Wisdom is to be sought above all else but knowledge is needed too. The discerning heart seeks knowledge. Having faith is fine but the Bible has its critics and they need to be answered. We need to KNOW how the Bible was constructed.
In a lifetime of reading the Bible, I’ve noticed some passages almost seem designed to fit together.
How can that be?
The Bible is a compilation of 66 books by 40 authors on three continents and it was written over a period of 1500 years, before and after Christ.
I’ve heard people say the Bible contradicts itself, but I’ve found the opposite – it fulfils itself. Others think it’s a gigantic fairy tale, the stuff of myths and legends. And even if they accept there’s some truth to it they believe it must have changed over the centuries.
I don’t blame people for thinking that way, I’ve had questions about the Bible too. It’s good not to take everything at face value.
I once invited a Muslim friend to our Bible study, and he was surprised to see our differing versions all saying the same thing. He later told me that Muslims believe our book has been changed! I never believed it’s been deliberately changed for nefarious purposes, but what about accidental changes where bits go missing and all that?
There are two pieces of evidence to prove the Bible hasn’t been changed.
I read a book called the ‘Secrets of Mount Sinai,’ a true account of finding the world’s oldest Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus. It was kept in Saint Catherine’s Monastery, located on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, and because of the dry desert air the Bible was preserved very well.
The ancient codex has been dated to the second half of the fourth century and it agrees with our modern translations.
And then there’s the Dead Sea Scrolls, preserved in the dry desert at the lowest point on earth.
The scrolls were found in 1947, at a time when major prophetic events were beginning to unfold.
As prophesied, Jews came streaming back to the land of Israel after World War Two, fighting the Arabs for their right of return. Israel became a nation-state in November 1947 when the UN recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and a special international regime for the city of Jerusalem.
The same year, the Judean desert gave up its secrets when a young Bedouin shepherd, searching for a stray sheep on the crumbling limestone cliffs of the Dead Sea cast a stone into a cave. He was startled by the sound of breaking pots. Climbing into the cave, he found intact clay jars with lids still in place, containing old scrolls, some wrapped in linen and blackened with age.
The world held its breath at the discovery but had to wait forty years while experts studied the scrolls. It was a long breath, longer than a pearl diver. The scrolls were eventually published in the early 1990s due to public pressure, and only after that did conjecture that they would ‘disprove’ the Bible stop.
So the Bible has been miraculously preserved and the year of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is significant.
You can trust this book. If the Bible was a vehicle, we can climb in, strap on our seat belt and trust it will take us through the end times.
The Isaiah Scroll
Isaiah was Jesus’ favourite book. He read it at the synagogue in Nazareth, stopping at the year of the Lord’s favour. “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” he announced. The people in the synagogue loved him for saying that, not. They tried to run him out of town and over a cliff.
It does not surprise me that one of the seven scrolls recovered was the ‘Isaiah scroll.’ Besides its great antiquity, it is notable for being the only scroll from the Qumran Caves to be preserved almost in its entirety.
Written in Hebrew, the Isaiah scroll contains the entire Book of Isaiah from beginning to end, apart from a few minor damaged portions. The scroll is written on 17 sheets of parchment and is the oldest complete copy of the book of Isaiah, being approximately 1000 years older than the oldest known Hebrew manuscripts.
The Jewish scribes were fanatics about accuracy. If they found even one letter wrong, the whole parchment would be destroyed. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 5:18, ‘not one jot or tittle will pass from the word till all is fulfilled.’
The Isaiah Scroll is at the Israel Museum, it’s in a climate controlled building called the ‘Shrine of the Book. The scroll is Isaiah chapter 53, a description of Jesus Christ, 700 years before he was born.
The verses describe a man growing up as a tender plant – like a root out of dry ground, to be despised and rejected by men; A man of sorrows, who was acquainted with grief, pierced for our sins, crushed for our transgressions, led as a lamb to the slaughter, cut off, stricken, assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death. That’s why Jesus said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’”
It’s like getting a detailed description of a person alive now, written way back in the 1300s. Christopher Columbus hadn’t even been born! What are the chances?
Jesus said this about His word, and I’m quoting from the Message Bible as I like their version:
Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s law or the prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s law will be alive and working.” Matthew 5:18
The discerning heart seeks knowledge, Proverbs 15:14
Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important books in the world. Handwritten well over 1600 years ago, the manuscript contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. Its heavily corrected text is of outstanding importance for the history of the Bible and the manuscript – the oldest substantial book to survive Antiquity – is of supreme importance for the history of the book. [Find out more about Codex Sinaiticus.]
Jesus in Isaiah
The name Jesus means Yah Will Save. The name Joshua is the Hebrew form of the Greek name Jesus, and most probably the name by which Jesus was known by his contemporaries. Jesus was fascinated by the Book of Isaiah, possibly because this Book appears to be entirely about Him, but perhaps also because the name Isaiah (ישעיה) is almost identical to the name Joshua with the two segments reversed.Abarim Productions, the Name of Jesus
What are the odds of Jesus fulfilling all the ancient prophecies?