On this day, October 31, we celebrate the moment when Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses and made a stand against the darkness and deception that had permeated the spiritual landscape. But over two thousand years before Martin Luther, another reformation took place. It was not a common Augustinian monk calling for a faculty meeting, but a king in the line of David: Josiah. And what was posted on the king’s door, so to speak, was not a document of concerns about religious traditions. Rather, it was the plain and open Law of God: the book of Deuteronomy.
Exactly 500 years ago on this day, October 31, an audacious monk and professor named Martin Luther stamped his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church in Germany. In this, Luther called into question the sale and legitimacy of indulgences (sheets of paper sold by the Church that allegedly absolved people of their sins). Soon after, he preached that popes and councils have no authority outside of the bounds of Scripture, and that salvation is only granted by the grace of God through faith alone.
Imagine if, on April 30, 1789, President George Washington looked at the citizens attending his inauguration and said, “On November 8, 2016, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by a margin of 306-232 electoral votes, resulting in a deep partisan divide of the United States.”
Besides the fact that these two parties did not yet exist and that there were not even as many states required for that number of electoral votes, this would be a preposterous situation. You might think to yourself that no one can predict the future – at least, not until you see what happens in the book of Daniel.
Alexander the Great needs no introduction. He was a mighty king, a fierce warrior, a determined conqueror, and a legendary figure in history. Presiding over one of the greatest empires in ancient times, he revolutionized the world by introducing Greek culture and language to nations that he subjugated. He defeated the mighty Persian Empire at the Battle of Gaugamela and sought to conquer the known world.
Some believe that the Bible predicted Alexander’s rise (in Daniel 8) long before Alexander existed. As usual, critics and scholars have stepped up and protested that this is impossible – that Daniel 8 was written long after Alexander lived, thus constituting a “prophecy after the fact”.
Today, millions of Christians around the world are celebrating Christ’s birth. Plays have been staged, sermons have been preached, and many are gathering to share in the joy and fellowship of the season. But how many Christians will let the day slip by without understanding how tradition has altered parts of the beautiful Nativity story? Might it not be worthwhile to examine what the Bible says about the special day that Jesus was born?
Please note that this article will not ruin your Christmas. On the contrary, it will probably help you look at the miracle of Christmas from a completely new perspective.
In Daniel 4, God proclaims from heaven that King Nebuchadnezzar will be driven from men, dwelling with beasts, and eating grass like an ox for seven years. This is an incredible story, but for some, it is just that – a story. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “There is no independent support for the tradition in Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar’s seven years’ madness…”
Hold on, Britannica. Let’s look at what history really says.
Did you know that many scholars think that King David never existed? That’s right – the courageous shepherd who killed Goliath, fled from King Saul, united Israel under his rule, and conquered Jerusalem is thought by many to have been a total fabrication. Until 1993, the only accounts of David existed in the Bible. He was mentioned in none of the Egyptian, Syrian, or Assyrian documents of the time, and excavations of his city, Jerusalem, yielded no mention of his name.