In the first part of this two-part post I covered the first three types of evidence we have that helps us determine whether or not the New Testament (NT) is telling us the truth. They were 1) Early Testimony, 2) Eyewitness Testimony, and 3) Embarassing Testimony. In part two I will cover the final three types of evidence based on a lecture given by Frank Turek, the Christian apologist lecturer and author. The final three types of evidence are: 4) Excruciating Testimony, 5) Expected Testimony, and 6) Extra-Biblical Testimony.
If a comparison is done on the beliefs and practices of the apostles, most of whom were devout Jews, before and after Christ’s resurrection, there is a stark contrast in their behavior. Before the resurrection they did the following:
- Made animal sacrifices
- Bound themselves to the law of Moses
- Observed the Sabbath
- Believed the Messiah would be a conquering warrior
- Practiced circumcision
After the resurrection they:
- Honored Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice as the atonement for sin.
- Considered Christ’s life as sufficient in fulfilling the law of Moses.
- Started worshipping on the first day of the week, which they called the “Lord’s day.”
- Accepted the fact their Messiah was a sacrificial Messiah.
- Held to baptism and communion as being the only rituals worth observing.
It was not normal practice for devout Jews like the apostles to have a complete paradigm shift when it came to religious observances. For a Jew to change practices so drastically as they did meant that they had to have undergone an event that impacted them so deeply that they completely changed their thinking and their actions.
This attests to the fact that they came face to face with the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth. If he had stayed in the grave as was falsely rumored, they would have remained in their former occupations, especially since they all fled when Jesus was arrested. But the men who were once cowardly became bold and, as history tells us, they preached about Jesus Christ openly. Additionally, the apostle Paul would have remained Saul, persecutor of Christians, since he was overzealous as a Jew even to the point of causing the deaths of Christians. Why would such a man so vehemently pro-Jewish, pro-Moses, and pro-Israel have a sudden change to become so pro-Jesus and a preacher to the Gentiles? All of the apostles even suffered persecution and were put to death because they preached the gospel. Why would they have done such things as devout Jews if Jesus had not truly resurrected?
If we make the assertion that the Bible is true, then the NT has to agree with what is taught in the Old Testament (OT) in that prophecies about the Messiah must be fulfilled and the Messiah must uphold what is taught in the OT. A close look at Jesus’ life shows that the events in his life and surrounding his life do indeed match what is prophesied about the Messiah. As a matter of fact, Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled over 300 prophecies from the OT when he came to Earth. Here are a few of the many messianic prophecies he fulfilled:
- Born in Bethlehem (predicted in Micah 5:2, fulfilled in Matthew 2:1)
- Born of a virgin (predicted in Isaiah 7:14, fulfilled in Matthew 1:18)
- He would be called Immanuel, “God with us” (predicted Isaiah 7:14, fulfilled in Matthew 1:23)
- He would come out of Egypt (predicted in Hosea 11:1, fulfilled in Matthew 2:15)
- Betrayed by a friend (predicted in Psalm 41:9, fulfilled in John 13:21)
- Betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (predicted in Zechariah 11:12, fulfilled in Luke 22:5)
Not only is it proven that the OT and the NT agree with each other, we can expect that since the NT can be proven to be the truth, and since Jesus Christ and the NT authors claim the OT is true time after time, this means everything in the OT is the truth also.
There are several historical sources apart from the Bible that confirm the existence of Jesus Christ and events in his life, his apostles and their martyrdoms, and the practices of the first century believers as stated in the NT. These writers include Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Julius Africanus, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, Lucian of Samosata, Mara Bar-Serapion, and Celsus.
When all six bodies of evidence are taken into account regarding the NT, one can only conclude that the NT is completely true about everything recorded in it. Since the NT tells us the truth, we can also conclude that the OT is the truth and this means the whole Bible is true. Bible critics can argue all they want about reliability of manuscripts and ulterior motives of the Biblical authors or how the Bible (Authorized Version) came to be, but in the end the Bible from Genesis to Revelation has proven to be true in its science, in its history, and most importantly in the absolute spiritual as well as moral truths that are taught in it.
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [2 Timothy 4]
Source: Frank Turek, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist,” NRB Network broadcast, 12/28/09.