Are the Bible Stories to be Taken Literally? (Part 2)


Are the Bible Stories to be Taken Literally? (Part 2) VI. The Flood 1. Our Lord Jesus Christ believed that the flood in Noah’s day was a historical event. A. Jesus said that His second coming would be like it was in the days of Noah before the flood (Mat 24:37-39; Luk 17:26-27). B. Why should anyone believe our Savior’s words if He were referring to a fable when He compared His second coming to the flood? C. If a man believes not Moses who wrote the book of Genesis, then how can he believe Jesus who quoted him? (Joh 5:46-47) 2. The apostle Peter believed that the flood literally happened. A. Peter affirmed that the flood destroyed the old world and the ungodly who inhabited it (2Pe 2:5). B. Peter taught that Noah built an ark to save his family from dying in the flood (1Pe 3:20). C. Peter clearly taught that the flood was real and that it was global. D. Peter used the flood as an example of God’s worldwide judgment of sin (2Pe 3:6). i. He likened the coming judgment of the heavens and earth by fire to God’s previous judgment of the earth by water (2Pe 3:7). ii. Just as men scoffed at Noah’s warnings of impending judgment, so men scoff at the promise of the second coming of Christ when He will come to judge the world and create new heavens and a new earth (2Pe 3:3-13). iii. Since Peter compared the second coming of Christ to the flood, why should we consider his inspired writing to be credible if he is basing his exhortation on a fictious event? 3. The apostle Paul used Noah and his building of the ark to save his house from dying in the flood as an example of a great act of faith (Heb 11:7). A. If the flood and the ark are a fable, then what basis do we have in believing in the other people of faith which are recorded in Heb 11 such as Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, and the prophets? B. If the story of the flood and Noah building the ark are not factual, then neither is the rest of the Old Testament. C. If the Old Testament is not factual, then why should we believe that the New Testament, which frequently quotes the OT, is factual? 4. Thomas Huxley said the following concerning the account of the Flood. 5. "When Jesus spoke, as of a matter of fact, that "the Flood came and destroyed them all," did he believe that the Deluge really took place, or not? It seems to me that, as the narrative mentions Noah’s wife, and his sons’ wives, there is good scriptural warranty for the statement that the antediluvians married and were given in marriage; and I should have thought that their eating and drinking might be assumed by the firmest believer in the literal truth of the story. Moreover, I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God’s methods of dealing with sin, has an account of an event that never happened? If no Flood swept the careless people away, how is the warning of more worth than the cry of “Wolf” when there is no wolf? If Jonah’s three days’ residence in the whale is not an “admitted reality,” how could it “warrant belief” in the “coming resurrection?” … Suppose that a Conservative orator warns his hearers to beware of great political and social changes, lest they end, as in France, in the domination of a Robespierre; what becomes, not only of his argument, but of his veracity, if he, personally, does not believe that Robespierre existed and did the deeds attributed to him?" (Thomas Huxley, quote from VII. Sodom and Gomorrah 1. Is the Biblical account of God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah a mere fable? A. Jesus and the apostles didn’t think so. B. Unbelievers today likely do not want the story to be true because they support the very wickedness which caused God to destroy those cities. 2. Jesus affirmed that Sodom and Gomorrah were real cities which God destroyed with fire and brimstone, just as was stated in Genesis (Gen 19:24-25). A. Jesus likened His second coming to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luk 17:28-30). i. Christ affirmed that God “rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” ii. If the wicked people of Sodom and Gomorrah were not actually destroyed by God raining fire and brimstone down from heaven, then on what basis should we believe that Jesus is going to return from heaven in flaming fire to destroy the wicked (2Th 1:7-9)? iii. If the account of Sodom and Gomorrah is a fable, then why should not the second coming of Christ likewise be considered a fable? B. Jesus said that it would be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on Judgment Day than for those who reject the gospel (Mat 10:15; Mar 6:11; Luk 10:12). C. Jesus said that Sodom would not have been destroyed if its people had seen the mighty works of Christ which Capernaum saw (Mat 11:23-24). i. They would not have been temporally destroyed because they would have repented (Mat 11:20-21). ii. In His rebuke of Capernaum, Jesus affirmed that Sodom was a real city and that it was destroyed by God. 3. Paul A. Paul referenced Sodom and Gomorrah when teaching on the election of a remnant of Israel (Rom 9:29). B. If Sodom and Gomorrah were not real places inhabited by real people who were judged both temporally and eternally by God, why should we give credence to Paul’s teaching on the doctrine of election in Romans 9? 4. Peter A. Peter confirmed the historicity of the OT account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the salvation of Lot (2Pe 2:6-9). B. If that account is a legend or allegory, why should we believe the rest of Peter’s teaching? 5. Jude A. Jude confirmed that the men of Sodom were fornicators and sodomites who are suffering in hell presently (Jud 1:7). B. If the account of the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis is not factual history, then how can we believe the rest of Jude’s epistle, and the entire New Testament for that matter? 6. Old Testament prophets made reference to Sodom and Gomorrah and their overthrow by God over 1000 years afterward (Isa 13:19; Jer 49:18; Eze 16:49; Amo 4:11; Zep 2:9). 7. If the account of Sodom and Gomorrah were a mere fable, then the credibility of many of the OT prophets is called into question. VIII. Abraham offering up Isaac 1. Was Abraham’s offering up of Isaac as a sacrifice to God (Gen 22:9-12) a tale or an allegory that never actually happened, as unbelievers claim? 2. The apostles Paul and James didn’t think so. A. Paul stated matter-of-factly that Abraham offered up Isaac when he was tried by God (Heb 11:17). i. Paul taught that Abraham believed that God would have raised Isaac from the dead to fulfill His promise were he to have gone through with the sacrifice (Heb 11:18-19). ii. If Abraham did not actually do what Genesis 22 says he did, then what basis do we have to believe the rest of Paul’s writings in the NT? B. James based his teaching that men are evidentially justified by faith as well as works on Abraham’s offering up of Isaac (Jam 2:21-24). C. If James’ doctrine is based on a fable, then what credibility does it have? IX. The exodus and the parting of the Red Sea 1. Bible skeptics and unbelieving supposed Christians alike deny the historicity of the exodus of the nation of Israel from Egypt through the Red Sea (Exo 14:21-31). 2. Stephen, one of the first martyrs, believed that God brought Israel out of Egypt through the Red Sea (Act 7:36). 3. The apostle Paul twice confirmed the OT account of the parting to the Red Sea. A. He stated in Hebrews 11 that the Israelites passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, and when the Egyptians followed them, they were drowned (Heb 11:29). B. Paul affirmed the OT account of Israel passing through the Red Sea in 1Co 10:1. i. In the first part of 1Co 10, Paul showed how God delivered His people from bondage and then judged them for their subsequent rebellion (1Co 10:1-10). ii. He exhorted that those things happened unto them as examples which were written for our admonition (1Co 10:11-12). iii. If Paul based his admonition on a fictitious event, why should we take it seriously? X. The conquest and genocide of the nations of Canaan 1. Skeptics doubt the conquest of Canaan ever happened, and unbelieving supposed Christians refuse to believe it because they don’t like the idea of it. 2. However, the apostle Paul, speaking under the inspiration of God, affirmed the OT account of the destruction of the seven nations of Canaan by the Israelites (Act 13:19). XI. The destruction of the wall of Jericho 1. Unbelievers deny the OT account of the walls of Jericho falling down after Israel marched around it 13 times and shouted at the sound of a trumpet (Jos 6:3-5, 20). 2. The apostle Paul confirmed the OT account of the destruction of the wall of Jericho (Heb 11:30). XII. Jonah being swallowed by a whale 1. Theological liberals have long scoffed at the account of Jonah being swallowed by a whale and surviving in its belly for three days and nights (Jon 1:17). 2. Our Lord Jesus Christ was no such scoffer. A. Jesus stated that just as Jonah was in the whale’s belly for three days and nights, so He would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (Mat 12:40). B. Jesus affirmed that the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah (Mat 12:41). C. Jesus said that the only sign that His wicked generation would be given was the sign of the prophet Jonah (Mat 16:4). D. Jesus clearly believed the OT account of Jonah being swallowed by a whale and remaining in its belly for three days. E. If a person does not believe the account of Jonah and the whale, he has no basis for believing that Jesus was in the grave for three days and three nights before being resurrected from the dead. XIII. Balaam’s ass speaking 1. The OT gives an account of Balaam’s ass speaking to him (Num 22:28-30). 2. Peter, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, stated that the ass actually spoke and rebuked Balaam (2Pe 2:15-16). 3. If Peter was wrong about the ass speaking, why should we believe anything else he wrote in his epsistles? XIV. This study can be summed up by Jesus’ words: “if ye believe not his (Moses) writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (Joh 5:47).
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