Monthly Archives: May 2021

What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?

WHAT IS THE “MADNESS” OF LUKE 6:11?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In the King James Bible, we read in Luke 6:11: “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.” What is this “madness?”

Confusion surrounds the passage because modern English versions departed from the centuries-old standard English reading as found in the Authorized Version. According to the King James, Christ’s critics were “filled with madness.” However, modern translations read “filled with rage” (NKJV), “furious” (NIV), and so on. Is Luke stressing their anger here? We think not! By tampering with this word, modern versions have watered down a salient truth, removing the thrust of the verse.

The idea being carried with “madness” is insanity. In Greek, it is “anoia,” literally “without understanding or mind” (related to “paranoia”). The word is found one other time in the New Testament, and it is rendered “folly” (foolishness) in 2 Timothy 3:9: “But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” Whether the corrupt religionists in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, the Egyptian magicians opposing Moses in Exodus by counterfeiting God’s work, or Israel’s apostate religious leaders challenging Jesus, they are all spiritually senseless. They have been given over to the spiritual darkness and silliness they so preferred when they rejected God’s spiritual light and wisdom! Neither God nor His servants/preachers can reason with them.

As it was true of the Gentiles/nations at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapter 10), as it is applicable of Bible-rejecters today, so Romans 1:20-25 is true of those unbelievers during Christ’s earthly ministry: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Verses 26-32 describe their additional nonsensical ideas and behaviors!)

Read the parallels of Luke 6:11. “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him” (Matthew 12:14). “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him” (Mark 3:6).They are irrational, and cannot be reasoned with. While they have their major political and religious disagreements, Jesus’ critics can all concur He needs to be taken care of. Too willfully blind to see their need for the Saviour, they are opposing the God-Man to the point of murdering Him!

In Acts 26:9-11, when the Apostle Paul is sharing his testimony, he recounts how he as Saul of Tarsus was another unbelieving Judaistic fanatic hell-bent on imprisoning and/or killing Jesus’ followers (cf. Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-22): “[9] I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. [10] Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. [11] And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.” Worse than Christ’s opponents in Matthew through John, Saul of Tarsus was also entangled with works-religion. Thankfully, Saul came to faith in Christ Jesus alone, throwing away his worthless self-righteousness and ridiculousness (Philippians chapter 3)!

For more information, refer to our “lunatick” companion study linked at the end of this article.

SUPPLEMENTAL: THE MADNESS OF MADNESS

Our English term “madness” can be traced back to the Middle English “medd, madd,” to the Old English “gemaed,” meaning “silly;” it is related to the Old High German word “gimeit,” meaning “foolish, crazy.” Although the Greek word is different (“mainomai”) from that used in Luke 6:11, the King James translators used “mad” to specify craziness as opposed to anger in five places:

  • John 10:20: “And many of them said, He [Jesus] hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?”
  • Acts 12:15: “And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.”
  • Acts 26:24: “And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.”
  • Acts 26:25: “But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.”
  • 1 Corinthians 14:23: “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”

Also see:
» What is a “lunatick?” Is it an “epileptic?”
» What is a “demon?” Is that the same as “devil?”
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?
» Does the Bible teach that mental illness is really devil possession?

What is a “lunatick?”

WHAT IS A “LUNATICK?” IS IT AN “EPILEPTIC?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The King James Bible employs the word “lunatick” in only two passages, both in the Book of Matthew.

  • Matthew 4:23-24: “[23] And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. [24] And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”
  • Matthew 17:14-16: “[14] And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, [15] Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. [16] And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.”

As the name implies, “lunatick” literally means “moonstruck.” It is not a mistranslation, as the Greek is “seleniazomai,” with “selene” meaning “moon.” This strange English name, dating back to the 14th century, was derived from the now-antiquated idea that the moon’s phases temporarily caused mental instability. Most modern English versions, however, retranslate it to mean “epileptics” (NKJV, HCSB, NASB, et cetera), “those having seizures” (NIV, ESV, et cetera), or the like. However, epilepsy seems unlikely because the ancient Greeks knew nothing of it. We should retain the King James reading and not change the Word of God, lest we lose the following insight.

“Lunatic” (KJV, “lunatick”) is not a technical word, but it was once commonly applied to anyone suffering various mental illnesses. The lunatics Jesus healed represented spiritually-insane Israel: Israel is not thinking properly, as she has refused and still refuses to let God’s Word transform her mind. We are warned not to fall into the same trap! “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). Sound Bible doctrine—especially Romans through Philemon—will guard us against spiritual lunacy!

As touching Christ’s earthly ministry, for many centuries now, the Jews have focused on pagan idols, empty works-religion, materialism—anything and everything but JEHOVAH God and the revelation He gave them! They are “filled with madness,” Luke 6:11 reports, to the point of attempting to kill the Son of God. In fact, they are so insane they accused Jesus of craziness (John 10:20)! Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul before salvation, was another “mad” man against Christ and His followers (Acts 26:11). For more information, see our Luke 6:11 companion study linked below.

Also see:
» What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?
» What is a “demon?” Is that the same as “devil?”

» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?
» Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17:14-21?
» Does the Bible teach that mental illness is really devil possession?

How are we God’s “workmanship?”

HOW ARE WE GOD’S “WORKMANSHIP?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Many charge us Pauline dispensationalists with the following: “You are telling people to sin all they want because God’s grace and forgiveness cover it!” When we proclaim God’s grace, are we really encouraging people to pursue careless, frivolous lifestyles, as our (legalistic) critics claim? Or, are they simply misunderstanding grace?

The Greek word translated “workmanship” in Ephesians 2:10 is “poiema,” meaning “creation,” from which we get “poem.” Interestingly, “poiema” is used one other time in Scripture: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made [poiema], even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). From salvation and the Christian life to the origin of the universe, the emphasis is not on the creation (us, the heavens, and the earth), but on the Creator, Jesus Christ (see Romans 1:25). Just as we did not engineer the heavens and the earth, neither did we work to receive salvation in Christ—Christ alone worked to save us. Now that God has saved us, His grace can permeate our inner man, and teach us how to live in Christ Jesus (Titus 2:11-15).

Grace teaches us not to focus on what we do for God, for we sinners can do nothing to please God (Romans 3:23), but rather focus on what God did at Calvary for us. Our good works could not save us, so how could they keep us saved? They cannot! Thus, our receiving and keeping salvation, and our Christian lives, are not reliant upon our performance, but on Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary.

As Ephesians 2:10 specifies, we are not doing good works. “Our” good works are actually the outward manifestation of what God the Holy Spirit is doing internally (Galatians 5:22-23; cf. Romans 8:1-14). When we study and believe sound Bible doctrine, God will use that doctrine to transform us from the inside out (Philippians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). We are God’s workmanship!

When we Pauline dispensationalists proclaim God’s grace, are we really encouraging people to pursue careless, frivolous lifestyles, as our (legalistic) critics claim? God forbid! Religion deceives billions through indoctrination: to wit, lies repeated long enough are accepted as truth. Works-religion (legalism) prevails in the professing church today: “Perform so God can save you!” Thus, the average church member, upon hearing the Biblical truth, “God will save you, regardless of your works,” they mistake this as careless living. They are programmed to accept error as truth; consequently, they reject contradictory information (God’s truth!).

When we Pauline dispensationalists declare, “Salvation is by grace through faith plus nothing,” we mean salvation is COMPLETELY independent of our performance (Romans 3:28; Romans 4:1-5; Galatians 2:21; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; et al.). Grace saves us solely because of the merits of Jesus Christ at Calvary; grace does not save us on the basis of our good works—grace is unmerited favor (Romans 11:6). Grace is what God can do for us because we sinners can do nothing for God.

As mentioned earlier, the Greek word translated “workmanship” in Ephesians 2:10 is “poiema,” meaning “creation,” from which we get “poem.” Interestingly, poiema” is used one other time in Scripture: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made [poiema], even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). From salvation and the Christian life to the origin of the universe, the emphasis is not on the creation (us, the heavens, and the earth), but on the Creator, Jesus Christ (see Romans 1:25). The focus is not on the poem (workmanship), but rather the POET (Creator)!

God the Holy Spirit is doing something amazing in us believers. He is transforming us from the inside out for His glory. “Our” good works are God’s sound doctrine working in us. It is God’s work (1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 5:16-26; Philippians 1:9-11). Indeed, we are God’s workmanship! The Bible presents God as the Poet; we Christians are but His poem. He is the Mastermind; we are merely His design. God has the power; we are just His vessels. Our will and our works have not the preeminence; God’s will and God’s achievements do. The Creator of the universe is doing something excellent; the creatures’ work, our work, pale in comparison. What God did for us is foremost (grace), not what we do for Him (religion). This is God’s grace, and we are His workmanship.

Religion is not the work of God; it emphasizes man’s performance to make himself acceptable to God. Christianity is God’s workmanship, for it stresses how God can use mere frames of dust (us) for His glory (see Ephesians 2:10). Those of us who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, God is using us to make a “new man,” a “new creature,” the Church the Body of Christ, an entity He will use in Heaven forever (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:13-17); this is something that God, not us, does. God is building us—a temple, a house for Himself (1 Corinthians 3:16,17; Ephesians 2:18-22). We are “God’s husbandry, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Currently, God is preparing us Christians for eternity. We have his preserved and inerrant Word, the King James Bible, to learn and grow in His knowledge. The more sound doctrine we study and believe in the rightly divided Bible, the more equipped we are to function here and in eternity (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). In the ages to come, God will use us to restore the government of the heavens unto Himself (Ephesians 2:6-7; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:1; Colossians 1:16-22). God saved us to use us for all of eternity future, to do His good work in us now on earth, and to do His good work in us forever in heaven. Verily, verily, we are God’s workmanship… forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever! 🙂

Also see:
» Is grace “a license to sin?”
» We are saved by faith, but are we blessed by works?
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?
» Does God chasten us when we sin?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?
» Does “once saved, always saved” entitle us to abuse God’s grace?

» Once Christians fall into gross sin, will God use them again?

Can you explain Daniel 7:12?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN DANIEL 7:12?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time” (Daniel 7:12). To what is this referring?

Read the verse in context: “[11] I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. [12] As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. [13] I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. [14] And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

Firstly, these “beasts” of verse 12 are interpreted or defined in verse 17: “These great beasts [see verses 1-7], which are four, are four kings, which shall [future tense] arise out of the earth.” They were future from Daniel’s time, meaning this would definitely not refer to the Babylonians (which, according to verse 1, are already ruling). At this point, we cannot specify exactly which rulers these would be because they are still future even from us. Secondly, these four kings lead up to the Antichrist (the “little horn” of verse 8, the “beast” of verse 11). Verses 9-14, of course, are Father God preparing Jesus Christ to return at His Second Coming and reign in the Millennium.

With these remarks, we can at least pinpoint the time of Daniel 7:12. It will occur after the Antichrist’s slaying and destruction at Christ’s fiery coming (“the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” of verse 11—cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9) but just before the 1,000 years begin (Daniel 7:13-14).

Re-read Daniel 7:12: “As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.” My understanding is the following: the four beasts or kings—whose identities are still unclear to us—will not be slain with the Antichrist immediately at Christ’s return (Battle of Armageddon of Revelation 19:11-21). They no longer reign, but, for some inexplicable reason, they are not yet dead either.

One explanation is these four kings are taken as prisoners of war, the Jewish saints or believers (Israel’s believing remnant) capturing them, and the Lord evidently killing them later. Psalm 149 may be insightful here: “[5] Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. [6] Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; [7] To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; [8] To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; [9] To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.”

Also see:
» Who or what are the 10 “toes” or “horns” or “crowns” associated with the Antichrist?
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?
» Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?
» How are the Beast and the False Prophet “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire?
» What is “the mark of the Beast?”
» Why is “666” the number of the Beast?

What does “suborned” mean in Acts 6:11?

WHAT DOES “SUBORNED” MEAN IN ACTS 6:11?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The term appears a solitary time in the King James Bible, Acts 6:11: “Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.” What does “suborned” mean?

Let us read the verse in context to get the thought: “[8] And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. [9] Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. [10] And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. [11] Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. [12] And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, [13] And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: [14] For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. [15] And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.”

What we have here is yet another example of Satan fighting against God. The Holy Ghost is working through Stephen, but the flesh is operating in apostate Jews to resist God’s work. (After he preaches to them, they ultimately stone Stephen to death in the following chapter!) Unbelieving Jews argue with Stephen, but they are unable to match the wisdom and power of God evident in him. Therefore, they seek outside help in silencing him—and this is where the concept of “suborned” emerges. Simply put, they secretly entice some evildoers to join them in their rebellion or blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. (See our related studies linked at the end of this article.) These bribed men then lie about Stephen to the common Jewish people and leaders, intending on getting him executed. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). “Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Deuteronomy 5:20).

Our English word “suborn” is from the Latin “subornare” (“secretly furnish or equip”). The  “sub-” is also the origin of the words “surreptitious” and “suspect”—carrying the idea of craftiness or secrecy. In the Greek New Testament, “suborn” is “hypoballo,” meaning “to throw in stealthily.”

Also see:
» Who were the “Libertines?”
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?
» Did Acts 7:60 predict the Dispensation of Grace?
» Have I blasphemed against the Holy Ghost?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?

Who were the “Libertines?”

WHO WERE THE “LIBERTINES?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The title is found a single time in the Authorized Version, Acts 6:9: “Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.” Exactly who are these “Libertines?”

As their name implies, they are liberated. In Latin, they are known as “libertini,” meaning “freedmen.” According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Libertines “were probably Jews who, having been taken prisoners by Pompey [106–48 B.C.] and other Roman generals in the Syrian wars, had been reduced to slavery, and had afterward been emancipated, and returned, permanently or for a time, to the country of their fathers.”

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon supplies additional insight concerning Libertines: “Jews who had been made captives by the Romans under Pompey but were afterward set free; and who, although they had fixed their abode at Rome, had built at their own expense a synagogue at Jerusalem which they frequented when in that city. The name Libertines adhered to them to distinguish them from the free-born Jews who had subsequently taken up their residence at Rome.”

Ironically, the Libertines were physically free but spiritually bound—captive to sin and Satan. Instead of listening to Stephen and converting to Jesus Christ, they argued with him and conspired to get him in trouble with the common Jewish people in Jerusalem! They blasphemed against the Holy Ghost. Unfortunately, apostate (unbelieving) Israel subsequently killed Stephen and contributed to their fall in Acts chapter 7. (See our related studies linked below.)

Also see:
» What does “suborned” mean in Acts 6:11?
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?
» Did Acts 7:60 predict the Dispensation of Grace?
» Have I blasphemed against the Holy Ghost?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?

Must we follow along in the Bible?

MUST WE FOLLOW ALONG IN THE BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Some Christians have told me that they do not need to follow along in their Bible when a man teaches and/or preaches from it. They supposedly “know what the Bible teaches” to such an extent that them flipping through Bible pages and reading along is pointless. (Evidently, they stand on some spiritual plateau that the rest of us are still struggling to reach!) How did they get to this “I-do-not-need-to-follow-along-in-the-Bible” point in their Christian life? Can we ever hope to meet them there? Let us see what the Scriptures say.

A primary example of someone actually reading the Bible text in the Bible is the Lord Jesus Himself. He knew the Holy Bible better than any mortal man will ever know it! Yet, He valued the Scripture so much that He actually held its Isaiah scroll in hand and read from it! For the benefit of His audience, He did not quote it from memory (although He could have very easily done so). To set the example, He requested a Bible scroll, held it, searched for the passage He wanted, and then He read from it. In those days of synagogue worship and limited writing media, not everyone had a personal Bible. The synagogues had their own Bible scrolls, and curiosity seekers had to go to the synagogue to read the “Old Testament” (Law of Moses, Psalms, and Prophets). How much more should we read the Bible, we who have a personal copy!

The Bible speaks for itself in Luke chapter 4: “[14] And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. [15] And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. [16] And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. [17] And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, [18] The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, [19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. [20] And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. [21] And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

Moses was strictly commanded of God to write instructions about Israel’s king reading from the Old Testament Scriptures. We read in Deuteronomy chapter 17: “[18] And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: [19] And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: [20] That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” There would never come a time when Israel’s king would no longer need to read the Bible. Verse 18 again: “he shall read therein all the days of his life….” “All the days of his life.” “ALL the days of his life.” “ALL the days of his life.” “ALL the days of his life.” Got it?

The Apostle Paul told Timothy, a young pastor, to read the Bible. First Timothy 4:13 says, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” Timothy knew the Bible well enough to become a pastor and even teach the Bible to others. Still, he was encouraged to keep reading it. If a pastor was urged to read the Bible, how much more should the common church member be?

Just before dying, in prison, Paul again wrote to Timothy. Second Timothy 4:13: “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.” Were these “parchments” a reference to Bible scrolls? As others have commented, I agree that it is very likely. Paul evidently wanted parts of the Word of God so he could read them… even though he knew he would not be alive much longer! How much more should we who plan to live for decades more?

Paul himself had admitted years earlier in Philippians chapter 3: “[12] Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. [13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” This apostle, having preached God’s Word for 35 years at that point, and he still had not plummeted the depths of the Bible! He still had more growing, maturing, to do. He was still attempting to understand the Christian life. Paul had not yet grasped just why God had saved him on the road to Damascus all those years earlier! That was his motivation for reading God’s Word even more in his dying days.

SOME HARSH WORDS WRITTEN IN LOVE

Christians who say they do not have to follow along in their Bible when a man teaches and/or preaches from it, they are lazy. We need not sugarcoat it, dear friends. Christians who refuse to flip through the Bible and read it for themselves are deceived and lazy. They believe they can remember the Bible so well that they have no reason to actually appeal to it in written form. This is thoroughly unwise. Brethren, God never intended us to rely on our memory when it came to His Word. If He had, He would have never given us a written Bible at all. Memory fails; memory is not 100 percent reliable. You want to base your soul’s well-being on your memory? You go right on ahead—but count me out!

Timothy was a pastor and yet Paul encouraged him to give attention to reading the Bible in his own personal life. Jesus flipped through the Bible. Israel’s kings were to flip through the scrolls of the Law of Moses and read them all their days. I know pastors who have been teaching the Word of God rightly divided for 30, 40, or even 50 years. They still open their Bibles and follow along when someone is teaching or preaching. They are honest enough to admit that they have more learning to do themselves! I have been teaching the Bible for over 10 years, and yet I still like to follow along in the Scriptures when others teach from it. Personally, I think people do not like to read the Bible because the Bible “reads” them—it pricks their hearts and they resist its admonitions and rebukes.

Frankly, people who claim to “know” the Bible so much that they no longer need to open it and follow along in it, they know very little about what the Bible actually says. No one ever reaches the point of “spirituality” where they no longer need to read the Bible for themselves. What these people want to do is let the preacher, priest, or Bible teacher do all the work of flipping and reading. They, on the other hand, will just sit idly in an easy chair and bob their heads in acknowledgment. They sit in the pew and agree with everything said. Friends, the minister or Bible teacher is just as human as all of us. He will overlook letters or words. He may honestly misread the Bible text. Unless you are following along in your own Bible, you may miss subtle truths. Then, there are other ministers who are intentionally misreading verses so that their denomination/theology is supported. No one will ever check what these leaders say anyway because the audience never uses a Bible. These ministers have been to Bible College or seminary. They are expected to know what the Bible says so most will never question them. (This is the primary reason why the Body of Christ has been so deceived for so many centuries.)

Friend, indeed, follow along in the King James Bible for yourself. If you do not, you will have no valid reason to complain when religion deceives you!

Also see:
» “But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!”
» What if I do not accept the Bible’s authority?
» How do we identify false teachers?
» I am new to the Bible, so where should I begin?
» Why do I get nothing out of the Bible when I read it?
» Has God’s Word failed?

How did Israel manipulate Moses to murder Messiah?

HOW DID ISRAEL MANIPULATE MOSES TO MURDER MESSIAH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In chapter 3 of Acts, the Apostle Peter preached to unsaved Israel: “[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.”

Focus on verse 17: “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” How could Israel have been so blind in rejecting Jesus as Messiah, the God-Man who fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies? Simple. It was willful ignorance (like the millions today who still reject Him). They do not want to know the truth. Ignorance is bliss—they are happy exactly where they are spiritually. You could share verses with them until you were hoarse, and you would get nowhere with them.

Deuteronomy chapter 13 explains how Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah: “[1] If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, [2] And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; [3] Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [4] Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. [5] And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

“[6] If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; [7] Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; [8] Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: [9] But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. [10] And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. [11] And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.”

When Israel’s religious leaders saw Jesus performing miracles (verses 1-5), and all His followers worshipping Him (verses 6-11), they used Moses (quoted above) to justify killing Jesus and His disciples. Jesus was seen as a fraud, a blasphemer. Their deluded, unbelieving hearts could not see that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law! Interestingly, yet future, the Antichrist will use Deuteronomy 13:1-11 to justify his killing of believing Jews. Indeed, if not handled properly, the Bible can be a dangerous book! Ironically, unbelieving Israel applied this death penalty to the true Messiah, Jesus the Lord. Viewing Him as a deceiver and blasphemer, they had no problem killing Him at Calvary. But, that is not the end of their spiritual insanity!

When the Antichrist, the false Christ, comes yet future (John 5:43), Israel will accept him as true (when Moses above was really telling Israel to kill him!). If not believed as a whole, the Bible can be a dangerous book! We must never rip verses from their context! In his farewell epistle, the Apostle Peter mentioned people who “wrest” the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16): they distort the meaning or interpretation of Bible verses so the verses seem to support to their opinions or views (“private interpretations;” 2 Peter 1:20). However, the Bible has been turned into a lie at this point. Before you think about Christendom’s excessive mishandling of the Holy Bible to create thousands upon thousands upon thousands of denominations, remember that the Scriptures were often largely misused long before Christianity.

Again, consider how the nation Israel (mis)handled Deuteronomy 13:1-11. They chose to use those few verses to condemn and kill Jesus Christ, all the while ignoring over 300 Old Testament prophecies that justified and validated Him as their God manifest in the flesh! Aptly, Jesus said that they did not believe Moses. Had they believed Moses they would have believed Jesus because Moses wrote about Jesus (John 5:39-47)—animals killed to clothe Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark as salvation from divine punishment, Abraham offering his only begotten son Isaac, Joseph’s betrayal by his brethren, the Passover lamb killed to ward off the death angel, and the whole law system (priesthood, sacrifices, tabernacle, holy vessels, feast days, et cetera), all depicted the Lord Jesus in some way. Israel ignored the fact that Jesus arrived exactly when Daniel predicted Messiah would be born (9:24-26), disregarded Micah’s prediction about Messiah’s birthplace (5:2), and ignored Isaiah when he described Messiah’s ministry, message, and miracles (35:3-6; 53:4; 61:1-2). On and on we could go, but these must suffice.

Who was leading Israel’s rebellion against the Lord Jesus? Saul of Tarsus! First Timothy 1:13 is the Apostle Paul’s reflection on his early years, when he served in the Devil’s ministry: “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (cf. Acts 3:17). What grace and love God poured out on Saul (verse 14), when he deserved God’s wrath poured out on him! Yes, Saul had led Israel in manipulating Moses to murder Messiah, but to him, God’s goodness gave great grace!

Israel knew they were killing the Lord Jesus. It was great spiritual insanity. When God opened our Dispensation of Grace in Acts chapter 9, a twofold benefit arose. Firstly, the Gentiles whom God had consigned to Satan could now be saved by Jesus’ finished crosswork. Secondly, the Jews who were still in unbelief—the very ones who deliberately killed Jesus Christ—could also be saved by simple faith in Calvary’s crosswork. Saul of Tarsus was in the latter group. Upon meeting the ascended Lord outside Damascus, Saul realized and trusted Jesus Christ’s righteousness and he forgot all about his foolishness in works-religion. God certainly came back in Acts chapter 9, not to pour out His wrath, but to pour out His grace and start the Church the Body of Christ! The leader of the world’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, Saul, the one who mercilessly imprisoned and slaughtered God’s Messianic Jews, Saul, was now saved unto eternal life.

Decades later, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” If God saved such a rebel as Saul of Tarsus, a wicked and bloodthirsty theologian, there is no person “too far gone” in unbelief and sin, whom God cannot save in a literal heartbeat today. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound(Romans 5:20). For nearly 2,000 years, God has offered salvation freely to all, Jew and Gentile alike, by His grace through simple faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood for our sins, death, burial, and resurrection. The Gospel of the Grace of God, the heart of the Dispensation of the Grace of God, is the only way we can approach Almighty God today!

Also see:
» “But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!”
» If they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, how are Christ’s murderers culpable of wrongdoing?
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?

» Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death—the Jews or the Romans?

Does 1 Timothy 6:19 support Calvinism?

DOES 1 TIMOTHY 6:19 SUPPORT CALVINISM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No! First Timothy 6:19 is quite a simple verse, but it is difficult for some because a theological system has indoctrinated them and skewed their view: “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” Is eternal life something we must strive to obtain? Do our works save us? Must we give money to enter Heaven?

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO CALVINISM

Five points are central to Calvinism, the theological system that can be traced through Protestant Reformer John Calvin (1509–1564) all the way back to ancient church father Augustine (354–430). The acrostic “TULIP” is useful in remembering these tenets:

  • Total depravity is the idea that man is not only inherently evil (sinful), but is also completely unable to believe the Gospel until God regenerates him and then faith to be saved from sins or justified.
  • Unconditional election is the belief God chooses (“predestinates, elects”) who will be saved (go to Heaven) and who will be damned (go to Hell). Long ago, He determined this without any considerations as to who would freely choose Him or who would freely reject Him.
  • Limited atonement is the notion that Jesus Christ did not die for every single person, but for the elect only (those God had predestinated or chosen to save before the foundation of the world).* (*So-called “Four-Point Calvinists” reject this tenet.)
  • Irresistible grace is the idea that the elect (those God has predestinated or chosen to save) cannot ignore the Spirit of God’s “internal Gospel call” to be saved. If God has chosen them for salvation, they will be saved no matter what.
  • Perseverance of the saints is the belief that the elect will endure to the end with holy living. If one fails to have victorious Christian living to the end of his or her earthly life, that person is manifested to have never been one of the elect. It is this fifth point—perseverance of the saints—where Calvinists can apply 1 Timothy 6:19.

THE CONTEXT OF 1 TIMOTHY 6:19

As always, when we struggle with one particular verse, it is best to look at the context. The context restricts the meaning of the verse and makes its interpretation less ambiguous:

“[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. [6] But godliness with contentment is great gain. [7] For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. [8] And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. [9] But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. [10] For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows….

“[17] Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; [18] That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; [19] Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

The issue, of course, is material wealth. As we progress through the chapter, the focus becomes wealthy Christians. While prosperity is not a sin, it can become a snare if it is “loved.” If fixation on material goods consumes the Christian, then that is idolatry, as more and more is desired. “The love of money is the root of all evil,” verse 10 says. Covetousness, the Bible says, is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Affluent Christians are cautioned not to be arrogant (1 Timothy 6:17): social status and economic statuses are only temporary. Ultimately, all Christians are equal in Christ—regardless of gender, wealth, ethnicity, and so on. “Whether there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

In addition, wealthy believers in Christ are not to be lulled into a false sense of security (1 Timothy 6:18). Material goods are “uncertain” because we can lose them at any time. Illness, economic downturn, robbery, theft, natural disaster, and other dire circumstances can take our riches away. Ultimately, physical death will rob us of every material possession we own! “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

WHERE THE CONFUSION COMES IN

Some Calvinists, and others, will interpret the verse as follows…. Eternal life, getting to Heaven, is something elusive that we must try to grab. Eternal life must be sought here on Earth, holy living must be experienced here, but eternal life is not obtained until the very end of our earthly life. After all, a Calvinist has been taught to believe that he must “endure to the end to be saved.” In the Calvinist’s mind, eternal life comes after endurance, perseverance. Holy living must be pursued if eternal life is to be gained and Heaven is to be entered. This is how a Calvinist thinks about Christian living.

At this point, we need to pause and understand the three phases of salvation as taught in the Bible:

  1. Justification—God imputing His righteousness to the believer’s account upon the believer trusting in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for his or her sins (Romans 3:24-31; Romans 4:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). It is here that the Holy Spirit places us into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Read the first five chapters of Romans. We are given God’s life at this point; we immediately enter into an everlasting, personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ defined eternal life in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Justification is salvation or deliverance from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire). Once the blood of Jesus Christ is applied to our account, God can never and will never take it away. We are on our way to Heaven no matter what we do because Jesus Christ paid the price of our sin debt in full. Justification is a one-time transaction never to be repeated or revoked. Our faithfulness is not the issue; Jesus Christ’s faithfulness is!
  1. Sanctification—Since we have been set apart, moved from Adam to Christ, transferred from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, we need to apply this new identity to our daily life. What we have positionally (#1) should be brought down into our lives practically. In this phase, we are saved from the power of sin. This is an ongoing process, as we are to be constantly renewing our mind every day while studying the Bible. We should behave as though we are dead to sin and alive unto God. This is grace teaching, outlined most clearly in Romans chapters 6–8 and 12–16. Sin should be overcome every day. This is the experience and enjoyment of the eternal life we already have. Yes, all members of the Church the Body of Christ have eternal life, but precious few ever enjoy it on Earth. They have been misled to believe that eternal life is only possible after dying and going to Heaven. Going to Heaven is actually the third and final phase of our salvation.
  1. Glorification—We await this final phase of salvation, deliverance from the presence of sin. Unlike here on Earth, there is no sin in Heaven. Consequently, at the resurrection (Rapture), we will leave behind these old sinful bodies and receive new glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:8; Philippians 3:20-21): our physical connection to Adam will be dissolved forever. We enter Heaven here, where there is no option to sin. God’s life will be experienced to the maximum. The glorified body will be fully equipped to glorify Jesus Christ in the heavenly places (Romans 8:18-25; Colossians 3:1-4).

If we look closely at the context of 1 Timothy 6:19, we will see where the Calvinist goes wrong. As we noted earlier, eternal life is defined as knowing the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ on an intimate level. Unsaved people—lost people, those in Adam, those outside of the Church the Body of Christ—do not have that close relationship with God because of sin. When they trust Christ, however, the barrier of sin is removed, and they enjoy unlimited access to God through the merits of Christ achieved at Calvary. Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:18, 1 Timothy 2:5-7, and other passages make that clear.

Reading 1 Timothy 6:19 in context: “[17] Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; [18] That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; [19] Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Timothy was to order wealthy Christians not to become prideful/arrogant or idolatrous. Although it is not a sin to be wealthy, and they should enjoy the fruit of their labor, they could lose their fortune at anytime. Rather than being materialistic, they were to trust in the living God, the God of the Bible. He would never leave them or fail them. They were to be engaged in doing good. God wanted them to be rich in good works, and work in them so they would be eager to help and share with those less fortunate. Doing this would cause them to build up wealth in Heaven, a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. In engaging in good works, they would lay hold on eternal life. Again, this is not people trying to become Christians, making themselves Christians. This is people who are already Christians. Now, they need to behave like the Christians that they are.

Here is where we guard against the errors of Calvinism, and other types of works-religion. Eternal life is already ours, positionally speaking. We already have God’s life. But are we enjoying it now? Have we taken advantage of it? Is there a practical application of it? Are we living selfishly? If we are, we are not living the eternal life we have been given in Christ. Are we living with only the “here and now” in view? If so, we are not living the eternal life we have been given in Christ. God thinks that there is something more important than earthly possessions, something more important than being consumed by greed for material gain. Do we agree? Are we willing to meet the needs of those who could use our help? Will we idolize our material goods instead of worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ? Again, this is practical, daily Christian living. We make conscious decisions about it. If our life is contrary to these verses, then we need to be responsible and fix the problem. We must take our stand by faith in these simple truths. Otherwise, the eternal life we have in Christ has no impact right now.

Notice 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” Not only was Timothy to instruct rich people, he himself was instructed to “lay hold on eternal life.” Again, this has nothing to do with entering Heaven and nothing to do with trying to work toward Heaven; it has everything to do with a Christian enjoying his spiritual blessings right now on Earth! Are we studying the Bible rightly divided to learn about the provisions Father God has given us in Christ? Or, are we—like most—ignorant of those spiritual blessings (through lack of study, or denominational indoctrination, et cetera)? Are we begging God to give us what He has already given us in Christ? Are we living as God intended Christians to live, or are we living like the lost people we used to be? Then, we have not yet grasped, fathomed and implemented, the “eternal life” we have been given!

SUPPLEMENTAL: “LAY HOLD”

According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, the words “lay hold” in Greek are:

“ἐπιλαμβάνομαι epilambánomai, ep-ee-lam-ban’-om-ahee; middle voice from G1909 and G2983; to seize (for help, injury, attainment, or any other purpose; literally or figuratively):—catch, lay hold (up-)on, take (by, hold of, on).”

The word appears 19 times in the King James Greek and is translated in the following manner: “take” (7 times), “take by” (3 times), “catch” (2 times), “take on” (2 times), “lay hold on” (2 times), “take hold of” (2 times), “lay hold upon” (1 times).

It describes Jesus when He “caught” sinking Peter (Matthew 14:31), Jesus “took” the blind man by the hand (Mark 8:23), Jesus “took” a child and sat him down by Him (Luke 9:47), Jesus “took” the man suffering from dropsy/edema (Luke 14:4), Israel’s hypocritical religious leaders trying to “take hold” or seize Jesus’ words that could be used against Him (Luke 20:20,26), the men “laid hold upon” Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross (Luke 23:26), Barnabas “took” Saul/Paul and brought him to the Jerusalem apostles (Acts 9:27), the slave girl’s masters “caught” Paul and Silas (Acts 16:19), the Athenian philosophers “took” Paul and brought him to Mars’ Hill to teach them (Acts 17:19), the Greeks “took” Sosthenes the Christian and physically beat him (Acts 18:17), the Jews “took” Paul and throw him out of the Jerusalem Temple (Acts 21:30), the chief captain of a Roman army “took” Paul and had him bound with two chains (Acts 21:33), the chief captain “took” Paul’s nephew aside (Acts 23:19), Timothy was told to “lay hold on” eternal life (1 Timothy 6:12), rich Christians were instructed to “lay hold on” eternal life (1 Timothy 6:19), Jesus Christ “took not on” the nature of angels but “took on” the seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16), and God “took” Israel by the hand to lead them from Egyptian slavery (Hebrews 8:9).

Also see:
» Does Romans 9:20-21 support Calvinism?
» Does Acts 2:47 support Calvinism?
» Does Acts 13:48 support Calvinism?
» Does John 6:29 support Calvinism?
» Does Romans 9:14-18 support Calvinism?

Is “Cainan” in Luke 3:36 a “scribal error?”

IS “CAINAN” IN LUKE 3:36 A “SCRIBAL ERROR?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Concerning Jesus’ genealogy through His mother Mary, we read in Luke 3:35-36: “[35] Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, [36] Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,….” Since the name “Cainan” (verse 36) does not appear in Genesis or 1 Chronicles, it is assumed to be a “scribal error.” Is that the Bible-believing position? No! Then, how do we in faith reconcile Luke’s deviation from the Old Testament family trees he was quoting?

Luke is tracing Jesus’ bloodline in reverse, so when we arrange the names chronologically, they are as follows (verses 35-36): Lamech, Noe, Sem, Arphaxad, Cainan, Salah, Heber, Phalec, Ragau, Saruch. Having organized these names to correspond to the Old Testament order, we now compare Luke to the parallel verses:

  • Genesis 10:24: “And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.”
  • Genesis 11:11-15: “[11] And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. [12] And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: [13] And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. [14] And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: [15] And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.”
  • 1 Chronicles 1:18,24-25: “[18] And Arphaxad begat Shelah, and Shelah begat Eber…. [24] Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, [25] Eber, Peleg, Reu,….”

The spelling variations can be accounted for as follows: Luke is writing in Greek, whereas Moses (Genesis) and the Chronicler (Chronicles) are writing in Hebrew. Moreover, as you discerned, there is one other discrepancy, and that is the focus of this article. Why does Luke add a “Cainan” between Arphaxad and Salah/Shelah?

Doubtless, the most common explanation is some ancient copyist accidentally looked at “Cainan” of verse 38 and incorrectly inserted it into verse 36. This phenomenon is called “homeoteleuton” (“having the same end”), common with transcriptions. We cannot and do not accept careless duplication as the reason for the “Cainan” of verse 38. It was an intentional addition of the Holy Spirit, and we will outline our reasoning here.

By the way, Luke 3:36 cannot be written off as a “King James” error either, since both the Textus Receptus of the Authorized Version and the Critical Text underlying modern English versions include the name “Cainan” or “Cainam” here. Of all the manuscripts containing Luke 3:36, only two witnesses omit this “Cainan”—papyrus P75 (A.D. 2nd/3rd century) and Codex D/Bezae (A.D 450–550). However, it should be pointed out, textual critics are not entirely sure as to the original reading of P75 here anyway. Thus, only one manuscript is without “Cainan” for certain. Could a transcription error (homeoteleuton) account for nearly all manuscripts but one having it?! Ridiculous!

Genealogies not matching verbatim is not exclusive to Luke. For example, in Matthew 1:8-9, Matthew eliminated three names found in the Old Testament genealogical records—Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah. This was done for two reasons. Firstly, these men were idolaters, which Cainan may have been as well (and thus prompted the Holy Spirit through Moses and the Chronicler to omit him from their records). Secondly, Matthew’s intention was to make three sets of 14 generations (Abraham to David, David to Babylon, and Babylon to Christ). Those three names would have made 17, offsetting Matthew’s symmetry. Also, at verse 11, Matthew stresses Jeconiah but makes no reference to Zedekiah. Plus, there is a question as to who Zerubbabel’s father actually is. (For more information, see our related Matthew studies linked at the end of this article.)

Likewise, Luke is not word-for-word with his Old Testament family trees. In fact, by adding Cainan to verse 36, the Holy Spirit through Luke totals 77 generations from Adam to Christ (thus perfectly divisible by seven, the Bible’s number of perfection or completion). Jesus is the perfect Man, “the son of” appearing 77 times in Luke 3:23-38! Eliminating “Cainan” from verse 36 to make it conform to Moses and the Chronicler, however, we have merely 76 generations in Luke. Then, Jesus therefore was not perfect in His generations. Simply put, “Cainan” is necessary in Luke 3:36; it was Luke’s original writing, and therefore belongs.

Since Matthew skipped some names to provide only three sets of 14 generations in his genealogical records, surely, we can: (1) permit Moses and the Chronicler to intentionally skip one name in their respective Books, and (2) allow Luke to insert that name not found in the Old Testament in order to show Jesus’ perfection. The Holy Spirit superintended all these men, so we need not question the infallibility of their writings. (Unless, our hearts of doubt reveal we never actually believed the Bible in the first place!) Luke only differs from Moses and the Chronicler in the case of one name; there are not dozens of extra names in Luke. The “problem” is overstated and actually imaginary.

Moreover, unfortunately, well-intended young-Earth creationists are reluctant to allow “Cainan” to remain in Luke 3:36. They argue the inclusion suggests Genesis and Chronicles have one “gap”—or more—in their genealogical records. Supposedly, this opens up the possibility for an old Earth. Therefore, they defer to the aforementioned “P75 / scribal error” argument. Again, we need not sacrifice Bible inspiration, infallibility, or preservation. All we need to do is adjust our thinking to better understand Moses’ handling of the family tree in Genesis chapters 10 and 11.

The Hebrew word (“yalad”) does not always imply the birth of immediate children. For example, it can be used more generally or broadly to refer to grandchildren (for example, see the sons Jacob’s wives “bare” [“yalad”] unto him; Genesis 46:15,18,22,25). Likewise, Arphaxad was actually Salah’s grandfather instead of his immediate father. Cainan was Salah’s immediate father. Yet, Arphaxad is still a “father” to Salah because he is Salah’s progenitor or ancestor; he still “begot” Salah through his own son Cainan (which fact only Luke reveals). Remember, Jesus is David’s “son” and David is Jesus’ “father,” but this is in the sense of great-(40X) grandson and great-(40X) grandfather. The sense is forefather and posterity, with a millennium separating them, but still an unbroken bloodline nonetheless (Luke 1:31-33).

CONCLUSION

“Cainan” belongs in Luke 3:36. It was always part of Luke! The Holy Spirit is responsible, not some thoughtless scribe. Contrary to popular belief, inserting “Cainan” into Genesis and Chronicles in no way introduces extra years into the chronology of Genesis 11:12. Arphaxad was still 35 years old when his son (Cainan) fathered his grandson Salah. We do not make the Bible more favorable to evolutionary theory (old Earth) by letting Luke 3:36 stand as is. However, in our impulsive fervor to refute secular errors, we actually do introduce a mistake into the Bible. Claiming Luke 3:36 has a “scribal error,” thus removing “Cainan,” only discredits the very Book we claim to believe!

A better way to look at Luke 3:36 is simply to see it as progressive revelation. The Holy Spirit caused Moses and the Chronicler to skip Cainan’s generation when recording family information (reason unknown—perhaps idolatry?) but had Luke write it because Luke was focused specifically on Jesus being Israel’s Messiah perfect in His 77 generations. Without Luke, we would have never known a Cainan existed between Arphaxad and Salah.

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:
» Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?
» Does Acts 7:6 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:43 have mistakes?
» Does Acts 7:16 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:14 have a mistake?