Daniel 12. 1 - 4
At first I was skeptical when told I needed a home computer to cope with today’s daunting knowledge explosion. I find it was good advice. We’ve got space stations, missiles that can destroy missiles that can destroy missiles, and so on. We have computerized airplanes, 30 times safer than previous aircraft. Gene splicing can correct the results of genetic defects. We have non invasive diagnoses, non surgical removal of blood clots; something new everyday in the field of medicine. My son in law claims we’re on the edge of a huge technological explosion, claiming he is not a pure mathematician, but he can make my eyes glaze over. I can no longer do the research I need in my own field with a pocket computer, once possible not too long ago. I suggest you may share my feelings of inadequacy with this constant affirmation of our own ignorance and inability to cope with this new knowledge.
There’s a tendency to carry these feelings of inadequacy over into the social sciences, in areas like education, child raising, criminology, sociology, psychology, even evolution which I think of as social science. However, it’s important to distinguish between pseudo scientific social theory and actual science. There is a tyranny of ideas today that carries over into theological criticism, which is disheartening by making one inclined to doubt. You begin to think that a lot of smart people have spent months and years figuring things out. They uncover different explanations of the same event, i.e. the Flood and the Gilgamesh epic. They point up historical inaccuracies they uncover in the written word. They call God one of fable saying that he is a god that is angry and changes his mind, therefore not God. Could they be right? How easy it can become to say that Christianity is an outworn creed, bringing on despair in the wee small hours of the morning.
But we do need religion; we need the guide of this external standard. So we turn again to our battered and enfeebled faith to see if we can shore it up. To see if it really can save mankind in this perplexing age. First we need to realize that it is not so strange that our faith is enfeebled. Faith will never be perfect because we’re not perfect. It may vary in intensity and completeness in terms of objects, e.g. doctrine and understanding of the gospel. However, for 2,000 years the world has existed with no open vision between God and His creation. After Joshua’s death (1367 BC) at the time of the Judges in Israel, their apostacy led to a time when the word of the Lord was precious and there was no open vision. And again, when Jeremiah wrote of Judah’s downfall and the captivity of Jerusalem (586 BC), he lamented that "the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the Lord." (Lam 2. 9) And where there is no vision, said Solomon, the people perish. Today can we expect Peter’s words to come true when scoffers say, "Where is the promise of his coming? Since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were. . ."?
(2Pet 3. 4)Such questions do not answer the assaults of theological criticism-- no more than a tyranny of theory, pseudo scientific theory, more in the nature of the social scientist. If right, then enfeebled faith is justified. But the answer lies in the fact everything is conjecture after all, so what if there is a synthesis of narrative? God does not reveal details of His ways of revelation. Deductions are not observed facts; deductions may be wrong. Each of us secretly wrestles with doubts so as not to weaken the faith of others. But enough of doubtful disputations. Two great certainties, two pillars, two rocks of unassailable truth, two great witnesses of the faith once delivered to the saints will uphold us in that faith.
THE HEBREW SCRIPTURE: the unwilling witness of Hebrew scripture to Christ’s first coming. What Jewish theologian would not, if he could, destroy all those Old Testament texts about Jesus birth? A selected few:
Genesis 22. 7 - God’s provision of a sacrificial lamb
Isaiah 7 - Behold, a virgin shall conceive, bear a son, call him Emmanuel.
Isaiah 9. 7 - heir to David’s throne prophesied
Jeremiah 31. 15 - Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. Rachael bereft of her children
Daniel 9. 25 - the 70 week prophecy giving great detail regarding the time of his birth and role.
Micah 5 - Out of thee–Bethlehem–shall he come forth that is to be ruler in Israel.
More is to be found in the ‘suffering servant’ prophecies which tell of his role as an offering for the sins of mankind:
Isaiah 42 - he shall bring judgment for the truth. . .a light to the Gentiles.
Isaiah 49 - the servant of God
Isaiah 52.14 - his vision marred (before redemption of Zion)
Isaiah 53 - his sufferings foretold 7 centuries before the crucifixion
Zechariah 11, 12 and 13 - 30 pieces of silver, look on me whom they have pierced, what are these wounds in thy hands?
Who else but Jesus Christ? Surely not a conspiracy by many writers to trump up an imposter to fit these scriptures.
THE AMAZING JEW -
Deuteronomy 28 - Their lives always in the balance
Ezekiel 21. 27 - scattered. Kingdom overturned until he comes whose right it is, and I will give it him
Luke 21. 24 - taken captive, trodden down by Gentiles
What has happened to the Jews over centuries? Assailed, abused, enslaved from at least the 8th century before Christ. No people in history has survived for 4,000 years as a people, a culture, a religion. The Jews are now back in the land as prophesied.
Ye are my witnesses, said the Lord, that I am God. (Is 43. 12)
Lord, I believe