Ask Augustine with Dr. Paul Tambrino
Ask Augustine is a weekly column where professor/author Dr. Paul Tambrino discusses various theological questions with wit, clarity and substance.
Question #43 – How Can We Be Sure That Jesus Was the Promised Messiah?
During my teaching years and years of administration in higher education, I had many opportunities to speak with those who are articulate and well educated, but who had no belief whatsoever in the Scriptures as any sort of revelation from God.
While they were well read they were completely ignorant of any evidences for the truthfulness of the Christian faith and the Scriptures that reveal it.
I would respond by asking if I could read some statements about someone, and then have them tell me, without question, about whom I am reading. If they agreed, I would read various prophecies from the Old Testament about the coming messiah.
I would then ask them, “About whom did I read?” And they would answer, “Obviously you read about the life and ministry and suffering and death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.”
There was no question in their minds that what I had just read could refer to no one else but Jesus.“In Scripture there are over two thousand prophecies, most of which have already been fulfilled. They are so specific that they leave no room for error.”
I then would note to them that all of the Scriptures I just read are taken from the Old Testament, which was completed some four hundred years before Jesus was born.
No critic, no atheist, no agnostic has ever claimed that any one of those writings was written after Jesus’ birth.
In fact they were translated from Hebrew into Greek some 150 years before Jesus was born.
If this is merely a book written by men, how could these words have been written?
Obviously not one of the skeptics I ever confronted could explain how. Indeed they cannot be explained on any purely humanistic presuppositions.
In no other religious writing in the entire world do we find any specific prophecies like we find in Scripture.“The Bible is not merely a book written by men; it is a book written by God through men.”
You will find no predictive prophecies whatsoever in the writings of Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Lao-Tse, or Hinduism.
In all of the attacks made upon Scripture, there has never been a book written by a skeptic to disprove the prophecies of Scripture.
While the Bible has been attacked in every other place, there is one place where God rests His inspiration.
He says, “By this you will know that I have sent a prophet.” That which He foretells must inevitably come to pass.
The Bible prophecies are altogether unexpected. I know of no one ever prophesying that any other human being would rise from the dead and ascend into heaven.
That is exceedingly improbable. The chance of it happening by coincidence is incalculable. No, the Bible is not merely a book written by men; it is a book written by God through men.
And the heart of its prophetic message is Jesus Christ.
“Behold, unto you is born this day, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord;” (Lk. 2:11) and yet, “though Christ a thousand times, in Bethlehem be born, if He’s not been born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn” (hymn by Johann Angelus Silesius).
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Leaf from a Book of Hours: Adoration of the Magi (recto) and Text with Illustrated Border (verso) (3 of 3 Excised Leaves) c. 1510. France, Rouen, 16th century. The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2011.66. The Cleveland Museum of Art.