Doug Batchelor - The Wonder of the Word - Part 1
It's the most read book in the world, selling close to 4 billion copies over the past 50 years. The Bible is an amazing book, unlike any other. Although it was written over a period of around 1500 years, by 40 different people, on three continents, the Bible maintains incredible harmony throughout its 66 books. A long list of Bible predictions have come to pass that confirm the scriptures are divinely inspired, but none are more dramatically fulfilled than 125 prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled to perfection in the life of Jesus. Various Old Testament books predict with great precision, the place of his birth, his trial, the manner of his crucifixion, the timing of his resurrection, and many other aspects of his life. One thing is for certain, that dozens of prophecies and predictions about his life could never have happened by chance alone. Jesus is the Bible central figure, but who is He? And how is your life affected by his? Join me now, as we take a closer look at this hero of Revelation.
Today's lesson is dealing with the wonders of the word. The story upon which the study is based is found in the book of Luke chapter 24. And if you begin reading at verse 13, it tells us about these disciples, that the day of the crucifixion, they're very discouraged. They're walking from Jerusalem down to a town called Emmaus, not the day of the crucifixion, sorry, it was Sunday afternoon, following the crucifixion, and they're very discouraged, and they're on their way down to this town, seven miles away, and they're talking about, they're just a great disappointment. They thought that Jesus was the Messiah, and here, He's died, and they saw Him die on a cross, and they thought He was going to be the one to deliver Israel from the Romans. And words are not adequate to describe how shocked and devastated they are.
But as they're walking down the road, as it often happened in those days, there was someone else, the trail intersected, and they joined him. There's just the three of them walking down the road, some stranger. And they politely invite him to walk with them, and they're talking about what happened, and Jesus' crucifixion and the betrayal, and what the Romans did. and what the priest did. And this stranger, who's Jesus, but they don't recognize Him. He says, "What manner of communication is this "you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" Jesus does not want us to have a sad walk. Can you say, amen?
He's resurrected, the gospel is good news. We're on our way to a feast. And they say, "What do you mean, "what manner of communication? "Of course, we're sad. "Are you a stranger in Jerusalem? "Haven't you heard what happened?" Of course Jesus knows what happened. He was a very epicenter of what happened. But He humors them and he says, "What things?" God asks questions, not because He doesn't know, but He wants us to think, right? God said to Adam, "Where are you?" You think God misplaced Adam? He knew where he was. He wanted him to think about where he was. And they said, "Well, the thing concerning Jesus of Nazareth, "who was a prophet, "mighty in word and deed before God and the people, "and how our rulers crucified him. "And we thought He was the one "that was going to redeem Israel." And Jesus, "Oh, fools and slow of heart "to believe all the prophets have spoken. "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things "and entered into His glory?"
And then beginning at Moses, Genesis, and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures, the things concerning Himself. And while Jesus was showing them all the prophecies that pointed to His first coming, proving He was the Messiah, hope began to revive within them, and pretty soon their hearts were on fire, and said, "Yes, yes, this makes sense. "Of course it was supposed to happen." How much I would pay to hear that sermon where Jesus went from Genesis to Malachi, expounding the scriptures, wouldn't that be a tape to listen to?
And then they came to a fork in the road and He made like he was going to keep on going, and they said, "No, no, no, "it's getting late, you stay with us." You've heard that song, "Abide With Me Fast Falls the Eventide?" It's based on this verse. So He came in and they asked this stranger and said, "Would you like to have the blessing?" He said, "Sure." So He threw back His hood and He stretched out two nail-pierced hands. And He said, ... It's the only Jewish prayer I remember, over the bread. And they saw His hands, and it says their eyes were open and they knew Him. And He vanished.
Now they're filled with joy. Their eyes were open and they knew Him. When did that happen? When He broke and blessed the bread. You must know Him. When does it happen? When He blesses and breaks the bread, that bread is the Word of God. The holy Bible contained in the New and the Old Testament is the sacred Word of God. This is an anvil that has worn out many hammers of criticism. A lot of the critics that said that they would get rid of the Bible, they're gone, but the Bible is still here.
The reason that the Bible is still here is very simple. It works. It has proven itself over the millennia that it does not fail, it works as the Word of God. These prophecies are accurate. It's a valuation of humanity, how to save man from his sin, teaching us how to get along with each other. The Bible addresses everything from marriage to finances, and the principles work. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable, all of it.
People say, "Well, the Bible's been translated "and retranslated, "and how do we know it's the same?" In the 1948, some shepherd boys found these caves that contained scrolls that dated back from before the time of Jesus, better known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. And they found out that the scrolls in there, like the scroll of Isaiah, I've seen it several times in Israel. What's in that scroll 2,000 years old is the same, of course it's in Hebrew, but it's the same words as what I have in my Bible today, I had my guide, who was trained in the ancient Hebrew. I said, read that to me. I pointed to a place on the scroll, said, "Read that to me." He looked at it, and he started to quote the story because he's reading from right to left. He started to quote the story about Hezekiah being surrounded by the Assyrians and Sennacherib, and it's just like in my Bible, I know my Bible. I recognized it.
God has preserved the Word of God in a miraculous way. They were so careful when they copied the scriptures, that if they made a mistake, they tear up the whole scroll. And so it is the most carefully documented book in history. I believe it is accurate and it has not changed.
To whom does Jesus say the scriptures and the prophecies reveal? You read there in Luke 24:27, it says, "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, "He expound it unto them in all the scriptures "the things concerning Himself." It's all revealing Jesus. The reason that we study the prophecies is they all talk about Christ. First words in revelation, the revelation of Jesus Christ. If you want to know Jesus better, you can also do that studying prophecy. John 5:39, Jesus said, "Search the scriptures "for these are they that testify of Me." And you can read, I just gave this to you in Revelation 1:1. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The scriptures are all about Jesus. The stories in the Bible are often allegories of Christ. You have the story of Joseph, he's betrayed by his own brothers. He's sold to the pagans for a price of a slave. Jesus was betrayed by Judas. It was Judah that sold Joseph, that suggested selling Joseph. They sold him for silver. Jesus is sold for silver. Joseph forgives his brother and he saves them in spite of what they've done. Jesus is willing to forgive and to save, in spite of the fact that we crucified Him. King David is walking up the Mount of Olives, weeping over Jerusalem. Jesus is on the Mount of Olives, weeping over Jerusalem. Samson stretches out his arms and lays down his life to save God's people from their enemies. Jesus stretched out His arms that He might save us from our enemies. The Bible says Samson killed more by his death than he did by his life. Jesus did more to defeat the devil by His death than even by His life, through the sacrifice of Christ. Children of Israel are fighting in the wilderness against the Amalekites. Moses stands on a hill, stretches out his arms. And when they can see Moses with his arms stretched out, they get the victory. His arms go down, because he's tired, they start losing. They lift up his arms again, they get the victory. When we see Christ as before the Father, interceding with His nail-pierced hands for us, we get the victory.
All these Bible stories, everything from Jonah, sleeping in a boat like Jesus was sleeping in a boat, all through the Bible, it's telling us about Christ. It's one of my favorite subjects to see Christ in all the Bible. Who helps us to understand the Bible? You read in John 16:13, "When He, the Spirit of truth has come, "He will guide you into all truth." And again, you can read here. It says in John 14:26, "But the helper, the Holy Spirit, "He will teach you all things." You might say, "But I read it and I don't understand it." Keep reading. It'll get clear. Are you aware that when you were born, you didn't speak English very well. So did you stop listening to English because you couldn't speak it? No, your parents kept talking to you and pretty soon you picked it up and now hopefully you understand.
Well, don't feel bad when you first read the Bible, you don't understand it all. Fortunately the Bible's written in a way where I think everybody can get something out of it. And the more you read it, the more you'll understand it. And it's like a mind that gets deeper, and deeper, and you find more treasure all the time. Read your Bibles friends.
What must I do to be certain that the Holy Spirit is guiding me in my Bible study? Answer, so I say to you, ask, and it will be given you. Now since God is the author, you would say, "All right, Lord, "will You help me understand?" Will He help you, if you ask Him? The Bible promises, if you read here in Luke 11:13, "If you then being evil, "know how to give good gifts to your children, "how much more will your Father in heaven "give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" And then John 7:17, "If anyone is willing." When you read the Word, do it with a willing heart. "If you're willing to do His will, "He shall know concerning the doctrine, "whether it is from God." So pray for wisdom when you study the Word, and He will open things up.
I can't tell you how many times... Now, I'll tell you what my practice is, first. Is every morning I wake up, I do most of my Bible study, actually on my computer now, because I can access different resources very quickly. I am always reading through the Bible. And as I'm reading through the Bible, I always pray first. I kneel there in my office. I pray, say, "God, help me to understand." As I study, it's uncanny. I'm always reading through the Bible, whatever my segment was that I was to read that morning. Something happens during that day where I needed that bit of advice. I needed that guidance, or someone else needed it and God gave it to me so I could share it with him. I wouldn't have known that.
And you got to keep reading it because we don't retain everything we read. It's like that little boy asked his grandfather. He said, "Grandpa, have you memorized the whole Bible?" He says, "No, not at all." He says, "But you read it all the time. "Why do you keep reading it?" He said, "I'll tell you why." He said that, see the coal basket there by the stove. "Yeah." He said, "I want you to run to the creek, "fill the basket up with some water and bring it to me."
A seven-year-old wondered how that was going to work out. But he went down obediently and he scooped up some water from the creek and he tried to run back. But as soon as he got to his grandfather, basket was, all the water had run out. He said, "You got to go quicker." So he went down, he tried to scoop up some more water in the basket, came back again, it was gone. He said, "Try it one more time." So he took the coal basket, and he went down to the creek and he scooped it up and he ran as quick as he could. And he set it down, it was all seeping out. And he said, "I can't do it. "It just runs out." He says, "That's right, "it does run out." He said, "But have you noticed what happened to the basket?" He said, "Yeah, it's clean now." He says, "It may be going through, "but it's doing a cleansing." He says, "I keep reading God's word. "Not because I expect to contain it all, "but it has an ongoing cleansing aspect to it." And so as you're reading the word, it's changing you from day to day, doesn't mean you're going to retain it all, but it has a sanctifying influence.
What method of Bible study do the scriptures recommend? Answer, "For precept must be upon precept, "line upon line, "here little, there a little." You compare scripture with scripture, is how you learn these things. And it's kind of like, how many of you got a GPS? Some of you have one on your phone? I used to have one in my plane. And you realize when you go outside and you begin to use a GPS, the way it is able to tell your location is using these satellites. Sometimes they use towers to do it. And it's something called triangulation.
Now, when I would first turn on my GPS, as I would take off with my plane, I'd get a little message on my GPS. And it would say, "One satellite located, "not adequate to fix position." I'd wait and it would send out the signals and then say, "Two satellites." I could figure out that I was there, but I couldn't tell how high or low, and It'd say, "Three satellites, "we can now fix your position." If you know geometry, you know how that works. And then as I got more satellites, it would not only tell me where I am on the map, but more satellites would tell me how high or low I was. So now they actually have cockpits in planes where it's an artificial screen goes on, you could have total white out conditions in the weather. You put this picture goes up on the inside of your cockpit and it comes in, you come in for landing and you are flying a virtual screen. The GPS is so accurate within four feet of where you are. It can land you on the runway using satellite technology because it's got a multitude of satellites that are giving you a pinpoint position.
If you want to know what truth is, don't take one verse and build a . I've seen people do that, haven't you? Try and build a whole church, that's been built on one verse. Now I believe that every word of God is inspired. Sometimes one verse can be misunderstood if you take it by itself. It's like someone takes that verse where it says Judas went out and hung himself. Then they get another verse where Jesus said, "Go thou and do likewise." Well you put those two together, you can make it sound like we're all being told to go hang ourselves. And that's the way some people study the Bible, but you need, Jesus said, "When two or three witnesses, "let this all be established." So precept must be upon precept.
And again it says, "But the Holy Spirit..." Which teaches comparing spiritual things with spiritual, make sure you read things in their context. Again, 2nd Peter 1:20, "No prophecy as of any private interpretation." You've probably seen Bible studies before where everyone kind of goes around. They say, "Well, what is this verse say to you?" "Well, here's how I feel about this verse." How do you feel about... Well, I feel this way. Okay well, that's true for you and this is true for me. That's not how God wants us to study the Bible.
You realize there is absolute truth. And if you want to know what absolute truth is, God's word has the answer to that. According to Jesus, where do we find the truth? Jesus said, "I am the way, "the truth, "and the life." And again, John 17:17, "Your word is truth." I've got some beautiful quotes from some historians and famous people regarding the word of God that I thought you might enjoy. Gypsy Smith said, "What makes the difference "is not how many times you've been through the Bible, "but how many times has the Bible been through you."
Someone else said, "A Bible that is falling apart "usually belongs to a person who is not falling apart." John Bunyan said, "Read the Bible and read it again, "and do not despair of help "to understand something of the will "and the mind of God "as they are fast, locked up from you. "Neither trouble yourself, "though you may not have commentaries or expositions, "pray and read, "read and pray. "for a little from God "is better than a great deal from man."
Someone else said, "The Bible is like a telescope." Telescope doesn't do you any good if you look at a telescope, but you see wonders and worlds of far when you look through a telescope. For the believer, this becomes the telescope that provides your worldview. When you see everything from the Bible, see, you can't be happy unless you know something about where did I come from? What am I doing here? And where am I going? Those are the big questions in life. The Bible answers those questions. It helps us develop a worldview of where we came from, what we're doing here, and where we're going.
Abraham Lincoln said, "I believe the Bible is the best gift "that God has ever given to man. "All the good from the savior of the world "is communicated to us through this book." George Mueller said, "The vigor of our spiritual life "will be in exact proportion "to the place held by the Bible "in our thoughts and in our life." The vigor of our spiritual life will be in proportion to the high place of the Bible in our lives. What warnings regarding the Bible are given in scripture? What warnings regarding Bible study, I'm sorry, are given in the scriptures? Answer, 2nd Timothy 2:15. It said, "Be diligent to present yourself "approved to God, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Now, the reason I'm emphasizing this is because I think all of us know that Christianity is the most divided religion in the world. You don't have as many different divisions in Judaism, or Islam as you have, or Buddhism as you have in Christianity. There are more different teachings and divisions, this was never God's plan. Do you know why there are so many different ideas? Because a lot of people are not reading the whole Word of God. And it also tells us, "In all of His epistles, "there are some things that are hard to understand "which those who are untaught and unstable "twist to their own destruction, "as they do the rest of the scriptures."
In the last days, we especially need to know, because is Satan going to impersonate Christ? Then Jesus say they'll be false Christs and false prophets. Do you think those false Christs are going to quote from the Bible? They are. And they may misquote. And most people will not spot it. It's like so many people think, "God helps those that help themselves." is in the Bible. It's not in the Bible. It's Benjamin Franklin. There's a lot of people that, they think they know the Bible and they don't really study it. And they're going to be sitting ducks for the devil, in the last days.
I heard that a tourist was visiting Yellowstone and they got signs everywhere. It says, "Please do not feed the bears." And this man who was there for the first time, he saw this line of cars coming in, the bears were coming up to the windows. And this may have been several years ago. And the tourists were feeding the bears, they had snacks and cookies and things they had. And the cute little black beers would come up and they'd stick something through the window and they'd eat it. And then they'd snap a bunch of pictures. This man walked over to a park ranger and he said, "You got signs everywhere, "it says don't feed the bears, "but it looks like the tourists are ignoring the signs "and feeding the bears." And he says, "Yeah, it's very dangerous for one thing, "because sometimes the bears become ugly. "They expect to be fed. "And if you don't feed them, "they'll try and take it." So the other thing is that they don't learn to feed themselves. And when winter comes says, "We go around with a forklift "and we pick up the frozen bodies of the bears that starved "because they got so used to the snacks "that the tourist gave them, "they did not know how to feed themselves good bear food."
And that's what's happening in the world today, is we're so used to just getting a little dessert every week from the preacher. People are not studying the Bible for themselves in their home. You cannot survive on a snack once a week that the pastor gives you. We need to learn to feed ourselves, amen. Read our Bibles.
What happened when Jesus explained the scriptures to the two discouraged disciples on the road to Emmaus? They said, "Did not our hearts burn." We all want that heavenly heartburn, don't we? "Did not our hearts burn within us "while He talked with us on the road, "and while He opened the scriptures to us." I've heard sermons many times before where I'm hearing the preacher. And I say, "You know, I don't think it's the preacher anymore. "I think God is speaking to me through those words." And you can feel this resonating heartburn, the Spirit is going, "Yes, yes, that's true." Sometimes it's conviction, but if you love the truth, you're happy for it. And that's what God wants us to experience.
And then question 16. After these two disciples knew that Jesus was alive and heard Him explain the prophecies. What did they do? Once the word of God is open to you, it's like when I was up in the cave, and I was praying and said, "Lord, this is good news. "I just feel like I should tell people." The first thing you want to do is tell others. And even though the sun had gone down and it was dark, and they were hungry, they dropped what they were doing, and they went all the way back, seven miles, back to Jerusalem to tell their friends in the upper room, the good news that Jesus was alive. They could not keep them to themselves. Well friends, it's more important now than it ever has been that we acquaint ourselves with the Word of God, because I believe we're living in the last days.
You know, several years ago, John, and Angie, and I, had been involved in evangelism. We worked together and we were doing some meetings in Northern California. And I was speaking at a seminar like this in Redding, but I needed to be speaking the next morning in Crescent city. I said, "Well, we're in the plane. "We'll fly over there." It's a long drive, it's a short flight. So John and Angie reluctantly got in an airplane with me and we took off and we began to fly. And I've made trips like that across Mendocino Forest and Trinity Alps many times. And I thought, "No problem."
Along the way you get up there, and all you see is a sea of trees. There's no roads, there's no railroad track, there's no towns. It's a sea of trees. And I'm following what I thought was my VOR radio. But the radio was out at Crescent City and I realized, "Oh, I don't know where I'm at." And I pull out a map, and there's no landmarks, and I'm trying to keep them calm. I said, "You know, I think the radio's out at Crescent city "and I've been following this false signal. "And I don't know where I am." Hadn't been watching my compass. So I said, "Well, I know that it's at the end of this river. 'So you guys just hang tight. "I'll fly under the cloud." Some fog had come in on the coast and I said, "I'll go underneath the fog. "I'll fly up this canyon, at the end of the canyon, "it'll be Crescent City we'll land."
So I drop down below the clouds and I'm flying. You got mountains on one side, mountain... This is very dangerous, don't do this. Mountains on one side, mountains, clouds above you. And I looked back and I saw Angie was sleeping. I said, "Well, I'm glad Angie could relax." And John's clinging to his arm rest. He said, "She fainted." It's true. I got to the end of the mountains. All of a sudden I got nothing under me but ocean. And we're heading to Japan, which I wanted to see, but I didn't have enough gas. And I realized, "Oh man, I got to go back up through the clouds."
So I pulled up and all of a sudden everything's white. You don't know, you can't see anything. You can't see out your window. And I thought, "I'll just pull up through the clouds." And it was taken a long time to get up through the clouds. And I thought, "I better look at my instruments." I looked at my instruments and it said, "You are turning and you are going down." I thought, I didn't feel like I'm turning. So I feel like I'm doing okay, but they drill it in you when you take your flight training, trust your instruments. And so I said, ah, I turned it, and I pulled back, and I gave it the gas, and I fought the, and it felt now like I was turning, but the instrument said, "Now you're level and you're climbing." And I just stayed on that course. I came up out of the clouds and there was a mountain just to the left that we would've hit. If I had not resisted the urge to follow my feeling and follow my instruments. Friends, only way we're going to get out of this alive is by following the word of God. That is our instrument, amen?