A Biblical Literalist Part Two
The following article continues on the theme from last time. The third reason I take the Bible literally is the message of Jesus. People ignorant of Biblical history fail to realize the prophetic accuracy of Scripture. Hundreds, even thousands of years before Christ’s birth, prophets were predicting His coming and, in many instances, giving detailed messages of His birth, life, death and resurrection. One strikingly clear prediction of Jesus’ crucifixion is Psalm 22, where David opens the Psalm crying, “My God, my God! Why have You forsaken me?” These were the very words Christ uttered on the cross when God “turned His back” on His Son as He hung there bearing the guilt of the entire world’s sin. But some might say, “Well, Jesus was simply quoting Scripture!” If He was, but the quote certainly fit the context! Go further down in verses 7, 8, “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.’” These are words those who stood at the cross of Jesus said as they mocked His death. Again, some might say, “The writers of the crucifixion narrative simply put those words in the mouths of the antagonists!” So, let’s travel further down the passage to verses 12 – 18, where the Psalmist David says:
Many bulls have surrounded me: Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. They gaped upon me with their mouths, As a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; It is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You have brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: They pierced my hands and my feet. I may count all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They divide my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Someone who does not believe that Jesus ever lived, much less that He was crucified, can easily dismiss this passage as they do others, saying, “These simply are the words of a destressed man that Christians choose to apply to Jesus at His crucifixion.” The problem with that is the above narrative fits perfectly with the suffering a victim of crucifixion experiences. His bones dislocate, he becomes parched from breathing through his mouth, when nailed to a cross, they pierce his hands/wrists and feet. And, in the case of Jesus, they “rolled dice” or cast lots to see who would get His clothing because His garment was too nice to tear. I suppose the writers of Scripture went back and added that bit of information to Psalm 22 to make it fit the narrative as well! If one doesn’t want to believe, one will find many reasons not to. A fourth reason I take Scripture literally is that practicing its teachings leads only to a better life for anyone who adheres to them. Here again detractors will want to point at places where God tells Israel to put away the sin among them by stoning adulterers, homosexuals and those who mistreat their parents. They completely overlook God’s reasoning for taking such drastic measures within the framework of the nation He was building. They also conveniently forget that those who commit adultery destroy the lives of family members. Those who practice homosexuality destroy themselves and often prey on little boys (Before anyone jumps on that statement, I can defend it with facts and anecdotal evidence). They also forget that disrespecting one’s parents destroys the family unit and when the family is destroyed, society becomes what it is today. They also forget that when given the chance to encourage the stoning of an adulteress, Jesus challenged those without sin to cast the first stone. He then forgave the adulteress and commanded her to “sin no more.” By the way, if people did not commit adultery, homosexual acts, or disrespect their parents, they would not be in danger of being stoned. Why is it that those who disparage what God says do so by defending horrendous, destructive acts? More next time! See you Sunday!