Monthly Archives: December 2015

Why do people use “Xmas” instead of “Christmas?”

WHY DO PEOPLE USE “XMAS” INSTEAD OF “CHRISTMAS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Every Christmas Season, you have seen and heard the phrase, “Merry Xmas.” Have you ever wondered why people do not just write and say “Christmas?” Should we Christians use the term “Xmas?”

Here are three reasons why “Xmas” is a popular expression:

Firstly, our English word “Christ” is transliterated from the Greek christos (Χριστός). The letters are “CHi-Rho-Iota-Sigma-Tau-Omicron-Sigma.” The first character, the Greek letter “chi” (pronounced KI), as you can see, resembles our English letter “X.” So, when people use “Xmas,” they are actually referring to Christ (although, to English speakers, this is not obvious.)

Secondly, “Xmas” is much shorter than “Christmas.” This abbreviation can be written quicker and it can fit limited spaces more easily.

Thirdly, some people use “Xmas” just so they do not offend non-Christians. (Furthermore, some do not like to say, “Merry Christmas,” so they say, “Happy Holidays,” not realizing that “holiday” is from the Old English word for “holy day.” If they do not like spiritual connotations, they had better not say “Happy Holidays” either!)

Personally, I have never used and I will never use “Xmas.” I just say and write “Christmas” because Jesus Christ means so much more to me than some “offended” person!

Also see:
» Was Jesus Christ really born on December 25th?
» Should I display a Christmas tree?
» What is the real “Immaculate Conception?”

Does Galatians 1:23 disprove dispensational Bible study?

DOES GALATIANS 1:23 DISPROVE DISPENSATIONAL BIBLE STUDY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.” What is “the faith” that Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul) preached here in Galatians 1:23? If he preached “the faith” which he once destroyed, does that mean that he was preaching the same message that Peter and the 11 were preaching? (Some claim “yes.”) As long as we do not have a denominational system to defend or a theological speculation to retain, we will define the term “the faith” of Galatians 1:23 as the context defines it.

While Paul certainly preached a different message than what Peter and the 11 preached (see our study linked at the end of this article), there was some overlapping doctrine. Whether in Israel’s program or our program, Jesus was still the Son of God, Christ/Messiah. Whether in Israel’s program or our program, Jesus was still resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:11). It is the same Jesus Christ, the same Redeemer, but different ways of viewing Him and differing roles He plays in Father God’s plan of reconciling the heaven and the earth back to Himself.

Let us first read Galatians chapter 1, verses 21-24, which historically, is near the beginning of Saul’s apostolic ministry: “[21] Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; [22] And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: [23] But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. [24] And they glorified God in me.”

In verses 11-20 of Galatians chapter 1, Paul discussed his conversion on the road to Damascus and other events early in his ministry. Luke recorded this in Acts 9:1-29. Now, in verses 21-24 of Galatians chapter 1, Paul begins to describe what Luke explained in Acts 9:30-31. Acts 9:30-31 says: “[30] Which when the brethren knew, they brought him [Saul/Paul] down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus [in Cilicia; cf. Acts 22:3]. [31] Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” These churches in Judaea were Israel’s Little Flock, those Jewish believers from Christ’s earthly ministry and the early Acts period. They had heard, as Paul wrote in Galatians 1:22-24, that he was now a saved man, a believer in Jesus Christ. Saul, the man who had been leading the Israel’s rebellion against Jesus, was now preaching Him! Israel’s Little Flock was amazed to hear such extreme news.

Since Acts 9:30-31 parallels Galatians 1:21-24, whatever “the faith” was that Paul preached in Galatians 1:23, it would be found prior to Acts 9:30-31. Even a casual scanning of Acts chapter 9 will cause us to see exactly what was “the faith” that Paul was preaching, the same basic information that Peter and the 11 were preaching:

“[19] …Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. [20] And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. [21] But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? [22] But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. [23] And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: [24] But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. [25] Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. [26] And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. [27] But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. [28] And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. [29] And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.”

What was Paul preaching in the synagogues in Acts chapter 9? Was he not preaching that Jesus was the Son of God, the Christ/Messiah, the Anointed One of God? That is exactly what Peter and the 11 apostles of Israel preached. While Paul preached more than that about Jesus Christ (as his epistles of Romans through Philemon indicate), Jesus’ Messiahship and His resurrection were two points of doctrine common between Peter and Paul. These doctrines meant different things in Peter’s ministry and Paul’s ministry. Please see our related studies linked below for more information.

Also see:
» Did Peter and Paul preach the same Gospel?
» Does 1 Corinthians 15:11 disprove dispensational Bible study?
» Can you compare and contrast Peter’s ministry with Paul’s ministry?

“The fulness of the Gentiles” and “The times of the Gentiles”—same or different?

“THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES” AND “THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES”—SAME OR DIFFERENT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Romans 11:25: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

Luke 21:24: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

Are these two terms—“the fulness of the Gentiles” and “the times of the Gentiles”—the same event on the Bible timeline? Dear friends, let us search the Scriptures for the answer. It helps to read the context, context, context!

When writing to young Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If we are to understand and enjoy the Bible, we must “study… rightly dividing the word of truth.” What does this mean exactly? We need to make the proper divisions in God’s Word that God Himself has made in His Word, the Holy Bible. Unless we recognize these divisions, there will be unanswerable confusion when we approach the Bible. Just look at the 40,000 denominations in Christendom!

Dispensational Bible study is simply placing verses on a timeline, starting in Genesis (left) and ending in the Revelation (right). Rather than making all verses valid for every moment in human history, as denominational theology does, right division involves placing God’s instructions to man as they were given progressively. For example, God did not reveal all of His will to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Certain instructions were true for them, things that are not true for us. God did not reveal all of His will to the nation Israel. Whatever God revealed to Israel, He expected them to believe and do. That is not what God wants us to do today either.

The Holy Spirit wrote that Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). In Paul’s epistles alone, we find our doctrine, our duty, our walk, and our destiny. These are the Bible books of Romans through Philemon, written to us Gentiles in the Dispensation of the Grace of God (Ephesians 3:2). Whenever we grab verses in Paul’s epistles and try to make them fit with the rest of the Bible, trouble and confusion are sure to arise. Whenever we grab verses outside of Paul’s writings and try to fit them into Paul’s writings, trouble and confusion are sure to arise. These two errors are the primary reasons why Christianity is so messed up today.

Let us now look at these two verses—Luke 21:24 and Romans 11:25—and how right division clears up the confusion and ushers in such clarity.

“THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES”

Luke 21:24: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” The Lord Jesus picked up on an expression first coined in Ezekiel, chapter 30, verse 3: “For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.” The Prophet Ezekiel served between the first invasion of Jerusalem by Babylon (606 B.C.) and Babylon’s final invasion and destruction of Jerusalem (586 B.C.). The “day of the LORD” is the time when God has cast Israel out of her land. At the time of Ezekiel’s ministry, Israel is not yet fully deported out of the land of Palestine. But, that time is approaching.

Israel was to be God’s chief nation in the Earth. But, she failed to keep all of His commandments, the Mosaic Law. They broke that Old Covenant. So, God let Israel be scattered amongst the Gentiles, exiled from their Promised Land. You can read about this in Leviticus 26:27-39. We read from Exodus 19:5-6: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” That promise was conditional. God would only make Israel His kingdom of priests if Israel listened to Him without exception. But, as Jeremiah 31:31-32 says of Israel during Ezekiel’s time: “[31] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:”

As we know, Israel failed to be God’s nation. So, the Gentiles would rule over her instead. Gentile empires would dominate her Promised Land. Satan’s governments would rule over that land of Palestine. For example, see Psalm 106: “[41] And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. [42] Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.” In 722 B.C., the Assyrians took Israel’s northern kingdom captive. In 586 B.C., the Babylonians came in and destroyed Jerusalem, and Israel’s southern kingdom, Judah, was deported. The Medes and the Persians became the dominant Gentile powers once Babylon fell. The Greeks and the Romans then ruled over Israel. Even today, Israel is not the dominant nation in the Earth as God intended. The time of the Gentiles is ongoing. Heathen/pagans/unbelievers still trod Jerusalem’s streets. Gentiles are still trying to take Israel’s land from her.

Still, Satan’s activity in Israel’s land will culminate after our Dispensation of Grace. When the Antichrist appears after the Rapture, Satan will rule Israel’s land with an iron fist, killing any and every person who does not participate in his false religious system. We learn this in Revelation chapter 13, and Daniel chapters 8 and 11. Paul talks about this in some detail in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. The Antichrist will rule during a time period known as “the seven-year Tribulation,” or “Daniel’s 70th week” (Daniel 9:24-27). Approximately halfway through those seven years, the Antichrist will be manifested for what he really is. Unbelieving Israel will learn just how evil and satanic he is, but by that time it will be too late.

Okay, that was little digression, and we need to be getting back to Luke 21:24. Luke chapter 21 (Matthew chapter 24; Mark chapter 13) is Jesus’s famous Second Mount Olivet Discourse. He is giving His disciples a grand summary of the end-times scenario. “Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?” (Luke 21:7). In Matthew 24:3, the question is worded, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Verses 20-24 of Luke chapter 21 are Jesus’ comments about the midpoint of that seven-year Tribulation. Gentile armies will come into Jerusalem and walk its streets. They will do so until the seven years finish. Then, Jesus Christ will return and destroy them all, and establish God’s literal, physical, visible kingdom in the Earth! Israel will finally be God’s chief nation in the Earth (see Romans 11:11-29).

“THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES”

Romans 11:25: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

Sad to say it, but “ignorant” describes 99.9 percent of Christians today. They could not communicate basic Bible truths if their lives depended on it. But, they still read “Christian bestsellers,” sing and dance in “Christian worship,” and claim to be “filled with the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Spirit through Paul urged us in Romans 11:25 not to be “ignorant” of the fact that Israel is spiritually blinded today. We are not Israel. We have not replaced Israel. God is not finished with the nation Israel. Today, God is forming the Church the Body of Christ, not His earthly people but rather His heavenly people.

The most common theme of Paul’s ministry and message is that salvation and blessing is coming to the Gentiles through the fall of Israel. We receive that Gospel message of Christ’s finished crosswork from the preaching and writing of Paul, our apostle, God’s spokesman to us. The Bible says in Romans 11:11-13: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”

But, as the rest of Romans chapter 11 goes on to say, especially in verse 25, Israel is not fallen forever. She is not blinded forever. God is not permanently finished with her. Israel is only blinded until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” There is a time when Israel will be restored to God. There is a time when Israel’s prophetic program will resume. We read about this in the books of Hebrews through the Revelation, the conclusion of prophecy, the culmination of all the Old Testament prophecies.

“The fulness of the Gentiles” is when God is finished forming (“fulness” = completion of) the Church the Body of Christ, which is composed of Gentiles. (Since Israel is fallen, even Jews are considered Gentiles in God’s mind today.) God will end our Dispensation of Grace one day. He will close our mystery program one day. He will not reach Gentiles without Israel forever. The Church the Body of Christ will not continue on this Earth forever. One day, we who have trusted Jesus Christ exclusively as our personal Savior, we will be taken to heaven, at the “Rapture,” to do God’s will there in the heavenly places. After that, Israel’s program can resume where it paused 2,000 years ago. Again, Hebrews through Revelation document this continuation of Israel’s program. One day, Father God will restore Israel with the New Covenant, cleanse her of her sins, and make her His people. See Hebrews chapters 8 and 10.

CONCLUSION

There is a tendency for people to correlate these verses and terms—“the fulness of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:25) and “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). Nevertheless, the language is different, demonstrating that they involve two different sets of circumstances. The Lord Jesus picked up on an expression first coined in Ezekiel 30:3. Paul, however, did not derive his term from anywhere in the Old Testament. This alone shows us that the Lord Jesus and Paul are relating two different events. Paul’s term (Romans 11:25) involved a “mystery,” something not previously known but later revealed by God. If Jesus in His earthly ministry (Luke 21:24) spoke of what Paul would later write, could the Holy Spirit honestly write that Paul’s doctrine in Romans 11:25 was a secret? Of course not, for Jesus Himself would have already told His Jewish disciples in Luke 21:24 years earlier. There would be no “secret” for God to reveal to us through Paul!

“The times of the Gentiles” has been operating ever since the Babylonians began deporting Jews to Babylon. For over 2,500 years now, Gentiles having been ruling over Israel and her land, when Israel was supposed to be God’s chief nation had she not disobeyed Him. “The fulness of the Gentiles” involves God forming the Church the Body of Christ of people without distinction (Jews are considered Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace). This has only been going on for the last 2,000 years (beginning with the Apostle Paul). “The fulness of the Gentiles” will end at the Rapture, when the Body of Christ is complete, while “the times of the Gentiles” will conclude at Jesus Christ’s Second Coming at least seven years later.

Also see:
» What is Replacement Theology?
» Are we “grafted in” to Israel? What does Romans 11:16-24 teach?
» Why was Saul’s name changed to Paul?

What does Romans 16:20 mean?

WHAT DOES ROMANS 16:20 MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” What is Romans 16:20 talking about? Some suggest this verse is the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, the promise of the seed of the woman bruising the serpent’s (or, Satan’s) head. Others say that Romans 16:20 is talking about us Christians bruising Satan. Still others suggest this is a reference to Christ’s Second Coming when He defeats Satan. None of these explanations seem likely. Let me show you some verses that adjusted my thinking concerning this “cryptic” verse. Perhaps they will shed light on this verse for you as well.

Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled at Calvary’s cross. The seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, triumphed over Satan’s policy of evil through His finished crosswork. We know this because Colossians 2:15 says: “[14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” When Paul wrote Romans, Calvary had already happened. Romans 16:20, however, is speaking of a future event. “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” Thus, Calvary is not the meaning of Romans 16:20.

Verse 19—but also verses 17 and 18—are the keys to interpreting and understanding Romans 16:20. We would do well to look briefly at all three preceding verses.

ROMANS 16:17-18

“[17] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. [18] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

Friends, these verses are straightforward. We have nothing to do with people who cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine that we have learned from the Apostle Paul. If they do not preach Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, the Bible commands us to avoid them. Doctrine most definitely divides, and as one brother recently put it, doctrine divides truth from error—the Bible-believing Christians from the apostates and heretics. That is a harsh truth but it is the truth nonetheless.

Paul instructed Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 6: “[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (For more information on us separating unto truth, and not uniting in error with the religious system, please see our studies linked at the end of this article—“Did Paul quote 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1 out of context?” and our very lengthy study “Does doctrine really matter?”)

People who disagree with the Apostle Paul, his books of Romans through Philemon, these individuals are neither prophetic nor spiritual. That is, they are neither speaking on God’s behalf nor being led by God’s Spirit. Again, it is a harsh reality, but reality nonetheless. “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). People who do not acknowledge and preach Jesus Christ’s special ministry through Paul, the Bible says they are serving themselves and doing whatever they want to do. We need to be honest. They are not God’s servants. They are serving self, and that describes the vast majority of so-called “preachers” and “teachers” in “Christian” churches today. If we want to serve God, we had better not listen to their “good words” and “fair speeches,” sermons that dazzle and impress but are void of anything eternal.

ROMANS 16:19

“For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”

Paul knew the testimony of these Roman believers had spread throughout the whole then-known world. Like the Thessalonians (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:3-10), they were maturing in the doctrines of grace. They knew the Gospel of Grace, but they could still use some spiritual insight concerning practical daily Christian living. Every Christian has more room to grow, more progress to make in the Christian experience. Even Paul learned that about himself in Philippians chapter 3. There are times when we will fail. No Christian is perfect, sinless. Paul was concerned that the Romans stayed doing right, that they not slip off into error and sin. That is the purpose of the book of Romans.

Remember, Paul wrote an epistle to the Romans because he was physically hindered from visiting Rome. In some way or another, Satan was probably responsible (see 1 Thessalonians 2:18-19 for a possible explanation). So, Paul wrote to these believers in Rome instead. Romans 1:10-13 is Paul’s prayer and labor for these Roman Christians: “[10] Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. [11] For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; [12] That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. [13] Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.”

The doctrine contained in the book of Romans would enable these Roman believers—and, by extension, all believers in the Body of Christ, including us nearly two millennia later—to guard their hearts and minds from Satan’s policy of evil. Paul’s epistle of Romans allows us to have the same knowledge, faith, and understanding that Paul had. We will thus be “established” spiritually, firmly fixed, that the Adversary not cause us to be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). The Devil has information he uses to deceive us—especially religious tradition (see Galatians) and human philosophy (see 1 and 2 Corinthians)—but if we have the book of Romans, we have a good foundation for our Christian lives. The Galatians wound up in their spiritual mess because they had ignored the doctrine in Romans. The Corinthians wound up in their spiritual mess because they had also ignored the doctrine in Romans. Satan was defeating both the Galatians and the Corinthians. Brethren, we must be careful not to fall into the trap into which these Christians fell.

If we are grounded in the book of Romans, the most basic doctrinal book for this dispensation, Satan does not have a chance in distracting us. As long as Paul could not visit Rome in person, Satan was winning, and the Romans were not established. They were vulnerable to Satan’s wiles/tricks/schemes. But, now that that epistle to the Romans was being finished, and shortly going to Rome, Satan could no longer keep these Roman believers ignorant of God’s will for them. They would be “wise [knowledgeable] unto that which is good.” Moreover, they would be “simple [inexperienced] concerning evil.” The doctrine contained in Romans allows us to understand that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and He can give us this peaceful mentality when we study and believe His Word to us, especially the book of Romans. We can see how our Christian life started and how it functions on a daily basis.

CONCLUSION

Romans 16:20 is certainly not a reference to Calvary. Calvary had already occurred and Romans 16:20 speaks of something future. Us bruising Satan is also a wrong idea because the verse says, the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” God is doing the “bruising” here. Christ’s Second Coming can also be ruled out here because that event has yet to occur, and Paul wrote that God would “bruise Satan under [the Roman believers’] feet shortly.” God bruised Satan just after Romans was written by Paul and received in Rome by the Christians there.

Upon considering the book of Romans as a whole, we conclude that Romans 16:20 means that the bruising of Satan is something God will do in the Christian’s life if he or she will simply study, believe, and apply the book of Romans to life. All the more reason, brethren, to spend some time reading through Romans, over and over, over and over, over and over, et cetera. Do not get bogged down with trying to apply the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, and so on. Start in Romans! If you do grasp any other Bible book, please get Romans! Get Romans! Get Romans! Your Christian life will never be the same! 🙂

Also see:
» Should we use the book of John to evangelize lost people?
» What is the Lord’s will for my Christian life?
» How did Satan hinder Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:18?

Why does Acts 2:35 use “foes” but Psalm 110:1 use “enemies?”

WHY DOES ACTS 2:35 USE “FOES” BUT PSALM 110:1 USE “ENEMIES?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Psalm 110:1 says, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” The New Testament quotes this verse six times—Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:43, Acts 2:35, Hebrews 1:13, and Hebrews 10:13. In Matthew, Mark, Luke and Hebrews, our King James translators rendered the Greek word ekthros as “enemies.” (That word is related to the Greek term for “hate,” as in “hateful” or “hater.”) Yet, in Acts 2:35, they translated ekthros as “foes.” Unlike the causal Bible reader, who simply skims over the word change (the word change is absent from modern versions), we Berean Bible students pause and use some critical thinking skills by asking, “Why this change in terminology in our King James Bible?”

Furthermore, all the major modern English “bible” translations—NIV, NASB, NKJV, NRSV, Amplified, HCSB, and NLT—use “enemies” in Acts 2:35, as they do with the rest of the New Testament quotations of Psalm 110:1. Why did our King James scholars not render ekthros the same way on all six occasions as the modern translators did? Again, why this change in terminology? Let me share with you what I think is the most likely explanation.

The Holy Spirit’s great sermon through the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost included the following words (Acts 2:34-35): “[34] For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, [35] Until I make thy foes thy footstool.” This was a quote of Psalm 110:1: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Why did our 1611 translators have Peter say “foes” instead of “enemies” as Psalm 110:1 had it? It helps to have some definitions.

An “enemy” is someone who is against you, but who may not actually be engaged in combat with you at the present moment. A “foe,” however, is someone who is actively fighting against you in the present. “Foe” is more descriptive because it is related to the word “feud” (as in fight or struggle, prolonged hostility and conflict between two parties). “Enemy” is from the Old French enemi, from the Latin inimicus, from in- ‘not’ + amicus ‘friend.’ These etymologies help us in understanding why Acts 2:35 reads oddly in our King James Bible.

Israel at the time of Acts chapter 2, Pentecost, is not simply against God but has actively opposed God (by killing His Son, Jesus). Israel is not listening to His apostles preach God’s Word in Acts chapter 2. In fact, they are mocking the apostles, claiming they are drunk with wine to be speaking in these various known human languages. They are mocking the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the 12 apostles: “[13] Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. [14] But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: [15] For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.”

As a little side-note, the King James New Testament uses “foe” one other time besides Acts 2:35. It is Matthew 10:36: “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” This is the Lord Jesus describing unbelieving Jews betraying their believing family members, and turning them over to the Antichrist for imprisonment or death sentencing. Again, this is not simply a case of enemies, but foes, people actively fighting and persistently rebelling against the God of the Bible. Peter was making sure Israel was warned that Jesus Christ was coming back to take care of His enemies, yes, but more specifically, His “foes”—them!

Also see:
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?
» Is “Easter” a mistranslation in the King James Bible in Acts 12:4?
» Should it be “Christ” or “Lord” in 2 Thessalonians 2:2?