SCRIPTURAL INERRANCY PART FOUR

Why The Christian Must Accept Scripture As Inerrant (continued)

Another element of Scripture that sets it apart from the works of man and beyond his capability involves a precision of time beyond the amazing prophecies of Ezekiel and Daniel of which most Christians are largely ignorant today, but which occupied great Christian minds in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Men such as Sir Edward Denny and Henry Gratton Guinness, having uncovered some of these time patterns, considered the precision of their fulfillment, wherein God seems to have reached down and directed human history, to be well beyond the ability of man.

Guinness arrived at the conclusion, both from Scripture and astronomical data, that God has ordered time in sevens. From Scripture, for example, he observed that the creation week contained seven days as does the sabbath week, that a week of years is a sabbath year, that a week of weeks of years is a Jubilee year, that Abraham’s lifetime of 175 years spanned seven 25-year time periods of which the end of each marked a major event in his life, that Daniel’s prophecy of weeks contained a multiplicity of sevens, and that Jesus Himself made remarks involving sevens. Noting next that the duration of Jesus’ time on earth was 33.6 years, and assuming that Abraham’s lifetime was a cameo of mankind’s history on earth, he substituted one 33.6-year lifetime of Jesus for each year of Abraham’s life, arriving at seven periods of 840 years each. This duration can also be factored into 49 intervals of 120 years apiece. If a 50th Grand Jubilee of 120 years is added to this sum, it yields a period of six thousand years. Guinness also apprehended grand cycles of 2520 years, each of which contains three intervals of 840 years. Three such 2520-year cycles fit easily into his seven periods of 840 years by overlapping one 840-year interval of one cycle with the next, such that the middle cycle has two overlapping 840-year intervals and one non-overlapping 840-year interval. The astonishing thing about these various cycles is their harmonious relationship among each other as well as their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Other Bible scholars besides Guinness have uncovered Bible treasures that confirm the supernatural origin of Scripture by focusing on the importance that Scripture places on the number seven. Some passages of the Bible, such as the Book of Revelation, place an overt emphasis on the number seven. In other passages this emphasis is more hidden and needs effort like Guinness applied to dig it out. Chuck Missler notes an authentication code in the Bible, found in the New Testament Greek, that is based on that number. This code has to do with the pattern of the text, which evokes the number seven in so many various ways that the improbability (impossibility, actually) of its being generated by the hand of a human immediately places it among the supernatural manifestations of God. The first instance of it occurs at the very beginning of the New Testament, in the geneology of Jesus Christ as presented in the Greek version of Matthew 1, verses 1 through 11. In this passage, there are a number of various text elements precisely divisible by seven: words; letters; vowels; consonants; words beginning with a vowel; words beginning with a consonant; words occurring more than once in the passage; words that occur in more than one form; words that occur in only one form; nouns; non-nouns (only 7); names; male names; and generations.

Missler attributes this discovery to Dr. Ivan Panin, who was born in Russia December 12, 1855, and emigrated first to Germany and then to the United States, where he graduated in Harvard in 1882 with a PhD. in mathematics. He discovered this structure of sevens in 1890, after which he devoted the remainder of his life to a study of the Bible. According to Missler, Panin generated 43,000 pages of discoveries before his death in October of 1942. Oddly, the disputed final twelve verses of Mark (Mark 16:9-20) is among the other texts where the number seven was found to be prominent. Most translations of the Bible carry a footnote to these verses to the effect that they were missing from important Scriptural sources, such as the Alexandria codex. However, Missler emphasizes that Irenaeus quoted from them around 150 A.D., as did Hypolatus in the second century, whereas the Alexandria codex came several hundred years later. Missler notes that this virtually proves that the verses were part of the original Gospel of Mark and later expurgated, rather than having been added later as claimed by some modern scholars. He also notes that Chapter 16 of Mark’s Gospel requires these final verses to tie up what would otherwise be loose ends.

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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