Proof of the Bible
Proof of the Bible
Prophecy: only God can predict the future with such accuracy that He named specific individuals hundreds of years before they were born and got the names spelled right. 1 Kings 13:2; 2 Kings 23:15-21; Isaiah 45:1-13; Ezra 1:1; 2 Chronicles 36:22. Yet one of the most accurate, continuous, long-term prophecies is found in Daniel chapter 2. Here God lets it be known that He and He alone can call the future. The book of Daniel is chapter after chapter of prophecies. By studying these prophecies we can be sure and certain that God is real and that the Bible has come from God. Let us begin our study with chapter two of Daniel.
King Nebuchadnezzar's Dream
“‘That was the dream, and now I’ll tell you what it means. Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings, and God has highly honored you with power over all humans, animals, and birds. You are the head of gold. After you are gone, another kingdom will rule, but it won’t be as strong. Then it will be followed by a kingdom of bronze that will rule the whole world. Next, a kingdom of iron will come to power, crushing and shattering everything.’
Now comes the fun part. How do we interpret the dream? As with all doctrines of the Bible we let the Bible interpret itself. Who does the head of gold represent? Once we have the starting point the rest is easy. Nebuchadnezzar was head of the Babylonian Empire. He built it. As head of the Babylonian Empire he would be its representative. Babylon became a “world” empire in 605 BC. It was the first nation of that region to rule from Babylon all the way down to Egypt.
“Beginning about 2100 BC, Mesopotamia was subjected to a century-long period of enemy intrusions, by Amorites from the west and the people of Elam from the east. Around 2000, however, the state of Babylonia emerged in Mesopotamia. More extensive and better integrated than its predecessors, it produced in time the famous Code of Hammurabi (c.1800 BC), which defined the legal rights of all sections of the population, including the slave inhabitants. Four centuries (1600-1200) of Kassite rule was followed by the even longer ascendancy of Assyria, an empire based in northern Mesopotamia that eventually included Syria and Egypt. Assyria finally fell (612 BC) before a coalition of the Indo-European Medes from the north, the Persians from the east, and a resurgent Babylonia, under the Chaldean dynasty, in the south.” * “The ancient city of Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar II, must have been a wonder to the traveler’s eyes. ‘In addition to its size,’ wrote Herodotus, a historian in 450 BC, ‘Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world.’”
“Herodotus claimed the outer walls were 56 miles in length, 80 feet thick and 320 feet high. Wide enough, he said, to allow a four-horse chariot to turn. The inner walls were ‘not so thick as the first, but hardly less strong.’ Inside the walls were fortresses and temples containing immense statues of solid gold. Rising above the city was the famous Tower of Babel, a temple to the god Marduk, that seemed to reach to the heavens.
“While archaeological examination has disputed some of Herodotus’s claims (the outer walls seem to be only 10 miles long and not nearly as high) his narrative does give us a sense of how awesome the features of the city appeared to those that visited it. Interestingly enough, though, one of the city’s most spectacular sites is not even mentioned by Herodotus: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.” (Unmuseum.org)
The interpretation went on to say that Babylon would not last. In fact, a kingdom that was inferior to Babylon would defeat it. Just as silver is inferior to gold.
The second kingdom: the arms and chest of silver. “Eastward from the Mesopotamian lowlands, the Zagros Mountains and the Iranian Plateau beyond became another area of cultural creativity with the rise of the kingdoms of Media and Persia.”*
“By the 6th century BC the two great river-valley powers, Egypt and Babylonia, as well as Syria-Palestine and Anatolia, fell to the power of the rising Persian Empire. Under CYRUS THE GREAT (r. 550-530 BC), this empire ruled all of the Middle East except for Egypt, which fell to his son CAMBYSES II (r. 529-521 BC). Aramaic, the language of the politically impotent Aramaeans, became the language of government documents and of trade throughout the Persian Empire and gradually became the spoken vernacular of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine.” “The numerals that the Mesopotamians invented are still used, although now called Arabic.”*
“Persian domination over southwestern Asia was initiated by two famous rulers, CYRUS THE GREAT (r.549-530) as conqueror and DARIUS I (r. 522-486) as administrative organizer of the vast empire. The empire extended from Persia proper, south of the Caspian Sea, to the Punjab highlands on the borders of India in the east and across Mesopotamia and Syria to Egypt and Anatolia in the west. An effective administration was established, including 21 administrative satrapies, each under officers who collected tax assessments and maintained police control. Courier horsemen maintained contacts between the several administrative segments.”*
“A particularly noteworthy aspect of Persian rule was the emergence of the monotheistic religious faith of ZOROASTRIANISM. The founder, Zoroaster (c.628-521 BC) developed the concept of the god Ahura Mazda, dedicated to developing an earthly kingdom of justice and truth along with the promise of immortal bliss. At the outset, the novel concept aroused understandable opposition from civil and religious authorities who had a stake in the older polytheistic order, but it later earned the support of King Darius. The monotheistic concept of the Persians related directly to the emergence of the other monotheistic faiths of Southwest Asia—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.”*
Continuing in Daniel 2:39, we find that a third kingdom of bronze would rule over the earth. “Alexander III, king of Macedonia, the first king to be called “the Great,” conquered the Persian Empire and annexed it to Macedonia. The son of PHILIP II and OLYMPIAS, he was born in 356 BC and brought up as crown prince. Taught for a time by Aristotle, he acquired a love for Homer and an infatuation with the heroic age. When Philip divorced Olympias to marry a younger princess, Alexander fled. Although allowed to return, he remained isolated and insecure until Philip’s mysterious assassination about June 336.*
“After organizing Egypt and founding Alexandria, Alexander crossed the Eastern Desert and the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and in the autumn of 331 defeated Darius’ grand army at Gaugamela (near modern Irbil, Iraq). Darius fled to the mountain residence of Ecbatana, while Alexander occupied Babylon, the imperial capital Susa, and Persepolis. Henceforth, Alexander acted as legitimate king of Persia, and to win the support of the Iranian aristocracy he appointed mainly Iranians as provincial governors.”*
“The Macedonian king PERSEUS, the son of Philip V, also tried his luck against Rome (Third Macedonian War, 171-168). His army was slaughtered (168) at Pydna in Greece. After an uprising Macedonia was annexed (148) as a Roman province; in 146 the Achaean League was crushed and Corinth was destroyed. The entire Greek world was under Roman hegemony.”*
“Hadrian’s Wall is an ancient fortified wall that crosses northern England at its narrowest point, between the River Tyne and the Solway Firth. Built by order of the Roman emperor HADRIAN, it reflects his conservative policy of consolidating Rome’s imperial acquisitions. The Roman attempt to subjugate Scotland was abandoned, and construction of the wall as a permanent northern boundary for Roman-held territory was begun about AD 121 or 122. The wall was not meant to serve as an actual line of defense, but rather as a barrier to large-scale, swift movement by hostile forces and as a screen behind which Roman troops could maneuver.”*
“Along with Greek democracy, one of the greatest political achievements of Mediterranean antiquity was the Roman Empire. It was the Romans who inherited the civilization of the Greeks and passed it on to medieval and modern Europe. The boundaries of their state, however, bore no relation to “Europe.” It was a multiracial agglomeration in the tradition of the Persian Empire. Rome conquered the CELTS of western Europe, and some of the more advanced GERMANIC PEOPLES of central Europe, along with the Greek and Hellenistic communities of the eastern and southern Mediterranean and their subject peoples. This was a military and administrative triumph of colossal proportions. The extension of Roman citizenship to all the inhabitants of the empire in the 3d century AD was an equally breathtaking act of wisdom. But Rome’s most important institution was its army. The roads, amphitheaters, temples, and villas that attest to Rome’s greatness, and the establishment of a unified culture reaching from Britain to the eastern frontier of Syria, all depended on the strength of the Roman legions. In the days of the republic, a military career was the basis of a political one. Under the empire, most emperors attained power by military success or by seizing it forcibly. As for Europe, it was the army that conquered it, patrolled it, and civilized it, beginning with Spain and Gaul, north to what is now Scotland, east to the Elbe in Germany, and into central Europe as far north as the Danube, which the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius died defending against the Germans in AD 180. The Alps, the Balkans, and the Carpathians were all incorporated into the empire—at least temporarily. Dacia (modern Romania) was conquered by Trajan in the early 2d century but abandoned by Aurelian at the end of the 3d. Under Rome’s aegis, trade routes were opened up between Vienna and the Baltic.”*
“As time went on, however, the Roman Empire became more Asiatic than European. The imperial bureaucracy functioned under an autocratic monarch who in the East was worshiped as a god, as were the Hellenistic kings who preceded him. Egypt supplied both the grain that fed Rome and much of the government’s revenue. Oriental religions became increasingly popular. In the 4th century one of them, Christianity, became the state religion, and the capital was moved east to Byzantium (Constantinople) on the border between Europe and Asia. That city was to be Europe’s greatest urban center for the next thousand years. Simultaneous with this outward orientalization, however, a combination of Roman law, Christianity, and the tradition of Greek thought was giving rise to the unique European concept of the responsible individual, fearing God and understanding freedom as the willing acceptance of just laws that are the human reflection of divine law.”* “Rome brought together under its rule all the richer settled communities of the Mediterranean world. Its characteristic demographic unit was the coastal city, oriented toward sea borne commerce, with self-governing institutions. Many of the cities of the Roman Empire were of Greek or Carthaginian origin and had once been independent. Their wealth and beauty made them the envy of the less developed Celtic and Germanic peoples who lived beyond the Roman frontiers. The tension between a prosperous settled community and poor but resourceful nomads was a recurring theme in the history of the premodern world. In the early days of Rome the Celts of northern Italy were a frequent threat; later, when GAUL had been subdued, it was the German tribes of central Europe that exerted pressure on the borders of the empire. As early as the end of the 2d century BC they broke through and penetrated as far as Milan before being turned back. Later, during the Pax Romana—the period of internal peace that marked the 1st and 2d centuries AD -the Roman armies were strong enough to keep the northern frontier secure.”* The interpretation of the vision goes on to say that this empire would not be defeated as much as break apart. This is exactly what happened. As the feet and toes of the image were part of clay and part of iron, so Rome divided into nations that were partly weak and partly strong.
The Empire Falls Apart
“CONSTANTINE I (r. 306-37) may be regarded as the second founder of the empire. He successfully fought off his numerous opponents and, once firmly in power, reorganized the entire system of local government (into prefectures, dioceses, and provinces). He legalized Christianity (and was himself converted), thereby enlisting the church in service of the state. He moved the capital to BYZANTIUM, which he had rebuilt and renamed Constantinople (330). Constantine’s reforms were not enough, however, to halt the slide of the empire into impotence.”*
“From 395 the empire was permanently divided into the Latin Western and the Greek Eastern or BYZANTINE EMPIRE, with its capital at Constantinople. The Eastern Empire lived on until 1453, when the Turks conquered Constantinople. The Western Empire was overrun and gradually dismembered by various Germanic tribes. In 410 the Visigoths (see GOTHS) and in 455 the VANDALS plundered the city of Rome. Finally in 476 the German ODOACER deposed the last emperor of the west, the child Romulus Augustulus. And so the history of ancient Rome ended ingloriously. The idea of Rome and of the Roman Empire, however, survived its fall, and from the symbiosis of Roman and Germanic elements arose the new states and societies of medieval Europe.”*
As the prophecy stated, the people would mix their seed but would not remain united. Sure enough, the medieval kings and queens of these nations intermarried to try to maintain peace among themselves. But that never happened. They continued to war. Yet with all the wars, they never united. Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler, Communism and others have tried to unite Europe.
The Jews of Christ’s day understood the interpretation of Daniel chapter 2. God gave the interpretation to Daniel that the Jews might know and understand when their Messiah would come. However, they were looking for a Messiah that would conquer the Romans. They had followed the prophecy through history and recognized the Roman Empire as the legs of iron.
Even by the time of the first coming of Christ, the ten kingdoms of Europe could be discerned. Therefore, the Jewish Christians, within a few years after the death of Christ, realized that He was the fulfillment of the “Rock” and that they were the fulfillment of that prophecy in taking the Spiritual Kingdom of God to the entire world. They understood that when it was finally to have been taken to the whole world, Christ would culminate His Kingdom by coming a second time and crushing all the kingdoms of the world to set up His everlasting Kingdom.
This is a 2,600 year old prophecy, still in existence today. God’s word can be trusted. Every particular of this prophecy has come true. It began in 605 BC and continues, unbroken, down to our day, and will continue beyond until fulfilled. Nothing outside of the Bible can match this prophecy.
This prophecy has helped me to believe God. I believe His Word, the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. They have never fallen short or proven false.
There will come a day when Jesus, the Rock, will come a second time. He will come and put an end to all the governments of the world. He will come and raise His people to everlasting life and take them back to Heaven with Him. These prophecies will be explored in greater detail in upcoming chapters.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” “That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:10, 12, 13.