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Bible Correspondence Course

5. The Accuracy of the Bible (2)

1. Archaeological findings

Archaeology, the scientific study of the remains of the past, has given much insight into the accuracy of the Bible. Archaeologists, who study the relics of ancient cities and houses; examining objects belonging to that time, have worked for many years in Biblical lands, paying particular attention to any written records on stone, clay and other materials which have not decayed. Amazing things are constantly coming to light through their findings.

2. Hazrat Musa and Writing

At one time scholars critical of the Bible claimed many events in the Bible could not have occurred. Now archaeological discoveries have shown that the things mentioned in the Bible could have happened in the way they are described. For example; at one time it was thought that writing had not been invented in the day of Hazrat Musa, but archaeology has proved this assumption to be wrong.

One example of this is the Code of Hammurabi which was discovered at the ancient site of Susa (present-day Iran) in 1901-1902, by a French archaeological expedition lead by Jacques de Morgan. The text was written on a piece of black diorite which was nearly eight feet in height, dating back several hundred years before the time of Musa (c. 1500-1400 B.C.) to the period of 2000-1700 B.C.[1] This scientific discovery has establishes the fact that the art of writing, in the Near East, pre-dates the Prophet Musa.

3. Prophecies Fulfilled

In biblical terms, prophecy is the revelation of God’s truth about the past, present and future. These prophecies are often beyond human foresight and are remarkably detailed. The fulfilment of these prophecies in history is the best confirmation of God’s inspiration of His prophets. There are many prophecies mentioned in the Bible. Many have been fulfilled and there are others which are still to be fulfilled. Here is just one example:

The Book of Isaiah is a prophetic book in the Old Testament and was written hundreds of years before Sayyidna Isa al-Masih (his peace be upon us) was born. Yet as we read parts of it we are struck by the way some of the passages speak of His life. Read Isaiah chapter 53. The beginning of the chapter, verses 1 to 3, speaks of how Sayyidna Isa al-Masih was rejected, and goes on saying that because people despised Him and His message, He was killed (verses 7 to 9). Yet God gave Him a place of honour and greatness (verses 10 to 12).

If you read the passage carefully, perhaps you will begin to understand the reason for Sayyidna Isa Kaffara'tu'llah’s death. You will remember from Lesson 1 that the greatest problem humankind has is that we cannot know a holy God because of our own wrong-doing. How can Sayyidna Isa Kaffara'tu'llah’s death be a solution to this problem?

The history corner

Customs of many years before Christ

Archaeological discoveries have shown that the customs of 2,000 years before Sayyidna Isa al-Masih fit the Bible’s account of Hazrat Ibrahim. The Genesis account of Hazrat Yusuf (Joseph) in Pharaoh’s court uses just the right technical terms and refers to practices followed in Egypt’s royal court 1,800 years before Sayyidna Isa.[2]

The City of Tyre

Hazrat Ezekiel, writing around 592-580 BC, foresaw the destruction of the city of Tyre.[3] This happened during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Later on, Alexander the Great came and used the ruins of the mainland city to build a causeway to an island. The prophecy also said that where the city once stood fishermen would spread their nets, but the city would not be rebuilt.[4] Modern Tyre is not built where the old city stood. Even today, some 2,500 years after the prophecy, fishermen spread their nets on the rocky shore.

Destruction of Nineveh

The prophet Nahum, about 640 BC, wrote about the destruction and desolation of Nineveh. He prophesied that this capital of the Assyrian empire would be destroyed by an overwhelming flood.[5] He also said that the destruction would be total.[6] In about 612 BC, an enemy attacked the Assyrians outside Nineveh and the city was so completely destroyed that its ruins were not even located until the last century, about 2,400 years later.

Hazrat Dawud’s Song

In the Zabur Hazrat Dawud describes some events that reflect, with amazing accuracy, Sayyidna Isa Kaffara'tu'llah’s atoning death. Parts of Hazrat Dawud’s song, which makes up Psalm 22, draw on the nature of crucifixion with extreme detail. This is noticeable because at that time crucifixion was not yet an invented system of execution. Firstly, the first verse of Psalm 22 is identical to the words Sayyidna Isa said on the cross[7], also Hazrat Dawud writes ‘I am poured out like water’[8], similarly when the Roman guard pierced Sayyidna’s side there was ‘a sudden flow of blood and water’[9]. Additionally, Dawud writes, ‘they divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing’[10], whilst in the gospel according to Luke we read, ‘…and they divided up his clothes by casting lots.’

Like some of the prophecies regarding Sayyidna Isa al-Masih that we have looked at before, the text does not mention His name, but points to Him very powerfully.

References:

  1. [1] Free, Joseph P. and Howard F. Vos, Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1992) pp.103, 55.
  2. [2] Genesis 39 to 41
  3. [3] Ezekiel 26:3-21
  4. [4] Ezekiel 26:5,14
  5. [5] Nahum 2:6
  6. [6] Nahum 3:15
  7. [7] Matthew 27:46
  8. [8] Psalm 22:14
  9. [9] John 19:34-35
  10. [10] Psalm 22:18

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