Why do 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:, or email me at Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at 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?


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?”

Are Matthew 3:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:13 speaking of the same Spirit baptism?


by Shawn Brasseaux

No. No. No. No! Regardless of what any “scholar” may tell you, they are not the same concept!

The Scriptures say in 1 Corinthians chapter 12: “[12] For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. [13] For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

Verse 13 reads as follows in the Greek Textus Receptus (the source of the King James New Testament): “Kai_gar [For] en* [by] eni [one] pneumati [Spirit] emeis [we] pantes [all] eis [into] en [one] soma [body] ebaptisthemen [are baptized], eite [whether] Ioudaioi [Jews] eite [or] Ellenes [Gentiles], eite [whether] douloi [bond] eite [or] eleutheroi [free] – kai [and] pantes [all] eis [into] en [one] pneuma [Spirit] epotisthemen [have been made to drink].”

Some theologians raise the issue that the Greek preposition “en” (“by”) at the beginning of the verse (noted by the asterisk* above) can also be rendered “with” or “in.” Whereas the King James says, “For by one Spirit…,” the alternate readings would thus be “For with one Spirit” and “For in one Spirit.” The “with” variant is particularly appealing to denominationalists because they cross-reference it to the “with” (see the asterisk* below) portion of John the Baptist’s warning in Matthew 3:11: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with* [en] the Holy Ghost, and with fire:….”

It is absolutely erroneous to make Jesus Christ baptizing people with the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:11) the same as the Holy Spirit baptizing people into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Since the disparate prepositions in the English Bible cannot be used to support the idea that they are the same, theologians will then “run to the Greek” to retranslate what they assume the Bible writers meant in the original language. “By” in 1 Corinthians 12:13, they say, is wrong because it must agree with the “with” of Matthew 3:11.

One theologian has gone so far as to state that the Bible never once refers to the Holy Spirit as the Person doing the baptizing. In fact, he claimed that Matthew 3:11 says Jesus always baptizes. However, if 1 Corinthians 12:13 is left alone as it appears in the King James Bible, then the theologian is wrong, and the Holy Spirit is indeed the baptizer there!! Now we see why people are always trying to make (so-called) “helpful changes” to the Authorized Version. They are adjusting the Bible to fit their theology! Their system is the authority and the Scripture is quoted only when it supports the “pet” denominational tenet. They “correct” the Bible to agree with their preferred position. Any Bible contradictions can be written off as “mistakes” or “mistranslations.” What a shame!

Here, friends, is the tomfoolery—hiding under the guise of “scholarship” and “education”—that has led to such Bible perversions and corruptions for centuries upon centuries. These are the poor attitudes of most individuals leading our seminaries and teaching in our Bible colleges. You can find their students/graduates in myriads of pulpits and literature everywhere. They are the very people who sit on translation committees to publish the latest Bible version (and then their confusion is passed on the poor, unsuspecting readers). Even if they mean well—and hopefully they do mean well—they nevertheless are not using Divine insight when handling God’s Word. Such shoddy Bible interpretation belongs with lost people but not among Christian people!

If we ignore the dispensational distinctions in Scripture, then we cannot make sense of or fully appreciate the Bible. Its truths mean little to nothing to us if we go around “correcting” it. Whatever light it can give us is now obscured because we have thrown shadows and enigmas on it. The Spirit baptism in Matthew 3:11 and the Spirit baptism in 1 Corinthians 12:13 have nothing to do with each other. To combine them is to confuse the Church the Body of Christ with the Messianic Church found in Acts chapter 2. Our baptism by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ is forced to be the same as Israel’s baptism with the Holy Spirit in early Acts. The dispensations are mixed. Prophecy and mystery have been combined. Nothing but unanswerable confusion will result when we start attacking the Bible with “re-translations!”

Brethren, we should always be suspicious of the Bible commentator who plays the role of Bible translator. The preacher or teacher is to use the Bible as is. He can and should explain the text, but he oversteps his bounds when he adds to the Bible, subtracts from the Bible, or retranslates the Bible. The English King James Bible is correctwhether he believes it or not, whether he agrees with it or not, whether we believe it or not, whether we agree with it or not. We are known as “people of the Book” but is that title appropriate if we vilify and correct the very book we proclaim to be “the infallible, inerrant Word of God?” It does not make sense. (Of course, religious tradition never does!!)

Rather than approaching the Bible dispensationally and thus appreciating its layout, people have been trained to panic and “smooth over” any disparities in the Bible text. They are under the impression that there is only one audience in the Scripture. There can be no nation Israel and the Body of Christ. There can be no prophetic program and mystery program. There can be no Peter and Paul. There is only one group of believers of all ages. There is only one program in Scripture. Paul is an extension of Peter. God never changes His dealings with man. All the promises in the Bible belong to us. Here are the fundamental blunders, the outright lies, which have led to more Bible corruption, more denominations, and more confusion. We had better approach the Bible “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15), or we will not have a prayer in the world in comprehending it.

In closing, let us repeat ourselves. The idea that Matthew 3:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:13 have the same Spirit baptism is all predicated on the erroneous notion that there is only one “church” in the Book of Acts. The Messianic Church and the Church the Body of Christ are not to be confused. Matthew 3:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:13 have absolutely nothing to do with each other. They were not the same baptism, they are still not the same baptism, and they will never be the same baptism. It does not matter what any theologian says. Whether we agree with it or not, the King James Bible is still correct (“BY one Spirit” in 1 Corinthians 12:13). It was here long before we were born and it will be here long after we are gone. What we had better do is believe it as it is, and stop “correcting” (corrupting) it using our limited understanding.

Also see:
» Did the Church the Body of Christ begin in Acts chapter 2?
» Should “church” be changed to “called-out assembly” in Acts 7:38 in the King James Bible?
» Do we live in the “Church Age?”

Who was the father of the Prophet Zechariah?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Read the following four references:

  • Ezra 5:1: “Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.”
  • Ezra 6:14: “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”
  • Zechariah 1:1: “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,….”
  • Zechariah 1:7: “Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,….”

In Ezra, he is known as “Zechariah the son of Iddo.” Zechariah twice refers to himself as “the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet.” Some consider this contradictory. Who exactly was Zechariah’s father? Iddo? Or Berechiah? Why does Berechiah not always appear in his appellation?

Until we can eliminate all possibilities of it being right, we should never claim the Bible to be wrong. If we take the position of faith, we will give Scripture the benefit of the doubt. It is correct—whether or not we agree with it, whether or not we understand it. We should take the time to study and see why it is has inconsistencies, contradictions, discrepancies, seeming “errors.” It is much more rewarding to research than to point a critical finger at it! (Unless we really do not have any interest in the truth, and we just want to ridicule the Bible whenever possible!)

We can account for the two variations of Zechariah’s title as follows:

  1. It seems that Iddo was more famous than Berechiah. While “prophet” is attached to Iddo, it is not applied to Berechiah.
  2. Berechiah may have died at an early age, having never attained the office of priest or prophet. His name would have been unknown, pointless to mention. In this case, Berechiah would have been Zechariah’s father, and Iddo would have been Zechariah’s grandfather.
  3. Zechariah alone mentions “Berechiah.” The name is not found outside the Book of Zechariah. Perhaps Zechariah preferred this styling of his name. Similarly, Matthew is called “Levi” and “Levi the son of Alphaeus” outside of his writings (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27) but he himself prefers to be called “Matthew” (Matthew 9:9).
  4. Berechiah may not have been an actual person. The Hebrew means “knee/blessing of Jehovah.” This would make Berechiah an honorific title of Zechariah. (Here, Iddo would be Zechariah’s father.) For example, we see how the Lord Jesus titled Apostles James and John as follows: “And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:…” (Mark 3:17). Surely no man was named “Thunder.” The father of James and John was Zebedee, but Jesus emphasized their ministry by titling them “sons of thunder.” They were pictures of God’s voice thundering the Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel.

Here are four possibilities (and there are others not listed) that lead us to conclude the Bible text is correct as concerning Zechariah’s lineage and/or background. The burden of proof lies with the critics, not the Bible believers. We offer our answers to them, now they need to show us where their position is more plausible than ours.

Also see:
» How could the conception of Christ be a sign to King Ahaz if Ahaz died centuries earlier?
» “I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?”
» “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not murder?”

Why do Daniel 1:1 and Jeremiah 25:1 conflict?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Why do these verses disagree?

  • Jeremiah 25:1: “The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;….”
  • Daniel 1:1: “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.”

Jeremiah claims the “fourth year” whereas Daniel speaks of the “third year.” Is this a mistake? We can account for this discrepancy as follows: Daniel speaks of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar leaving Babylon to attack Jerusalem while Jeremiah marks the time Nebuchadnezzar actually invaded Jerusalem. That is, Nebuchadnezzar departed Babylon in Jehoiakim’s third year (Daniel’s perspective), and he fought against Jehoiakim in Jerusalem in Jehoiakim’s fourth year (Jeremiah perspective). What had Nebuchadnezzar been doing in the interim?

We turn to Jeremiah chapter 46 for the explanation: “[1] The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles; [2] Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.” Nebuchadnezzar (same as Nebuchadrezzar) attacked and defeated Pharaohnecho King of Egypt before moving on to conquer Jerusalem and vanquish Jehoiakim King of Judah.

The narrative now put forth in one succinct sentence: Nebuchadnezzar left Babylon in Jehoiakim’s third year, Nebuchadnezzar battled Pharaohnecho/Egypt at the beginning of Jehoiakim’s fourth year, and, later that year, Nebuchadnezzar fought with Jehoiakim. There is no contradiction or difficulty unless we are looking for mistakes.

By the way, it is highly significant that (Gentile) Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem because of JEHOVAH God’s guidance and empowerment. Jerusalem had been an idolatrous city for centuries. Most of her kings had been wicked, and Jehoiakim was no exception. (Please see 2 Chronicles 36:1-21 and Jeremiah 25:1-7.) God Himself therefore brought Nebuchadnezzar into Jerusalem to punish and deport evil Jerusalem and Judah, carrying them off to Babylonian exile (exactly as Moses warned in Leviticus 26:27-39 several hundred years earlier).

Daniel chapter 1 bears this out: “[1] In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. [2] And the LORD gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his [that is, Nebuchadnezzar’s] hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.”

Also, the LORD said in Jeremiah 22:25 years later: “And I will give thee [King Coniah/Jehoiachin the son of Jehoiakim] into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.”

Jeremiah 25:9 (the LORD speaking again): “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.” (Your attention is drawn to see that Nebuchadnezzar is called God’s “servant.” He is exacting God’s will in punishing heathen Judah.)

Now, Jeremiah chapter 27: “[1] In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, [2] Thus saith the LORD to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, [3] And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah; [4] And command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters; [5] I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. [6] And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.” (Nebuchadnezzar is again called God’s “servant.”)

Lastly, Jeremiah 32:28: “Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city [Jerusalem] into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:….”

Also see:
» Why does “overturn” appear thrice in Ezekiel 21:27?
» Was King Nebuchadnezzar a saved man?
» Is “divine right of kings” a Scriptural concept?

Is there a geographical error in 2 Kings 2:2?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Second Kings chapter 2 opens with: “[1] And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. [2] And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.”

Gilgal is situated in the (low-lying) Jordan River Valley, just north of the Dead Sea. Prophets Elijah and Elisha leave Gilgal and “went down to Bethel” (verse 2). However, as any Bible atlas shows, Bethel is in mountainous terrain—some 3,000 feet higher than Gilgal! Is there is a problem with the Bible text here? No.

There is a second Gilgal, also known as Jiljilia (or modern Jiljulieh). It is roughly halfway (4 miles or 6 kilometers, either way) between Bethel and Shiloh. (It is northwest of the Gilgal located in the Jordan floodplain.) Jiljilia is likely the Gilgal of 2 Kings 2:2 and 4:38. It was at a higher elevation than Bethel, so the Scriptures are correct in saying “went down to Bethel” from Gilgal. The Gilgal of the Jordan River is something else entirely, as leaving there would have required going up to Bethel.

Friends, it is always important that we keep the following in mind when critiquing the Bible’s geographic data. Locations today cannot always be identified with absolute precision—especially ancient places and names. Physical landscapes changing because of natural forces, names being revised due to cultural influences, and so on, are factors in complicating the pinpointing of exact locations. Even in Bible days, multiple locations shared one name (as in Gilgal), and one location had several names (specific, regional, colloquial, former, latter, et cetera). If we are going to be honest with the Bible, we should give it the benefit of the doubt. Rather than immediately dismissing a verse as wrong, we should research it. Without fail, we will see we are wrong because we had limited knowledge of the situation. The problem does not lie in the Scripture; the problem lies in us!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here:, or email me at Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! 🙂

Also see:
» Is the King James word “borrow” a mistranslation in Exodus 3:22?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?
» Does the Bible contain a contradiction about Solomon’s molten sea?

Did Jacob wrestle with a man—or an angel?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Once, a teacher confidently asserted, “The Bible says that Jacob wrestled with a ‘man.’ It was not an ‘angel’ as some people assume and claim.” Is this so? Was it a man? Or an angel? Why are these two different positions taken? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

In Genesis chapter 32, we read: “[24] And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. [25] And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. [26] And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. [27] And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. [28] And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. [29] And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. [30] And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. [31] And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. [32] Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.”

After this brawl, the Bible says in verse 28 that Jacob is renamed “Israel,” Hebrew for “the prince that prevails with God.” Verse 24 indeed says Jacob wrestled with “a man.” The word “angel” indeed does not appear in the Scriptures here. However, look closely at verse 30—do not read it quickly. Jacob claims, “I have seen God face to face.” It was no ordinary man that Jacob fought. No mortal man would be called “God.” What is going on here?

The Bible abounds with a literary feature known as “subsequent narrative.” Scripture may withhold information about a particular idea for centuries. Moses, when writing Genesis, reported that Jacob wrestled with a “man.” However, when we go to the Book of Hosea, something the Holy Spirit wrote about 700 years after Genesis was written, we learn more about Jacob’s encounter here.

Hosea chapter 12: “[2] The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. [3] He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: [4] Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;….”

Verse 2 occurred in Genesis 25:20-26, some nine centuries prior to Hosea. Isaac’s wife Rebecca gave birth to twins—Esau followed by Jacob. Jacob grabbed Esau’s heel as Esau was being delivered. Jacob, not Esau, would give rise to the nation Israel started with Abraham and Isaac. The Jews to whom Hosea is preaching and writing are the very descendants of Jacob. Hosea 12:4 says Jacob “had power over the angel, and prevailed.” Genesis 32:28 again, “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Jacob’s encounter with the angel here is their national history—when they gained the name of “Israel.” (This is why the Jews are also called “the children of Israel,” with “Israel” being the new name God gave Jacob.) But, why did Genesis say the “angel” was a “man?”

Through various other passages of Scripture, we understand that when God’s angels appeared to people, they assume the form of men (never women!). Remember the two men in Jesus’ tomb on resurrection morning? Luke 24:4 says, “And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:….” Two men appeared at His ascension in Acts 1:10: “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;….” These were angels. Gabriel the Angel appeared as a man to the prophet Daniel. Daniel 9:21 documents: “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.”

Angels are repeatedly referred to as “he” in the Bible. Zechariah 5:5-11, for example: “[5] Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. [6] And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.… [8] And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. … [10] Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? [11] And he said unto me,….” Also, Revelation 19:10 speaks of an angel that the Apostle John desired to worship: “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

We say all that to show that the argument that Jacob fought with a man rather than an angel is trivial and actually specious. The Bible says an angel fought with Jacob and a man fought with Jacob. Using common sense, we conclude that an angel took on the form of a man there. The angel was God’s representative, and this being may have been the angel of the LORD. That “angel of the LORD” sometimes seems to be God Himself (Jesus Christ pre-incarnate), which explains why Jacob said he “saw God face to face” (and thus named the place “Peniel”—Genesis 32:30). Jacob encountered a man (in appearance) but it was not a normal man. It was an angel, a supernatural being of some kind. There is no need to get confused. We simply read the Bible, believe what we read in the Bible, and not worry about the opinions and baseless claims of preachers and teachers.

Also see:
» Did Pharaoh die in the Red Sea?
» Are angels women?
» Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated?