Inspirational Items for Your Daily Walk with Jesus:

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 "Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect prayer and the searching of the Scriptures, will be overcome by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible device to engross the mind."

"All who would be efficient workers must give much time to prayer. The communication between God and the soul must be kept open, that the workers may recognize the voice of their Captain."

DAVID DARE

DISSOLVING DOUBTS

By Earle Albert Rowell.

2: CHALLENGE TO A PROPHECY CONTEST

IF DAVID DARE sensed the antagonism of the audience, he gave no evidence of it. He spoke calmly, but with the emphasis of sincere conviction.

“Prophecy, you say, is either vague or tricky or just a shrewd guess. I grant you it is sometimes hard to understand, and I remember when I found it distressingly vague.

But why do you apply to the Bible a method of investigation that you would be ashamed to use with any other book? When you open a geometry text for the first time, and glance at the section on solids, in your perplexity and despair you might defend your lack of understanding by claiming geometry to be vague. Yet it is the most crystal clear of all sciences in the world.”

Mr. Emerson rose again. Mr. Dare paused and motioned for him to speak.

“Do you mean to imply that prophecy is as rigidly demonstrable as geometry?” he asked incredulously.

“Yes, I mean just that.”

“You are making things unnecessarily hard for yourself. No one would think of setting such a task for you.” Mr. Emerson’s tone hinted jubilation combined with sympathy.

“It is not a task but a pleasure,” responded the lecturer, smiling. “Let us return to geometry. If you start with the simple problems at the beginning, you will later understand perfectly what you now confidently proclaim to be obscure.

“So it is with prophecy. Some prophecies naturally precede others. There are some predictions in the Book of Revelation that would be impossible to understand without Daniel.

“If prophecy is so easy to disprove, how is it that among all the thousands of books written by infidels there is not one in all the world devoted to showing specifically how Bible prophecies have failed? If these predictions could be so easily proved to be the result of a clever or lucky guess, or if the fulfillment be merely the twisting of facts to fit the prediction, or if the prophecy were written after the events took place and made to fit into them, how is it that facile sceptics, who are so alert for arguments against the Bible, universally overlooked the one demonstrable method of proving the Bible to be false?

“Why has not some Tom Paine, some Robert Ingersoll, or some Mr. Emerson, for that matter, shown how utterly absurd, false, and contrary to fact are the prophecies of Moses concerning the Jews, of Isaiah about Babylon, of Ezekiel telling of the fate of Tyre and Sidon, of Jeremiah concerning Egypt and Palestine, of Daniel, with his amazing predictions about Rome and the nations into which Rome was to be divided, of Jesus concerning the growth of His kingdom and the spread of this very Bible to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people?”

Mr. Emerson shot up eagerly. David Dare smiled his welcome. Lucile turned twinkling eyes to her brother.

“Anyway, the man’s a good sport,” she whispered.

“He seems to welcome these interruptions,” admitted George.

“No one has replied to Bible predictions,” said Emerson, in a strong, clear voice, “for the same reason that no one has replied to the Delphic oracle prognostications — it’s not worth the trouble. Herodotus relates the story of Croesus consulting the famous Delphic oracle as to whether he should fight the Persians. He was told that ‘by crossing Halys, Croesus will destroy a mighty power.’ He did — his own! And when Pyrrhus sought advice on a similar errand of war, he received this cryptic reply: ‘I declare thee, O Pyrrhus, the Roman to be able to conquer.’ Thus, no matter which way the battle went, the augury would be true. All prophecy everywhere is like that — amusing, sometimes ingenious, but never worthy serious attention. But you make great claims for it.”

“Bible prophecies are worthy of consideration because they are as far from Delphic utterances as midday from midnight,” replied Mr. Dare. “Bible predictions burn all bridges. If the thing does not happen, no apology can be offered.

“Every other part of the Bible has been criticized in elaborate detail by unbelievers, but when it comes to prophecy, sceptics the world over content themselves with a wholesale, jaunty, contemptuous denial, as though it was of no consequence.”

“Will you Christians risk anything on prophecy? What of consequence is at stake to believers?” asked Mr. Emerson.

“Just this: The Bible bases its whole claim to credence on the accuracy of its forecasts. Why have unbelievers never made a detailed study of them, so they might expose the fraud of prophetic chicane to the deserved contempt of the public, if the prophecies are what you claim?

“You, Mr. Emerson, along with other sceptics, despise prophecy. There were many such believers in Paul’s day. To them and to you he said: ‘Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21. Here you are challenged above all things to prove prophecy; that is, test it, and if it proves true, hold fast to it.”

“But wherein are prophecies better evidence than miracles?” asked Emerson. “I thought that Christ used miracles to convince, and that Christians today appealed to these miracles as the strongest evidence of Bible authenticity.”

“Christ repeatedly appealed to fulfilled prophecy as evidence His contemporaries might accept,” answered Mr. Dare. “Fulfilled prophecy is especially adapted as a test, for we are nineteen hundred years from the latest Bible book and thirty-three hundred years from the first.

“You may look back at the miracles of the Bible through the mists of time and declare them improbable, if not impossible, but the opposite is true of prophecy. Those beholding His miracles were convinced by them, while many of the prophecies that were unfulfilled were apparently opposed to all reason and probability, and might in those days have been made an excuse for rejecting Christ.

“Obviously, miracles performed twenty-five hundred years ago cannot be seen now, so they are often flatly denied. A prediction, however, made twenty-five hundred years ago, and which was contrary to all analogy, and a stumbling block at the time, but which was recently fulfilled, is evidence even more convincing than a miracle — such a fulfilled prediction is the greatest of all miracles, and was so admitted by the sceptic Hume.

“Other evidence can be falsified, changed, lost, memory may fail, conflicting statements may cloud the issue; passion, self-interest, dishonesty, any one of a thousand things, may impair proofs. But prophecy relates to history, and history is recorded fact.

“How was God, through all the shifting interests of the world, the engrossing allurements of the new demands of each new generation, the dying interest in that which is gone, and the eagerness for that which is to come — how was God to give those of us who live today unimpeachable testimony of events so remote as three thousand years ago? How was He to satisfy a reasonable demand for proof? And above all, how was God to give increasing and strengthening proof as we get farther and farther from the event itself?

“God has devised an absolutely new method of proving His Word, one that cannot be gainsaid, that cannot be counterfeited, that has no duplicate in all the history of the world, that increases in power with each passing year, that is stronger each tomorrow than it was yesterday.”

David Dare paused and looked searchingly at his large audience. No one took the occasion to press in with remarks, so he continued:

“This strange method of eternally authenticating His Word compels the ruin of empires long dead, the mutation of states, the obliteration of nations and civilizations, to witness to the truth of His Word.

“All the places famous in antiquity — Egypt, Syria, Phoenicia, Arabia, Tyre, Sidon, Idumea, Palestine, Babylon, Assyria, Nineveh, Judea, Rome and many other countries — are witnesses that do not forget, do not contradict, and though dead these many centuries, rise to testify. When put in a jury box they cannot be confused. Some of the oldest of them have been before the jury thirty-three hundred years; the youngest, two thousand. They are now on the stand, fresh and potent, bearing their testimony with far greater fullness and accuracy than at any former time.

“The ages do not detract from, but add to, their testimony. Minute cross examination serves only to increase the swelling column of evidence. No counterproof has yet been attempted.”

Mr. Emerson arose. All eyes turned his way. Mr. Dare waited for him to speak.

“Suppose we did disprove many of the Bible prophecies, what would we accomplish by such disproof?” he asked.

“The Bible stakes everything on its ability to foretell the future. If the Bible claim to make genuine predictions is true, it is a miracle of foresight far beyond the ability of human sagacity to discern or to calculate, and is the highest evidence of the supernatural knowledge of the prophet.

“God claims to be the only one able to foretell the future. He says in Isaiah 46:9, 10: ‘I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.’

“The ability to foretell is the seal of God’s deity, which He claims cannot be counterfeited. The Bible challenges others everywhere to foretell the future: ‘Who, as I, . . . shall declare . . . the things that are coming, and that shall come to pass, let them declare.’ Isaiah 44:7.

“But this is by no means all. Such strong claims are not casually made. Have you sceptics a cause to present? Hear Isaiah 41:21-23: ‘Produce your cause, saith Jehovah; bring forth your strong reasons.’ Now, what are the strong reasons? Let us read on: ‘Declare unto us what shall happen: declare ye . . . things to come. Declare the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods.’ “

“Has your Bible fulfilled these conditions?” asked Mr. Emerson. “I don’t mean in a vague manner, but in a clear and definite way.”

“ ‘Have I not declared unto thee of old, and showed it?’ asks God in Isaiah 44:8. And then He says, ‘Ye are My witnesses,’ “ returned David Dare. “You, yes, even you, Mr. Emerson, and the rest of the sceptics in this audience, are witnesses to the accuracy of prophecies made many centuries ago.”

Mr. Emerson shot to his feet. “Do you mean that you are going to prove your prophecy thesis by us?” he asked in great amazement.

“That is exactly what I do mean,” smiled the speaker, evidently enjoying the surprise of the audience.

“But we don’t believe your Bible; we think its predictions the sheerest kind of foolishment, and yet you say you are going to prove by us the very thing we don’t believe?” Mr. Emerson was incredulous.

Lucile leaned over to whisper to her brother, “He has an interesting line, all right; he’s got dad excited!”

George smiled, “Yes, and dad is not the only one excited. Look around,” he whispered back.

She looked. Every face in the audience was alight with eager curiosity; eyes sparkled with interest.

“The fact that you are unbelievers, that you are unwilling witnesses, makes your testimony all the more valuable,” continued Mr. Dare as Mr. Emerson sat down. “God declared twenty-five hundred years ago that He is going to prove His Word by the very ones who say they doubt His Word. This is a daring statement. Yet it is by your evidence that Bible prophecies will be proved.

“While science has solved many strange problems, and seems to be almost supernatural, it has not brought us one whit nearer to penetrating the future than were the ancients. Human beings can as easily pluck the stars from the Milky Way as they can wrest from the future its secrets. We are utterly unable to foresee even dimly the events of tomorrow. Before us is a black, impenetrable wall of uncertainty. We can guess, we can hope, but we cannot know.

“But if the future has been read; if centuries ago numerous predictions, so varied and so minute that they cover well-known nations and extend over thousands of years — if such predictions have been made so as to preclude all possibility of wresting the facts to fit the prophecy; if sceptics themselves admit the accuracy of the fulfillment, and can offer no explanation; and if you here are witnesses to this fulfillment of prophecies made over twenty-five hundred years ago, how can you doubt that some wisdom other than human foretold the events that have come to pass

“What shall we say of a large Book filled with predictions of events overspreading all time and all nations, events utterly disconnected from any facts existing at the time of their utterance, events totally unlike anything ever known and the reverse of all experience, in all respects improbable and often seemingly impossible, events entering into the life of the world in all its phases? A series of hundreds of such events were demonstrably predicted ages before fulfillment, and not one of them has gone contrary, as might well be the case with so many predictions. The proof of their fulfillment is now existing in tangible form before your eyes. What shall we say of such a Book?

“In the verses that I have quoted, God has challenged anyone and everyone on earth to a prophecy contest, and will abide by the result. God claims to be the only one who can look into the future and make predictions. He tells us He has done this, and offers these prophecies as the one great proof of His Godhead.

“Is it a fact that no other book in existence makes such a claim? Can you produce any other book claiming to contain predictions looking hundreds of years, or even tens of years, into the future? If you know of any in any language, produce it. God Himself challenges you.

“Sceptics have gone to great pains and expense to disprove the Bible. I will tell you two very simple, effective, and final methods of shattering the Bible to atoms: First, just disprove the prophecies; second, produce some other book containing real prophecies. God says neither can be done. To do either will blast for ever all confidence in the Bible as the Word of God. Why have unbelievers never done this? Does anyone here claim that this has been done? Will anyone here attempt to do it?”

David Dare paused for the reply he felt sure would follow. There was an uneasy stir among the audience. Mr. Emerson arose and spoke:

“Bring on your prophecies, and we will see what we can do. You have made some large, not to say preposterous, claims for them. Let us now have your evidence.”

“I am more than pleased to present it,” replied Mr. Dare.

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