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In the Bible it is written, “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Ac 1:3) This text refers to evidence which Christians claim God once provided of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many early followers of Christ claimed they saw Him after He rose from the dead, and were fully convinced of His deity as a result. The text refers to this kind evidence as infallible proof, concrete facts which enable reasonable people to believe with absolute certainty.
Some people believe in Christ today based on the recorded testimony of the early Christians, but many skeptics want to see this kind of evidence for themselves. Has God provided similar proof for us today so that we can be certain the Bible is true? If He did so at any time in the past, why not now?
Christ Himself points us to our answer in the last verse of Luke 16: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Christ indicates that there is something about the history of the Jewish people, preserved in what we now call the Old Testament, which formally proves the reality and nature of God. This proof is evidently as convincing as any miracle we could imagine, as compelling as a witness coming back from the dead.
It is no secret that Jewish people make a unique claim that God created them as a nation so that He could reveal Himself to the world through His interaction with them. What is compelling about their history is that if we assume it is not true we must violate most all we know about human nature, and we must do so on an enormous, massive scale. This observation provides us with formal proof of the reality of God; it is proof by contradiction and it actually is infallible. It is also very easy to understand.
Most every culture has some type of mythology to help them explain their world and relate to it spiritually, but no other culture besides Israel has a mythology which implicates them: the history of Israel portrays this nation as stubborn and wicked, it claims to be rooted in actual historical events, and it is interlaced with extensive family trees. This is both unique and compelling: such a history could not have been fabricated by people as we know them to be … it must therefore be true.
In other words, asserting that Israel contrived their own history, in any way or fashion, contradicts the very essence of human nature in a profound manner. Only fools promote slander which contradicts commonly known facts, and no people group knowingly slanders itself. It is unreasonable to postulate that an entire nation did this to themselves, for no apparent reason, and left no trace of the fact that it was deception. It is, in fact, preposterous, a contradiction in every respect.
Israel’s claim to national identity is unique: they believe that the Creator of the Universe fashioned them specifically as a people group in order to make a covenant with them which reveals His nature and ways to all nations, a covenant which they claim their ancestors voluntarily accepted … and also consistently and willfully violated throughout their history.
This ancient covenant, or testament, was a formal agreement between God and Israel which stated that if Israel would obey God’s laws and serve Him as a people in the way He prescribed, God promised that He would miraculously give them a homeland, prosper, enrich and empower them as a nation in amazing and supernatural ways and allow them to rule over other nations which were much more powerful than they. However, if they chose to disobey Him and rebel against Him as a people, He promised to punish them extremely severely and scatter them among the nations as slaves, pilgrims and strangers, leaving them with no homeland yet causing them to persist like this and retain their identity as a distinct, persecuted people until they repented and turned back to Him as a nation. Such promises are unheard of in any other nation — and are evidently impossible to guarantee by natural means.
The biblical record explains the laws of this covenant in careful detail in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, and includes commands which are relatively easy to keep and also some which are clearly impossible for anyone to keep perfectly and consistently. This law essentially promotes what we recognize as universal moral law, an inarguably good one, yet condemns selfishness in any form as inexcusable and thereby condemns all people everywhere as intrinsically evil and corrupt. It also contains an extensive ceremonial law involving recurring animal sacrifice which provides no natural incentive for obedience, and would be considered by most anyone to be burdensome and unnecessary unless it were clearly and directly commanded by deity. It is a law which no one would fabricate since it does not appeal to selfish desire in any form or fashion, promotes no one to ultimate religious or political power, and condemns every living soul on equivalent and uncompromising moral grounds.
Shortly after detailing this agreement between God and Israel, the biblical text then predicts that Israel will stubbornly and continually rebel against God throughout their history as a people, that they will continually and willfully break the covenant they have just made with God, despising Him and trampling His laws underfoot, even the easiest laws to keep, and that they will be repeatedly and severely punished by Him for doing so, right up until near the very end of world history. The text then describes how God caused Israel to learn a song which would remind them of this prediction so that they would be left without any excuse when it was fulfilled, and the words of the song are publicly recorded for all of us to consider. (De 31:16 – 32:44)
The remaining historical and prophetic books of the Jewish Scripture, including their national songs of worship, chronicle and recount the fulfillment of this unusual prophecy in detail, showing how Israel has continually rebelled against God and how they have been repeatedly and severely punished by Him. As predicted, they were eventually evicted from their homeland and scattered to the four winds, remaining a distinct and separate people group among the nations as God’s chosen people.
The narrative of Israel, from beginning to end, is written as an historical, factual account, as if it were actually true, and it is replete with genealogies of actual Israeli families living in and among the nation throughout its history, as well as actual historical figures and events with which Israel would have been intimately familiar as a people at any point in their history as a nation. This history is understood and received by them to be their actual history as a people: they generally accept it as historically true and accurate, and they always have.
In looking at this evidence, we must consider how Israel could accept such a mythology as accurate, one which portrays them to all nations as a stubborn and rebellious people, if it is essentially false. Who would construct such a lie, why would they do so, and how would they manage to get all subsequent generations of this nation to accept and promote such a lie as reliable, faithful, true and accurate without any trace of conflict or dissent?
The singularly defining ritual which helps to define and unify Israel as a people is Passover, a ceremony celebrated by them annually which recounts the formal birth of the nation through God’s miraculous deliverance of their ancestors from being slaves in Egypt. Their scripture commands them to celebrate this meal annually, for all parents and grandparents to faithfully teach their children and grandchildren about its significance, and claims that they have been celebrating this meal throughout their history, ever since the event itself, the Exodus, supposedly took place.
If the Jews are deceived about their origin as a nation, if it is not actually true what they are recounting, at what point after the Exodus supposedly occurred, does an entire people group adopt such a ritual as the centerpiece of their culture and history without knowing that it is a lie? Knowing that it is a lie, why would they promote this obvious, blatant slander of themselves and their ancestors — lies which incriminate them and make them all out to be morally corrupt, stubborn and rebellious as a people?
At any point, wherever you might place such an interposition in the context of the overall narrative of their history, the entire nation, all but the very young children, will know that the story of Passover is false since this is the first they have heard about the ritual and the record itself openly contradicts this known fact. Then all of the adults and older children of this entire nation must agree to accept this lie and to begin teaching and believing and promoting it among themselves and the younger children and grandchildren as if it were true and historically accurate. In doing this they knowingly incriminate and slander themselves and their ancestors, and they must be convinced to do so without dissent, consistently, leaving no trace in their history of anyone who resented it or resisted participating in this disgraceful, national deception. They all must then be motivated to continue to act so as to carry out the story as it has been taught to them, continuing to disobey God and to be punished and destroyed by Him as predicted.
Please, let us state the obvious: human beings do not act like this. No people group could or would contrive a story like this, and no people group would ever accept it as true about themselves unless it actually was true. Only fools slander others in matters which may be easily checked and thoroughly verified; no nation knowingly slanders itself or knowingly receives or promotes slander about itself. To claim that the books of Moses are essentially a fabrication is a contradiction of the very definition of humanity. This is, in all respects, unthinkable; from a naturalistic perspective, it is impossible.
The history of the Jewish people, found in the pages of the Bible, is true. In itself, the Old Testament is a miracle which proves the reality of God as clearly as it can be proven; those who remain unconvinced after considering it expose themselves as dishonest, biased, at enmity with God, and without excuse. Moses and the prophets reveal the God of the universe to be the God of the Bible to anyone who is willing to believe in Him. As it does, it also implicates all people, not just the Jews, as evil and sinful … in need of a Savior. All we need to know about the God of Heaven lies within this text. We do well to study it until we know Him better than we know ourselves.
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