Lamp and Bible

Because we live in a very real world, the things that we understand to be truth, or our perception of reality, effects not only the way we think and act, but every decision we make.

Several years ago, in the western part of the United States, an older man and his wife went to the country to look for comfrey that grew wild in the area. They gathered what they believed to be comfrey leaves, but which were in reality foxglove. The tea they extracted from the dried leaves killed them both. It didn’t really matter that they believed the leaves to be comfrey; the truth of the matter was that they were foxglove.

Soon after the death of King Solomon, the northern ten tribes of Israel established a separate kingdom under Jeroboam, who, unfortunately, led Israel into apostasy. Because of his great wickedness, God sent a prophet to rebuke him. Before this man of God left his home, the Lord told him that he was not to eat or drink anything while he was in the land of Israel, but to come directly back home. (See 1 Kings 13:8–9)

On his way home, the man of God stopped to rest under a large oak tree, and while resting there, an old man who had once been a prophet caught up with him and invited him to come to his house and refresh himself with some water to drink and some food to eat.

The man of God related to the old prophet God’s message to him. Then the old prophet lied to the man of God and told him: “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” 1 Kings 13:18. So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water.

While they were still sitting together at the table, the word of God spoke through this false prophet, reproving the man of God for his disobedience, and prophesying his violent death. On his way home later that day, he was killed by a lion. You see, it made a very great difference to that man that he know what the truth was.

The Scriptures claim for themselves that which no other book can rightly claim-to be a revelation of God to man. Approximately forty writers penned the books that make up our Bible. Among those writers were men of every rank and class: men educated in Egypt, in Babylon, in Jerusalem, and some with very little education at all. Written over a period spanning nearly two thousand years by numerous writers from widely varying backgrounds, what an opportunity was afforded for variety of opinion and conflict, and yet, the books of the Bible are in perfect agreement. Turning from what other sources have to say regarding the Scriptures, we will open the Bible itself.

The writings of the Bible were not obtained by the authors of the various books searching the archives of libraries, but by the thoughts impressed upon their minds by the Holy Spirit. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21

From the beginning to the end, the Scriptures are a revelation of Jesus Christ. Speaking to the people of His day, and referring to the writings of the Old Testament, which were the only Bible of His day, Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39

Peter pointed to the coming of Jesus, in fulfillment of prophecy, as the ultimate confirmation of the prophetic writings of the Old Testament when he said, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place.” 2 Peter 1: 16–19

Not only had the place of Jesus’ birth been foretold hundreds of years in advance (see Micah 5:2), but many other details as well. Perhaps one of the most amazing prophecies is the one that foretold that in death He would make His grave with the rich. “And they made His grave with the wicked-but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” Isaiah 53:9. What makes this fulfillment of prophecy of Isaiah so amazing is the fact that Jesus died as a traitor to the empire. You may recall that the final charge that the Jews threw at Pilate, persuading him to act against his conscience in crucifying Jesus, was the charge that Christ had set Himself up as a king against Caesar. (See John 19:12) This accusation went along with the writing that was placed above His head on the cross, proclaiming Him to be the King of the Jews. (See Matthew 27:37) The Romans were very jealous for their power and authority, and for anyone to be guilty of trying to work against the Roman government was a very serious crime. Because this was the crime Jesus was charged with, we would expect that He would be buried in disgrace in an unmarked grave where the worst of criminals were placed. Instead of this, however, one of the richest men in Jerusalem requested and received His body, placing it in as fine a tomb as money could purchase. That anyone would dare to do this, or that Pilate would even allow it, under the circumstances, testified to the fact that it was a fulfillment of prophecy.

There are other prophecies that the prophets made that history reveals have been fulfilled in every detail.

While the city of Tyre was at the height of her glory and power, and while it seemed she must stand forever, under inspiration, Ezekiel wrote, “ ‘And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD; ‘it shall become plunder for the nations. They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water.’ Ezekiel 26:4–5, 12

A short time later, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, came against Tyre and, after a siege of thirteen years, destroyed the city. Even though the city lay in ruins, the prophecy foretold that even its ruins would be cast into the sea. Two and a half centuries passed, and still the ruins lay right where they were, challenging the truthfulness of the prophecy of Ezekiel. Then from the East came the famous commander of the Greek armies, Alexander the Great. Reaching the place where Tyre had once stood, but now lay in ruins, he saw that the city he had come to capture had been rebuilt and stood on an island a half mile off the shore. Alexander was not discouraged however. He put his men to work and they gathered up all the old ruins, using them to build a causeway out to the island-city. In accomplishing this task, the demand for material was so great that the very dust was scraped from the site of the former city and laid in the sea.

We turn from the ancient city of Tyre and notice what the prophet wrote of her even more ancient sister city Sidon.

“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I am against you, 0 Sidon; I will be glorified in your midst; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I execute judgments in her and am hallowed in her. For I will send pestilence upon her, and blood in her streets; the wounded shall be judged in her midst by the sword against her on every side; then they shall know that I am the LORD.’ ” Ezekiel 28:22–23

Notice that though the prophet foretold blood in her streets and that she would suffer God’s judgments, he did not predict her full and final destruction, as he had with Tyre. In spite of the fact that few, if any, other cities have suffered more than Sidon, Sidon has had an uninterrupted existence right down until this day.

At the time these prophecies were written, both of these cities were strong, and there was no indication as to what would befall them. Suppose, however, that the prophet had said that Tyre and Sidon would both be utterly destroyed? The thousands of people now living in Sidon would prove the falsity of the writings of God’s Word.

Of the city of Ashkelon, Zechariah wrote: “And Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.” Zechariah 9:5. Founded 1800 years before the birth of Christ, she was a prosperous city at that time. For another 1500 years after the prophet had made the prophecy that no one would live in it, she continued to remain powerful. Then, in 1270 Sultan Beibars destroyed its fortifications and blocked its harbor with stones. For the last 700 years, the city has lain in ruins, testifying to the truthfulness of the words of the prophet.

Another great city of antiquity, of which the prophets spoke, was Babylon. Of her, Jeremiah said, “ ‘Babylon shall become a heap, a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant.’ Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire.’ ” Jeremiah 51:37, 58 (See Isaiah 13:19–22)

The Babylonians thought Babylon could never fall. Its great stone walls, by some records, are said to have been over 300 feet high and 60 feet thick, making the city a mighty fortress. Yet the humble prophets wrote the messages that God dictated.

Many years after the prophecies were given, Babylon’s great walls were broken to pieces, and the city was destroyed by fire. She is still in ruins. No one lives there today, and only animals and birds of the wild now occupy the ruins of that once great city. The proud Babylonians no longer exist, but the roaming Arabs still pitch their tents in those lands, but none do so at the place of the ancient ruins of the city.

God claims to be the only one able to foretell the future. He says in Isaiah 46:9–10: “I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.”

The ability to tell us things before they happen is one great proof that He is God. Some who have claimed to be prophets have at times tried to tell of future events. Once in a while, it seems they are right, but the false gods and false prophets cannot tell the future and be right every time. There is no other book in existence that can make such claims as those brought forth in the Bible. For 2,000 years men have attacked the Bible, seeking to discredit it but it still remains. Though all else may pass away, God’s Word, as the apostle tells us, will last forever. (See 1 Peter 1:23)

As you learn more about the truths of the Bible, you will find that this knowledge becomes very valuable to you. It will protect you from believing many of the deceptions that are confusing and misleading so many today. In the book of Psalms, David tells us: “His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4

The apostle Paul tells us that it is only as we have on the armor that truth provides for us, that we will be able to stand in the evil day. (See Ephesians 6:13) He then goes on to list several pieces of armor that it is important for the Christian to wear. After naming several pieces of this armor, that equips us to meet the enemy, he says, “above all,” take the shield of faith. It is only as we learn God’s Word that we can have faith. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

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