Where did The Bible come from? Who inscribed it’s first words? What would you do if it's really all true?
The Bible claims to be the written word of God. Hundreds of times it boldly says, “God said” or “Thus saith The Lord”. At least 26 other books in the world today are said to be from God. So, how can we tell which one, if any, is the word of The Creator God? Since our lives both now and later depend on knowing the truth about who we are, where we came from, and why we’re here; It’s worth the work to find the source of truth. The Bible says that the way to find the truth about God is to seek for Him with all your heart. Jesus told his disciples that if they continue in His word they will know the truth and the truth will make them free. From early childhood my main goal was to find freedom from controlling influences: fears within and authorities without. After having and causing trouble in my own rebel heart and life for the first quarter of my time here on earth, I finally found freedom. My freedom came as the message of the Bible revealed the truth about God, the truth about me, and the truth about the price paid to purchase my freedom from both the guilt and bondage of my own pride filled, rebellious heart. I discovered it’s worth it to let the Bible speak for itself rather than taking other people’s word for what it says. By the way, did you know it only takes the average reader seven minutes to read the average chapter of The Bible? The Bible is the only book ever written over more than a 1,500 year time span, by more than 40 different types of authors that were: rich and poor, blue and white collar workers, politicians and prisoners; they lived on three different continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe; they wrote in many different styles and in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; and yet no one has been able to prove contradictions in the message. The Bible is both the most challenged and the most verified book ever written. The Bible’s credibility has been confirmed by numerous detailed and precisely fulfilled prophecies, as well as archaeological finds that verify historical accounts of ancient names, places, customs and events that were recorded in the Bible thousands of years ago. At this time, more than 50,000 digs in 30,000 different places have been excavated. Aside from all that, the ending of this ancient book is just beginning to happen. The Bible predicted that in the last days there will be a global government with one man as the world ruler. When I was a child, such a possibility was a joke! There were no computers, cell phones, or commercial jet travel. Fast forward to today with many nations’ economies hopelessly deep in debt, worldwide terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and the constant threat of war: many people want a man with a plan to bring peace and prosperity. Due to the advancement of technology our entire planet is interconnected with high speed travel and high speed communication enabling a one world leader to govern the nations.
Beginning at The Beginning The first words of the Bible are, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That's different from any other explanation of how we got here. The Bible record is the only account that directly gives the reason for the absolute origin of time, space and matter. The theory of evolution begins with a speck of matter, that for no known reason, blew up. The debris from the explosion eventually organized itself; added information through natural forces; at some point part of the matter came alive, and eventually evolved into individual persons. Pagan pantheism teaches a similar theory, but adds intelligent forces personified as gods and goddesses who guided the matter on its way to becoming human beings. The Genesis record presents time, space and matter coming into existence together. In truth these three would have to come into existence at the same instance. Think about it: If matter existed without space, where would it be located? If matter and space existed without time, when could that be? The universe is a unity of 3 things that are interdependent. The Bible says, "In the beginning,” (time) "God created the heavens" (space), "and the earth" (matter). Obviously something or someone had to be eternal, independent and self-existent. The original cause of time, space and matter could not consist of time, space or matter. The cause would have to be separate from, and greater than the creation. Therefore the cause of time, space and matter would have to be an: infinite, (timeless), omnipresent, (present in all places and in all times), immaterial, (spiritual), personal being. Think about it: only a personal being could make an independent, free will choice to decide to create. Unlike robots, computers, or puppets, only persons have a mind, will and emotions that make free will choices possible. All that fits the description in the Bible, of God who made persons in his own image with independent, eternal souls that include interdependent: mind, will and emotions.
The Ballad of Beginning Okay, that's heavy stuff to consider, so on a lighter note did you know that those first words in the Bible are actually part of a song? Genesis 1-Genesis 2:3 are in fact a Hebrew hymn. The Ballad of Our Beginning was written in the original Hebrew language with beautiful rhythm and style that are easy to remember. The lyrics tell how God spoke things into existence by the power of His word; and then "created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them." God blessed them and gave them rights and responsibility over his creation. The Bible doesn’t say who first sang this first song, or who first wrote it down. It is reasonable to assume that if God wanted people to know their Creator he would have provided ways to communicate with them. Right from the start in Genesis chapters 1-3 God talks to his people; and they talk to him and each other. When Father God brought Adam’s beautiful bride to him, Adam broke out in song, (The first wedding song!). "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man." (Gen. 2:23) Obviously God gave them the gift of language and could easily have given them the ability to read and write; but we don’t know. When God finished his work He looked at everything He created, and declared it was very good. Adam would have been at least as intelligent as any modern man. There is a lot of speculation about who the first writer was. An ancient Arab legend claims that Adam's great-great-great-great-grandson Enoch invented writing. It’s reasonable to assume that if the Creator wanted a written message to help people know Him and His ways, He would have planned it so that His message to everyone would be written down before the first man died. The Bible record says that Adam was 130 years old when Enoch was born; and he lived for another 800 years afterwards. He was 930 years old when he died; so he had plenty of time to record his history. The Bible gives us information we need about God, people and the world, but it doesn't tell us everything we want to know. It's fun to explore and discover mysteries, but we need to remember that many things influence the assumptions we draw; and we all take a lot of things by faith; so we have to be very careful before we jump to conclusions. Faith matters because truth matters. There are posters and placards that simply say, “Believe”. There is also an old slogan that simply says, “Keep The Faith”. Reality is: faith in faith won’t save you from anything; it is the object of our faith that makes the difference. Is your faith’s foundation on solid ground or sinking sand? What exactly are you counting on? Many people decided to place their faith in the word of professional Bible critics from the 1800s who assumed that writing was not invented until after the time of Moses who is credited by Jesus and the apostles with giving the 1st 5 books of the Bible. These highly educated scholars claimed that religious leaders composed the ancient Hebrew ballad as well as many other parts of The Bible sometime after 586 B.C. However, in 1887 an Egyptian woman discovered some clay tablets that were actually records from the ancient archives of the Egyptian Foreign Office. They were letters from ambassadors who used an ancient postal system to regularly report affairs from distant regions. Archeologists call those tablets the Tel el-Armarna tablets and have dated them to before the time of Moses. Since then numerous other archeological finds prove that well before Moses went to school in the Egyptian palace, (between 1400 B.C. & 1450 B.C) there were many different kinds of writing and writing materials. Scientists are now admitting that contrary to their prior theories about so-called Stone Age cavemen, developing language from grunts to grammar, archeological evidence found in European caves shows that our most ancient ancestors could not only talk to each other and work together, they created artwork, made tools and used written symbols to leave messages for each other. Exactly 26 of these written symbols have been identified and cataloged, including a hand, a spiral and a wavy line. The symbols have been found inscribed on jewelry and in stone. Needless to say, the cave people who wrote down their thoughts were not partly evolved ape men. They could have been some of the immigrants from the Tower of Babel event who were scattered throughout the world. Some of those people encountering harsh weather conditions could have taken refuge in ready-made shelters such as caves until they eventually rebuilt civilizations. These cave campers were not stupid subhuman creatures. Man was smart from the start because God made people fully functional in the first place.
FAMILY HISTORY RECORDS INSCRIBED BY ADAM, NOAH & SONS In Genesis 5:1 the very first man Adam signed his name to a document which recorded events that involved him. In Genesis 2:5-Genesis 5:1, Adam's book describes his origin, his garden home, his relationship with his Creator, the first surgery and the first wedding; as well as the rebellion that changed his whole world. He describes his own failures, and his family's failures and successes during his very long lifetime. Adam wrote a book about his life and family that included things that made him look bad. Other people write autobiographies; but most don’t highlight their own faults. Adam finished his book with a ‘distinctive remark’, and then signed his name. Actually, there are several such records in the book of Genesis. Each one is separated by the same ‘distinctive remark’ Adam closed his record with. The record that immediately follows Adam’s book is signed by Noah. In his introductory comments he reminds his readers that Adam was made in the image of God. He says that Adam was 930 years old when he died. Then Noah provides the names of the most important descendants of Adam until Noah’s own time. In the most ancient of times up until recently, people’s names had very significant meanings. The names Noah gave in Genesis are in the unique Hebrew language which provides fascinating insights. Unfortunately, Bible translators don’t translate most names. Noah’s record says that there were a lot of people on the earth; and at that time, there were some very weird marriages that took place. His record says that the children of these strange unions became well known as mighty giants; and God was greatly grieved over the extreme wickedness of man; and that every imagination of men’s hearts was only evil continually. The Lord said his spirit would not always strive with man and that he would destroy the men, animals, creeping things and birds But Noah found grace in the eyes of The Lord. Noah’s record closes with the ‘distinctive remark’ and his signature in Genesis 6:9. Noah’s sons Shem, Ham and Japheth start their record with introductory comments stating that Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations and walked with God. They said God saw that the earth was filled with violence because all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth; so God warned he would destroy them. Noah’s sons said God told their father that He was going to destroy the world with a global flood. God told Noah to build an ark and cover it inside and out with pitch, for preservation and waterproofing. God provided specific details for the boat's design; and instructed Noah about everything he should bring into the ark. Noah’s sons recorded information about the great flood of God’s judgement, and the amazing rescue of the people who chose to believe and receive God’s warning and promise. We don’t know how many doubts and fears Noah and his family may have had during the time that they worked on building the boat, but it's clear that as they got on board the ark their commitment to their decision to trust God’s word had become faith with no turning back. They were staking their lives on what they believed: that’s what faith is! They said that when the flood was over and everything and everybody got back on dry land, Noah expressed appreciation to God; and demonstrated his faith in God’s promises by building an altar and offering burnt offerings on it. God blessed Noah and his family and commanded them to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth. God Promised there would never be another worldwide flood; and gave the rainbow as a reminder of His promise. Noah’s sons mentioned a strange, embarrassing incident that happened with Noah after the flood; and then recorded that Noah lived another 350 years after the flood and died at the age of 950. Noah’s sons made that 'distinctive remark' and signed their names: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Noah's son, Shem, wrote his own separate record in addition to the one that he and his brothers wrote. It is often referred to as The Table of Nations. It’s a genealogy of each of the three sons of Noah. Their descendants’ names help us identify the geographical locations these families migrated to both before and after The Tower of Babel event, where God judged the people who rebelled against him by dividing their single language into multiple language families. Shem described that event; in his ancient account of the Babel rebellion. The Genesis record is supported with evidence found, by geologists and archeologists, as well as similar stories found in cultures throughout history, throughout the world. That is exactly what we would expect if such traumatic events actually happened to our ancestors. According to The Bible, about 6 generations after Noah and his family got off the boat, many of his descendants decided to ignore the truth that their great- great-great- great grandparents had experienced: that their Creator has both the qualifications and right to rule. God’s name represents who He is and what He does. The name of God is above all names because only He has the power of being in and of Himself. He is the only entity that is self existent with no outside influence of any kind that caused him to be. He is totally independent and self-sustaining. He is infinite with no beginning or end which means he necessarily exists at all times. All of the rest of us have the reason for our existence outside of ourselves; and our lives have limitations. We need to remember who our Creator, Judge, and Redeemer really is. We are all dependent on the Lord God for our next breath. In spite of all that, many of Noah’s descendants made an alliance with each other to build a great city with a tower to reach heaven, that was in defiance of God’s command to spread out and repopulate the earth. They said ‘let’s make us a name for ourselves’ as opposed to honoring the name of the Lord God who gave them life. They called their great tower “The Gate of God”. That’s the English translation of the Babylonian word,’bab-ilu’. Did they think they could become like God whose name is above every name? They also feared being “scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth”. (Genesis 11:4) However, God who knew what was up, came down and judged them by dividing their single language into multiple language families; and the confusion ended their ability to work together. They had expected to make a name for themselves with their achievement of the great building project that demonstrated they did not need to depend on their creator to help them reach the heavens. However, in Shem’s record he refers to their tower by its Hebrew name ‘Babel’ which means ‘confound or confuse’. They also “scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth”! Family groups who spoke the same language began a worldwide migration. Some settled nearby; and many traveled to distant lands to start a new life. These pioneers told and retold the events of their past. Although their stories changed while being passed along, it's stunning that: 5,000 years later, basic elements still match the Genesis record. Most of the nations and tribes of the entire world have very ancient legends about a worldwide flood. The vast majority of these stories include a special family that survived by means of a boat. Most of the traditions say that the flood was the result of man's wickedness; animals were also saved; survivors were forewarned and after the flood they ended up on a mountain. Many stories include birds that were sent out first from the boat; and some say there were 8 people that survived to repopulate the earth. There are also numerous very old legends from different civilizations, in distant lands about the Tower of Babel. These include the building of a tall tower and an angry God who divided up language. Even in the Americas, first nations such as the Choctaw and the Aztecs continue to tell of their own family connection to the Tower of Babel and the reason for multiple languages. (For the record so-called primitive cultures have very complex languages. Western movies often portrayed native Americans as simple guys that didn't communicate well. We now know their languages were so complicated that they were used to transmit coded messages in wars.) Archeologists have provided a peek into the place where the dispersion began. In the 1800s an ancient city of Babylon was dug up in Iraq. It had been buried in a gigantic mound of desert dust and sand. During 1 of the excavations done by Sir Henry Rawlinson, he found some clay cylinders that had been inserted into the walls of a huge badly damaged tower. The inscriptions on the cylinders say they were written by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The archeologists have dated the cylinders to 600 B.C. In the record written on the cylinders Nebuchadnezzar claims that he rebuilt an extremely ancient Tower that he refers to as The Tower of Borsippa which means Tongue Tower. He says that a long time before him, a former king had built it; but was not able to finish its head. Nebuchadnezzar said he rebuilt the great tower on its original platform on the original site. He claims he restored the tower to what it had been in ancient times. In 1978 Saddam Hussein began to rebuild the city of Babylon. He hired archeologists to certify the foundations of ancient structures before rebuilding them with as much authenticity as he could. At the height of his power the archeologists helped him plan to rebuild The Tower of Babel on its original site. He got his self-aggrandizing project started; but he fell from power; and in 2003 he was found hiding in a pit when he was captured. Shem’s account of the beginning of nations is followed by the records of others in his family line: including Terah, (Abraham;s father), Ishmael, Esau, Jacob, and Joseph. There are 11 historical, written records in Genesis with the names of their authors with the ‘distinctive remark’ of Adam. Most ancient written records, from before the time of Moses that have been found, were inscribed in stone or clay tablets and many include ‘that distinctive remark’ used in Genesis. If you just do a quick scan through the book without carefully considering everything it says, you might not see the significance of ‘the distinctive remark’ that accompanies the name of the author of the document. The ‘distinctive remark’ is the English translation of the Hebrew word ‘toledoth’. Toledoth is translated into English as: “This is the origin of”, "These are the generations of", "This is the history of”, ”This is the account of”, "These are the historical origins of...", or “This is the record of” followed by the name of the man who wrote it. In Genesis the ‘toledoth’ phrase is found 11 times. It is also used in other books of the Old Testament, as well as numerous other very ancient tablets and scrolls that have been discovered by archeologists. The ‘toledoth’ remark, followed by the author’s name in Genesis separates the original individual accounts. (By the way, chapter and verse divisions in modern Bibles are not inspired and were added by Steven Langton about 1227 AD for referencing purposes. Before that, none of the ancient Bible manuscripts had such divisions, which can be convenient but are sometimes quite misleading.)
Who is The Original Author of The Genesis Record? Was Moses able to read and copy the inscribed family histories of his ancestors? Did he know the language that Adam spoke and wrote? Moses lived thousands of years after Adam; and he lived hundreds of years after the original language of man was divided up at The Tower of Babel. However, the Bible does not infer that absolutely everyone who was living during the time that the Babel rebellion took place was present in that city and participated in the treasonous tower trouble. There is no reason to assume that Noah, Shem, their wives, or absolutely everyone alive at the time during the Babel rebellion participated in it; or that God changed the original language of those who had not rejected God and his word. Each family group including Shem and his family would have spoken to their kids and grand-kids in their own language. If Shem did not participate in the Babel rebellion; he would have kept his native language and taught it to his descendants who would have spoken it to their descendants. Actually there is reason to reckon that the language of Adam is one of the languages that exists today. (More on that later.) However, 19th century professors discredited all 40 references in The Bible that credit Moses with giving the 1st 5 books, which are referred to as the Torah, Pentatuch or The Law of Moses. They assumed that if there were any written records available from the time of Adam to Joseph, Moses would not have been able to understand the language of his earliest ancestors. People who believe that the human race started with a cell that spontaneously sprang to life and grew and improved until it became me and you, logically conclude that all language must have evolved too. Charles Darwin said, “I cannot doubt that language owes to the imitation and modification, aided by signs and gestures of various natural sounds, and man’s own instinctive cries.” There is no scientific evidence to support such assumptions; but many people simply accept the opinions of the ‘Higher Critic’ scholars without questioning how they drew their conclusions. The imaginative concept that four or more unknown authors composed Genesis long after Moses died is quite popular. That teaching is called ‘The Documentary Theory’ and was drawn from incomplete and biased information. You can prove almost anything if you google it. You can get hard evidence including pictures that prove the earth is flat; and you can get hard evidence including pictures that prove the earth is a ball. Since none of us is all knowing, we need to choose whose word we will take and really consider what is at stake. If it’s true that the beginning of the Bible is fables, how could you trust the rest of the book? Throughout The Bible, Moses is credited with providing the first five books of the Bible, but he was born long after the events in Genesis happened. Therefore, he did not have first-hand eye witness credibility, so some people assumed that God either audibly dictated Genesis to Moses; or perhaps he showed Moses a vision. Others think it was more likely that God wrote the Hebrew Hymn ‘The Ballad of Beginning’, the same way he wrote the 10 commandments with his finger on stone tablets (Duet. 9). Still others think Moses may have heard the creation and flood accounts from family story tellers who passed tales on by telling them from 1 generation to the next until they finally got to Moses who put them into a book. Could God have provided him with the family history Toledoth Tablets? Is it possible that God might have preserved the original language that he designed for Adam and Eve in the family who chose not to participate in The Tower of Babel rebellion? Is anything too hard for God who created things by the power of his word? Wind, Breath & Spirit: Sails /Sheets The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. English dictionaries say that the meaning of the word ‘inspiration’ changed in the 1800s from: “divine action on a person to qualify him to receive and communicate sacred revelation” to: “someone or something that inspires”. Until the 1800s the word ‘inspiration’ was also understood both as: “to breathe into, inspire” and “the drawing of air into the lungs”. (You will have expired if you permanently ceased to breath.) The New Testament Greek word used in 2 Timothy 3:16 is ‘theopneustos’ and is defined as “God breathed, or inspired by God”. Breath is necessary to create words. People are able to form words as their breath goes out across their vocal cords and into and then out of their mouth. Inspiration of God infers the very words of God. Since we are not all knowing and all powerful as God is, we do not fully understand the mystery of how God inspired people to write His words and still maintain the characteristics of their own individual personalities, temperaments, experiences and cultures. Miraculously, meticulously and mysteriously God said it all without infringing on, or in any way violating the unique style and contributions of each human writer. 2 Peter 1:21 says that “...holy men of God spoke as they were moved by The Holy Spirit” The New Testament Greek word used here for ‘moved’ is ‘pheromenoi’ and its fuller meaning includes: moved, carried along, or to bring forth. It’s sort of like a sailboat being carried along by the wind in its sails/sheets. The boat may be large or small, simple or complex, on a pond or on the ocean; but the same wind is the decisive factor in guiding the boat. The Bible tells us about the power of God’s word and His voice. Among other things, He actually spoke stuff into existence (Genesis 1) The Bible has a lot to say about The Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says don’t get drunk but be filled with The Holy Spirit. What’s the connection between being drunk or being filled with The Holy Spirit? Think about it. A drunk is ‘under the influence’ of another ‘being’ that is dominating his mind, will, and emotions; his surrender to the desire for alcohol, and his dependence on it to provide comfort and confidence, has surrendered his soul to outside influences. Dependence and control go hand in hand. According to advertisements on the labels of some liquor bottles and bar windows, the controlling beings are ‘spirits’. You are under the influence of The Holy Spirit, if by repentance toward God, (ending your rebellion against him), and faith in the work of Jesus Christ on your behalf to pay for all your sin, you have surrendered your heart and life to Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord; because then The Holy Spirit indwells your spirit and is influencing your mind, will and emotions as you depend on God to comfort and guide you; and to provide for all of your needs. We do not know how that all works; because we are not infinite as God is. However, God has given us what we need to know for now. Hebrews 11:6 says that in order to come to God you must believe that He is and that He rewards those that diligently seek him. The Greek word in this verse translated into English as ‘is’, doesn’t simply mean ‘exists’. The Greek word is ‘este’; and it implies God is: who He is, the way He is and what He is. According to Psalm 19 and Romans 1, people know God exists; however people have created their own version of what God is like; but how we view God doesn’t change what he really is. How you view me doesn’t change who I am. Reality is not dependent on opinion. According to The Bible, the Creator God’s breath gave a clay man life, (Genesis 2 :7); and in John 20:22 Jesus breathed on His followers and said, “Receive The Holy Spirit.” In the ancient Hebrew language the word ’ruach’, means: breath, spirit or wind. In Greek the word ‘pneuma’ also means breath, spirit or wind. (Breath is the wind of a person; and when you no longer have breath, your spirit leaves your body.) Breath, spirit and wind are invisible, powerful and immaterial. The Bible is the Word of God written by people as He prepared, prompted and guided them to write the words they recorded. Luke 1:70 says God spoke through the mouths of His holy prophets since the world began.” A prophet doesn’t simply predict the future. A prophet gives God’s word. Adam’s book in Genesis is God’s word; and God has preserved it and provided it for all future generations. If you find that hard to believe, buckle up and check this out. Here’s just a small fraction of the irrefutable evidence that The Bible is what it claims to be from the first words inscribed by the first man Adam; and later carefully copied by Moses. Genesis 1:1 in English says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew consists of 7 words written with the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numeric value as well as a phonetic sound and a root meaning. For example the first letter is aleph. It’s numeric value is 1; and its root meaning is leader. There is a stunning mathematical pattern of 7s in Genesis 1:1 which is evidence of divine design. No one has been able to duplicate this phenomenon even with the help of computers. Actually, thousands of mathematical patterns have been discovered throughout the entire Hebrew text of The Old Testament. Numerous attempts have been made in the last 100 years to try to find a similar pattern in other Hebrew literature. But The Bible is the only book that has this feature. There are great books, such as: ‘The signature of God’ and ‘The Handwriting of God’, by Grant Jeffrey, as well as ‘Mathematics Proves Holy Scriptures’ by Ivan Panin, that give details of examples of the amazing, clearly proven, mathematical patterns in The Bible. I’ll include just a few examples here. Here are just 7 of the 30 separate mathematical codes involving 7 or a multiple of 7, in just the 1st sentence of the Bible:
The first 7 words of the Bible have a total of 28 Hebrew letters, (7X4=28).
The 3 Hebrew words for our english, “In the beginning, God created” have 14 Hebrew letters. (7X2=14)
The last 4 Hebrew words for our english, “the heavens and the earth” have 14 letters. (7X2=14)
The 4th and 5th words have 7 Hebrew letters.
The 6th and 7th words have 7 Hebrew letters.
The 3 key words: God, earth and heaven have 14 Hebrew letters. (7X2=14)
The number of Hebrew letters in the 4 remaining words is also 14. (7X2=14)
Mathematical codes in the Bible are only part of the pattern of evidence that show that the Bible was written by someone who has out of this world genius, knowledge and power, and provided ways to communicate with anyone who might want to know him. We’ll discuss more exciting details of God’s revelations as we follow the story of the Bible step by step; although it’s tempting to jump ahead. So let’s get back on track. (The best is yet to come in part 2 of this book/blog when we look at The Living Word of God!)
Ancient Stone or Clay Tablet Copy Method The Genesis toledoth records, like most ancient writings, may have been originally inscribed in stone tablets which would have held up as they were passed down to each generation, stored, packed and carried from place to place. It is reasonable to expect that Noah would have brought them into the ark when he loaded the food and other provisions for the trip. Later, Noah’s sons and some of the descendants of Shem kept and added their own records as they traveled from place to place. We don’t know when the very first tablet copier was invented; but it’s so simple it was probably used from the beginning of written communication, so that multiple exact copies could be shared. You can just take a stone or clay tablet that has words etched into it; place a new soft clay tablet on top and press it down; then carefully pull it back off and dry or bake it. That gives you a reverse imprint. Next you repeat the process on the second tablet and you have an exact copy of the original. This allows you to make as many as you need. Archeologists have unearthed clay tablets that are thousands of years old. Some of those ancient tablets had holes in the edge so they could be kept in order perhaps with a cord. . It appears that Abraham either had the original Toledoth Tablets or copies of them. Noah’s son Shem died when Abraham was 38 years old,and since they lived in the same area, (in present day Iraq), they likely knew each other. According to Genesis 26:5 Abraham had written documents. This verse says Abraham kept God’s “statutes”. The Hebrew word for ‘statutes’ is “chuggim” and means an ‘inscribed commandment’. The word ‘chuggim’ is derived from the Hebrew root ‘to engrave’. Like his ancestors he would have no doubt considered such books his most valuable possessions. Genesis 25:5 says, Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.” Isaac would have given the treasured Toledoth Tablets to his son Jacob; who would have brought them with him when he moved with the entire family to Egypt in 1876 B.C. to be with his son Joseph who had risen to power there. Later when a new Pharaoh came to power he enslaved Jacob’s descendants. About 400 years later when Moses led them out of Egypt, he could have collected and compiled their records into the single book of Genesis. Even though stone tablets and baked clay tablets were still popular at that time; there were a variety of other writing materials as well. There were also new written scripts for some of the languages that began at Babel. Evidence indicates that it hadn’t taken too long for some of the new different language groups to devise systems for people to express their needs and opinions in a material way. Archeologists have found numerous examples of writings, in different geographical locations, from shortly after the tower trouble. Because information is not physical, it requires serious intelligence to create a method to transfer non-material words into a visible form. Inventing a new means to convey information into visible words is extremely complicated. Information in our mind, or even in a computer, does not have physical mass or weight. Adding information to your mind doesn’t make your body heavier. Adding information to a computer disk doesn’t add or remove matter, space or time; it only rearranges the material the disk is made of. A computer doesn’t get heavier or bigger if you download stuff. People, from ancient philosophers to modern physicists, who actually took the time and energy to really think this through, have recognized that: information which we express in words is not physical and that indicates that we are an invisible soul and spirit inside of a visible, material body just as the Bible teaches. Many early writing systems used similar methods of communicating words. People drew sketches of physical objects called pictographs. But communication is much more than images of the objects that we can picture. Writing is a means of physically manifesting words that are the thoughts and intents of our souls. Concepts such as: truth, love and justice were illustrated by combinations of symbolic pictures called ideograms. These symbols often reflected people’s concept of God. There were many different writing systems by the time Moses went to school in the Egyptian palace including: Chinese, cuneiform, hieroglyphics and Hebrew. Almost all were made up of large numbers of symbols. Hieroglyphics actually had 800 characters. So, it took lots of discipline, time and intensive training to learn to read and write it. The Chinese writing system is considered to be one of the world’s oldest scripts. It is over 4,000 years old. The early Chinese writings not only unite pictures of objects to convey ideas; some clearly reflect elements of the records in Genesis from the beginning of creation up to the Tower of Babel event. A few examples are Chinese characters that are a combination of picture symbols that make up the ideograms for create, tempter and boat. The ancient Chinese character for 'create', is a combination of pictures that represent: dirt, mouth, life and walk. The ancient Chinese character for tempter is a combination of their symbols for: secret, man, garden, and alive, which together depict devil: added to their images of 2 trees and cover. The Chinese character for boat is a combination of their symbols for: vessel, 8 and mouth. A mouth is the Chinese representation of ‘soul’; so 8 mouths represented 8 souls. Another script considered to be one of the most ancient is cuneiform. Earliest examples of this script were found in Iraq near the Tower of Babel event. Archeologists have found thousands of cuneiform inscribed clay tablets including some that appear to have belonged to students practicing their writing skills with repetitious phrases. Cuneiform symbols are believed to have been created by Babylonians about 3500B.C. to write down the Sumerian language. Other language groups such as the Akadians, Elamites, Hittites and Assyrians modified the system to record their own languages. The word ‘cuneiform’ means ‘wedge shaped’. The pictographs and ideograms are all suggested by triangles and straight lines so that they can be drawn quickly with a single tool called a stylus which has a sharp triangular end that makes wedges and lines in clay, wax, stone, or metal. Egyptians used hieroglyphics made up of picture symbols; but how those symbols were used is quite different from how cuneiform symbols were used. The system was so complicated it took many years of special training to learn to read and write it. .Scholars think that hieroglyphic writing began about 2925 B.C. Ancient Egyptians believed that their god Thoth invented the script. The word hieroglyphic means sacred writing. So you see that, writing systems that were developed after language was split up at the Tower of Babel were complicated, requiring hundreds and hundreds of symbols to convey relatively simple messages. That left a lot of ordinary people illiterate and dependent on scholars for important information. Most of the inscribed tablets with these intricate scripts have been found in Kings palaces, religious temples and elaborate tombs that were prepared for royalty. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob became the nation of Israel, and were known as the Hebrew people. They lived in tents, until Jacob and his family moved to Egypt to join his son Joseph who had risen to power there. They lived in the ‘Land of Goshen’ which archeologists have identified as Avaris. It was not until long after Moses completed the Pentateuch, that they had a king and a temple. Their Hebrew scriptures were recorded using the ancient Hebrew alphabet. It consisted of 22 letters that are all consonants. This fascinating script makes it easy for anyone to use; because each letter is a simple, easy to draw symbol that represents a sound; so they can be assembled to form any word you can speak. Deuteronomy 11 tells people to lay up God’s words in their hearts and souls, teach them to their children; and write them on their doorposts and gates. While the Hebrew alphabet is simple, and can be learned quickly, it has amazing aspects that our English alphabet does not include. Each letter not only represents a sound: each letter has a root meaning, and a numerical value as well. Let’s look at just 3 examples.
The 1st letter, the ‘aleph’, is a simple line drawing of an ox head. It is number 1; and represents characteristics of an ox, such as strength, power or leader.
The next letter is the ‘bet’ and it is the outline of a tent. It represents: house, household or family within.
The last letter we will consider at this time is the ‘heh’. It’s a line drawing of a man with his arms up as if to say, “That’s amazing”; “Look at that”! It represents, look, reveal, breath or spirit.
Okay, here’s how it works. If you put an aleph and a bet together, you get the word ‘ab’. ‘ Aleph’ is leader; and ‘bet’ is house. ‘Ab’ is the Hebrew word for ‘Father’ as the leader of the house. ‘Abba’ is like our word ‘Daddy’ or ‘Papa’. The letter ‘Heh’ becomes the heart/essence/spirit or ultimate nature of a word when you insert it into the middle. So if you put a ‘heh’ in the middle of a word, it’s the essence (or heart) or spirit, of whatever that word would be otherwise.” If you put a ‘heh’ between an ‘aleph’ and a ‘bet’ you have ‘ahab’; revealing the heart or spirit of the Father. “That’s the Hebrew word for love because love is the spirit/heart of The Father. The Hebrew script is written from right to left, just as the scripts of other nations that are east of Jerusalem, such as Arabic, Sanskrit etc. The written scripts that are west of Jerusalem such as: English, Spanish, Russian, etc are written left to right. The direction of written scripts faces Jerusalem. I find that very fascinating considering the fact that after the Roman army flattened Jerusalem, and evicted the Israelis, in 70 A.D., the Hebrew people spoke and wrote in other languages for the 2,000 years that they lived in other nations all over the world. The Hebrew language nearly became extinct! However, in 1861, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, a young Jewish child, was sent to a Jewish children’s school called a ‘chedar’ where he loved learning the Hebrew scriptures. As an adult he went to Israel as part of the regathering of the Jewish people in their homeland. When he entered Jerusalem in 1881, the small population living there were divided by the languages of the countries they came from. He believed that their ancient Hebrew language would unite the Jewish people. He miraculously overcame incredible odds to revive the ancient Hebrew language. He is honored in Israel as the father of modern Hebrew. There has never been another nation that was dispersed for 2,000 years that recovered their national language. The ancient script has been modernized; but we can still see the simple line drawings of the original 22 letters in stone engravings found by archeologists in Egypt from during the time period that the Israelites lived in Egypt from Joseph to Moses. In museums throughout the world today, there are many thousands of ancient inscribed documents including: notes, letters, calendars, shopping lists, laws, legends, business accounts, government records, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. They are written in various languages with different types of writing systems. Some of these ancient documents came from a library discovered in the buried ruins of Nineveh about 300 miles from Babylon in modern day Iraq. This was the Royal Library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. It housed about 30,000 tablets and fragments that are mostly written in the cuneiform system of writing.
Which Account Can Hold Water? A few of the tablets that were found in Ashurbanipll’s library were from earlier Mesopotamian times. Among them were a couple of the legends about the worldwide flood that wiped out most of mankind. One of those tablets is the now famous ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’. It is believed to be one of the oldest written documents dug up by archaeologists so far. It has been assigned a date of between 2200BC - 620BC. Since Moses compiled the Genesis account about 1500 BC. Some folks have concluded that the Gilgamesh version of the flood was written up to 800 years before the Bible’s flood account was recorded. Many modern historians teach that the “Epic of Gilgamesh” preceded Moses’ writing of the Genesis account of the worldwide flood; therefore Moses must have gotten his information from the Gilgamesh tale. Due to the discovery of this particular very old story of the worldwide flood, some professors and religious leaders said the Bible is not historically accurate or reliable; and they predicted that it would no longer be respected as the oldest and most authoritative book ever written. So, let’s take a look at the writing that is believed to discredit the Bible’s claim to truth. The “Epic of Gilgamesh” is part of a tragic tale about an extremely cruel king, Gilgamesh, who was purported to be part god and part man. He used and abused the people under his authority. He and his friend Enkidu wanted power and fame and did daring exploits together including killing Humbaba, a gigantic monster. After Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh’s struggle with bitterness and grief causes him to try to find a way to escape his own death. Gilgamesh had heard about mighty rulers from “before the great deluge”. These powerful kings were also part god and part man like Gilgamesh. They were purported to have lived extremely long earthly lives and had attained everlasting life. Gilgamesh was desperate to gain immortality. Gilgamesh received some counseling from a man named Utnapishtim who gave advice about life and the secret of immortality. Utnapishtim told him about the gods and the great flood. He said that the gods decided to destroy mankind because people were disturbing their rest by being too noisy. But Ea, the god of wisdom, warned Utnapishtim in a dream to convert his house into a boat, take the seed of all living creatures, both wild and tame, and tell other people that he was preparing to escape the rage of the god Enlil. Utnapishtim built the boat according to the design he was given in his dream. It took him and his craftsmen seven days to complete its construction. He got his family, the craftsmen and pilot, as well as animals into the boat before the storm hit. The flood was so bad that even the gods got scared and ran away. The storm lasted six days and calmed down on the seventh day. The boat landed on Mt. Nisir and Utnapishtim released birds to find land; first he sent out a dove, then a swallow and last a raven. When the raven didn’t come back, Ultnapistim made a sacrifice and the hungry gods swarmed over it. Utnaphistim was grieved over the loss of life the flood had caused. Let’s compare the Genesis and Gilgamesh accounts: They both describe a worldwide flood. Both accounts agree with 95% of the hundreds of other ancient catastrophic flood stories found in almost every culture in the entire world in claiming that the flood was global not local and wiped out every breathing creature except for the ones that were saved on the boat. Like 88% of the other stories, they agree that a certain family was favored. As in 70% of the other flood stories the means of survival was a boat. Like in 66%, the flood was caused by man’s offenses. As in 57% they ended up on a mountain. In 35% of these accounts birds were sent out from the boat. The Gilgamesh tale doesn’t tell how many people were on the boat. Genesis, like several other worldwide flood stories, states that there were 8 people on board along with the animals and provisions for the voyage. So, what’s the difference and is one record more credible than the other? Let’s look for verifiable historical truth: The Bible gives specific details such as where enough water came from to flood the whole earth and destroy all breathing creatures that were not safe in the boat. It says that all the fountains of the great deep broke open; and it rained for 40 days and nights covering the highest mountains by 20 feet of water. In the Gilgamesh account it rained for 6 days. Could a week-long rain storm wipe out all life on earth? The Genesis account gives the exact dimensions of Noah’s three story boat. The breadth to depth ratio is similar to modern cargo ships making it both seaworthy and stable in a catastrophic storm. Utnapishtim’s boat was a 7 story cube. In the Genesis account after the storm was over, Noah first sent out a raven which is a strong scavenger and it flew back and forth until the waters dried up. After that, Noah sent out a dove; but the dove needed rest and found none; so she flew back to the ark because the water still covered the earth. Noah put his hand out of the window and brought her back in. He waited seven days before he sent her out again. She returned that evening with an olive leaf in her mouth; so Noah knew the water had receded. He waited for another seven days and sent her back out and she did not return. Ultnapistim sent the dove out first, then a swallow and last the raven.
Information Sources Where did Gilgamesh get his information from and where did Moses get his information from? The Gilgamesh record was found in Nineveh which is less than 300 miles from Babylon in Iraq: home of the Tower of Babel episode. It’s not surprising that as people traveled and settled throughout the world that they continued to remember and recount their family history’s traumatic events. Their story changed over time, but again after 5,000 years of retelling it in diverse cultures all over the world, the basic elements of the Genesis account are still included. That’s exactly what we’d expect if the accounts all have their origin in a common event that was experienced by the common ancestors of people who at one time lived in the same general area. The Bible’s history is about real people, with real names, who lived in real places, and who experienced real historical events. Evidence indicates that the Genesis record was compiled by Moses from the toledoth tablets that were written by eyewitnesses who were directly involved in the events they described. Adam, Noah and many of their descendants wrote and signed their family histories, and those records were copied, preserved and passed along from one generation to the next. Evidence indicates that under the inspiration of God, Moses edited and compiled the original records of his ancestors..
Some other scriptures that are compiled from other sources There were other Scripture writers that also used source material that they edited and included, along with their personal eyewitness accounts. For instance, Jude 14-15 quotes "Enoch 7th from Adam". Forgers have created the so-called "Book of Enoch"; but it was written long after Enoch lived. Joshua !0:13 mentioned the book of Jasher as another source that verified his account. I know of more than 8 instances where other sources were used. Where are these sources now; and why don't we have them? We do not know or understand all of the reasons why God inspired and included certain things and not others. God knew what did and didn't need to be in the Bible; because he knows the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10). Consider that Solomon was a super smart guy, but we know that not everything he said or did was inspired by God. 1 KIngs 4:32 tells us that Solomon composed 1,005 songs. Only a few are in the scriptures. Besides that John tells us that the world wouldn't be able to contain all the books, if all the wonderful amazing things about Jesus were written down. (John 21:25). In 1 John 5:13 he mentioned why he recorded the things he included "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." Psalm 12 says the words of The Lord are pure and God will preserve them forever. In Matthew 24:35 Jesus said “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Remember Genesis 5:1 says, “This is the ‘book’ of the generations of Adam.” The Hebrew word here that’s translated book is ‘sefer’ and it means a written/inscribed record. Archeological discoveries have verified that the records of the original writers of Genesis accurately reflect the cultures of the places and times they describe.
How did Moses get The Toledoth Tablets? Moses could have gotten access to copies of the toledoth family history tablets during the time he spent in the land of Midian where he fled to escape the rage of the Egyptian Pharaoh. Midian is located east of Uz where Job lived and wrote his book shortly after the time of Abraham. Indications are that Moses’ father-in-law knew and worshiped the true Creator God. It also appears that at this time in their history most of the Midianites still honored the God of their ancestor Abraham, through his wife Keturah, though later they adopted pagan gods and lifestyles. Moses could definitely have gotten the toledoth records when he led the Israelites, (the descendants of Jacob), out of slavery in Egypt. He knew and understood their language since he was born to Hebrew slaves in Egypt and spent the first few years of his life with his birth family who were from the line of Shem and Abraham; so they would have spoken the original language God gave to Adam. Moses would have learned his first language from his mom, dad, sister and brother. As a young child he went to live with the Pharaoh's daughter who adopted him; so he would have also learned Egyptian, and probably other languages as well. Moses likely compiled the toledoth tablets into the single volume of Genesis during the 40 years he spent in the wilderness with the Israeli people. Moses was well aware of the Egyptian writing materials and methods. (Acts 7:22) says Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds. By the time of Moses, between 1400 BC and 1450 BC, Egypt was a very advanced civilization. The Egyptian scribes made detailed records of everything. Archeologists have found historical, geographical, and agricultural records as well as numerous other things. They discovered that well before Moses was born, people were writing on broken pieces of pottery, bark of trees, woven cloth, wax covered wood, animal skins and papyrus. Papyrus sheets were a preferred Egyptian writing material since the plant is plentiful and the glued crisscrossed sliced reeds provided a lined surface to write on. The sheets could be sewed together and rolled up on rods to make scrolls. It also held up well in Egypt’s dry climate. The oldest papyrus scroll found so far is about 4,000 years old and is still readable. Animal skins used for writing are called parchment or vellum and are made from calf, lamb or goat skins that were soaked, scraped and polished. Then the scribes used special long dull knives to make indented lines at exact intervals that formed a grid across the leather to ensure that each letter would be written straight, clear, and distinctly separated from each other. Later the sheets were sewn together and rolled on rods to make scrolls. The oldest parchment discovered so far is from about 1500 BC. Although stone and clay tablets had the advantage of extreme durability and easy accurate replication, they were heavy and bulky. It’s reasonable to assume that Moses would have compiled the Toledoth tablets into one volume on a single scroll that is light and compact. This would be ideal for extended traveling as he and the Israelis did for 40 years in the wilderness before they entered the promised land. Moses acquired and compiled the accounts in Genesis written by his ancestors; but he is not the original author. And since Moses lived about 300 years after Abraham, and some of the places Abraham had written about had been renamed, it appears that Moses edited his ancestors' accounts to provide the new names; but he respectfully retained the original names. Examples are in Genesis 14 where Moses edits Abraham’s account to identify the places that had gotten new names that were different from the time when Abraham was there. Moses gave the new names of places, along with the names of those locations that were in use in Abraham’s day. Gen. 14:7 says. “They came to En Enmishpat, which is Kadish”; verse 8 says, “Bela the same is Zoar”; and in verse 15 he also explains that 'Hobah' is located to the left of Damascus. The Bible credits Moses with the first 5 books of The Bible, but never indicates that Moses was the original author of Genesis. Jesus, John, Luke, Philip, Steven, Paul, and James all consider Genesis part of Moses’ Law; but when they quote from Genesis, they don’t directly say that Moses spoke the statement quoted. Whenever New Testament writers refer to Moses’ words in the other 4 books of The Law they say things like: “Moses said” in Acts 3:22 and “Moses told the Israelites” in Acts 7:37; or “Moses told us” Matthew 22:24. Those other books were authored by Moses as he led the Istealite nation from Egypt to the land that God had promised their ancestor Abraham. During that time, he taught the people many things, most of all respect and appreciation for God and his word. The Hebrew scriptures were stored with the Ark of The Covenant and considered to be the holy words of God. See Exodus 25:16 & Duet. 31:24-26. Moses commanded the Israeli people to teach them to their children and to write them on their doorposts and gates. See Duet. 6:6-9 & Duet. 11”19-20. Obviously the people could read and write the simple 22 letter Hebrew alphabet that their scriptures were recorded in. They would have had copies of the scripture scrolls to read.
How did the ex-slaves make copies of their scriptures without making accidental changes from the originals? Moses grew up with Egyptian scribes who were required to be physically fit, mentally sharp and highly disciplined. As part of his training as Prince of Egypt, he would have learned all the skills and disciplines of a professional scribe. He certainly was able to teach his people the skills to make precisely accurate copies of their scripture scrolls. The Hebrews that Moses led out of Egypt had served under harsh, intolerant task masters who had made their lives dependent on doing things correctly by paying close attention to detail. (Exodus 1:14). They had seen the hand of God involved in setting them free. Moses would have chosen the people who respected God and His word to make copies of the scrolls. About 2,000 years ago the historian, Josephus, wrote a 20 volume history of the Jews from the beginning of time until the fall of Masada in 66 A.D. He included the list of coping rules that had to be obeyed by scribes who copied the scriptures. We might think those Hebrews were extremists when we consider the measures that they took to prevent any mistakes. Since they believed that every letter of every word came from God, they checked and rechecked each copy letter by letter, line by line and lesson by lesson. They counted the number of times each letter of the alphabet occurred in each book. They pointed out the middle letter of the Pentatuach. Everything countable seemed to be counted! Josephus gave a detailed record of the scribal rules. Here are just some of the requirements:
Each new copy must be written on a parchment from the specially prepared skin of clean animals; and the strings that fastened the sheets together must also be from clean animals.
Every skin must contain a certain number of columns, 30 letters wide and the length of each column must not be less than 48 or more than 60 lines.
The ink must be black and prepared according to a specific recipe.
Each copy must be made from an authenticated original and the transcriber can not in the least deviate from it.
No word could be written from memory. Each and every letter must be copied singly from the original, always checking back before writing the next letter.
No letter could connect or overlap with another letter.
The distance between each letter was measured by a single hair or thread.
Between each section there was a space of 9 letters.
Between each book there were 3 lines.
The 5th book of Moses had to end exactly with a line,
It was forbidden to write the Name of God with a pen newly dipped in ink.
The rules and mutual accountability of the Hebrew scribes insured that not 1 change was made in the new copy. After the accuracy of the new copy was verified and approved, it was given equal authority with the old manuscript. Whenever a scripture scroll became too worn to ensure accurate reading it was burned or buried. Modern day evidence that those extreme measures and dedication to preserving the Hebrew scriptures actually worked, has been provided by archeologists and ancient historians. An example of that is the names of 29 Kings, who lived between 2,000 BC and 400 BC, that are mentioned in the Bible; compared to records found on ancient monuments that are inscriptions dated from during the time those kings actually lived. The monuments are in Egypt, Israel, Moab, Damascus, Tyre, Babylon, Assyria and Persia. The information provided on these ancient monuments regarding these kings, verifies that the scriptures accurately recorded the chronological order in which they ruled, the country that they ruled over, and even the correct spelling of their names. It is astounding that after thousands of years of people making copies of the Hebrew scriptures, such details are in full agreement with the inscriptions carved in stone so long ago.
PRESERVATION, PROPHECY & PREPAREDNESS However, copying the scrolls wasn’t the only issue involved in preserving the Hebrew scriptures. There were people including some Israelites who despised God; and they persecuted those who believed God’s word. A good example is in the book of Numbers. As the people traveled to the promised land, they went through some very rough territory with scarce food and water. God had provided manna from heaven, but they wanted a different menu. So people turned against God, and against Moses who believed in God and his word. They falsely accused Moses of delivering them out of Egyptian slavery so he could watch them die in the wilderness. So the Lord sent fiery serpents among them that bit them and many died of the poisonous bites. Therefore the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned, for we have spoken against The Lord and against you. Pray unto The Lord that he take away the serpents from us’. So Moses prayed for the people. And The Lord said unto Moses, make a fiery serpent, (a snake is a symbol for sin), and set it up on a pole. Anyone that is bitten, and looks upon it will live. So Moses made a serpent of brass; (brass represents judgement), and he put it up on a pole. If anyone who had been bitten by a serpent chose to look up at the serpent of brass he lived. We don’t know how many poisoned people decided to believe God and look up to be healed. We also don’t know how many chose to reject such a silly remedy for snakebite. (See Numbers 21). Much later when the Israelite people were living comfortably in the promised land, many chose to believe that the brass serpent itself was the source of life rather than the God who promised life to those who believed and obeyed his promise. They worshiped the gift rather than the Giver. So their good king Hezekiah destroyed the brazen serpent that Moses had made. (See 2 Kings 18). A lot later, Jesus helped a religious leader understand that the brass serpent was a symbol of himself; because he would be lifted up on a cross and receive the judgment for sin; thereby providing life for those who are destined to die from the poison of sin; if they will choose to look unto him and believing receive everlasting life. (John 3) So you see that even before the Bible was completed unbelievers tried to discredit and destroy it. The prophet Jeremiah was thrown in jail for saying that if his people didn’t go back to believing and obeying the scriptures, the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed and they’d all be working for king Nebuchadnezzer, a real slave driver. But prophets were plentiful at that time. (Like today there was no shortage of people who claimed to have some new revelation from God. Everyone needed to decide whose word they would take, what’s true and what’s fake.) So how can you tell a phoney prophet from the real deal? You can check and see if the message contradicts the rest of scripture. God sees the end from the beginning; so he never contradicts himself. If you don’t care to take the time to check out the scriptures, you can just wait around and see if the prediction pans out. Of course if you're depending on the wrong source, it’ll be too late to matter by the time it proves itself. Most of the prophets in Jeremiah’s time were not depending on the God who had given them the scriptures. Their religion had become a substitute for God; and they were not interested in his word. Jeremiah’s governmental authorities seized and burned up his scripture. He became discouraged and depressed. But he was not defeated; and he hoped for a time when God would put his word into the hearts of men. He made a new copy of his scripture scroll and lived his life based on God’s word. In 586 BC Jeremiah’s prophecies came true. And 586 years later, the Hebrew scripture prophecies concerning the most important event in the history of mankind turned out to be true; and the world has not been the same since. All throughout the Hebrew scriptures the many different authors describe the Jewish Messiah who would come to earth to be a ransom for the sins of many people. The fact that details about his life, death and resurrection were predicted so long before he was even born helped some people identify Jesus Christ as the promised Redeemer King. As we consider a few of the many prophecies concerning the Messiah, be aware that each of them reveals different aspects of his character and purpose. Also realize that when the Messiah showed up and fulfilled all those predictions about him, some people appreciated him, but others ignored the prophecies they didn’t like; and were angry that he didn’t fit the image they wanted . The prophecies like puzzle pieces, provide both his true identity and purpose, when all the pieces are included. However people who preferred a saviour to fit their temporal desires and goals, rejected both Jesus and the prophecies they didn’t like. The Bible provides an integrated message, that is seen in the red thread theme that runs throughout its account of history. It begins in Genesis with the broken relationship and resultant separation of people, due to their rejection of God’s word. That’s followed by God’s request for them to return and talk to him instead of running and hiding from him. God reveals that in spite of the rift between them, he has a plan to redeem, reconcile and restore their relationship. Our first glimpse of God’s plan to send a savior to redeem man from both the guilt and power of sin is in Genesis 3. He promised that the seed of the woman would bruise/crush the head of the serpent; and the serpent would bruise his heel. (A bruise is the result of crushing and bursting life carrying blood vessels.) Crushing the head of a snake destroys its power. He said the seed of the serpent would bruise the heel of the seed of the woman. (Anyone who is crucified has a bruised; heel; because the victim is positioned in such a way that he must push up, shoving his heel against the cross, every time he needs to take a breath. Wait; what? Seed of the woman? A woman does not produce seed. A man produces seed; but a woman produces an egg. So the seed of the woman would mean that a particular descendant of Eve would have no human father. Therefore the embryo would need to be miraculously prepared and implanted in the womb of a virgin. (Hebrews 10:5 & Luke 1:35). God’s curse was on the evil spirit that the snake had allowed to possess its body, as well as on the snake itself. The Bible refers to the devil as “that old serpent”, Rev. 12:9. In the process of mortally wounding the evil one, the savior would be wounded. The prophet Isaiah clearly predicts, (in Isaiah 7:14), that he will be born of a virgin and that he will be called Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’. Then in Isaiah 9:6 He says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Sounds like the kind of rescue hero people would like, right?) But then in Isaiah 53 he says the Messiah will be: “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him. He was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opned not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before her shearers id dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit found in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah wrote all that about 700 years before Jesus was born. (The entire Hebrew scripture was translated into Greek in 270 BC.) The prophet Micah predicted exactly where the Messiah would be born. He identified the Messiah as eternal. Micah 5:2 says. “Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old from everlasting. The Prophet Zechariah said The Messiah would be presented as a just king and having salvation; humble and riding on a donkey. (Zech. 9:9) No wonder people were excited; they knew they couldn’t count on civil government to give them just/fair treatment. The prophet Daniel was a teenager in 586 BC when the Babylonians ransacked and destroyed the temple, the city of Jerusalem and its walls; and took him and his people captive. About 70 years later while he was studying copies of the scriptures of Moses and Jeremiah, he prayed fervently for his people. While he was praying the angel Gabriel arrived and explained what the future held for Daniel’s people the nation of Israel.
That prophecy is a chronological list of future events. He precedes the list with the reason these things must happen. The New Testament and extra Biblical sources show that most, but not all, of this prophecy has been fulfilled.
Gabriel told Daniel; and Daniel wrote it down that:
At a specific point in time The Messiah King would come;
The Messiah king would be cut off, (but not for himself);
That a nation would come and destroy the city (of Jerusalem);
And that the Jews would be dispersed like a flood.” (Daniel 9)
The last thing on the list predicts a 7 year covenant involving Daniel’s people, the nation of Israel.
This last 7 year time period, is the final piece that will bring about the goal of these events. There is no historical evidence of the fulfillment of this last segment; and it’s clear that the goal for this series of events has not yet been accomplished. So it remains to be seen what the future still holds. The precision of this prophecy is verified by the fulfillment of the first four predictions. Daniel recorded exactly how much time there would be between the “going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah The Prince,”. The original Hebrew term translated “Messiah Prince” is ‘Mashiach Nagid’, The Hebrew word ‘Nagid’ means, ‘King in waiting’.
Because of the specific details provided in that prophecy, and archeological discoveries of inscriptions from that time period, we actually know the exact date that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as he was escorted by crowds proclaiming Him to be the Messiah/savior king. Daniel’s prophecy gives the exact interval of time between the order “to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah The Prince…” (Daniel 9:25). In the book of Nehemiah you can read the record that explains King Artaxerxes giving the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem and its wall, and even provided the means to get it done.
In 1836 Sir Henry Rawlinson found inscriptions from the Persian palace of Shushan (Susa) that recorded the order given by King Artaxerxes Longimanus to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and its wall. The order was dated March 14, 445 B.C.
After carefully investigating the details in Daniel’s prophecy, and using the date of the commandment to rebuild the city, given in the palace records of king Artaxerxes, Sir Robert Anderson, the chief inspector for Scotland Yard, published his findings in 1894 in a book titled ‘The Coming Prince.’ That book is a classic that is still available today; because his mathematical conclusions, as well as how he arrived at those conclusions, have been verified by current scholars. Anderson did the math, and found out that the interval between the commandment to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the coming of Messiah as king into Jerusalem was exactly 173,880 days. That means that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey being hailed as the Messiah on April 6th 32 A.D. Just 4 days later he was “cut off but not for himself” (Daniel 9:26) when he was crucified for the sins of others. 38 years after the crucifixion of Christ, the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by Roman legions; and the Jewish people were scattered like a flood, all over the world. (Not until May 14, 1948 would Daniel’s people become a nation again as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and Zechariah foretold.) Okay, that‘s really far out stuff to consider. It’s heavy duty evidence that there is a God who knows and holds the future; the Bible is his word; and he will judge everyone by his standard. If you choose to believe it, you will have to face yourself and think about what difference it would make in your life if this is really true. On the other hand we are all free to reject such things, and continue to live as though we are not accountable to an author with authority. If you don’t want to believe, you can choose to explain it all away. If you are shaken to the core, and want to discover more, I urge you to get your information directly from the Bible, not just ‘Bible teachers or Bible critics. Check out what exactly the Bible actually says, rather than naively buying what others say the Bible says, (even if they are very nice smart people)! Look stuff up; and read it in context; and pay attention to detail. Things like Study Bibles can be helpful; but the notes can be distracting; and often people depend on the notes more than the inspired word of God itself. It can be useful, though not necessary to have background notes on a particular passage; but sadly ,many study Bibles have notes that are unproven opinions stated as facts; and they can be very misleading. The Daniel 9 prophecies are 1 small example of a much larger problem. Some study Bibles claim that there are 3 different commandments/decrees to pick from in regard to the phrase in Daniel 9:25, that clearly states: “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah The Prince, shall be 7 weeks, and three score and 2 weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” Picking and choosing which commandment date you like encourages everyone to believe God’s word can be whatever you make it out to be. It shows a lack of respect and appreciation for God’s ability to communicate. The truth is God says what He means; and he means what He says! Let’s look again and pay attention to exactly what it does and does not say. This prophecy was clearly given for Daniel’s people who are his family and nation. The commandment clearly states it is about ordering the restoration and building of Jerusalem and its walls. The temple is not mentioned at all here. Now look at the Bible’s record of what actually happened, which incidentally has been verified by archeological discoveries. We know that the commandment of King Artaxerxes was specifically to restore the city and walls of Jerusalem; because the record of that event is in Nehemiah and it is clear in the details that he was ordering the restoration and building of the city of Jerusalem and its wall; he was not ordering the rebuilding of the temple. Some study Bibles claim there are 3 commandments that could be applied to Daniel 9:25. There are actually 2 commandments by 2 different kings to rebuild the temple; and 1 commandment by another king to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. King Cyrus gave the 1st order and it only mentioned the temple. (Read 2 chronicles 36: 22-23 & Ezra 1-2) Later King Darius issued another order to rebuild the temple, confirming the decree of King Cyrus. (See Ezra 5-6;Haggi 1; Zec. 1) Last after the temple had been rebuilt, King Artaxerxes commanded the restoration and building of the city of Jerusalem with its walls. (Read Nehemiah) Many people today ignore the Old Testament not realizing that it really helps you understand who Jesus is; and why he is the only one who could satisfy justice for our treasonous rebellion against God’s qualifications and right to rule. Its prophecies also show its source. How could anyone predict so far into the future that Jesus of Nazareth would be betrayed by a friend, (Psalm 11:90, or sold for 30 pieces of silver and pierced, (Zech. 11-12 & Psalm 22),
PROBABILITY PRINCIPALS & PROPHECIES With hundreds of ancient prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled 2,000 years ago, what do you think the chances are of so many predictions being totally accurate? When you consider the statistical probabilities, trying to do the math is mind boggling. Thankfully, brilliant mathematicians have studied this extensively; and have made their verified calculations available. Peter Stoner wrote an excellent book called ‘Science Speaks’ that provides the calculations for the probabilities of the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures about the Messiah being true. Applying the principles of probability, he calculated the odds of any man that might have lived down to the present time fulling only 8 of the 300 prophecies that pertain to the Messiah, are 1 in ten to the 17th power. That would be 1 with 17 zeros after it. Since that kind of chance is hard to imagine; he gave an illustration. If you took 10 to the 17th power or 100000000000000 silver dollars, (thin mint candies are about the same size), and spread them across the face of Texas; it would cover the entire state 2 feet thick. Then mark only 1 of those silver dollars with an x and thoroughly mix it up with the rest of the silver dollars. Then send a blindfolded man in to find the marked coin; and his chances of picking up the marked coin on his very 1st try would be 1 in ten to the 17th power or 1 with 17 zeros after it. That’s the odds for Jesus Christ to fulfill only 8 predictions. If you think it’s a coincidence I suggest you check out the book ‘Science Speaks’ and consider the odds of him fulfilling all of the prophecies about him. It appears that the Hebrew prophets had inside information; which is what they claimed when they said God provided it. The Bible is totally unique; but it’s useless to anyone who will not believe and receive its message.
References for The Written Word: Henry Morris, David Livingston, P. J. Wiseman. Timothy Mahony. Charles Taylor, Ivan Pannin, Douglas Petrovich, Jeff Brenner, Chuck Missler, Chuck Smith, Josh Mc Dowel, Grant Jeffery, Hal Lindsey, Haley’s Bible handbook, Dave Hunt, Sir Robert Anderson, Haim Shore, Yacov Ramsel, Cecil Roth ,Ken Ham, C. H. Kang, Ethel Nelson, Peter Stoner