Here is a challenge to the skeptic and the modernist. It is time this doubting world realizes that true Christianity is based on fact!
A hell-bent world will pause every spring (Easter) to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Millions will at least pay lip service to the risen Christ. Yet most of these same millions doubt the validity of the very thing they are commemorating. Modern churchmen are not at all certain of the literal death and the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It has never occurred to most people that some miracles can be proven. But when they think about it, it seems rather certain that they cannot be proved. Some have reconciled themselves to the fact that they must accept on “faith” the miracles and statements of the Bible.
Most moderns readily admit that they have no such faith in the wholly divine inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. Many attend church because it is “the thing to do.” But their belief is what is supposed to be the basis of true Christianity; however, the Holy Bible is hedged about with doubts and fears. Man has lost faith in God. Now he is beginning to lose faith in himself. His cynical, doubting “intellectualism” has left him hopeless and helpless in the face of mounting world troubles. This attitude of doubt is the very thing that is robbing most of you of the happiness, joy, and peace of mind that should be yours. God seems unreal and far away, doesn’t He?
The God of POWER, the living, active, Creator that Jesus prayed to, the God that healed the sick, and raised the dead, and performed great MIRACLES – that God seems mythical to most people. They would like to believe that God could supernaturally intervene and help them, as He did in Jesus’ day, but how can they know He will? Today, people want proof!
Is it possible to prove that the God of Jesus Christ is a living, active God now? Can the Bible be proved to be completely reliable in its statements? God himself says that we should require proof for our beliefs – “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21). But is it possible to prove whether or not the statements made in God’s Word are true?” Yes, it is possible!
There are many, many parts of the Bible which can be put to the acid test as to their validity, and, if proved to be true they will necessarily demonstrate that the men who wrote these scriptures were inspired as the Bible claims. This is so because the fulfillment of many Bible statements could not have been brought about by human power, but only by divine power.
One of the most obvious and effective ways you can test the Bible is in the fulfillment of its prophecies. Could men living hundreds of years ago predict accurately and in detail events that would happen long after their deaths?
How foolish it would be to imagine that the same men who were inspired by God in writing these remarkable prophecies should suddenly become liars and engage in the basest kind of deception when they wrote of the law, the promises, and the miracles recorded in the Bible.
And who, by the way, is going to say that the continuous and exact fulfillment of prophecies written hundreds of years in advance is not a miracle of the very highest caliber in itself? It is indeed difficult to look back through the centuries and prove conclusively that a miracle or any historical event, for that matter took place in the exact manner described. But year by year, history continues to confirm the inspired prophecies written by the same men who tell us of the miracles God performed through His servants.
However, there is one miracle to which countless prophecies point, about which scores of books have been written, and which proves difficult for even atheists to deny. It has stood through many generations as a proof of God’s power to supernaturally intervene in human affairs and save man even from the grave. And once you accept this miracle, you will see that by its very nature it demonstrates the validity of countless others and of God’s promise to miraculously intervene in our lives now.
The very heart of Bible prophecy concerns a subject which too many people take for granted, without realizing it should be proved. This is the subject of Jesus Christ, His reality, His life, His teachings, His miracles, and His own resurrection.
More than three hundred prophecies and references to Christ in the Old Testament are expressly cited in the New Testament as predictions fulfilled in Him. These prophecies were all written hundreds of years before Christ was born. Taken all together, they form a bond of truth which can’t be broken or disapproved.
In the 53rd chapter of Isaiah a series of remarkable and seemingly paradoxical statements is made about the coming Messiah. It is stated that He was to be cut off from the land of the living, a young man without offspring, yet He shall prolong His days. He was to be put to death as a criminal, to make His grave with the wicked, and yet the sepulchre of the rich was to be His tomb. He was to pour out His soul unto death, and yet He would live to make intercession for transgressors.
Before Jesus Christ appeared, it seemed impossible that one man should fulfill all these incongruous requirements. Yet He fulfilled them so naturally that we have ceased to observe how paradoxical these prophecies must have appeared beforehand.
Almost from the beginning of His own ministry, Jesus taught His own disciples of this coming great event of the ages – His literal death, and His literal resurrection from the dead. Notice Mark 8:31: “And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
When the doubting Pharisees asked Christ for a supernatural sign – a miracle as proof of His Messiahship, Jesus pointed to the same event. He answered: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it; but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three night in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:38-40).
Jesus Christ staked His very Messiahship on a miracle, His resurrection from the dead after a definite period of time. You either believe in this miracle or you are without a Savior!
Here are the facts: As we have just seen, Jesus repeatedly told His disciples that he would be killed, and would rise again after three days. Yet, when it actually happened, they seemed to have given up hope and were slow to believe it (Luke 24:11; Mark 16:13). Doubting Thomas was sure there was a miracle somewhere, and didn’t believe until he touched Jesus with his own hands (John 20:27). These men had to be shown!
Thus, the men who later risked their very lives to preach the story of Jesus’ resurrection were at first unable to believe it, determined not to believe it without proof, and finally came to believe it in spite of themselves. This belief so filled their lives that they henceforth went out and dedicated their lives to preaching Jesus’ message, and acting as “witnesses” of His resurrection.
The story of Jesus’ life is basically the same in both sacred and secular history. It is acknowledged that Jesus was a real person who came to have a large following in Judea, that He was put to death in Jerusalem by authority of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. No contemporary or successor contradicts the story. Not even Jewish writers try to deny it.
Neither the Roman historian Pliny in the first century, Celsus in the second, Porphyry in the third, nor Julian in the fourth questioned the authenticity of the New Testament, or insinuated that Christians were mistaken in the authors to whom they ascribed the New Testament. But all agree that in the reign of Tiberius Caesar a growing band of people risked their lives to propagate a new religion, sustaining unheard-of persecutions and sufferings with amazing faith and courage and that one of the central tenets of their message was their belief in the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
And there is much more evidence! If Jesus did not really rise from the dead, what became of His body? If enemies stole it, they would have shown it at every opportunity, for they did everything in their power to discredit the story, and killed many of those who told it. If Jesus’ disciples stole it, they were then preaching a lie. But multitudes of men do not become martyrs for what they know to be untrue.
Was Jesus Christ really dead? His disciples certainly believed that He was. Their trouble was in believing His resurrection at first. And the Roman soldiers and Jews certainly believed He was dead. They were only concerned about the disciples stealing away His body (Matt. 27:64).
Was the resurrection, as some skeptic’s claim, a later addition to the story of Christ, invented years later to glorify a dead hero? As we have shown, sacred and secular history alike clearly state that the great religious movement known by Christ’s name was begun by people who preached of His resurrection from the dead. This joyous belief was not an addition to the Christian faith, but one of the primary causes of it. The apostles did not rest their faith on records, but on what they had seen with their own eyes.
When questioned about this belief, the apostle chorused: We are his witnesses of these things” (Acts 5:29-32).
There is no conceivable way to account for the origin of the story of Jesus’ resurrection except that it was an actual fact. This miracle is as well established as any fact in history! May God grant you the wisdom, in this age of skepticism and modernism, to see that this miracle is as real, as literal, as factual as anything you know?
Once you really grasp the fact that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was quite literal and miraculous, you will in all honesty be forced to acknowledged that Jesus really was what He claimed to be, the Messiah, the Son of God and that His many other predictions and promises and teachings must be just and true and literal as that of His death and resurrection. Would God raise from the dead and show as His Son one who had told the truth part of the time, and lied part of the time? Let’s be honest and reasonable about these things!
Were the apostles telling the truth about Jesus Christ’s resurrection as we have proved they must have been and lying when they told His other miracles; and of His promises; and of His teachings? Clearly, the factual, historical proof of the divine inspiration and present fulfillment of the prophecies in God’s Word, and of the miraculous resurrection of Jesus demonstrate that God’s Word means exactly what it says, that God is the Living, Active, Creator-Ruler of Heaven and earth now, and that His instructions, His prophecies, and His promises are in effect right now, today! God help you to grasp what this means!
First of all, it means that the instructions and spiritual laws contained in the Bible are in fact God speaking to you! You need to study and obey His Word, to “live by every word of God” (Luke 4:4).
Concerning God’s promises, this complete faith in His Word and in His present power will enable you to trust God as you never did before to supernaturally intervene in your life when you need Him. And don’t be deceived by the modernist teaching that miracles were only for the days of Christ and the apostles. If that were so, why did God perform such great miracles through the hands of Stephen and Philip, who were never called apostles? (Acts 6:8; 8:6.)
What about the “signs” that Jesus said “shall follow them that believe”? (Mark 16:17-18). Have those that believe ceased to exist?
The sad truth is that most so-called “Christians” deny by their words and their deeds the promises and teachings of God’s Word. They have lost sight of God’s present power to miraculously intervene and back up His word, whether it is a prophecy or a promise.
For instance, God says in James 5:14-15: “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over them, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” Why don’t people believe and claim that promise today? Because many have just never been taught that kind of faith in God’s Word. Or perhaps, they have seen God’s promise to heal counterfeited or perverted by some group of people who make a religious racket out of this sort of thing.
But this is God’s promise. It doesn’t require a lot of mental conditioning or emotional gymnastics – only sound-minded, simple, persevering faith in God’s Word. God is present Ruler of the world – and He binds himself by His Word, the Bible. Once you fully grasp this truth, and begin to act on it, you will join hundreds of others who know by personal experience that miracles do happen today. And you will learn to trust and obey God as never before, thereby reaping all the blessings of His divine intervention on your behalf now – and preparing yourself by spiritual growth for the gift of eternal life in the new world to come.