Together, the two excerpts from Book 6 below, illustrate two key points. (1) The Bible contains prophecies of future events written hundreds (and sometimes even thousands) of years in advance which have been fulfilled and/or are still being fulfilled today. (2) God has a long-term prophetic plan for the nation of Israel which will be fulfilled. God has kept them alive as a nation, despite the efforts of many powerful nations to destroy them.
Let’s go back to Daniel Chapter 9. We’ll see if we can finish down to verse 27 in this lesson, in order to validate this seven- year period of time as definitely in our future (not our future, because we’re going to be gone, but in the future of the planet).
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
That “seventy weeks are determined upon thy people,…” and that word ‘weeks’ here is used as we would use, ‘dozen.’ If I would say so many dozen, what would you automatically do? You would multiply it by 12. A week is always seven, and so seventy weeks of years is (a lot of the new translations have already calculated it for you and what have they got?) 490 years. “Four hundred and ninety years are determined upon thy people…“ Daniel’s people. And who are Daniel’s people? The Jew – Israel. “…and upon thy holy city, (Jerusalem) to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity,…” That all took place when? When Christ died on the Cross. And you remember several lessons ago this was one of the verses that we split with a parenthesis and a dash, because the next part of this verse is still future. It didn’t happen at Christ’s first coming. “…that is to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.“ That hasn’t happened yet. It will when He returns and sets up His kingdom, but it didn’t happen at His first coming.
Come down through these next verses, but what you really figure out here that even though 490 years were in God’s time table back here for the Nation of Israel, leading up to the rejection of The Messiah, would only total 483 years. Which means that there are seven years left that were not fulfilled at Christ’s first coming.
Chronologists and archaeologists have teamed up and they have actually found the decree that Daniel mentions here, that gave the Jew permission to go back after their Temple had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; it was dated, and from that date, it was March 14, 445 BC, up until Palm Sunday, was exactly 483 years. That was fulfilled. But, the prophecy said 490 years. And so that’s why Bible scholars have sometime referred to the Tribulation as Daniel’s 70th week. Sixty-nine of them were fulfilled at the Cross, but the 70th week, or that final seven years is still unfulfilled. It’s been pushed out into the future. Let’s drop down to verse 27, it says, “…And he (the Anti-christ) shall confirm the covenant with many for seven years.” Now, there is the triggering mechanism for the Tribulation!
Turn to Matthew 24, for a quick review of our last lesson, where we left off with Jesus telling the Twelve the events of the Tribulation: Matthew 24:15
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).”
He makes a tremendous statement that gives veracity to the Book of Daniel — a book that has probably been under more attack by the scoffers and the liberals than any other book in The Bible, except maybe Genesis. But, here in Matthew 24, Jesus puts his stamp of approval upon the prophet Daniel. “When ye therefore,…“ and remember He’s talking to the Twelve; and so He is naturally talking primarily to the Jew. Never forget that this great Tribulation period, the seven years that is spoken of throughout all the Old Testament, is referred to here by Christ. And then, of course, the road map of it is in the Book of Revelation; that seven-year period is primarily, according to Jeremiah Chapter 30, Jacob’s trouble. Which means it is primarily God dealing with the Nation of Israel after all these years of seemingly ignoring them, and yet not really. Because always remember, one of the greatest miracles of the whole human race is the Nation of Israel. They should have been long gone, but here they are after over 4,000 years of history; and more than one government, more than one empire, more than one king has tried to obliterate them. And yet, here they are.
I’m reminded of an anecdote I read years ago that during the time of Bismarck, I think it was, and the Prussian empire, he was an unbeliever and almost an agnostic, had one of his top generals who was a very devout believer. And so, one day as he was conducting his inspection, he came to this general and sneeringly said, “General, tell me why do you still believe The Bible? Tell me in one or two words.” And the general, without a pause, said, “Sir, the Jew.” And you see that is. The proof of this Book is the Nation of Israel. God is not through with them. He is still bringing them back to the land and that’s why we’re seeing this mass emigration into that little postage stamp piece of real estate, because God’s getting ready to again pick up where He left off with His favored nation.
Now, here in Matthew 24, verse 15, He says to the Twelve, “when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (that would be in the Temple) whoso readeth, let him understand.” Let’s go back to Daniel and pick up again those verses that Jesus was referring to, so we can tie it all together. Now, as I was driving up here for our lesson today, I was trying to sort things out in my own mind, because this is not just a short lesson, and we can go on to another subject some other time. We’re trying to teach the whole scope of Scripture from Genesis through Revelation, and not in just bits and pieces; not as a shotgun approach, but we’re trying to tie everything together. And I’ve known in my classes when people have gone through Genesis to Revelation four, five, six times with me; every time they will pick up things that they’ve never caught before. I used to apologize for reviewing, but I don’t anymore, because every time I review, I know that somebody picks up a little bit that they’ve either forgotten, or they’ve never actually tied together. So, let’s look at Daniel 9:24:
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
We’re again dealing with the Nation of Israel; it’s Old Testament, and some may say, “Wait a minute, you mean that the Old Testament isn’t for us?” Of course it is! All Scripture is by inspiration and is profitable. So, we don’t put lines through any of it. But, I maintain that you have to be aware to whom the particular passage was directed. And so, here again, Daniel makes it so plain that “seventy weeks,” or seventy weeks of years, or 490 years, “are determined upon thy people.” God is speaking, of course, through the prophets. So, who are Daniel’s people? Well, the Jew – Israel – the nation. “and upon thy holy city,” (Jerusalem), “to finish the transgression and to make and end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity.” Of course, that all took place at the Cross.
That’s where sin was paid for, and all these things came to their culmination. But, on the other hand, there’s still some time to go on after the Cross and the verse continues on, “…to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” This is not an in depth study on prophecy; we’re still going to go back to Genesis soon. But as I mentioned the last lesson, we’ve had so many requests to go back and spend a little time on end-time things, because we are getting so close to it all. And I agreed heartily, because, when I look at how long it’s taken to go through the first 24 verses of Genesis, I’m honestly convinced that we won’t be here long enough to finish the whole book. We’ll be gone before it’s all gone. So, we are just taking a brief overview.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times: And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
So then, here in verse 25 & 26, we see that these 490 years are broken down into a period that would be 483 years. Remember, that Abraham, the beginning of the Jewish nation, began about 2,000 BC. The Cross would be in the middle. Now, in this passage of Daniel, he is speaking of 483 years that would transpire from the decree from the king, which we find in Nehemiah 2. That decree was found to be dated in 445 BC. If I remember right, the date was March 14. All you have do is remember a scriptural year is 360 days, not 365. It’s twelve months of 30 days, or 360 days. But you still have to compensate for those 5 days and leap years, so you just punch it out in your calculator, even with our present day calendar, from 445 BC, archaeologists have found this. It’s not just pulled out of a hat. From 445 BC until the year of the Crucifixion, as I calculate it, comes to within about one year. And there can easily be that much difference in calendarization and so forth. So always remember that the Scripture is so accurate. Nothing is guesswork. And if there is a discrepancy, it is ours, not God’s.
So, anyway, Daniel has determined that there would be 483 years from that decree of Nehemiah 2 until the Crucifixion. But, the total years that God was going to deal with Israel was 490. So, if 483 took place up to the Cross, that means there is seven years left. And consequently, most Bible scholars, and those who do a lot of writing, will refer to the seven-year period as Daniel’s seventieth week. Sixty-nine were fulfilled at the Cross. God’s clock stopped, and the last seven years are still ahead of us. They still have to be fulfilled. Now, then, as you go into verse 26, it speaks of a coming prince. “After the threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off (at the Crucifixion),but not for himself,” He didn’t die because of anything He had done. He died for us, “and the people,” (now here’s where you have watch carefully as you read), “…the people of the prince that shall come,…“ Now, the prince that shall come is a small letter “p,” and is the reference to what we call the Anti-christ. Christ is the Prince and He would be capitalized.
But, this prince is a small letter, and it’s a reference to the counterfeit christ, the Anti-christ, and it’s the people out of which he will one day come that will destroy the Temple. And we know that was done by the Roman general, Titus, in 70 AD. So, that verse tells us at the time of the Anti-christ’s appearance, he will have to come out of the geographical area that comprises the ancient Roman empire. And it’s coming to pass right before our eyes. It’s basically the European Community, which by the end of this year, they hope to be able to call a Federation of Europe, or a United States of Europe. And so, the geographical part of it is already in place; that somewhere out of that revived Roman empire this prince will make his appearance.
Editor’s Note: These next two sections explain how the various books of prophecy written hundreds of years apart fit perfectly together, and play a critical part in the interpretation of each other. This is even more amazing when one considers that the writers of Scripture often did not understand the meaning of these things when they wrote them.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND DREAM (DANIEL 3)
We trust that as you study with us that you will find it to be as thrilling and understanding to you as it is in our classes. We have no ax to grind; we’re an informal Bible study and we don’t try to twist peoples arms into thinking one way or another. We just like to open the Scriptures and help people see what The Book really says. So many of us have been bound by tradition, and if there is any word in the Scripture that is condemned, it is tradition. We must be careful that we don’t find ourselves locked into a tradition that is not necessarily in line with The Book. So this is our only goal; and that is to help folks see what the Bible really says.
This Book is so gloriously supernaturally put together so that there is no possible way that human hands could have done it. For example, there are three books of Prophecy written by Jews of course. But all written outside the land of Israel. Daniel, which we will be looking at, is one of them. Daniel is writing from Babylon, while he is captive there under King Nebuchadnezzar. The second one is the Book of Ezekiel which was also written from captivity in the next empire, as Ezekiel writes from Persia. And the third one is the last Book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, written by John from the Isle of Patmos, which is in the Aegean Sea, between Turkey and Greece. Now those three Books of Prophecy also are unique in that all three write in symbolism.
Just stop and think about it. Ezekiel uses for example, The Dry Bones, The Stick, and the Fiery Wheel. All those are symbolism, but they have a literal truth. Now we come into the Book of Daniel and we will see this Great Image, with a head of gold, and a chest of silver, a belly of brass and on down its body. It’s a symbolism of all the great empires that would be coming down through history. And then when you get to the Book of Revelation written by John, most people are afraid to even study the Book of Revelation. They can’t understand it. And therefore won’t even read it, simply because it is in symbolic language. But you see all those symbolisms are all interpreted by Scripture itself, in one place or another. And all you have to do is search the Scriptures and these things begin to fall into place.
Editor’s Note: The prophecy in Daniel chapter 2 of the Great Image with the head of gold, mentioned above, foretold the fall of the great kingdom of Babylon and the future rise of the great kingdoms of Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. This teaching is not included in detail here due to its length, but a related prophecy from Daniel chapter 8 is explained below. Readers are encouraged to see Book 10 where the prophecy of the Great Image is explained in detail.
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
The previous 11 chapters have been an out-laying of prophecy. In fact, Daniel and Revelation just fit together hand in glove. You can’t study Revelation without studying Daniel and vise versa. So, now, as you come into the last chapter of this great book of prophecy, Daniel writes this: “..and at that time shall Michael stand up, that great prince which standeth for the children (Israel), and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people (Israel, the Jews) shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Now, this is what Paul refers to in Romans as that remnant. “…And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth,…“In other words, they have died and they’ve reverted back to the dust. “…many of then shall awake,…“ and here we have a parallel with John’s Gospel, Chapter 5, “…some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt….” Again, you’ve got the believer and the unbeliever listed here. Now let’s skip over to verse 8:
“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, ‘O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said, ‘Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.'”
Daniel is saying that he heard but he understood not. Now, I’ve always maintained, as I’ve taught the Old Testament, that all Scripture is inspired of God. Peter says so clearly that prophecy came not in the old time by will of man; and, you remember, I ridiculed the concept several months ago, of these things having originated around the camp fire and then just having been handed down as legend. That’s not what our Bible is at all. Our Bible is the very inspiration of the Spirit of God and as Peter says, that these holy men of God wrote as they were moved along by the Spirit. Now under those circumstances, do you think they understood everything they wrote? Why, no way! And here it’s so plainly.
Look what Daniel says, after writing this great book of end-time prophecy (and he’s writing it 2500 years before it happens). And look what he says in verse 8. “And I heard,…“ He realized what he had been writing, but look at what he says next. “…I understood not (!),” He didn’t understand what he was writing. “And I said, ‘O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?'” Now, that much he could comprehend. There were some terrible times coming upon this planet. But he couldn’t understand it. And so he said, “‘what shall be the end of these things.'” And The Lord said, “‘…go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”
I always like to look back and read about men from years ago. You will find that it wasn’t until near the turn of the century that men began to get a comprehension of prophecy. Before that, there was not a clear cut teaching of how these things were going to unfold. And that’s exactly what God told Daniel. It wasn’t for men to understand until we get close to the end times. And now, every week, it is so much easier to understand. I know, 20 years ago, when I’d teach the Book of Revelation, it was hard to get people to understand what it was saying. Now, I can teach the Book of Revelation and people are almost running ahead of me with current events and news.
Editor’s Note: This next section shows that Daniel wrote about the rise and fall of various empires hundreds of years before they came into existence, and history shows these prophecies were fulfilled.
2 Peter 1:21
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man (but here is how it came about. The word “holy” means set apart. Holy men of God spake, not as they dreamed it up, not as they had remembered what they heard around a camp fire, or what had been handed down from generation to generation): but these holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
What is this saying? Everyone of us will meet someone once in a while who will say, “I don’t see how you can believe all that stuff. After all, why do you think the Bible is more right in what it teaches than the Koran or the book of Mormon?” or anything else that they may say is their guideline for doctrine. I’ll tell you why. There is not another book written that makes prophetic statements like our Bible does. Hundreds, even thousands of years before they happen and they all come true. What hasn’t come true, will!
This is our reason for teaching prophecy. It is to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that this Book is the Word of God. And it’s prophecy that has been spoken, and fulfilled to the last jot and tittle as much of the Old Testament already has been. We have no reason to doubt that the rest of it will be. Because the same God that fulfilled the first ninety percent of prophecy, is the God that’s going to finish the last ten percent. All of that is just to show why we like to spend as much time in prophecy as we do.
The main reason we are studying prophecy now, is, as we come through the Old Testament, we reach to Daniel. Let’s go back to the Book of Daniel now to Chapter 8, which we skipped when we came through. But, you remember on our sojourn up through the Scriptures, starting with Genesis, we have just come right on up, unfolding our timeline, and, consequently, since Daniel is in captivity under the Babylonian empire we stopped there in our progressive revelations. But, of course, Daniel is a book of prophecy. And so, he is dealing almost entirely in his whole book with events that would happen to the Gentile world. Now, back here in Chapter 8, let me show you how accurate prophecy has been. It’s already been fulfilled as you will notice starting with verse 1:
“In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.”
And he goes on to say that he saw a vision way out there in Shushan, which was the capital of the Medes and Persian empire on the Tigris River. In this vision he’s going to see the unfolding of the rather immediate history (not the long term).
“Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.”
Everyone envisions some horrible looking creature with a horrible looking pair of horns. Let’s go back to a statement I made several weeks ago. Three books of our Bible were written outside of the land of Israel. All three of them are mostly prophetic, and all three of them deal primarily with Gentile prophecy. Daniel is one of them. He writes from Shushan on the Tigris river; Ezekiel is another, he also writes from captivity; and the third Book is Revelation, when John, the Revelator, wrote from the Isle of Patmos in exile. None of those three books were written in Israel. However, they were all written by Jews, and all three wrote in symbolism. The symbolism here is that the ram was indicative of the Medes and Persian empire. In fact, their coins had the ram’s head on them. The crown of the Medes and Persians had the likeness of a ram. And so, there’s no doubt from history and archaeology, that Daniel is seeing the vision concerning the empire of which he was a part, and that was the Medes and Persians represented by the two horns.
The horns in Scripture always refer to kings or the top guy in control. Try to remember that, because when you get to the Book of Revelation, you are going to see this leader with ten horns. And that simply means a government with ten distinctive heads or presidents, or kings. The Medes and Persians are the two kings. One of them is the father of Cyrus. He was the one horn, but his son Cyrus became so much greater, and pushed the empire out further, that Daniel sees it as the greater of the two horns. And that’s all they are, two kings, the father and son. Now, as the Medes and Persians began to expand out their empire, they enveloped the land of Israel, and they took the city of Jerusalem. Then they went down into Egypt. And then they went around the Mediterranean Sea, and started overrunning what is present day Turkey – and they were headed toward Europe. But Daniel sees something that’s going to stop this Medes and Persian Empire. Verse 4:
“I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.” They were the greatest empire on the earth at that time.
“And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth (they’re in the Middle East. The Medes and Persians are coming from the east, in the area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. They are moving around the north side of the Mediterranean Sea, and here comes a power from the west to meet them head on. It’s a he-goat, and we know from archaeology that the Grecian Empire emblem was the goat. It was on their coins and other emblems. They recognized them as the he-goat. So this he-goat came from the west), and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn (One. What was Alexander the Great? – a conqueror of one (not a consortium like the Medes and Persians). He alone arose from the Grecian Empire.) between his eyes.”
“And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.”
Let’s break that verse down. “And he came to the ram” (now what do you have? Do you have a fight between two animals? No, you have a fight between two empires. So, the Grecian Empire is going to run head-on into the Medes’ and Persians’ Empire. And of course we know from history who won? The Greeks did. Alexander overran the Medes’ and Persians’ Empire, and ruled the greatest empire on earth by the time he was 33 years old. And he was also known in history as a general who conquered swiftly. He would move his armies with speed such that the then-known world knew nothing of. He would take chances, and was almost reckless in the chances that he would take. But he always seemed to come out on top. He never really lost an army.
So it was unique to Alexander the Great’s military campaign. I think the word that shows that in verse 6 that many of us might miss is “ran:” but as this he-goat came he “ran;“ see the indication of his swiftness and speed? “…and ran unto him in the fury of his power.” Now, people read this and all they picture is a couple of animals in a wild animal fight of some kind – all it is, is two empires. Now you say, “Where do you get it?” Well, just move across the page to verse 20. And as I have said so often, Scripture always does it’s own interpreting.
“The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia (it’s plain isn’t it?): and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king (Alexander the Great).”
“Now that being broken (you know what happened to him – he died; probably of alcoholism. He was only 33 years old. The great empire that Alexander the Great set up so swiftly, was immediately divided between four of his Generals. And so the empire became a quadrangle. It was no longer “one.”), whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.” In other words, no longer an Alexander.
“And in the latter time of their kingdom (these four generals), when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.”
This is an interesting little quirk of Scripture and prophecy. The little king, spoken of here as being so fierce and powerful, on the pages of secular history wasn’t enough to amount to a paragraph. But he was a king who went down to Jerusalem and utterly persecuted, and put under tremendous pressure, the people of Israel. So, in God’s plan of things, he becomes a prime player. But other than that, he is only a little blip on the radar of history. Let’s look at this man because he is a picture, or a type of the last man of fierce countenance. He is a picture of the Anti-christ. So this is the only way we can look at the description of this Antiochus The Great. The very same descriptive words connected to him are also descriptive of this Man of Sin. I’m going to wind up with the biblical description of this world ruler that is coming on the scene (we think before much longer). Let’s look at verse 24, still speaking of Antiochus The Great, in history shortly following Daniel’s vision:
“And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully (in other words, beyond human comprehension the things that he would do.), and he shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” See, he came down and persecuted the Nation of Israel.
“And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand (in other words he’s going to be successful in his little era of history); and he shall magnify himself in his heart(this is all indicative of what the Anti-christ is going to be like thousands of years later), and by peace shall destroy many (in other words he’s going to be a political manipulator, and we are going to see that in a little bit. How the man Anti-christ is going to have such charisma, he’s going to have the world just really licking out of his hands, because of his charismatic personality. And this fellow was able to do the same thing): he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes (now that’s capitalized, so he’s actually going to stand up in the face of God, and try to fight against Him); but he shall be broken without hand.”
Editor’s Note: This section illustrates that the writings of the Old Testament fit perfectly with the writings of the New Testament. And as we saw above, the writers of Scripture often did not understand the meaning of these things when they wrote them. Added to this is that fact that the Bible was written down by many different men living at different times who could not have collaborated to write this incredibly intricate Book.
Go, if you will, to Matthew 28. In our last chapter we showed that Jesus definitely referred to Himself as the `I AM,’ or the Jehovah of the Old Testament account. In Matthew 28 He alludes to this title, The Most High, by virtue of what He says in verse 18:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, `All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.'” He is the possessor of Heaven and earth. He is not only the Jehovah, but He is the El Elyon.
Before we go back to Genesis 14, I want to explain my ridiculous illustration. Repeatedly I will read or hear `so-called’ theologians (I use the term loosely – not all of them, but too many of them) who will refer to the Bible as nothing but a compilation of Jewish myth and legends. I remember reading one who said that all this `stuff’ (as he put it) in the Old Testament began as the ancient Jews sat around their campfire and exchanged stories; that after several generations someone got the idea they should be writing this stuff down. Result? The Old Testament. That’s just as absurd as the illustration I gave you. When seminaries and educated men with degrees who have written their dissertations, make a statement like that, it is just as absurd as the jeweler saying there is no difference between a multi-thousand dollar Swiss watch and a $5.00 alarm clock. It is just as ridiculous.
I remember a few years ago reading that the president of one of our more well-known seminaries made the statement that the account of Moses and the burning bush was just a figment of some good Jew’s imagination. I don’t know that he has ever retracted his statement. That’s absurd! Hopefully, I have shown you how the Bible is so meticulously put together that the theme is never lost. It comes all the way through from start to finish. Everything is in its rightful place. How in the world could 44 men, living over a period of 2000 years, do that without the supernatural? They couldn’t.
What I try to emphasize is that you and I can rest on this Book. It is letter perfect (in the original). I realize that all we have are translations and there have been some slight errors in translation. But God has so brooded over His Word that He hasn’t allowed any gross error to come in, not even in our translations, so that we can rest on this as the inspired God-breathed, Word of God. When we can just believe it without doubting, whether it is the account of the creation, the Flood, the call of Abraham, the Covenant with the Nation of Israel, the Gospel of the Cross, the writings of Paul or the Book of Revelation, what do we say? – It is the Word of God! It is miraculous from start to finish and we have no room for doubt.
Here is another good example of what I am talking about. Clear back in 2000 BC when no one in Scripture had any idea of God the Son going to a Roman Cross to purchase mankind’s redemption. Oh, it was there in latent terms as in Genesis 3:15 where the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. Now we know what He was talking about, but they didn’t. Even the writers of Scripture didn’t understand these things. But God so put all these things into His Word, that it fully assures us that He knew everything from start to finish before it ever happened.
In the middle of Genesis 14:18 we find that Melchizedek brought to Abram bread and wine. They certainly used bread in the worship in the tabernacle – the table of shewbread. The wave offering was the sheaf of grain. Another time they would have drink offerings of wine and they would pour that out, but never was bread and wine associated in combination throughout the Old Testament economy. In the Age of Grace, what does the bread and wine speak of? The Lord’s Supper; the Communion Table. . The only way we can really identify that is to go back to Matthew’s Gospel where we have The Lord’s Supper. Jesus instituted The Lord’s Supper at the Last Supper, at the Passover.
“Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.”
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, `Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, `Drink ye all of it;'”
I’d like to ask a question. Did the disciples understand what all of this stood for? They didn’t have the foggiest notion. They followed His directions, but there is no explanation by The Lord Jesus, or even by the writer of this Gospel account, that they had any idea what He was doing. So, we have to wait until we come to the writings of the Apostle Paul. Now we understand what it was all for. Turn with me to I Corinthians, Chapter 11. Here, again, is progressive revelation. The eleven there at the night of the Passover didn’t understand it. Jesus didn’t explain it; it wasn’t time yet. The Lord’s Table of the bread and the cup is a memorial of His death, and on the night of the Last Supper His death hadn’t taken place yet.
I Corinthians 11:23-26
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, `Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, `This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.'” Verse 26 gives us the explanation. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lords death till he come.'”
This is the purpose of The Lord’s Supper. It is remembering what Christ accomplished on the Cross; that just as in ignominy and shame His Body was broken, the bread is broken. The pouring out of His Blood is, of course, in the cup. Back in Genesis we have the picture of His death, burial and Resurrection, but that’s all. All of this is to reassure us that the Word of God is so true. It is so supernatural.
When educated men, theologians, (that’s what they claim to be) take the Bible and say it is nothing more than a bunch of Jewish legend and myth; or, as others have said, there may be some of the Word of God in it, but not all of it is; as soon as you take out part of it you would lose the fabric of this beautiful thread-work that goes all through Scripture. The main reason for my teaching throughout the last few lessons, is to show that this Book is so supernaturally woven together, we never have to doubt that it is the Word of God. I’ll admit that all we have today are translations. The King James (I still like it) is a translation. When I say the Word of God is letter perfect and word perfect, I am referring to the original manuscripts before anyone ever touched them. Portions of every book of the Old Testament were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls; the Book of Isaiah being almost totally intact. Those are the oldest copies of the Word of God that man has come up with so far.
When they translated the Book of Isaiah out of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the King James Version was almost letter perfect. This is when I was assured that I would stay with the King James Version. Even after all the translations and copying, we have a Bible that is nearly error free. Sometimes I’ll say I think the King James translators could have used this word or that word, but for the most part it is so accurate that we can just rest upon it.