Monthly Archives: April 2021

What is “cleanness of teeth” in Amos 4:6?

WHAT IS “CLEANNESS OF TEETH” IN AMOS 4:6?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What could “cleanness of teeth” possibly denote in Amos 4:6? “And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.”

One clue is the phrase “want of bread”—that is, famine or lack of food. Clean teeth here is therefore not suggestive of proper dental hygiene! It is a euphemism for hunger or starvation. Consumption of food obviously soils the teeth, so having cleanness of teeth indicates the person has not been eating. The LORD God has brought famine upon Israel for her persistent disobedience (pagan idolatry), so the food shortage has rendered the Jewish people’s teeth clean. All of chapter 4 of Amos should be read, noting Israel’s habitual sins (verses 1-5) and the punishments incurred (verses 6-12).

“[1] Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink. [2] The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks. [3] And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD. [4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: [5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

“[6] And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [7] And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. [8] So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [9] I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

“[10] I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [11] I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [12] Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. [13] For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.”

As touching the “cleanness of teeth,” hunger and famine were some of the curses for failing to obey the Law of Moses. Read Leviticus chapter 26: “[18] And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. [19] And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: [20] And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”

Also, Deuteronomy chapter 28: “[15] But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: [16] Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. [17] Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. [18] Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. [19] Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out….

“[38] Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. [39] Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. [40] Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. [41] Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. [42] All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.

Re-read Amos 4:6-12. God has harshly judged wicked Israel, but she has not reformed. The discipline has not led her back to the LORD; she simply continues her sinful habits, worshipping and serving pagan idols. She refuses correction. Verse 12 thus looks forward to Christ’s Second Coming, when the ultimate wrath falls to cleanse the Earth of all idolaters! “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.”

Also see:
» Why do Amos 4:4 and Amos 5:5 give opposite commands?
» Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?

Was Jesus born in Jerusalem?

WAS JESUS BORN IN JERUSALEM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No! To say Christ was born in Jerusalem is to misread Luke chapter 2.

Observe the following: “[1] And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. [2] (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) [3] And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. [4] And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David: ) [5] To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. [6] And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Submitting to the Roman Emperor, Joseph and pregnant Mary left Nazareth of Galilee (northern Israel, cf. Luke 1:26) and traveled to southern Israel for a taxation or census. Being of David’s family (Matthew 1:1,6,17,20; Luke 1:27,32,69; Luke 3:31), they went to David’s hometown, Bethlehem of Judaea (1 Samuel 16:1-18). Genealogical or family records were kept in ancestral birthplaces. While Joseph and Mary are living in Bethlehem of Judaea, Mary gives birth to Jesus. The angel of the Lord appears to shepherds out in the field, informing them of Messiah’s arrival. He says, in part: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). What is this “city of David” here?

It is true the Old Testament applies the title “city of David” to Jerusalem, and this was because it was King David’s capital city (2 Kings 9:28; 2 Kings 14:20). Here in Luke chapter 2, however, the “city of David” can only mean Bethlehem of Judaea, for it was David’s hometown. Luke already restricted the meaning in verse 4: “the city of David, which is called Bethlehem.” Only if we are careless will we insert Jerusalem into Luke 2, verses 4 and 11. Moreover, the shepherds correctly interpret “city of David” (verse 11) as Bethlehem of Judaea, for that is precisely where they intend to go! Read verse 15: “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”

At this point, we must expose the fact the Book of Mormon differs significantly from the Holy Bible. In Alma 7:10 of the Book of Mormon, we read: “And, behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.” The Book of Mormon is wrong. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem. Joseph Smith, while writing the Book of Mormon, evidently misread Luke!

This by no means should be considered “splitting hairs,” “nitpicky,” or “making something out of nothing.” If we do not specify Christ was born in Bethlehem, or Bethlehem Judah/Judaea/Ephratah, we are failing to make the connection of prophecy being fulfilled. He would be born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem, so to say Jerusalem is to deny fulfilled prophecy (or make it harder to realize prophecy was fulfilled). Over 700 years prior, Micah 5:2 had foretold: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

Go over to Matthew chapter 2: “[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, [2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. [3] When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. [4] And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. [5] And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, [6] And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” The name “Bethlehem” in Hebrew means “house of bread,” so it is only fitting the “Bread of Life” (John chapter 6) be born here!

Bethlehem Judah (also known as Bethlehem Ephratah and Bethlehem of Judaea) is approximately 5 or 6 miles (8 to 10 kilometers) almost due south of Jerusalem. It is not to be confused with another Bethlehem, northern Israel, near Galilee in the territory of the tribe of Zebulon (Joshua 19:15)—and Bethlehem Judah/Ephratah/Judaea is not to be confused with Jerusalem either!

Also see:
» Was Jesus born on the 25th of December?
» How can Luke 2:1 report “all the world” was subject to Caesar Augustus?
» Is there an historical mistake in Luke 2:1-2?

What will Israel’s future re-gathering be like?

WHAT WILL ISRAEL’S FUTURE RE-GATHERING BE LIKE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers (Jeremiah 16:14-15). If you think God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt was spectacular, just wait until you see what He has in store in prophecy!

A survey of the so-called “Old Testament” (Genesis through Malachi) yields numerous references to the standard of God’s power concerning His dealings with Israel. One way JEHOVAH God reminded Israel of His power was to mention their deliverance from Egyptian slavery. Pharaoh had so horribly treated their ancestors and he refused to release them, but, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had used Moses, the great “Law-giver,” to forcefully deliver and lead Israel to freedom in their Promised Land! So many centuries of hopeless oppression have given way to a magnificent exodus out of Egypt. For brevity’s sake, we will quote the verses without commenting.

“I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 5:6). No idol had delivered Israel; however, JEHOVAH had. Therefore, in the First Commandment, He instructed them to worship Him alone. Israel was to lead a separate and unique life, for God had separated her from the world, particularly Egypt. Leviticus 11:45: “For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” It was what God did for them, not what they did for Him! Leviticus 26:13: “I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.” Let us proceed to look at other related passages.

The nation Israel is God’s great “sign” nation in Scripture. Miraculous demonstrations—physical, visible manifestations of God’s power—are Israel’s national birthright, meant to teach her doctrine (Exodus 4:1-9; Psalm 74:9; 1 Corinthians 1:22; et cetera). The standard of God’s power to Israel was His delivering them from their Egyptian bondage. Scripture makes many references to that event, particularly the parting of the Red Sea.

Note more examples. Exodus 32:11: “And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?” And, 2 Kings 17:36, “But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.” Jeremiah 32:21: “And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror.” Finally, Ezekiel 20:9,10: “[9] But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. [10] Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.” Why did God manifest His power to Israel in this manner? How did Israel respond? Let us search the Scriptures and find out!

For centuries, Egypt held helpless Israel captive. However, JEHOVAH God would save them. It would be His power, not their efforts. As Exodus indicates, He poured out 10 mighty judgments on Egypt and her gods. Then, He destroyed Egypt’s armies with the Red Sea. Israel had simply let her God defeat Egypt by Himself. With Aaron’s help, only a few weeks after leaving Egypt, Israel made and worshipped a golden calf idol: “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt(Exodus 32:4,8). Israel forgot that JEHOVAH, the living God, had delivered her. Instead, they credited the work of their hands as their deliverer. Insanity! They had forgotten JEHOVAH their Deliverer once there at Mount Sinai. Forty years later, they were warned not to forget JEHOVAH God again (Deuteronomy 6:12; Deuteronomy 8:14).

Just before Joshua’s death, Israel said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed” (Joshua 24:16-17). Centuries later, under evil King Jeroboam, Israel made two golden calves, saying again, “Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt(1 Kings 12:28). Israel had again forgotten the LORD God their Deliverer. Soon, His wrath would fall on them, and they would be forced out of His land, scattered worldwide!

Just before Israel was expelled from the Promised Land, just before she entered captivity among the Gentiles (nations), the LORD voiced a controversy against her in Micah 6:3-4: “O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” God wanted ungrateful Israel to speak up as to why she had abandoned Him in favor of worthless, lifeless idols. “What, O what, Israel, have I done to you that you want nothing to do with Me?! Did I not deliver you from Egypt, from bondage?!” (You can sense God’s broken heart.)

Israel had reached her sin limit. She had broken the Covenant of Law for centuries. Pagan idols polluted God’s land through and through. And so, with Israel refusing to reform and return to JEHOVAH God, the fifth course of judgment fell. Just as Leviticus 26:27-43 said, God let Gentile armies come in and take Israel captive again. He drove Israel so forcefully from that land of Canaan. “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” (verse 33). Historically, the Jews were gradually removed between 722 and 586 B.C., scattered worldwide. The Assyrians and Babylonians took them as prisoners of war. Israel was—and still is today—in bondage again. Jeremiah 16:14-15 says JEHOVAH God has a mighty deliverance planned for Israel. It will dwarf her release from Egypt!

Originally, God brought Israel out of Egypt so she would be His people: He would be their God and they would do His will in His land, the Promised Land. Yet, they were not interested. They wanted to do what they wanted. They preferred sin! Once they entered the Promised Land, they waxed worse and worse, until finally, God had enough of their idolatry. He ultimately evicted Israel, but not forever. For over 2,500 years now, the Jews have been scattered worldwide, living in and among the Gentile nations. Nationally, they have no Promised Land to own, no Davidic government to protect them, no earthly blessings to enjoy, no forgiveness of sins, nothing. All those centuries ago, they broke JEHOVAH God’s laws and commandments. They refused to turn back. In accordance with the final round of chastisement (Leviticus chapter 26), God permitted the Gentiles to come in and violently remove the Jews from Canaan.

Verses 44 and 45 of Leviticus chapter 26 are God’s promise to Israel: “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.” No matter that fifth course of judgment, Israel’s dispersion and Gentile captivity, God would not destroy Israel. He would bring her back (Jeremiah 16:14-15)!

At Mount Sinai, the Jews had agreed to do “all” that the LORD had spoken (Exodus 19:8). Alas, an empty promise! They disobeyed Him for centuries. Whether you read the “Old Testament,” or secular history books, you learn that Israel failed under that Law Covenant. God, in order to cleanse His Promised Land, exiled the idolatrous Jews into foreign nations. Even today, the Gentiles dominate Israel and her land. This will continue until Jesus Christ returns.

God knew all along Israel—like all sinners—could never keep His commandments, but Israel was in denial and had to be taught it. Even though Israel failed miserably under the Law, it was only a temporary agreement. Long before Israel’s works were involved, God had promised to make Abraham’s seed His people forever (Genesis 12:1-3). Regardless of their works, God had promised to give Abraham, and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob, the Promised Land forever (Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:1-21). One day, Israel will learn once for all that she will receive God’s promises by God’s grace, not by her works!

As Israel needed God to deliver her from Egypt so He could bring her into His Promised Land, Israel needs Him to bring her back from Gentile captivity so she can enter that Promised Land forever. This prophetic return will be much grander than history. She was confined to one nation (Egypt); now, she is scattered worldwide. Her Egyptian bondage was just a few centuries; her worldwide captivity has lasted over 2,000 years. It looks hopeless, as if Israel will never return. Yet, the deliverance from Egypt was all a rehearsal for the future!

Although Israel messed up God’s purpose and plan for them once they came out of Egypt, Jeremiah 16:14-15 loops back to show us God will still fulfill His will with them (cf. Leviticus 26:44-45). Jeremiah chapter 16 resembles a passage descriptive of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming to be Israel’s King. Jeremiah 23:5-8: “[5] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. [6] In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. [7] Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; [8] But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.”

Israel’s deliverance from Egypt was glorious, but there is a greater deliverance yet future. The famous “Valley of Dry Bones” passage (Ezekiel chapter 37), which you should read in your own time, illustrates how God will bring redeemed Israel back from all those foreign nations. They will finally enjoy God’s earthly kingdom… they should have experienced it after leaving Egypt! Regardless of their failures, God will still be faithful to them. He will make them His people, fill them with His Spirit forever, and they will never disappoint Him again!

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31).

Also see:
» “All Israel shall be saved?”
» Why did Jesus tell Israel they do not know the date of His return?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?

Why was Moses ordered to be shoeless?

WHY WAS MOSES ORDERED TO BE SHOELESS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We are all aware of that classic passage of Moses meeting the LORD God in the burning bush. Why did the LORD God order Moses to remove his shoes, and why was Moses “afraid to look upon God?” Let us search the Scriptures to find out.

The passage is Exodus 3:4-6: “[4] And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. [5] And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. [6] Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. As we have already stated, everyone familiar with the Bible has heard of Moses meeting the LORD in the burning bush. Unfortunately, meaningful details of the account have usually been overlooked. Let us begin reading chapter 3 of Exodus at the beginning—the context of our main text—and proceed to expound it.

“[1] Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. [2] And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. [3] And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. [4] And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. [5] And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. [6] Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”

In the decades previous to Moses, his nation Israel multiplied in the land of Egypt. A new Pharaoh—fearing the Jews would outnumber the Egyptians and side with their enemies during wartime—ordered his people to kill the Hebrew baby boys (Exodus chapter 1). Chapter 2 chronicles Moses’ birth and his mother’s attempt to spare his life by placing him into a basket in the river; Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and raises him as her own son (verses 1-10).

According to Acts 7:23, “And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.” Return to Exodus chapter 2: “[11] And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. [12] And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. [13] And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? [14] And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. [15] Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.” Another 40 years pass!

Indeed, at the time of Moses meeting the LORD in the burning bush, he was 80 years of age. He had spent his first 40 years in Egypt, before fleeing to live in the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula for another 40 years. What was his reason for departing? The Prophet Stephen, speaking as the Holy Ghost led him, revealed the motive in Acts chapter 7: “[23] And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. [24] And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: [25] For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. [26] And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? [27] But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? [28] Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday? [29] Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. [30] And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.”

Moses left Egypt because he had abandoned Israel. Remember, 40-year-old Moses, when he had approached his Jewish brethren in Egypt, was rejected. Again, recall Acts chapter 7: “[24] And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: [25] For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. Exodus chapter 2, verses 13 and 14: “And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.”

Moses left Egypt because he had given up on Israel! Remember the Jews’ hardships under “the king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8)? They are slaves, oppressed and seemingly forsaken of God. Moses attempted to help them, “but they understood not,” so he, rejected, fled to Sinai. Forty years later, Exodus chapter 2 says: “[23] And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. [24] And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. [25] And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.”

God now appears to Moses in the burning bush. Continue reading in Exodus chapter 3: “[7] And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; [8] And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. [9] Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. [10] Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.”

Moses feared to look upon God because he knew he had abandoned Israel in Egypt. God appeared to remind him that, contrary to what Moses believed, He had not forgotten Israel, and that he (Moses) was negligent in forsaking Israel 40 years earlier. Concerning “the burning bush [that] was not consumed” (verse 2), that pictured Israel undergoing intense persecution in Egyptian bondage and yet not being annihilated. Moses had to be taught that God was still preserving her in that “iron furnace” (Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Jeremiah 11:4), and now it was time for Moses to return to Egypt and rescue her from Pharaoh. Moses was to bring them into God’s land, the Promised Land.

After Moses met the LORD in the burning bush, chapter 4 of Exodus reads: “[24] And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. [25] Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. [26] So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.” Why did God want to kill Moses? Moses, while in the wilderness 40 years, saw the Abrahamic Covenant as invalid. Contrary to God’s commandment in Genesis 17:9-14, he had not physically circumcised his son!

Once Moses heard “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” was addressing him, he recalled the Abrahamic Covenant. Although Israel was suffering in Egypt, their God had not forgotten them: “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:24-25). When Moses encountered God, he was terrified. It was more than a sinful, mortal man seeing a holy, righteous God. The LORD ordered him to remove his shoes, for not only was Moses standing on “holy ground,” he had been in unbelief! Since Moses forsook Israel in Egypt four decades earlier, he was to take off his shoes. In Israel, the shoeless man was confessing his failure to fulfill his duty (see the levirate marriage situation of Deuteronomy 25:5-10 and Ruth 4:1-8). Now, Moses was ready to return to Egypt.

Moses had forgotten the LORD’S words to Father Abraham centuries before Israel’s Egyptian bondage: “[13] And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; [14] And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. [15] And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. [16] But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again [the Promised Land!]: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:13-16).

Now, God’s message to Abraham in chapter 17: “[6] And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. [7] And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. [8] And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Moses was in unbelief when he left Israel in Egypt. God had not forsaken them as assumed. Despite their temporary captivity, the Abrahamic Covenant was permanent. As per God’s faithfulness, they would return to the land in which Abraham sojourned.

CONCLUSION

Once he met the LORD in the burning bush, Moses—although corrected with the removal of his shoes—reluctantly confronts Pharaoh. After intentionally delaying even more to judge sinful Egypt, God finally frees Israel with a mighty hand. For the final 40 years of his life, Moses leads Israel from Egypt to the eastern edge of the Promised Land. (The trip that would have lasted a few weeks was greatly lengthened after Israel’s unfaithfulness and subsequent wilderness wanderings!) Upon Moses’ decease, Joshua becomes Israel’s new leader and brings them westward across the Jordan River. Through a series of victorious wars, God enables them to conquer Palestine’s Gentile inhabitants.

Almost three decades later, aged and dying Joshua counsels Israel in Joshua chapter 23: “[4] Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. [5] And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you. [6] Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;….” Alas, Israel forsook the LORD once she settled Canaan—worshipping and serving idols, and ultimately being scattered around the world!

Where Moses failed, God was faithful; where Israel was unreliable, God will be reliable. She will return to the land of her fathers in due time!

Also see:
» Why was the levirate marriage important in Bible times?
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?
» Who are the “lawyers” in Scripture?

Why was the levirate marriage important in Bible times?

WHY WAS THE LEVIRATE MARRIAGE IMPORTANT IN BIBLE TIMES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The levirate marriage was the practice in ancient Israel whereby a widowed woman married her late husband’s brother. Such a union would produce at least one child to take the dead man’s place in the land. (“Levir” is Latin for “brother-in-law,” although, depending on the limitations of the situation, the woman could have even married her husband’s nephew, cousin, et cetera.) While we, of a different culture and time, consider this revolting, if we understand it as touching their conditions, there was nothing perverted or inappropriate about it.

In the Law of Moses, Deuteronomy chapter 25, the LORD God outlined the rules for this levirate marriage: “[5] If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her. [6] And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. [7] And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother. [8] Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; [9] Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house. [10] And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.”

Blood lines were very essential in Israel, as land allotted to the 12 tribes was to stay within their respective tribes and not be transferred to other tribes. The death of a childless man meant his bloodline would cease, jeopardizing his inheritance, the estate possibly being lost to another tribe if his widow married a man of another tribe. If his surviving wife married his blood relative (brother, cousin, et cetera), however, the firstborn child of this new union would take the place of the deceased man. The birth of this new child, of the same bloodline as the man who died, would cause the inheritance/land to remain within the original family or tribe.

The classic example of a levirate marriage in Scripture is Ruth’s marital relationship with Boaz, her husband’s relative. Read the Book of Ruth for more information. Some bungled levirate marriages in the Bible are in Genesis 38:8-14—although this was long before the Law of Moses formally sanctioned such arrangements. By the way, the levirate marriage was the basis for the captious question the Sadducees posed to Jesus in an unsuccessful attempt to trap Him (Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38).

Also see:
» Why was Moses ordered to be shoeless?
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?
» Who are the “lawyers” in Scripture?

What is the “bound” of Hosea 5:10?

WHAT IS THE “BOUND” OF HOSEA 5:10?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Hosea 5:10 relays to us: “The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.” What is this “bound?” Some other verses help shed light:

  • Deuteronomy 19:14: “Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.”
  • Deuteronomy 27:17: “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.”
  • Job 24:2: “Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.”
  • Proverbs 22:28: “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”
  • Proverbs 23:10: “Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:….”

The “bound” or “landmark” is a property boundary marker. Such objects were important under the Law of Moses, for Israel’s land was divided amongst 12 tribes, and inheritances in that land were of utmost significance. See the Books of Deuteronomy and Joshua for the physical boundaries of these tribes.

In Acts chapter 17, the Apostle Paul spoke of national “bounds,” boundaries or borders of nations God designed in Genesis chapters 9–11 to limit the spread of Satan’s policy of evil. (For more information, see our related study linked at the end of this article.) Read from chapter 17 of Acts: “[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.”

As touching Hosea 5:10, the leaders of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) were greedy, materialistic, and dishonest—likened unto property thieves. The LORD commented on their misbehavior: “Therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water!” (He did just that with the Babylonian Captivity, when Judah lost all their physical possessions to the pillaging Gentiles!)

Also see:
» Is it “un-Christian” for a country to have border walls?
» Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?
» Did Hosea 1:10 and Hosea 2:23 predict the Body of Christ?

How can Luke 2:1 report “all the world” was subject to Caesar Augustus?

HOW CAN LUKE 2:1 REPORT “ALL THE WORLD” WAS SUBJECT TO CAESAR AUGUSTUS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Luke 2:1-2 tells us: “[1] And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. [2] (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)” How can the Bible suggest Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus decreed a tax for “all the world?” Is Scripture implying he had jurisdiction outside the Roman Empire?

The Holy Spirit, of course, was aware Caesar Augustus could tax people only within the empire’s borders. We are not to suppose, for example, the mandate extends to the North and South American continents, or Antarctica, or Australia. The point is this: Gentiles, not Jews, are the chief nation in the Earth. Why?

Remember, Adam relinquished to Satan his God-given dominion over the Earth when he sinned in Eden (Genesis 1:26-28; Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8). Israel became God’s supreme nation in the Earth (Genesis 12:1-3), but lost her dominion in the Earth because of King Solomon’s habitual pagan idolatry (cf. Leviticus 26:18-19; 1 Kings 11:1-43). Here, circa 930 B.C., Israel’s 12 tribes were divided into two nations or kingdoms—Israel (10 northern tribes) and Judah (two southern tribes). As the centuries passed, the Jews waned politically. Ultimately, approximately 722 B.C., the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom, thus beginning Israel’s Assyrian Captivity (2 Kings 17:6-23; cf. Leviticus 26:27-39). Between 606 and 586 B.C., the Babylonians thrice invaded the Southern Kingdom, culminating in the Fall of Jerusalem and the burning of Solomon’s Temple in 586 B.C. (2 Kings chapters 24–25; cf. Leviticus 26:27-39). Thus commenced Judah’s Babylonian Captivity.

Study the Book of Daniel, especially chapter 2. World history agrees with Scripture. The Babylonians conquered Judah, the Medes-Persians overcame the Babylonians, the Greeks vanquished the Medes-Persians, and the Romans conquered and extended the Greek Empire. All these military conquests occurred during the six centuries prior to Luke chapter 2. The Holy Spirit through Luke is reminding us that Israel is under the fifth course of chastisement, still subject to Gentiles, and it will remain this way until Christ’s Second Coming and subsequent earthly kingdom (see Daniel 2:44-45). JEHOVAH God, having temporarily removed Israel from the chief political position, afforded Caesar Augustus the potential to conquer every known people on Earth. Rome can possibly acquire all the governmental potency Adam and Israel lost.

Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar confessed that was the case with him in Daniel 4:1,22. Had God not brought in the Medes-Persians to overthrow prideful Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar would have eventually conquered all continents. The Medes-Persians would have had worldwide dominion, but God used the Greeks to defeat them (most humbly) before that happened. Before the Greeks became too powerful, the LORD brought in the Romans to conquer them. Eventually, the Roman Empire collapsed. These successive kingdoms and empires have come and gone because of God’s allowance of it.

As touching the entire duration of our Dispensation of Grace (last 2,000 years), Israel has been without the Davidic dynasty. The evil world system is still awaiting a thorough purging. Satan is still reigning in the Earth. After our dispensation closes, the Antichrist will endeavor to overtake all nations (Revelation 13:7,14,16), but Christ’s return will interrupt and destroy him (2 Thessalonians 2:8), thus bringing to a permanent end Gentile dominion in the Earth. The Lord Jesus Christ will restore David’s throne to Israel—yea, to universal supremacy—and thus reign for Father God’s glory forever (Luke 1:31-33; Revelation 12:15; cf. Isaiah 9:6-7). Satan and pagan Gentiles will no longer rule in the Earth! Furthermore, through us the Church the Body of Christ, David’s throne will extend out into the heavenly places throughout the endless ages to come (2 Timothy 2:8-13). (For more about David’s throne impacting the heavenly places in the future, and our role in it, see our related study about the heavens, whose link you will find below.)

Also see:
» Is there an historical mistake in Luke 2:1-2?
» Why does “overturn” appear thrice in Ezekiel 21:27?
» Can you explain, “My kingdom is not of this world?”
» Is the “Divine right of kings” a Scriptural concept?
» Where in the Bible did God give Satan domain over the Earth?
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?
» Why are the heavens not clean in God’s sight?
» Who was “Caesar?”
» Who was “Herod?”
» Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?

What is the “flood” of Joshua chapter 24?

WHAT IS THE “FLOOD” OF JOSHUA CHAPTER 24?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“[2] And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. [3] And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac…. [14] Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. [15] And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

What is the “flood” of Joshua chapter 24? Is it the Flood of Genesis? No. It is not the Great Deluge of Noah’s lifetime. After all, Terah/Abraham/Nachor, like Joshua, all lived after the Flood of Genesis chapters 6–8, not before it. Therefore, it would not make sense to read Joshua chapter 24 as “Terah/Abraham/Nachor prior to the Flood….” Be sure to read “the other side of the flood” as a place on a map, not a position on the Bible timeline. The King James translators rendered that Hebrew word (“nahar”) more often as “river” (nearly 100 times). However, they were not incorrect when translating it as “flood” here as elsewhere. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “flood” is a literary term for a stream/river or sea. In Old English, it is flod, both of which are related to flow (as in a river flowing). Now that we understand stream is the sense of the word “flood” in Joshua chapter 24, which river would it be?

Before the LORD God called him, Abram (his former name) was a pagan idolater in Ur of the Chaldees. Actually, his whole family was heathen. Historically, this was Genesis 11:27-32, with Abram’s call in the opening verses of chapter 12, but the progressive revelation of the matter is given in Acts 7:1-4. Abram’s name was changed to Abraham in Genesis chapter 17. Ur of the Chaldees (Babylonians) is situated in modern Iraq, near the Euphrates River. Far to the west—that is, west of the Jordan River—is the land of Canaan, where Joshua was speaking to Israel. It is debated whether he was referring to the Jordan River or the Euphrates River. (This author leans toward the Euphrates.) So long as we make “flood” a river here, and not involve the Great Flood of Noah’s day, we have grasped the most important point.

Also see:
» Is there a geographical error in 2 Kings 2:2?
» Is “Jesus” a mistake in the King James Bible in Hebrews 4:8?
» How could Jonah flee from God’s presence?

What is “the matrix” in the King James Bible?

WHAT IS “THE MATRIX” IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Authorized Version features the word on five occasions:

  • Exodus 13:12: “That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.”
  • Exodus 13:15: “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.”
  • Exodus 34:19: “All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.”
  • Numbers 3:12: “And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;….”
  • Numbers 18:15: “Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.”

Using context clues in the above verses, we can at least discern “matrix” is connected to someone or something being born. More specifically, the Hebrew word is “rehem,” translated “womb” some 21 times (Genesis 20:18; Genesis 29:31; Genesis 30:22; Exodus 13:2; Numbers 8:16; Numbers 12:12; 1 Samuel 1:5-6; Job 3:11; Job 10:18; Job 24:20; Job 31:15 [x2]; Job 38:8; Psalm 22:10; Psalm 58:3; Psalm 110:3; Jeremiah 1:5; Jeremiah 20:17-18; Hosea 9:14).

“Matrix” is used in a medical sense even today to refer to “something (as a surrounding or pervading substance or element) within which something else originates or takes form or develops.” The womb or uterus is the place in the mother’s body where the offspring grows prior to birth, and “matrix” is an apt description. In fact, the word is derived from the Latin, and originally denoted female animals used for breeding in ancient Rome.

Also see:
» What does “Born of water and of the Spirit” mean?
» What does the Bible say about motherhood?
» What is the real Immaculate Conception?

» What does the Bible mean, “Jesus Christ came by water and blood?”

Did the disciples go to the wrong tomb on Resurrection Sunday?

DID THE DISCIPLES GO TO THE WRONG TOMB ON RESURRECTION SUNDAY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Skeptics argue the “resurrection” of Christ was merely a case of mistaken identity. Allegedly, the disciples went to the wrong tomb. Had they kept looking, they would have found Jesus still dead in His actual grave nearby! If true, this serious accusation would surely shake and destroy the foundations of Christianity. Yet, is there any evidence in Scripture to indicate the disciples went to the wrong tomb? No, on the contrary, it was impossible for them not arrive at the right gravesite!

1. THE WOMEN

Our first line of evidence that the disciples were not mistaken concerning the grave involves Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of James the less and Joses. These women witnessed Jesus’ entombment. Consequently, they knew which vault was His when they returned just a few days later.

Matthew 27:57-61: “[57] When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: [58] He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. [59] And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, [60] And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. [61] And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

Mark 15:43-47: “[43] Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. [44] And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. [45] And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. [46] And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. [47] And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

Luke 23:50-56: “[50] And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: [51] (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them; ) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. [52] This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. [53] And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. [54] And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. [55] And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. [56] And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”

In fact, Luke 23:55 indicates other women besides Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were present at Christ’s burial. They would be the ladies referenced in Luke 8:2-3, Luke 23:27-28, and Luke 23:49. Here, the point is simple: they would have surely remembered the precise location of Christ’s tomb when visiting it three days later. They knew exactly where to come on Resurrection Sunday!

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre” (Matthew 28:1). “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him” (Mark 16:1). “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them” (Luke 24:1—the women of 23:55-56).

2. THE ANGELS

Here is our second line of evidence: At least two angels were present in the tomb when the women reached it, but neither angelic being corrected the women. After all, now would have been an appropriate time for the “messengers of God” to correct any misunderstandings or confusion. “Hey, you women are in the wrong tomb! Jesus’ corpse is still in the chamber next-door!” Instead, the women learned they were in the right tomb—and Jesus was alive and had vacated it in victorious resurrection just prior to their arrival!

Matthew 28:5-7: “[5] And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. [6] He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. [7] And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

Mark 16:5-6: “[5] And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. [6] And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.”

Luke 24:3-7: “[3] And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: [5] And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? [6] He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, [7] Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

3. THE PRIESTS

Our third and final piece of evidence is found among the Levitical priests. In light of His resurrection, the Sadducees (priests) were the bitterest enemies of Christ. After all, Sadducees did not believe in resurrection (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27; Acts 23:8). How many “precious church members” had they lost when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Matthew 9:23-26; Mark 35-43), the son of the widow of Nain from the dead (Luke 7:11-18), and Lazarus from the dead (John 11:30-44)?

John 11:42-48 relates their “predicament:” “[42] And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. [43] And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. [44] And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. [45] Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. [46] But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. [47] Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. [48] If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

John 12:9-11: “[9] Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. [10] But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; [11] Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

When attempting to discredit the resurrection of Christ, the unbelieving Jewish priests did not argue, “Just tell everyone Jesus’ disciples went to the wrong tomb!” Furthermore, His critics never produced a body, and that would have been quite easy to do if that were the case. Matthew 28:11-14 reveals their course of action: “[11] Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. [12] And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, [13] Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. [14] And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.” Instead of asserting, “Jesus’ disciples went to the wrong tomb,” it was, “They stole His body!” Even the Lord’s critics understood the disciples looked in the correct grave.

CONCLUSION

To deny Jesus Christ’s (miraculous) resurrection, skeptics contend the “empty tomb” was due to His disciples arriving at the wrong crypt. This is quite clever, but flimsy. Nothing in Roman history even suggests the authorities used this “wrong sepulcher” argument—that is because it is no argument at all! Additionally, the women were aware of the burial site, having witnessed the entombment just a few days prior. Also, the angels in the tomb confirmed these women had come to the right place, and that Christ was risen again and had left that grave. Finally, the Sadducees in no way appealed to the “wrong grave” defense when trying to discourage Jews from converting to Christ post-resurrection. Nothing in the Bible suggests it was the wrong grave. In fact, the exact opposite is affirmed: Jesus Christ had indeed conquered death through His glorious bodily resurrection!

“[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:…. [12] Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? [13] But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: [14] And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. [15] Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. [16] For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: [17] And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. [18] Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. [20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept (1 Corinthians 15:1-4,12-20).

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 s 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:
» Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?
» Where was Jesus during the three days between His death and resurrection?
» How was Jesus Christ “raised again?” Why “again?”
» Why does “revived” appear in Romans 14:9?
» “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable?”