Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. One key reason for trusting the Bible is its accuracy in predicting the future. Numerous prophecies have been fulfilled, yet some point to a Bible code as evidence of hidden revelation. Today, the Bible code is analyzed, and we'll find out why it's not needed to prove the Bible's divine origin. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, some time ago the Bible code was all the rage as people sought hidden meanings while not grasping the direct meaning of the text.
Dave, you're absolutely right, and of course these fads come and these fads go. I've written a book entitled Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible, and in that book I deal briefly with the Bible code. Nostradamus also, he's someone who supposedly predicted the future, but I can tell you he did not.
But the Bible predicts the future with accuracy. I want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of Running to Win. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? Endurance partners are those who stand with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Here's what you can do to get more info. Go to rtwoffer.com.
That's rtwoffer.com, and when you're there, click on the endurance partner button, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. I want to thank you in advance for helping us. We appreciate all who listen, all who participate, and for us the Bible is indeed God's holy word. You know, I think that prophecy, prophecy can be fun, and it can be fun especially if you cloak your prophecies in so much ambiguity, and you have some followers who are willing to try to unpack it and to make sense out of it and to give you the benefit of the doubt and to interpret it in such a way that after the events happen, it's clear that you knew in advance they would. The other thing that I often have said to psychics and to seers, if ever I had the opportunity to speak to them, is it is much easier to predict an event after it happens than before it happens. So sometimes what you should do is just wait around until it happens and then say you predicted it 20 years ago.
That's more exact. You know, in the year 1503, there was a man born in France by the name of Nostradamus. Nostradamus, at the age of 50, he would sit on a pyramid, actually it was like a tripod, and the angles of the legs were the same as the pyramids of Egypt. And then he would have a cauldron, boiling pot of water beneath him, and as he stared into the vapors, he would work himself into a trance.
That's what he did. And oftentimes during those periods, he would just spin out all of these predictions, which he did in quadrants, that is to say in four-line segments, and then when he gathered them together in groups of 100, he called them centuries, though they have nothing whatever to do with time or with centuries. And so even in his day, he was oftentimes admired as a prophet. He wrote using puns, word games, mysterious illusions, threw in some words from other languages, and then what he did is he took his prophecies and he scrambled them, taking one line and putting it somewhere else, so that future generations can try to unscramble it and to understand it and to think of him as a great prophet.
You know, of course, that he predicted the rise of Hitler, don't you? In fact, could there be anything more clear than this? Let me read it to you, and here it is. In the year that is to come soon, not far from Venus, the two great ones of Asia and Africa shall be said to come from the Rhine, and Eister, crying in tears, shall be at Malta and on the Italian shore. Could there be anything more clear than that?
Doesn't that bless you? You say, well, where is Hitler? Well, Eister, because, you know, the Rhine River refers to Germany, Eister is really Hitler. Oh, really? I thought maybe it's the Isar River, but no, no, no, that's Hitler.
Huh. Couldn't be clearer to me. You know, of course, that he predicted both the assassination of President Kennedy and his brother Robert in the very same prophecy. Now, look at how clear this is. The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt, the evil deed predicted by the bearer of a petition. According to the prediction, another falls at nighttime.
Here's Robert Kennedy, conflict in Reims, London, and pestilence in Tuscany. Seems clear to me. What do you guys think? You know, if Nostradamus could live today, I mean, we know that he's living somewhere where he's not going to be smiling, but, very probably, but if he were in a place where he could entertain a humorous thought, he must marvel at the fact that those who have followed him throughout the centuries have taken his prophecies, they have twisted them, they have turned them, they've substituted words, they've interpreted them, and they've made him out to be this great, fantastic prophet who prophesied things hundreds of years in advance, we are told. Well, I'm here to tell you that he's a false prophet for a couple of reasons. First of all, many of these predictions are contradictory. During World War II, the Nazis used some of the predictions to show that they would win, and the Allies interpreted him to mean that they would win.
So you can have Nostradamus on both sides of the same fence here. Not only that, but scholars who have honored him cannot agree with what he meant because of all of these illusions and puns that somehow have to be made sense of, and they're constantly substituting one word for another and using his literal meaning simply as a vehicle to find some hidden mystical meaning. Some of his clearest predictions have not come to pass, but 20th century cultists still think of him as a great prophet, and there are movies that are made and television programs to show that Nostradamus was a great man. Listen, I want you to know that the encyclopedia of man myth and magic, which is not necessarily a Christian in its orientation, says this, and this is possibly the best way to assess him, and that is they suggest that he possibly composed his sayings tongue-in-cheek, well aware that there is an enduring market for prophecies, especially veiled ones. No, Nostradamus could not predict the future with the kind of accuracy that we need if we're going to talk about events that are going to come to pass.
In fact, he himself said that it was his intention that after the event happened, people would look back and say, ha ha, he predicted it. Well, so much for Nostradamus, but what about the Bible code? What about the Bible code? You know, of course, that it is said that the Old Testament, the books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are filled with all kinds of hidden meanings that computers have been able to decipher.
Let me explain to you the way in which it is done. They assume that the Old Testament text has no spaces between the words. It is simply a string of letters.
That's the assumption. And then what they do, because they now have computer programs, they put different names into the program to see whether or not they can find some names with equidistant letters. For example, perhaps every third letter, if it is taken and you run it through the program, you discover somewhere that there is Yeshua, which is the Old Testament name for Jesus. And you find these references and then you say to yourself, see, all of this was coded into the biblical text.
I have a friend with whom I have had some correspondence, and he is working on this because you can get computer programs, and he tells me that Yeshua, the name of Jesus, occurs hundreds of times in the Old Testament if you have the computer hardware and software to be able to detect these interesting codes. And the authors say that when the text was scrambled, there seemed to be no such configurations. There didn't seem to be these word groupings that there are in the Old Testament text. And then there are other Hebrew texts which they say do not have such groupings. In fact, the researchers took 30 names from the Encyclopedia of Great Men of Israel, and they ran them through the computers and says that their births and deaths were encoded in close proximity.
Now, there's a lot of latitude there in the close proximity matter, but nevertheless, that is what is claimed. Now, you ask my opinion, and many of you have, so I'm going to give you an opinion that is not going to satisfy those of you who are great on the Bible Code and those of you who are totally against it, but I will give you my opinion. And my opinion is not authentic because, you see, I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet.
As a matter of fact, I work for a nonprofit organization. But I think that the Bible Code is far-fetched. It's far-fetched.
It's a stretch. As a matter of fact, in order for us to understand why it's a stretch, let me just take a moment and discuss its most famous prediction, namely that Yitzhak Rabin would be assassinated. Now they discovered that the name Yitzhak Rabin was found in the book of Deuteronomy if you skip every 4,772 letters. And if you skip all of these letters, then in equidistant letter sequences, then you come up with his name. To be specific, and I shall be specific, the first letter of his name is in Deuteronomy 2.23, the second letter is in chapter 4, verse 42, the next one is in 7.20, the next one is in 11.1, the next one is in 13.11, 17.5, and 24.16.
Now they say that as long as you keep 4,772 letters equidistant, spaces between them, you can come up with the name Yitzhak Rabin. And then, lo and behold, the word assassin goes right across his name. So let's take our Bibles in the book of Deuteronomy and let's find where they cross. It's in Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 42. This is where the word assassin crosses.
It says in Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 41, then Moses set apart three cities across the Jordan to the east that a manslayer might flee there who unintentionally slew his neighbor without having enmity toward him in time past and by fleeing to one of those cities in which he might live. Well, there it is, folks, the word manslayer, this manslayer, he's an assassin. And if you were following carefully, you'll notice that one of the letters of Rabin's name occurs in chapter 4, verse 42, and therefore that shows that Rabin was going to be assassinated.
Well, is this manslayer actually an assassin? I don't think so, but if you've got to make it fit, you've got to make it fit because you need to say that it is predictive. Well, we could go on and I could give you examples of how things are stretched. Now, if you look at the Bible code, you would never guess that actually Rabin's name has letters 4,772, every equidistant like that. You'd think to yourself it's almost in the text, and that is because there'd be no way that you could have a page that would be that long, that would have the whole book of Deuteronomy.
So they scrunch it together, and when you look at the charts, you say, oh my, all of these letters are all together, with only a few spaces between. I just read last night that somebody decided that he would do this with Moby Dick, and he's finding all kinds of interesting associations and connections. So possibly the jury is still out, but it seems to me that the Bible code needs a couple of comments, even if future generations should look at it differently.
And now we get to the important analysis. Number one, it diverts attention from the Bible's main message. You know, it used to be that you would be a godly man who would interpret the word of God, but you don't have to be today, you just need to be a mathematician and a computer whiz. And all that you need to do is to know what programs to run, and you need a course in statistics and probability, and in this way now you finally get to these hidden messages. Well, I'm not so interested in the hidden messages. What really bothers me in the Bible is the clear messages. I've got trouble with them.
I don't have time for the hidden ones. Secondly, you can't really predict anything. You couldn't predict Rabin was going to be assassinated a hundred years ago because you didn't even know which name to put into the computer until he was alive. You don't know what names to put in until you check the encyclopedia to find out who's famous and who isn't, and therefore, you see, it is not really predictive. Now, I know there are those who say, well, you know, there's going to be an earthquake in California in the year 2010. Well, I'd say that statistically there's a pretty good chance that that will happen.
You can pick any year, and there's liable to be an earthquake in California. Finally, and this is very important, it is unthinkable to me, absolutely unthinkable, that God would encode in his word all these little intricate associations and these hidden messages, and these messages would have significance only when the age of computers arrived. And throughout all the centuries now, isn't it something? Believers have always been denied these intricate truths, but thank God for IBM and for Apple because at last we're able to get to the real hidden messages in the book. The Bible code probably will not lead other people to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
And as a result of that, people may be interested. Some people now say they believe the Bible is the word of God, and we would say, you know, you should have believed that long ago, long before computers were invented, because there are good reasons for it. As a matter of fact, as you know, this is a series of messages entitled Reasons Why I Believe the Bible is God's Word, Seven Reasons.
Today we come to the third, namely the prophetic reason. And after this introduction, now we're going to turn to God's book, and we're going to see some explicit prophecies that are given in the Bible. And thank God they're going to be a lot clearer than Nostradamus. Thank God we don't have to know computers.
Thank God we don't need to be mathematicians. We just need to point our finger in the text and say, behold, God has spoken and look at what has happened. And I'm going to show you predictions that are so clear that unless you're absolutely determined to fold your hands and say, under no conditions will I believe, I believe that they are so unavoidably clear that if you have a heart to believe at all, you'll say, yes, we hold in our hands a book from God, because only God could know the future with that kind of clarity. Let's begin with the book of Isaiah. You understand, of course, that this message, again, is difficult for me to prepare.
Why is it difficult? Well, I don't even know where to begin. I could give an exposition of Daniel and look at all of Daniel's prophecies. We could look at prophecies as they relate to Jesus Christ. You just open the Old Testament almost anywhere and you find a prediction. But I chose Isaiah chapter 39 verse 6 to begin, and we shall see its relationship to another prophecy. Isaiah, you see, writes from the year about 700 B.C. to 680. Remember that because we're talking about B.C., therefore the larger numbers are farther away than the more recent, smaller numbers.
And so he was about 700 to 680 B.C. And this is what he says in chapter 39. He says in verse 6, behold the days are coming when all that is in your house and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day shall be carried to Babylon.
Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. Now, that's interesting because it was 90 to 100 years after this prediction was made. In about 604, it began and then it ended in 586 B.C., that Nebuchadnezzar comes down and he captures Jerusalem and he hauls off all the spoils and the people of the southern kingdom are hauled off to Babylon, just as God predicted. And so here you have Isaiah long before the time.
Can you imagine looking into the future and seeing 100 years from now exactly what is going to happen? But it says in verse 5, then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, hear the word of the Lord of hosts. And that's what made the difference. You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, I believe, but I'm still not convinced. Give us something more specific, something a little bit more dramatic, something that nobody can deny. All right, thank you for asking that.
Let's do that. I want you to turn to Isaiah 44. Isaiah 44. Now, let's get our chronology straight here, okay? Because what we're talking about is Isaiah 700 to, what shall we say, 680 as we mentioned a moment ago.
And he is predicting something that's going to happen in the year 600 and it goes to the year 586 B.C. And as I mentioned a moment ago, Israel is carried off and they're taken to Babylon. And how long are they in Babylon? Seventy long years.
Seventy years. After seventy years, they get to return because a man by the name of Cyrus conquers Babylon and is now the king of Persia and he gives the Jews an opportunity to return. And notice that Isaiah living 150 to 170 years now, because we have to add 70 to the 100, are you following me? He mentions Cyrus as being the king who is going to let Israel come back. And I need to read all of this text. It's in Isaiah chapter 44 and I'm going to begin at verse 24 because God, the reason that God mentions Cyrus by name, 150 to 170 years before he appears on the scene, is because God is contrasting his knowledge with all of the spiritists, with the Nostradamuses of his age, if you please. Notice it says in verse 24, thus says the Lord God your Redeemer and the one who formed you from the womb. I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by myself and spreading out the earth all alone, causing the omens of boasters to fail, making fools out of diviners, causing wise men to draw back and turning their knowledge into foolishness. You can phone psychics today.
I saw an ad somewhere and it says the first ten minutes free. Don't you dare do that. Don't ever do that. If you're into that kind of thing, renounce it in the name of Jesus. You are shaking your fist in the sight of God and you're also doing that, by the way, if you're reading the horoscopes, which should be actually called horror scopes.
May I say it? I don't think I've said it from this pulpit before, but if you're doing that kind of thing, shame on you. You've turned your back on God. He brings all this to foolishness. Some of you have gone to fortune tellers.
You may be even paid money. Don't ever do that. The Bible says that all those who have omens and those who are diviners who can tell you the future and those who say they can look into the stars, God says, I will cause these people to be fools.
They're fools. Verse 26, confirming the word of his servant and performing the purpose of his messengers. It is I who says of Jerusalem, she shall be inhabited and of the cities of Judah, they will be built.
Absolutely. They're going to come back out of captivity 70 years later and they're going to rebuild it and I will raise up her ruins again. It is I who says to the depth of the sea, be dried up and I will make your rivers dry. Now catch this, verse 28. It is I who says of Cyrus, he is my shepherd and he will perform all my desire and he declares of Jerusalem, she will be built and of the temple, your foundation will be laid. Cyrus, Cyrus hasn't been born. Cyrus is going to be the king of Persia and when he's writing, the Babylonian captivity hasn't even happened yet and the Persians are going to overcome the Babylonians and he predicted that this would happen in another chapter and Cyrus now is going to be the leader and God names him. Don't you love it?
The fact that God is able to name that which has not yet happened and to do so with accuracy and to even name someone who is going to be a king, though that king had not yet been born. I'm holding in my hands a letter from Egypt. Now it's because of people like you that the ministry of running to win is heard throughout the Middle East. This person says, I listened to you in Arabic.
I was living my life as a person dying from starvation in a dry desert. Then he goes on to say what a blessing running to win has been and then he ends his letter by saying, I'm sharing the program with many of my friends because we are struggling in our faith and in our life. My friend, testimonies like this belong to you. Those of you who support this ministry, those of you who pray for us because together we are making a difference. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.
I hope that you have a pencil handy. Go to RTWOffer.com. Click on the endurance partner button. That's RTWOffer.com.
Of course, RTW offers all one word. Click on the endurance partner button or right now you can call 1-888-218-9337. Thank you for considering us in your prayers and with your gifts because together, as I mentioned, we're making a difference. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago. Next time, more on fulfilled prophecy and why it means that the Bible is the Word of God. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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