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Can I Trust This Book? (Everything Depends on It)

Herodias’s daughter Salome danced before him. Enthralled and perhaps drunk, he rashly promised to give her anything she asked, up to half his kingdom. Salome consulted her mother, who told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although Antipas was reluctant to kill John, in order to avoid embarrassing himself in front of his guests, he had John the Baptist beheaded in prison.
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Can I Trust This Book? (Everything Depends on It)

9/14/2017 (Topic#: 1649)

“I’m a goner,” said the man in his mid-60s as he sat in a hospital wheelchair, reading the report the nurse handed him.  My heart ached for this man and the quiet, hopeless look on his face, but I couldn’t get to him.  A short while later, I looked for him, but he was gone

It’s a sobering thought, but nearly all of us will arrive at this place either personally or for a loved one; it is no place to go without the Lord Jesus. 

One of the most loved of all passages in the Bible talks of this issue.  Psalm 23:1-6:

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name''s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Imagine, the born-again know a place called the Blessed Hope (Titus 1), which is the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus; the Blessed Hope swallows death in one gulp.  I Corinthians 15:54-57:

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you been born again—literally born a second time, this time of the Spirit of God?  The man said, “I’m a goner.”  I couldn’t get to him, but I can get to you: Do not procrastinate! Turn to Christ now and, not only will He wash all your sins and shame away, but He will break the hold of the bondages of this world—including even the fear of death itself.  Come now while the Lord’s hand is extended.  Click onto “Further with Jesus” for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God. NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Proverbs 30:5-6:

5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

GOD SAID, Psalm 19:9:

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

MAN SAID: Teaching children that the Bible is God’s Word and that it is the inerrant truth should be punishable as child abuse! 

Now THE RECORD: Welcome to GodSaidManSaid feature article 864 that will once again prove that the Bible is the inerrant truth authored by God Himself.  All of these marvelous features are archived here in text and streaming audio for the building-up of the faith and as ammunition in the battle for the souls of men.  Every Thursday eve, God willing, they grow by one. 

Thank you for coming today.  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you. 

Can I trust this book called the Holy Bible?  Is this book that requires my full allegiance a safe place to build a life?  Is this book that, if followed, will dictate my life’s journey—even in choosing friendships and spouses, directing parenting and career choices, selecting entertainment and food and drink choices—worth all of that? Is this book that many have laid down their lives for worthy of such devotion?  The answer is an eternal YES!  

Several paragraphs follow from the GodSaidManSaid feature “Go to Church: Live Longer—Even Forever:”

A global scientific field study is underway and the empirical data continues to pour in.  The mystery to solve was “Is the majority-text Holy Bible literally the written Words of God—even a God who created all that is seen out of that which is invisible?” Could it be true that every commandment and directive of God has inherent within it a blessing or a curse?  Could it be true that because the principles of God are the truth, that obeying them yields the good fruits of doing the right thing—and disobeying yields the deadly fruits of doing the wrong thing? Could it be just that childlike-simple?  Is Jesus Christ correct when He says obeying God’s Word will produce life and life more abundantly?

A massive scientific field study has been underway since the beginning when, in the Garden of Eden, Satan challenged God’s Word.  Our parents chose Satan.  Since then, there have only been two camps, two doors.  Door One says God’s Word is “true and righteous altogether.”  Door Two says it is not.  Today’s feature will once again declare this reality.  

What happens when men reject the truth? Is Galatians 6:7 to be believed? 

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Consider the following outcomes of disobedience:

The situation: In the Old Testament of the Bible, God commands for male children to be circumcised, and now doctors in Africa have discovered that this procedure is their most effective weapon against AIDS, because it reduces the infection risk by half.  It will save millions of lives.  Yet a concentrated effort has been underway for decades to destroy male circumcision.

In the camp of the disobedient: Those negatively affected: millions of deaths.

In the camp of the obedient: Those negatively affected: zero

NOTE: Circumcision is no longer a spiritual requirement for the New Testament believer, but it still demonstrates serious benefits to the human condition. Keep in mind that 90% of the world (or more) cannot access New Testament benefits.

The situation: God commands against the consumption of anything that harms the body (I Corinthians 3:16-17), and, of course, against anything illegal.

The headline from England’s Daily Mail, concerning the use of marijuana reads, “Smoking Just One Cannabis Joint Raises Danger of Mental Illness by 40%.”  The following excerpts are from that article:

With up to 40 per cent of teenagers and young adults in the UK believed to have tried cannabis, the researchers estimate that the drug could be behind 14% of cases of schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses.

Research completed by leading psychiatrist Professor Robin Murray in 2005 showed that those who smoked the drug regularly at 18 were 1.6 times more likely to suffer serious psychiatric problems, including schizophrenia, by their mid-20s.

For those who were regular users at 15, the stakes were even higher, with their risk of mental illness by the age of 26 being 4.5 times greater than normal [End of quote]

In the camp of the disobedient: If you carry the numbers forward globally, those negatively affected would be into the hundreds of millions.

In the camp of the obedient: Those negatively affected: zero.

The situation: God commands against all acts of fornication—including all sexual activity outside the marriage bed (Colossians 3:5-6).  This commandment is fully rejected by today’s society. 

The headline in the October 6, 2014 CBS Atlanta news release reads, “CDC: 110 Million Americans Have STDs at Any Given Time.”  A few paragraphs follow:

While the national media focus is on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the patient in Dallas, the CDC is reminding Americans that sexually transmitted diseases are an ongoing but hidden epidemic. [End of quote]

In the camp of the disobedient: In the U.S., 1/3 of the population has a sexually transmitted disease.  Carry that percentage over to the world, and in the camp of the disobedient, 2.5 billion are negatively affected.

In the camp of the obedient: Those negatively affected: zero.

These are just a few examples from the global field study.  The act of disobedience always bears its very bad fruit. 

Is God’s Word reliable?  Can I trust it?

GodSaidManSaid utilizes a four-part proof text to certify the inerrancy of God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  One platform is archaeology, which establishes the Bible as a supernaturally perfect, historic record—miracles and all.  The archaeology category also houses the disciplines of paleontology, geology, ancient history, as well as societal records that have been passed down generationally.  There are presently 114 separate features in this category, spanning from Adam and Eve and Paradise to the day Jesus died and His glorious resurrection.  Of course, the skeptics challenge because that’s what Satan’s skeptics do, but inevitably, they collapse under the weight of the truth.

In John Argubright’s book, Bible Believer’s Archaeology, he emphasizes the complete accuracy of the Bible’s written record. Mr. Argubright was a giant in the field and is quoted several times on GodSaidManSaid. 

The headline feature in the September/October 2017 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, written by Lawrence Mykytiuk, is “New Testament Political Figures Confirmed.”  Excerpts follow:

In order to understand who the political figures were in the New Testament, we must have a basic grasp of one particular family of rulers—the Herodian family, which was nestled under the wing of the Roman Empire and protected by its military might and served as its regional surrogates.  This family consisted of Herod the Great (r. 47-4 BCE, initially ruling Galilee only and later all of Roman Palestine, called Palaestina) and his descendants (some also had Herod as part of their name).  He was a politically talented son of Antipater I (Or Antipas), an Idumean noble.  (Idumeans were descendants of the ancient Edomites, who lived south of Israel.)  Herod the Great advanced his political career by currying favor with Roman leaders, especially Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus.  It was this Herodian family that persecuted or executed many people, whether ordinary Jews, John the Baptist, Jesus, or some of Jesus’s earliest followers. 

When magi (wise men) from the east came to Jerusalem looking for a child who was born “king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:1-2; Luke 1:5), it was the elderly Herod the Great who carefully questioned them.  This Herod, upon whom Rome had bestowed the title “the King of the Jews,” wanted to locate, identify, and assassinate his new rival.  Using the chronological information he had gained from the magi, this Herod killed all the boys born in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or younger (Matthew 2:16-18).  Not long after that deed, known as “the massacre of the innocents,” he himself died in 4 BCE. 

The Herodias mentioned in the New Testament was a granddaughter of Herod the Great.  A well-known episode recorded in Matthew 14:3-12 and Mark 6:17-29 tells how Herod Antipas (r. 4 BCE-39 CE), this Herodias’s uncle and second husband, ended up executing John the Baptist.  When Antipas married Herodias, her previous husband, his half-brother Philip, was still living—a marriage forbidden in the law of Moses while his brother was still alive.  John the Baptist rebuked Antipas for that, and Antipas responded by imprisoning John.  Later Herod Antipas threw a birthday party for himself, as rulers did.  Herodias’s daughter Salome danced before him.  Enthralled and perhaps drunk, he rashly promised to give her anything she asked, up to half his kingdom.  Salome consulted her mother, who told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  Although Antipas was reluctant to kill John, in order to avoid embarrassing himself in front of his guests, he had John the Baptist beheaded in prison.  Herod Antipas is also the Herod who is mentioned in the Gospels during the public ministry and multiphase court trial of Jesus. 

The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that earlier, a neighboring ruler, King Aretas IV of Nabatea, had given his daughter in marriage as Antipas’s first wife.  But when she secretly learned that Antipas intended to divorce her and marry his half-brother’s wife, Herodias, she fled back to her father.  This offense and a boundary dispute led Aretas to attack Antipas.  As Josephus relates: “All Herod’s army was destroyed … Now, some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist.”  This Aretas is mentioned in II Corinthians 11:32, which describes events long after Paul’s conversion. 

Salome, Herodias’s daughter who danced before Herod Antipas, was the grandniece and eventually the wife of Philip the Tetrarch.  She outlived him and is pictured and named on a coin attributed to her second husband, Aristobulus, King of Chalcis.  Although her name does not appear in the New Testament, we learn it from Josephus’s Antiquities

This article does not attempt to mention every last bit of evidence for each political figure—not every coin series and not every ancient writing that mentions them.  But in a table, it lists some of each available kind of evidence in order to make clear a strong case for the confirmation of at least 23 political figures in the New Testament in ancient writings and in archaeological discoveries. 

Regarding archaeology, this article bases its conclusions only on materials that are known to be authentic, not items from the antiquities market, because, as a rule, there is a possibility that they might have been forged and are unreliable.  The confirmations below avoid speculation and seek to be conservative in the interpretation of evidence in order to ensure trustworthiness. 

The writings of Flavius Josephus (37/38-c. 100 CE), especially his books Antiquities of the Jews and War of the Jews, provide sufficient and in many cases abundant first-century CE documentation for 22 of the 23 New Testament political figures listed below:

Roman Emperors
1. Augustus
2. Tiberius
3. Claudius
4. Nero

Herodian Family

5. Herod I, the Great
6. Herod Archelaus
7. Herod Antipas
8. Herod Philip
9. Herodias
10. Salome
11. Philip the Tetrarch
12. Herod Agrippa I
13. Herod Agrippa II
14. Berenice/Bernice
15. Drusilla

Roman Legate and Governors

16. Publius Sulpicius Quirinus (= Cyrenius)
17. Pontius Pilate
18. Lucius Junius Gallio
19. Marcus Antonius Felix
20. Porcius Festus

Independent Political Figures
21. Aretas IV
22. The unnamed Egyptian leader
23. Judas of Galilee

All 23 of the political figures discussed in this article are clearly identifiable in sources outside the New Testament, confirming this facet of its historical reliability. [End of quotes]

Proverbs 23:23: “Buy the truth, and sell it not;”

The skeptics continue to be skeptics, but God’s truth will continue to be the truth.  Choices are being made.  Joel 3:14:

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

Make your choice Jesus Christ the Lord of Glory. 

GOD SAID, Proverbs 30:5-6:

5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

GOD SAID, Psalm 19:9:

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

MAN SAID: Teaching children that the Bible is God’s Word and that it is the inerrant truth should be punishable as child abuse!

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

 

 

References:

 

Authorized King James Version

GodSaidManSaid, “Archaeology Keeps Knocking on Heaven’s Door

GodSaidManSaid, “Go to Church: Live Longer—Even Forever

Mykytiuk, L., “New Testament Political Figures Confirmed,” Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2017 

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