May 26, 2019 Has God Spoken?

 

 

Scripture reading: Daniel 2:1-11; 25-29.

 

Daniel was in captivity in Babylon because, after the king had besieged the city of Jerusalem, he took captive young princes who had knowledge and were educated. The king had a dream and desired to know its meaning. However, he didn’t trust his magicians and astrologers to interpret the dream because he knew that anyone can give any interpretation to a dream that they see fit. He wanted to know the true meaning of his dream. So, he tells them that they must first tell him what the dream was then give him the interpretation. We just read their reply:

 

0 The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” [1]

 

The magicians believe that “the gods” neither dwell with people nor do “they” reveal secret things. Many people today are like those enchanters of Babylon. They do not believe or, at least are not certain, that God has spoken. Has God spoken?

 

In answering this question, I will give three reasons that we can know that He has indeed spoken.

 

First, prophecy proves that God has spoken.

 

These magicians tell the king that “only the gods” can know a person’s thoughts. But, they say, he does not dwell with humanity. Half of what they said was true: only God can know the thoughts of men. But it was not true that He does not dwell with flesh. Isaiah says that He dwells with those who humble and contrite (Is 57:15). He dwelt with Daniel.

 

Daniel receives divine revelation from the Lord. When he does he gives thanks to the Lord and says:

 

he gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to those who have understanding;

22 he reveals deep and hidden things; [2]

 

Daniel then goes on to not only tell the king his dream, but the meaning of it. The dream was a vision of the future kingdoms that would rule the world until the first coming of Christ.

 

Only God can reveal the future because only God knows the future. And so, the Lord says this about Himself:

 

9 remember the former things of old;

for I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me,

10 declaring the end from the beginning

and from ancient times things not yet done,

saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ [3]

 

He declares “things not yet done.” He tells what will happen at the end. Humans do not have this ability. We are creatures of time and we are bound in the present. No one knows what the future holds.

 

Has God spoken? If there were a book that contained fulfilled prophecy then this would be a powerful attestation that the book is of divine origin. The Koran contains no prophecies. The Book of Mormon contains no prophecies. The Bhagavad Gita (the Hindu scriptures) only has a few prophecies in its last section and they are of the most general sort, the kind you could say are fulfilled in any period of time.

 

The Bible is the only book that has specific prophecies, made well in advance, that were fulfilled exactly as they were prophesied. Let us consider a few of these.

 

  1. The Birth of the Messiah.

 

2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

one who is to be ruler in Israel,

whose coming forth is from of old,

from ancient days. [4]

 

The prophet Micah wrote between 750 and 700 BC. To understand the specificity of this prophecy one must realize that Bethlehem is a very small town, both when Micah wrote and in the time of Christ. The population, according to William Albright (one of the world’s foremost archaeologists, who passed away in 1971), was only about 300 at the time of Christ. During Micah’s time it was similarly small. This is why Micah describes it as “too little to be among the clans of Judah.” Matthew tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1). Imagine if you will that someone claiming to speak for God wrote 100 years ago that the greatest President of the United States would come from Winfield, Missouri. Winfield is a very small town. We have less than 1,500 people according to the last census. It’s still larger than Bethlehem was. Now imagine that in the year 2620 a great person becomes President and this person saves our nation both from internal conflict and enemies without. They are hailed as our greatest President. It turns out that they were born in Winfield, Missouri. Coincidence? Maybe. But what if that person who wrote that wrote many other things that came to pass? You would think that it could not be unless they had prior knowledge!

 

  1. Jesus made a prediction about the words that he spoke.

 

31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. [5]

 

Think about what he said for a moment. Here is a man in a small out-of-the-way country who is walking around teaching and preaching. He does not write anything down! He doesn’t write anything he teaches down! How many millions, no, trillions…no, much more than that…how many countless conversations have been uttered by billions of people throughout the millennia? They have all been lost. They have all passed away. But Jesus predicted that his words would never pass away even though he never wrote any down! This is precisely what has come to pass! The words of Jesus have been immortalized. They have not passed away and they will never pass away!

 

  1. Jesus prophesied about a small event and how it would be remembered.

 

6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” [6]

 

Again, consider the circumstances. Here is a teacher in another small town, Bethany, at the home of a leper, Simon, and a woman pours out ointment upon Jesus from an alabaster flask. How easily could such an incident be forgotten? Jesus said that wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world what she has done would be told! Do you realize that this has been fulfilled by this incident being recorded in the New Testament? The NT has gone out through the whole world! Not only that, but preachers of the gospel tell of what she has done as I am doing right now!

 

So, let me tell you the gospel. You are a sinner like this woman was a sinner. She recognized her sin. Do you recognize your sin? She was grateful to Jesus because he forgave her. Jesus can forgive you, too, if you will repent of your sins and trust in Him to be your Lord and Savior. Then you, like her, will experience the tremendous gratitude for being made right with God through the Lord Jesus Christ! This is why she poured the expensive ointment upon him. She was so grateful! That prophecy was just fulfilled again right now.

 

  1. It was foretold that the Messiah would be crucified.

For dogs encompass me;

a company of evildoers encircles me;

they have pierced my hands and feet— [7]

 

Here, David speaks of having his hands and his feet pierced because he is speaking prophetically as the Messiah. David wrote this about 950 BC when crucifixion had not even been practiced anywhere in Israel or surrounding areas[8]. Crucifixion was not commonly used until the Roman Empire used it as a means of execution.

 

  1. Jesus foretold that he would rise from the dead. After he had overturned the tables of the money-changers in the temple we read:

 

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. [9]

 

This was at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, three years before his death and resurrection. David also prophesied about the resurrection albeit in veiled terms:

 

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,

or let your holy one see corruption. [10]

 

Sheol is the grave in Hebrew. The Jews believed in the afterlife, but they understood it to happen at the end of history. The bodies of those who died would decay and be corrupted in the grave until the day of resurrection. David, again speaking prophetically as the Messiah, says that he will not see corruption. The “holy one” would not stay in the grave!

 

  1. Jesus prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed.

 

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” [11]

 

It was common for an enemy, if overtaking another nation, to use the resources of that nation and not to utterly destroy it. The temple in Jerusalem was one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. There would be no reason to think that it would be leveled. But that is what happened. Titus came with the Roman army and they utterly destroyed Jerusalem and the temple forty years after Jesus made this prophecy.

 

  1. Jesus foretold of the reestablishment of Israel.

 

0 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. [12]

 

Here, our Lord again foretells about the destruction of Jerusalem. But notice what he says in verse 24. He says that the Jews would be captives among all nations and that Jerusalem would be inhabited by Gentiles (non-Jews) until their time was fulfilled. In other words, one day the Jews would return to live in Jerusalem.

 

Historically, when a nation is completely overtaken and all the inhabitants taken and sold, those captives never go back and reestablish their nation. But Israel did! The Lord foretold it and it happened 1,915 years later in 1948 when Israel became a nation again and Jews began returning to Israel and Jerusalem in great numbers.

 

These are only seven prophecies. Many more could be declared. They show that this book is of God for only the Lord can know the future. The Lord willing, next time we will look at two other proofs that God has spoken through the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

 

God has spoken to you in the Bible. Have you read this wonderful book? All of it? If you have not read what God has spoken, does this tell you something about yourself? This is a question I hope you will ponder.

 

It is not too late. If you have never read the Bible, I would encourage you to do so. God desires for you to know his will. It reveals His will for you. This book also reveals the door to eternal life. The “door” is a Person and this book reveals who he is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Da 2:10–11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Da 2:21–22). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 46:9–10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mic 5:2). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 13:31). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 26:6–13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 22:16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] The earliest evidence of crucifixion is in Persia about 500 BC. But Persia is far from the Holy Land and this is 450 years late.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 2:18–22). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 16:10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[11] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 19:41–44). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[12] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 21:20–24). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.