Why are the genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3 different?


by Shawn Brasseaux

There is one genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew, and there is another family tree of Him in Luke. Why are they not 100 percent identical? Let us find out! “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Specifically, Matthew 1:16 says, “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Luke 3:23 relates, “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.” These verses teach Joseph had two fathers—Jacob (Matthew 1:16) and Heli (Luke 3:23). How is this possible? Could this be a mistake in the Bible? Of course not. Do we not have two parents, each with their own unique genealogy? Remember, likewise, Jesus had both a biological human mother (Mary) and a legal human stepfather (Joseph). Naturally, one genealogy is Joseph’s while the other family tree is Mary’s. The question is, which genealogy applies to whom? And again, why is Joseph listed in Scripture as having two fathers?

According to the Old Testament, one particular Israeli king was never allowed to have children sit on David’s throne. This man was so evil that God said he would write him “childless” as touching the throne of Judah. We read about that wicked monarch in Jeremiah chapter 22: “[27] But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. [28] Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? [29] O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD. [30] Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. Judaean King Jeconiah can never have any children sitting on David’s throne (he had children [1 Chronicles 3:17ff.], but they never served as kings of Judah). Yet, we find Jeconiah’s name listed in Matthew 1:11-12—the genealogy of Jesus Christ!

Let us review what we know thus far. There is a king in Jewish history (Jeconiah) who cannot have any children as heirs to David’s throne. Jesus Christ has this king in His genealogy. Therefore, Jesus Christ is disqualified from being king over Israel. This is a major problem because innumerable Bible verses describe how Israel will have Jesus Christ as her King forever. Several passages promise the LORD God will use a son of David to rule over Israel throughout the endless ages to come. Yet, Jeconiah’s “curse” disrupts that Davidic Covenant.

Second Samuel chapter 7 relates the Davidic Covenant: “[12] And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. [13] He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. And, Psalm 89: “[3] I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, [4] Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.” Finally, Psalm 132: “[10] For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed. [11] The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.”

When Peter the Apostle delivered his famous sermon in Acts chapter 2, on the Day of Pentecost, he preached how Jesus was resurrected to sit on David’s throne: “[29] Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. [30] Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; [31] He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. [32] This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”

How can the Lord Jesus Christ inherit David’s throne when Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew chapter 1 lists a king (Jeconiah) whose descendants can never inherit David’s throne? The good news is Luke chapter 3 does not contain Jeconiah’s name. Whereas Matthew has the royal line passing through David, Solomon, and Jeconiah to Jesus Christ (1:6,7,11-12,16), Luke has the royal line going through David and Nathan to Jesus Christ (3:23,31). David’s bloodline through his son Solomon was canceled because their descendant Jeconiah was too evil for God to reckon his children as being worthy of David’s throne. However, there is a viable bloodline of David in Luke chapter 3—David’s bloodline through another son, Nathan. Jesus Christ’s literal bloodline is Luke chapter 3, and this is the only way He can qualify to become King of Israel. Otherwise, the Davidic Covenant cannot be fulfilled. The genealogy in Matthew is corrupted: Jesus cannot have this blood flowing through His veins. All of this leads us to conclude Matthew chapter 1 is Joseph’s genealogy. Joseph’s genealogy does not affect Jesus because Jesus is not Joseph’s biological descendant. (In God’s wisdom, the virgin birth, or more precisely, the virgin conception of Christ, has been protected!)

Joseph’s actual father was Jacob (Matthew 1:16) whereas Mary’s father was really Heli (Luke 3:23). Mary’s father evidently had no sons, so his inheritance went to her (see the case of the daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 26:33, Numbers 27:1-11, and Numbers 36:1-11). The bride’s father adopted the son-in-law; that is, Mary’s father, Heli, adopted his son-in-law, Joseph, as though Joseph were his own son (Luke 3:23). (See an interesting parallel in 1 Samuel 24:16 and 1 Samuel 26:17,21,25. Here, King Saul calls his son-in-law David “son.” It would therefore appropriate for Heli to see his own son-in-law Joseph as “son.”) Joseph was Jesus’ legal father: thus, through Joseph, Jesus inherits the legal (Solomonic) right to David’s throne. Through Mary, Jesus inherits the biological/blood (Nathanic) right to David’s throne. This makes the virgin conception/birth of Christ absolutely critical to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.


Matthew’s Gospel Record presents Jesus as the King; Luke’s Gospel Record presents Jesus as the Man. Matthew emphasizes, “Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (1:1). That is, Jesus is the fulfillment of both the Davidic Covenant (throne) and the Abrahamic Covenant (nation and land—Genesis 12:1-3). Matthew emphasizes “David the king (Matthew 1:6; cf. Matthew 1:20; Matthew 9:27; Matthew 12:23; Matthew 15:22; Matthew 20:30-31; Matthew 21:9,15; Matthew 22:42)—Jesus’ royalty. Matthew chapter 1 goes back only to Abraham (verses 1-2). In contrast, Luke emphasizes Jesus’ humanity—Luke chapter 3 goes all the way back to Adam, the first man (verse 38). Fascinating!

Also see:
» Did Nebuchadnezzar appoint his own uncle or brother as King of Judah?
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Is “Cainan” in Luke 3:36 a “scribal error?”
» How could the conception of Christ be a sign to King Ahaz if Ahaz died centuries earlier?
» What is the real “Immaculate Conception?”
» Was Jesus born on the 25th of December?

Did Nebuchadnezzar appoint his own uncle or brother as King of Judah?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Neither. That is a misunderstanding of the Bible text. Let us look at verses for clarification:

  • 2 Kings 24:17: “And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.”
  • 2 Chronicles 36:10: ”And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.”

Upon initial glance, it seems like King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon made his own uncle (2 Kings 24:17) or his own brother (2 Chronicles 36:10) to become King of Judah and Jerusalem. However, the possessive pronoun “his” in these verses points back to the prior King of Judah, not Nebuchadnezzar. We must do some intense studying to sort this out. Remember, it will get tricky because of alternate names, so we should pay extra close attention here.

According to Scripture, Mattaniah/Zedekiah was “the son of Josiah:”

  • 1 Chronicles 3:15: “And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum.”
  • Jeremiah 1:3: “It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.”
  • Jeremiah 37:1: “And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah.”

Being a descendant of David, Josiah was King of Judah and Jerusalem (2 Kings 22:1; 2 Chronicles 34:1). Josiah (see 1 Chronicles 3:15 above) had three sons with which we now concern ourselves.

Firstborn Johanan—apparently another name for “Jehoahaz?”—served as King of Judah once Josiah his father died in battle (2 Kings 23:30-34; 2 Chronicles 36:1-3).

Josiah’s second son, Jehoiakim (also called “Eliakim”), served as King of Judah after Jehoahaz was deposed (2 Kings 23:34-37; 2 Chronicles 36:4-8).

Jehoiakim had a son, Jehoiachin (also called “Jeconiah”), who was the next King of Judah. Jehoiachin was another evil monarch, so Nebuchadnezzar removed him from office and installed Zedekiah. Zedekiah (also called “Mattaniah”) was a relative of Jeconiah, not a relative of Nebuchadnezzar. By the way, the LORD declared Jeconiah/Jehoiachin childless with respect to an heir of his throne. While Jeconiah/Jehoiachin had children (1 Chronicles 3:17ff.), God prohibited all from ever being a king of Judah (Jeremiah 22:24-30). This necessitated the installation of Zedekiah instead of a son of Jeconiah/Jehoiachin. By the way, for more information on how Jeconiah’s curse requires the virgin conception of Christ, see our related study at the end of this article, titled, “Why are the genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3 different?”

We return to our opening verses now, adding the insight we have just outlined.

  • 2 Kings 24:17: “And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his [that is, Jeconiah’s; verse 15] father’s brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.”
  • 2 Chronicles 36:10: “And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his [that is, Jeconiah’s; verse 9] brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.”

None of Nebuchadnezzar’s relatives are under consideration here. At this point, there is another difficulty we must resolve, but this should be rather easy compared to the complexities we have seen already.

Was Zedekiah/Mattaniah the brother of Jehoiachin/Jeconiah (2 Chronicles 36:10) or his uncle (2 Kings 24:17)? He was both. How could that be? It is quite simple! They shared a forefather (Josiah), making them brothers in a broad sense. More specifically, Zedekiah/Mattaniah was the brother of Jehoiakim/Eliakim (father of Jehoiachin/Jeconiah). Therefore, Zedekiah/Mattaniah was the uncle of Jehoiachin/Jeconiah. For more information about Josiah being the patriarch of the final four Kings of Judah, see our Matthew 1:11 article linked at the end of this study. Also, consult our diagram below for a summary.

Also see:
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Why are the genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3 different?
» Do 1 Kings 9:28 and 2 Chronicles 8:18 contradict?

Was Jesus 50 years old during His earthly ministry?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Absolutely not! This idea stems from a misreading or misunderstanding of John 8:57: “Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” When unbelieving Israel posed this question, it was an expression of sarcasm and skepticism. Luke 3:23 informs us the Lord Jesus was approximately 30 years of age at the beginning of His earthly ministry. For Him to actually be close to 50 years old in John chapter 8 would mean His ministry lasted two decades—and no one believes that! Based on the calendars provided in the Books of Luke and John, we can estimate Christ’s earthly ministry spanned no more than three years. (For more information, see our related study linked at the end of this article.)

Jesus’ critics are using 50 as a standard to gauge His aptitude or reliability—not speculating about His exact age. For instance, if you were to say to a toddler, “You are not yet an adult,” you are underscoring a baseline. Until he or she has reached adulthood, the child is not an adult. In no way were you implying he or she is technically an adult or anywhere near adulthood. The number 50 in Scripture connotes maturity. For example, according to the Law of Moses, the Levitical priests could serve up to age 50. By that time, they were retired from their duties, but, having had many years of experience, they could train the younger men still active in the priesthood. They could also help in other functions concerning Tabernacle/Temple worship.

Numbers chapter 4: “[3] From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation…. [23] From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation…. [30] From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation…. [35] From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation:…. [39] From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,…. [43] From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,…. [47] From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation.”

See also Numbers 8:24-26: “[24] This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: [25] And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more: [26] But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.”

Let us go back to chapter 8 of John, Jesus addressing Israel’s apostate religious leaders who have taken offence that He is greater than their patriarch Abraham. Verse 58 relates: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” When did Abraham “rejoice to see [Christ’s] day?” Hebrews 11:17-19 gives us a possible answer: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

Indeed, Abraham did not fully understand why the LORD God instructed him to offer his son Isaac on the mountain in Genesis chapter 22, but we, with a completed Bible, recognize Abraham indirectly viewed what Father God would do when He would offer His Son on Calvary’s cross some 2,000 years later. Abraham, while not having a full revelation of God like we do in the completed Bible, saw the LORD providing a substitute for Isaac. That substitute would eventually be Jesus Christ.

Now comes John 8:57, the verse in question: “Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” They argue Christ is not even 50 years old, so how could He have had direct communion with Abraham? Abraham had lived and died some 2,000 years earlier, yet Jesus knew of Him and He had seen Jesus’ day?! Can you sense their sarcasm, their bewilderment, in asking, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” Remember, in Scripture, the number 50 connotes maturity. Since Jesus was only about 33 years old here, Israel’s religious leaders do not consider Him old enough to comment so boldly on major issues such as Abraham. Again, they are worldly-minded, seeing Jesus as just an ordinary man instead of viewing Him as the God-Man, from eternity past (“from everlasting;” Micah 5:2 King James Bible).

In response to their inquiry of verse 57, verse 58 tells us: “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” There is no question about it. “Verily, verily”—as in “surely, surely” or “absolutely, absolutely”—the Lord Jesus knew Abraham. After all, Jesus was a unique human: He was the God-Man, the Creator of Genesis 1:1 (cf. John 1:1-4), the God of Abraham. He had existed as a Spirit before He took upon Himself the form of a man. As a Spirit, prior to His incarnation, He had fellowship with Abraham. He had talked with Abraham, eaten with Abraham, walked with Abraham, and so on (Genesis chapter 18, for example). Jesus added a striking expression to bolster His claim: “Before Abraham was, I am.” This is, no doubt, a strong claim to Deity.

The special or bizarre form of “to be”—“I am” (present tense) rather than “I was” (past tense)—allows us to link Jesus to Exodus 3:14: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” In keeping with John’s theme, Jesus Christ declared Himself to be the JEHOVAH God of the Old Testament: “I am the ‘I AM’ that was before Abraham.” We know this is exactly what the Lord Jesus intended, what He meant, as His audience responds most negatively in the next verse, assuming He had committed blasphemy and was worthy of stoning to death: “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:59).


Every first-year Greek student knows the phrase “ego eimi” means “I am”—not “I have been” as deceitfully rendered in the “Jehovah’s Witness” (Russellite) “bible,” the New World Translation. To translate “ego eimi” as “I have been” is not only to demonstrate poor translation skills but also erroneous theology. The Russellites do not believe Jesus is JEHOVAH, which is why their perverted text reflects that idea. Here is just one of many examples of sectarian bias that can ruin any translation process; to wit, people are using preconceived ideas (denominational doctrine) to re-word the portions of Scripture that would otherwise contradict their theological system. If we can find one corrupt “Holy Bible,” there is bound to be another somewhere (and there are many)! We have all the more reason to keep and believe our King James Bible as our final authority.

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:
» How long was Christ’s earthly ministry?
» Why did Jesus curse the “poor” fig tree?
» Why did multitudes follow Christ during His earthly ministry?

Did God give the stars for nations to worship?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 19: “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.” Did God actually give the stars as objects of worship to the nations? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Originally, all nations had opportunity to know the one true God. Yet, they deliberately rebelled in unbelief at the Tower of Babel, choosing instead to worship and serve myriads of pagan idols. Historically, this is documented in Genesis chapter 11, but it is not explained until Romans chapter 1. It was here that God set aside the nation Israel in chapter 12 of Genesis, beginning with Abram or Abraham.

Romans chapter 1: “[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] 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: [21] 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.

“[22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] 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. [24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: [25] 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.”

You can also read the rest of Romans chapter 1 (it closes at verse 32). Notice two more excerpts: “[26] For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections:… [28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;….” If ever you have wondered how the world, human society as a whole, ever wound up in the mess in which it currently is, simply look at the first chapter of Romans and all will be clear. We dare not speculate how the world religions originated: we just look at these passages and understand it. Astrology (worship of heavenly bodies), pantheism (“nature is God, God is nature”), and the like all began here. If that was what they wanted, that is precisely what they received—and the LORD gave them over to worship anything and everything they desired (including the celestial bodies such as the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets).

Referring to the aforementioned evil world system and its adherents, the Apostles Paul and Barnabas preached to heathen idolaters in Acts chapter 14: “[14] Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, [15] And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

Acts chapter 17 is even more explicit: “[22] Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. [23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. [24] God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; [25] Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; [26] And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; [27] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. [29] Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. [30] And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: [31] Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

Did you see how God, in time past, “suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16)? Did you notice their spiritual blindness in Acts 17:27 and ignorance in Acts 17:30? Remember chapter 1 of Romans! These are the results of the one true God giving the nations over to Satan back at the Tower of Babel. Before they came to faith in Christ, this was the condition of the Ephesians: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:1-3). Verse 12 says of the Gentiles in time past, “ye were… without God in the world.” Galatians 4:8 comments, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.”

Worshipping stars and planets was common amongst Israel’s Gentile neighbors, so Moses in Deuteronomy commanded his Jewish brethren to be careful not to join them in that satanic activity. Fallen angels, evil spirits, still occupy these regions in outer space, rendering the stars or heavens unclean in God’s sight (Job 15:15; Job 25:5; Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-12). Unfortunately, the Jewish people ignored the Law of Moses—and worshipped and served idols like all the Gentiles around them. In fact, the kings of Judah (sons of David) encouraged such worship of celestial bodies: “And he [King Josiah] put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven (2 Kings 23:5). This evil happened right in the LORD God’s capital city of Jerusalem, though believing Josiah was able to reform the nation spiritually!

The concluding observation and application we can make here is simple: May we choose the truth, and not the error. JEHOVAH God values free will, so if we are content in learning and believing lies, Satan’s policy of evil will surely gratify us and we will be given over to it. If we want to know and do the truth, however, the plain record of Scripture is there (here), and let us be grateful that we have it!

Also see:
» Why does Ephesians conclude with such a “dark” passage?
» How could Satan access Heaven in Job and the Revelation?
» How does Satan operate today?
» How many angels fell with Lucifer when he transformed into Satan?
» Where in the Bible did God give Satan domain over the Earth?
» Why does God let Satan exist?
» Is there any chance more angels will leave God and follow Satan?

How can there be “eleven” Apostles if both Judas Iscariot and Thomas are absent?


by Shawn Brasseaux

We begin with Luke 24:33: “And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,….” Cleopas and his traveling companion leave Emmaus and arrive in Jerusalem, approximately seven miles (11 kilometers) away, relaying news to the “eleven” about how they had just seen and talked with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ (see verses 13-32; cf. Mark. 16:12-13). Of course, it is common knowledge the Lord had 12 Apostles (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark. 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16), so where is this twelfth man in Luke 24:33?

All we have to do is let the Holy Spirit teach us concerning this unexpected numbering. We simply study and compare verses. Firstly, we must bear in mind the fact Judas Iscariot committed suicide roughly halfway through Jesus’ trials, hours before the crucifixion (see Matthew 27:1-10; cf. Acts 1:15-20). Therefore, as common sense dictates, only 11 Apostles would remain after Calvary. However, when we compare Luke 24:33 with John 20:24, a complication arises.

Let us look at John chapter 20: “[19] Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you…. [24] But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.” John 20:19-25 is the parallel passage of Luke 24:33-43. After His resurrection, Christ appeared in a physical body to His 11 Apostles. Yet, Thomas was not among them (Scripture does not provide the nature of his absence).

Consequently, we are left with the following dilemma. Both Thomas and Judas Iscariot are not present, leaving just 10 Apostles. However, remember, Luke 24:33 states there are 11. Furthermore, we have the companion verse of Mark 16:14 to corroborate Luke’s account of “eleven” instead of “ten:” “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” How do we reconcile this idea of two out of 12 Apostles missing yet still totaling 11 Apostles? How can there not be just 10 remaining? As always, we should handle this difficulty as mature saints.

Appealing to Acts 1:15-26, we know Matthias was subsequently chosen as Judas Iscariot’s successor, resulting in 12 Apostles once again. Although not formally selected until Acts, Matthias was present with the rest of Jesus’ Apostles throughout His earthly ministry, from John’s water baptism all the way to Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven (see Acts 1:21-23). Therefore, even though Thomas is absent from Luke 24:33 and John 20:19-25, and even though Judas Iscariot is deceased, Matthias is definitely with the other Apostles to witness the resurrected Jesus Christ during these 40 days leading up to His Ascension (Acts 1:1-3). In God’s foreknowledge of what would happen in Acts chapter 1, the Holy Spirit leading Mark and Luke to write their respective Gospel Records, Matthias would replace Judas Iscariot in the reckoning. They would still end up being 11 Apostles (Thomas absent) to see the resurrected Lord Jesus.


“And [the women] returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest” (Luke 24:9). “Then the eleven disciples went away in to Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them” (Matthew 28:16). The “eleven” here probably alludes to the absence of deceased Judas Iscariot. Apparently, Matthias, for whatever reason, is not in this tallying. Unlike the aforementioned reference in Luke 24:33 (cf. Mark 16:14; John 20:24), however, we have no cross-reference with a name to explicitly exclude or include anyone. The easiest solution is just to make Judas Iscariot the missing man in Luke 24:9 and Matthew 28:16, for we know with certainty he would not be present. It is possible Thomas may be the missing person in Luke 24:9 (just like in Luke 24:33), but this would be speculation on our part—and we would do well not to travel this route. The more perfect Bible study is to go by what we do read in verses and not by what we do not read.


As for the so-called “miscalculation” in Mark 16:14, this is one line of evidence “scholarly-minded” people use to argue the last 12 verses of Mark are not inspired of God but were added long after Mark closed his Gospel Record. (See our eye-opening Mark 16:9-20 study linked at the end of this article.) If the term “eleven” in Mark 16:14 makes the verse subject to question, we must also therefore look at Luke 24:9 and Matthew 28:16 with suspicion. The “scholars” never do this though, for the contention surrounding Luke 24:9 and Matthew 28:16 does not exalt their Critical Text, their corrupt New Testament founded on Roman Catholic manuscripts, Codices Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph). B and Aleph, often mislabeled as “the two oldest and best [most reliable] witnesses,” contain Matthew 28:16 and Luke 24:9 but lack Mark 16:14 (yea, omit all of Mark 16:9-20!). Such “scholars” doggedly cling to the Critical Text, and they bolster their position by targeting Mark 16:9-20 (the 12 verses found in the King James text and its underlying manuscripts, the Textus Receptus, God’s preserved Word).

If we wish to take the “scholarly” approach, we will wind up in more and more unbelief, ultimately doubting all verses in the process. “This word cannot be trusted. That verse does not belong. This whole Book is riddled with errors!” Here is exactly where natural-man thinking takes us—where it has taken billions of church leaders and church members through the centuries already. It is this warped mentality that led to the translation, revision, and publication of over 100 (!) modern English versions of the Bible; of course, despite their copyrights to suggest they all legally must change or delete words to be considered different works, many “scholars” (trained to think as such) tell us they all “say the same thing.” This is utter foolishness, and only a gullible “Christian” public would believe it. Be advised: we deserve whatever darkness and ignorance we experience if they are our preference. Be careful, friend, be ever so cautious here! It is far better to give the King James Bible the benefit of the doubt than to give the scholar the benefit of the doubt. Instead, we have been brainwashed to believe “educated” people when they claim the Bible has mistakes. If we adopt their natural-man thinking, we have abandoned the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit, and we are building our Christian lives on a foundation of shifting sands. It is a sad commentary that, through the centuries, “Christian” “scholarship” has advocated both for and against Bible passages, in perfect accordance with the pagan philosophical concept of “nothing can be known for certain.”

Let us take the position of faith, not doubt. May we not change the King James Bible; may we believe it. As a dear brother in Christ said long ago, “The Bible does not need to be re-written; it needs to be re-read!”

Also see:
» Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?
» Who was Judas’ replacement—Matthias or Paul?
» Where did Matthias go after replacing Judas Iscariot?
» Were the 11 Apostles wrong in choosing Matthias instead of Paul?
» Why are there 12 Apostles?

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?”


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?


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.


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”]).


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?


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.


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!


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.)


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?


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?


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?”