Advent

The Bible Test

[15] “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— [16] just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ [17] And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. [18] I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. [19] And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. [20] But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ [21] And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— [22] when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
(Deuteronomy 18:15-22, ESV)

I remember seeing in old movies how folks would bite a coin to check if it was the real thing. Gold is soft enough that you can feel it when you bite down, and if someone had drilled out the center of the coin to fill it with something else – the bite test would collapse the coin and reveal the counterfeit attempt. Telling the real thing from the fake thing is so tricky nowadays, and it makes you want to give up. We think it’s a modern problem, but it’s an ancient one, too, and God’s solution is elegant and simple. God has folks called prophets. A prophet is someone who speaks for God, and you’ll know it’s God if the prophet accurately predicts the future – and these predictions are the stunners in the Bible. 

Much modern scholarship that studies the Bible says this: a book in the Bible with a prediction that comes true must have been written after the fact. In other words, it’s a lie. The most famous of these is when Christ describes the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Christ finished His earthly ministry in AD 33, and the temple was destroyed in AD 70. Modern scholars scoff at prediction being possible, and conclude that the gospels were written after AD 70. Case closed. (So much for them, we know we’re reading fantastical non-fiction – where real supernatural wonders happen to ordinary people.) By rejecting Christ’s prophetic prediction, they reject the one criteria the Bible gives us to evaluate Him. As you read these verses, it’s obvious Moses is predicting the prophets that are coming. In fact, Moses repeats himself in verse 15 and 18, but in verse 18 he describes a prophet who sounds like a direct mouthpiece of God. He’s predicting Jesus! So if you say, with the sophisticated modern scholars, that no predictions are possible – then you undercut the power of the Bible to prove it is the word of God! 

So what are we supposed to do? Trust God’s word. The Bible gives us its own “Bible” test right here in Deuteronomy 18. Look at the predictions about Jesus all across the Bible. It’s a tapestry of prophecy and fulfillment at a level that astounds the mind and imagination. The only other explanation is that people made the entire Bible up as a colossal fraud. Sounds possible at first until you look at the 66 books, written across thousands of years by many different writers in different cultures. And remember, if it’s a fake, it shouldn’t have original moral teaching. Con artists and liars don’t write with much moral insight. Nobody doubts the scripture is full of moral teaching, so how can we trust the Bible? Moses tells us because he accurately predicted Jesus. God spoke and predicted an accurate description of Advent. Therefore, the Bible is God’s word and can be trusted and should be obeyed. Praise Him! Bite Him this week in communion! He is the genuine article.

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