Monthly Archives: August 2017

Did King David engage in vulgar dancing?

DID KING DAVID ENGAGE IN VULGAR DANCING?

by Shawn Brasseaux

While recently dealing with a dear Christian lady entangled in the Charismatic Movement, I heard her say something quite strange, totally unexpected actually. No one had ever told me this before. In an attempt to defend “praise and worship” time in her church building, she told me that dancing was Biblical. After all, she claimed that King David danced so intensely that (her words) “his clothes almost fell off!” Did she interpret the Scriptures correctly? Or did her intense religious fervor cause her to be sincerely wrong?

Second Samuel 6:12-23 relays the account of King David, recently anointed as Israel’s monarch, bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. Notice:

“[12] And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness. [13] And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. [14] And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

“[15] So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. [16] And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. [17] And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

“[18] And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. [19] And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house. [20] Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

“[21] And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. [22] And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour. [23] Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.”

I. PROBLEM VERSES

Second Samuel 6:14 tells us: “And David danced before the LORD with all his might….” Verse 16 says Michal, Saul’s daughter and David’s wife, saw David “leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.” Everything appears fine, until we come to verse 20, Michal talking to David when he returns home: “How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!” This language is offensive, is it not? Now, read part of David’s defense in verse 22: “And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.” Was David behaving “vile” as engaging in immoral movements?

A lot of the misunderstanding stems from the words “uncovereth” and “shamelessly uncovereth.” The most problematic expressions are the word “shamelessly” and the reference to women watching David. The dear lady I dealt with, like others, interpreted David’s activity to mean nearly nude or completely nude dancing. Did David remove all of his clothes and act vulgarly? No, that is not the case, friends. The Bible language would be “naked,” as in Israel dancing without clothes around the golden calf idol at the foot of Mount Sinai. David’s joy in the Lord is certainly not to be equated with Israel’s lewd dancing around an idol five centuries earlier!

Exodus 32:18-26 says: “[18] And he [Moses] said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. [19] And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount…. [22] And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. [23] For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. [24] And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. [25] And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies: )….” Again, this dancing was certainly not the same as David’s.

Returning to 2 Samuel 6:20, Michal’s words to David: “How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!” This is not divine commentary on David’s actions (whereas Exodus 32:25 is God’s observations of Israel’s lewd behavior). Second Samuel 2:60 is Michal’s comments. She is mocking David, employing sarcasm, as the Bible says “she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16; 1 Chronicles 15:29). Had David’s actions been as “glorious” as she claimed, she would have loved him, appreciating him for worshipping God in song and dance. However, out of hatred, she teased him. Exactly why she ridiculed him will be revealed later.

II. COMPANION VERSES

First Chronicles contains the companion passage to our main text, and it reveals something that the Book of 2 Samuel omitted. Turning to 1 Chronicles 15:27-29, we read: “[27] And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. [28] Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. [29] And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal, the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.”

According to this passage, David was wearing two special garments (perhaps more). Firstly, he had a “robe of fine linen.” Secondly, he wore an “ephod of linen.” These were expensive, royal clothes (the ephod was originally a priestly garment; Exodus 28:4). Such extra garments were evidently cumbersome and hot to wear while leaping and dancing. If we use Michal’s description, David evidently removed outer garments; he surely had other layers of clothing on his body! His clothes did not “almost fall off” as the Christian lady claimed, either. That was in her imagination. He purposely took off extra layers of clothing so he could be more agile and cool.

However, David’s plainclothesman/civilian/humble/vile/lowly appearance offended Michal his wife. His royalty was no longer apparent. He looked like just another Jew. Aristocratic Michal, daughter to King Saul (now dead), considered it humiliating for David the king to lay aside his royal garments and pretend to be an ordinary citizen. It was “improper,” “un-kingly,” for he resembled a commoner… or perhaps a peasant! Furthermore, a king should behave more seriously than singing, leaping, and dancing in public! Read 2 Samuel 6:20 again, paying close attention to “the king of Israel” part: “Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!” That is, “David, you did not behave majestically and seriously today!”

We must not overlook the most important—that is, spiritual—issue underlying this matter. The whole celebration of bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem was meaningful only to believers in JEHOVAH God. David was so excited to have God’s presence return to Jerusalem (Saul had not used the Ark of the Covenant during his 40-year reign, according to 1 Chronicles 13:3!). Thus, the Bible says he sang, danced, and leapt as musical instruments were played. Michal, being the daughter of evil Saul, was an unbeliever. In fact, she was not even present in the celebration of the Ark’s entrance into Jerusalem. She watched it from afar, from a window (2 Samuel 6:16; 1 Chronicles 15:29). We read about her having an “image” (idol) in 1 Samuel 19:12-17. David celebrating the return of the Ark of the Covenant of the God of Israel seemed like foolishness to Michal. (Just like the lost world sees us going to church or Bible study as “foolishness.”) If there is no Spirit of God giving light, the lost soul wallows in spiritual darkness.

III. CONCLUSION

This issue is yet another example of people grabbing anything in the Bible if it even remotely supports their denominational system. It is also important to note that the woman with whom I dealt was quoting the verse from memory, giving me a very loose paraphrase of it. She did not actually have a Bible in hand, and neither did I. Had she actually read the verse, its context, and its companion passage, she would not have overlooked such important details. David did not strip down to nothing and dance. His clothes did not “almost fall off” either! He had merely removed his outer royal garments, weighty and hot clothes. In doing so, his “normal” attire underneath offended Michal his “upper-class,” unbelieving wife. He looked like just another Jewish citizen. To unbelieving Michal, David was “foolish” for worshipping the LORD God. She mocked him, exaggerating or overstating what he did.

SUPPLEMENTAL: ANOTHER LOOK AT ROYAL CLOTHES

We can better appreciate such royal garments by appealing to 1 Kings chapter 22. Centuries after David, wicked Ahab (king of Israel) and righteous Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) are fighting the Syrians. In order to spare his life, Ahab removes his royal garments so as to conceal his identity. Notice how Ahab told Jehoshaphat to wear his own robes (these were the royal garments). When the Syrians wanted to fight Ahab, they mistook Jehoshaphat to be him. Jehoshaphat was wearing his royal clothes but Ahab was not. There was no nudity here either. It was merely the removal of outward royal garments!

“[30] And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle. [31] But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel. [32] And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out. [33] And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.”

Also see:
» What is wrong with “praise and worship?”
» What about the “Jewish Roots” Movement?
» Why did God give Israel King Saul if Saul turned out to be evil?

Can you explain Matthew 11:12?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN MATTHEW 11:12?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Matthew 11:12 is considered yet another difficult passage. Like verse 11, however, it is easy to get when we just let the Bible speak for itself. We read: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” What does Scripture mean “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,” and “the violent take it by force?” Many consider that last phrase particularly mysterious. Let us do some verse comparisons; the Bible will interpret itself.

“AND FROM THE DAYS OF JOHN THE BAPTIST UNTIL NOW….”

The best verse to compare Matthew 11:12 to is verse 13 (the next verse!). We read both verses: “[12] And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. [13] For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” Prior to John the Baptist’s ministry (which began in Matthew chapter 3), the only revelation the nation Israel had from God was the Law and the Prophets. We call these writings the “Old Testament” (Genesis through Malachi). Moses and all the other prophets had predicted for centuries about a coming King and kingdom for Israel.

Beginning with John the Baptist, though, there was a major development in God’s program for the nation Israel. Matthew 3:1-2 comments: “[1] In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Now, Israel’s Messiah was in her midst. Jesus Christ had been born, He was to be water baptized of John, and (like John) He would soon preach the Gospel of the Kingdom Himself. The kingdom was not merely centuries away, but was now “at hand.” It was within Israel’s grasp, very close, as close as it had ever been.

With the kingdom now within reach, God would cleanse Israel of her sins and make her His people. He would restore to her the Promised Land first deeded to her patriarch Abraham. He would give back her Davidic kingdom that she had lost centuries earlier due to her sin. But, prior to that kingdom, there would be divine wrath to purge out the unbelievers. Only believers would enter that Millennium, that earthly kingdom of God.

Matthew chapter 3 continues: “[3] For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. [4] And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. [5] Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, [6] And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

“[7] But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [8] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: [9] And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. [10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Unbelievers, especially Israel’s religious leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees), were happy with the way things were in the nation. They were in power, enjoying prestige, self-righteousness, and wealth. For JEHOVAH God to send a prophet (John the Baptist) to announce His Son’s (Jesus Christ’s) arrival in the nation, it convicted them and made them antagonistic. They were not about to give up their religious or governmental privileges. That kingdom of righteousness would wipe them away, and they would not stand for it. They would fight against God as much as they could!

“…THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN SUFFERETH VIOLENCE….”

“The kingdom of heaven” here in Matthew 11:12 is the same as the “kingdom of heaven” that we read John the Baptist preaching in Matthew 3:1-2: “[1] In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

However, by the time of Matthew chapter 11, a year has (or two years have) passed. Jesus Christ has preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). He has been teaching and preaching “the gospel of the kingdom,” and healing all manner of disease and sickness among the people of Israel (Matthew 9:35). By the time of Matthew chapter 11, John the Baptist’s ministry has ended. He is in prison, awaiting execution. Matthew 11:2-3: “[2] Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, [3] And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” Actually, John was imprisoned back in Matthew 4:12, several months (to perhaps two years) earlier.

When Jesus said in Matthew 11:12 “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,” He was pointing out the immense persecution resulting from the Gospel of the Kingdom being preached. Satan was putting up quite a fight to keep Israel in spiritual blindness. King Herod had arrested John the Baptist and would soon behead him. In the coming months, the opposition against Jesus Himself would increase. In Matthew chapter 12, we read about the Israeli religious leaders’ first conspiracy to take Jesus’ life (see verse 14). Now comes the pinnacle of Israel’s resistance to Jesus’ earthly ministry.

“AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE.”

This is where most difficulty with Matthew 11:12 arises. What does it mean, “and the violent take it by force?” We want to take special care to make it clear here.

One modern English version says: “And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].” The bracketed commentary represents a popular view of the latter part of the verse. Those taking the kingdom of heaven “by force” are assumed to be believers trying enter the kingdom of heaven. But, if we compare Scripture with Scripture, that is not the case.

It would be awfully strange for God’s Word to refer to believers as “violent” and them “by force” taking the kingdom of God. If that were true, we would expect the Bible to say, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent ENTER it by force.” These people are not entering the kingdom of heaven; they are taking it (as in stealing)! Furthermore, we already saw that the “violence” in Matthew 11:12 was caused by unbelievers. Those forcefully taking the kingdom of heaven would—as per common sense—mean unbelievers as well!

A popular view of interpreting Matthew 11:12 is to appeal to Luke 16:16. While I definitely agree third-thirds of each verse is similar, their latter phrases are different and should not be used interchangeably.

  • Matthew 11:12: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
  • Luke 16:16: “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”

Are “the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12) and “every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16) synonymous? Again, some say yes (go back to that modern version we quoted at the beginning of the section). However, let me remind you again of our earlier comments. The “violence” in Matthew 11:12 referred to unbelievers opposing God’s people. Those forcefully taking the kingdom would be unbelievers as well!

The people in Matthew 11:12 are not “entering” or “pressing into” the kingdom of heaven; they are taking it by force” (as in stealing)! Luke 16:16—“pressing into it”—speaks of something else entirely. Matthew 11:12 talks about lost people taking the kingdom of heaven while Luke 16:16 talks about believers entering the kingdom of heaven. We should not confuse the issues by conflating the verses. They are speaking of separate activities. There are those entering the kingdom of heaven by faith (Luke 16:16), but there are others trying to take that kingdom away from those believers (Matthew 11:12). Remember, during Christ’s earthly ministry, there is a campaign of intimidation, oppression, and other persecution. Israel’s Little Flock is suffering for following Jesus Christ. People are being intimidated into leaving Jesus, or not joining Him at all. John is imprisoned and will lose his life. Jesus Himself will be put to death in another year or so. This leads us to the violent taking the kingdom of heaven by force.

Several months after Matthew chapter 11, and less than a week before His death, the Lord Jesus issued a parable in Matthew chapter 21: “[33] Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: [34] And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. [35] And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. [36] Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. [37] But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. [38] But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. [39] And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. [40] When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

“[41] They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. [42] Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? [43] Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. [44] And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. [45] And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. [46] But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.”

Jesus actually told a parable to the Israeli religious leaders who would shortly put Him to death. Father God had sent prophets to speak to Israel’s religious leaders throughout the centuries, but they killed those prophets. Finally, God sent His Son Jesus Christ, to Israel, but Israel’s religious leaders killed Him too. Jesus Christ, in explaining that parable, said that He would come back and destroy those who would take His life. That is His Second Coming, when He returns to set up His kingdom on the Earth. Having come “full circle,” we see this as “the kingdom of heaven” that John the Baptist preached. Now, let us back up a bit to tie up some “loose ends.”

Pay special attention to Matthew 21:38: “But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.These religious leaders of Israel wanted to kill Jesus Christ in order to take His kingdom from Him (and retain their own power over Israel). They plotted, not only to take the lives of His servants (the prophets), but also to take His life! This is the “the violent take it by force” of Matthew 11:12. These people treated God’s Son in a most violent manner. The King’s murder was the culmination of “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence.” By nailing the Lord Jesus to Calvary’s cross, they thought that His death would be the end of Him. Dead and gone, He could be no King of Israel. They could continue reigning over Israel with their worthless religion. (Of course, we all know the Lord Jesus did not stay dead! He resurrected, and is coming again one day to bring in Israel’s literal, physical, visible, earthly, Davidic kingdom!)

Also see:
» Can you explain Matthew 11:11?
» What is the difference between the “kingdom of heaven” and the “kingdom of God?”
» Was John the Baptist really Elijah?

Can you explain Matthew 11:11?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN MATTHEW 11:11?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Some find Matthew 11:11 very tricky: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” What does it mean, “he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than [John the Baptist]?” Will John the Baptist not be in the kingdom of heaven?

The Russellites (so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”) have taken Matthew 11:11 and twisted it to bolster their “terrestrial/celestial kingdom” tenet. They unapologetically teach that “only 144,000 will go to heaven” (“celestial kingdom”). According to them, the rest of the believers in Christ will dwell on earth (“terrestrial kingdom”). They say that all unbelievers will be “destroyed, annihilated” (instead of enduring a literal place of unending torment, “Hell,” they cease to exist). While the theological positions of the Russellites are extremely shaky and downright heretical at times, time and space limit us to commenting on their interpretation of Matthew 11:11. In the back of their “New World Translation” (the official “WatchTower Society” “bible”), there is an appendix of brief notes and references concerning various topics. Under the topic of “Life,” they have: “Not even John the Baptizer to be in heavenly kingdom…. Mt 11:11.” There, they also mention, “Only 144,000 taken from earth.”

We should not be shocked that Russellites confuse Matthew 11:11. After all, the New World Translation says there: “Truly I say to YOU people, Among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is.” This is somewhat awkward English, making the verse obscure. Notice the “hard-to-read” King James Bible is actually easier: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

It is somewhat comical that someone would read Matthew 11:11 and conclude John the Baptist would not be in the kingdom of heaven at all. The verse said nothing of the kind—not even in the New World Translation! We do not read in their own “bible:” “Truly I say to YOU people, Among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but he will be forbidden from the kingdom of the heavens and others better than he will go in.” If I were a Russellite, I would have translated my “bible” this way in this verse. Left alone, that verse is the last I would appeal to in order to preclude John the Baptist from the kingdom of heaven!

The emphasis in the verse is not John the Baptist the man. What is being stressed here is his office, his function. What was his role? Why, dear friend, rather than endlessly wondering or idly speculating, read the verse before it! Matthew 11:10-11 says: “[10] For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. [11] Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Rather than grabbing verse 11 and yanking it from its context (as Russellites and others do), we use verse 10 to interpret it. The Lord Jesus Himself said John the Baptist was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi 3:1: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” (cf. Mark 1:1-4).

What was John the Baptist’s purpose? Malachi 3:1 said that he was to “prepare the way before [Jesus Christ, JEHOVAH God in the flesh].” John’s role was to announce to the nation Israel that her Messiah had arrived. Luke 1:16-17 says of John before his birth: “[16] And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. [17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

As document in Matthew 3:1-17, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3:1-18, and John 1:6-34, John the Baptist conducted a ministry and preached, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jews awaiting Messiah’s coming went out to John and “were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matthew 3:6). Acts 13:24 summarizes: “When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” These believers formed “the Little Flock” (Luke 12:32), the believing remnant in Israel that would become God’s “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9). They saw Jesus as their Messiah/Christ. Unlike the unbelievers in Israel, these saints would inherit God’s earthly kingdom (Luke 12:32).

John’s baptism made the conversion of the Little Flock possible because it made the introduction and acceptance of Jesus possible. After all, Father God sent John the Baptist to prepare Israel for His Son’s arrival. The Bible says, “There was a man sent from God, who name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe…. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:6-7,34). What the Old Testament prophets only spoke of and saw with eyes of faith centuries prior, John had the privilege of personally seeing and introducing Israel to her Messiah! The office John held was valuable only because of the Person it exalted. John was just an ordinary man, but he was preaching Jesus Christ, the universe’s greatest Person!

Still, Acts 13:24 reminds us: “When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” John the Baptist did not have a ministry to the whole world. Unlike today’s missionaries, he did not go to all nations preaching Jesus Christ and water baptizing all nations. The Bible is clear that John the Baptist’s ministry was confined to the nation Israel. As spectacular as John’s role was, it only involved Israel’s conversion. All members of the Little Flock (true Israel) will have a much more magnificent ministry than John. When Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming, the Little Flock (Jewish believers in Israel’s prophetic program—including John the Baptist) will enter God’s earthly kingdom. The God of heaven will set up a kingdom on Earth, and thus it is called “the kingdom of heaven.” When the kingdom of heaven is established, when the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ begins, there will be worldwide revival. Every member of the Little Flock will personally introduce Jesus Christ to the believing Gentiles (nations). This is a more extensive ministry than John the Baptist’s. Matthew 11:11 again: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

The Prophet Jeremiah said in chapter 31: “[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: [33] But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. [34] And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

The whole purpose of the New Covenant is to make the nation Israel God’s people. It applies Jesus Christ’s shed blood to them, resulting in the cleansing of their national sins (cf. Hebrews 10:1-22, note especially verses 10-17). Every Jew, “least and greatest,” will “know the LORD.” They will all have a personal relationship with JEHOVAH God and they will all know His laws. Why will they have this special association with the one true God? They will be thus qualified to be heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant. God wants to bless Israel and make her a blessing to all nations.

Genesis 12:1-3 says: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” With the nation converted and entering the Millennium, those redeemed Jews become a kingdom of priests who go and evangelize the nations. This was God’s intention in the Abrahamic Covenant. Once the New Covenant is ratified at Christ’s Second Coming, and the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ begins on Earth, read the following verses and watch Israel function in her God-given capacity.

Zechariah 8:20-23: “[20] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: [21] And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. [22] Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. [23] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

Matthew 28:18-20 says to Israel’s believing remnant: “[18] And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. [19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Numbers 23:9 says Israel “shall not be reckoned among the nations.” This means, when paired with Matthew 28:19, that Israel is not to be taught the things of God in the Millennium. Why? They already know God’s laws because they have been given the New Covenant! They are now to teach God’s Word to the Gentiles (non-Jews, the nations).

Revelation 5:10 says of believing Israel: “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” First Peter 2:8-10 amplifies: “[8] And [Jesus Christ, verse 5, is] a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. [9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” Isaiah 61:6 prophesies of believing Israel in her Millennial Kingdom: “But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.”

Isaiah 60:1-3 says to Israel because Messiah is now in her midst, the Millennium beginning: “[1] Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. [2] For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. [3] And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Finally, Isaiah 2:1-4 is a beautiful summary of the Millennial Kingdom: “[1] The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. [2] And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. [3] And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [4] And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

CONCLUSION

Matthew 11:11 is not difficult to understand, provided we use verse 10 and other Scriptures to interpret it. Every believing Jew in the kingdom of heaven will minister to numerous Gentiles of various nations and languages. In the Millennium, the 1000-Year Reign of Christ on Earth, each member of the Little Flock will have privilege of sharing Jesus Christ with the nations of the world. This is far grander than anything Father God ever sent John the Baptist to do. John’s ministry was restricted to the nation Israel but Israel in the Kingdom will have a worldwide ministry. Nothing is difficult here. The only reason why this becomes hard to grasp is when we start inserting the idle speculations of denominational proponents. Leave religious tradition out of it and all will be clear!

SUPPLEMENTAL: MALACHI 3:1 IN THE “RUSSELLITE BIBLE”

Our King James Bible says in Malachi 3:1: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”

Who is talking in the above verse? The end of the verse says that the speaker is “The LORD of hosts” (JEHOVAH God). Who is the “me” in “he [John] shall prepare the way before me?” Obviously, the “me” is the speaker (JEHOVAH). John is coming to prepare the way before JEHOVAH. Yet, according to the New Testament, John came to prepare the way before Jesus Christ (cf. Mark 1:1-4). This leads to one inevitable conclusion: Jesus Christ and JEHOVAH are one and the same Person.

Horror of horrors, friends! The “Jehovah’s Witness” is shocked to see that we can disprove their theology by appealing to their own “bible.” Malachi 3:1 says in the New World Translation: “ ‘Look! I am sending my messenger, and he must clear up a way before me. And suddenly there will come to His temple the [true] Lord, whom YOU people are seeking, and the messenger of the covenant in whom YOU are delighting. Look! He will certainly come, Jehovah of armies has said.” (The “me” and “Jehovah of armies” are one and the same, Jesus Christ and JEHOVAH are synonymous!)

Also see:
» Can you explain Matthew 11:12?
» Was John the Baptist really Elijah?
» What is the difference between the “kingdom of heaven” and the “kingdom of God?”

What is “the burning ague?”

WHAT IS “THE BURNING AGUE?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

When warning the nation Israel about disobeying the Mosaic Law, or Old Covenant, JEHOVAH God through Moses said: “I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it” (Leviticus 26:16). What is “the burning ague?” Something awful!

The Hebrew word translated “ague” is qaddachath. It appears in Deuteronomy 28:22, a companion verse to Leviticus 26:16: “The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.” Our King James translators here rendered it “fever.” According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “ague” (a-gyoo) is an archaic word meaning, “malaria or another illness involving fever and shivering.” The term comes a Medieval Latin expression febris acuta, or “acute fever.”

“Ague” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia is defined as: “In Le 26:16 the King James Version is one of the diseases threatened as a penalty for disobedience to the law. The malady is said to ‘consume the eyes, and [cause sorrow of heart].’ The word means burning (Vulgate “ardor”) and was probably intended to denote the malarial fever so common now both in the Shephelah and in the Jordan valley.” Easton’s Bible Dictionary adds: “…meaning ‘kindling’, i.e., an inflammatory or burning fever. In Deu 28:22 the word is rendered ‘fever.’”

While we are on the subject, there appears another strange word in Leviticus 26:16. Read the verse again: “I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.” What is “consumption?” (It also appears in Deuteronomy 28:22.) If we use context clues, we can at least say it is a physical illness of some kind.

The Oxford English Dictionary has “consumption” as “a wasting disease, especially pulmonary tuberculosis.” To this The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia partly agrees: “One of the punishments which was to follow neglect or breach of the law. It may mean pulmonary consumption, which occurs frequently in Palestine; but from its association with fever in the texts, Le 26:16; De 28:22, it is more likely to be the much more common condition of wasting and emaciation from prolonged or often recurring attacks of malarial fever.”

Also see:
» What is “the botch of Egypt?”
» Did Goliath suffer from a brain tumor?
» What are “emerods?”

How did the Great Flood’s water save the eight souls in 1 Peter 3:20?

HOW DID THE GREAT FLOOD’S WATER SAVE THE EIGHT SOULS IN 1 PETER 3:20?

by Shawn Brasseaux

A very awkward preposition appears in 1 Peter 3:20 of the King James Bible: “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” Did not the water of the Great Flood in Noah’s lifetime drown and kill? Then, how is it that eight souls were “saved by water?” And, from what did that water save them? Lastly, why would the Apostle Peter even mention in his first epistle something that happened so long ago?

The Great Flood of Noah’s lifetime was the most catastrophic event ever to occur in human history. There was unparalleled devastation, literally worldwide ruin, in all natural realms. With greatly accelerated rates of erosion, transportation, and deposition of sediment, Earth’s surface was drastically changed. Even its atmosphere was altered significantly. With the exception of those on the Ark, all members of the animal kingdom died. Save the eight souls onboard, the entire human race perished in watery graves. Such violent waters drowned many millions of—perhaps a few billion—people. Today’s fossil record is one of the evidences of a worldwide, systematic extermination of all kinds of life-forms. Modern floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mudslides, and tsunamis we experience allow us to partially understand the terrible natural conditions that occurred during the Great Deluge. Massive canyons with “puny” rivers flowing through them, major orogeny (mountain building), the divisions of continental landmasses, gigantic impact craters, and other physical landforms, show us Earth’s history has the blot of an unmatched and cataclysmic event. (As an Earth scientist, I enjoyed that digression, but let us now get back to the Bible text!)

Depending on the context, the Greek word “dia” can be translated either “by” or “through.” In the King James Bible, it was rendered “by” in 1 Peter 3:20: “eights souls were saved by water.” Some modern English versions make the verse say “through.” That is, “by” was so problematic that the standard 400-year-old English reading was changed to “through.” When reading the King James Bible, some will actually have the audacity to “correct” the word “by” and make the text say “through” (encouraging unbelief and the exaltation of man’s opinions over God’s Word). If we give our Authorized Version translators the benefit of the doubt, however, we will wind up in faith rather than doubt. What if I told you that verse 21 held the key to the proper translation of the word “dia” in verse 20? Let me prove it to you.

We turn to read 1 Peter 3:21: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:….” Is water baptism “saving” these individuals? Well, if words mean anything, the answer is, “YES!” “…[E]ven baptism doth also now save us….” Is water “saving” those in verse 21? Yes! Could water in verse 20 (our “problem” verse) be “saving” those in that verse 20? Yes! Verse 21’s “the like figure” points back to verse 20. The Noahic floodwaters of verse 20 preview that which those in verse 21 are saved by (and from)! If that sounds like nonsense, just wait a bit longer for me to flesh it out. It will become clear shortly.

Think about what was going on during the time of the Great Flood. (Historically, those events are recorded in the Bible in Genesis chapters 7 and 8.) Water was coming from beneath Earth’s surface, and it was coming down from heaven. A universal ocean was forming on the planet. All landmasses—even their mountain ranges—were completely covered. As water levels rose because of the rain and groundwater introductions, as the continental plates sank, and as the oceanic plates rose to deliver seawater onto the landmasses, Earth’s surface was progressively inundated. The lowest elevations (coastal plains, canyons, lake/sea basins, river valleys, et cetera) were filled first. Of course, mountains were the last to flood. Animal, plant, and human carcasses floated. Sediments—even gigantic boulders—were lifted and carried about and violently deposited. (Sorry for the science excursion again!)

What else rose with those water levels? Why, the Ark, the buoyant and waterproof boat that God commanded Noah to build to the saving of his house (Genesis chapter 6). That giant marvelous vessel began to lift from the surface of Earth. In fact, the language of the Bible is that the water level had to rise for 40 days around the world before the Ark actually began to float! Genesis 7:17-18: “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.” While it is mathematically impossible to figure out the volume of water needed to bring this to pass, the mere thought is staggering… to say the least!

Getting back to the Apostle Peter’s comments, we can see why the Holy Spirit said what He did. Why did the 1611 translators choose the word “by” instead of “through?” Something did not merely save Noah and his family through the water (as in the Ark passing through the water). There is more going on in Genesis chapters 7 and 8. Peter’s emphasis is on the water actually saving them. Remember, verse 21 says that water baptism saves Peter’s audience (which is certainly not us, but the nation Israel). In keeping with verse 21, verse 20 would have water saving people as well. The floodwaters in Noah’s day had a dual application. Firstly, they destroyed the evil human race and made way for a new world. Secondly, the waters lifted up Noah and his family, as the Ark floated above God’s judgment poured out on that wicked civilization. Without the water carrying the Ark, those in the Ark could not be saved from the water. Buoyancy in the water kept them from drowning with all the others in the water!

When the Holy Spirit led Peter to write 1 Peter 3:21, He was pointing back to Ezekiel as well as Matthew (and John the Baptist). Water baptism in Israel’s program symbolizes national repentance and cleansing from idolatry. Notice Ezekiel chapter 36: “[21] But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. [22] Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. [23] And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

“[24] For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. [25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. [26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Please notice verse 25 especially—the sprinkling of clean water to cleanse Israel from all her filthiness and all her idols.)

Following Ezekiel’s prophecy, John the Baptist conducted his ministry. Matthew 3:1-12 tells us all about it: “[1] In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [3] For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. [4] And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

“[5] Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, [6] And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. [7] But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [8] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: [9] And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

“[10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

The Jews coming to John’s water baptism were preparing for God’s wrath to come (see verse 7 above). God’s wrath was approaching, soon to be poured out upon idolatrous Israel. Those who had come in faith and repentance to John’s baptism would be saved through that wrath (seven-year Tribulation and subsequent Second Coming of Christ). That wrath was anticipated in early Acts. Hence, the Apostle Peter continued preaching water baptism, as Acts 2:38-40 confirms: “[38] Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [39] For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. [40] And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

That “untoward generation” (verse 40) was the unbelieving, rebellious Jews. Weeks earlier, they had rejected and crucified Jesus as a fraud, a liar. Instead of trusting Him as Messiah, they denied Him. Unfortunately, they were still in unbelief on the Day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2). These people would be consumed in God’s wrath. Peter urged his Jewish audience to leave apostate Israel and join the “Little Flock” (Israel’s believing remnant). As the Lord Jesus had said in Luke 12:32, members of this Little Flock would be the heirs of the literal, physical, visible, Davidic kingdom that Israel had been expecting for many centuries. Read Jesus’ comments in Luke 12:31-31: “[31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

CONCLUSION

Just as the floodwaters bore the Ark, so that it floated and delivered the believers from God’s wrath, so water baptism delivers the believing Jews from being consumed in God’s wrath during the Tribulation and Second Coming of Christ. The water “saved” Noah and his family by floating them to safety. Likewise, the water baptism “saves” Israel by preserving them through that fiery wrath of the end-times. We have no reason to change the King James Bible in 1 Peter 3:20—eight souls were saved “by” water. This is in accordance with Jewish souls being saved “by” water during the conclusion of Israel’s prophetic program (future from us). Hence, I will leave the King James Bible text alone and just believe it. I have no business correcting it; it should be correcting me. (And, as far as I am concerned, it just did.)

Also see:
» Can you explain 1 Peter 3:18-21?
» Do I need water baptism?
» Why was water baptism necessary in Israel’s program?

Why does the King James Bible say, “pisseth against the wall?”

WHY DOES THE KING JAMES BIBLE SAY, “PISSETH AGAINST THE WALL?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Any reader of the Authorized Version has encountered this phrase several times in the “Old Testament.” It is an object of criticism in the lips and pens of King James Bible critics. Some genuine Bible-believing Christians, including myself, have stumbled over it for years. It is quite embarrassing to some. Is not “piss” slang and vulgar? How can God’s Word use it over and over again? Were the 1611 translators wrong for employing the term? And, how is “against a wall” related to all of this? Prepare for a Bible lesson, cultural insight, and some studies in etymology!

The phrase “pisseth against the (/a) wall” appears six times in the King James Bible. Notice:

  • 1 Samuel 25:22: “So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.”
  • 1 Samuel 25:34: “For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.”
  • 1 Kings 14:10: “Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.”
  • 1 Kings 16:11: “And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.”
  • 1 Kings 21:21: “Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,….”
  • 2 Kings 9:8: “For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel:….”

A LESSON IN TRANSLATION

Strong’s Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary of the Old Testament has the following as entry #H8366: “שָׁתַן shâthan, shaw-than’; a primitive root; (causatively) to make water, i.e. urinate:—piss.” In other words, “piss” is a valid translation of the underlying Hebrew text of the King James Bible Old Testament. We will get to all the various aspects of the matter. For now, just notice that “piss” is no “mis-translation” on the part of the 1611 translators. They knew exactly what they were doing.

A LESSON IN EASTERN CULTURE

Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon has the following entry for שָׁתַן shâthan:”

“….MAKING WATER…. It occurs in this one phrase, [placeholder for Hebrew characters] ‘one making water against the wall,’ which is generally a contemptuous designation for a little boy, especially when mention is made of extirpating a whole race or family, 1 Ki. 16:11, ‘he slew all the house of Baasha, and left him none, mingens ad parietem (not even a boy), relations and friends;’ 1 Ki. 14:10; 21:21; 1 Sa. 25:22, 34; 2 Ki. 9:8; compare the same phrase in Syriac, e. g. Assem. Bibl. Orient. ii. p. 260, ‘an diœcesis sacra Gumæ (me teneat) in qua non remansit qui mingat ad parietem?’ i.e. quæ tota devastata est. The phrase seems to be used contemptuously to denote a boy, because adults in the East regard decency in doing this sitting down [covered with their garments], nor would they do it in the sight of others (Herod. ii. 35; Cyrop. i. 2, §16; Ammian. Marcell. xxiii. 6). Some have understood a slave, and a person of the lowest rank (Jahn, Arch. i. 2, p. 77; Hermeneut. Sacræ, p. 31), and some have understood a dog (Ephr. Syr. Opp. i. 542; Abulwalid, Judah ben Karish MSS., Kimchi, Jarchi); but both of these are unsuitable to the context of the passages. See Lud. de Dieu, on 1 Sam. 25:34; Boch. Hieroz. i. p. 675.” (Bold emphasis mine.)

In light of the above facts, modern English versions (NIV, NASB, ESV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV, et cetera) are incorrect when they substitute the King James’ “him/any that pisseth against the (/a) wall” with “single male” or “every male.” The original Hebrew phrase did not mean any and every male, but rather indicative of male children. It singles out little boys, signifying that they will die before reaching adulthood. The King James Bible text is specific—boys rather than adult men. This narrowing-down allows us to see that these individuals will not even be allowed to reproduce. Their dying as (childless) juveniles is much more devastating to a family than dying adults who have already reproduced. The youngest generations are vital to the perpetuation of the family.

A LESSON IN FIRST WORD APPEARANCES

According to Merriam-Webster’s website, the first known use of the word “urinate” was in 1599. “Piss,” however, is much older—Merriam-Webster dates it back to the 14th century (1300s). Dictionary.com estimates “piss” originated 1250–1300, while “urinate” appeared approximately 1590–1600. We see that “piss” was the original word. This information greatly helps us in understanding the Bible issue at hand. When the King James Bible was translated (1604–1610) and published (1611), “urinate” was still a new word (as best as we can tell, at most 20 years old). Hence, the King James Bible and its English predecessors would have used the more familiar, the more common, “piss.”

A LESSON IN ETYMOLOGY

Our English word “piss” came from the Middle English pissen, from the Old French pissier, itself derived from the Vulgar Latin *pisiāre “(imitative).” The word is an example of onomatopoeia—that is, the term imitates the sound. The term “piss” was not originally meant to be offensive; it was simply conveying the noise of urination (the dictionary calls it “imitative,” please note). While sinful man has degenerated the word “piss” to now be a vulgar and slang term, it was not viewed offensive in early English. Are we beginning to gain valuable insight here? I hope so!

When we consider the fact that the 1611 Authorized Version translators were God-fearing, Jesus-Christ-trusting, very scholarly (educated), and morally upright men; we give them the benefit of the doubt that they would have used proper, eloquent English when handling God’s precious words. There are many times in the Bible text where our 1611 scholars actually rendered words mildly that could have been translated quite bluntly (various horrific acts and statements of Bible characters, intense or intimate situations, awkward conditions, et cetera—for examples, see our related studies linked at the end of this article). “Piss” in no way was disrespectful when they used it. They did not use the term as “street-talkers” use it today. It was the common term at the time, so it was acceptable. Since the King James Bible’s English is a dead language, its meaning has not changed in the Bible text. It still has a pure meaning. Friend, there is no need to be uncomfortable.

A LESSON IN TEACHING

As English-speaking people in the 21st century, we would do well to remember the current and usual meaning of the word “piss.” It is often used negatively, vulgarly, disrespectfully. What should we do when we come across this phrase when publicly reading the King James Bible? Should we remove “pisseth against the wall?” Certainly not. “Every word” in the King James Bible is important because every word of God” is important (Matthew 4:4). We should take nothing from the Bible. It is not the job of the Bible preacher or teacher to attack or correct the textbook. The Bible preacher or teacher is to read the Bible text as it is, without making changes, and then explain any difficulties. If there is an archaic word, define it for your audience rather than toss it out! If there is encountered a technical term, an unfamiliar cultural reference, an enigmatic geographic location, et cetera; be the Bible teacher and teach it! Do not deprive your audience of the education the King James Bible affords.

CONCLUSION

Before your audience, read the “pisseth against the wall” verses as they are (it is no different than the Authorized Version’s “ass” verses that refer to a “donkey”). Then be every careful to clarify and say…. “Let me stop a few moments to explain this special phrase. ‘Urinate’ was a new word at the time of the Authorized Version’s production (1611); it had not come into common English usage yet. ‘Piss’ was the older and more familiar term. It was purer then than it is now: it was not vulgar then as it is today. Now, to the ‘against the wall’ part. At the time of this Bible verse, in the East, it was common for an adult man to sit down and urinate, thus giving him privacy. [Notice how you switch the term here, as you are no longer directly quoting the Authorized Version.] A boy was less indecent, exposing himself, while urinating. The term ‘he that pisseth against the wall’ refers strictly to a boy rather than an adult man.”

The above handling of the King James Bible allows three things.

Firstly, you are not criticizing the Bible text. You are showing people how they can believe it, trust it, embrace it. You do not say, “This Bible verse or word is wrong. It should be translated as….” (If you do, then they will wonder, “If this is wrong, what other mistakes are there in Scripture?” They will ask, “What else can I not believe in the Bible?” Then you become the authority, making the Bible say something so that it agrees with your understanding. Ultimately, you also look foolish, having undermined the book you claim to “believe” and “defend!”) There is no “wrong translation.” The only person who complains “wrong translation” or “disrespectful interpretation” is one too ignorant on the subject to provide authoritative, meaningful commentary. (Friend, I hope there was nothing hard to understand in that last sentence! I meant it wholeheartedly.)

Secondly, you as the Bible teacher or preacher are doing your job. You are explaining something that requires study (which is what you should have already done to prepare your sermon). By you adequately preparing to minister to them, you can greatly help them in their spiritual journey. Your audience can expand their English vocabulary, can appreciate their language better, can glimpse into Old Testament Eastern history, and so on. Best of all, there is an opportunity to become more familiar with the Bible text! We need not fear unfamiliar items in Scripture.

Lastly, you are silencing the King James Bible critics. You are equipping people with the knowledge they need to answer those who want them to disbelieve the Bible. For any in your audience who are unsaved people (Bible haters, Bible critics), they have occasion to see the Bible as it is to be properly understood. Perhaps your “unheard-of statements” will grab their attention and cause them to research the Bible themselves. Maybe they will not be so careless next time when complaining about the Scriptures. There is nothing dirty or evil about the phrase “pisseth against the wall” as it sits in the Bible text. Our 1611 translators in no way would defile God’s Holy Word. We give them the benefit of the doubt, even more so after researching the matter.

Also see:
» What are “emerods?”
» What is “the botch of Egypt?”
» What was wrong with Leah’s eyes?

What does “joined hard” mean in Acts 18:7?

WHAT DOES “JOINED HARD” MEAN IN ACTS 18:7?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Acts 18:7 in the King James Bible, we encounter a strange expression: “And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.” What does “joined hard” mean? Is there some clue in the Bible text to help us?

As Acts chapter 18 opens, the Apostle Paul is nearing the end of his second apostolic journey. He is traveling through southern Greece, or Achaia. Leaving Athens (chapter 17), he comes to the city of Corinth. The verses are self-explanatory for our purposes here, so they will be provided without interruptions. Read the surrounding verses and then we can address the “problem” term.

Acts 18:1-10: “[1] After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; [2] And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome: ) and came unto them. [3] And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

“[4] And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. [5] And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. [6] And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. [7] And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. [8] And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”

Justus was a Gentile proselyte, or convert to Judaism. The Bible says his house “joined hard to the synagogue.” What does that mean? In 1 Kings 21:1-2, we see a similar usage of the word “hard.” Read it now: “[1] And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. [2] And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.” Did you catch how the King James Bible defined itself? To be “hard by” means they are “near unto.”

To “join hard” (Acts 18:7) carries the meaning of sharing a common wall. Justus’ house was on one side of the wall, and the synagogue was on the other side of the same wall. We might say they were “next door” (like some modern English versions), although “joining hard” is more specific because it identifies a shared wall. Structures can be “next door” without being physically attached to one another. In the King James Bible, the verb “join” has been paired with the adverb “hard,” with “hard” here meaning “to the fullest extent possible” (like to “a hard steer to the right”).

Also see:
» What does “fetch a compass” mean?
» Is the King James word “borrow” a mistranslation in Exodus 3:22?
» What are “lewd fellows of the baser sort?”