Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] This book speaks with authority because it can change your life. It’s the revealed word of God. It has a direct challenge to you, a challenge you can’t ignore.
There’s a place in Washington, D.C. called the Museum of the Bible that opened a few years ago. It’s really a monument to the history and to the transmission of what we call the Bible, the Holy Bible, the text for Christianity. You can go to the Museum of the Bible as a visitor and spend a day there learning about this book, the greatest book really, called by many, that was ever written. They have exhibits that are designed to educate, to inform about the Bible. When the Museum of the Bible opened in the year 2017 there were a lot of critics. They felt that the museum was too close to the political power there in Washington, D.C., Supreme Court, the White House, and Congress. Literally, physically too close and it is just a few blocks away. But people actually felt threatened by having a museum extolling the Bible in downtown Washington, D.C. thinking that it would have too much of an influence on lawmakers and the governing of the country. Well you know maybe they should be a little bit nervous. I think that if the leaders of the United States or any other nation, for that matter, in the world would read and follow the Bible, they’d do a better job. In fact, if we would all read the Bible and study it more, we’d be better people for that.
You see, the Bible is one book to help you have a successful, productive, meaningful, and happy life because the author of this book, God, claims to be the Creator of the universe, the maker of all human life, and the one who blesses and makes happy in everyone’s life. And God says to prove His words true and then to follow what He says. He says the result of that is going to be a life well lived with purpose and with meaning. In Malachi 3 God says to test and to prove what He says to be true, how the test is to actually live it and to practice it. And God says that, “If you do, I will open the windows of heaven for you and I will pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
What that is, is a promise and it’s also an assurance and confidence about life that can be had by understanding what the Bible says and living by what every word that it says. Because too many people really don’t believe this to be the word of God and to be an accurate book by its own claim, on today’s program what we’re going to do is go through three separate proofs. There are many others but we just have three that we’re going to talk about today to show that the Bible is true, a reliable and an accurate revelation from God to man that we can rely on as a book, as a guidepost for our own life.
So let’s begin. Let’s look at proof number one that we can study. It is the subject of astronomy. Now astronomy is a fascinating topic. Another term for it is cosmology which really gets into the origins of the universe. But both are fantastic areas to get into. Some people believe that the discoveries that have been made in recent years by astronomers and physicists as they study the universe actually conflict with the Bible and prove the Bible to be an obsolete book and not really relevant. But in fact really, when you look at it, the Bible, there is no conflict by what the Bible says with even what has been shown to be proof and true about the universe. In fact in many ways the Bible has proven itself to be ahead of its time in what it reveals about the universe and the planet Earth that we all inhabit here. A lot of fascinating things are said about that from the Bible.
Astronomy and the modern field of cosmology offers astounding proof really of God and the Bible as His word. One of the fundamental facts about astronomy has actually been confirmed in the Bible, and it was a truth understood in the scriptures long before other modern scientists and peoples discovered this particular truth. What is it? Well let’s look at a scripture. And we’ll see what it is. Isaiah 40:22 makes the statement that God sits above the circle of the Earth. And you look at this famous picture that we have taken from the Moon of Earth, and it illustrates exactly what it said in Isaiah 40 because that expression, the circle of the Earth, indicates that the prophet Isaiah understood the Earth to be round. And that is something God revealed to His servant Isaiah in the 7th century B.C.
Actually more than 300 years before the birth of Christ there were other people looking at the heavens. Aristotle the Greek philosopher was one who determined that the planet must be a sphere, that the Earth had to be round. After an eclipse had been observed and it was pointed out that with the eclipse throwing a circular shadow on the Moon, it was proof that the Earth was round because only an orb would do that. This was back hundreds of years before Christ was ever born. And yet people, even today, will argue until they drop that the Earth is flat.
There was another Greek astronomer by the name of Ptolemy who lived in the 2nd century B.C. in Egypt. He looked at all of this and he said that there were two things about the Earth that we should note. One, Ptolemy said, was that the Earth was the center of the universe. The second thing he said we should note is that the Earth was round, a sphere. The same thing Isaiah had said hundreds of years before Ptolemy. Now Ptolemy was wrong on the first point that the Earth was the center of the universe, but he was right on his second point that the Earth is round. But as knowledge went on, as time went on, something happened. Man became to accept as a fact of life and as accepted knowledge that this center of the universe idea about the Earth that Ptolemy had said was true. The church of the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic church, perpetuated Ptolemy’s mistake by decreeing that the Earth was the center of the universe and that was somehow tagged to their doctrine about the Earth, and about their view of God, and even about their view about themselves as the church of God. They also said, the church did, that the Earth was flat. Now both ideas deny the biblical truth and they also deny the facts of science.
There was a book written by an historian who studied all of this, and especially the interplay of the church with the facts of science that had been accumulated through the years, a man named William Manchester. He wrote that, “The world,” he said, “during the time that the church ruled, during the Middle Ages, believed that the world was to be immovable, an immovable disc around which the Sun revolved and the rest of the cosmos that comprise the heaven.” Manchester went on to say, “And all of this was something that lay dreamily above the skies, inhabited by cherubs, and hell,” and flaming deep beneath the European soil was this idea of hell. But the fact is, as Manchester points out, everyone believed and knew in their own mind that to be true, that the Earth was flat, the Earth was the center of the universe, and that there was an ever-burning hell. All of this was articles of religious faith for hundreds of years in the world. And it’s unfortunately, the reason that a lot of people have cast off the Bible as the book that is a reliable book, both of spiritual and even physical knowledge about life and even about the universe and the aspects that it does choose to speak on.
One thing we should understand, the Bible, we’re not saying this to be, that the Bible is a science textbook. It’s not it’s a spiritual book given by God. But when the Bible does speak on scientific topics, it is reliable and it does speak at various places about the natural world. We’ve just observed one. However what happens, and has happened historically, and even happens today, there’s a lot of fake knowledge and there’s a lot of fake religion that has unfortunately plagued mankind and distorted truth, biblical truth in this case, in many different forms.
On this whole idea about the Earth and its place in the universe, years later there was a Polish astronomer by the name of Nicholas Copernicus who in the early 16th century concluded at the Western world’s prevailing view of the universe was incorrect. Copernicus, after many years of observing the skies and consulting mathematical tables came to a completely radical different conclusion. He said that the Earth is not a disc about which the sun rotates. He said the Earth is a sphere, it’s round, and it’s traveling around the sun. Now that discovery brought a shockwave, an alarm to many religious authorities who felt that they had a lockdown on this knowledge. And his view, Copernicus’s view, was as welcome to the educated minds of his day as the plague might be. In fact when he made his presentation of his evidence Copernicus was jeered by his peers and he was rejected by leading men in education and in religion. Old ideas, even false ideas, die hard even in the presence of fact. That’s a fact of history. The Roman Catholic church actually branded Copernicus as an apostate, someone who was subject to be, in a sense, cast off because he challenged the conventional wisdom of the day. Well the case wasn’t over at that point.
A few years after Copernicus another astronomer by the name of Galileo, an Italian, he actually confirmed as well with his telescope that what Copernicus said about the Earth revolving around the Sun and being a round orb was actually true. Galileo said the Earth was not the center of the universe, but the pressure from the church forced Galileo to recant, deny what he said and cast it back. But his discoveries wouldn’t be restrained. They stood and have stood the test of time. But what happened as a result of all of this was that the grip that religion, and it was false religion at the time, the grip that it had on men’s minds began to fold up. The discoveries of Copernicus and Galileo triggered the greatest credibility crisis that the church authorities of the Middle Ages had to face. They defended their position, they presented their human opinion, and it was overturned by scientific observation and experimentation. Belief in the Bible and ecclesiastical authority would never be the same. And a movement had begun that would eventually, in the minds of many, discredit the scriptures as a legitimate source of authority. And that’s what is the unfortunate fallout from the Galileo, Copernicus ground-shaking discussion that took place.
There’s a Psalm 93 that says that the world is established so that it cannot move. Psalms 93:1. That verse also does not conflict with the fact that God has placed the Earth in a solar orbit. We can say that that verse actually verifies what man has learned from the study of astronomy and physics and that the Earth’s behavior is fixed and predictable. God set the Earth in its orbit about the Sun, and as the Psalm notes, there’s a fixed constancy about the Earth that controls the forces about us. Again it was not the Bible that was found to be an error it was the interpretation that had been adopted by religious authorities. The facts merely confirm what the Bible had said all along. That’s astronomy, one small aspect of astronomy and what the Bible says that at least shows us long before science confirmed it, it was speaking truth about the universe.
We’re going to look next at another key, and that’s the key of prophecy. But first I’d like to mention the book that we are offering today, the study guide called “Is the Bible True?” If you’ve ever taken the time to really prove the authority of the Bible, you may have found that there are certain things that are lacking. I think this booklet will take you through a number of topics that will help you to understand that God is true. The Bible is proof of what God has revealed to mankind through His written and revealed word. So you can order your free copy by calling the toll-free number that’s on your screen or go on to beyondtoday.tv and downloading a copy with additional information that helps to understand exactly what we are talking about.
Now let’s look at proof number two. It’s the subject of prophecy. Prophecy is the ability to forecast the future. And people are fascinated with Bible prophecy. This may be one of the biggest draws that people have in some cases to the Bible. But it is a fascinating proof of the revelation of God. Many dismiss prophecy because people make foolish predictions about things such as when Christ will return and other outlandish claims about prophecy in order to present themselves as an authority. But when the prophecies of the Bible are actually carefully considered, they do reveal that God’s precise predictions that He does make about future events are true. In fact Bible prophecy has foretold a number of circumstances that have either been realized or made possible only in modern times. Let’s look at four of those things right now for a minute.
One is what we call mass transportation and the knowledge explosion. In the book of Daniel 12:4 there is a statement given to Daniel by an angelic messenger at the end of a long list of prophecies that tells Daniel that in the time of the end, the time in which we are living right now, many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase. Many will run to and fro and increasing in knowledge. That doesn’t refer, obviously, to the pace of travel and learning in Daniel’s day. In Daniel’s day travel was either by foot, on an animal, or on an animal-drawn conveyance like a cart or a chariot. What it really is saying is there is going to come a time when there’ll be a great departure from that ancient time of travel and what people were accustomed to. What it was said to Daniel about the knowledge and the increase of knowledge didn’t happen until the modern world when science and industrialization gave birth to a rapid rise in mass transportation and the knowledge explosion that we have today in current information age with the internet age. And it’s a fantastic period of time. But Daniel 12:4 is actually pointing into a time that describes exactly our day today.
Second thing to look at is what we would call mass communications. And one of the fascinating prophecies of the Bible, Revelation 11, there’s a prophecy about two people called the two witnesses. These two witnesses bear witness before God as His servants at the end of the age before a great political and religious power that rules and dominates the world at that time. And it says about them, when they are finally killed after three and a half years, that their bodies shall lie in the street of that great city Jerusalem and those from many peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days. How will peoples of the Earth watch and witness the dead bodies of these two witnesses? Well that would require modern technology like satellite television, like the internet or some other electronic communication medium, all unimaginable in the 1st century when those words were written in that particular prophecy. Again the Bible was ahead of its time because God can predict the future.
Third point that we ought to look at is what is called the population explosion. And this is connected to a prophecy, again in Revelation 9 where in the movement of armies and peoples in a time of world strife there was a massive army of 200 million people that are described. Now 200 million people in any type of a situation is a staggering figure to consider. And yet it’s possible today given our world population. But when again, Revelation was written in the 1st century, the entire global population some estimate was only about 300 million people. So how could you have an army of 200 million? And for many, many years after that the population of the world didn’t really grow in a significant factor. It took more than actually 1,600 years for the world population to double to 600 million. So, the idea of a 200 million man army was inconceivable in the 1st century except by virtue of this fact called Bible prophecy which foresaw a time when it would be possible.
Now the fourth thing to look at in this area of prophecy is that of mass destruction and the possibility of human extinction. The army mentioned above is influenced by demonic powers that kill a third of mankind, it says. Christ said that in the last days there will be a time of great distress such as there has never been since before the beginning of the world and will never be again. So if the time of troubles were not cut short. God said, “No living thing could survive.” But for the sake of God’s chosen it will be cut short. The ability to kill so many, all humanity, didn’t exist in the 1st century and not until the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the 20th century did it happen.
These factors alone should cause us to want to dig deeper into a study of the Bible to understand its origins and its credibility. Again the Bible booklet study guide we’re offering today, “Is the Bible True?” lays out how prophecy and one of the great issues and tests of whether the Bible to be true and believe what other points can help you to understand that. You’re going to find examples after example of Bible prophecies coming to pass. So again we want you to order your free copy by calling the toll-free number on your screen or going to beyondtoday.tv to download a copy and to understand it.
There’s one last area for us to look at, and it’s what we call archeology. Archeology is another fascinating topic. I’ve had a little bit of experience in that in my earlier years working on a biblical archeological site in Israel. It’s a recovery, archeology is, of the past and the material remains of past people’s lives and activities. And Bible archeology is the study of ancient civilizations that are connected and recorded in the Bible. Now Bible archeologists, what they seek to do is to establish the fact that what the Bible says to be true or not, the people, the places, the events that are within the scripture. There’s one piece of archeology that we could look at that does connect the Bible prophecy which we’ve already discussed as well as confirming the truth of the Bible and God’s control of history. It’s the proof offered of the existence of a man called Cyrus the Great of Persia.
There’s a prophecy in the book of Isaiah, one of the great prophets again, that told about a man named Cyrus who would conquer a city with leaved gates and restore God’s people. Cyrus was to perform all my pleasure even saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built into the temple, your foundation will be laid.” This is what scripture says. God also foretold that Cyrus would “build My city,” which was talking about Jerusalem and “let My exiles go free.” These are prophecies that are mentioned in Isaiah 44 and Isaiah 45. But you know what? Those prophecies were made 150 years before they actually took place because in the year 538 BC it did happen.
And this remarkable cylinder of King Cyrus of Persia that you see right here found and dug up in the area of modern Iraq, dated to 538 BC and today found in the British Museum records Cyrus’s conquest of ancient Babylon, but also his policy of tolerance toward people and a patronage of returning people to their native religions and native lands. It is consistent with what the Bible predicted would be his policy when he allowed the Jewish captives to return from Babylon back to the land of Israel. It’s an amazing prophecy. It’s an amazing piece that was dug up in that area that actually records what took place. As I said this can be seen at the British Museum. It’s been studied, it’s been verified by scholars, and it actually corroborates the biblical account in the Book of Ezra of the Jews returning to Jerusalem. It’s only one of many amazing prophecies and facts that have been recorded in the Bible that had been proven by things that have been dug up out of the soil. Bible archeology indeed does prove to be an accurate tool to help us to understand that the Bible can be relied upon, that it’s true and accurate.
We cover a lot of other details on this in this particular booklet showing that you can believe, you can base your life on what this says. The book of books is indeed God’s instruction manual for us. We want you to get a copy of this by calling the number that’s on your screen or by going to beyondtoday.tv and downloading a copy for your use. And it’s going to take you through a lot more than what we’ve been able to cover here today about archeology, about prophecy, and about astronomy, and some of the amazing facts that the Bible does help us to understand. And it confirms a lot of things that we can see and understand and the ability to have faith in what this book says.
But I want to leave you with something to help us to understand the Bible, and that’s the real connection that it can make to our own world. You see the Bible is a book about our daily life. The real proof of the Bible and that it is true is the impact that it makes in your life. That’s really where it all comes together.
In 2 Timothy 3 the apostle Paul said something. He said to another individual named Timothy, he said, “You’ve carefully followed my doctrine, my manner of life, my purpose, and my faith, long-suffering, and love, and perseverance, and all that has happened to me.” And he says, “Out of them all, God has delivered me.” Paul understood that God was in his life, that God was delivering him from times of difficulty and trial. And God does deliver us, He does work with us. But the point is we have to apply ourselves to understand exactly what He’s doing. We must worship and obey God with a passion that makes the scriptures come alive. Paul also said to Timothy that everyone who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution but evil men and imposters will grow worse, deceiving and being deceived. “But you,” Paul went on to say, “You continue the things you’ve learned, you’ve been assured of, knowing that you’ve learned them from me, and from childhood, you’ve known the holy scriptures that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” And then Paul gives a principle to help us understand the scriptures. He said, “All scriptures given by inspiration of God.” He said the Bible is not a dry, dusty, ancient book written by illiterate people of an ancient bygone period. The Bible was written under the inspiration of the spirit of God. And he goes on to say that it’s profitable for doctrine, which is teaching, for reproof or correction, which is instruction in righteousness. This describes the way to success, a level of biblical success that really matters the most in our life.
You can study all kinds of other books about success and how to get along, but those books on our shelves are not the best teacher that we have. I’ve read many of them. And you know something? In recent years I’ve come to realize that this book, the Bible, is the one that instructs me in righteousness and is really the foundation of any other book about success, leadership, or management that you could look at. All those books that we want to read to gain understanding, this book speaks with authority because it can change your life. It’s the revealed word of God. It has a direct challenge to you, a challenge you can’t ignore. And we need to pick that challenge up and take heart and begin to live and basing our life on its teachings.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today’s program, “Is the Bible True?”
The Bible has been called the “Book of Books”—but can it be trusted? Did God really inspire this collection of ancient texts? Is it a mix of some truth and some myth? Does it contradict itself or contain errors? Our free study aid—“Is the Bible True?”—has the answers. It takes you through them any proofs that God’s Word can be believed. It also shows the amazing and inspiring history of the Bible, along with examples of prophecies that have already been fulfilled.
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The Bible is under attack as never before. But it is also more needed than ever before in a society that is moving farther away from religion.
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