Monthly Archives: September 2018

Does the Bible support British Israelism?

DOES THE BIBLE SUPPORT BRITISH ISRAELISM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Central to the movement of British Israelism or Anglo-Israelism is the belief that the so-called “10 lost tribes of Israel” are the modern British and American peoples. Another main tenet of this system is that Israelites and Jews are two separate classes. Back in the latter half of the 20th century, Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the cultic Worldwide Church of God (“Armstrongism”), was a famous promoter of British Israelism. While still lacking widespread support, its terminology has crept into Christian thinking and conversation. Our goal in this “brief” study is two-fold: (1) to examine the two chief ideas associated with this theological system, and (2) to see if they align with the Holy Scriptures.

WERE THE 10 NORTHERN TRIBES EVER “LOST?”

Proponents of British Israelism contend that the 10 northern tribes (Israel) were “lost” once they went into the Assyrian captivity. These lost tribes eventually migrated from Palestine, over into Assyria, through Europe, to ultimately become the British people (and American people)—hence, the names “British Israelism” or “Anglo-Israelism.” This notion is unscriptural on three points.

Firstly, when idolatrous King Jeroboam (servant of the late King Solomon) established a false religious system in the Northern Kingdom of Israel (cf. 1 Kings 12:25-33), believers in JEHOVAH God migrated to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Thereafter, members of all 12 tribes lived in the Southern Kingdom to worship the one true God at the Jerusalem Temple. This resettlement occurred before the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. Again, representatives of all 12 tribes were in the Southern Kingdom before Assyria captured the Northern Kingdom (Israel) in 722 B.C. Those carried away into Assyria were apostates, idolaters, unbelievers.

Second Chronicles chapter 11: “[13] And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts. [14] For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD: [15] And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. [16] And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.

Second Chronicles chapter 15: “[8] And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD. [9] And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.”

Second Chronicles chapter 35: “[17] And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. [18] And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

The descendants of the 10 northern tribes returned from Babylon to Jerusalem as recorded in Ezra chapter 6: “[16] And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy. [17] And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.” Friend, you should be very careful to note that all 12 tribes are present in the land of Canaan when they returned from the Babylonian captivity! There are no “lost” tribes!!

Secondly, the Lord Jesus Christ, when preaching to and converting “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24), did not visit the North American or European continents. According to Scripture, He conducted His earthly ministry only in the Middle East! He did not sail across the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, or English Channel. The Lord Jesus was under the impression that representatives of all 12 tribes of Israel were present in Galilee (north) and Judaea (south). When He commissioned His 12 Apostles, He told them to preach “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6). To where did He send them? The British Isles? North America? Europe? He sent them to the land of Canaan, where He conducted His own ministry with them!

The Apostle Peter preached in Acts 10:37-39: “That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:….” Note “the land of the Jews” is comparable to “all Judaea… from Galilee.” Peter makes no difference between the land of “Jews” (southern) and the land of “Israel” (northern). We will talk more about this later.

Thirdly, when Baby Jesus was being presented in the Jerusalem Temple, there was a prophetess named Anna. Luke 2:36 says she is “of the tribe of Aser.” “Aser” is the Greek spelling of the Hebrew name Asher, one of the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom. In Judah, the Southern Kingdom, there is a descendant of the Northern Kingdom. Her bloodline—or technically Asher’s bloodline—is intact and not “lost” at all. What is lost is that political entity, those dynasties (kingly bloodlines), that ruled over the Northern Kingdom. The bloodlines of the 10 northern tribes are still in existence in the land of Palestine at the time of Christ, before He even began His earthly ministry.

NOT ALL ISRAELITES ARE JEWS?

British Israelists are quite significant in differentiating between a “Jew” (Southern Kingdom) and an “Israelite” (Northern Kingdom). The Bible makes no such distinction—whether before the captivity, during the captivity, or after the captivity. All Israelites are Jews and all Jews are Israelites. That is what the Bible says. God has no problem using these titles interchangeably. A Jew is an Israelite, and an Israelite is a Jew. Watch and see the irrefutable testimony of the Holy Bible!

Before the captivity. Genesis 14:13 says Abraham was the first “Hebrew.” (This will be useful to us later.)

During the captivity. The terms “Hebrew” and “Jew” are exchangeable. Jeremiah 34:9 says, “That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother.” (This will be useful to us later.)

During the captivity. Daniel 1:3 says of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar invading and deporting Jerusalem: “And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;….” Jerusalem, of course, is the capital of the Southern Kingdom. Yet, “the children of Israel” are living in Jerusalem and thereafter taken away captive to Babylon! This cannot be, unless, of course, we remember the believers from the 10 northern tribes (Israel) migrated south when Rehoboam corrupted their land with idolatry centuries earlier. Contrary to British Israelism, “Israelites” are in Judah, and not entirely removed to Assyria!

After the captivity. Acts 2:5 says “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.” Now, verse 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:….” In verse 22, Peter then calls them “ye men of Israel.” Finally, in verse 36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” We see that the Holy Spirit calls them “Jews” (verse 5), “men of Judaea” (verse 14), “men of Israel” (verse 22), and “all the house of Israel” (verse 36). This is another clear proof from Scripture that British Israelism makes distinctions that God the Holy Spirit does not!

After the captivity. First Corinthians 10:32 speaks of three classes of people present in the Book of Acts—“the Jews, the Gentiles, and the church of God.” Where are the “Israelites?” Why, they are “the Jews!” The Holy Spirit sees no difference between “Israelites” and “Jews.” If He did, the verse would have said, “the Jews, the Israelites, the Gentiles, and the church of God.” Why does it not read thus?

After the captivity. Romans 9:24 says, “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” Why did Paul not say “Israelites” here? Does God save only Gentiles and people who are of the Southern Kingdom? What nonsense! “Jews” is being used as a synonym for “Israelites.” All 12 tribes are included—otherwise, we are forced to conclude that God does not justify anyone from the 10 northern tribes!! (And, then, this would nullify the British-Israelistic idea of God’s blessings on “United-States-being-Manasseh, Britain-being-Ephraim!”)

After the captivity. In Matthew 4:18, the Bible says Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee and chose Simon Peter and brother Andrew as Apostles. These, along with the other nine apostles (minus deceased Judas Iscariot) are addressed as “men of Galilee” in Acts 1:11. Galilee is what we would understand as the former Northern Kingdom. The Apostle Paul, in Galatians 2:15, says to Peter, “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles….” Paul did not distinguish between “Israelite” (Northern Kingdom) and “Jew” (Southern Kingdom). Peter was of the Northern Kingdom and yet a “Jew.” British Israelism is again discredited as a figment of someone’s imagination.

After the captivity. Paul claims in Romans 11:1 to be of the tribe of Benjamin, part of the Southern Kingdom (Judah). He also declares to be an “Israelite.” Notice his own words: “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” This is repeated in 2 Corinthians 11:22: “Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.” Once more, Philippians 3:5: “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;….” These verses should not be thus if British Israelism is correct. “Hebrew,” “Jew” (Galatians 2:15), and “Israelite” are all synonyms, which ties back to Abraham in Genesis 14:13 as well as Jeremiah 34:9.

CONCLUSION

Basically, British Israelism (Anglo-Israelism) is false teaching. It is nothing but a subtle attempt of professing Christians trying to seize Israel’s blessings by claiming to be Israel. In other words, it is a gateway for embracing “Replacement Theology” (also called “Covenant Theology”). We the Church the Body of Christ have not replaced Israel; we are not Israel!! Yet, some adherents of British Israelism have gone so far as to declare that the (Gentile) British Monarchy is the modern manifestation of the Davidic dynasty. Britain is seen as the tribe of Ephraim, and the United States is viewed as the tribe of Manasseh. British Israelism is vain theological speculation. Like so many other eccentric ideas in Christendom, it stems from a failure to “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). People are not separating Israel from the Body of Christ, prophecy from mystery, Peter from Paul, Law from Grace, and so on, and thus wind up in terrible confusion. Beware and flee it!

Actually, it makes no difference whether we are a Jew or a Gentile today in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. People who profess to be Jews today—especially so-called “spiritual Jews”—assume that it is beneficial to being a Jew today, that God favors a Jew over a Gentile since Israel is God’s special nation in the Bible. They are arguing about something Scriptures says does not matter in light of the dispensational changes that occurred in the Book of Acts. There is currently no advantage to being a Jew and there is currently no disadvantage to being a Gentile. In this dispensation, the ground is level at the foot of Calvary’s cross!

  • “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:22).
  • “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
  • “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6).
  • “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15).
  • “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

Today, in our Dispensation of Grace, God “hath concluded them all [Jew and Gentile] in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32). National Israel is fallen today. Romans chapter 11 already declared: “[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: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

Israel rejected her Messiah (Jesus) and refused to accept Him in early Acts period. Today, consequently, everyone is a Gentile before God. Israel no longer has a special position before God: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Romans 11:28). National Israel is God’s enemy today. As we already saw, salvation is going to us Gentiles without Israel. The Jews are not ministering as a “kingdom of priests” to evangelize Gentiles (that will come one day after God concludes our program—Zechariah 8:20-23, Isaiah 60:1-3, Exodus 19:5-6). Today, salvation is coming to us Gentiles (nations), not through Israel’s rise (Genesis 12:1-3), but through Israel’s fall. We must believe today the Apostle Paul’s message, the Gospel of the Grace of God, to have a right standing before God: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Ephesians 2:11-18: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

Also see:
» Have we been “grafted into Israel?”
» When did Paul know about Israel’s fall?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?

When did Paul know about Israel’s fall?

WHEN DID PAUL KNOW ABOUT ISRAEL’S FALL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

When did the Apostle Paul learn of Israel’s fall? Not “For what saith the preacher?” Not “For what saith the denomination?” Not “For what saith the commentary?” “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Ironically, in order to answer this question, we must work backwards in the Bible. We begin at the end of the Acts period. Reading from Acts chapter 28: “[25] And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, [26] Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: [27] For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. [28] Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.”

If we proceeded no further in our Bible understanding, we would conclude that Israel fell before God right here. Not surprisingly, some appeal to this passage to teach that the nation Israel fell at the end of the Book of Acts, that she was judicially set aside at the close of Acts. Consequently, these individuals are called “Acts 28ers.” They believe that God continued to operate Israel’s prophetic program, her covenants, for the entirety of the Acts period—even during Paul’s ministry. We cannot agree with these conclusions for a host of Scriptural reasons. (See our “Acts 9/28 Hybrid Theology” study linked at the end of this article. Time and space do not permit us here to discuss this technical topic.)

Returning to Acts chapter 28, verse 28: “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” This sounds exactly like Romans 11:11-13. Therefore, we turn to Romans chapter 11: “[7] What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. [8] (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; ) unto this day. [9] And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: [10] Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

“[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] 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 [Israel] 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: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. [15] For if the casting away of them [Israel] be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

“[16] For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. [17] And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; [18] Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. [19] Thou wilt say then, The branches [Israel] were broken off, that I might be graffed in. [20] Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: [21] For if God spared not the natural branches [Israel], take heed lest he also spare not thee. [22] Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them [Israel] which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. [23] And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. [24] For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?

“[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. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. [28] As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. [29] For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: [31] Even so have these [Israel] also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. [32] For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

One would have to be willingly ignorant not to see in Romans chapter 11 that Paul knew of Israel’s fall. Based on the information found in Romans 15:24-28, we know that Paul wrote the Book of Romans in Acts 20:1-3. Still, he knew about Israel’s fall even before Acts chapter 20. Let us go back in time.

Paul declared in Corinth (Greece, Europe) in Acts chapter 18: “[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.” Israel is fallen, and Paul knows it here too. Nevertheless, he knew about Israel’s fall long before Acts chapter 18. We go back in time yet again.

In Acts chapter 13, Paul announced in Antioch of Pisidia (Asia Minor, Turkey): “[46] Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. [47] For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. [48] And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Paul understands Israel’s fall here, yet he knew of it even before Acts chapter 13.

Some three years after Paul’s conversion (cf. Galatians 1:15-18), we read in Acts chapter 9: “[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.” We do not read about it here, but something supernatural occurred in Jerusalem that caused Paul to escape Jerusalem. Paul speaks of this many years later.

Acts chapter 22: “[17] And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; [18] And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. [19] And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: [20] And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. [21] And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.”

In Acts 9:26-29, Paul knew that Israel was fallen because the Lord Jesus Christ told him that her capital city, Jerusalem, would not accept his testimony. Paul understands that he will have a ministry far, far away from the land of Canaan. He knows that God’s Word will spread well beyond Jerusalem and Israel. As Paul travels around preaching the Gospel of Grace over a period of 30 years (the rest of Acts), Israel will learn of her national and spiritual fall. See the verses we read earlier—Acts 13:46-48 (Antioch of Pisidia, Asia Minor, Turkey), Acts 18:5-6 (Corinth, Greece, Europe), and Acts 28:25-28 (Rome, the world’s capital of the time).

As Acts chapter 9 opened, Saul of Tarsus met the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ outside of Damascus. While Luke covers this very loosely in verses 1-9, the Holy Spirit caused him to withhold certain details that will not be revealed until decades later. Acts 26:16-18 reveals some of Christ’s words to Saul/Paul in chapter 9: “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

Jesus Christ told Paul that He was “delivering” him from unsaved Israel and the unsaved Gentiles, and sending him (his apostolic commission, as “apostle” means “sent one”) to preach to them His finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The Lord wants them to be saved unto eternal life just as Saul/Paul had just been forgiven and justified. In summary, it is abundantly clear that the Apostle Paul knew of Israel’s fall on the very day of his salvation unto eternal life and his commissioning as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13).

Also see:
» What is “Acts 9/28 Hybrid Theology?”
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?
» Who is the “foolish nation” in Romans 10:19?

“Thou shalt not kill?” or “Thou shalt not murder?”

IS THE KING JAMES BIBLE IN ERROR—“THOU SHALT NOT KILL?” SHOULD THAT BE “THOU SHALT NOT MURDER” INSTEAD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

NO! … and NO!

Strangely, we find critics of the King James Bible in the most unexpected places— supposed “Christian” institutions! Ironically, they who “love and believe the Scriptures” viciously deride and pick them apart after professing to find “mistakes.” We cannot grasp the absurdity of these who proclaim to not be interested in opinions—all the while expressing their opinions as to which Bible words could be “better translated.” These preachers and teachers are allegedly “not the final authority,” but then they disparage and “correct” the Book they claim is their final authority. How they censure the unsaved for mocking and refusing to trust the Scriptures, but they themselves, touting “textual improvements,” are equally guilty of unbelief. They ridicule Bible doubters and then proceed to erode people’s faith in the Bible! Behold, the madness of sinful men!

What of the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill?” This brief study will demonstrate (once again) how the protests of the King James Bible critics are unwarranted and, quite frankly, rooted in ignorance. Before speaking evil of something they know not, they should study the English language much more than they have already—if they studied it at all. Unless they have first examined the evidence, they are not qualified to make any authoritative analyses or offer any “corrections.”

Notice the sixth of the 10 Commandments: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). That word “kill” greatly troubles some people. It bothers them nonstop. Desperate to take a swipe at the King James Bible, they cannot help but complain that the word “murder” is more acceptable. The following modern English translations use “murder” here—Amplified Bible, English Standard Version, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Living Bible, The Message, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, New King James Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witness “bible”), and The Voice.

In fact, people will argue that this verse is one reason to justify throwing out the “erroneous” King James Bible and using the “more accurate” modern versions. Were our 1611 (King James) translators mistaken in utilizing “kill” instead of “murder” in Exodus 20:13? Is that a correct evaluation of the verse?

The reason why the King James Bible says “Thou shalt not kill” is that God forbids all instances of any human taking the life of another person. “Kill” is generic but “murder” is specific. Contrary to what we hear and/or believe, they are not interchangeable! All murder is killing, but not all killing is murder. Murder is the intentional, premeditated killing of another; it involves planning, malicious thoughts beforehand. Killing, however, can be deliberate or accidental. (If you want to see how God distinguishes between murder and manslaughter, see Deuteronomy 19:4-10.) Almighty God does not condone anyone taking the life of another human (whether deliberate or accidental). Consequently, He uses that word “kill” in His Book—“Thou shalt not kill.” This prohibition goes beyond murder. (If the modern versions stand in Exodus 20:13, we can say that it is acceptable to accidentally kill another!!)

The Hebrew word (Strong’s #H7523) translated “kill” in Exodus 20:13 is “ratsach” (pronounced “raw-tsakh’”). It means “to dash in pieces, i.e. kill (a human being), especially to murder:—put to death, kill, (man-) slay(-er), murder(-er).” The word appears 47 times in 40 verses, and our King James scholars rendered it as follows: “slayer” (16 times), “murderer” (14 times), “kill” (5 times), “murder” (3 times), “slain” (3 times), “manslayer” (2 times), “killing” (1 time), “slayer” (with H310) (1 time), “slayeth” (1 time), “death” (1 time). It was rendered “kill” not only in Exodus 20:13, but (four other times) here too:

  • “And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill [ratsach] the slayer [ratsach]; he shall not be guilty of blood:…” (Numbers 35:27).
  • “That the slayer [ratsach] might flee thither, which should kill [ratsach] his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:…” (Deuteronomy 4:42).
  • “Thou shalt not kill [ratsach]” (Deuteronomy 5:17).
  • “And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed [ratsach], and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine” (1 Kings 21:19).

CONCLUSION

Friend, our 1611 King James translators were fully competent in the Bible languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). They were also quite knowledgeable in English. “Kill,” not “murder,” is the better word in the context of Exodus 20:13. This is the position that faith takes: the Bible is correct 100 percent of the time, and we are wrong whenever we disagree with it. The prideful, sinful human heart is offended, but so what!

SUPPLEMENTAL: WHAT ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY?

The death penalty was something God instructed to be carried out by government rather than individuals (except in the case of avenging the death of a relative—see Numbers 35:27 above, for example). The Sixth Commandment forbids individuals taking the lives of others, so that does not detract from capital punishment (governmental involvement). See our related study linked below.

Also see:
» Should Christians support the death penalty?
» Which belongs in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”
» Is “excellent” a King James mistranslation in Philippians 1:10?

Did Paul just hear Jesus’ voice, or did he see Him, too?

DID PAUL JUST HEAR JESUS’ VOICE, OR DID HE SEE HIM, TOO?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“I thought that Paul just heard Jesus’ voice but did not see Him? Is this correct?”

That is incorrect. According to the Bible, Paul not only heard Jesus Christ, but he also saw Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus (not including other times).

Acts chapter 26 is Paul’s own words on the subject: “[14] And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. [15] And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. [16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;… [19] Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:”

The sight of that glory of Christ is what blinded Paul for three days. Acts 22:11 comments: “And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.” Acts chapter 9 provides additional commentary: “[8] And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. [9] And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.”

Acts 9:17 also says: “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” We consult Acts 22:13-14: “[13] Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. [14] And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.”

Notice, the Bible says Paul heard and saw Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Acts 26:16 asserts Paul saw Jesus Christ on various other occasions after Acts chapter 9: “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;….” And, 2 Corinthians 12:1: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” These were not visions and revelations “from” the Lord but rather “of” the Lord. Paul saw the Lord Jesus Christ in His ascended form on innumerable occasions. “And last of all, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:8).

Also see:
» Did Saul of Tarsus ever meet Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry?
» Could you explain Paul’s first miracle?
» Did Peter and Paul preach the same Gospel?

Did Saul of Tarsus ever meet Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry?

DID SAUL OF TARSUS EVER MEET JESUS CHRIST DURING HIS EARTHLY MINISTRY? WAS SAUL AT CALVARY’S CROSS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Friend, what curious questions these are! We cannot say with absolute certainty that Saul of Tarsus personally saw or met Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. We are also unable to say on the basis of Scripture that Saul stood at Calvary’s cross to mock Christ. Nevertheless, there are verses to indicate that both occasions were possibilities.

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

The Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judaea, southern Israel (Matthew 2:1). Mary His mother and Joseph her husband lived in Nazareth (northern Israel, Galilee) prior to migrating south to Bethlehem Judah for the census during which He was born (Luke 2:1-20). After His birth, they three return to Nazareth. Once evil King Herod threatens to kill the Jewish children aged two and under, God instructs Joseph to take Mary and young Jesus and flee into Egypt (Matthew 2:12-18). Subsequent to this, they relocate to Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-23; Luke 2:51-52). In later years, it seems that the Lord Jesus (now an adult) moves to reside in Capernaum, another town in Galilee (Mark 2:1 cf. Matthew 9:1).

By the time He was approximately 30 years old (Luke 3:23), we see Christ Jesus in John chapter 1 (Matthew chapter 3, Mark chapter 1, Luke chapter 3) coming to John the Baptist to be water baptized in the River Jordan (southern Israel). As recorded in Matthew 4:12–19:1, Christ spends much of His three years of earthly ministry (Luke 13:7) in northern Israel (Galilee). He occasionally ventures into the south (Judaea, Jerusalem). According to Matthew 19:1ff., the Lord spends His last weeks alive in Judaea. He restricts His final week to Jerusalem and its outskirts, before allowing Himself to be captured and crucified (Matthew 21:1ff.). Of course, we cannot omit the facts that He then rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven.

SAUL OF TARSUS

Saul of Tarsus appears in Scripture at the close of Acts chapter 7—in and near Jerusalem. Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, resurrected, and ascended into Heaven a year earlier (see the three years followed by the one year in Luke 13:7-8). Acts 7:58 calls Saul “a young man.” Saul may have been born around or just after Jesus’ birth. If correct, Saul could be 30 to 35 years old in Acts chapter 7.

He was born in Tarsus, a city of Cilicia (modern southern Turkey), about 400 miles (644 kilometers) northwest of Jerusalem and some 300 miles (483 kilometers) northwest of Nazareth. Acts 22:3: “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city [Jerusalem] at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” Also, Acts 23:34: “And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;….”

Early in his life, Saul lived in Jerusalem and sat under Rabbi Gamaliel’s tutelage. Acts 22:3 again: “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city [he is presently in Jerusalem—see Acts 21:17] at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” See also Acts 26:4, “My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;….” Saul left Jerusalem to return to Cilicia, where he claims citizenship according to Acts 21:39: “But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean [common] city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.”

Remember, Saul and his father were both strict, “fundamental” religious leaders in Judaism. They were Pharisees, or worshippers of the Law of Moses who also placed great value on religious tradition. Pharisees were extremely rigid in their religious belief and practice. Acts 23:6: “But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” And, Acts 26:5: “Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” Finally, Philippians 3:5: “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;….”

WHEN THEY COULD HAVE POSSIBLY MET: THE TRIANNUAL TRIPS TO JERUSALEM

Deuteronomy 16:16 ordered: “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:….” The Law of Moses commanded every male Jew to travel to worship in Jerusalem three times every year—the feasts of Passover (Unleavened Bread), Pentecost (Weeks), and Tabernacles. The most classic example of such pilgrimages is Luke 2:41-50 (when Joseph and Mary forgot 12-year-old Jesus in Jerusalem at Passover). John 7:1-14 is a second illustration (here is Tabernacles). Acts 2:1-11 is the assembly of Jewish men associated with the feast of Pentecost.

Notice especially in the Luke and John accounts (referenced above) how whole families migrated together to Jerusalem. Saul’s household, strict Law-keepers that they were, also participated in these triannual Jewish religious holidays. No doubt the families of the Lord Jesus and Saul, although living hundreds of miles apart for most of the year, came in close proximity to each other in Jerusalem during Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. These Jewish caravans were present in and around Jerusalem even at Calvary, for Passover was soon to be celebrated during that time (Matthew 26:1-5,17; Mark 14:1-2,12,16; Luke 22:1-2,7; John 13:1; John 18:39; et al.).

CONCLUSION

While not explicitly stated in Scripture, it is possible that the Lord Jesus and Saul passed each other as they went in and out Jerusalem during the 30 years of the former’s earthly life. The Lord Jesus Christ, as God in human flesh, knew all about Saul. Saul, a religious leader in Judaism, had doubtless heard about a “troublemaker” (Christ Jesus) threatening Judaism and causing all his friends (as in the Pharisees) such headache and misery. In fact, Saul could have very well been one of the hypocritical, unbelieving “Pharisees” that the Lord Jesus addressed and condemned during His scathing Jerusalem Temple sermons (for example, see Matthew 23:1-39). Considering Saul’s high social standing amongst Israel’s religious leadership, he could have joined his friends around the cross in order to mock the Lord Jesus.

Also see:
» Did little boy Jesus know He was going to die?
» Did Paul just hear Jesus’ voice, or did he see Him, too?
» Why was Saul of Tarsus’ name changed to Paul?

Who are the “Grecians” in the Bible?

WHO ARE THE “GRECIANS” IN THE BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Greek word rendered “Grecian” is Hellenistes.” It appears three times in our King James Bible New Testament (Acts 6:1; Acts 9:29; Acts 11:20). While Hellas is the Greek name for Greece, the meaning of “Grecian” depends on the Bible context. Generally speaking, the word signifies anyone who identifies with Greek culture (especially the Greek language). It carries an even more restricted definition if setting is noted.

FIRST OCCURRENCE – ACTS 6:1

“And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration” (Acts 6:1). In this context, “Grecians” is opposed to “Hebrews.” While it is true that “Hebrews” is Jewish, “Grecians” here is Jewish too. The difference is the “Grecians” are Jewish by blood but Greek in culture. The “Hebrews” are Jewish by both blood and culture. Thus, we see why the Hebrews were favored over the Grecians. “Pure” Jews were exalted above the “tainted” Jews.

SECOND OCCURRENCE – ACTS 9:29

“And he [Saul] spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him” (Acts 9:29). This instance seems to carry the meaning of the first (see Acts 6:1)—Jews who have adopted Greek culture.

THIRD (AND FINAL) OCCURRENCE – ACTS 11:20

“And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus” (Acts 11:20).

The context demands that these “Grecians” be Greeks by blood or Gentiles (not Jews as in previous passages): “[19] Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. [20] And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. [21] And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

“[22] Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. [23] Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. [24] For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. [25] Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: [26] And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

The reason why we know these “Grecians” are Greeks or Gentiles (and not Greek-speaking Jews) is that Barnabas goes to get Saul of Tarsus for him to minister to them (verse 25). If the Grecians here were Greek-speaking Jews (as in Acts 6:1 and Acts 9:29), there would be no reason for Saul to ever be involved with them. Since God commissioned Saul (later known as the Apostle Paul) to go to Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16; Acts 26:16-18; et cetera), it is only naturally that Barnabas would seek Saul to minister to these new Gentile converts.

SUPPLEMENTAL: OLD TESTAMENT ROOTS

The word “Grecian” (“Yĕvaniy” in Hebrew) appears a single time in the Old Testament. Notice Joel 3:6, “The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.” This, of course, is Gentile in nature. Jews have been sold into slavery to the Gentiles (Greeks). “Yevaniy” is patronymic, meaning it is applied to the descendants of one man. The man or father here is Javan; his children are known as Jevanites, or the “Ionians” (think of the Ionian Sea west of Greece, south of the Italian peninsula, and north of the Mediterranean Sea—their region of the world).

Javan was Noah’s grandson, as stated in Genesis chapter 10: “[2] The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. [3] And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. [4] And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. [5] By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” (The Jewish bloodline came from Shem, Japheth’s brother—see verses 21-31. According to Genesis 11:10-27, Abram/Abraham, father of the Israelites, descended from Shem.)

Daniel 8:21: “And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.” Here is a reference to the Greek Empire, with Alexander the Great being the “first king.” Daniel saw it as prophecy (future), but we see it as history (few centuries before Christ).

We see “Javan” (or Greeks) mentioned in Isaiah 66:19, the Millennial Reign of Christ (future from us): “And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.”

Also see:
» Did not God send messengers to Gentiles prior to Paul’s apostleship?
» Did Paul engage in missionary journeys?
» Was Luke a Jew or a Gentile?

Why did Paul not give the Gospel of Grace in Acts 17?

WHY DID PAUL NOT GIVE THE GOSPEL OF GRACE IN ACTS 17?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in chapter 17 of Acts:

“[15] And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed. [16] Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. [17] Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

“[18] Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. [19] And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? [20] For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. [21] (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

“[22] Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. [23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. [24] God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; [25] Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; [26] And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; [27] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

“[29] Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. [30] And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: [31] Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. 

“[32] And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. [33] So Paul departed from among them. [34] Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.”

It is frequently asked why the Apostle Paul did not give a Gospel invitation in this most powerful message recorded in verses 22-31. Just when it was getting good, he closed that sermon quite suddenly. Its abruptness is even more striking when we compare this message to his sermon preached in Acts chapter 13. There, he began to speak of Jesus Christ in verse 23 and continued on and on about His resurrection until the following conclusion was reached in verses 38 and 39: “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”

While Paul preached to Jews in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia, he closed with a clear Gospel message (chapter 13). Yet, years later, when preaching to pagan Gentiles in Athens (chapter 17), he makes one quick reference to (a single verse about) the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection—and stops short of an invitation!!! He has come under heavy criticism for this, but it is this author’s belief that such censuring is totally unwarranted.

If you compare Paul’s Acts chapter 13 sermon with his chapter 17 sermon, you will see they vary greatly in content. This is primarily because of their different audiences. Whereas the Jews in the synagogue are familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures, the idolatrous and heathen Gentiles in Athens are not. Paul cannot start in or review the Old Testament with the Athenians; he must begin by identifying the one true God of creation. Once the identity of the living God is settled, Paul can proceed to Jesus Christ. Verse 31: “Because he [God] hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” This “man” is Jesus Christ, about whose resurrection Paul speaks. Then, Paul quits preaching. Why?

The answer lies in verses 32-33: “[32] And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. [33] So Paul departed from among them.” As soon as the audience began to make fun of him, ridiculing the message, Paul stopped. He was interrupted. There was no point in sharing God’s precious words with people who could not care less about them. Paul would have most surely given a Gospel invitation if it his earlier words had been received favorably.

Nonetheless, we should be careful to note the closing verse of the chapter: “[34] Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” Even though there were Bible mockers in Athens, some people wanted to hear more from the one true God. Paul evidently gave these truth seekers a Gospel invitation privately, off to the side, away from the public setting of Mars’ Hill. These believed on Jesus Christ unto eternal life!

Also see:
» Is Acts 16:31 a sufficient Gospel message?
» Why did the Lord Jesus tell parables?
» Has God’s Word failed?