Gambling for His Clothes

Gambling for His Clothes!

One of the most frequent questions asked by people is, “How can we be sure the Bible is really God’s Word and not some myth created by a malicious person or persons bent on misleading mankind into believing that there is a loving God that wants to bless His creatures and have them spend eternity with Him in absolute joy?” This is a very logical, rational, and valid question. Unfortunately, most people that question the authenticity of the Bible have never read, let alone studied it.

If these inquirers took the time to read the Bible, they would see an inexplicable continuity in the writing. It’s not unusual for a book to have continuity in style. However, the Bible has 40 different authors and was written over a period of 1,500 years. The chronological span of the Bible renders any attempt at collaboration by man an impossibility.

Numerous attempts have been made throughout the centuries to discredit the accuracy of Biblical content. None have succeeded thus far. One of the more recent attempts was the “Piltdown Man”, a scientific hoax that was revealed as such in the early 1950s. It’s fascinating that so many people go to such extremes to attack the authenticity of Scripture. If it is truly just a mythical book, why bother with it at all? Nevertheless, it is the most maligned book ever written; yet it is still the most popular book ever written.

I’m not someone, who advocates for blind faith. I don’t advocate positive thinking. I’m pragmatic and not easily given to sentiment. However, when one carefully and objectively connects the dots of Scripture it’s difficult to ignore the overwhelming accuracy of Biblical prophesy.

This intriguing statement is found in the Book of Isaiah (40:32): It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” This verse was written approximately 2,800 years ago. Mankind believed the Earth was flat up until the 1400s AD. How is it possible that someone in ancient Israel declared that the earth was round and “evolving man” did not find out until two millennia later?

Over the centuries, people have made predictions about catastrophic events that will occur. However, every generation experiences their share of wars, famines, severe climatic upheavals, widespread diseases, etc. so it’s not very impressive when some of these predictions come true. Fortunetellers get rich making vague predictions about someone’s future and for the most part, clear-thinking people consider the practice to be nothing more than entertainment.

Of the approximate 2,500 Biblical prophecies, about 2,000 have already been fulfilled. Typically, these prophecies are not vague or general in nature. Most of the 2,000 prophecies are quite detailed and all of them are completely accurate.

Let’s consider just one of the these Biblical prophesies that has already come true. In verse 18 of Psalm 22, there are two prophecies concerning something very incidental. This Psalm was written by King David of Israel and has numerous references to the Messiah, particularly His crucifixion.

Here’s the verse: They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots. There’s nothing significant about this quote until we compare it with Luke 23:34: And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.”

The interval of time between these two quotes is approximately 1,000 years. Crucifixion was unknown as a form of capital punishment during King David’s reign. Further, there was no such people group as Romans during the writing of Psalm 22. They didn’t exist yet.

A little historical information is needed here. Only Roman soldiers were authorized to carry out a crucifixion. And, it was the custom that the soldiers conducting the crucifixion would divvy up whatever the crucified person had at the time of death. This is confirmed in John’s Gospel: Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.” (John 19:23 & 24)

According to this verse, all of the Lord’s clothes were torn into equal pieces and shared by the soldiers, except his tunic. During the time of Jesus there was no mass production of textiles, and so, the fabrication of cloth was a tedious and costly endeavor. The soldiers knew that the seamless tunic of Jesus was too valuable to tear into parts, so they gambled for it.

Think about this. David indicated 1,000 years before the actual event that the Messiah’s clothes would be divided and that one of his garments would be the prize in what we might call a “coin toss”. How could David possibly know such specific information 1,000 years before it occurred?

This one prophecy alone is substantial proof of the authenticity of the Bible being God’s Word. The apostle Paul wrote these words to Timothy about 1,935 years ago: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” (2Timothy 3:16)

According to one seminary student’s search, the Lord Jesus quoted the Old Testament 78 times during His ministry. And, the apostles quoted the Old Testament 209 times. On two occasions in the New Testament, the Old Testament is referred to as “…the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:2 and Hebrews 5:12)

David’s prophesy is just one of hundreds fulfilled in the life and death of the Lord Jesus. Each one is just as specific, even regarding His place of birth and burial. The evidence is staggering in support of God’s authorship of the Bible. Add these hundreds of prophesies to others that have already been fulfilled throughout the Old Testament and any doubt about the Bible being God’s Word is either a case of childish stubbornness or willing ignorance.

Two other points should be considered. The Bible’s central message is that man is alienated from God because of sin and that God has made provision for man’s total redemption. Based on mere self-evaluation, apart from any knowledge of the Bible, religion or superstition, man naturally believes he is a good person and gives no thought to the notion that there is a Heaven or Hell. For those that are asked about where they will go after death, the overwhelming majority believes they are not going to Hell.

At times, a person may ponder the reason for life and what happens after death. For the most part, however, people are occupied with this life and satisfying their needs and desires. In other words, how could the need for redemption have ever been conceived in the mind of man? What man or woman could possibly devise such an elaborate scheme and then have any rationale person take him or her seriously? Yet, millions believe and have believed this “scheme” down through the ages. Many have even sacrificed their lives for the message of the Bible.

Further, who was the legislative genius that drafted the 10 Commandments without any need of even one amendment over 3,000-plus years? No one has been able to establish the number of man-made laws on the books. However, one curious researcher determined that on January 1, 2010 over 40,000 new laws went into effect in the U.S. and its territories. Based on this, it’s safe to say that there are millions of laws in effect at this time throughout the world and more coming every day. This does not include the numerous laws that were enacted throughout all of civilization.

In addition, consider the fact that Jesus was able to reduce the 10 Commandments to only two: “And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Apart from the well documented, numerous, and varied miracles of Jesus, consider that His teaching was met with amazement by His disciples, the public at large and even His enemies. At the age of twelve, the Bible tells us, “After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.” (Luke 2:46 & 47)

Most amazingly was that He was able to speak with authority about God (The Father and the Spirit) as well as Heaven and Hell with specificity and intimate knowledge. No one was able to challenge His statements effectively. The best they could offer was that He had a demon.

If you refute the authenticity of the Bible, I doubt that my feeble explanation will convince you otherwise. However, you owe it to yourself to at least read the Book and arrive at your own conclusion instead of blindly accepting the testimony of others who have probably not read it either.

 

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