Category Archives: BIBLE CONTRADICTIONS / CONFUSING VERSES SIMPLIFIED

Did Peter use obscenities when denying Christ?

DID PETER USE OBSCENITIES WHEN DENYING CHRIST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Was Peter employing vulgarities in these two passages? “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew” (Matthew 26:74). “But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak” (Mark 14:71). Long ago, this author remembers his pastor teaching on this topic, claiming Peter was uttering “four-letter words” or expletives. Is that true of Peter?

The “cursing” and “swearing” were not filthy language but rather strong religious language. It was something to the effect of, “I am not associated with the man! Heaven curse me if I am lying!” This is Peter’s third denial, so it is most extreme. In modern speech, someone would say, “God strike me dead if I am not telling the truth when I say I know not the man!” At this point, Peter considers the Lord Jesus as nothing but “the man… this man of whom ye speak.” So dominated by the flesh, he cannot bring himself to even say Jesus’ name! Poor Peter is distancing himself from the very God-Man he passionately claimed he would so vigorously defend.

We will recall his boastful statements made some hours prior, as found in Matthew 26:33-34: “Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Peter argued still. As we know quite well, the Lord, regrettably, was correct in this prediction (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:25-27).

Friends, let us be ever so careful in our words, remembering to place more emphasis on God’s love and faithfulness than on our (fickle) love and (un)“faithfulness.” By the way, to discover God’s solution to Peter’s dilemma, be sure to read our John 21 study linked below!

Also see:
» Why did Satan want to “sift” the circumcision saints?
» Did Judas Iscariot have to betray Christ?
» Who are the “these” in the “more than these” of John 21:15?

What is the “shambles?”

WHAT IS THE “SHAMBLES?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Shambles” is a good King James Bible word, found once. The passage in which it is found is 1 Corinthians 10:24-26: “[24] Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. [25] Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: [26] For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.”

It is an archaic word, but we can use context clues to get a pretty good idea of its definition. The term is associated with things that can be eaten. In other words, the “shambles” is place where food is sold. Specifically, as Strong’s Greek Dictionary tells us, it is a butcher’s stall, indoor meat market, or provision-shop. The Greek word is “makellon,” derived from the Latin “macellum” (“market”). Here, animals were actually slaughtered. In the pagan Roman Empire, the meat was connected to idol worship. For more information, see our related study on 1 Corinthians chapter 8, linked below.

As one brother in Christ described it, most comically: “Indeed we can be certain that ‘shambles’ was a much more accurate description of the ancient marketplace (and many around the world today)!” (“Shambles” is synonymous with “chaos.”)

Also see:
» Can you explain 1 Corinthians chapter 8?
» What is a “charger?”
» What does the Bible say about blood transfusions?

“For such an high priest became us?”

“FOR SUCH AN HIGH PRIEST BECAME US?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;…” (Hebrews 7:26). Is that proper grammar? “For such an high priest became us?”

It is not to say we became a high priest. This would be utter nonsense… even more so when we consider the adjectives in the verse in no way apply to us. It should be understood in the sense of “he is a high priest appropriate/suitable/proper for us.” The Lord Jesus Christ can meet all our needs: He is everything we are not, and He has everything we do not have but need. Therefore, He is fitting—and, in this context, it is His ministry as Israel’s High Priest. You can read Hebrews 4:14–10:39 for all the details.

Our King James translators rendered this Greek word (“prepo”) in six other verses, all carrying the same meaning:

  • Matthew 3:15: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh [is proper, suitable for] us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.”
  • 1 Corinthians 11:13: “Judge in yourselves: is it comely [proper, suitable] that a woman pray unto God uncovered?”
  • Ephesians 5:3: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh [is proper, suitable for] saints;….”
  • 1 Timothy 2:10: “But (which becometh [is proper, suitable for] women professing godliness) with good works.”
  • Titus 2:1: “But speak thou the things which become [is proper, suitable for] sound doctrine:….”
  • Hebrews 2:10: “For it became [is proper, suitable for] him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

Also see:
» Why was the Temple’s veil rent when Christ died?
» How was there healing in touching Jesus’ garment hem?
» Can you explain Luke 18:13, “God be merciful to me a sinner?”

Why did Christ need to heal that blind man twice?

WHY DID CHRIST NEED TO HEAL THAT BLIND MAN TWICE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Let us first read the passage, Mark 8:22-26, and then we can expound it: “[22] And he [the Lord Jesus Christ] cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. [23] And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. [24] And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. [25] After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. [26] And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.”

Doubtless, this strange miracle has puzzled many Bible readers. However, if we look at it in context, and remember to approach it dispensationally (2 Timothy 2:15), we need not stumble over it. Like the healing of the deaf and speech-inhibited man (Mark 7:31-37), this passage is unique to Mark. It is found nowhere else in Scripture. The miracle occurred in the area of “Bethsaida,” near the northernmost tip of the Sea of Galilee. People bring a blind man and ask Jesus to recover his sight. The Lord agrees to perform the miracle, but does so in secret. Firstly, He grabs the man’s hand and directs him away from Bethsaida. Secondly, after healing him, He forbids the man to enter the town or share the news therein. Why are privacy and silence so important here?

What is unexpected is the fact the miracle here in Mark chapter 8 was performed in stages. Jesus spits on his eyes and touches him, but his vision is only partially recovered. The man confesses, “I see men as trees, walking.” His eyesight is still quite poor, so Jesus places His hands on the man’s eyes a second time. “He was restored, and saw every man clearly.” Once again, we remind ourselves Jesus sends the man to his house, ordering him not to enter Bethsaida or tell anyone in the town about that miracle.

Let us deal with the issue of concealment first. Several months earlier, Jesus had pronounced judgment on Bethsaida for its obstinate refusal to believe on Him. Despite His many miracles in their midst, they remained in unbelief! See Matthew chapter 11: “[20] Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: [21] Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [23] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [24] But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”

By the time of Mark chapter 8, the Lord has already given Bethsaida over to spiritual darkness. Consequently: (1) He does not minister in the city, (2) He insists the man be healed outside the town, (2) He directs the man not to return to the city, and (4) He orders him not to share the news of his healing with the town.

Now, we address it being a double miracle. Oddly, Jesus performed this bodily healing in phases—as opposed to His normal instant cures (Matthew 8:3; Matthew 20:34; Mark 1:31,42; Mark 2:12; Mark 10:52; Luke 4:39; Luke 5:13,25; Luke 8:44,47; Luke 13:13; Luke 18:43; John 5:9). One “faith healer” used Mark 8:22-26 against this writer to defend the gradual “healings” in religion today. However, this miracle is the exception as opposed to the norm. The God of the Bible can and did perform miracles immediately. Yet, Jesus needed to touch the blind man twice for him to see perfectly. Why?

This is not the disciples’ gradual enlightenment but rather Israel’s enlightenment being pictured. Bethsaida, recall, is spiritually blinded. She has been given over to darkness, just like Israel as a whole because the nation has constantly rejected Jesus these past two years (Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-12; Luke 8:9-10). However, at Christ’s First Coming, there is a believing remnant within the nation. This remnant has been restored to spiritual sight, and the nation partially recovered from spiritual blindness. This corresponds to the first stage of the blind man’s cure. It will not be until the second time (the second laying on of Jesus’ hands, His Second Coming) that Israel is nationally converted and given spiritual sight (cf. Romans 11:25-27). Hence, the two stages of sight given to the blind man in Mark.

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

Also see:
» How was there healing in touching Jesus’ garment hem?
» What about modern-day “faith healing?”
» Is there “healing in the Atonement?”
» Why did Jesus Christ heal on the Sabbath day?

What does “bruit” mean?

WHAT DOES “BRUIT” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word is found twice in the Authorized Version.

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

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

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

Did God really demand Ezekiel eat excrement?

DID GOD REALLY DEMAND EZEKIEL EAT EXCREMENT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who wrote Romans—Paul, or Tertius?

WHO WROTE ROMANS—PAUL, OR TERTIUS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Suppose we are reading Romans in its entirety, from start to finish. It has been quite edifying, to say the least. By the time we get to the end, however, we are surprised. Chapter 16, verse 22: “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.” Wait! Just wait a minute! Were we not under the impression the Apostle Paul was writing Romans? Then, who is this “Tertius” fellow? Why does he “audaciously” thrust himself into a “Pauline” doctrinal treatise?

Tertius is simply a secretary, no different from an “administrative assistant” taking dictation from his or her boss. Although the mechanical writing is that of the servant, the thoughts belong to the manager. Be careful to note the authority still lies in the superior individual. In other words, the involvement of a secretary in no way diminishes the importance of the document. We would do well to notice Romans chapter 1, verse 1, begins with Paul as opposed to Tertius: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,….” The Book of Romans carries Paul’s apostolic authority. Paul is addressing the Roman believers, although he has employed Tertius to actually hold and use the writing instrument.

Who is Tertius anyway? He appears just this once in Scripture, so we cannot say much. His name is of Latin origin and it means “third.” For example, in the series—primary (first), secondary (second), tertiary (third)—his name is related to the number three. He would have also been a Christian, present with Paul at the time of writing Romans (Acts 20:1-3?). Besides these few facts, nothing else is known about him.

By the way, the technical term for Tertius’ job is an “amanuensis,” that is, “one employed to write from dictation or to copy manuscript.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary has the following etymological information: “In Latin, the phrase servus a manu translates loosely as ‘slave with secretarial duties.’ (The noun manu, meaning ‘hand,’ gave us words such as manuscript, originally meaning a document written or typed by hand.) In the 17th century the second part of this phrase was borrowed into English to create amanuensis, a word for a person who is employed (willingly) to do the important but sometimes menial work of transcribing the words of another. While other quaint words, such as scribe or scrivener, might have similarly described the functions of such a person in the past, these days we’re likely to call him or her a secretary, or maybe an administrative assistant.”

Lastly, and most importantly, we remember the Holy Spirit “moved” the Apostle Paul to select words with which He wanted to form the Book of Romans. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:20-21). Paul then dictated those words to Tertius, who subsequently wrote them down to produce the Book of Romans. In summary, the Holy Spirit guided Paul to speak audibly, and He superintended Tertius to write physically. Just as Paul’s connection does not take away God’s authority from Romans, so Tertius’ participation does not detract from Paul’s authority in Romans. Simple!

Also see:
» “Epistle” and “letter”—same or different?
» Can you explain Galatians 6:11?
» What was “the epistle from Laodicea?”

Does Acts 7:6 have a mistake?

DOES ACTS 7:6 HAVE A MISTAKE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Prophet Stephen preached to the nation Israel’s apostate religious leaders in Acts 7:6: “And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.” Yet, when we check the Old Testament records, we encounter an incongruity. Is this a mistake? What are we to believe?

Stephen agrees with Genesis chapter 15: “[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.” But, when we look at the companion passage, Exodus chapter 12, we find another number: “[40] Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. [41] And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.”

Even the Apostle Paul reaffirms the 430-year-period in Galatians 3:17: “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” There were 430 years between the time of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis chapter 12) and the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus chapter 19)—the first agreement was made before the Egyptian bondage and the other was ratified after the Egyptian bondage.

Genesis and Stephen provide one number (400), but Exodus and Paul use another figure (430). Why? It is not difficult. Do we not, in daily language, estimate numbers or round them off to the nearest 10, 100, et cetera? If we find no fault in ourselves, neither do we have any justification for belittling the Scripture here! No, there is no mistake in Acts 7:6.

Also see:
» Does Acts 7:14 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:16 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:43 have mistakes?

Can you explain Galatians 3:17?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN GALATIANS 3:17?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul penned in Galatians 3:17: “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” Since this verse has several commas setting off phrases, it can be challenging to pair thoughts in a meaningful way. However, if we examine the verse in light of the context, it really is not difficult as originally assumed.

We will begin at verse 16: “[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. [19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. [20] Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”

The “covenant” at the opening of verse 17 is none other than the Abrahamic Covenant (see verse 16). Genesis 12:1-3 stresses what the LORD will do on Abraham’s behalf (grace) as opposed to what Abraham would do for the LORD (law): “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” God confirmed this agreement “in Christ” because it would depend on God’s performance. (Of particular interest here is the omission or removal of the words “in Christ” from the modern English versions, translated from a Greek text separate and distinct from the Greek Textus Receptus underlying the King James New Testament.)

Some 430 years after the Abrahamic Covenant, at Mount Sinai, Israel insisted on being under a performance-based acceptance system. This is the Mosaic Law, also known as the Old Covenant. Now, they would work in religion to become God’s people and receive His blessings if they obeyed Him. Of course, if they disobeyed Him, they would receive curses. This arrangement was certainly not like the contract the LORD made with Abraham over four centuries earlier!

Exodus chapter 19 records the exchange: “[1] In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. [2] For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. [3] And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” (Do you see God’s performance in verse 4—His rescuing Israel from Egyptian bondage?)

“[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.” (Do you see Israel’s performance mentioned in verses 5 and 8?)

Even though God made a second covenant with Israel (the Mosaic Law), Galatians 3:17 says it did not cancel (“disannul”) His preexisting covenant with Abraham. Israel would ultimately become God’s people because of His faithfulness as opposed to theirs. The LORD God made a promise to Israel’s patriarch Abraham, and He could never take it back. See Galatians 3:18: “For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” However, Israel in her sinful flesh had to be taught this. Our sinful nature, in an attempt to “measure up to” or replace God’s righteousness, always wants to work! God had to prove to Israel it would have to be grace (His efforts), or nothing. Israel could never bring about the Abrahamic Covenant blessings in her own strength.

Let us turn to Romans chapter 4 for extra details: “[13] For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. [14] For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: [15] Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. [16] Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, [17] (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

Simply put, God promised Abraham “righteousness.” “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6). Once Abraham was justified, or had a right standing before God, he would be qualified to be “the heir of the world” (Romans 4:13). Righteousness was given to him by faith, not works, for (remember!) God was working on Abraham’s behalf as opposed to Abraham working on God’s behalf. The only thing grace accepts is faith!

Getting back to our original question, the Apostle Paul’s argument in Galatians chapter 3 is to simply show the Galatian saints the Law system is not advantageous to them any more than it was to Abraham or Israel. The Law was a temporary system, an arrangement God instituted so Israel could see she could not perform to get His blessings. It merely pointed out sin (Galatians 3:19), so it could not help the sinner become a saint or be justified in God’s sight (Romans 3:19-20). Israel had to learn God’s blessings would come solely from His faithfulness rather than her faithfulness. Likewise, in chapters 3 and 4 of Galatians, these members of the Church the Body of Christ had to realize Grace and not Law was God’s preferred method of dealing with them. Galatians 4:21: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” If necessary, read the entire Book of Galatians—and then read Romans chapters 1-8. Since the Galatians did not learn the basics of grace as found in Romans, they had to be retaught in Galatians! Even today, most professing believers in Christ struggle to understand such fundamental matters. This is because denominations and most churches constantly stress Law and ignore Grace. They do not rightly divide the word of truth, handling the Bible dispensationally (2 Timothy 2:15). Consequently, religious tradition has done more to harm than help souls.

Return to Galatians chapter 3 one last time: “[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”

With a completed Bible in hand, we understand the ultimate “seed” of Abraham God promised him in Genesis 13:14-17 and Genesis 17:1-8 was Jesus Christ (cf. Galatians 3:16). It is Abraham’s nation that is in Christ (born again) who will be the heirs of the world, for it is Jesus Christ Himself who will inherit the world’s governments. (Lacking the prepositional phrase “in Christ” in Galatians 3:17, the modern English versions eliminate this connection.) As Hebrews chapter 1 tells us: “[1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, [2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;….”

All believing children of Abraham—all Jews with a circumcision in the flesh and in the heart (Romans 2:28-29)—will be heirs of that Abrahamic Covenant. Concerning the Old Covenant or the Mosaic Law, the New Covenant will replace it at Christ’s Second Coming, and through Jesus’ shed blood it will take care of Israel’s sins committed under the Old Covenant (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-27; Hebrews 8:1-13; Hebrews 9:1-28; Hebrews 10:1-39). It is through the New Covenant—God’s grace—that Israel receives the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. Having come full circle, we can now close this study!

Also see:
»
Can you shed light on Galatians 3:20?
»
Was the Law of Moses given by the LORD, or by angels?
»
How many dispensations are there?

“Ye have the poor always with you?”

“YE HAVE THE POOR ALWAYS WITH YOU?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Sometimes, the Lord Jesus Christ is perceived to be callous or insensitive as touching the poor and destitute. After all, in Matthew 26:11, He said, “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” What should we conclude here? Was Jesus really being unsympathetic?

Come to Matthew chapter 26: “[6] Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, [7] There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. [8] But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? [9] For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. [10] When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. [11] For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. [12] For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. [13] Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.”

Upon first glance, Jesus seems rather cold-hearted. However, He in no way diminished the unfortunate plight of people disadvantaged and needy. Consider the background, and all will be clear. A woman anointed Jesus’ body with fine fragrance, so the disciples grew upset and exclaimed, “How she wasted that expensive substance!” They argued the aromatic herb could have been sold and the money used to help the poor. Jesus mildly corrected them for their confusion and mixed-up priorities. He would be alive for just a day or so more, so they needed to treat Him with respect while He was present with them. In the parallel passage (Mark 14:3-9), the wording is: “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (verse 7). That is, “You will have plenty of other opportunities to help the poor, but you will not have another chance to do good to Me like this woman has just done!”

Indeed, He Himself had even spoken in Deuteronomy 15:11: “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” The Jews should help the poor, should be compassionate toward them, but they should never confuse the creature with the Creator (Romans 1:25).

Also see:
» Was God unfair in striking Uzzah dead?
» Was God unfair to punish us for Adam’s sin?
» Why did God judge Nadab and Abihu so strictly?