In the Fullness of Time

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law,
that we might receive the full rights of sons.
— Galatians 4:4–5

Jesus Christ, the antitype to which all the types and shadows of the Old Covenant pointed, stands at the very apex of human history. Accordingly, Christmas is not about reveling in mythology; it is about celebrating events that are rooted and grounded in historical fact. As Paul explains, “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4–5). As such, the Babe of Bethlehem is the fulfillment of both the law and the prophets. A primary reason why Christians believe in such miracles as Christ’s virgin birth is that the Bible is divine rather than merely human in origin.

To begin with, the Bible has stronger manuscript support than any other work of classical history—including Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, and Tacitus. Equally amazing is the fact that the Bible has been virtually unaltered since the original writing, as is attested to by scholars who have compared the earliest extant manuscripts with manuscripts written centuries later. Additionally, the reliability of the Bible is affirmed by the testimony of its authors, who were eyewitnesses—or close associates of eyewitnesses—to the recorded events, and by ancient secular historians who confirm the many events, people, places, and customs chronicled in Scripture.

Furthermore, archaeology is a powerful witness to the accuracy of the New Testament documents. Repeatedly, comprehensive archaeological fieldwork and careful biblical interpretation affirm the reliability of the Bible. For example, recent archaeological finds have corroborated biblical details surrounding the trial that led to the fatal torment of Jesus Christ—including Pontius Pilate, who ordered Christ’s crucifixion, as well as Caiaphas, the high priest who presided over the religious trials of Christ. It is telling when secular scholars must revise their biblical criticisms in light of solid archaeological evidence.

Finally, the Bible records predictions of events that could not be known or predicted by chance or common sense. For example, against all odds, Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple within a generation—a prophecy fulfilled by the Roman General Titus in AD 70. It is statistically preposterous that any or all of the Bible’s specific, detailed prophecies could have been fulfilled through chance, good guessing, or deliberate deceit.

Today, as you ponder the heart of Christmas, be assured that the Scriptures that chronicle the historical certainty of Christ’s coming in flesh are demonstrably rooted in both history and solid evidence.

 

Reading

What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:1–7)

Questions

How would you defend the Bible as divine rather than merely human in origin?

How does archaeology support the historicity of the Bible?

Christmas Carol

 

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
— Henry W. Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.