah could justly be reconciled to mankind, nor does the Qur’an even pretend that there is such a way. He has mercy when he decides to be merciful, and he is not merciful when he doesn’t want to be merciful. And you cannot be sure. No Muslim can know for sure that he will get to Paradise except through dying in jihad, and there is no basis. Allah didn’t pay for the sins of the world.
The God of the Bible says He is the only Savior. It was foretold that He would come as a man through a virgin birth; that He would represent mankind; He would take our place; He would pay the penalty for our sins. You will find that in the writings of no religion anywhere in the world, and it rings true to the human conscience. Someone has to pay the penalty! There’s a crime involved. Man has rebelled against God. How can God justly forgive man? That’s the big problem, and, of course, we have talked about it, that question is raised in the Book of Romans.
Now, we’ve got a lot of other problems with Islam, of course, if we can just take a minute or two to talk about that. What we’re hearing over and over is that Islam is a peace-loving religion. We know that it began with the sword. We know . . .
Tom: Historically. That’s not . . .
Dave: Yeah, there’s no question about it . . .
Tom: . . . from Islamic scholars to secular historians.
Dave: Let’s go back a little farther than that, Tom. Arabia, the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, was, in fact, settled by Jews. There were many Jews down there. They converted many of the Arabs. The town of Yathrib—that’s what it was called— later it became Medina, Muhammad’s birthplace.
The town of Yathrib was settled by Jews. It was a Jewish town! Muhammad killed them! He killed all the Jews, or he chased the survivors out of Arabia. It was decreed by Muhammad, no Jew could ever be in Saudi Arabia again. No Jew can—well, it wasn’t called Saudi Arabia then; it was the Arabian Peninsula—no Jew can be in Saudi Arabia today! Henry Kissinger was one great exception, you know, because of his position.
Now, they talk about colonialism—other groups that are involved in colonialism, I mean, like the Americans, the British—let’s talk about colonialism for a minute. I was in Egypt when Gamal Abdel Nasser was the dictator. He was trying to unite what he called the Arab nation. Arab nation? The only Arab nation was on the Gulf over there, the Gulf States, the Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and so forth! What are these other people—the Iraqis? They are Babylonians. The Iranians, they were Persians; the Syrians are Syrians. It was a Christian nation at one time, almost a Christian nation. The Egyptians are Egyptians; the Lebanese are Lebanese. They speak Arabic, with the exception of Iran. Iran refused to speak Arabic . . .
Tom: Yeah, Farsi . . .
Dave: . . . but all the rest of them . . . So these are not Arabs. This great “Arab nation” is an imperialist take over by Muslims and is united in Islam against Israel, but they’re not . . . otherwise they wouldn’t be united because they fight among themselves. You have a revolution going on in Algeria right now. You know that Saddam Hussein threw somebody out. You know that the Taliban threw somebody out. So, the Muslim world is not united. They say they’re peaceful—it’s one of the most warlike groups in the world, but these are not Arabs; these are Muslims.
But you have an entirely different situation in the Bible. God didn’t tell the Jews to take over the world, but He gave them a definite land, and that belongs to them, and the Bible is absolutely true—and we can prove it.