Category Archives: BIBLE CONTRADICTIONS / CONFUSING VERSES SIMPLIFIED

How is He “Jesus of Nazareth” if He was born in Bethlehem?

HOW IS HE “JESUS OF NAZARETH” IF HE WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Indubitably, the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem Judah/Judaea/Ephratah (southern Israel)—not to be confused with the Bethlehem of northern Israel (see Joshua 19:15).

The King James Bible says:

  • Micah 5:2 (written 750–700 B.C.): “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old [His humanity], from everlasting [His Deity].”
  • Matthew 2:1-2,5-6: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him…. And they [the chief priests and scribes] said unto him [Herod], In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”
  • Luke 2:4-7: “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David: ) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

*NOTE: Alma 7:10 of the Book of Mormon claims Jesus was born in Jerusalem. Joseph Smith is wrong. According to God’s Word (the Holy Bible), Jesus was born in Bethlehem Judah, several miles or kilometers from Jerusalem! For more information, see our related study linked at the end of this article.

The Authorized Version, in 17 cases, labels the Lord as “Jesus of Nazareth.” If you want to look up the references, they are—Matthew 26:71; Mark 1:24; Mark 10:47;  Mark 14:67; Mark 16:6; Luke 4:34; Luke 18:37; Luke 24:19; John 1:45; John 18:5; John 18:7; John 19:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 6:14; Acts 10:38; Acts 22:8; Acts 26:9. Related verses are Matthew 21:11 (“Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee”), Acts 3:6 (“Jesus Christ of Nazareth”), and Acts 4:10 (“Jesus Christ of Nazareth”). If the Lord was born in Bethlehem, why is “Nazareth” so frequently part of His title? Is this not strange? The answer to this enigma can be found back in His childhood days. Are we willing to study and learn?

As Matthew chapter 2 recounts, when the Christ Child was born, King Herod the Great feared insurrection and thus sought to murder Him: “[13] And when they [the wise men] were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. [14] When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: [15] And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. [16] Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. [17] Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, [18] In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

“[19] But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, [20] Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. [21] And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. [22] But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: [23] And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

As a two-year-old boy, the Lord Jesus had to temporarily leave the land of Israel and relocate to Egypt. Once Herod the Great died near age 70 (circa 4–1 B.C.?), however, Jesus returned to Israel. Instead of settling in Bethlehem Judah (Jesus’ birthplace), fearing Herod’s son Archelaus reigning there, Jesus’ stepfather Joseph transferred the family to Nazareth of Galilee (northern Israel). The town where Jesus spent His remaining childhood years was Nazareth. Apparently, Nazareth was where Joseph and Mary had lived prior to their marriage (Luke 1:26; Luke 2:4,39,51). Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar’s census forced them to move to Bethlehem Judah just before Jesus’ birth. (This pagan ruler had no idea he caused the 700-year-old Bible prophecy of Micah to be fulfilled!!!)

Read Luke 2:51-52: “[51] And he [the Lord Jesus Christ] went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. [52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Jesus (age 12 in verse 42) went on to spend His early adult years here in Nazareth, just prior to entering His ministry at age 30 (read Matthew 2:23; Matthew 3:13; cf. Mark 1:9). After moving south to be water baptized of John the Baptist in the River Jordan, the Lord Jesus went back to Nazareth where He stayed at His ministry headquarters (Matthew 4:13) until unbelieving Nazareth attempted to murder Him (Luke 4:14-30) and He moved to Capernaum (Luke 4:31). Be sure to notice Luke 4:16, “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up:….” Overall, Christ lived in Nazareth approximately 25 years of His first three decades. He was born in Bethlehem, but He was raised in Nazareth, thus His title is “Jesus of Nazareth” not “Jesus of Bethlehem.”

“Nazareth” means “despised place.” Its reputation is emphasized in the remark of John 1:46: “And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.” Upon hearing the Messiah Jesus is of Nazareth (verse 45), Nathanael reacts with sarcasm, “What good thing could possibly come from Nazareth of all places? According to Luke 3:23, Jesus is roughly 30 years old when He began His ministry. The vast majority of His prior life was spent in Nazareth, the lowly place where Israel preferred Him to live! At His birth, He was laid in a manger (animal-food trough) because “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). When Herod sought to kill Him, Israel wept for their babies slaughtered in Bethlehem but shed not one tear when young Jesus had to escape to Egypt for His life (Matthew 2:16-21). Even after He came back from Egypt, He was not welcome in Israel, having to live in “Nazareth” or the “despised place” (Matthew 2:22-23). Throughout His earthly ministry, He faced intense opposition, culminating in His shameful trials and horrific crucifixion. We can glimpse two summary passages now.

“And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:19-20). “And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:57-58). Animals have their homes, but Messiah/Christ Jesus has no certain dwellingplace, for His very people have obstinately refused Him (John 1:11)!

The night of His betrayal and arrest, the Lord Jesus Christ encouraged His Apostles: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you…. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father…. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause (John 15:18,24-25). He will be crucified on Calvary’s cross in less than 24 hours!!

Finally, go over to John chapter 7: “[40] Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. [41] Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? [42] Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?… [52] They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” This is natural-man thinking and “scholarship” (1 Corinthians 2:14). What spiritual ignoramuses!!! Jesus indeed had been born in Bethlehem, David’s hometown (1 Samuel 16:1-18), but He had also been forced to flee to Egypt and then Galilee (Nazareth) when Israel refused Him during His childhood years!! Even there, in John chapter 7, they hate Him.

Whenever the Bible links the Lord Jesus Christ to Nazareth, it does not refer to His place of birth but rather His place of childhood and early adulthood because of His rejection. To wit, “Jesus of Nazareth” is another way of saying, “Jesus of the Despised Place” or “Jesus of the Rejected Place.” It accentuates the rank unbelief in Israel, their national refusal to trust Him as Messiah or Christ.

Also see:
» Was Jesus born in Jerusalem?
» Is Matthew 2:23 a mistake?
» Was Jesus’ last name “Christ?”
» Was Jesus born on the 25th of December?
» Were there really three wise men?
» How can Luke 2:1 report “all the world” was subject to Caesar Augustus?
» Is there an historical mistake in Luke 2:1-2?

How could pagan Nebuchadnezzar know about “the Son of God?”

HOW COULD PAGAN NEBUCHADNEZZAR KNOW ABOUT “THE SON OF GOD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Read Daniel 3:25 as found in our King James Bible: “He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” How could Nebuchadnezzar, the pagan, idolatrous, King of Babylon, know about “the Son of God?” Would that not be a “Christian” doctrine, an idea so foreign to him it would have thus been impossible for him to utter?

THE DIFFERENCE IS STRIKING!

Concerning Daniel 3:25, the Aramaic expression “Bar-elohin” is handled “the Son of God” in our Authorized Version; however, it is rendered “a son of the gods” in nearly all popular modern English translations (American Standard Version, Amplified, English Standard Version, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Message, New American Standard Version [1995 and 2020], New International Version, Revised Standard Version, Voice, et al.). The New King James Version is quite underhanded (as usual), keeping the traditional King James reading but adding the alternate reading in a footnote: “Or a son of the gods.”

Of course, if we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe; we freely confess we recognize there is a difference between a declaration of polytheism (“a son of the gods”) and a statement of monotheism (“the Son of God”). This is just one example of how modern English versions differ significantly from the King James Bible. For the moment, we care not to evaluate which one is correct and which one is incorrect. All we need to admit at this point is both readings are separate and distinct—yea, rather, they are mutually exclusive. Contrary to what we hear, all English Bibles do not say the same thing! With that fact clearly stated, now we can evaluate both readings.

ASSESSING THE INTERPRETATIONS

It has been argued the King James translators were wrong, and modern English version translators were right. After all, was not Nebuchadnezzar a heathen Babylonian king, someone who would have referred to a plurality of gods (“a son of the gods”) instead of the one true God, the God of Israel (“the Son of God”)? On the surface, this case is strong; however, a closer examination of the Scriptures reveals something else entirely. Any objective reading of the first five chapters of Daniel causes us to see Nebuchadnezzar is not the average Gentile of that day. He is not completely isolated from monotheistic Judaism as Bible critics would have us believe.

The King of Babylon has more spiritual light than most non-Jews because of his personal involvement with the Jewish Prophet Daniel and his three friends (often known by their Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—their original Hebrew names were, respectively, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah). By way of his association with these four Jewish saints, Nebuchadnezzar’s spiritual understanding develops through the course of the Book of Daniel. In chapter 1, he is a lost man. Yet, by the time of chapter 4, he has left his pagan idols (polytheism) and come to faith in the one true God (monotheism). As presented in our King James, Daniel 3:25 is one step forward in that right direction; however, in nearly all modern English versions, Nebuchadnezzar appears to take a step backward into paganism. Again, one reading must remain, and the other must be discarded. Do we throw out the King James (“the Son of God) or the modern versions (“a son of the gods”)? How do we proceed in establishing what is right and what is wrong?

Again, let us consider how Nebuchadnezzar’s spirituality develops in the Book of Daniel. For instance, chapter 2 relates: “[46] Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. [47] The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Once more, Nebuchadnezzar is clearly pagan in that he worships Daniel and speaks of Daniel’s God; yet, Nebuchadnezzar is not in total spiritual darkness. He has just heard Daniel speak the words of Israel’s God (monotheism). Whereas the king’s other “wise men” (polytheistic spiritual leaders) could not interpret his dream, Daniel has demonstrated Israel’s God can. Nebuchadnezzar is therefore fascinated, and expresses amazement concerning Daniel’s God (not some plurality of heathen idols, please note).

Move into chapter 3, the immediate context of the verse (25) we are considering. Nebuchadnezzar is still idolatrous and polytheistic (see especially verses 1,12,15,18). Yet, he will soon witness something incredible—a miracle even more stunning than that of chapter 2! “[1] Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon…. [10] Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: [11] And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. [12] There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. [13] Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

“[14] Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? [15] Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? [16] Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. [17] If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. [18] But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

“[19] Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. [20] And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. [21] Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. [22] Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. [23] And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. [24] Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. [25] He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

“[26] Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. [27] And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. [28] Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. [29] Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. [30] Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.”

Pay close attention to verse 26: “Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.” Would this not be a reference to the one true God—and it coming from the mouth of “pagan” Nebuchadnezzar? See, again, Nebuchadnezzar’s contact with these Jewish believers has enlightened him concerning monotheism. Yet, the King James critics find it impossible for the King of Babylon to speak a monotheistic declaration just one verse prior? In other words, if we are forced to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s confession in verse 25 as heathen on the grounds of his polytheism (“a son of the gods”), how can we then let verse 26—the utterance immediately following it!!—remain in support of monotheism (“the Son of God)? Stated another way, if the King James Bible is mistranslated in verse 25 (“the Son of God—supposedly an impossible statement for an idolatrous king), we must conclude verse 26 needs rewording too (“the most high God” could not possibly come from a polytheistic king, could it?! Apply the logic of the Bible correctors: Nebuchadnezzar meant to say, “one of many gods!”). In short, the Authorized Version and its translators have been unjustly criticized—and this is neither the first time nor the last (!). Modern versions and their supporters, on the other hand, are the ones with the faulty logic—and this is neither the first time nor the last (!). Verse 26 in their own Bible text nullifies their claim and wording in verse 25.

What followed that controversial verse 25 in chapter 3? Read again verse 29: “Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” Is Nebuchadnezzar confessing how he sees the difference between “gods” (pagan idols) and “God” (Israel’s God)? He sure is (if we can read)! What he has seen as the Deliverer of these Jewish saints is not “a son of the gods”—for he admits he has not witnessed the work of an ordinary God! This God who saved these believers from the burning fiery furnace is different!

Nebuchadnezzar’s spiritual insight becomes even sharper in chapter 4. “[1] Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. [2] I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. [3] How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation…. [34] And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: [35] And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?…. [37] Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

Horrors! Recalling the critics’ arguments, Nebuchadnezzar could not have said these things either! If we are Bible believers, we will believe the Bible, and not worry about naysayers. We will let them argue with their own verses. By the way, scholars often appeal to the “Septuagint” (LXX)—the Greek translation of the Old Testament. In this case of Daniel 3:25, the Septuagint sides with the King James Bible against modern English versions. The LXX has “huio theou” (“theou” [“God”] being singular, not plural [“gods”]).

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Based on our research, the King James Bible has the superior reading in Daniel 3:25: “He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” The modern English translations, however, are inferior with their variant “a son of the gods.” In adopting this new reading, they omit a clear reference to the Lord Jesus Christ in a pre-incarnate form. (Is that not serious?) Yet, someone responds to us: How could Nebuchadnezzar know of the second Member of the Godhead? How could he be aware of God’s Son?”

Remember, approximately 400 years before Nebuchadnezzar rose to power, the Holy Spirit had moved King David (cf. Acts 4:25-28; Psalm 2:1-2) to pen Psalm 2:7: “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” According to the Hebrew Bible, which Daniel and his three friends possessed (and taught to Nebuchadnezzar to some degree), the LORD has a “Son.” This is God the Father speaking to God the Son, roughly 1,000 B.C. (long before Nebuchadnezzar was born!). In fact, even Nebuchadnezzar’s own military leader, Nebuzaradan the Babylonian, quoted the Law of Moses to the Prophet Jeremiah. He knew Israel had disobeyed JEHOVAH God, and His wrath on the Jews was being exacted via the Babylonian troops conquering and exiling Judah! Babylon, though quite heathen, had much light from the Hebrew Bible and the one true God.

Jeremiah chapter 40: “[1] The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon. [2] And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. [3] Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you.” Horrors! Pagan Nebuzaradan was not supposed to be aware of the curses of Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28—according to the critics anyway.

We rest our case!

Also see:
» Was Nebuchadnezzar a saved man?
» Is the Bible wrong to call Nebuchadnezzar the “father” of Belshazzar?
» What about those who have not heard?

Do 1 Kings 9:28 and 2 Chronicles 8:18 contradict?

DO 1 KINGS 9:28 AND 2 CHRONICLES 8:18 CONTRADICT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Concentrate on these two verses:

  • 1 Kings 9:28: “And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.”
  • 2 Chronicles 8:18: “And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.”

Kings has 420 talents of gold, yet Chronicles reports 450 talents. Have the critics, at last, found a mistake in God’s Holy Word? Let us consult “Christian scholarship.” Perhaps these “Bible experts” can resolve the matter for us.

HOW “BIBLE SCHOLARS” “HELP”

In one popular study Bible, this footnote appears at 2 Chronicles 8:18: “The difference between 450 talents here and 420 in 1 Kings is likely a copyist’s error” (bold emphasis mine). Another bestselling study Bible has this editors’ comment: “First Kings 9:28 reports 420 talents, probably accounted for by a scribal error in transmission” (bold emphasis mine).

Who wrote the above remarks? Atheists? No! Agnostics? No! Other non-Christians? No! With great trembling, we reveal the answer: they are “Bible-believing (?) church leaders!” As we can see, dear readers, scholarship can be quite the enemy of the truth. People trained in seminary (Bible cemetery!) have been instructed (brainwashed) not to believe the Scriptures… and they pass their nagging doubts on to us the commoners in the pew! After all, the transmission—yea, rather, the recovery or reconstruction of God’s “lost” words—depends on their advanced degrees. Although the Holy Spirit allowed an “error” to creep in through a copyist, they can be trusted to sit in judgment of the Scriptures and do what the Holy Spirit failed to do (give us the “real,” “original” Bible text). Extending their logic, what other numbers in the Scriptures could be “errors?” How could we trust anything in the Bible then?

Suppose some poor (!) Christian soul was dealing with Bible critics concerning 1 Kings 9:28 and 2 Chronicles 8:18. They badger him, “The Bible has errors!” He appeals to his “handy” study Bible for enlightenment. Horrors! He quickly shuts the cover, for the critics might use his Bible’s footnotes against him—if they have not already done so (having read it in their own “study” Bible earlier). (He needs to be sure to thank the “Christian” scholars who helped them… uh, I mean… helped him!) At this point, to say the Christian is embarrassed is the understatement of the century! He just might henceforth commence a lifelong crusade, speaking at colleges and churches around the world about how the Bible cannot be trusted. Countless souls are enticed, just as ready to rebel against the Lord, and off they go in the world launching their warped movements.

Dear friends, here is the pathetic state of affairs among God’s people. While the Church the Body of Christ has been in the world fighting abortion, pornography, drugs and alcohol, and homosexuality, it has overlooked a far graver sin. The Devil has been working within the leadership ranks of “Christianity” for many centuries, apostates and heretics causing millions upon millions to doubt the Bible… spiritually-perverted people WITHIN the church teaching lies as opposed to WITHOUT it! It is one thing to tell someone to disbelieve and discard the Bible (here is the position of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, et cetera). However, it is infinitesimally more serious to encourage someone to keep and correct the Bible (here is the “scholarly” opinion). The first position is at least consistent; the second is far subtler and actually hypocritical.

Let it be clearly understood: perhaps, next time, we had better not be so eager to appeal to “Bible scholars” when we should be listening to the Holy Spirit!

HOW GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS

Read 1 Kings 9:28 in context: “[26] And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom. [27] And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. [28] And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.”

Now, 2 Chronicles 8:18 in context: “[17] Then went Solomon to Eziongeber, and to Eloth, at the sea side in the land of Edom. [18] And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.”

Both King Solomon and King Hiram/Huram are engaged in international trade. Of particular note is the gold of Ophir, which Solomon’s servants brought back to their king. The precise location of Ophir is unknown, but it may have been in southern Arabia, eastern Africa, the Persian Gulf, or India. As we have stated before, so we say again. In Kings, the amount of gold given to Solomon is 420 talents, but Chronicles has the total as 450 talents. Why are these values different?

Here are some facts from the Bible (if we care to see them, if we want to submit to God’s authoritative words, if we desire to “believe” the Scriptures as we claim we do!):

  1. Solomon has a “navy” or fleet of ships (1 Kings 9:26); Huram has “ships” (2 Chronicles 8:18). Is it possible there are at least four ships under consideration? Actually, there might have been 10, 20, or 30 ships—that point is irrelevant! Whatever the case, could 420 talents of gold have been on one of those ships, and 450 talents of gold been on another of those ships? Again, are we not dealing with more than one ship?! (Why have the scholars not given the Scriptures the benefit of the doubt? Should we trust the Scriptures [faith], or the “scholars” [doubt]?)
  2. We do not need to be mathematical geniuses to see “450” contains “420.” Perhaps 420 talents were on one ship, and 30 talents were on another ship, bringing the sum up to 450 talents. (Why have the scholars not given the Scriptures the benefit of the doubt? Should we trust the Scriptures [faith], or the “scholars” [doubt]?)
  3. According to 1 Kings 11:42 and 2 Chronicles 9:30, Solomon reigned a total of 40 years. As a dear brother in Christ (a Bible believer) once asked, was Ophir so far away Solomon managed to receive only one shipment of gold during those four decades—and that single delivery had to be either 420 or 450?! (Why have the scholars not given the Scriptures the benefit of the doubt? Should we trust the Scriptures [faith], or the “scholars” [doubt]?)
  4. Excluding these passages, there are many variations between Kings and Chronicles, even large sections of text unique to each. Should we relegate these dozens upon dozens of disparate portions to the dreaded status of “scribal errors” too?! Again, where do we stop with the doubts?! (We do not!)

We have just provided a few simple explanations to account for the difference between 1 Kings 9:28 and 2 Chronicles 8:18. It does take some mental effort, as can be observed. Nevertheless, the easier approach is to follow the “scholars” in their unbelief and dismiss the whole matter as a “scribal error.” Friends, here are our two choices—doubt or faith. May we choose the right (not left) one. (If you want an advanced, really “eye-opening” example of doubting scholarship, see our Mark 16:9-20 study linked at the end of this article.)

SUPPLEMENTAL

To put the values of the gold of Ophir into a modern perspective, the 420 talents (1 Kings 9:28) equates to approximately 16 tons (14.5 metric tons) and the 450 talents (2 Chronicles 8:18) is roughly 17 tons (15.4 metric tons). Each weight involves well in excess of (United States) $800 million! By the way, a “talent” was the standard measurement of gold weight in those days, for it was the maximum load a man could carry (2 Kings 5:23).

Also see:
» Does Acts 7:14 have a mistake?
» Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:6 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:16 have a mistake?
» Is “Abiathar” a mistake in Mark 2:26?
» Is Matthew 2:23 a mistake?
» Is there an historical mistake in Luke 2:1-2?
» Is “Cainan” in Luke 3:36 a “scribal error?”
» Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?
» Is there a geographical error in 2 Kings 2:2?
» Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?

Did Jesus ride two animals on Palm Sunday?

DID JESUS RIDE TWO ANIMALS ON PALM SUNDAY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Holy Bible foretold in Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Of course, this was fulfilled 500 years later, when the Lord Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday just a few days before His crucifixion.

Matthew chapter 21: “[1] And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, [2] Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. [3] And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. [4] All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, [5] Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. [6] And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, [7] And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. [8] And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. [9] And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”

While Mark (11:1-11), Luke (19:28-38), and John (12:12-16) report this occasion, the Holy Spirit led only Matthew (21:2-3,7) to mention the mother donkey. The other three Gospel Records speak of just the baby donkey (cf. Mark 11:2-5,7; Luke 19:30-31,33,35; John 12:14). Refer back to Matthew 21:5: “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” Here is the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of Zechariah’s prophecy, thus explaining the differences in wording. (Zechariah 9:9: “O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”)

One so-called “Bible scholar” struggled with and therefore voiced his disapproval of the King James’ wording of Matthew 21:5. (Recall 1 Corinthians 1–3, wherein “scholarship” and “natural man thinking” are condemned, for God’s wisdom is always foolishness to “wise” man, and man’s “wisdom” is always foolishness to God.) To the textual critic, the expression in Matthew 21:5 was misleading, for it suggested Jesus sat on and rode two animals:“sitting upon [#1] an ass, and [#2] a colt the foal of an ass.” However, the dear brother need only look at other verses to clear up his confusion (and we would do well to study them too!). Jesus rode one animal, the baby donkey:

  • “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him(Mark 11:7).
  • “And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon (Luke 19:35).
  • “And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt (John 12:14-15).

Remember, however, Matthew features the baby donkey and its mother: apparently, the mother leads the way and her baby follows. Matthew’s wording of the Zechariah quote reflects the presence of both animals. Read Matthew 21:5 again:“Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” If we expand Matthew’s verse by adding bracketed comments, the result is: “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass [baby donkey], and a colt [baby donkey] the foal [baby donkey] of an ass [mother donkey].” Again, Jesus is riding one animal (the baby donkey). The baby donkey has three titles (“ass… colt… foal”), the third appellation linking it to its mother (the final “ass”).

By the way, according to The Oxford English Dictionary, a “colt” is “a young, uncastrated male horse, in particular one less than four years old.” A “foal” is “a young horse or related animal.” Donkeys and horses belong to the same family, Equidae, so they can loosely share descriptive terms. Furthermore, “colt” may be related to the Swedish word “kult,” used to refer to boys or half-grown animals. Whether “ass,” “colt,” or foal,” all three are perfectly acceptable translations of the Greek nouns used to describe the one beast the Lord Jesus rode.

Someone would complain (and, as we have seen, has already grumbled), “Matthew should have simply written ‘sitting upon an ass,’ insinuating one animal! He should not have put ‘sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass!’ That sounds like Jesus is riding two beasts!” Again, the whiner need only do research (as we have done here)—but it is far too tempting and easier to carp instead of think! The explicative “and a colt the foal of an ass” provides extra information that loops back to the mother donkey featured in Matthew. Unlike the limited view presented in Mark, Luke, and John; Matthew (“sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass”) is highlighting the full scope of the Zechariah prophecy (“riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass”)! If Matthew is in error, then we must find fault with Zechariah as well.

Perhaps a simple illustration will suffice as a conclusion. Consider this statement: “The woman is married to her husband and best friend.” Is she joined to one man or two? No one—using common sense anyway!—would be confused here. It is one man viewed from two aspects. He is both her husband and her best friend. Likewise, we have Jesus sitting on an ass (baby donkey), the baby donkey also being a colt as well as a foal, and the baby donkey belongs to its mother (another ass present). Neither Matthew nor Zechariah have a problem. The difficulty is that sinful, “scholarly” man is like a donkey, refusing to submit to a Book, God’s Book, for man “always knows better than God!”

Why does the Scripture feature a donkey here at all? “For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt” (Job 11:12). Do you notice how the language echoes the words of Zechariah and Matthew? This is not by coincidence but by design. A donkey—noteworthy for its stubbornness—is the perfect symbol for sinful man. One reason why the Lord Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem was to demonstrate to Israel He could free her from bondage to the Law (loose the ass!) and make her submit to Him (He will ride her tamely into Jerusalem, His capital city, and she will enjoy subsequent Millennial blessings!).

“And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest” (Mark 11:9-10).

Also see:
» How could Israel welcome Messiah on Palm Sunday but then demand His death later that week?
» Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?
» How could Jesus eat the Passover if He were already dead?

If meat-eating occurred only after the Flood, who was eating the animal sacrifices prior?

IF MEAT-EATING OCCURRED ONLY AFTER THE FLOOD, WHO WAS EATING THE ANIMAL SACRIFICES PRIOR?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Not to diminish this question, but a scoffer once asked it in hopes of using it as a “gotcha” or “captious” inquiry. The goal was not to gain spiritual light but rather pose an unanswerable question to the Christian and make him look foolish. Provided we ask in faith, we will learn this is really a non-issue, a trivial matter, easily addressed.

Whether in Judaism or even pagan (heathen) religions, animal sacrifices were at least partially eaten: “And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy. And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy” (Exodus 29:32-34). “Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD: it is most holy. The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation…. All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy” (Leviticus 6:25-26,29). Various other verses throughout Leviticus read similarly.

The argument goes like this: If there were animal sacrifices offered before the Great Flood of Noah’s day, but there was no meat-eating until after the Great Flood (Genesis 9:1-4; cf. Genesis 1:29-31), then who was eating the animal sacrifices prior to the Great Flood? Scripture does not provide us with many details concerning the pre-Flood sacrificial system, but we can use the Law of Moses issued centuries later to understand the matter and answer the question.

See 1 Kings 18:30-41, when the Prophet Elijah proposed a test to see if Baal were God or JEHOVAH were God: “[30] And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. [31] And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: [32] And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. [33] And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. [34] And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. [35] And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

“[36] And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. [37] Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. [38] Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. [39] And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. [40] And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.”

Pay close attention to verse 38, re-reading it: “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” Now, go to pre-Flood verses such as Genesis 3:21: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” The first animal sacrifices are implied here, and we have no reason to believe God’s fire from Heaven did not fall upon these slain animals and consume them. Such would have also been the case with Abel (but not Cain) in chapter 4: “[1] And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. [2] And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. [3] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. [4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. [5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”

Also see:
» How did God “testify” of Abel’s gifts?

» Why did God reject Cain’s offering?
» Can you explain Genesis 4:7?
» Why did God demand blood sacrifices?
» What did Jesus mean, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice?”

Was Jesus the “young man” in Mark 16:5?

WAS JESUS THE “YOUNG MAN” IN MARK 16:5?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No.

We read in chapter 16 of Mark: “[5] And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. [6] And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. [7] But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”

Although wearing clothes similar to Christ’s raiment on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29), the “young man” of this passage in question could in no wise be Christ. Firstly, the man refers to Jesus in the third-person numerous times: he is risen… he is not here… where they laid him… tell his disciples… he goeth before you… there shall ye see himhe said unto you.” (He did not use first-person pronouns “I” and “me.”) If Jesus is said not to be present in the tomb (“he is not here;” verse 6), then the speaker could certainly not be Jesus, could He?

Secondly, Mary Magdalene alone saw the resurrected Christ first (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18). Several women were there in Mark 16:5-7, so the young man in the tomb could not have been Jesus. Thirdly, that young man is never actually said to be the Lord Jesus either. Remember, we should always be careful when making assumptions concerning Scripture. In this case, there is simply too much evidence favoring the young man being an angel and not Christ.

Before leaving, we must point out one significant feature oft overlooked: the young man” was actually a 4,000-year-old being. Angels do not exhibit age!

Also see:
» Do angels age?

» Are angels women?
» Do people become angels when they die?
» Did the disciples go to the wrong tomb on Resurrection Sunday?
»  How is mankind “lower than the angels?”
» Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?

Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN ACTS 19:13-16?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Dr. Luke penned the following in Acts chapter 19: “[13] Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. [14] And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. [15] And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? [16] And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” To the say the least, like many accounts in the Book of Acts, this passage is quite unusual. What is its implication? Why did the Holy Spirit include it in Holy Writ? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

If we start back at verses 11-12, we will see the contrast: “[11] And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: [12] So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” During this time of the Acts transitional period, “special miracles” in the Apostle Paul’s ministry are being witnessed. The Holy Spirit is endorsing or authenticating Paul’s apostleship (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:12): what He did with Peter, He is now doing with Paul. Israel should take note of her God working amongst the Gentiles.

Remember the Apostle Peter’s miraculous demonstrations in chapter 5 of Acts: “[12] And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. [13] And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. [14] And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) [15] Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. [16] There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.”

In the case of Paul’s healing handkerchiefs or aprons, these were used to heal the sick and cast out devils. Israel’s God, once working with the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant), is now working with Paul and the Body of Christ. The Book of Acts is the record of God’s transition from Israel to the Body of Christ, moving from prophecy to mystery. (See our related “Acts” studies linked at the end of this article for more information.) In stark contrast to Paul casting out devils (Acts 19:11-12), the Holy Spirit speaks of vagabond Jews unsuccessfully exorcising unclean spirits (verses 13-16). This documentation further reinforces the concepts of Paul’s apostleship and Israel’s unbelief during the Acts period.

To grasp the thrust of the verses, we run through Acts 19:13-16 again, this time expounding line upon line. Verse 13 once more: “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” These Jews are “vagabond,” wanderers or drifters. Here is national Israel depicted, apostate and unbelieving, not knowing where they are going doctrinally (or what they are doing spiritually)! Presumptuous, having been audacious in assuming upon themselves some supernatural power over Satan’s evil spirit minions, they attempt to use Paul’s apostolic authority (for they have none themselves). They therefore declare to the devils, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.”

Move to verse 14: “And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.” These priestly men—plus Sceva (“left-handed,” or weak) their father and leader—should be down in Jerusalem serving at the Temple. Instead, as noted already, they are roaming about near Ephesus (western Turkey). Their failure to uphold sound Bible doctrine proves fatal to their mission, as shown in verse 15: “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” This evil spirit recognizes Jesus’ authority and Paul’s authority, but rightly sees the sons of Sceva as defenseless. Unsurprisingly, charlatans do not intimidate a devil! Verse 16 informs us: “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” To say the least, this failed exorcism was most embarrassing! Such a disaster proved these sons of Sceva were nothing but counterfeit miracle-workers (cf. Matthew 7:21-23).

The news of this spread to nearby Ephesus, as verse 17 relates: “And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Finish the rest of the account: “[18] And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. [19] Many of them also which used curious arts [witchcraft/occult/idolatry/philosophy] brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. [20] So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” This is actually the start of the church at Ephesus, to which Paul would write the Book of Ephesians many years later. Once these pagans heard how the evil spirit acknowledged Jesus’ power as well as Paul’s apostolic power, but refused to obey the sons of Sceva, these heathen converted to Paul’s ministry. Verse 15 again: “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”

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:
» Could you explain Acts 19:1-7?
» Why does the Book of Acts end so abruptly?
» Can you explain Paul’s ministry during Acts?
» Can you explain Peter and the 11’s ministry from Acts chapters 7 through 15?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?
» Should we use the word “demons?” Are they the same as devils?
» 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?
» Is faith in Christ alone enough to go to Heaven? Do not the devils believe?

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?

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?