INERRANCY INSTALLMENT EIGHT

Chapter Three (Continued)

Again, in verses 9-20 of Mark 16 the following text elements are precisely divisible by seven: words; vocabulary; letters; vowels; consonants; words found elsewhere in the Gospel of Mark; words only found in these verses; and the words found in the Lord’s address (verses 15-18).

Sir Edward Denny, like Guiness, concerned himself with the precision of time found in Scripture, but instead of focusing on the Bible’s emphasis on 840-year intervals, he looked into the repetitive occurrence of 490-year periods. First having verified that Daniel’s prophecy of 69 weeks from Artaxerxes’ command to Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of Messiah was fulfilled to the very day, then went on to identify the ubiquity of 70-week (490 year) intervals throughout the Scriptural history of man. The amazing thing about it is that the total duration of twelve such intervals exactly matches Guinness’ duration for mankind, which spanned a 5880-year time from Adam to what, with the inclusion of a 120-year jubilee period, he expected would be the thousand-year reign of Christ after six thousand years. He noted in particular that if the times during which Israel had strayed from representing God’s plan of redemption (e.g. the time from the birth of Ishmael to the birth of Isaac) were not counted, the time of Israel spanned the middle four 70-week intervals as follows, with each interval being marked by profound events in the history of Israel and mankind: the birth of Abram to the Exodus, 490 years; the Exodus to the dedication of Solomon’s temple, 490 years; the dedication of Solomon’s temple to Nehemiah’s commission from Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem, 490 years; and from Nehemiah’s commission to Messiah’s crucifixion, 490 years. He then noted that since the Jubilee years were observed in parallel with the 49th year of one Jubilee interval and the 1st year of the next rather than being inserted between them, these special years dedicated to God would, if they were added to each 49-year interval to make 50 years, result in transforming the 5880-year span of man’s history to six thousand years. Furthermore, the placing the Jubilee year between the 49th year of one cycle and the first year of the next in overlapping fashion leads to the surprising understanding that Jesus, in the climax of His earthly ministry during the Passover season of the Jubilee year, fulfilled during the interval from His entry into Jerusalem until the Pentecost following His resurrection, the Levitical feasts of both the first month of that year and the seventh month of the first year of the next Jubilee cycle.

Detailed and accurate predictions and precise patterns in time are not the only supernatural characteristics of Scripture that speak of the Hand of God. Noting another phenomenon’s initial discovery in 1738 by Dr. Philip Doddridge in a commentary on Paul’s letters, Grant Jeffrey has made another interesting and important observation about Scripture, in this instance regarding what seem to be inconsequential details that turn out to be of unexpected importance. The term “The Phenomenon of Undesigned Coincidences” has been given to this prized evidence of Scripture’s divine inspiration, wherein details separated widely in time and situations are found to harmonize with each other. In his book The Signature of God, Dr. Jeffrey describes a number of issues that would be interpreted most readily by the casual reader of Scripture as puzzling inconsistencies or irrelevancies which might best be allocated to the error file, but which, on careful comparison with obscure passages that might be thought of as bearing no relation to the problem areas, amazing correlations are found that give the reader a sense of awe as to the truth of the Bible. Indeed, these Eureka! moments are encountered by virtually all serious students of Scripture and are treasured as rewards for diligent pursuit of the truth. As an example of this phenomenon, Dr. Jeffrey cites the mystery of why David picked up five stones when he went to fight Goliath. The answer is that the giant of Gath had four brothers, also giants. David was arming himself against the possibility that Goliath’s brothers would also come out to fight him. As another example, Jeffrey cited the oft-mentioned question of why King David’s counselor Ahithophel, who was supposed to be so loyal to him, turned against him during Absolom’s rebellion. Here the answer is that Ahithophel was Bathsheba’s father. David, in his lust for Bathsheba, had put Ahithophel’s son-in-law to death and shamed his daughter. Ahithophel had harbored a fierce resentment against David for that act.

The obvious influence of God on the actions and sometimes the entire lives of individuals who were involved in the development of Scripture attests to the interest in and ability of God to communicate with man in an accurate manner. Much of the content of the Bible is occupied with historical events, even now in the process of being corroborated by modern Biblical archaeology, that contributed important Biblical messages and types. Joseph’s life, for example, served to define an important aspect of Jesus’ mission, that of saving those, like Paul’s converts, who initially rejected His message and considered themselves to be enemies of the Gospel. Indeed, Paul himself was one of those enemies who, after the movement of the Holy Spirit upon his life, became fully and continuously devoted to serving his Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, the changed lives and commitment of those who received and understood the message of Scripture confirm its truth. The hosts of martyrs who willingly have subjected themselves to discomfort, torture and death rather than recant the understanding of God that they had received from Scripture speaks of its profound effect on people. The selfless nobility that Scripture has inspired in the people of God cannot be matched by the ideas and works of man.

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