Category Archives: BIBLE VERSIONS AND MANUSCRIPTS

Is “rooms” a King James Bible mistake in Matthew 23:6?

IS “ROOMS” A KING JAMES BIBLE MISTAKE IN MATTHEW 23:6?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,…” (Matthew 23:6). “And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:…” (Mark 12:39). “Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;…” (Luke 20:46).

While we usually assume our English word “room” indicates a place such as a bedroom or bathroom, it can be used in a more general sense. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “room” simply means “a space that can be occupied.” (Size is irrelevant—it can be large or small.) For instance, we would say, “Make room so I can sit down.” “Room” here is obviously not an enormous space like part of a house. We just mean an empty area. Thus, there is no mistake when the King James Bible translators rendered the Greek word into English. “Room” in Scripture refers to a space at a table that someone can fill. We must be sure to do careful research before we start unfairly maligning our 1611 translators.

The same idea appears in Luke chapter 14, also referring to dining at a table: “[1] And it came to pass, as he [Jesus] went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him…. [7] And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, [8] When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; [9] And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. [11] For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Israel’s apostate religious leaders enjoyed drawing attention to themselves (read the contexts of the quoted verses). They sought the most prominent positions at the table. “Pay attention to me! I deserve the most distinguished seat—whether to eat at a home or worship at a synagogue! Look at me!” Such is nothing more than man’s sinful flesh, and we should be careful not to adopt this attitude.

Also see:
» What are “phylacteries?”
» Is it truly a good deed if done for selfish reasons?
» What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?

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?

Is “corn” a mistake in the King James Bible?

IS “CORN” A MISTAKE IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word “corn” appears 100 times (nearly 90 verses) in the King James Bible. Critics are sorely displeased because these occurrences supposedly mislead readers into believing ancient Middle Easterners were familiar with our North American “maize.” Is that so? How daunting is our task in sorting out the confusion!

In North America (United States and Canada), when we say “corn,” we really mean maize. Centuries ago, when our European ancestors migrated here, they encountered this new crop (of Mexican/Spanish origin). They called it “Indian corn,” but the qualifier “Indian” was later dropped and the name “corn” remained. However, the original meaning of “corn”—as it still exists outside of North America—is general. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “corn” is a broad term for the grain of any cereal (edible) crop. It could be corn kernels from the cob (our maize or “corn”)—but it can also be wheat, barley, and so on.

We are not to suppose our King James Bible translators were incompetent. They were not insinuating Middle Easterners of millennia ago knew of North American “maize.” It is not a mistake when the Authorized Version has “corn” to refer to a crop other than maize. Again, we must look at the matter from the British standpoint—the 1611 translators’ view—and not from our North American perspective. The context of the verse may identify the corn (grain), or it may not. However, the translators of the Authorized Version understood our maize was not in their work!

For example, notice how they handled the Greek word “kokkos:”

  • Matthew 13:31: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain [kokkos] of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:….” Is that our maize? No, that is a mustard seed!
  • Matthew 17:20: “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain [kokkos] of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Again, is that our maize? No, that is a mustard seed!
  • Mark 4:31: “It is like a grain [kokkos] of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:….” Once more, is that our maize? No, that is a mustard seed!
  • Luke 13:19: “It is like a grain [kokkos] of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.” Is that our maize? No, that is a mustard seed!
  • Luke 17:6: “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain [kokkos] of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” One last time, is that our maize? No, that is a mustard seed!
  • John 12:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn [kokkos] of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Certainly, they did not think this was maize—the verse itself indicates they knew they were dealing with “wheat!” The word “corn” is generic for any edible grain; “wheat” specifies what type of corn.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:37: “And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain [kokkos], it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:….” Again, the translators know they are dealing with crops other than our maize.

As another example, watch how they used the word “corn”—and we know it was generic here as well as opposed to maize. In fact, the term “corn” is now restricted to barley and wheat!

Ruth 1:22: “So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.”

Chapter 2: “[2] And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter…. [14] And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left…. [23] So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.”

Ruth 3:7: “And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.”

Again, there is no mistake in the King James Bible. What needs to be corrected is our understanding of our own language. “Corn,” in pure or older English—not (diluted) American English—is the grain of any cereal/edible crop. If we are “reading maize into these verses,” then we have the problem (not the King James Bible!).

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

Is the Bible wrong to call Nebuchadnezzar the “father” of Belshazzar?

IS THE BIBLE WRONG TO CALL NEBUCHADNEZZAR THE “FATHER” OF BELSHAZZAR?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Read the following verses from Daniel chapter 5 in the King James Bible:

“[2] Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
“[11] There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;….”
“[13] Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?”
“[18] O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:….”

Some people frown upon the King James Bible for referring to Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar as the “father” of King Belshazzar. After all, from history, we understand that Nebuchadnezzar was actually Belshazzar’s grandfather. Nabonidus, Nebuchadnezzar’s son, was Belshazzar’s father. Even so, Scripture is not in error. It is best for such critics to be quiet. To say the least, it is a fatuous argument!

Hebrew and Chaldee (Aramaic) have no word for “grandfather.” The only available term is “ab”—and it can function as “father” (close) or “grandfather” (more distant). In English, to reflect this, we can use “father” in a narrow or broader sense (think of America’s “Founding Fathers”). Here is the rationale that the King James translators used when carrying the word over into English. They were perfectly competent in selecting the right word here, and did not actually have to put “grandfather.”

Similarly, Luke 1:32 refers to King David as Jesus’ “father” (when he was really His great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather!). Those who carp about the Nebuchadnezzar/Belshazzar issue have no problem with Luke chapter 1!

Also see:
» Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?

Can you explain Job 32:8?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN JOB 32:8?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Could you shed light on Job 32:8? “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”

The Book of Job details the experiences of a materially prosperous saint, Job, whom Satan has chosen to target with extreme hardship and loss (chapters 1 and 2). Job’s three “friends”—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar—are much older than his father (Job 15:10). These aged men come to “comfort” Job during this time of his great distress. Chapters 3–31 contain their speculations as to why he is suffering, and Job’s responses to each. Essentially, they all agree against Job that he is a sinner and deserves his troubles. Their exchange deteriorates into a contest of name-calling and other insults. Of all those words spoken, nothing meaningful is actually accomplished. No light has been shed concerning Job’s plight!

By the time of chapter 32, a new character enters. This fourth friend of Job, Elihu, takes the discussion in a whole new direction: “[1] So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. [2] Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. [3] Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. [4] Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. [5] When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled. [6] And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. [7] I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. [8] But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. [9] Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. [10] Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.”

Note that Job 32:8 actually serves as key support for Elihu’s advice (running all the way through to the end of chapter 37). While he lacks a great deal of insight into Job’s predicament, he has more wisdom than those three friends who have just rambled on and on with their religious traditions, vain philosophies, and baseless assumptions. In fact, as the following verses demonstrate, Elihu claims to be speaking to Job on God’s behalf.

Job 33:1-6: “[1] Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words. [2] Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth. [3] My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly. [4] The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. [5] If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up. [6] Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay.”

Continue with verses 29-33: “[29] Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, [30] To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. [31] Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak. [32] If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee. [33] If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.”

Job 36:1-4: “[1] Elihu also proceeded, and said, [2] Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf. [3] I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. [4] For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.”

Again, Job 32:8 says, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” “God is a Spirit,” John 4:24 says. Not only has God given every person a spirit (starting with the first man Adam), He has given every person that same spiritual component to commune with Him. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4). “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3). That spirit that God breathed into Adam—thus passing down to all men—is the means whereby we can connect with our Creator.

Once more, although spiritually immature, Elihu was willing to let the LORD God speak through him to Job to some degree. He wanted to actually be a consolation and beacon of truth to Job instead of attacking and berating him like those three “friends” had already done. Thus, Elihu counseled with Job in Job 32:8 (paraphrased): “Job, you have a spirit, so listen to what God the Holy Spirit has to tell you! Here is how you can gain comprehension into your tragic experiences.” Elihu speaks for the next six chapters.

If you read the rest of the Book of Job (chapters 38–42), you discover how God Himself finally speaks directly to Job and explains that an enemy (Satan) is active in creation. Yet, God reassures Job that He will conquer and destroy that adversary in due time. Concluding, the Book of Job has Job finally liberated from Satan’s oppression and doubly blessed of God. While beyond the scope of this study, suffice it to say that Job’s sufferings and deliverance provide comfort to Israel’s believing remnant as they suffer during the latter years of the Antichrist’s reign (cf. James 5:10-11; 1 Peter 4:19). The Book of Job has been preserved in the Bible record so that Israel of the future can learn what God is doing with them—and what Satan is doing to them. Like Job, they will also be delivered… to enter the Millennial Reign of Christ and be immensely blessed of God!

In closing, let us say more about the Bible itself. The word “inspiration” appears only one other time in the English (King James) Scriptures. Of course, that passage is 2 Timothy 3:16-17: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” In Greek, “given by inspiration of God” is one word—“theopneustos” (literally, “God breathed”). “Spirit,” “air,” “wind,” and “breath” are closely related in the Greek language. Therefore, the Bible is words God spoke forth or breathed out.

“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21). Scripture is “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3; cf. Matthew 4:4). “The Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake…” (Acts 1:16). “Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,…” (Matthew 22:31). The Psalmist in Psalm 119:13 spoke of the “judgments” (decrees, conclusions, laws) originating from God’s mouth: “With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.”

Almighty God uttered “words,” not just thoughts. The Holy Spirit gave these inspired words to special men and He led them to write those Divine words. Either we believe this is the Bible’s origin (faith), or we do not (unbelief). There is no middle ground. Additionally, He gave those inspired words to preserve them throughout the centuries via a multiplicity of manuscript copies. We have those inspired, preserved words even now: in English, it is the King James Bible. That is, the Spirit of God can communicate with our spirit as we read the words on the pages of (inspired) Scripture. Again, Job 32:8: “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”

Let us conclude with 1 Corinthians chapter 2: [9] But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [15] But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. [16] For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.”

Also see:
» How does one know if he or she is maturing in the Word of God?
» What are some tips for faster spiritual growth?
» I have trusted Christ, so why do I see things in Scripture I have never noticed before?

How is Jesus Christ the “firstborn” of every creature?

HOW IS JESUS CHRIST THE “FIRSTBORN” OF EVERY CREATURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

This question stems from Colossians 1:15: “[God’s dear Son; verse 13] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:….” Lest we misunderstand the matter, it is better to read all the way through to verse 20 to grasp the sense of the verse.

“[15] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: [16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

God the Son, Jesus Christ, made creatures (angels and humans, respectively) to occupy the offices of government in Heaven and Earth. These offices are the “things” in the above passage—“thrones, dominions, principalities, powers” (verse 16). In the original creation, creatures ruled for Jesus Christ’s glory. Alas, angels and humans sinned. Satan and his angelic cohorts corrupted the heavenly places with sin (Job 15:15; Job 25:5; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ephesians 6:12). When the first man, Adam, willfully followed that rebellion in Genesis chapter 3, he allowed sin to spread to the Earth’s governmental offices (Genesis 1:26-28; Matthew 4:8-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4).

The Holy Bible is the record of how the God of Scripture invented and enacted a plan to restore to Himself the offices of government (“things”) in Heaven and Earth. In the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we see the final pieces to that scheme laid out. Both God’s earthly people (the nation Israel—the prophetic people) and His heavenly people (the Church the Body of Christ—the mystery people) are formed through Jesus Christ’s shed blood. Calvary’s finished crosswork makes it possible for both groups of sinners to become saints, people set apart for God’s purposes. Where Adam failed on Earth, redeemed Israel will succeed. What Satan and his angels defiled, the Church the Body of Christ will take over. This is the first step in understanding the excerpt from Colossians chapter 1. (We will return to this shortly.)

In the physical world, the “firstborn” son is said to be “the beginning of his father’s strength.” See Genesis 49:3: “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power….” Moreover, Deuteronomy chapter 21 says the firstborn son received the double portion of his father’s estate: “[16] Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: [17] But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

When we consider Colossians 1:15-20, we should think of the firstborn son being the heir of his father’s estate. The governments of Heaven and Earth are Christ’s Father’s estate. Jesus Christ is “the firstborn of every creature” (verse 15) in that He is the Man who holds the place of headship over His Father’s house. Christ is the leader of both groups of creatures—redeemed Israel and the Church the Body of Christ—who will reign in their respective offices in eternity future. Father God has appointed His Son Jesus Christ as head of all governmental offices in Heaven and Earth. It is through the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ—both of whom He is the Head—that Jesus Christ reigns in Earth and in Heaven throughout the endless ages to come.

Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). When Colossians 1:18 says He is “the firstborn from the dead,” it refers to Him being resurrected to subsequently reign as King over Heaven and Earth. Having shed His sinless blood to form the redeemed nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ, the offices of government in Heaven and Earth will return to His Father’s authority (and no longer under the control of Satan and sinful man). Post-resurrection, Christ possesses His Father’s governmental power or political strength. Consider these two passages from the Book of Hebrews. Pay attention to Christ’s death and resurrection, and how His reign follows.

Hebrews chapter 1: “[3] [His Son, verse 2] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; [4] Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. [5] For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? [6] And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

“[7] And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. [8] But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. [9] Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. [10] And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: [11] They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; [12] And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. [13] But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Verse 12 is the change in governmental officials, saints replacing sinners in both Heaven and Earth.)

Hebrews chapter 2: “[5] For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. [6] But one in a certain place testified [Psalm 8:4-6], saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? [7] Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: [8] Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. [9] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (The “sons” of verse 10 are Israel’s believing remnant, the Little Flock of Luke 12:32.)

Here is the government in the heavenly places to follow Christ’s resurrection as regarding us, the Church the Body of Christ. Ephesians chapter 1: “[19] And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, [20] Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, [21] Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

Of course, the actual reigning of Christ in Heaven and Earth has yet to be brought to pass. He is currently a royal exile in Heaven, where He has been for the last 2,000 years since Israel rejected and crucified Him. Yet, in due time, the Dispensation of Grace will close, the Church the Body of Christ will be complete, and we will be brought up to reign in the Heavens (at the Rapture). Then, the nation Israel will be redeemed to reign in the Earth (at the Second Coming). It is Father God’s will that all power in Heaven and Earth be consolidated in one Man—the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:19). “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

Ephesians chapter 1 thus summarizes: “[8] Wherein he [Father God] hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” (The purpose of our salvation from Hell to Heaven, verses 11-12, is to make us be in the heavenly places the corresponding unit to redeemed Israel in the earthly realm, verses 9-10! Yes, it is God’s wise and prudent plan.)

SUPPLEMENTAL: COLOSSIANS 1 AND “THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION”

It is no secret that the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”—better termed “the Russellites,” after their founder Charles Taze Russell—consider Jesus Christ “a god” and not JEHOVAH God. This is apparent in their controversial rendering of John 1:1: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (cf. King James Bible: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”) The official Russellite position is Jesus Christ is a mere created being, Someone who is not co-equal and not co-eternal with God the Father. Allegedly, God created Jesus Christ, then God used Christ to create “everything else.” They use a depraved version of Colossians 1:16-20 to justify this claim. To them, Jesus is the “firstborn” of every creature in that He was the first being “Jehovah God” created. What nonsense!

Without any manuscript evidence whatsoever anywhere, they add the word “other” to the passage five times in their “New World Translation:” “[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; [16] because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. [17] Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,…. [20] and through him to reconcile again to himself all [other] things by making peace through the blood [he shed] on the torture stake, no matter whether they are the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.” (Bold emphasis mine. Notice “by” has been changed to “through,” which is how modern English versions—including NKJV—read here as well. Also, did you see how the New World Translation did not use “cross” but “torture stake?” Jesus dying on a pole or stake is another unorthodox or peculiar belief of the Russellites.)

Their insertion of “other” five times is an unmistakable indication of their spiritual blindness. The Holy Spirit did not inspire or originate such garbage. “Things” in this context does not refer to any creatures (check verse 16). The noun “things” points to governmental positions or offices. Could Jesus Christ be “another throne?” Could He be “another dominion/lordship?” “Another principality/government?” “Another power/authority?” The language refers to the political influence being exercised, not the people exercising that influence.

“Other” is completely unnecessary; hence, the Greek Bible never had it! The Russellites translators added it—not once but five times. Such is nothing but a deliberate alteration to teach a pet denominational idea. It is awkward language, a sure testament to the false doctrine found among the Russellites and their authority (their sectarian “bible,” the New World Translation). No matter the cost—even if it means perverting God’s eternal words and diminishing the Lord Jesus Christ—they will keep their “traditions of men!” Again, the Holy Spirit would certainly not be involved in such a translation or denomination. When approaching Colossians 1:15-20, be careful not to fall in this trap!

Also see:
» Did Jesus Christ ever claim to be God?
» Is Jesus Christ God’s “one and only Son” or “only begotten Son?”
» What do you mean—“the prophetic program” and “the mystery program?”

Should it be “virtue” or “power” in Mark 5:30 Luke 6:19 and Luke 8:46?

SHOULD IT BE “VIRTUE” OR “POWER” IN MARK 5:30, LUKE 6:19, AND LUKE 8:46?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Mark 5:30 says in the King James Bible: “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” The parallel passage is Luke 8:45-46: “[45] And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? [46] And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.”

Also, Luke 6:17-19 says: “[17] And he [Jesus] came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; [18] And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. [19] And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.”

Our Authorized Version says “virtue” in these places where the modern English versions (including NKJV) simply read “power.” Is there a difference? Yes, there certainly is! While the Greek word “dynamis” can and has been rendered “power” elsewhere in the King James Bible (Matthew 6:13, Matthew 22:29, Matthew 24:30, et cetera), we believe the 1611 scholars correctly translated it as “virtue” in Mark 5:30, Luke 6:19, and Luke 8:46. Removing the word “virtue” from the English Bible text waters it down and robs us of valuable spiritual insight.

Mark 5:25-30 is a full picture of the account of the hemorrhaging woman: “[25] And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, [26] And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, [27] When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. [28] For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. [29] And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. [30] And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?”

Luke 8:43-46 is the parallel account: “[43] And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, [44] Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched [stopped, dried up]. [45] And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? [46] And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.”

Matthew 9:20-22 is the companion account, although the Holy Spirit does not emphasize the “virtue” aspect. We will read it for sake of comparison nonetheless: “[20] And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: [21] For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. [22] But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”

To reiterate, Mark 5:30 and Luke 8:46 in the King James Bible use “virtue,” whereas the modern versions simply have “power.” Modern English versions are linguistically and theologically deficient here. The Authorized Version is superior and precise. Something much greater than mere “power” issued from Christ: from Christ came “virtue.” Depending on the context, power can be negative or positive; virtue, on the other hand, is always positive. Virtue is His moral excellence, righteousness, or uprightness.

Remember, this ill woman lacks bodily healing just as spiritually-sick Israel is without righteousness. God’s righteousness must heal her (both the woman and the nation Israel’s Little Flock). Righteousness, not self-righteousness, will rectify Israel’s sin problem. A spiritual healing accompanied the woman’s physical healing. When Israel is nationally converted, not only will she be spiritually healed but physically healed. “And the inhabitant shall say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity” (Isaiah 33:24).

Since “virtue”—and not just “power”—came forth from Christ, the hemorrhaging woman was delivered from her physical affliction. The same will be true of national Israel, her Little Flock, and her spiritual affliction (sin). Now redeemed, justified, and restored, Israel can enjoy life as God intended in the Millennial Kingdom. She can at last become His kingdom of priests.

By the way, virtue and power can issue from Almighty God today concerning our sin problem too. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, like Israel of the future, we can be saved from our sins. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Romans 3:21-28: “[21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Also see:
» How was there healing in touching Jesus’ garment hem?
» What are the “sins that are past” in Romans 3:25?
» Was God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?