Tim discusses whether the Bible is a supernatural book by God to men or a naturalistic book by men about God.
So here’s my question: What kind of book is the Bible? What kind of book is it? I think you’ve got two options. You can either say it’s a supernatural book by God to men (and through men, by the way). Okay? Supernatural book by God to men. Or it’s a naturalistic book that is by men about God. There’re your options. Supernatural book, or it’s a naturalistic book. What kind of indications do we have that it might be a supernatural book? Let me just give you two.
Here’s one: The Bible has supernatural prophecy. This is exciting stuff. I wish we could spend an hour talking about prophecy in the Bible. It’s incredible stuff. You see, the Bible makes predictions about the future that end up coming to pass, that are accurate and precise. Throughout the Bible, you have these prophets of God who describe events before they happen. It’s really incredible. I’d like just to give one example of a prophecy that was fulfilled, and it has to do with the Messiah’s death.
Now, “Messiah” just means “Anointed One.” The word “Messiah” in the Old Testament, in the New Testament is “Christ.” So, Jesus Christ—Christ is not his last name, okay? Many people just assume that. It’s a title. It’s Jesus, the Messiah. How was the Messiah going to die? That’s my question. Well, a number of Old Testament passages actually detail how the Messiah would die. Psalm 22 is a really good text. You should read through the whole thing, but let me just zoom in here on a couple of verses.
So, Psalm 22:16, check this out: “For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me.” Stop right there. When it says “dogs,” it doesn’t mean literal dogs, like your pet at home, okay? This is probably a derogatory term used to describe the Gentiles, so maybe like the Romans or something—the Gentiles, they’re encircling me; a company of evildoers, they’re encircling me. Then listen to this. This is incredible: “They have pierced my hands and my feet.” Now, don’t skip over these words too quickly because David is writing these words a thousand years before Jesus—a thousand years. In fact, he’s writing these words before crucifixion is even invented. And yet, he describes what sounds like crucifixion: “piercing my hands and my feet.” It goes on to say this: “I can count all my bones”—probably referring to the fact that he’s naked. “They stare and gloat over me”—this is a public execution, okay? Not all deaths are public executions, and that’s what’s being described here. “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” That’s exactly what happened to Jesus—you read Matthew 27, that’s precisely what happened.
Now, not only do we see in the Old Testament how the Messiah would die, we also are told why he would die. So, why would the Messiah die? Well, if you go to Isaiah—Isaiah was written 700 BC, so 700 years before Christ—it says this, verse 5: “But he was pierced”—there’s the piercing again, hands and feet—“He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace; and with his wounds we are healed.” What does this text tell us? Tell you what it says. The Messiah is going to die as a substitute for your sins. In your place. Here’s how Jesus put it. He said in the New Testament, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many.”
Now, here’s the question: How could this possibly be a coincidence? I mean, it’s not. These are the events being described hundreds of years—I mean, these events read as if you’re standing there watching a crucifixion, and yet, these are written years, in many cases hundreds of years, before the events took place. This is powerful evidence that this book is a supernatural book.