An Undesigned Coincidence in the Old Testament: King Hezekiah’s Treasury

There are many popular Undesigned Coincidences in the New Testament. In this post, I want to look at an undesigned coincidence in the Old Testament. But before we jump in let’s get a few of you up to speed. What the heck is an undesigned coincidence anyway? And why are they important?  In a nutshell, an undesigned coincidence is a case where two or more passages of Scripture interlock with – and frequently explain – one another. So you might be reading a passage and it raises a question, but then you turn to another account and it casually and subtly explains another passage. This isn’t what we’d expect from fictions and forgeries. Fictional stories … Read more

What’s With the Story of Elisha and the Bears?

brown and black animal shape artwork painting

One of the strangest stories in the Old Testament comes at the end of 2 Kings 2 with Elisha, the bears and 42 children.  After God took the prophet Elijah up to heaven in a chariot, Elisha became his successor and received a double portion of Elijah’s anointing. Just your typical prophet stuff, no big deal. Shortly afterward, as he’s strolling along, this bizarre incident happens:  “He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them … Read more

Daniel Prophesied the Timing of the Messiah

How did Jesus see himself? As we learn about Jesus’ Jewish context in the first century, we find that he made some staggering claims. First of all, Jesus spoke constantly about God’s kingdom. The phrase kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven appears more than 100 times in the Gospels. Jesus begins his ministry in Mark by saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near.” (Mark 1:15)  Okay, so what’s the big deal about that? And what does Jesus mean when he says the kingdom of God is “near”? Jesus was assuming that his audience would pick up on the ideas he was laying down. When a first century Jew heard … Read more

D.O.U.B.T.S.: An Evidential Filter for Miracle Claims

When it comes to miracles, Christians are often accused of special pleading. We’re quick to accept Christian miracle claims, but we suddenly turn into Richard Dawkins when it comes to miracle claims made by other religions. Why should skeptics start investigating the resurrection of Jesus when we don’t give other miracles the time of day? The truth is that there are dozens of different religions and thousands of miraculous claims out there. So how can the Christian hope to use miracles as an argument for their faith?  But the fact that there are miracle claims in other religions doesn’t require us to dismiss all miracle claims out of hand. Nor is it necessary for us … Read more

3 Shockingly Prophetic Ways Jesus Fulfills Passover

In the gospels, Old Testament allusions and fulfilments are all over the text. And without a doubt the early church used two kinds of arguments to argue for Jesus’ Messianic credentials: his resurrection and Messianic prophecy. One of these famous arguments from prophecy was to say that Jesus was our Passover Lamb, fulfilling the types and shadows found in Moses’ Law. And these details get strangely specific. Let’s take a look. The timing of Jesus’ death For starters, it’s virtually undeniable that Jesus died during Passover. This fact is reported by all four Gospels and Paul alludes to it when he calls Christ the Passover lamb. This isn’t a detail that the gospel authors could … Read more

Why Was Paul and Mark Silent About the Virgin Birth?

It’s Christmas time, and I can already hear the choruses. No, I’m not talking about Christmas carolers. I’m referring to the chorus of biblical critics and skeptics poo-pooing the Christmas narratives found in the Bible. A favorite argument of skeptics is that there’s scant mention of the virgin birth in the New Testament. It’s Matthew and Luke against the world.  For example, here’s an older quote from NT scholar Geza Vermes: “Considering the importance of the Virgin Mary in Christianity, the historian is struck by the scarcity of supporting evidence in the New Testament. St Paul never speaks of the virginal conception. All we learn from him is that Jesus had a Jewish mother.” And … Read more

Holy Koolaid Ruins Christmas

In his video 12 Contradictions in the Bible, Holy Kool-Aid includes the standard list of complaints against the Christmas narratives. Leave it to the skeptics to try and stuff a lump of coal in the stockings of Christians every year. Let’s see what Thomas has for us: Two of the four canonical gospels even tell the story of Jesus’ birth. And these two accounts are irreconcilably different. In both stories, Jesus is born in Bethlehem. But in Matthew, after Jesus’ birth, King Herod hears about baby Jesus described as the future king of the Jews. He feels threatened and has every baby under the age of two slaughtered while Jesus’ parents Mary and Joseph escape … Read more

Artless Similarities: More Evidence for Gospel Reliability

While reading the gospels, you’ll notice similarities between the characters portrayed across the different stories. Parallels between the gospels concerning character depictions are unlikely to be the result of mere chance. And these correspondences seem so casual and subtle that it’s unlikely they were designed that way. Philosopher Tim McGrew calls these ‘artless similarities.’ In an earlier video, we saw this kind of unity of character with Jesus between John and the Synoptics. But let me give another example with two somewhat lesser-known characters in the gospels — Mary and Martha. We find their stories in both Luke and John. For this evidence, I’m drawing from Peter J. Williams’ excellent book Can We Trust the … Read more

Messianic Prophecy Didn’t Inspire the Christmas Story

Skeptical critics love to target the birth narratives found in Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew’s theological agenda is evident in his constant attempt to connect Jesus to some type of Old Testament prophecy. Matthew is very clearly concerned to show that Jesus’ birth and early childhood is a fulfillment of the prophets. And he does it in some very weird ways.  Take for instance Hosea 11:1, which reads “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt, I called my son.” Matthew takes that to refer to Jesus’ return from Egypt after King Herod’s death. The holy family was hiding there after Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. Speaking of which…Matthew applies a prophecy to … Read more

Learn to Make a Maximal Case for the Resurrection

I used to love sharing the minimal facts with unbelievers.  It’s easy to present in a few minutes and sounds rhetorically powerful. When I tell my friends that the facts I’m sharing are universally acknowledged by scholars, even those who are skeptical, it seems like I am not coming at them with something that only conservative evangelicals believe. And on the surface, taking an end-run around the Gospels seemed helpful because unbelievers tend to view them as dubious sources.  However, I ran into a couple of issues. One was practical. Let’s say I got the skeptic to hear me out. Does it really make sense to say: “OK, I granted for the sake of argument … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?