Isaiah 44: 7-8 Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.”
Isaiah 46: 9-10 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure"
In our world today, there is a major push to force religions other than Christianity to the front. Tolerance and inclusiveness are the themes of the day. In fact, some would want us to believe that all religions are equal and worthy of respect, except for Christianity. Should we as Christians give respect to religions that we know are leading the world away from God? In Isaiah above, God's answer to this question is clear: NO. But for certain on the other hand, we should always respect all people regardless of religion.
It has been twenty nine years ago now since I followed the advice of a respected friend and by faith asked Jesus to forgive me and to be the Lord of my life. My father had died when I was only thirteen years old and as a result, my childhood came to an early end, and I was for the most part; free to run my own life. The years that followed were the wild and crazy sixties and to say that I raised hell is putting it mildly. I made all of the wrong decisions and unfortunately always got away with it. At age nineteen and with no direction, I married my wife Cheryl. That was forty three years ago. Those first twelve years were miserable. I had tremendous success in sales though and through a timely investment plan, I was financially independent at age thirty. At that point, I thought that I was in total control of my own world, with a staff of five hundred people and thirty five rental homes. But Cheryl and I were both selfish and foolish children who had never grown up, and our daughter Shannon was the only thing that was holding our marriage together. And then my whole world changed as the economy shifted and my business started losing substantial dollars monthly. The real estate crash of 1980-82 saw interest rates go up to as high as 20% and I found myself with a negative net worth of over one million dollars and it was getting worse daily.
It was at that point, that a friend named Zig Ziglar challenged me to trust my life to Christ. I was reading a book that he had given me at a weekend seminar. I had never read the Bible and seldom attended church. When I did go to church, I couldn’t wait to get out the front door. Well, when I told Cheryl that I had become a Christian, she was less than impressed. But after only a few months had gone by, she could see that I had changed dramatically. And as a result, she read the same book also and became a Christian. Both of us had no Bible knowledge and accepted Christ into our lives by faith. From that point on I received excellent teaching from Dr. Harold Sala; my sister Charlene; and Chuck Swindoll, my first pastor.
So how do I know the Bible is Truth if my decision was only based upon uneducated faith? Well, God has shown me over and over during the past twenty nine years, in many different ways that the Bible is absolute TRUTH. But to illustrate my case, I will only point to one reason here. I came to understand these facts through reading and sound teaching over many years. The Bible is filled with hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. An engineer skeptic friend of mine told me his story of how he set out to prove the bible wrong. But when he began cross referencing the prophesies in Isaiah with the fulfillments in the New Testament ... the evidence was too compelling to ignore. The evidence in front of him demanded a verdict.
Now first let’s understand the criteria for an Old Testament prophet. Unlike the fortunetellers of our day, Biblical prophets predictions needed to turn out to be one hundred percent correct. Otherwise, they were considered a false prophet. .Let’s discuss one such prophesy here. The prophet Ezekiel predicted the following in Ezekiel Chapters 26-27:
That the magnificent Phoenician city of Tyre would be leveled to dust
That the invaders would first take the “daughter cities of Tyre”
And later would take Tyre itself
That many nations would come against the city
That Tyre itself would be thrown into the sea
That the actual site of the city would be left flat and scraped as clean as a rock,
That where Tyre once had stood fishermen would spread their nets
That the city of Tyre would never be rebuilt
Why were these predictions of Ezekiel so ridiculous during his day? Well we need to look at some facts about Tyre to better understand. Tyre was literally the seaport of the known world. Tyre was the most prosperous city on earth. They dealt in ivory, wheat, honey, oil, precious stones and gold and silver. Carthage was a mere colony of Tyre and under the leadership of Hannibal, Carthage almost conquered Rome. Tyre’s walled city was well fortified by land and Tyre ruled the seas. So even far greater armies were foolish to try to invade Tyre. After a five year siege the massive fortresses and walls surrounding Tyre were impregnable and the fierce and relentless Assyrian warriors finally gave up. Tyre’s reign as the most prosperous city in the world lasted from 1100 to 573 BC and their leader's pride and arrogance grew. Then in 585 BC, the mighty Babylonians took the “sister cities” as predicted. For months Nebuchadnezzar attacked Tyre until they broke through the walls and burned the huge city to the ground. What was once the most beautiful city in the world was now a heap of rubble. But the story is not over yet, the people of Tyre escaped to an island a half mile off shore … and from this position walled by water combined with their undefeatable navy to defend it, Tyre continued to defy the Babylonians for 13 years. In 572, Nebuchadnezzar realized that he could not win and signed a truce and as a result only a part of the prophecy was fulfilled. Remember, Biblical prophesies must be 100% correct to be accepted as the word of the omniscient, almighty God. Tyre then built walls 150 feet high all around their island stronghold paradise and continued to rule the seas and world commerce for an additional 240 years.
In 332 BC Alexander the Great was on his quest to conquer the world. After beating the Persian Army and on his way to attack Egypt, Alexander was not willing to disregard Tyre which had no ambitions in the war on the ground. Since his navy was no match for Tyre, Alexander decided to build a causeway from the mainland to the island of Tyre. Alexander took the rubble left behind centuries before from the old city of Tyre. By the time the causeway was completed, Alexander’s men had scraped up the very dust of the old city and thrown it into the sea. Alexander’s men made giant shields and twenty story high mobile towers with drawbridges that fell over the huge 150 foot high walls of Tyre. So Mighty Tyre which had reigned as a world power for over 768 years, the trader of the world finally fell to Alexander when his army took the city by storm. And as the centuries continued, the sea washed sand onto the causeway transforming it into a peninsula ... "where fishermen cast their nets". Nebachanezzer and Alexander unwittingly and unknowingly fulfilled Ezekiel’s ancient prophecy.
What are the odds of this multi-faceted prophesy being fulfilled? Mathematician Peter Stoner concluded that the odds of this prophecy coming true by chance were 75000 to 1. This is only one prophecy you say ... not impossible? But the Old Testament has hundreds of similarly fulfilled prophecies. Stoner calculates the odds there at 5.76x10/59. From a human perspective, these odds are beyond our understanding. But I will try to come up with a Biblical comparison that fits here; "as far as the east is from the west". With the God of the Bible there are no mistakes. Only the creator knows the beginning and the end and everything in between at any moment in time.
So since I have hundreds more fulfilled prophesies just like this one, is there any wonder that I am confident that God’s word is truth? Maybe you can now also understand why ... that although, I am sensitive to the religious rights of others; when my God says there is only one God, and all others are false gods ... I am not about to give those religions and their gods any validity, in my mind. All religions and all gods are not equal and do not lead to the same place.
For further reading:
"Exploring The Future" by John Phillips Thomas Nelson 1978
Ezekiel Chapters 26-27
John 14:5-6 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
God Bless You My Friend
Shine as Lights #8
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