4. Spiritual Map and Compass

Posted Dec 31, 2017 in Divine Pattern of Life
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The Roman governor Pilate had studied the faces of many people standing before him on trial in his judgment hall in Judea. There was something very different about this man’s face.  Outside, a mob was screaming for the man’s death, and there was absolutely no fear in his eyes. Pilate was familiar with the face of a hardened criminal, and the man standing before him certainly was not one of them. His noble bearing and calm gentle gaze intrigued the magistrate. He spoke of a kingdom beyond this world—a kingdom that was beyond politics, conquest and war. He had been accused of plotting against the Roman government under the title of the long expected Messiah of the Jews.

Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." John 18:37

A king who witnesses to the truth? What king ever witnessed to the truth? Kings typically won and maintained power by war, deception, manipulation, and control. Then Pilate asked a critical question. “What is truth?” Phrasing this in another way, one might ask, “How can we know the truth?”   

Every thinking person has a source of authority, an oracle of truth,
a place or a person where they are confident they are getting the right information about the realities of life and death. For many people this source is their own mind. What they see, hear, experience, and study is enough for them to determine the truth. They are confident that the lens through which they see the world is not distorted in any way.

A brief reminder of how children respond to probing questions by their parents when they have stepped outside the boundaries of family rules should convince us that we have a natural inclination to bend and twist the truth to suit our circumstances. Another example we might consider is how many politicians respond to questions from the media in a manner that avoids the thrust of the question. Can we rely on ourselves to discover truth if we are so prone to bending and avoiding it when it does not suit us? 

There are those in another group who simply trust in the traditions passed on to them from their forefathers. How can we trust in ourselves or in our forefathers for absolute truth? If we know that we ourselves are prone to distorting information could the same have been done by those who have gone before us?

With the human tendency to lie, deceive, exaggerate or underestimate, how can we find truth? This brings us back to Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” Before him stood a man who made himself fully testable on this point. He said that he came to bear witness to the truth, and it was his claim to be the Messiah that made him easy to test.

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  (16)  Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, [The Messiah], the Son of the living God."  (17)  Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 16:15-17 

By making the claim that he was the Messiah, Jesus was making himself the subject of the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. All of these prophecies were written hundreds of years before the time of Jesus.

Just consider a few prophecies concerning his birth.

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Gen 49:10 

This prophesied that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah.

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting. Micah 5:2 

It also told us that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. There were two places called Bethlehem in Israel and it identifies the place as Bethlehem Ephrathah.

This next prophecy is amazing in that it predicts the time of when the Messiah would come. It was by this prophecy that the wise men of the east were able to know to come and pay homage to the birth of the Messiah.

Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. [26]  And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; …[27] Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. Daniel 9:25-27 

These are just a few of many, many prophecies concerning the Messiah. If you do some research on how the person Jesus Christ fulfilled all of them you will discover the amazing accuracy of the Scriptures. One author calculated the probability of 48 of these prophecies being fulfilled by one man.[1] The result was 1 in 10157.  That’s 1 in


For comparison, 10137 is the estimated number of protons in the universe. Another example would be like trying to find one grain of sand from all the available sand on the earth and much more besides. Consider what just 1017 would entail. This much, much smaller number would be like covering the country of France with 1 Euro coins 60cm deep. Mark one with an x, stir the coins around and then send someone out blindfolded to find that one coin—on the first try. The probability is staggering, and this is only the prophecies relating to the Messiah.

There are other prophecies relating to the rise and fall of world kingdoms found in the book of Daniel that have been accurately fulfilled. Some have determined these prophecies to be impossible to be true because of the probabilities and have concluded that they must have been written after the events.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, discover-ed after 1946 contained most of the Old Test-ament and are dated to at least the third century before Christ to prove that the prophecies were made at least two hundred years before Jesus came. No other man in history has been backed by this level of probability, and no other book can claim the level of detail in predicting the future as the Bible. This kind of accuracy is hard to discount unless, of course, we resort to the politician’s practice of distorting the facts because they do not suit us.  I invite you to test the accuracy of the Bible through its prophecies, especially those concerning the person of Jesus. If you have access to YouTube take a look at the presentation, “Bible Prophecy of Jesus. Just Another Man?” by Dr Walter Veith.[2]

Taking into account the accuracies of the prophecies concerning the Messiah suggests that the things He tells us, and the things told about Him in the Bible are worthy of close attention.  With the principles of source and channel that we have discovered thus far, let us now look into the Bible to see how it explains to us this Pattern of Life.

[1] Evidence that Demands a verdict, Josh McDowell (1972) p.167

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdXbT5cII7U