CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES (Part 6)

By: Cougan Collins

lgchurchofchrist@cableone.net

In our series, we have examined a lot of external evidence that offers strong proof of Jesusí existence and shows the validity of Scripture, but the strongest evidence comes from the Bible itself. The Old Testament makes over 300 prophecies about Jesusí birth, life, and death. Jesus fulfilled all 300 + prophecies. Even if someone tried to fulfill all these prophecies on their own, they would fail because some of the prophecies were fulfilled by the hands of others.

For example, Jesus had no control of where He would be born (Micah 5:2; Mt. 2:1-6). He had no control over being betrayed with 30 silver coins that would be used to buy a potters field (Zech. 11:12-13; Mk. 14:10, 21). He would have no way to make the soldiers cast lots for His clothing (Ps. 22:18; Jn. 19:27). These are just a few examples, but they show that the only way Jesus could fulfill all 300 + prophecies was by being the Son of God.

I do not have the space to look at every prophecy from the Old Testament, but I want to look at few that establish a timeline of when Jesus would be born. Our first timeline comes from Daniel chapter 2 in which King Nebuchadnezzar dreams about an image that represents four kingdoms. Our key verse is:

Daniel 2:44 "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. ††

This verse is telling us that during that 4th kingdom, which is the Roman Empire, God would establish His kingdom/church. This gives us a timeframe of 63 B.C. to A.D. 476 (the reign of the Roman Empire). We can narrow down the time of Jesusí birth with the following prophecy:

 

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

 

Shiloh means rest giver. Most Bible students believe this is a prophecy about Jesus and that He had to be born before the Jews lost their national sovereignty and judicial power. The Scriptures teach that they lost their judicial power by the time they wanted Jesus put to death (Jn. 18:31-32). So, He had to be born before A.D. 30.

 

According to Historians Solomon and Josephus, Rome replaced Archelaus with Coponius in A.D. 6. He was their first governor who had complete power over the Jews and had the power to execute a person, which means Jesus had to be born before A.D. 6. The best evidence we have shows that Jesus was born around 5 or 6 B.C.

 

Think about the significance of this. If the Jews had the power to kill at the time of Jesusí ministry, He would have been put to death by stones instead of being crucified as prophesied (Ps. 22:16). It is amazing how God made everything work out so Jesus would be born while the Jews had their judicial power, yet lose that power by the time He began His ministry so He would die on the cross, which puts Jesus at the right time and place in history.

 

Just as side note, the New Testament is in perfect harmony with Daniel, Isaiah, and Joel because John the Baptist and Jesus kept proclaiming that the kingdom was coming. Isaiah said that the kingdom would begin at Jerusalem (Isa. 2). On the day of Pentecost, Peter makes it clear that the last days spoken of by Joel (Joel 2:28-32) and Isaiah (Isa. 2:2-4) was being fulfilled at that time (Acts 2:16ff), which is why the kingdom/church of God is always spoken of as a present reality after Acts 2 (Col 1:13, Rom. 14:17).

 

All this internal evidence shows how accurate the Old Testament prophecies were at predicting the coming of Jesus into the world, and the kingdom/church He would establish. Next week we will examine the empty tomb of Jesus.