The prophet Malachi ministered toward the end of the 5th century BC. God used Malachi to speak His last Words to the people of Israel for more than 400 years. God left them with the promise of a “messenger” who would come to Israel and “prepare the way” of the Lord. Did God’s messenger ever come to Israel? Did he prepare the way of the Lord? Did the Lord come to Israel? If so, when? In what Form? How do we know?
The answer is, YES! God’s messenger did come to Israel during the early part of the 1st century AD. We also know that he did prepare the way of the Lord and that the Lord did come to Israel in the Form of a Man. We know because of what is written in the New Testament.
The New Testament, as Christians call it, picks up where the Old Testament leaves off. The writers of the New Testament claim, just as the writers of the Old Testament did, that what they wrote was the Word of God. In fact, the New Testament introduces us to the Word of God. His Name is Jesus Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John 1:1-4, 14-18
That’s quite a claim for anyone to make – that God became Flesh and lived among men. Here’s another claim that has rocked the world of religion for 2,000 years.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:1-11
This is possibly the biggest stumbling block to people becoming Christians. I’ve talked with so many people who say they admire what they’ve heard about Jesus, but as soon as they hear that Jesus taught He was the only Way to God they don’t believe it. People love the idea of a God who loves everybody and welcomes everyone into Heaven no matter what they believe or how they live their lives. They view Christianity as unloving and “narrow minded.” They don’t want to believe in a God Who would judge people for their sins and sentence them to eternity in hell, so they attack the credibility of the Writings that make those claims. The New Testament, they say, isn’t true so the claims it makes about their guilt and God’s Judgment are not true.
Christian, can the New Testament stand up to the credibility test? Is it or is it not the Word of God? How can we know for sure? Can we prove it? We’ll see in the next part of our study.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”