19th April 2008, mgh
1) About the Bible
The Bible has two main functions for today. It contains prophecies that reveal that God guides the destiny of the nations, the approaching great crisis of Armageddon and the results of the return of Jesus. It is the book of life. It examines human's nature and explains why we are mortal and subject to death. It shows how mankind can gain eternal life, that is, immortality. There is the promise of an age when the Kingdom of God will be established on this earth, bringing peace and justice to the earth.
The word Bible means 'book'. It is really a library of sixty-six books which were compiled over a period of about 1600 years. The authors came from many classes of society and wrote in various places. There is however a harmony and unity in their works.
The Bible claims to be the inspired word of God. This Divine authorship is the reason for the unity and harmony of the books of the Bible. In the first five books of the Bible there is the assertion “The Lord said” or “the Lord spake”. In the following books there are three hundred similar statements and in the prophetic books similar expressions occur over twelve hundred times. The claim of Divine inspiration is supported by the revelation of the failings of many of the prominent characters in the Bible, together with their great faith, acts and endurance in their attempts to obey God. The failings and disobedience of the Jews, condemned by God, is recorded in detail and has survived to this day. In a human account such blemishes would be unlikely to be recorded. History and archaeology have also confirmed the reliability of this book.
The Bible's claim to Divine inspiration is most obvious in the fulfilment of Bible prophecy. Humans cannot predict the future with any certainty. God has made predictions in the Bible that have been confirmed by history and archaeology. Babylon, mentioned extensively in the Bible, was long regarded as a mythical city and was used to bring the accusation of unreliability to the Bible. However, as predicted, it had remained in heaps and was a lost city until discovered by archaeologists in the middle of last century. (Jeremiah 51: 37). Other examples are:
It was prophesied that the Jews would become a nation again after being scattered among the nations. Since 1948 the Jews have been returning to their traditional homeland, restoring the wastelands, draining swamps and bringing fertility to a land long ravaged and desolate. (Jeremiah 30: 18-24; Amos 9: 14 and many other places in the prophecies of the Bible)