Monthly Archives: October 2020

Should Christians observe All Souls’ Day?

SHOULD CHRISTIANS OBSERVE ALL SOULS’ DAY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What exactly is All Souls’ Day? Should Christians celebrate it? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Let us begin by announcing that there is nothing in the Holy Bible about “All Souls’ Day.” However, the Catholic Encyclopedia has the following:

“The commemoration of all the faithful departed is celebrated by the Church on 2 November, or, if this be a Sunday or a solemnity, on 3 November. The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy and all the Masses are to be of Requiem, except one of the current feast, where this is of obligation.

“The theological basis for the feast is the doctrine that the souls which, on departing from the body, are not perfectly cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for past transgressions, are debarred from the Beatific Vision, and that the faithful on earth can help them by prayers, almsdeeds and especially by the sacrifice of the Mass. (See PURGATORY.)

“In the early days of Christianity the names of the departed brethren were entered in the diptychs. Later, in the sixth century, it was customary in Benedictine monasteries to hold a commemoration of the deceased members at Whitsuntide. In Spain there was such a day on Saturday before Sexagesima or before Pentecost, at the time of St. Isidore (d. 636). In Germany there existed (according to the testimony of Widukind, Abbot of Corvey, c. 980) a time-honoured ceremony of praying to the dead on 1 October. This was accepted and sanctified by the Church. St. Odilo of Cluny (d. 1048) ordered the commemoration of all the faithful departed to be held annually in the monasteries of his congregation. Thence it spread among the other congregations of the Benedictines and among the Carthusians.

“Of the dioceses, Liège was the first to adopt it under Bishop Notger (d. 1008). It is then found in the martyrology of St. Protadius of Besançon (1053-66). Bishop Otricus (1120-25) introduced it into Milan for the 15 October. In Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, priests on this day say three Masses. A similar concession for the entire world was asked of Pope Leo XIII. He would not grant the favour but ordered a special Requiem on Sunday, 30 September, 1888.

“In the Greek Rite this commemoration is held on the eve of Sexagesima Sunday, or on the eve of Pentecost. The Armenians celebrate the passover of the dead on the day after Easter.”

All Souls’ Day is observed on November 2, and it is clearly connected to Halloween (October 31). Halloween itself is definitely not of Christian or Biblical origin. (For more information, see our study linked at this end of this article.) All Souls’ Day should not be confused with All Saints’ Day, which is November 1. (For more information, see our study linked at this end of this article.)

Simply put, All Souls’ Day is a Roman Catholic feast-day to remember and honor “the faithful departed” (with particular emphasis on those allegedly not in Heaven yet, but are still suffering in purgatory). Various other denominations have been influenced to observe it, including Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist churches. While practices and traditions vary among groups and countries, cemeteries are usually visited and graves are cleaned and decorated with flowers and/or other objects. Depending on the denomination, prayers for the dead may be offered. This, of course, is certainly not found in the true Bible. (Prayers for the dead are in the Roman Catholic Bible—namely, the apocryphal book known as 2 Maccabees.)

Nothing in the real Bible—the “Protestant” (King James) Bible—establishes any feast-days for us in this the Dispensation of Grace. Saint Paul, in the Books of Romans through Philemon, was careful to note the observance of religious holidays and other “holydays” was legalistic (distractions from grace-oriented living): “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Galatians 4:9-11). “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).

Let there be no misunderstanding. There is nothing wrong with cleaning and/or decorating the graves of loved ones. However, so as to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22), it is not acceptable for the Bible-believing Christian to do it on a day rooted in pagan superstition and false doctrine. Furthermore, prayers for the dead are nothing but religious tradition. God’s Word does not encourage them. Those who have died have already had their chance to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. No longer on Earth, their time is up. Either they believed on Him in the heart (and went to Heaven), or they did not believe on Him in the heart (and went to Hell). No prayers can help them in Hell. Contrary to Roman Catholic teaching, there is no “purgatory” (a place of temporal punishment meant to atone for any sins that prevent a soul from entering Heaven). For more information, see our “All Saints’” article linked below.

Also see:
» Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
» Should Christians observe All Saints’ Day?
» Can you explain the “Corban” tradition?

Should Christians observe All Saints’ Day?

SHOULD CHRISTIANS OBSERVE ALL SAINTS’ DAY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What exactly is All Saints’ Day? Should Christians celebrate it? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Let us begin by announcing that there is nothing in the Holy Bible about “All Saints’ Day.” However, the Catholic Encyclopedia has the following:

“The vigil of this feast is popularly called ‘Hallowe’en’ or ‘Halloween’.

“Solemnity celebrated on the first of November. It is instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful’s celebration of saints’ feasts during the year.

“In the early days the Christians were accustomed to solemnize the anniversary of a martyr’s death for Christ at the place of martyrdom. In the fourth century, neighbouring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast; as is shown by the invitation of St. Basil of Caesarea (379) to the bishops of the province of Pontus. Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all. The first trace of this we find in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. We also find mention of a common day in a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian (373), and in the 74th homily of St. John Chrysostom (407). At first only martyrs and St. John the Baptist were honoured by a special day. Other saints were added gradually, and increased in number when a regular process of canonization was established; still, as early as 411 there is in the Chaldean Calendar a ‘Commemoratio Confessorum’ for the Friday after Easter. In the West Boniface IV, 13 May, 609, or 610, consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs, ordering an anniversary. Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter to all the saints and fixed the anniversary for 1 November. A basilica of the Apostles already existed in Rome, and its dedication was annually remembered on 1 May. Gregory IV (827-844) extended the celebration on 1 November to the entire Church. The vigil seems to have been held as early as the feast itself. The octave was added by Sixtus IV (1471-84).”

All Saints’ Day is observed on November 1, and it is clearly connected to Halloween (October 31). Halloween itself is definitely not of Christian or Biblical origin. (For more information, see our study linked at this end of this article.) All Saints’ Day should not be confused with All Souls’ Day, which is November 2. (For more information, see our study linked at this end of this article.)

Simply put, All Saints’ Day is a Roman Catholic feast-day to remember and honor “all the saints” (church members who are assumed to have made it to Heaven!). Various other denominations have been influenced to observe it, including Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist churches. While practices and traditions vary among groups and countries, cemeteries are usually visited and graves are cleaned and decorated with flowers and/or other objects. Depending on the denomination, prayers for the dead may be offered. This, of course, is certainly not found in the true Bible. (Prayers for the dead are in the Roman Catholic Bible—namely, the apocryphal book known as 2 Maccabees, chapter 12, verses 42-46.)

Nothing in the real Bible—the “Protestant” (King James) Bible—establishes any feast-days for us in this the Dispensation of Grace. Saint Paul, in the Books of Romans through Philemon, was careful to note the observance of religious holidays and other “holydays” was legalistic (distractions from grace-oriented living): “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Galatians 4:9-11). “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).

Let there be no misunderstanding. There is nothing wrong with cleaning and/or decorating the graves of loved ones. However, so as to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22), it is not acceptable for the Bible-believing Christian to do it on a day rooted in pagan superstition and false doctrine. Furthermore, prayers for the dead are nothing but religious tradition. God’s Word does not encourage them. Those who have died have already had their chance to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. No longer on Earth, their time is up. Either they believed on Him in the heart (and went to Heaven), or they did not believe on Him in the heart (and went to Hell). No prayers can help them in Hell. Contrary to Roman Catholic teaching, there is no “purgatory” (a place of temporal punishment meant to atone for any sins that prevent a soul from entering Heaven). For more information, see our “All Souls’” article linked below.

Also see:
» Should Christians celebrate Halloween?
» Should Christians observe All Souls’ Day?
» Can you explain the “Corban” tradition?

Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?

WHY DID JESUS OFFER HIMSELF TO ISRAEL IF HE KNEW THEY WOULD REJECT HIM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We can offer three reasons.

Firstly, it was to render the Jews “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Unless they had been given opportunity to sin, God could not have rightly condemned them for sinning. He ensured Israel would not be able to argue, “If only we had been afforded a chance to accept the Son of God, we would have!” Israel, when put to the test, failed. She proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that she would not have Jesus Christ rule over her. Turn to John chapter 19: “[14] And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! [15] But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. [16] Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.”

God can point to this specific, historical sin, and doom Israel. It is in the irrefutable record of Scripture forever. There can be no denying what Israel intentionally did to her Messiah. Peter the Apostle preached on the day of Pentecost: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24).

Now, chapter 3 of Acts: “[12] And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? [13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [16] And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. [17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

It is no different today, when people hear the Gospel of Grace and outright refuse it. God will hold them accountable for declining to trust His Son as their personal Saviour, but He could not have done so without them first being given a chance to refuse Him. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). All of us, having read and heard that Gospel message, are also “without excuse.”

Secondly, although national Israel rejected Him, there was a believing remnant of individual Jews. Without sending Jesus Christ to Israel, Father God would have had no way to attract believers. The Little Flock grew as more Jews came to faith in Jesus. See John 1:11-13: “[11] He came unto his own, and his own received him not. [12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: [13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Also, Hebrews chapter 2: “[9] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. [11] For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, [12] Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. [13] And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

Lastly, it was because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ that He shed His blood on Calvary’s cross to pay for our sins. We see that in Romans chapter 3: “[21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] 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: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” While God did not force Israel to reject His Son, He did allow her to reject His Son so His sinless blood would be shed for our redemption. As we see in Hebrews chapters 8 and 10, in God’s wisdom, even Israel, through the New Covenant, will be cleansed of her sins because of Christ’s shed blood.

Also see:
» How do God’s foreknowledge and our free will work together?
» Did God give angels free will as He gave to mankind?
» Does the New Covenant take away Israel’s free will?
» If God knows who will serve Him and who won’t, why witness?

What does “untoward” mean?

WHAT DOES “UNTOWARD” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word is found one time in the Authorized Version, Acts 2:40, where the Apostle Peter is preaching to the nation Israel on the day of Pentecost: “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” At first glance, we understand this to be an appeal to seek deliverance from an evil entity. Let us fine-tune that definition.

Up to the time of chapter 2 of Acts, Israel’s behavior has been anything but exemplary. Read these excerpts from Peter’s sermon: “[22] Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: [23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: [24] Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it…. [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. [37] Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? [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.

Peter urges his unsaved Jewish audience to convert to Jesus Christ, the same God-Man they murdered in cold blood only about two months earlier. They should “repent” (change their mind about who He is—He is Messiah) and then be water baptized in His name so as to receive forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Otherwise, when He returns, He will consume them in His fiery wrath. They are to leave their apostate nation and join the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, who will survive that wrath and inherit God’s earthly kingdom (cf. Luke 12:32: “Fear now, little flock: for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”).

The Greek word for “untoward” in Acts 2:40 is “skolios,” which, of course, is the origin of “scoliosis.” Scoliosis is an abnormal medical condition characterized by a sideways curvature of the spine. The basic idea, then, is a deviation from the correct path. That Greek term was rendered “crooked” in Luke 3:5 and Philippians 2:15. It was once translated “froward” in 1 Peter 2:18. “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;…” (Luke 3:5; cf. Isaiah 40:4). “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;…” (Philippians 2:15). “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward (1 Peter 2:18).

Returning to Acts 2:40, Israel is wicked, a “generation” that is evil. In fact, Matthew 3:7 and Luke 3:7 refers to them as a “generation of vipers” (snakes). Even Jesus called them this in Matthew 23:33. They are “of [their] father the devil” (John 8:44)—he himself being the chief snake or cunning individual (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2). It is this very nation that will be consumed at Christ’s return, with the Little Flock alone surviving. For more information, see our Hebrews 10:25 study linked below.

By the way, the English prefix “un–” means “not, absent, reversed.” Instead of “toward,” one who is “untoward” is literally “not toward” (that is, resistant or defiant; rebellious).

Also see:
» Does Hebrews 10:25 mean we are obligated to attend church?
» What does “froward” mean?
»
Who are those “afar off” in Acts 2:39?

What does “froward” mean?

WHAT DOES “FROWARD” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word is found two dozen times in a King James Bible, mostly in Proverbs. Let us read them:

  • Deuteronomy 32:20: “And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.” (This does not sound good, does it?)
  • 2 Samuel 22:27: “With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.” (Repeated in Psalm 18:26: “With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.”)
  • Job 5:13: “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.”
  • Psalm 101:4: “A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.”
  • Proverbs 2:12,14-15: “[12] To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;…. [14] Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; [15] Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:….”
  • Proverbs 3:32: “For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.”
  • Proverbs 4:24: “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”
  • Proverbs 6:12,14: “[12] A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth…. [14] Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.”
  • Proverbs 8:8,13: “[8] All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them…. [13] The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
  • Proverbs 10:31-32: “[31] The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out. [32] The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.”
  • Proverbs 11:20: “They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.”
  • Proverbs 16:28: “[28] A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends…. [30] He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.”
  • Proverbs 17:20: “He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.”
  • Proverbs 21:8: “The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.”
  • Proverbs 22:5: “Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.”
  • Isaiah 57:17: “For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.”
  • 1 Peter 2:18: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.”

It is this last instance that makes the sense the clearest: “froward” is the opposite of “good and gentle.” “Froward” is from the Old English “fraward,” meaning “leading away from” (as in shortening of “fromward;” “weard” is a Germanic base meaning “turn”). A simple definition for “forward” is “difficult to deal with; contrary.” Someone has “turned away.” If you re-read the verses above, it often describes the sinner being headstrong in refusing God’s path for life. Sinners do not want to cooperate with their Creator in accomplishing His will. Another way to think of it is perversity, drifting from the right course. Proverbs 23:33 says to this point: “Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things [“tahpukah,” same Hebrew word as “froward” in Deuteronomy 32:20—our first verse in the list].” Here, speech is far removed from sound Bible doctrine. It is nothing but falsehoods or lies.

Also see:
» What does “untoward” mean?
» What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?
» Can you explain the “spot” in Deuteronomy 32:5?

What is “ignominy?”

WHAT IS “IGNOMINY?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

We locate it a solitary time in the King James Bible, Proverbs 18:3: “When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.” Using context clues, we immediately recognize a negative connotation. It is associated with the word “reproach.” What else can we say about it?

The above aphorism can be summarized thusly. A wrongdoer and a contemptuous reputation go hand in hand. Contempt is simply dishonor or disgrace. Likewise, where there is “ignominy,” “reproach” will be there as well! Reproach, of course, is shame or embarrassment. There is one nuance in difference between this and ignominy. Ignominy is public disgrace or shame—a well-known, scandalous affair. By the way, “ignominy” is derived either from French (“ignominie”) or Latin (“ignominia”), with “ig” meaning “not” and “nomen” being “name.” The adjective “ignoble” (“of low character, not honorable, base”) is etymologically related.

In Hebrew, “ignominy” is “qalown.” It is usually translated “shame” (Psalm 83:16; Proverbs 3:35; Proverbs 9:7; Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 12:16; Proverbs 13:18; Isaiah 22:18; Jeremiah 13:26; Jeremiah 46:12; Hosea 4:7; Hosea 4:18; Nahum 3:5; Habakkuk 2:16). Other ways it was rendered include: “dishonour” (Proverbs 6:33), “reproach” (Proverbs 22:10), and “confusion” (Job 10:15).

Also see:
» What is “leasing” in the King James Bible?
» What is “purloining?”
» What are “lewd fellows of the baser sort?”

What does “bruit” mean?

WHAT DOES “BRUIT” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word is found twice in the Authorized Version.

  • Jeremiah 10:22: “Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.”
  • Nahum 3:19: “There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?”

Using context clues, we understand “bruit” can be described as “noise” (Jeremiah) and something people can “hear” (Nahum). It simply means a report or news, the word coming from the Old French “bruire,” meaning “to roar.” The Hebrew term in Jeremiah is “shemuw`ah,” elsewhere rendered “rumour” (2 Kings 19:7), “report” (1 Samuel 2:24), “tidings” (1 Samuel 4:19), “fame” (1 Kings 10:7), “doctrine” (Isaiah 28:9), and “mentioned” (Ezekiel 16:56). In Nahum, the Hebrew is “shema`,” which was translated similarly.

Also see:
» What does “ado” mean?
» What does “subvert” mean?
» What does “fetch a compass” mean?

Did God really demand Ezekiel eat excrement?

DID GOD REALLY DEMAND EZEKIEL EAT EXCREMENT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No. There is a misunderstanding here. It is important to look at the Bible passage in question so we can set the record straight.

The inquiry stems from Ezekiel chapter 4: “[9] Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. [10] And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. [11] Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink. [12] And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. [13] And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.

“[14] Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth. [15] Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith. [16] Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: [17] That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.”

These are certainly bizarre instructions, are they not?! However, they are not as strange as we first suspect. Contrary to what we may have heard, Ezekiel was not actually required to use human or cow excrement as ingredients for his bread. Rather, the feces were a form of fuel to cook that food. While an unpleasant thought to “cultured” people such as ourselves, the ancient Egyptians and Persians (Iranians) used dried animal dung as fuel—and this is true even today. People throughout modern Asia (India, Pakistan, China, for example) still resort to the practice because manure is cheap, plentiful, and easy to collect, among other “advantages.”

How could God be so extreme and grotesque here? The key is verse 13: “And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.” JEHOVAH God was leading the Prophet Ezekiel to behave in a certain way so as to teach the Jewish people a lesson. These “skits” or “plays” are found in chapters 4 and 5 of Ezekiel. In the case of the “object lesson” using cow dung to cook his bread, Ezekiel was demonstrating to Israel they would be deported to foreign (Gentile) lands. These Gentiles or non-Jews did not observe the kosher food laws as found in Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter 14. Such conduct was just as repulsive to Israel as Ezekiel’s disgusting dung fuel! After centuries of pagan idolatry, the Kingdom of Judah (Southern Kingdom) would be chastised as God promised in the Law of Moses. This is the Babylonian Captivity of 606–536 B.C., of which Ezekiel (and other prophets) predicted.

Leviticus chapter 26: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. [29] And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. [30] And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. [31] And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. [32] And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.

“[33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. [34] Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. [35] As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. [36] And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. [37] And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. [38] And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. [39] And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

Also see:
» What are “vanities” in Scripture?
» Why did John the Baptist behave so strangely?
» Who is the “foolish nation” in Romans 10:19?

Can you explain, “Ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves?”

CAN YOU EXPLAIN, “YE MAKE HIM TWOFOLD MORE THE CHILD OF HELL THAN YOURSELVES?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Indeed! This is quoting Matthew 23:15: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” We want to focus on those final 11 words.

Christ is condemning Israel’s apostate religious leaders. These men—although educated and “pious”—are not what they appear. Matthew chapter 23 could not be more explicit. Religious works and learning have been used to substitute God’s righteousness and God’s words. These men are thus rightly termed “hypocrites” seven times in this chapter. It is all pretend, empty, and worthless religion. As touching verse 15, Christ finds fault with them for traveling “land and sea”—scouting all inhabitable places—looking to make a “proselyte,” a Gentile who converts from paganism to Judaism. There were two types of proselytes: (1) those who underwent water baptism and physical circumcision, and adhered to the Mosaic Law; and (2) those who renounced pagan superstitions and embraced Judaism to some degree but refused water baptism and physical circumcision.

Knowing what we know about Judaism being so watered down in Christ’s earthly ministry, we understand proselytes were being indoctrinated in works-religion but really had no faith in God’s Word. There is more emphasis here on works, rituals, and church membership, rather than trust in Divine revelation. They stress performance and ignore God’s pure Word.

Now, to address the principal point: “Ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” It was bad enough for a Gentile to be weighed down by pagan idolatry and false religion. See Acts 14:8-18, Acts 17:16-31, Romans 1:18-32, and Ephesians 4:17-18. However, a proselyte to Judaism was given no truth with which to replace his error. As hard as it is to believe, he was even more spiritually worse off than the religious Jews who had converted him!

Even now, Christendom will emphasize ad nauseum church attendance, water baptism, and so on, but never give a clear Gospel message in which faith can be placed: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Those who switch from multiple false religions and die without Christ, will be more damned than they would have been had they remained in one group! Likewise, far better had the Gentiles stayed in their pagan superstitions than embrace the corrupt Judaism of Christ’s day!

Also see:
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?
» “But what if they read the Bible at my church…!?”
» Are we merely interested in breaking up churches?

What is “visitation” in Scripture?

WHAT IS “VISITATION” IN SCRIPTURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word appears 15 times in the Authorized Version King James Bible. In Hebrew, it is “pequddah.” The Greek equivalent is “episcope” (“look over, inspect”). Depending on the context, it can be good or bad. For example, the first instance is Numbers 16:29: “If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me.” This, of course, is bad. It is in connection with physical death! In the case of Job 10:12, however, the word is employed in the sense of God’s caring or loving oversight: “Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.”

Most of the time in Scripture (especially Jeremiah), the idea concerns Divine judgment or God’s punishment of sinners:

  • Isaiah 10:3: “And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?”
  • Jeremiah 8:12: “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.”
  • Jeremiah 10:15: “They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.”
  • Jeremiah 11:23: “And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.”
  • Jeremiah 23:12: “Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.”
  • Jeremiah 46:21: “Also her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they also are turned back, and are fled away together: they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation.”
  • Jeremiah 48:44: “He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.”
  • Jeremiah 50:27: “Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.”
  • Jeremiah 51:18: “They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.”
  • Hosea 9:7: “The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.”
  • Micah 7:4: “The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.”

The word twice appears in the Greek New Testament (Luke 19:44; 1 Peter 2:12): “episcope” means “look over, inspect.” It is translated “bishoprick” in Acts 1:20 (referring to Judas Iscariot’s apostolic office that Matthias later fills) and “office of a bishop” with respect to the local church leader (1 Timothy 3:1). Remember, the idea is “oversight,” as in a superintendent watching over operations. Acts 20:28, the Apostle Paul’s words to the elders of the church at Ephesus, captures this tenor: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers [episkopos], to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

In the case of Luke 19:44, Christ Jesus, having been rejected, spoke of Jerusalem’s future destruction: “And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Israel did not have spiritual eyes to recognize the Lord Jesus Christ had fulfilled prophecy when He entered Jerusalem rising on the donkey. God was considering their response to His Son here, and they refused to have Him. Now, He would “pay them back” in righteous anger (yet future even now).

The final instance of “visitation” is 1 Peter 2:12: “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Israel’s believing remnant is exhorted or urged to conduct themselves separate and distinct from the evil world system. Gentiles (non-Jews) are observing them, so they need to have testimonies that lead the Gentiles to glorify the God of Israel. Daniel’s 70th Week will be another time of God considering or inspecting Israel’s behavior, their response to Him and His Son Jesus Christ.

Studying all these instances of “visitation” in Scripture, we understand the LORD God is looking over creation with considerate but righteous eyes. He is gracious and compassionate, watching over and blessing, like a loving parent monitoring the wellbeing of a child. However, He is also holy and separate from sinners, and His justice demands He enforce His righteousness. He must address and punish sin at some point. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon summarizes the concept succinctly: “In biblical Greek, after the Hebrew, that act by which God looks into and searches out the ways, deeds, character, of men, in order to adjudge them their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad; inspection, investigation, visitation.”

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Did God create evil?
» How can a “loving” God send people to Hell forever?
» Does God chasten us when we sin?