How? can One defend the timelessness of the Bible and it’s so-called ‘stories’ IF One have NEVER taken the time to read, nor have studied these in depth… and for YEARS.
A surface scan of texts and a once-twice-thrice through… with, for example, biased atheists’ filter/lens…does not produce… an “informed” advocate… or a thorough Biblical education…nor assessment of said texts.
Lawyers KNOW the law. Defense attorneys Should KNOW enough about their client to “adequately” make a defense.
Man is limited and finite. God is limitless and infinite. When we project our limitations on the readings of “God’s” word…we impose finite boundaries on what cannot be bound!
An inadequate defense attorney… needs intelligent, good WITNESSES… producing accurate/plausible evidence.
The Bible and God are on trial… constantly.
- Modern Movies…with merciless, wanton, gratuitous violence (impossible to enumerate due to quantity nor would want to support/glorify)…are BARBARIC!…The Bible is not.
Resuscitation…How many of us have personally witnessed a person being resuscitated? We don’t need to be a doctor with a medical practice, have the skills-set of a doctor or nurse, nor be an eye-witness to logically accept the possibility and occurrence(s) of people, whom we have never met (past or present), have indeed been resuscitated. Resurrection (aka High-Resolution Resuscitation) recorded in the Bible…far-fetched?! NAH!
- HIGH-TECH and low-tech…photographs, video recordings, voice recordings…i may not fully grasp the technology/the HOW a video and voice recordings work/record/capture image, person, voice…however, all of us have viewed ‘old’ photos, video-recordings, movies of ‘dead’ people…brought back to life via hologram, movie screen, device, Youtube. IF so-called ‘imperfect’ man can, in low-resolution form/low-tech form, bring back people from the dead in this manner, is it really preposterous/illogical/absurd to accept that a PERFECT/DIVINE MAN (God’s Son)…with HIGH-TECH SUPER-SKILLS…could resurrect in high-resolution?! The Bible records Jesus actually resurrecting people in the flesh with numerous eye-witnesses.
- Hating the Weather-man or Hating the weather, Man?? (*Amazing how commas can change things, eh?!) Brutal weather is forecast. The Weather-Man describes upcoming negative weather conditions. The storm is brutal, the weather brutal, the climate brutal. Would it be a “FAIR” assessment to say…the “weatherman” is brutal?! Whether we believe the forecast aka act on it…or not…does not actually change the brutal weather or the man, eh? One description of the Bible is..a book of “prophecy.” The Bible predicted negative (and positive) occurrences that would take place in the future. Weather is not non-sense whether I personally prefer it fair or foul.
1. Carnal warfare then and now…Biblical explanation makes sense: [excerpted: Does God Approve of Warfare? AWAKE! 02]
Jehovah God (aka in Hebrew Yahweh) decreed that Israel should make war to rid the Promised Land of the depraved Canaanites. (Leviticus 18:1, 24-28; Deuteronomy 20:16-18) Just as God had punished evildoers by means of a deluge in Noah’s day and fire in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, so he wielded the nation of Israel as his sword of execution.—Genesis 6:12, 17; 19:13,24, 25.
According to the Bible, Israel fought other battles under God’s direction, usually to repel unprovoked enemy threats. When the nation obeyed Jehovah, the wars it fought ended favorably. (Exodus 34:24;2 Samuel 5:17-25) But disaster usually resulted when Israel dared to do battle contrary to divine counsel. Consider the case of King Jeroboam. Ignoring a direct prophetic warning, he dispatched his huge army in civil war against Judah. When the mayhem finally ended, 500,000 of Jeroboam’s soldiers were dead. (2 Chronicles 13:12-18) Even faithful King Josiah once picked a battle that was not his. The rash decision cost him his life.—2 Chronicles 35:20-24.
What do these events show? That in ancient Israel, the decision to make war rested with God. (Deuteronomy 32:35, 43) He had his people fight for specific purposes. However, these purposes were long ago accomplished. Furthermore, Jehovah foretold that those who serve him “in the final part of the days” would “beat their swords into plowshares” and not “learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:2-4) Clearly, Biblical wars do not justify modern-day conflicts, none of which are fought under God’s direction or at his command.
The Effect of Christ’s Teaching
While on earth, Jesus demonstrated how to replace hatred with unselfish love, commanding: “Love one another, just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) He also said: “Happy are the peaceable.” (Matthew 5:9) Here the Greek word for “peaceable” means more than enjoying a state of tranquillity. It really entails cultivating peace, actively working to promote goodwill.
When Jesus was being arrested, the apostle Peter tried to defend him with a lethal weapon. But the Son of God reprimanded him, saying: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) How did first-century Christians apply those words? Note the following quotations.
“A careful review of all the information available [shows] that, until the time of Marcus Aurelius [121-180 C.E.], no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier, after becoming a Christian, remained in military service.”—The Rise of Christianity.
“The behavior of the [early] Christians was very different from that of the Romans. . . . Since Christ had preached peace, they refused to become soldiers.”—Our World Through the Ages.
Because Christ’s disciples refused to serve in the emperor’s legions, the Romans put many of them to death. Why did Christians maintain such an unpopular stand? Because Jesus taught them to be peacemakers.
Imagine the dreadful situation if Christ’s followers were to fight in opposing armies, trying to kill one another. Such a scenario would be contrary to Christian principles. Really, those who obey the God of the Bible would not harm anyone—not even their enemies.*—Matthew 5:43-45.
Clearly, God does not put his blessing on modern carnal warfare between humans. Being peaceable, true Christians advocate the peace that will be established worldwide under God’s Kingdom.
*The Bible mentions “Har–Magedon,” also called “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” This refers, not to human warfare, but to God’s selective destruction of evildoers. Hence, Har–Magedon cannot be used to justify modern-day human conflicts or to assume that God is blessing them.—Revelation 16:14, 16; 21:8.
2. and 3. The Resurrection a fundamental teaching…[excerpted reading: The Resurrection–A Teaching That Affects You W 05]
8 Yes, so fundamental is the teaching of the resurrection that the Christian faith is in vain if the resurrection is not accepted as a reality. Indeed, the correct understanding of the resurrection sets true Christians apart from the false. (Genesis 3:4; Ezekiel 18:4) Thus, Paul includes the teaching of the resurrection in “the primary doctrine” of Christianity. May our determination be to “press on to maturity.” “And this we will do,” exhorts Paul, “if God indeed permits.”—Hebrews 6:1-3.
The Resurrection Hope
9, 10. What does the Bible mean when it refers to the resurrection?
9 To strengthen our faith in the resurrection further, let us review such questions as: What does the Bible mean when it refers to the resurrection? How does the teaching of the resurrection magnify Jehovah’s love? Answers to these questions will draw us closer to God and at the same time help us to teach others.—2 Timothy 2:2; James 4:8.
10 “Resurrection” is the translation of a Greek word that literally means “a standing up again.” What does that expression involve? According to the Bible, the resurrection hope is the conviction that a dead person can live again. The Bible further shows that the person is restored in either a human or a spirit body, depending on whether he has an earthly or a heavenly hope. We marvel at Jehovah’s love, wisdom, and power manifest in this wonderful resurrection prospect.
Excerpted Readings: Is the Resurrection Real to You? W 07
9. How does the Bible record establish the reality of the resurrection?
9 The resurrection has been demonstrated before eyewitnesses and recorded in God’s Word. The Bible record contains detailed descriptions of eight resurrections of people brought back to life as humans on earth. These miracles were performed not in secret but openly, often in front of eyewitnesses. Jesus resurrected Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, in front of a crowd of mourners—no doubt including the man’s family, friends, and neighbors. This evidence that Jesus was sent by God was so forceful that Jesus’ religious enemies never denied that it had happened. Instead, they plotted to kill not only Jesus but also Lazarus! (John 11:17-44, 53; 12:9-11) Yes, we can have confidence that the resurrection is a certainty. God has given us a record of past resurrections in order to comfort us and to build up our faith.
IF one can accept God created humans…then it’s easy to accept God has the power to reform them:
● The thought of a resurrection of the dead was particularly difficult for the ancient worldly-wise Greeks to accept. Thus when the apostle Paul spoke to the Athenian philosophers on Mars’ Hill they listened attentively until he mentioned the resurrection. (Acts 17:31-34) In the Octavius of Minucius Felix of the early third century C.E., there is an interesting defense of the resurrection in chapter 34: “But who is so foolish or so brutish as to dare deny that man, as he could first of all be formed by God, so can again be reformed; that he is nothing after death, and that he was nothing before he began to exist; and as from nothing it was possible for him to be born, so from nothing it may be possible for him to be restored?”—The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 194. [excerpted reading The Resurrection W 1969]
Are Doubts About Jesus Justified?
DID Jesus of Nazareth really perform miracles? Was he resurrected from the dead, as his disciples proclaimed? Did he live at all? In our modern age, many seem to be unable to answer such questions with certainty. Why? Because they entertain doubts about Jesus, and doubts are feelings of uncertainty, not knowing whether something is true or possible. But are feelings of uncertainty concerning Jesus justified?
How Doubts About Jesus Were Sown
Certain German theologians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries portrayed Jesus as “a fictitious figure of the ancient Church.” Their impugning Jesus’ historicity led to a controversy among scholars at the beginning of this century that reached the public at that time and still has an influence today.
Why is the conclusion that Jesus was “invented” simply not justified? Bible scholar Wolfgang Trilling comments: “The controversy as to whether Jesus ever lived, in other words whether he was a historical figure or a myth, was settled. The question was resolved in a scholarly manner, at least in such a way that serious-minded people no longer see the problem as an academic issue.”
Testimonies That Dispel Doubts
The ignominious execution of Jesus as a contemptible criminal provides “the most convincing argument against opponents of the historicity of Jesus,” states Trilling. Why? Because the execution “encumbered, even hindered, the dispersion of the new faith among Jews and non-Jews.” (Compare 1 Corinthians 1:23.) If the execution of Jesus the Messiah was such an effrontery to both Jews and Gentiles, it hardly would have been an invention of the apostles! Furthermore, Jesus’ death is attested to as an historical event not only by the four Gospels but also by the Roman writer Tacitus and by the Jewish Talmud.*Polemic references to Jesus in the Talmud are accepted as genuine by certain scholars only. On the other hand, references to Jesus by Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, and at least one by Flavius Josephus, are generally accepted as proof of the historical existence of Jesus.
Other events during Jesus’ life are also viewed as internal evidence of the credibility of the Gospels, hence of what they tell us about him. For example, would the followers of Jesus have fabricated his coming from Nazareth, a place seemingly out of favor? Or is it likely that they would have invented his betrayal by Judas, a trusted companion? Does it seem realistic to think that they would have made up a story about Jesus’ being abandoned by the rest of the disciples in such a cowardly manner? It is surely illogical that the disciples would have constructed particulars so detrimental in nature and then proclaimed them far and wide! In addition, the art of teaching employed by Jesus was characterized by a unique style. Jewish literature of the first century contains nothing comparable to his illustrations. Which anonymous person could ever have “invented” such a masterpiece as the Sermon on the Mount? These arguments all tend to corroborate the trustworthiness of the Gospels as reports of Jesus’ life.
There is also external evidence for the historicity of Jesus. The four Gospels portray him against a specific, accurately detailed, historical background. Places, such as Bethlehem and Galilee; prominent individuals and groups, such as Pontius Pilate and the Pharisees; as well as Jewish customs and other peculiarities were not simply concocted. They formed part of the structure of life in the first century, and they have been confirmed by non-Biblical sources and by archaeological findings.
There is, thus, convincing evidence, both internal and external, that Jesus is a historical person.
Just consider. Mark 3:3-5 reports that Jesus cured a man’s withered hand. But is a withered hand the result of mental distress? Definitely not. Consequently, this healing could not be attributed to the power of suggestion. So what enabled Jesus to perform miracles? Professor Staudinger admits: “If there are no laws that are absolutely valid, and if one does not completely deny God, then fundamentally one cannot rule out the possibility that God, whose power exceeds man’s, is able to perform things that are not common practice.” Yes, indeed, with the aid of the “power of God,” Jesus literally healed people who were ill. There is thus no reason to doubt the genuineness of his miracles.—Luke 9:43; Matthew 12:28.
As The American Peoples Encyclopedia puts it, if the greatest of all miracles—Jesus’ resurrection—took place, all other miracles reported in the Gospels “fall within the realm of possibility.” Was Jesus really raised up from the dead?
Doubts About Jesus’ Resurrection Justified?
Consider first a piece of strong circumstantial evidence that supports the truthfulness of the resurrection of Jesus—his empty tomb. The fact that Jesus’ grave was discovered to be empty was undisputed by his contemporaries, even by his opposers. (Matthew 28:11-15) Deception would easily have been exposed! The above-mentioned reference work rightly concludes: “No valid explanation for the empty tomb has ever been suggested except the biblical statement, ‘He is not here; for he is risen’ (Matt. 28:6).”
Some object, saying that it was only Jesus’ own disciples who proclaimed everywhere that he was the resurrected Messiah. They did. But was not the credibility of their message firmly anchored in historical fact, especially the death and resurrection of Jesus? Of course. The apostle Paul was aware of this connection when he wrote: “If Christ has not been raised up, our preaching is certainly in vain, and our faith is in vain. Moreover, we are also found false witnesses of God, because we have borne witness against God that he raised up the Christ.”—1 Corinthians 15:14, 15; compare John 19:35; 21:24; Hebrews 2:3.
In the first century, there were many people whose identities were well-known and who could bear witness to the appearance of Jesus after his death. Among them were the 12 apostles and Paul, as well as more than 500 other eyewitnesses.*On one occasion, the resurrected Jesus ate fish with his disciples, which proves that his appearance was not simply a vision, as some claim today.—Luke 24:36-43. (1 Corinthians 15:6) Bear in mind also the reason why Matthias fulfilled the qualifications to succeed the unfaithful apostle Judas. Acts 1:21-23 reports that Matthias could testify to Jesus’ resurrection and to earlier events in connection with Him. If the life and resurrection of Jesus had been fiction instead of fact, such a requirement for the appointment would certainly have been completely pointless.
Because so many first-century eyewitnesses could testify to the life, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Christianity spread relatively quickly throughout the Roman Empire, despite the above-mentioned obstacles. His followers were willing to put up with hardship, persecution, and even death so as to declare everywhere the resurrection and the fundamental truth emanating from it. Which truth? That his resurrection had been possible only by reason of the power of God. And why had Jehovah God resurrected Jesus from the dead? The answer to that question shows who the historical Jesus is.
On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter freely declared to astonished Jews in Jerusalem: “This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this which you see and hear. Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.” (Acts 2:32-36) Yes, Jehovah God made Jesus of Nazareth “both Lord and Christ.” Are doubts concerning his role in this part of God’s purpose justified?
Why Doubt Jesus’ Present Role?
How can all doubts about the identity and role of Jesus be dispelled? By the fact that he was clearly a true prophet. He predicted the wars, famines, earthquakes, crime, and lack of love that we see today. Additionally, he predicted: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:3-14) The fulfillment of these prophecies proves that Jesus is the resurrected Christ, invisibly ruling ‘in the midst of his enemies,’ and soon he will usher in God’s new world.—Psalm 110:1, 2; Daniel 2:44;Revelation 21:1-5.
Now as never before, mankind urgently needs a Savior equipped with superhuman wisdom. Why should we doubt that Jesus is the one rightly selected to save mankind? John, who was an eyewitness to the impressive miracles and to the resurrection of Jesus, declared: “In addition, we ourselves have beheld and are bearing witness that the Father has sent forth his Son as Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14; compare John 4:42.) Just as we have no reasonable grounds to doubt Jesus’ existence, miracles, death, and resurrection, we have no reason to doubt that he has been enthroned by Jehovah God as lawful King at His right hand. Without doubt, Jesus of Nazareth is the King of God’s Kingdom and “Savior of the world.”—Matthew 6:10. [Excerpted Readings Are Doubts About Jesus Justifiable? w’95]
Own Interests Come First
“No Swimming,” “High Voltage,” “Reduce Speed.” These are some of the signs and warnings that we see but that are often ignored. Why? We are easily swayed by what we consider to be in our own best interests. For example, we may feel the need to drive faster than the law permits, or we may have a strong desire to swim where it is forbidden. But ignoring signs is unwise.
For instance, avalanches in the Alpine mountains of Austria, France, Italy, and Switzerland sometimes claim the lives of tourists who ignore warnings that urge them to ski or snowboard only on secure routes. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, many tourists who ignore such warnings live by the maxim, No risk, no fun. Sadly, ignoring warnings can have tragic results.
What reasons do people have for disregarding the sign described by Jesus? They may be blinded by avarice, numbed by apathy, paralyzed by indecision, bogged down by routine, or gripped by fear of losing prestige. Could any of these be causing you to ignore the sign of Jesus’ presence? Would it not be wiser to recognize the sign and act accordingly?
Jesus foretold a multitude of events that together would constitute a sign that would be identifiable from anywhere on earth [excerpted reading Do You Recognize the Sign of Jesus Presence? w 05]
9/03/18 @ 8:33 p.m.