About 700 years B.C. Isaiah stood upon the hilltops of Israel and drew aside the curtain to look into the mystic future. To him the whole sky was clear and he predicted world events that the most pronounced critics of the ages cannot deny. In chapter 13, he speaks of Babylon, “the glory of Kingdoms, the beauty of Chaldees’ excellency.” He says: “It shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation; neither shall the Arabian pitch his tent there.”
At the time of this prophecy Babylon had not attained its greatness. About 100 years later, Nebuchadnezzar made it one of the wonders of the world. Its walls, 15 miles on each side, 87 feet thick and 350 feet high, were, excepting that of China, without an equal either before or since. The temple of Belus, the palace and their hanging gardens, the banks of the river, and the artificial lake and canals for draining the great Euphrates have ever excited the wonder of the world. Strange it is to imagine any one’s having the courage to predict the downfall and desolation of so great a city, and yet this is what the prophet declared. It came to pass that just 51 years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of the Jews this great Babylon fell to rise no more. Subsequent history literally confirms Isaiah’s prophecy and demonstrates the inspiration of him who foresaw its doom.
In Ezekiel 27:7-14, the prophet foretells the destruction of old Tyre situated on the mainland of the Phoenician coast. He declares that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon will come against it, and with his weapons of war, he will break down its walls and towers, with his horses he will tread down its streets, with the sword he will destroy its people, and its site shall be occupied by old walls, fallen towers, stones, arches and remains of an ancient magnificence. His final prophecy is that “the stones and timbers and dust shall be laid in water.” This prophecy was spoken more than 200 years before its fulfillment and while old Tyre was yet in her glory. The years rolled by and then came Nebuchadnezzar and laid waste to the city and left it a mass of ruins. The inhabitants that were left moved to an island half a mile from the mainland and which was about three miles in diameter. They erected a wall around the island 150 feet high and built a modern city called new Tyre. The glory of this latter was greater than the former. Tyre now sent her ships to distant ports and carried on the commerce of all countries round about. Protected by its gigantic walls, it became prominent, powerful and wealthy. In the year 336 B.C. Alexander the Great began his march to conquer the entire world. Reaching the Phoenician shore he looked upon the ruins of an old city and then gazed with some misgivings upon the island city so prosperous and prominent. At first he thought of making terms with them and passing on, but later decided it dangerous to leave behind such an influential city. He therefore conceived the idea of building a causeway 200 feet wide and a half mile long from the mainland to the island. He saw plenty of stones and masses of timber and dust on the ruins of the old city to accomplish his purpose. With 200,000 men working through a period of seven months, he finally succeeded, and with his battering rams he made a breach in the wall, burned the city, destroyed and enslaved its inhabitants; 8,000 he slew and 2,000 of those taken prisoners, he crucified and erected their crosses along the shore of the Mediterranean. Thus, it was literally true that the stones, timbers and dust of old Tyre were laid in water. Let an enemy of God’s word tell how Ezekiel knew this 250 years in advance.
Luke 2:1 says: “There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.” When John began his ministry, it was the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1). Many years after, Paul appeals to Augustus (Acts 25:21). Here is confusion and apparent contradiction. Unless one has made a study of the political affairs of that land, it is impossible to get through this tangled network of allusions. The Augustus who appears in Luke as if dead and alive again in Acts is none other than old Nero who, by his flatterers, was called Augustus. No record of this decree, other than Luke’s could be found, and for hundreds of years infidels denied that such a decree ever went forth. They declared it a forgery and many a friend of the Bible suffered embarrassment before them. In 1927, Mr. William T. Ellis, noted scholar and world traveler, wrote an article in which he says that on the walls of an unearthed building in the city of Angora, Asia Minor, the original decree has been found. Luke has been corroborated and the story of the Bible confirmed. Let Christians thank God for those who are spending millions in the field of archaeology. Regardless of their purpose they invariably find evidences in support of that story given by inspiration.
Writers and travelers have ever had great difficulty in maintaining geographical and topographical accuracy. Especially is this true if one is trying to give an account of some country with which he is not perfectly familiar, and even then egregious errors are found. When the Encyclopedia Britannica written by leading scholars and experts in their respective lines, first appeared, it contained so many errors in geography and topography that its rival, the New American Cyclopedia, got out a pamphlet exposing them. Such is the inability of man to speak and write accurately about these matters.
Most scholars who visit Palestine with a view of writing an article or book regarding that country feel it their special duty to correct the errors of all others regarding places and the physical features of that sacred land. Books written especially as a guide for tourists are so filled with errors as to render them largely useless and undependable. Now let it be said with absolute assurance and without fear of contradiction that in the New Testament not a single error can be found in either geography or topography. This is equally true whether the writer speaks of Palestine or of foreign fields. The argus-eyed critics of 20 centuries have been unable to find a single error. Let the enemies explain how those “Ignorant Jews” and illiterates could write with such accuracy. To this query there is but one answer and that is “that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
We give this Bible to all as a Book good always and everywhere—a light to our feet when we are young—a guide to our path during mature years, and when we come to die, it is the only Book one cares to have beside him.