Category Archives: BIBLE CONTRADICTIONS / CONFUSING VERSES SIMPLIFIED

With God “all things” are possible?

WITH GOD “ALL THINGS” ARE POSSIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In six Bible verses—involving four accounts—we read “with God all things are possible” or “with God nothing shall be impossible.” How should we approach these most terribly abused passages? Are there limits as to what God will and will not do? Or, can we “name and claim” whatever we want and, based on these Scriptures, expect God to surely bring it to pass without exception? Let us “search and see!”

MATTHEW 19:26 / MARK 10:27 / LUKE 18:27

“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

Read Matthew chapter 19: “[23] Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. [24] And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. [25] When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? [23] And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! [24] And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! [25] It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. [26] And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? [27] And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Now, the parallel, Mark chapter 10: “[23] And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! [24] And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! [25] It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. [26] And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? [27] And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

The context has nothing to do with walking on water, performing a miracle of physical healing, receiving a “supernatural financial blessing,” and so on. As we can see, the situation is whether or not a man can save himself. The answer, of course, is a resounding NO! When the sinner is “performing” in religion—which performance can never be perfect—it is apparent works can play no role whatsoever in gaining eternal life. However, when God’s grace is involved, the sinner can have eternal life because God works on the sinner’s behalf. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10). “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).

MARK 9:23

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).

Read Mark chapter 9: “[17] And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; [18] And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. [19] He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. [20] And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

“[21] And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. [22] And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. [23] Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. [24] And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Satan has afflicted this child for his whole life, so recovery looks utterly hopeless. For many years, he has suffered unspeakable physical and mental torture. His father, just like the Apostles, is not walking by faith. According to Jesus, “all things are possible to him that believeth” (verse 23). It is God’s will that Israel be delivered from Satanic bondage and influence—the tormented man symbolizes Israel’s spiritual captivity to the evil world system. The man’s father doubted Jesus could help (“if thou canst do any thing”—verse 22), but the Lord could and does! Although Israel could not deliver herself, all things that accompanied Israel’s liberation were possible with God. Satan had a firm grip on the nation, but God cures the man and proves He was infinitesimally more powerful!

MARK 14:36

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36).

Read Mark chapter 14: “[32] And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. [33] And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; [34] And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. [35] And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. [36] And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

On the night of Christ’s arrest, He is praying in the Garden, speaking to His Heavenly Father concerning His impending crucifixion. Jesus speaks of the “cup” of Father God’s wrath. This cup is that from which the damned souls of the ages drink, suffering under the endless righteous wrath of a holy God! “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

When Christ expressed, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt,” He was asking if there was some way to pay for sins other than Him personally going to Calvary’s cross. Of course, the answer was a resounding NO! Doubtless, Father God searched out every imaginable plan, every conceivable idea, but there was only one plausible strategy. It would have to be Heaven’s best to die for Earth’s worst, or man’s sin debt would never be settled. Eventually, through prayer, the Lord Jesus Himself (both God and Man) realizes it and accepts it. He set aside His own will, choosing instead as a perfect Man to submit to His Father’s will. “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt(Matthew 26:39).

LUKE 1:35-37

“For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

Read Luke chapter 1: “[35] And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [36] And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. [37] For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

Through God’s working, two children would be conceived. One was John the Baptist, born to a mother, Elisabeth, who was beyond childbearing years. Elisabeth’s cousin was Mary, and Mary had never been sexually connected to a man before. However, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to inform her the Holy Ghost would work in her—without the intervention of a man—to produce the human body of the Son of God. This was the virgin conception of Jesus Christ. Almighty God would work in bringing about the humanity of the Lord Jesus, and He would also cause His forerunner or heralder (John the Baptist) to be born as well. Both births were impossible with men, but not impossible with God.

CONCLUSION

While God intervened in Bible days to produce mighty results that physical eyes could see, we should be careful to understand He is doing something different today. The Bible says, “The Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22). While God was dealing with Israel, He used miraculous demonstrations to teach them various doctrines. The physically ill were instantly cured. Children were conceived under miraculous circumstances.

However, we can read Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, and see how God is doing something different today. A drastic dispensational change occurred in the middle of Acts. Even the miracles that accompanied Paul’s “Acts” ministry gradually disappear as we move into his latter writings. The Lord’s “provoking” ministry to Israel—in Acts—was over. (See our related study linked at the end of this article.) Try as hard as we might, we cannot force God to do something He is no longer doing. (See our related study about “limiting God” linked at the end of this article.) God’s Word to and about us is Romans through Philemon, so we should walk by faith in this Divine revelation and not attempt to make God repeat something He did elsewhere in Scripture. That which is possible with God is only that which He Himself has already chosen to do by writing in His Book “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15)!

Although we in the Dispensation of Grace have not been promised financial blessings, physical healing (only at the resurrection—Rapture), or any other miraculous demonstration, the God of the Bible is still saving souls from sin and Hell as He was 20 centuries ago. Just as we read it was impossible for man to save himself in Christ’s earthly ministry, so it is impossible now. We must come to God by faith in Calvary’s finished crosswork alone: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Nothing we can do will please Father God enough to let us it into His Heaven. He is well pleased with His Son, Jesus Christ, so we must rely on His Son’s work if we are to please Him. Otherwise, our entrance into Heaven will be impossible!

Also see:
» Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17:14-21?
» Can you explain Paul’s “Acts” ministry?
» Are we dispensationalists guilty of “limiting God?”
» Does God intervene in my life? If so, how?

Is “Gergesenes” a mistake in Matthew 8:28 in the King James Bible?

IS “GERGESENES” A MISTAKE IN MATTHEW 8:28 IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Our Authorized Version has come under heavy criticism for an alleged “mistake” in Matthew 8:28. Moreover, to strengthen this argument, Mark and Luke as found in the King James text have been pitted against Matthew as found in the King James text. Here, through the eyes of faith, we will examine this technical issue and hopefully shed light on it to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Here are the three King James Bible texts we must consider:

  • Matthew 8:28: “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.”
  • Mark 5:1: “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.”
  • Luke 8:26: “And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.”

Upon studying the contexts of these three accounts, we conclude they describe the same basic event (for more info, see our related study linked at the end of this article). Yet, there is one striking discrepancy, an alleged “textual error” of the King James Bible and its underlying Greek Textus Receptus. Both read “Gergesenes” (“Gergesenon”) in Matthew 8:28. However, in Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26, both have “Gadarenes” (“Gadarenon”). Which reading is correct? Did Jesus go into the country of the “Gergesenes” or the country of the Gadarenes?” Why does God’s Word provide conflicting accounts? How do we resolve the matter?

Textual criticism is often more of a burden than a blessing. However, we must look at the manuscript evidence in order to see what is going on:

 

MATTHEW 8:28 — “GERGESENES” (KJB) OR “GADARENES?”
King James Bible (“Gergesenes”) following Textus Receptus (“Gergesenon”)

  • Gergesenes – KJV, Darby, Geneva (1599), New King James Version (NKJV), Wycliffe’s Translation, Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

Modern English versions (“Gadarenes”) following Critical Text (“Gadarenon”)

  • Gadarenes – American Standard Version (ASV), Amplified (AMP), Contemporary English Version (CEV), Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims American (DRA 1899), English Standard Version (ESV), God’s Word (GW), Good News Translation (GNT), Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), “Jehovah’s Witness” New World Translation (NWT), Knox’s Translation (KNX), Living Bible (LB), The Message (MSG), Mounce’s Translation, New American Standard (NASB), New Century Version (NCV), New English Translation (NET), New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), Phillips’ Translation, Revised Standard Version (RSV), The Voice

 

MARK 5:1 — “GADARENES” (KJB) OR “GERASENES?”

King James Bible (“Gadarenes”) following Textus Receptus (“Gadarenon”)

  • Gadarenes – KJV, Darby, Geneva (1599), NKJV, Wycliffe, Young

Modern English versions (“Gerasenes”) following Critical Text (“Gerasenon”)*

  • Gerasenes – ASV, Amplified, Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims American (1899), CEV, ESV, God’s Word, Good News Translation, HCSB, “Jehovah’s Witness” New World Translation, Knox, Phillips, RSV, Message, Mounce, NASB, NCV, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSV, Voice
  • (Living Bible has no proper name in Mark 5:1.)

* Some CT manuscripts read “Gergesenon” in Mark 5:1.

 

LUKE 8:26 — “GADARENES” (KJB) OR “GERASENES?”

King James Bible (“Gadarenes”) following Textus Receptus (“Gadarenon”)

  • Gadarenes – KJV, Darby, Geneva (1599), NKJV, Wycliffe’s, Young

Modern English versions (“Gerasenes”) following Critical Text (“Gerasenon”)*

  • Gerasenes – ASV, Amplified, CEV, Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims American (1899), ESV, God’s Word, Good News Translation, HCSB, “Jehovah’s Witness” New World Translation, Knox, Message, Mounce, Living Bible, NASB, NCV, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSV, Phillips, RSV, Voice

* Some CT manuscripts read “Gerasenon” in Luke 8:26.

 

LUKE 8:37 — “GADARENES” (KJB) OR “GERASENES?”

King James Bible (“Gadarenes”) following Textus Receptus (“Gadarenon”)

  • Gadarenes – KJV, Darby, Geneva (1599), NKJV, Wycliffe, Young

Modern English versions (“Gerasenes”) following Critical Text (“Gerasenon”)*

  • Gerasenes – ASV, Amplified, Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims (1899), CEV, ESV, God’s Word, Good News Translation, HCSB, “Jehovah’s Witness” New World Translation, Knox, Message, Mounce, NASB, NCV, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSV, Phillips, RSV
  • (Living Bible and The Voice have no proper name in Luke 8:37.)

*Some CT manuscripts read “Gergesenon” in Luke 8:37.

 

Having looked briefly at the Greek and English versions, and understanding why they read as they do, we move to analyzing the English words themselves.

GERGESENES

This term is found only once in the King James Bible (Matthew 8:28), and not at all in the modern versions because of dissimilar manuscript sources. While written off as “erroneous” (because Mark and Luke use “Gadarenes”), it is not a mistake. The Gergesenes were the “Girgashites,” a people native to the land of Palestine (Genesis 10:16; Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 3:10; Joshua 24:11; 1 Chronicles 1:14; Nehemiah 9:8). Gergesa was a city on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, precisely where Jesus is at the close of Matthew chapter 8. Both Gergesa and Gadara were east of the Jordan River.

GADARENES

The name appears thrice in the King James Bible (Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26,37). Modern versions do not have it because their Greek source is different, and thus use “Gerasenes” instead. Gadara was a town east of the Jordan River, but there is no consensus as to its precise location. Some believe it was near the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee. Others think it was more to the south, toward the northern end of the Dead Sea. To complicate matters, there was a town by a similar name—Gerasa. It was also east of the Jordan River, and roughly halfway between Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. See next paragraph.

GERASENES

This is not found in the King James Bible at all, but modern versions use it in Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26,37. Relying on a different set of Greek witnesses, the King James reads “Gadarenes.”

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Matthew 8:28 reads “Gergesenes” in the King James Bible. Gergesa was a city on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Gergesenes are also known as the “Girgashites,” people native to the land of Palestine (Genesis 10:16; Genesis 15:21; Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 3:10; Joshua 24:11; 1 Chronicles 1:14; Nehemiah 9:8). The modern English versions do not use “Gergesenes” in Matthew 8:28; they rely on another Greek manuscript reading (“Gadarenes”).

Mark 5:1 has “Gadarenes” in the King James Bible. Gadara was eight miles (13 kilometers) southeast of the Sea of Galilee, and was one of the 10 cities of Decapolis (cf. Matthew 4:25). The modern English versions do not use “Gadarenes” in Mark 5:1; they rely on another Greek manuscript reading (“Gerasenes”). Gerasa was the name of both a city and a region. The city was 35 miles (56 kilometers) southeast of Gadara—and in the same region, Decapolis, that Gergesa was.

Luke 8:26 and 37 read “Gadarenes” in the King James Bible. The modern English versions do not use “Gadarenes” here; they rely on another Greek manuscript reading (“Gerasenes”).

Everyone agrees all three cities—Gergesa, Gadara, and Gerasa—were east of the Jordan River. The English and Greek versions shuffle these names in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. However, it is best to follow the King James Bible readings here and not let the modern English versions distract us. “Gergesenes” is the correct reading for Matthew 8:28 (as in the King James). “Gadarenes” is the correct reading for Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26,37 (as in the King James). The modern versions are based on different Greek manuscripts than the King James Bible; hence, they introduced into the English-speaking world a name (“Gerasenes”) that merely sidetracks us. For over 400 years, English-speaking Christians have used the King James Bible. Only in the last 140 years has unbelieving “scholarship” encouraged them to discard that manuscript family in a favor of a so-called “older and better” new Greek text (resulting in a new English text, thereby introducing changes in terminology). That, in actuality, is a relinquishing of the Protestant Bible text of the Reformation (King James manuscript family—the Antiochan Text or Textus Receptus) to pick up a Roman Catholic text (Alexandrian perversions—the Critical or Alexandrian Text).

Except unbelief, we have no reason to correct any King James readings. Yet, even if we eliminate the conflicting readings the modern versions bring, we still have the King James Bible text at odds with itself. Matthew 8:28 in the King James has “Gergesenes.” Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26,37 have “Gadarenes.” Why? Remember, the miracle involved two possessed men (Matthew 8:28), but Mark (5:2) and Luke (8:27) single out one of those two. One man may have been from Gadara and the other from Gergesa, resulting in two proper names. Or, they were Gadarenes living in or near Gergesa. Or, maybe they were Gergeshites living in or near Gadara. Or, one region could have been known by two names (“country of Gergesenes”  and “country of the Gadarenes” being interchangeable). There are various ways to explain these differences, but the fact remains there is no mistake in the King James Bible. The mistakes are in the modern English versions because they rely on a Greek manuscript minority whereas the King James Bible depends on a Greek manuscript majority!

Remember, divergences in the Four Gospel Records are not contradictions or mistakes. Instead, they show their uniqueness. Mark and Luke did not copy Matthew, so they will not read word-for-word. John did not copy any of those three. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four separate portraits of one Jesus Christ. They do not read word-for-word because they were not meant to read verbatim. Jesus is functioning in four separate capacities, fulfilling four different roles. Therefore, the Holy Spirit edited each Book to stand apart from the others. It is the same earthly ministry of Christ, but presented from four angles so as to highlight His four offices (Matthew as King, Mark as Servant, Luke as Man, and John as God).

Also see:
» Are Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-19, and Luke 8:26-39 the same miracle?
» Should we strive to distribute the Four Gospel Records?
» Are Matthew through John “Old Testament” or “New Testament” books?

Are Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-19, and Luke 8:26-39 the same miracle?

ARE MATTHEW 8:28-34, MARK 5:1-19, AND LUKE 8:26-39 THE SAME MIRACLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

There are a number of striking similarities between Matthew 8:28-34 and Mark 5:1-19. Does that make them the same miracle? But, what about the differences? How do we account for the variations?

MATTHEW 8:28-34

“[28] And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. [29] And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? [30] And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. [31] So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. [32] And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. [33] And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. [34] And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”

MARK 5:1-20

“[1] And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. [2] And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, [3] Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: [4] Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

“[5] And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. [6] But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, [7] And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. [8] For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. [9] And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. [10] And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

“[11] Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. [12] And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. [13] And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand; ) and were choked in the sea. [14] And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. [15] And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 

“[16] And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. [17] And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. [18] And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. [19] Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. [20] And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.”

LUKE 8:26-39

“[26] And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. [27] And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. [28] When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

“[30] And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. [31] And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. [32] And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. [33] Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.

“[34] When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. [35] Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. [36] They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. [37] Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.

“[38] Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.”

Two main points of controversy surround these passages. One is a technical textual issue, which “scholars” claim is a “mistake” in the King James Bible. (See our companion study linked at the end of this article—why Matthew says “Gergesenes” but Mark and Luke use “Gadarenes.”) The second problem people have with these passages is Matthew 8:28 speaks of two devil-possessed men while Mark 5:2 and Luke 8:27 claim it was one devil-possessed man. Why is there this discrepancy? Is it a mistake?

Matthew presents Jesus as King, the rightful heir to King David’s throne. The “two men” are the two nations or two kingdoms that resulted after David’s son King Solomon sinned and died. Read 1 Kings chapter 11 to learn about the 12 tribes of Israel dividing into 10 northern tribes (collectively called “Israel”) and two southern tribes (collectively titled “Judah”). According to Jeremiah 31:31 and Ezekiel 37:15-28, Messiah (Jesus, Son of David) and the New Covenant will reunite Israel and Judah, that they become one nation as they were before. Matthew, in presenting the two cases of the two possessed men cleansed, therefore reminds his readers that the Lord Jesus Christ will one day exorcise Israel and Judah of their spiritual and political corruption Satan has brought upon them. Mark and Luke, however, focus on the single nation Israel God originally called Israel to be before Solomon ruined the arrangement with his pagan idolatry. For more info, read our “Matthew 20:29-34” study linked below.

Also see:
» What belongs in Matthew 8:28—“Gergesenes” or “Gadarenes?”
» Are Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, and Luke 18:35-43 the same miracle?
» Why does “overturn” appear thrice in Ezekiel 21:27?

Are Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, and Luke 18:35-43 the same miracle?

ARE MATTHEW 20:29-34, MARK 10:46-52, AND LUKE 18:35-43 THE SAME MIRACLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Bible scrutinizers lambaste Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, and Luke 18:35-43 as “contradictory.” When we turn to those Scriptures, we see that the details indeed vary. As believers in Christ, how do we reconcile these differences? If they are not mistakes, why do they read thus?

Matthew 20:29-34: “[29] And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. [30] And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. [31] And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. [32] And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? [33] They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. [34] So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.”

Mark 10:46-52: “[46] And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. [47] And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. [48] And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. [49] And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. [50] And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. [51] And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. [52] And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”

Luke 18:35-43: “[35] And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: [36] And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. [37] And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. [38] And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. [39] And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. [40] And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, [41] Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. [42] And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. [43] And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.”

Here are the major details that vary between Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, and Luke 18:35-43:

  1. Matthew has Jesus leaving Jericho and healing two blind men (verses 29-30).
  2. Mark has Jesus leaving Jericho and healing one blind man, Bartimaeus (verse 46).
  3. Luke has Jesus entering Jericho and healing one blind man (verse 35).

In other words, was it two blind men (Matthew), or one blind man (Mark and Luke)? Also, was Jesus leaving Jericho (Matthew and Mark), or was He entering Jericho (Luke)?

Here is the simplest explanation. Evidently, Luke writes of a miracle Jesus performed on a single blind man before entering Jericho. Matthew and Mark focus on what Jesus did after He left Jericho. There were two men healed here—one, apparently the spokesman or leader of the two, was named Bartimaeus.

If Matthew 20:29-34 and Mark 10:46-52 are the same miracle, and they appear to be, then why does Matthew speak of two men whereas Mark mentions just one? Matthew emphasizes the dispensational view, and we have already seen in his Gospel Record a similar miraculous demonstration presented in like manner. (See also our study on Matthew 8:28-34 linked at the end of this article.)

A few years earlier in His earthly ministry, Christ had delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5–7) and the Holy Spirit moved Matthew to select 10 special miracles to authenticate that Kingdom message (chapters 8–9). The ninth miracle is recorded in Matthew 9:27-30: “[27] And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us. [28] And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. [29] Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. [30] And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.”

We see two blind men healed in Matthew chapter 9, and two more blind men healed in chapter 21. The key to understanding them is they both underscore Jesus as “Son of David” (Matthew 9:27; Matthew 20:30-31). Matthew presents Jesus as King, the rightful heir to King David’s throne. The “two men” are the two nations or two kingdoms that resulted after David’s son King Solomon sinned and died. Read 1 Kings chapter 11 to learn about the 12 tribes of Israel dividing into 10 northern tribes (collectively called “Israel”) and two southern tribes (collectively titled “Judah”). According to Jeremiah 31:31 and Ezekiel 37:15-28, Messiah (Jesus, Son of David) and the New Covenant will reunite Israel and Judah, that they become one nation as they were before. Matthew, in presenting the two cases of the two healed blind men, therefore reminds his readers that the Lord Jesus Christ will one day heal “blind” Israel and Judah of their spiritual and political blindness.

Mark 10:46-34 focuses on one of the two blind men Jesus healed as He departed Jericho. This man—whom Mark alone names “Bartimaeus” (“son of the unclean;” typical of the sinner)—symbolizes the single nation Israel God originally called Israel to be before Solomon ruined the arrangement with his pagan idolatry. Bartimaeus was the more outspoken of the two blind men Jesus healed as He left Jericho, which is why the Holy Spirit moved Mark to stress him (particularly his descriptive name).

Also see:
» Are Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-19, and Luke 8:26-39 the same miracle?
» How will God “chasten” the seed of David?
» How should we handle the objection, “If only I saw a miracle, then I would believe!”?

Is “Abiathar” a mistake in Mark 2:26?

IS “ABIATHAR” A MISTAKE IN MARK 2:26?

by Shawn Brasseaux

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that sinless perfection in Matthew 5:48?

IS THAT SINLESS PERFECTION IN MATTHEW 5:48?

by Shawn Brasseaux

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

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

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

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

Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?

DOES MATTHEW 1:12 CONTAIN AN ERROR?

by Shawn Brasseaux

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 1:12 contains no mistake!

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