1. Defining Truth
First, let's try and define truth. Take for instance the Copernican Principle. This essentially states:
"The Earth, and the life it sustains exists without purpose in the Universe"
This appears to state an absolute truth - something that is always valid, everywhere. We might also see it as an objective truth - a truth that does not depend on a human being or on humanity no matter what man believes. But is the statement really true? How can we test if it's true? Indeed, does 'absolute truth' even exist (Plato believed it does)? Before we look at how we can test the truth of a statement, let us see what different worldviews say about truth:
With difficulty! Some New Agers might say truth is not a meaningful concept, period. And many argue that absolute truth does not exist, only relative, tentative or culturally defined truth exists. But many will concede that a good test is to observe reality. This is the correspondence theory of truth i.e. the truths we hold actually correspond to the world as it really is. This test is also acceptable to many Christians and Muslims. So, to test for truth, which could in fact be absolute truth, we will adopt the following premise:
"A statement is true if it agrees with reality (knowledge or fact), or is logically correct, or both"
We will use this approach in the following observations of the world - observations of reality. If the Bible says or predicts the same as reality, then we conclude that the Bible is speaking truth. If many observations agree with biblical statements then the case for arguing that the Bible is true is strengthened. For an in-depth study of truth see What is Truth?.
2. Observations on the World
We will now make five distinct and detailed observations on the world. In each case we will see that biblical statements (often prophecies) agree extremely well with observations - with reality. And so on the above perception of truth, the Bible must be speaking TRUTH.
1.1 Increased lawlessness (Mat 24.12):
"Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold"
The 9/11 attack
9/11 was the worst ever act of terrorism.
Recorded annual offences in England and Wales: 1920: 0.1m , 1950: 0.5m , 1980: 2.5m , 2005: 10.8m [HO,BCS].
Total recorded crime in England and Wales in 2009 was about 5,000% above the 1900 level [NCRS].
Aggravated assult per 100,000 people in the USA: 1957: 60 , 1992: 440 [FBI].
For 2000-2009, terrorist attacks against Americans show over 900% increase on 1970-79 levels [infoplease.com].
Each day 135,000 American children bring a gun to school.
'Significant' terrorist attacks worldwide: 175 in 2003, 655 in 2005 [US government]
1.2 Increased knowledge and travel (Dan 12.4):
"(at) the end of time many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase"
Image : Weather satellite
Over the past 100 years or so we see an amazing increase in knowledge:
In technoloy: radio, motion pictures, recording, TV, telecommunications, cell phones, electron microscopes, computers, EFTPOS, nuclear power, solar power, fuel injection, planes, ....
In medical science: MRI scans, ultrasound, pacemakers, radiotherapy, IVF, artificial hearts, DNA, organ transplants, vaccines against major killers (typhoid, cholera, polio, smallpox)... The US saw a 14-fold reduction in death from infectious disease over the 20th century [University of Maryland].
In space science: rockets, satellites, spaceships, space stations, radio telescopes. NASA has developed technologies that benefit society in health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental and agricultural resources, computer technology and industrial productivity.
Inventions: US Patents: 1900-1920: 25,000 , 1995-1998: 150,000 [University of Maryland].
Boeing 737. Image copyright: Copyright-free-photos
Annual air travel in the US: 1950: less than 100 miles/person, 1978: 1000 miles/person, 2000: 1500 miles/person.
100 years ago commercial air travel was unheard of; now there are typically 100,000 commercial flights each day!
Worldwide, air travel is projected to grow by 5% annually until 2015 [IPCC]. Aircraft fuel consumption: 130 million tonnes in 1992, increasing to 450 million tonnes by 2050.
Tourism is the world's largest industry: annual revenue of $500 billion, and is one of the major sources of foreign exchange in 83% of countries.
International tourism: 1950: 25m , 2003: 693m , 2020: 1.6 billion [WTO].
Car ownership in the US (% of population): 1900: 1%, 1997: 91%, 2008: 90%
1.3 World-wide trading (Rev 18.11-20):
"The merchants of the earth ... became rich"
Globalisation in terms of international trade probably started with the trading empires of Spain, Portugal, Britain and Holland.
Now telecommunications and the Internet support vigorous international trade.
Export growth in 2002: France: 8% , Germany: 8.8% , Japan: 15% [OECD].
Export growth in China: 500% since 1992 [ideas.repec.org]
Huge trans-national companies go for mega-profits, often at the expense of communities and individuals.
Policies that spawn economic inequality rather than free trade could bring about a global economic crash [Global Policy Forum]. See Rev 18.
1.4 False Christs (Mat 24.5,11):
"Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many"
Over the past 2000 years there have been dozens of people who have claimed to be the prophesied Christ, or a Messiah under the umbrella of Christianity. To name a few:
1.5 World-wide proclamation of the gospel (Mat 24.14):
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world ... and then the end will come"
Over 4,500 languages still wait for even one book of the Bible to be translated. But parts of the Bible are now available in more than 2,400 languages, covering some 98% of the world's population. To help cover the remaining languages, in 2012 the Bible Society had more than 500 Bible translation projects under way with the potential to impact more than four billion people.
How is the Bible proclaimed? Besides conventional missionary activity, such as the Gideon Bible ministry to households and hotels, the gospel message is now proclaimed via:
Result in the Developing World:
During the 20th century there was a dramatic increase in the number of missionaries: 62,000 to over 400,000. Also during this time the number of Christians in Africa, Asia and Latin America increased ten-fold. In 1988 there were 18,000 people groups with insufficient numbers of Christians to remain strong without missionary assistance. This reduced to 1,700 groups by 1998.
Result in the Westernised World:
Anglican and Protestant denominations are stable in UK, Australia and Holland. Four out of five people say thay are affiliated in some way with organised religion (as opposed to no religious belief) [HO].
People are giving their lives to Jesus at nearly 1 million/week. There are now some 2.1 billion Christians in the world. When it comes to broadcasting technology, practically the whole planet is covered by radio or television, either via terrestrial means or via satellite and the Internet. This means the gospel can be proclaimed to over 99% of the world. Couple this with the fact that the Bible is available in whole or in part to some 98% of the world's population in a language in which they are fluent, then the 'preaching of the gospel to the whole world' (Mat 24.14) is almost complete!
[Does this mean nearly everyone has heard the gospel? No. Not everyone has the means to receive radio or TV programs and not everyone has the Internet. So there are still many who haven't heard the gospel, and in many countries the gospel is actually banned. As of 2011 there were 2.84 billion people still unreached with the gospel [Joshua Project]. In other words, over 40% of the world's population still needed to hear the gospel.]
1.6 Persecution of Christians [Lk 21.12-19]:
"They will lay their hands on you and will persecute you"
Although Christians have been persecuted for 2,000 years, they are now the most persecuted religious group in the world [Focus on the Family]. Some 26 million Christians were martyred during the 20th century - more than the combined total of all previous centuries. Today much of the persecution occurs in the 10-40 window (from West Africa and across Asia) where religious liberty is restricted. There are 1.6 billion Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists living in this window, and in some countries the Church has almost been eliminated as a result of Islamic oppression.
A more subtle form of persecution is now occurring in secular Europe due to EU Equality Directives - which are void of morality. In the UK for example, Christians are losing employment under Equality Law for simply holding to their Christian ethos or for simple, low-profile Christian witness. And in the USA, persecution is growing via the media, entertainment industry, educational authorities, and even the police.
Bible prophecy accurately describes our end-time society.
It describes reality - the Bible is speaking truth
The Bible gives an accurate (true) picture of environmental and climatic conditions at the end of this age (see also Is God Changing Our Climate?):
2.1 Increased Pollution (Isa 24.5):
"The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants"
The above image shows worldwide carbon monoxide pollution (in 2004, fires in Alaska caused increased pollution in the northern hemisphere). Besides burning, air pollution arises from power plants, heavy industry and vehicles. Other satellite sensors show high distributions of nitrogen dioxide over N. America, Europe, China, S.E. Asia and Africa [ESA]. In the UK, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emmissions from 30 million vehicles is a major problem. Air pollution fatalities now exceed traffic fatalities 3:1 [Earth Policy Institute]. The view from space is becoming marred by smoke and dust [NASA]. Mercury pollution (from coal-fired power stations is a huge threat to health [UN].
1984: the Bhopal disaster in India was the world's worst chemical disaster. Today in Bhopal, more than 100,000 people remain chronically ill.
1986: an area some 80 km x 80 km around the Chernobyl nuclear plant is still an exclusion zone due to soil pollution by Caesium 137.
2011: contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster affected an area nearly as big as Cyprus and included some 6,500 villages. Water samples from the Western Pacific region show radioactive Caesium 137 and 134, as well as Strontium 90.
2.2 Increased Temperature (Isa 24.6, Rev 16.8,9,21):
"The inhabitants of the earth are burned ... men were scorched with fierce heat"
"Climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today" [Sir David King, UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor]
Whilst this statement is based on disputed IPCC data the fact remains that over the last century the climate warmed significantly.
Mean world temperature (deg C): 1880: 13.8 , 2000: 14.4 , 2100: 16-19 ? [TIME].
Global warming amounted to 0.8°C over the past century.
2010 surface temperature anomalies were the warmest (along with 2005) on record.
2.3 Increased Storm Activity (Lk 21.5):
"There will be ... dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves"
Increased temperature brings increased storm severity. Hurricane forecast models indicate a tendency for more intense hurricanes. This is due to increased energy obtained from warmer seas [RealClimate].
Since the 1970's there has been a marked increase in the intensity and duration of tropical storms, including North American hurricanes. The number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled since 1970 [MIT].
Sea level rise could be 1m by 2100 [Nat. Geographic].
2.4 Increased Drought (Isa 24.1-4):
"The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers"
The area of the earth's surface affected by drought has more than doubled since the 1970's [Nat. Geographic].
Lake Chad in Africa has shrunk to 5% of its size in the 1960's [Nat. Geographic]
Partly due to over-exploitation of groundwater, water tables are falling on every continent: 1.5m/yr in China, 1-3m/yr in India.
New wells for Beijing now have to reach 1,000 meters [Executive Intelligence Review].
Two out of every three people will be short of water by 2025 [WWI & Tearfund].
Increased aridity may be an natural response to climate warming [The Earth Institue].
Bible prophecy accurately describes today's environment
- the Bible is speaking truth
The Old Testament of the Bible mentions four specifc empires that would reign over Israel (Dan 7.1-8). These are the historic Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires. But the fourth empire is also in existence at the end of this age (Dan 2.34,44).
The New Testament confirms this by referring to seven major empires or kingdoms (Rev 17.10). These can be identified as the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires, with one empire to come. Taken with Dan 2, this suggests the one to come must be a revived form of the historic Roman Empire. Moreover, this final world empire will be in alliance with ten other world regional authorities (Rev 17.12,13) and will probably embrace a corrupt church (Rev 17). As an expansion of historic Rome, this final empire will be brutal and powerful, devouring and crushing the whole world (Dan 7.23).
The emerging EU army
A Roman revival and 'Christianised' empire has been at the heart of Europe's leaders and aristocracy for well over 1,000 years. Constantine I 'Christianised' the Roman Empire in 313 AD. Charlemange was crowned 'Emperor of the Romans' in 800 AD; Otto the Great was crowned 'Holy Roman Emperor in 962 AD; Emperor Charles V (1519-1556) pursued the concept of a unified Christian Empire, and Mussolini declared the resurrection of the old Roman Empire in 1936. Today, noble European families (such as the Habsburgs) see a future Holy Roman Empire, and the European Union (EU) has many of the characteristics of a 'revived Roman Empire':
One of the most interesting prophecies is found in Dan 2.43:
"They will combine with one another ... but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with clay"
This refers to the divisions within the final world empire; the iron makes it strong and crushing, but the clay makes it brittle and weak. It is a good picture of the EU! Whilst member states combine, they certainly do not adhere, and according to the prophecy, they will never adhere.
The strength is seen in another prophecy referring to a world dictatorship:
"... and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him." (Rev 13.7)
Note that the end-time world empire will "crush the whole world" (Dan 7.23). Democracy will be a thing of the past. It is interesting to observe that the EU is removing democracy and imposing law generated by unelected Commissioners. The European Parliament has voted for a system of corpus juris that does away with the more democratic system of habeas corpus, jury trials and the presumption of innocence in criminal cases. Continental law allows citizens to be imprisoned for long periods without the need to produce evidence! [EuroFAQ].
The world is looking for a 'New World Order' or 'One World Government'. Leaders such as Winston Churchill, Jimmy Carter, Gorbachev, George Bush, and George W. Bush have all called for a New World Order. Even the World COuncil of Churches is looking for "an international order of justice and peace". The EU could be the seed for this final world empire, as it forms an alliance with other world governments.
For a study of the end-time world system, see End Times.
Bible prophecy accurately describes today's political scenario
- the Bible is speaking truth
An electronic RFID 'tag'.
It is the size of a grain of rice and is human implantable.
"And he causes all ... to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead ... and no one will be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark ..." (Rev 13.16,17)
Bible prophecy predicts electronic ID for trading
- the Bible is speaking truth
By 586 BC the whole of the nation of Israel (all twelve tribes) had been exiled and scattered amongst the nations (see also Israel). But the Bible predicts that one day Israel will return to her promised land:
Western Wall, Jerusalem. Copyright: Free Photos
This has been born out in recent history:
1882: first wave of emigration (first 'Aliyah or ascent) to Palestine, particularly from Russia and Romania
1917: General Allenby liberated Jerusalem from the Turks, giving Jews access to the city
1948: State of Israel established, David Ben Gurion became the first Prime Minister
1950: Law of return passed by Israel's Parliament - opening Israel to Jews from over 60 countries
1967: Jersualem came under Jewish rule
Population: 1900: 0.5m, 1958: 2m, 1983: 4m, 2012: 7.8m (a 1500% increase since 1900)
The Bible also predicts that:
Old City of Jerusalem Free Israel Photos
This too has been born out in recent history:
Between 1958 and 1965 Israel's mean annual growth rate reached 13.6%. Today, Israel is particularly advanced in hi-tech industries such as computer science, electronics, genetics, medicine, optics and solar energy. She mines natural gas, potash, magnesium, copper, gold and phosphates. In terms of infrastructure, she has highly developed banking, health, and University systems. Between 1990 and 2000 Israel's forest area increased by +61%, compared to a world change of -2% [Earth Trends 2003]. Israel's agriculture produces apples, pears, peaches, apricots, bananas, mangoes, dates, olives, grapes etc., and produced 571,000 tons of fruit in 1997. And it is well known that Israel has a powerful, technically advanced defence force. In May 1967 the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon (with Iraq as collaborator) declared the end of Israel. Israel defeated them in 6 days with inferior aircraft and tanks. Major attacks on Israel (1948, 1967) ended with Israel gaining more land.
Finally, it is also well known that Israel is hated by her neighbours:
"The battle has come in which we shall destroy Israel" [President of Egypt, 1967]
"Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map" [President of Iraq, 1967]
"Israel should be eliminated from the pages of history" [President of Iran, 2006]
"Israel is a cancerous tumour that should be cut and will be cut" [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 2012]
The Bible also predicts this hatred:
"I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem ..." (Zech 14.2)(Ps 83)
Bible prophecy predicts Israel's restoration in the last days
- the Bible is speaking truth
At the end of the age the Bible predicts:
We see all this before our eyes - it is reality. Assume the probability of each of these scenarios occurring today is just 1 in 10 i.e. we just happen to have a world government forming today and it just happens to be the time for worldwide proclamation of the gospel. Then the probability of all ten scenarios occurring at once, today, is 1 in 10,000,000,000 - pretty remote. But that is precisely what we have. Either the world has hit upon a very rare combination of events by chance, or God is in control and has ordained these things and warned man by Bible prophecy.
TRUTH = REALITY
THE BIBLE PREDICTS REALITY
THE BIBLE SPEAKS TRUTH
Lastly, don't be troubled. Put your trust in the one who loves you and knows you - Jesus Christ.
"My peace I give to you - don't be troubled or fearful (Jn 14.27)"
Bible quotations are from the New American Standard Bible