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"Of Whom Do The Prophets Speak?"

Reader comment on item: Counting Islamists
in response to reader comment: I agree, Jesus message is the way to God

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Oct 28, 2008 at 11:03

To Keith Williams

Thank you so very much for your extremely gracious words, you are very kind in what you say about my attempts to go fast-forward through the Biblical account of our sin problem, and the all-Holy God of the Bible's solution to our problem.

We're in complete agreement that it's so good to speak of our beliefs in an honest and intellectual way, and please let me assure you that I have the greatest respect for you as a fellow human being, and in all my interaction with you, will seek to be obedient to the Biblical command to,

"In your heart set apart Christ as Lord, and always be ready to answer anybody who asks the reason for the hope that you have, but do so with gentleness and respect."

1 Peter 3:15

but I cannot, and do not respect Islam, neither would I respect any other religion or world-view which rejects the incarnation, rejects the cross, rejects the resurrection and rejects the all-Holy God's self-revelation of Himself as Unity in Tri-Unity, and defines itself first and foremost as a denial of the heart of my faith.

How can I "respect" the denial of my faith? I believe it of fundamental importance to clearly explain to anyone who will listen, that to give equal respect to every religious viewpoint or world view, would be to deny the Christian faith in the process. Christianity says God has testified to the Son in the resurrection, and that the only way of approach to the Father is by the Son. To demand that I "respect" equally the denial of the uniqueness of Christ is an implicit demand that I abandon my faith.

At the heart of your question to me about Biblical prophets, is I think, a question I have been asked several times, "what about all those who have never heard about Jesus?" with all the people who have asked me that question having heard about Him, and the Bible clearly teaches they will be judged differently to those chronologically after Jesus who have never heard about Him, the all-holy God of the Bible, dealing with people according to the information they have, with specific focus on how they welcome or resist that truth, the Bible saying, "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." Hebrews 10:26-27 and that "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting punishment and shut out from the presence of the Lord" 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

Billy Graham saying in his evangelistic appeals, "What will you do with Jesus Christ?"

Those who have heard about Jesus Christ, will be judged on a totally different basis from those who while remaining in substantial darkness, earnestly seek the truth, confess their sins and cast themselves on the mercy of God. We must also remember that if the church through the ages down to the present day, had taken Jesus' command to make disciples of all nations seriously Matthew 28:19 there would be far fewer groping in spiritual darkness. If we really grasp the implications of this issue, we will be challenged more than ever to follow the Apostle Paul's example and 'preach the gospel where Christ [is] not known' Romans 15:20 We will be committed to evangelism and world mission, through praying, giving and going, so that 'the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.' Habbakuk 2:14

I believe it most important to say that Jesus, Who is God incarnate Colossians 1:15; Colossians 2:9, promises that those who do seek after God will find Him Matthew 7:7, and that the all-holy God of the Bible, is consistently described as a God of justice, not some capricious being who casts people into hell on a whim, or because He is having a bad day, Isaiah tells us "that the Lord is a God of justice" Isaiah 30:18. See also Psalm 9:16, 103:6; Isaiah 61:8 and He is also "the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness" Exodus 34:6. See also Psalm 36:5; Jeremiah 33:11; 2 Corinthians 13:11 giving us well-placed confidence that on the Day of Judgement He will judge everybody with absolute fairness, and that there will not be any miscarriages of justice, with people being in heaven against their will, or anybody in hell who shouldn't be there. As I have had the privilege of saying when speaking in prisons, "there won't be any prisoners in heaven!!"

The Bible teaches us very clearly that God's desire is that none of the beings He has created should perish, but that all should come to repentance 2 Peter 3:9, also teaching us that heaven will be very heavily populated, with people from all nations, tribes, and languages, Revelation 7:9-

Certainly, there was harmony in the message of the prophets who pre-dated Jesus Christ, but none of them were any other than prophets, all pointing to the coming King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ, the Bible saying,

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds, Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."

Hebrews 1:1-3

Declaration about future events is a major feature of the Bible. It claims to contain the words of God ("Thus says the Lord" occurs 3,808 times!), the only person who is able to "make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come"

Isaiah 46:10

Over a quarter of all the verses in the Bible contain a prediction about the future. Altogether, 737 separate forecasts are made, from some only mentioned once, to others mentioned hundreds of times.

Of these, 594 (over 80%) have already come true. Since those that have not, are all concerned with the end of the world, which obviously has not happened yet, the Bible has actually achieved 100% accuracy. All that could have taken place already has done so, which should be ample grounds for confidence that the rest will also be fulfilled. (These statistics, with a detailed analysis of every prediction, may be found in the Encyclopaedia of Biblical Prophecy by J.Barton Payne, Hodder and Stoughton, 1973.)

Fulfilled prophecy, especially as in Jesus' case, massive cumulatative fulfilment, gives us a valid basis to believe in and trust the author of the prophecy, and whilst Jesus had various credentials to support His claims to being the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, one often overlooked credential, one of the most profound, is the fulfilment of so many prophecies, in His life, death and resurrection from the dead.

Over and over again, Jesus appealed to the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, to substantiate His claims as the Messiah.

Galatians 4:4 says:-

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law."

and on the first resurrection morning, walking along the road to Emmaus, with Cleopas and his friend, we read that Jesus:-

"Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." Luke 24:27

Here was the greatest sermon ever preached, which went on for hours, the theme was Jesus, the text was Moses and all the prophets, no wonder the disciples' hearts "burned within us when He opened the Scriptures to us." Luke 24:32

and when the risen Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples in Jerusalem, He said:-

"These are My words which I spoke to you whilst I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the law of Moses, and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

Luke 24:44

and speaking to the religious leaders in Jerusalem, who criticised Him for healing a lame man on the Sabbath, Jesus said:-

"You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me! Yet you refuse to come to Me to receive this life."

John 5:39-40

"But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about Me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"

John 5:45-47

and again speaking to the religious leaders, Jesus said:-

"I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. At this, the Jews exclaimed, ‘now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died, and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?' Jesus replied,-------------- ‘your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing My day; he saw it and was glad.' The Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham!' ‘I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!' at this they picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus slipped away from the temple grounds.'

John 8:51-59

The Apostles, the New Testament writers etc.constantly appealed to fulfilled prophecy, to substantiate the claims of Jesus as the Son of the Living God , the Saviour, the Messiah.

"But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled."

Acts 3:18

"And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘this Jesus Whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.' "

Acts 17:2&3

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

1 Corinthians 15:3&4

In the Old Testament there are sixty major messianic prophecies and approximately 270 ramifications that were fulfilled in one person, Jesus Christ, with His precise lineage, the place, the time, and manner of His birth, people's reactions to His teaching, His betrayal, the manner of His death, and His resurrection from the dead. These are some of the details making up the CV identifying the Son of the Living God, the Messiah and Saviour of the world.

Dr.Peter Stoner, Professor Emeritus at Pasadena College, describes, in his book "Science Speaks"

( Stoner Peter W. and Newman, Robert C Moody Press, 1976 ) how he took just 8 of the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and using the law of compound probabilities, calculated the probability of one man fulfilling them. Dr.Stoner wrote:-

"we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time, and filled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 raised to the power 17." Written out longhand, this is 100, 000,000,000,000,000, and in order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Dr.Stoner illustrates it by supposing that:-

"We take 10 to the power 17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas (267,000 square miles!! ~69.15 million hectares, ~170.9 million acres).

They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now, mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel wherever he likes, but he must pick up one silver dollar, and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance the prophets would have of writing these eight prophecies, and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them down in their own wisdom."

H.Harold Artzler, of the American Scientific Affiliation, wrote:-

"The manuscript of ‘Science Speaks' has been carefully reviewed by a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation members, and by the Executive Council of the same group, and has been found, in general, to be dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented. The mathematical analysis included, is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound, and Professor Stoner has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way."

Fulfilling 48 prophecies by chance is just one chance in 10 to the power 157 (I won't attempt to write out all the noughts!!), but Jesus didn't fulfil just eight or 48 prophecies, He fulfilled over 300!!!. How can one maintain intellectual integrity if this kind of evidence is ignored??

Certainly the Lord Jesus Christ, in very nature God, was also a prophet, and true prophet that He was, Jesus' fulfilled prophecies concerning His upcoming crucifixion and resurrection from the dead are powerful witness to Him and His mission in coming to the world He had created, prophesying His upcoming crucifixion on 21 occasions, and on 8 of those occasions, also prophesying His glorious resurrection from the dead following His crucifixion.

So, will following any of the prophets who predated Jesus Christ save you? no it won't, that not being their function, but rather to point to Him who was, is, and always will be, "The way, the Truth and the life." John 14:6 and I mention some resources which bring together "all that the prophets have spoken," that being the title of a book available from Amazon USA at $18:00 which is at http://tinyurl.com/5p0swb and which you can refer to and read online at http://tinyurl.com/5qxpbq the preface saying, "So, if you are one of those who would like to understand the message of the prophets as it was written long ago, come along and read "All that the Prophets have Spoken," their message may surprise you."

I also mention "a beautifully illustrated examination of prophetic Scriptures concerning the coming Messiah" which looks at Old Testament prophecy and its New Testament fulfillment in Jesus Christ, this is titled, "Of Whom Do the Prophets Speak? and which can be found at,

http://sidrom.com/exdis/prophets/index.html

Jesus' second coming is a major component of New Testament prophecy, and is mentioned over 300 times, a good study of this by John Gilchrist is "Nuzul-I-Isa: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ" which can be found at

http://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/2nd_coming.html

and this describes how Jesus came the first time to conquer sin, to do death to death, and rise from the dead in triumph, thus securing for his followers the assured hope of the resurrection at the Last Day. Jesus will return on that Day, not with a sword, but to raise all His own from the dead, to give them the fulness of eternal life and to make them just like Himself in the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the supreme meaning and purpose of the nuzul-i-Isa, the second coming of Jesus.

Jesus' second coming is an absolutely wonderful Bible study, Mr Williams, and needs to look at the following: Who? Where? How? When? and Why? it is a lengthy study, and shows there is to be a day when justice will be done. Every human being has two future engagements, neither of which can be entered into a diary, or marked on a calendar, the Bible saying, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement" Hebrews 9:27 and having "shone the bright light of Scripture on the narrow way of truth," I conclude by saying I understand full well what the consequences would be for you to leave Islam and to enter into life in Jesus' Name, but also say we must respond to the all-Holy God's rescue plan before we die, since our death ends the opportunity, just as it does when we have fallen into deep water and are drowning because we can't swim. We must accept the life-raft which is thrown to us before we drown.

You're going to live forever Mr Williams, choose your address

With all good wishes

Lactantius Jr

Submitting....

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