Category Archives: BIBLE CONTRADICTIONS / CONFUSING VERSES SIMPLIFIED

Is “Abiathar” a mistake in Mark 2:26?

IS “ABIATHAR” A MISTAKE IN MARK 2:26?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in 1 Samuel chapter 21: “[1] Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? [2] And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. [3] Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.

“[4] And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. [5] And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. [6] So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.”

About 1,000 years later, Christ Jesus comments in Mark chapter 2: “[25] And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? [26] How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?” It certainly seems bizarre that Jesus spoke of a High Priest named “Abiathar” instead of the High Priest Ahimelech. Was He mistaken? No. (By the way, the parallel passages of Matthew 12:3-4 and Luke 6:3-4 do not name any priest. Variations in the Bible are a mark of strength not weakness. There is no “conspiracy” among its writers to try to make everything the same. Verbatim language would be grounds for suspicion.)

Let us first establish the link between Ahimelech and Abiathar. Ahimelech was High Priest at the time of 1 Samuel chapter 21 (our opening passage). Abiathar was one of Ahimelech’s sons. Read chapter 22, especially verses 9-23 (cf. 21:7). Once King Saul hears of Ahimelech helping David, Saul mercilessly executes Ahimelech and all his priestly brethren and sons in Nob! “And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David” (1 Samuel 22:20). Abiathar survives the genocide and becomes an ally of David.

After David becomes King of Judah, he appoints Abiathar as High Priest. “And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David” (1 Samuel 30:7). “And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab” (1 Chronicles 15:11). “And unto Abiathar the priest said the king [Solomon], Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the LORD God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted” (1 Kings 2:26).

The Bible contains no error in Mark 2:26. When Jesus called Abiathar “high priest” here, it is not to say that He thought Abiathar was High Priest at the time of 1 Samuel chapter 21. Abiathar was certainly not High Priest yet. Still, David eventually appointed Abiathar to be High Priest, and this connection is likely what Jesus is underscoring. It is no different from us saying, “United States President George Washington was born and grew up in Virginia.” Of course, we are not implying Washington was president as a newborn infant (no, he was 57 years old when he assumed the presidency!). We are commenting in retrospect, Washington having already served as president. In Mark 2:26, Jesus is speaking of Abiathar in the sense of review: Abiathar has already functioned as High Priest (and that was during David’s reign, David and Christ closely associated). “In the days of Abiathar the high priest” is best understood as “in the lifetime of Abiathar the high priest” (true) as opposed to “when Abiathar was high priest” (erroneous, factually incorrect—which the Bible never said anyway).

Also see:
» Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?
» Is Matthew 2:23 a mistake?
» Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?

Is that sinless perfection in Matthew 5:48?

IS THAT SINLESS PERFECTION IN MATTHEW 5:48?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Indeed, this is often assumed to be sinless perfection… but the context does not allow that interpretation.

Verses 44-48: “[44] But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; [45] That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. [46] For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? [47] And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? [48] Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

God’s sinlessness is not under consideration here: His absolute kindness, nothing lacking, is being stressed in this passage. The Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7) is designed to bring the Messianic Church—Israel’s Little Flock—to spiritual maturity. It is not enough for them to love people who love them, for even the unbelievers love those who love them. Spiritual maturity concerning kindness is they should love those who hate them! As the Creator God deals gently with people who despise His words and refuse to believe them (going so far as to give these people material sustenance such as sunshine and rain), so believing Israel is to deal tenderly with their persecutors. This will be especially crucial in the end-times scenario, when Messianic Jews are mercilessly pursued, imprisoned, tortured, and executed! Their suffering is described most graphically in Matthew 10:16-42, Matthew 25:31-46, 1 Peter 3:14-17, 1 Peter 4:12-19, 1 Peter 5:1-9, among other places (see also Daniel 7:25, Psalm 10, James 5:10-11, Revelation 13:15, Revelation 20:4, et cetera).

Also see:
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» Who are “the fatherless and widows” of James 1:27?
» Is Matthew 25:31-46 a plan for our salvation unto eternal life?

Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?

DOES MATTHEW 1:12 CONTAIN AN ERROR?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in Matthew 1:12: “And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;….” (These are the Greek forms of the original Hebrew names below, thus accounting for the spelling differences.)

Everything looks fine in Matthew’s record until we compare it to 1 Chronicles 3:15-19: “[15] And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. [16] And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. [17] And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son, [18] Malchiram also, and Pedaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. [19] And the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel, and Shimei: and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister:….”

According to 1 Chronicles 3:19, Zerubbabel was Pedaiah’s son, Pedaiah being King Jeconiah’s son. However, in Matthew 1:12, Zerubbabel is said to have been Salathiel’s son. Is Matthew mistaken? No.

Zerubbabel is usually called “the son of Shealtiel,” as we see here:

  • Ezra 3:2: “Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.”
  • Nehemiah 12:1: “Now these are the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,….”
  • Haggai 1:1: “In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,….”

Shealtiel/Salathiel is Pedaiah’s brother (1 Chronicles 3:17-18), and Zerubbabel is said to be the son of both men. This seems impossible but it really is not. Yes, only one of these men was obviously his biological father—Pedaiah being the most likely candidate (1 Chronicles 3:19). But, he could have had a second father too. How?

Two potential situations solve this dilemma. Firstly, Shealtiel/Salathiel could have adopted his nephew Zerubbabel. Secondly, Zerubbabel could be the product of a levirate marriage (see Deuteronomy 25:5-10). If a man died childless, God in the Law of Moses instructed the man’s brother to marry the childless sister-in-law and father children with her in the name of the deceased man. This was done so the blood lines of the tribes would not be lost, that the land/inheritance remain with its respective tribes. In this case, Zerubbabel would have been Shealtiel’s biological son but was raised as though he were Pedaiah’s son. (There was already a levirate marriage in Matthew 1:5, wherein Ruth married her dead husband’s near-kinsman [Boaz] and bore him a son [Obed]. See the Book of Ruth, especially chapter 4. Having a second levirate marriage in Matthew’s record is not a far-fetched idea after all.)

Matthew 1:12 contains no mistake!

Also see:
» Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?

Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?

DOES MATTHEW 1:11 CONTAIN ERRORS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in Matthew 1:11-12: “[11] And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: [12] And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;….” (These are the Greek versions of the Hebrew names listed below. Hence, the spelling differences we see here.)

Now, we flip to 1 Chronicles 3:15-18: “[15] And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. [16] And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. [17] And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son, [18] Malchiram also, and Pedaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah.”

THE TEXTUAL CRITICS SPEAK

Using the Old Testament genealogical records, the “scholars” argue that the Apostle Matthew is twice mistaken. Firstly, Jeconiah was not Josiah’s son but rather Jehoiakim’s son. Secondly, Jeconiah’s brethren were really his father Jehoiakim’s brethren. How do we answer these charges laid against Matthew? Is there any way to reconcile his record with the Old Testament Scriptures?

THE BIBLE SPEAKS

Going back to 1 Chronicles 3:15-18, we read: “[15] And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. [16] And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. [17] And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son, [18] Malchiram also, and Pedaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah.”

According to verse 15, King Josiah fathered four sons—Johanan, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, and Shallum. Verse 16 says Jehoiakim had a son, Jeconiah, who had a son Zedekiah. All six of these men are descended from Josiah, the family’s patriarch. If Jehoiakim is Josiah’s son, then Jehoiakim’s son is (distantly) Josiah’s son—namely, his grandson. It is not immediate relation, of course, but it is blood relation nonetheless. Only someone pedantic will complain about this. No argument of substance can be made to dispute or discredit these passages.

Personally, this author deems it unfair to censure the Bible for claiming that men were brethren of Jeconiah when they were actually the brethren of his father Jehoiakim. “Brethren”—like “father”—can be used of close or distant relatives. For example, King David is declared to be Jesus’ “father” in Luke 1:32. Yet, this can only be understood in the sense of forefather, as David lived several centuries before Christ’s birth. Nebuchadnezzar is known as the “father” of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:2)—but he was actually Belshazzar’s grandfather. No one nitpicks at these titles, so they are not justified in their faultfinding of Matthew 1:11 either. If Josiah is the patriarch of a group of men, those men (broadly speaking) can rightly be called “brethren.” They share a forefather, so why is “brethren” inappropriate? It is not! There is nothing difficult here unless we have an agenda to be critical of the Bible.

We will throw in these assorted Bible facts as extras. Abraham is the “father” of the Jews (Acts 7:2; James 2:21). The word “father” is not always immediate ancestry; it could be a remote or distant relative or patriarch. Peter thus could call fellow Jews “brethren” (Acts 2:29). Israel could be called Moses’ “brethren” (Acts 7:23). All Jews are “children of the stock of Abraham” (Acts 13:26). Paul could rightly call them his “brethren” (Acts 13:38).

It is simplistic, but it bears pointing out. Abraham is rightly called the “father” of Isaac because Isaac is Abraham’s direct descendent (Genesis 22:7; Genesis 26:3). But, “father” can be extended beyond one generation. For instance, Abraham is the “father” of Isaac’s son Jacob (Genesis 28:13). This is “father” with respect to the third generation, a grandson being the son of the grandfather (just like Jeconiah and Josiah, the relationship in question here!).

We can introduce the word “forefather” into our discussion now. The term can span dozens, scores, and hundreds of generations. Look at Deuteronomy 1:8, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are all appropriately titled “fathers” of Israel. Read Deuteronomy 9:5, Deuteronomy 29:13, Deuteronomy 30:20, 1 Chronicles 29:18, and Acts 3:13, to name a few. If no one has a problem here, then it necessarily means they are completely unjustified in complaining about Josiah/Josias, Jeconiah/Jeconias, and their relatives as described in Matthew 1:11.

There is no mistake in Matthew 1:11!

Also see:
» Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?
» Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?

Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?

DOES MATTHEW 1:8-9 CONTAIN ERRORS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We read in Matthew 1:8-9: “[8] And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; [9] And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;….” Nothing appears unusual until we compare Matthew to the Old Testament family records. First Chronicles 3:11-12 lists the following genealogical data: “[11] Joram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son, [12] Amaziah his son, Azariah his son, Jotham his son,….”

The discrepancies are obvious in that Matthew skipped names #2, #3, and #4:

  • CHRONICLES: “(#1) Joram, (#2) Ahaziah, (#3) Joash, (#4) Amaziah, (#5) Azariah*, (#6) Jotham.”
  • MATTHEW: “(#1) Joram, (#5) Ozias*, (#6) Joatham.”

*Note: Matthew did not omit Azariah. “Ozias” is the Greek form of the Hebrew “Uzziah,” the alternate name of Azariah.

Why did the Apostle Matthew skip the names Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah—especially since the Old Testament record includes them? Does the Bible contain mistakes here? Have the critics at last inflicted the “death-blow” to the Scriptures? No!

THE TEXTUAL CRITICS SPEAK

The “scholar” or textual critic supposes that Matthew was mixed up, possibly confusing “Ochozias” (Greek form of the Hebrew “Ahaziah” [#2]) with “Ozias” (Greek form of the Hebrew “Uzziah” [#5]). Allegedly, Matthew, when copying the Old Testament genealogy (what they claim was the Greek Septuagint), he overlooked three names because the first name [#2] resembled the name that followed those three names [#5]. Glancing back and forth, his eyes landed on #5 when they should have landed on #2. Believing he had already written the names [#2–#4], when he had really written only #5, Matthew proceeded to copy #6 and never noticed his earlier omissions. Could this be plausible in accounting for the discrepancy between Matthew and the Old Testament prophet? We are not convinced.

Unfortunately, the “scholar” never gives Scripture the benefit of the doubt. This is because unbelief dominates “scholarly” Bible circles and “Christian” thought. Textual critics (seminary professors, Bible college graduates, et cetera) are not necessarily people who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour. No doubt, they were trained in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Aramaic, church history, theology, and denominational doctrinal statements, but none of that automatically qualifies them to be competent in understanding and explaining the things of God. Despite their formal education, if they do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit (the Bible’s Author), then they are unable to discern spiritual truths and avoid spiritual errors. They will be like the skillful Babylonian wise men, experts in worldly wisdom but utterly useless in interpreting God’s wisdom (Daniel 2:1-11,27-28; Daniel 5:5-9,15-16; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1-16).

THE FACTS AT A GLANCE

Just so we are clear, we will summarize the main points now:

  1. According to 1 Chronicles 3:11-12, the chronological, historical order was: (#1) Joram, (#2) Ahaziah, (#3) Joash, (#4) Amaziah, (#5) Azariah/Uzziah, (#6) Jotham.
  2. Textual critics claim the Apostle Matthew “should” have written this to be in perfect accordance with 1 Chronicles: “(#1) Ioram, (#2) Ochozias, (#3) Ioas, (#4) Amazias, (#5) Ozias, (#6) Joatham.” (Matthew was writing in Greek, remember, while the Old Testament names were originally Hebrew. This explains the spelling differences. Disagreeing with the scholars here, we do not believe Matthew was using the Greek Old Testament or Septuagint. His source was the Hebrew Old Testament.)
  3. For some reason, it is said, Matthew “carelessly” eliminated the second, third, and fourth names, penning instead in Matthew 1:8-9 in Greek: “(#1) Ioram, (#5) Ozias, (#6) Joatham” (in English, “Joram, Ozias, Joatham”).
  4. Matthew’s faultfinders appear to be correct—except for one problem. Had they read the context before passing judgment on God’s Holy Word, they would have learned Matthew’s goal was not to repeat the Old Testament genealogy verbatim! These three were deliberate omissions!!

THE BIBLE SPEAKS

Matthew 1:17 identifies the purpose of the genealogy given in this chapter: “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” Since it is a shorthand or abbreviated record, some gaps or omissions are expected. Whether in Greek or English, we see that the Holy Spirit isolated these ancestors of Christ into three groups of 14 generations each:

  • Abraham to David (verses 2-6) — 14 generations.
  • David to Babylon (verses 6-11) — 14 generations.
  • Babylon to Christ (verses 12-16) — 14 generations.

The three omissions occur in the middle group of 14. Had the three absent names been included, the reckoning would increase to 17, destroying the harmony or symmetry. It would not be 14…14…14 but 14…17…14. The Holy Spirit intended three groups of 14, and those three names were the ones He elected in removing from the record. Matthew is not denying these men were historical characters; they were real people, just like you and me. It is merely that their names are not useful to his purpose in laying out this balanced family tree. Contrary to what the “Christian” (?) scholars tell us, the Holy Spirit knew what He was doing here in Matthew 1:8-9!!

Despite our foregoing observations, the question still nags us. Of all the names to disregard (and He could have edited out others), why did the Holy Spirit remove those three particular names? It is likely because of idolatry that Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah do not appear in Matthew’s record (Exodus 20:5 opposes idolaters up to the “third and fourth generations”).

AHAZIAH: King Ahaziah, the first name absent from Matthew’s record, was doubly evil. See 2 Kings 8:16-27. Firstly, since his father Jehoram King of Judah had intermarried with a daughter of King Ahab of Israel (verse 18), Ahaziah was grandson of King Omri of Israel. Omri and his son Ahab were both idolaters, Baal worshippers. Secondly, Ahaziah married into Ahab’s family, the woman being his cousin (see verse 27). Through Ahaziah, Baal worship was largely introduced into the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Consequently, God slew Ahaziah in battle. Ahaziah’s idolatrous mother Athaliah subsequently killed all her grandchildren but one, ultimately usurping David’s throne for seven years (2 Kings 9:27-29; 2 Kings 11:1-21; 2 Chronicles 22:1–23:21).

JOASH: This is the second name omitted from the family tree in Matthew chapter 1. See 2 Chronicles 24:1-27 for the historical records. After Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah seized David’s throne as queen for nearly seven years, she was executed for her idolatry. Her sole surviving grandson, Ahaziah’s son Joash (then only seven years old), was anointed to sit on his father David’s throne. Reigning for four decades, King Joash oversaw renovations of the Jerusalem Temple. However, he continued in his father’s ways and waxed idolatrous once his mentor Priest Jehoiada died. Joash’s servants conspired against and assassinated him when he was less than 50 years old.

AMAZIAH: He is the third King of Judah eliminated from Matthew’s genealogical reckoning. Refer to 2 Chronicles 25:1-28 for the historical account of his administration. Son of Joash, Amaziah was originally a believer in Israel’s God. Then, like his ancestors, he too forsook JEHOVAH God and engaged in idol worship. After reigning nearly 30 years, he was assassinated.

No, Matthew 1:8-9 does not contain errors! The Holy Spirit intentionally removed three names to serve His purposes—namely, to make a middle set of 14 names, and gloss over some of most corrupt rulers of Jerusalem and Judah. It may also be related to the promise of Exodus 20:5.

Also see:
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?
» Is Matthew 2:23 a mistake?

Why do Amos 4:4 and Amos 5:5 give opposite commands?

WHY DO AMOS AMOS 4:4 AND AMOS 5:5 GIVE OPPOSITE COMMANDS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Amos chapter 4 says: “[4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: [5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.”

Now, we go to chapter 5: “[4] For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: [5] But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought. [6] Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.”

Two unexpected points are worth making. Firstly, the LORD God instructs Israel to come to Bethel and “transgress” (sin), and “multiply” that evil in Gilgal. Why is God encouraging rebellion against Him? Secondly, in the next chapter, He tells them not to be interested in Bethel, and not to go to Gilgal and Beersheba.

Never, ever forget that the God of creation, the God of Israel, values free will. No matter the dispensation, He always wants people to obey Him. However, we sinners want to do what we want to do. Through the Prophet Amos, God offers two choices. Israel can follow Him by faith, or they can ignore His words and do something else! He does not force them to behave one way or the other. It is entirely up to them.

Read Amos chapter 4 again: “[4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: [5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” The Israelites love to be religious in Bethel and Gilgal. What exactly entices them to have pilgrimages to these towns? Chapter 3 already revealed the answer: “[13] Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord GOD, the God of hosts, [14] That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.” How did these altars wind up in Bethel?

About two centuries prior to Amos, King Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned over Israel (not to be confused with Jeroboam the son of Joash, Israel’s king at the time of Amos’ ministry). We start in 1 Kings chapter 12: “[25] Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. [26] And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: [27] If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

“[28] Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. [29] And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. [30] And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. [31] And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

“[32] And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. [33] So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.” (See also chapter 13 in full. It was here predicted that a King of Judah, Josiah, would destroy Jeroboam’s idol in Bethel. This came to pass centuries later in 2 Kings chapter 23, after Amos’ ministry concluded.)

Jeroboam the son of Nebat created a counterfeit religious system in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It was designed to keep against God’s religious system down south in Jerusalem (Solomon’s Temple, the Mosaic Law, and the Levitical priesthood). Jeroboam constructed altars, he devised a religious calendar, and he founded a new priesthood. These idols were in Bethel (southernmost part of northern Israel) and Dan (northernmost part). Here is the evil religious system in existence during Amos’ day.

What about Gilgal? The Prophet Hosea was a contemporary of Amos. Listen to Hosea’s words: “Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth” (4:15). “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters” (9:15). “Is there iniquity in Gilead? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields” (12:11). False religion has crept into Gilgal as well… in addition to another Jewish town, “Bethaven” (“House of Wickedness,” God’s preferred name for “Bethel” [“House of God”]).

Back to Amos chapter 4 one last time: “[4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: [5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” This is sarcasm rooted in truth. Paraphrased, Almighty God exhorts them, “You know you want to get involved with the heathen nonsense in Bethel and Gilgal, so come on and flock to these worthless idols!” We find parallel situations in 1 Samuel 8:1-22, Matthew 23:1-39, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 14:37-38, and 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. The God of the Bible gives people over to what they want!

However, Amos chapter 5 was God’s original plan for Israel: “[4] For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: [5] But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought. [6] Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.” For those Jews who wanted to believe in the God of Abraham, He invites them to fellowship with Him. He would like them to commune with Him instead of those pagan idols. Again, though, it is a free will choice!

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:
» Why did Paul not give the Gospel of Grace in Acts 17?
» Has God’s Word failed?
» Why did God give Israel King Saul if Saul turned out to be evil?

Does “not” belong in Isaiah 9:3?

DOES “NOT” BELONG IN ISAIAH 9:3?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Isaiah 9:3 says in the King James Bible: “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” Does the word “not” belong here?

Even though Dr. C. I. Scofield faithfully circulated basic dispensational truths in his eponymous study Bible (1909 and 1917), he was not without error concerning his center-column notes and footnotes. He walked in the spiritual light he had, and we are quite grateful (!) for his labor. However, he had his blind spots and we would do well to notice and avoid them. This is a case in point. The dear Brother actually recommended “not” be omitted from Isaiah 9:3, thereby removing the authority from the Bible! (Most textual critics today still agree with him.) In this brief study, we will lay out why we hold to the unaltered King James reading of Isaiah 9:3.

  • Reading #1, with “not:” “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (This is the King James Bible wording.)
  • Reading #2, without “not:” “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and… increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (The ellipsis […] is where the “not” appears in the KJB.)

Like the majority of modern translators today, Dr. Scofield preferred Reading #2. Reading #1 (the King James Bible) is said to be incorrect. Scan the two readings again. You will see why Reading #2 makes more sense to them. Reading #1 appears to be antithetical toward itself. So we can better see this discrepancy, we paraphrase both readings:

  • Reading #1: God has multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before him…. (KJB verse speaks of no increased joy as well as joy—which is it then, joy or no joy?)
  • Reading #2: God has multiplied the nation, and increased the joy: they joy before him…. (altered KJB verse speaks of increased joy and joy—joy and joy are harmonious here)

The negation makes the King James Bible unpopular in Isaiah 9:3. Textual critics eagerly pounce on it. They will not submit to a Book, as they (sinful man) want to be the authority. Here is the problem. Usually, when people speak of a “King James error,” they look at the word or verse superficially. They do not investigate in-depth, only accuse. They have a limited understanding of a word or its definition. Therefore, if the King James Bible disagrees with their preconceived idea, the Bible (they claim) is wrong. They do not define the words according to Scripture; rather, they define the words according to their theology. When the Bible says otherwise, their theology takes precedence. They do not have enough experience in the Bible—for if they did, they would not go around correcting it. Instead of the Bible adjusting their view, they adjust the Bible to fit their view. We cannot agree to this mentality. Either the Bible is the foundation of our faith, or it is not. Either it is the final authority, or it is not. There is no middle ground!!

Reading #1 is correct, and we need not change the King James Bible by removing the word “not.” “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” There was a time when God did multiply the nation Israel. They prospered in the centuries leading up to Isaiah’s ministry. Then, God did not increase the joy. Finally, they do joy before Him. We must approach the verse dispensationally if we are to make sense of it. The whole verse is not applicable all at once. Part of the verse is true at one point on the Bible timeline and the other part of the verse is true at another point on the timeline. There is not joy throughout the verse; there is not uninterrupted joy as commonly assumed. There is sadness and then joy. In other words, the doleful Assyrian Captivity is followed by the glorious Millennium. Note that the colon ( : ) between the first “joy” and the “they” spans more than 2,000 years.

Look at the closing verse of the previous chapter (8:22). Then start at the beginning of the chapter we are investigating (9:1-2), reading all the way through to verse 7. There is judgment then restoration, captivity then kingdom. There is spiritual darkness followed by spiritual light. Messiah (Jesus) comes to bring light at His First Coming, to usher in God’s righteous earthly kingdom at His Second Coming. Compare these verses with Matthew 4:13-16. Look at Christ conquering Israel’s enemies and causing war to cease in Isaiah 9:4-5. (Connect that victory with the closing of verse 3.)

See Messiah’s birth and reign in Isaiah 9:6-7 (which itself is another timeline passage, not fulfilled all at once). Certainly, this timeline (8:22–9:7) spans from before the cross all the way to beyond the Second Coming. Isaiah 8:22 and 9:1 is Israel before Messiah’s birth; the next verses (9:2 and following) pick up from His birth onward. There is scene switching, of course, verses looping back to earlier ones. However, there is no mistake in the King James Bible. The “not” belongs in Isaiah 9:3, for that time of no increased joy (Captivity) is there to contrast with the time when God will increase their joy (yet future from us, when Christ returns to set His earthly kingdom and deliver Israel from their enemies and Captivity).

Read Isaiah 9:3 in that light now: “Thou hast multiplied the nation [pre-Captivity], and not increased the joy [Captivity]: [2,000-plus years later, Captivity lifted, Israel now in Kingdom] they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.”

By the way, nearly all modern English translations eliminate “not” from Isaiah 9:3: American Standard Version, Amplified Bible, Contemporary English Version, English Standard Version, Good News Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Living Bible, The Message, New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New English Translation, New International Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New World Translation [Jehovah’s Witness “bible”], Revised Standard Version, The Voice). Please note that the NKJV departs from the KJB here, and is not a King James Bible at all!!

We often hear, “All versions say the same thing. The modern versions are no different from the King James Bible.” To say this is to do nothing but advertise Bible ignorance. Whoever says that has not done enough research to comment. No honest person could say that “not increased the joy” is the same as “increased the joy.” There is willful ignorance if someone cannot differentiate between a simple positive statement and a simple negative statement. “Yes” and “no” are not the same—unless you really do not care about facts and just want to vilify the (Protestant) King James Bible so you can promote some modern English translation (a Roman Catholic reading!).

Also see:
» Is “excellent” a King James “mistranslation” in Philippians 1:10?
» Is the King James word “borrow” a “mistranslation” in Exodus 3:22?
» Which belongs in Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”