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External Evidence for the Bible

Reader comment on item: A Christian Boom
in response to reader comment: My Christian brother...the Servant of Christ

Submitted by Servant of Christ (United States), Nov 23, 2006 at 15:36

"My dear Christian brother:

I'm writing on this web site for the last time. I will not express or share my views on what I believe to be a politically motivated web site. I would also like to thank Dr.Daniel Pipes's web site for having allowed me to share some of my thoughts here. I respect the doctor's views but totally disagree with them.

Thank you for your understanding and may God bless you."

Fadi. Very well. I respect your decision to leave this site, however I ask that you read this. I would like to sum up the reasons for why I believe in Christianity.

Let's start with the external evidence for Christianity.

A. The Bible has been proven for it's reliability by archaeology and history. A few examples would be:

Evidence for Belshazzar, king of Babylon (found in Daniel 5), being the last king of Babylon.

The excavation of Bethsaida (John 5) which had five porches.

The doctor, Luke, was criticized for his details which critics said were off, but archaeology has managed to prove Luke to be a very accurate writer. For example, skeptics doubted that Quirinius, governor of Syria, took a census requiring citizens to return to their ancestral homes (Luke 2:1-3). However, archaeology says that Roman censuses were held every 14 years. What's more is that archaeologists discovered an inscription in Antioch proving that Quirinius was governor of Syria around 7 B.C. Evidence from Josephus suggests that he was governor twice, with a second term around A.D. 6. This fits perfectly with the Bible's account.

On an inscription at Caesarea, it said, "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, has presented the Tiberium to the Caesareans." Archaeology has once again verified the Bile.

Jericho has been discovered by archaeologists.

B. The Bible has a huge wealth of text that all agree with each other.

1. Some of the main texts used are the Masoretic text, Septuagint, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it's established that there is no corruption as Islam says in the Bible.

2. The NT alone has 24,000 manuscripts. They agree 99.5%. And that 0.5% is due to spelling changes (honor, honour) and slight rewordings. No doctrines are in danger.

C. Reliability of the Text

1. The NT was written most likely before the destruction of the Temple, meaning that the they were written under 40 years after the death of Jesus. That is far to short for fact to change to legend. Mark and Matthew are accepted as being the earliest gospels written. Luke and Acts were written later. However, in the book of Acts, there is no mention of Paul's death, implying that it was written prior to the death of Paul. Therefore the Gospel of Luke was written earlier than the book of Acts, and the other two Gospels were written earlier than Luke. This greatly decreases the time span from the writing of the Gospels and the death of Jesus.

2. Paul's letters are most likely the earliest writing of the NT:

3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born

Paul states confidently that he has Peter, the Twelve, James, and over five hundred people who actually have SEEN the risen Jesus. This was written under ten years after the death of Jesus. Legends usually need at least 150 years to develop.

3. The disciples were cowards when Jesus was being crucified, yet 10/11 of the disciples died for their Lord so that they could preach the Gospel. What changed 11 cowards into some of the most persevering, hardworking, and brave men in history? Possibly seeing the evidence for the Resurrection. They were sincere in their mission. Of course, there are many people who are sincere who are wrong. For example, atheists are sincere in the belief that there is no God, but there sincerity does not change the fact that there is. But, these disciple actually said they had SEEN the risen Lord. They did not believe that he was alive, they say they actually saw him. They were either lying or telling the truth, they could not have been mislead. So would liars would die for something they know was wrong and would gain them nothing?

16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

4. The Bible was written over 1500 years, in three different continents, three different languages, from writers of all walks and occupations of life. And yet, the message remains uniformed and united.

D. Prophecies

1. The prophecies of the Bible show God at work. Peter says this:

19And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit(2 Peter 1:19-21 NIV) emphasis added.

I'll list just a few prophecies:

2. The Prophecy of Cyrus

who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd
and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt,"
and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid." '

I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness:
I will make all his ways straight.
He will rebuild my city
and set my exiles free,
but not for a price or reward,
says the LORD Almighty

Cyrus the Great

-http://sangha.net/messengers/cyrus-the-great.htm#Cyrus the Great

Isaiah prophesied this this at least 80-140 years before the birth of Cyrus. How did he know the name of the king who did not even exist yet??? Cyrus helped to rebuild the temple just as Isaiah said.

3. The Prophecy of Nineveh

Nahum the Prophet said that Nineveh would be destroyed by its enemies with the help of a flood:

but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of Nineveh ;
he will pursue his foes into darkness.

9 Whatever they plot against the LORD
he will bring to an end;
trouble will not come a second time.

10 They will be entangled among thorns
and drunk from their wine;
they will be consumed like dry stubble

The river gates are thrown open
and the palace collapses.

Nineveh was sieged and conquered by the Babylonians, Scythians, and Medes after heavy rains caused a flood. Nineveh had aquaducts which stored water for it. When the heavy rains came, the it flooded the Tigris river and destroyed some of Nineveh's walls, which allowed its enemies to tear it down and burn the city:

He will stretch out his hand against the north
and destroy Assyria,
leaving Nineveh utterly desolate
and dry as the desert.

14 Flocks and herds will lie down there,
creatures of every kind.
The desert owl and the screech owl
will roost on her columns.
Their calls will echo through the windows,
rubble will be in the doorways,
the beams of cedar will be exposed.

15 This is the carefree city
that lived in safety.
She said to herself,
"I am, and there is none besides me."
What a ruin she has become,
a lair for wild beasts!
All who pass by her scoff
and shake their fists.

4. The Reunification of Israel

and say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.

This was a prophecy that was just recently fulfilled. Prophesied at the time when Israel was divided into two kingdoms, many people doubted whether or not this would be fulfilled, especially after the Jews were scattered and dispersed.

Conclusion of the External Evidence:

So far, the external evidence has proven the Bible to be reliable. The Bible is backed up by its manuscripts, archaeological evidences, and its prophecies. There is no evidence of any corruption in the Bible, only evidence for the contrary. I will continue with the external evidence of the Bible in a separate post.

May God Bless You Brother

(Ezekiel 37:21-22 NIV)
(Zephaniah 2:13-15 NIV)
(Nahum 2:6 NIV)
(Nahum 1:8-10 NIV)
(circa 600-529 BC), king of Persia (550-529 BC). He was the son of Cambyses I, a descendant of Achaemenes (Hakhamanish) (flourished 7th century BC), and a member of the Achaemenid dynasty. When Cyrus became (558 BC) ruler of the Persian district of Anshan, the district was subject to the Medes; five years later he led a rebellion against the Medes that resulted in the capture of King Astyages (reigned about 584-c. 550 BC) and the overthrow (550 BC) of the Median Empire. Thereafter Cyrus called himself king of Persia and ruled a territory extending from the Halys River in Asia Minor, eastern border of Lydia, to the Babylonian Empire on the south and east. Babylon, Egypt, Lydia, and the city-state of Sparta in Greece combined to curb the power of Cyrus, but in 546 BC the Persians added Lydia to their realm, and in 539 BC the kingdom of Babylon fell to Cyrus. The Persian Empire was the most powerful state in the world until its conquest two centuries later by Alexander the Great. Cyrus was an able and merciful ruler. Significant among his deeds was his granting of permission to the Jews to return from their exile in Babylon to their native Israel to rebuild the Temple of Solomon. Cyrus died while leading an expedition against the eastern tribe, the Massagetae, and was succeeded by his son, who became Cambyses II. "Cyrus the Great," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 97 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
." (Isaiah 45:13 NIV)
(Isaiah 44:28 NIV)
(2 Peter 1:16 NIV) my emphasis
. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV) emphasis added

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