Category Archives: BIBLE VERSIONS AND MANUSCRIPTS

How could pagan Nebuchadnezzar know about “the Son of God?”

HOW COULD PAGAN NEBUCHADNEZZAR KNOW ABOUT “THE SON OF GOD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Read Daniel 3:25 as found in our King James Bible: “He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” How could Nebuchadnezzar, the pagan, idolatrous, King of Babylon, know about “the Son of God?” Would that not be a “Christian” doctrine, an idea so foreign to him it would have thus been impossible for him to utter?

THE DIFFERENCE IS STRIKING!

Concerning Daniel 3:25, the Aramaic expression “Bar-elohin” is handled “the Son of God” in our Authorized Version; however, it is rendered “a son of the gods” in nearly all popular modern English translations (American Standard Version, Amplified, English Standard Version, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Message, New American Standard Version [1995 and 2020], New International Version, Revised Standard Version, Voice, et al.). The New King James Version is quite underhanded (as usual), keeping the traditional King James reading but adding the alternate reading in a footnote: “Or a son of the gods.”

Of course, if we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe; we freely confess we recognize there is a difference between a declaration of polytheism (“a son of the gods”) and a statement of monotheism (“the Son of God”). This is just one example of how modern English versions differ significantly from the King James Bible. For the moment, we care not to evaluate which one is correct and which one is incorrect. All we need to admit at this point is both readings are separate and distinct—yea, rather, they are mutually exclusive. Contrary to what we hear, all English Bibles do not say the same thing! With that fact clearly stated, now we can evaluate both readings.

ASSESSING THE INTERPRETATIONS

It has been argued the King James translators were wrong, and modern English version translators were right. After all, was not Nebuchadnezzar a heathen Babylonian king, someone who would have referred to a plurality of gods (“a son of the gods”) instead of the one true God, the God of Israel (“the Son of God”)? On the surface, this case is strong; however, a closer examination of the Scriptures reveals something else entirely. Any objective reading of the first five chapters of Daniel causes us to see Nebuchadnezzar is not the average Gentile of that day. He is not completely isolated from monotheistic Judaism as Bible critics would have us believe.

The King of Babylon has more spiritual light than most non-Jews because of his personal involvement with the Jewish Prophet Daniel and his three friends (often known by their Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—their original Hebrew names were, respectively, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah). By way of his association with these four Jewish saints, Nebuchadnezzar’s spiritual understanding develops through the course of the Book of Daniel. In chapter 1, he is a lost man. Yet, by the time of chapter 4, he has left his pagan idols (polytheism) and come to faith in the one true God (monotheism). As presented in our King James, Daniel 3:25 is one step forward in that right direction; however, in nearly all modern English versions, Nebuchadnezzar appears to take a step backward into paganism. Again, one reading must remain, and the other must be discarded. Do we throw out the King James (“the Son of God) or the modern versions (“a son of the gods”)? How do we proceed in establishing what is right and what is wrong?

Again, let us consider how Nebuchadnezzar’s spirituality develops in the Book of Daniel. For instance, chapter 2 relates: “[46] Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. [47] The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Once more, Nebuchadnezzar is clearly pagan in that he worships Daniel and speaks of Daniel’s God; yet, Nebuchadnezzar is not in total spiritual darkness. He has just heard Daniel speak the words of Israel’s God (monotheism). Whereas the king’s other “wise men” (polytheistic spiritual leaders) could not interpret his dream, Daniel has demonstrated Israel’s God can. Nebuchadnezzar is therefore fascinated, and expresses amazement concerning Daniel’s God (not some plurality of heathen idols, please note).

Move into chapter 3, the immediate context of the verse (25) we are considering. Nebuchadnezzar is still idolatrous and polytheistic (see especially verses 1,12,15,18). Yet, he will soon witness something incredible—a miracle even more stunning than that of chapter 2! “[1] Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon…. [10] Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: [11] And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. [12] There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. [13] Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

“[14] Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? [15] Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? [16] Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. [17] If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. [18] But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

“[19] Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. [20] And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. [21] Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. [22] Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. [23] And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. [24] Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. [25] He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

“[26] Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. [27] And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. [28] Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. [29] Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. [30] Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.”

Pay close attention to verse 26: “Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.” Would this not be a reference to the one true God—and it coming from the mouth of “pagan” Nebuchadnezzar? See, again, Nebuchadnezzar’s contact with these Jewish believers has enlightened him concerning monotheism. Yet, the King James critics find it impossible for the King of Babylon to speak a monotheistic declaration just one verse prior? In other words, if we are forced to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s confession in verse 25 as heathen on the grounds of his polytheism (“a son of the gods”), how can we then let verse 26—the utterance immediately following it!!—remain in support of monotheism (“the Son of God)? Stated another way, if the King James Bible is mistranslated in verse 25 (“the Son of God—supposedly an impossible statement for an idolatrous king), we must conclude verse 26 needs rewording too (“the most high God” could not possibly come from a polytheistic king, could it?! Apply the logic of the Bible correctors: Nebuchadnezzar meant to say, “one of many gods!”). In short, the Authorized Version and its translators have been unjustly criticized—and this is neither the first time nor the last (!). Modern versions and their supporters, on the other hand, are the ones with the faulty logic—and this is neither the first time nor the last (!). Verse 26 in their own Bible text nullifies their claim and wording in verse 25.

What followed that controversial verse 25 in chapter 3? Read again verse 29: “Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” Is Nebuchadnezzar confessing how he sees the difference between “gods” (pagan idols) and “God” (Israel’s God)? He sure is (if we can read)! What he has seen as the Deliverer of these Jewish saints is not “a son of the gods”—for he admits he has not witnessed the work of an ordinary God! This God who saved these believers from the burning fiery furnace is different!

Nebuchadnezzar’s spiritual insight becomes even sharper in chapter 4. “[1] Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. [2] I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. [3] How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation…. [34] And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: [35] And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?…. [37] Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

Horrors! Recalling the critics’ arguments, Nebuchadnezzar could not have said these things either! If we are Bible believers, we will believe the Bible, and not worry about naysayers. We will let them argue with their own verses. By the way, scholars often appeal to the “Septuagint” (LXX)—the Greek translation of the Old Testament. In this case of Daniel 3:25, the Septuagint sides with the King James Bible against modern English versions. The LXX has “huio theou” (“theou” [“God”] being singular, not plural [“gods”]).

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Based on our research, the King James Bible has the superior reading in Daniel 3:25: “He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” The modern English translations, however, are inferior with their variant “a son of the gods.” In adopting this new reading, they omit a clear reference to the Lord Jesus Christ in a pre-incarnate form. (Is that not serious?) Yet, someone responds to us: How could Nebuchadnezzar know of the second Member of the Godhead? How could he be aware of God’s Son?”

Remember, approximately 400 years before Nebuchadnezzar rose to power, the Holy Spirit had moved King David (cf. Acts 4:25-28; Psalm 2:1-2) to pen Psalm 2:7: “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” According to the Hebrew Bible, which Daniel and his three friends possessed (and taught to Nebuchadnezzar to some degree), the LORD has a “Son.” This is God the Father speaking to God the Son, roughly 1,000 B.C. (long before Nebuchadnezzar was born!). In fact, even Nebuchadnezzar’s own military leader, Nebuzaradan the Babylonian, quoted the Law of Moses to the Prophet Jeremiah. He knew Israel had disobeyed JEHOVAH God, and His wrath on the Jews was being exacted via the Babylonian troops conquering and exiling Judah! Babylon, though quite heathen, had much light from the Hebrew Bible and the one true God.

Jeremiah chapter 40: “[1] The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon. [2] And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. [3] Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you.” Horrors! Pagan Nebuzaradan was not supposed to be aware of the curses of Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28—according to the critics anyway.

We rest our case!

Also see:
» Was Nebuchadnezzar a saved man?
» Is the Bible wrong to call Nebuchadnezzar the “father” of Belshazzar?
» What about those who have not heard?

What is “the one needful thing” in Luke 10:42?

WHAT IS “THE ONE NEEDFUL THING” IN LUKE 10:42?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We begin reading in the King James Bible in chapter 10 of Luke: “[38] Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. [40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Exactly what is this “one thing [that] is needful” in verse 42? Friend, would you be surprised to learn sinful flesh has confounded even this?!

THE WRONG ANSWER

Unfortunately, “scholars” under the influence of natural-man thinking have utterly confused the passage. Popular Bible teachers and commentators frequently explain the scenario as follows. Martha, so busy with preparing and serving food, finds fault with her sister Mary. Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him teach, so Martha complains to the Lord that Mary should be assisting her. Therefore, Jesus allegedly responded thusly in verses 41-42 (paraphrased): “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distressed because of all that food you are cooking. Only one dish for a meal is needful!” We must voice our fervent disagreement here, for that is to put in the mouth of the Lord Jesus words most carnal, fleshly, common, worldly. Could Christ have really been referring to a single dish of food as the “one needful thing?” NO! This is an explanation childish and most absurd—but we expect this from people whose textual theories and variant readings ignore the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

THE RIGHT ANSWER

We do not deny Martha is fretting about silly matters. The Lord of glory has come to visit her home and teach her and her sister, but she is too preoccupied with hospitality to realize her priorities are confused. Martha is serving food, going through much anguish to feed her Guest, but Mary would rather sit and learn from the Lord than help her sister feed the Lord. Expecting the Lord to rebuke Mary, Martha grumbles about her behavior. Yet, Christ replies as follows in verses 41-42 (paraphrased): “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distressed because of all that food you are cooking. Only one thing is needful, and Mary has the spiritual discernment to see what it is! The world and all its goods are temporary, so you need to let go of the affairs of this life and come sit with your sister and hear My words!” The Lord Jesus was referring to His doctrine, Divine revelation, as the “one needful thing!” Physical food does not compare to spiritual food!

WHY THE WRONG ANSWER IS WRONG, WHY THE RIGHT ANSWER IS RIGHT

By having the Lord Jesus refer to one meal of physical food, we are forcing Him to be like Martha—fixated on the affairs and things of this world. “Martha, you just fix one meal while I teach Mary My words.” No, this is why the wrong answer is wrong. Jesus would have not been foolish like sinful man and denominationally-minded souls. How strange it would be for Him to say, “One thing is needful,” pointing to worldly food, and then switch to praising Mary who chose something “good.” If Mary has chosen what is good, it must be something other than physical food, right, for He commends Mary but condemns Martha concerning physical food? This is why the right answer is right. Whatever Mary has decided to have, it is “good,” thereby demonstrating Martha silly for rejecting it.

To go the wrong way is to have Jesus directing Martha to choose to serve a worldly meal, but to go the right way is to have Him stirring Martha to decide to join her sister at His feet to learn sound Bible doctrine! Is the “one needful thing” a dish of food or the Word of God? Friends, if we have spiritual eyes, we can see which one it is—and which one it is not!

SUPPLEMENTAL: BEWARE OF THE TEXTUAL CRITICS!

Someone is bound to ask, “Brother Shawn, it is such a straightforward issue, so how can ‘scholars’ make a most embarrassing blunder here?” The reason is complex, but it will be given.

Two particular corrupt Greek Bible manuscripts have captivated the hearts and minds of textual critics. Instead of following the King James Bible and its underlying Textus Receptus (the preserved Greek New Testament of the Protestant Reformation), they often favor the Roman Catholic witnesses known as Codices Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph). Whereas the proper Greek reads, “enos de estin chreia” (King James, “but one thing is needful”), in Luke 10:42; the corrupt Greek has, “oligon de estin chreia e enos” (“few things are needed, or only one”). That is, the “two oldest and best manuscripts” (commonly called)—Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph)—have a wrong reading (one of many). Here, the current Greek texts underlying the New Testaments of the modern English versions—the United Bible Societies (UBS) Greek, and the Nestle-Aland (N-A) Greek—departed from B and Aleph to side with the Textus Receptus (majority of Greek witnesses) and the King James Bible.

Textual critics are in desperate straits. Their “favorite” manuscripts B and Aleph are obviously faulty, so the B/Aleph variant reading of Luke 10:42 has been relegated to the critical apparati (footnotes) of UBS and N-A (Aleph and B: “few things are needed, or only one”). Furthermore, the main text of UBS and N-A reads just like the proper Greek (Textus Receptus, King James, “but one thing is needful”). The modern “scholars,” when translating the Greek of Luke 10:42 into English, often use “only one thing is necessary” (or something similar) because that is the reading of most Greek manuscripts of Luke (as found in American Standard Version, Amplified, Contemporary English Version, English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Message, New American Standard Version [1995 and 2020 revisions], New King James Version, New Revised Standard Version, Revised Standard Version). A few modern versions—Phillips, NIV, and original NASB—read, “Only a few things are needed, perhaps only one.”

If they use and translate the correct Greek, mirroring N-A and UBS, their resultant English translation will have the proper wording in the main text but may have the absurd alternate reading in a footnote (“Other ancient authorities read, ‘few things are necessary, or only one.’” “Some witnesses read, ‘only few things are necessary, or rather, one alone.’”). This is nothing but confusion, for, now, instead of retaining one English translation that has existed for over 400 years (the King James Bible), the reader can pick and choose what reading he wants. Imagine such folly! “Only few things are necessary, or rather, one alone.” Well, which is it? One thing? A few things? Is that not a difference? According to B and Aleph, the “two oldest and best manuscripts” (HA!), poor Jesus cannot seem to make up His mind!! Lastly, if the Lord is confused, He has not only diminished the superiority of the Bible (“one thing is needful”), but now He has also caused befuddled Martha to become further deceived and continue focusing on physical food!

Dear friends, let this be a lesson to us. It does matter what Greek manuscripts we use for our New Testament—and we would have to be blind or willfully ignorant to believe the lie “all Greek manuscripts and English versions basically say the same thing.” We can either be people of faith, or people of doubt. It does matter who we have as our Bible teacher—the scholars or the Lord. Keep your King James Bible—read, study, believe it, and anything and everything that disagrees with it must be thrown out!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Do 1 Kings 9:28 and 2 Chronicles 8:18 contradict?
» Did Moses write about his own death?
» Did Jesus ride two animals on Palm Sunday?
» Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?

Do 1 Kings 9:28 and 2 Chronicles 8:18 contradict?

DO 1 KINGS 9:28 AND 2 CHRONICLES 8:18 CONTRADICT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Concentrate on these two verses:

  • 1 Kings 9:28: “And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.”
  • 2 Chronicles 8:18: “And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.”

Kings has 420 talents of gold, yet Chronicles reports 450 talents. Have the critics, at last, found a mistake in God’s Holy Word? Let us consult “Christian scholarship.” Perhaps these “Bible experts” can resolve the matter for us.

HOW “BIBLE SCHOLARS” “HELP”

In one popular study Bible, this footnote appears at 2 Chronicles 8:18: “The difference between 450 talents here and 420 in 1 Kings is likely a copyist’s error” (bold emphasis mine). Another bestselling study Bible has this editors’ comment: “First Kings 9:28 reports 420 talents, probably accounted for by a scribal error in transmission” (bold emphasis mine).

Who wrote the above remarks? Atheists? No! Agnostics? No! Other non-Christians? No! With great trembling, we reveal the answer: they are “Bible-believing (?) church leaders!” As we can see, dear readers, scholarship can be quite the enemy of the truth. People trained in seminary (Bible cemetery!) have been instructed (brainwashed) not to believe the Scriptures… and they pass their nagging doubts on to us the commoners in the pew! After all, the transmission—yea, rather, the recovery or reconstruction of God’s “lost” words—depends on their advanced degrees. Although the Holy Spirit allowed an “error” to creep in through a copyist, they can be trusted to sit in judgment of the Scriptures and do what the Holy Spirit failed to do (give us the “real,” “original” Bible text). Extending their logic, what other numbers in the Scriptures could be “errors?” How could we trust anything in the Bible then?

Suppose some poor (!) Christian soul was dealing with Bible critics concerning 1 Kings 9:28 and 2 Chronicles 8:18. They badger him, “The Bible has errors!” He appeals to his “handy” study Bible for enlightenment. Horrors! He quickly shuts the cover, for the critics might use his Bible’s footnotes against him—if they have not already done so (having read it in their own “study” Bible earlier). (He needs to be sure to thank the “Christian” scholars who helped them… uh, I mean… helped him!) At this point, to say the Christian is embarrassed is the understatement of the century! He just might henceforth commence a lifelong crusade, speaking at colleges and churches around the world about how the Bible cannot be trusted. Countless souls are enticed, just as ready to rebel against the Lord, and off they go in the world launching their warped movements.

Dear friends, here is the pathetic state of affairs among God’s people. While the Church the Body of Christ has been in the world fighting abortion, pornography, drugs and alcohol, and homosexuality, it has overlooked a far graver sin. The Devil has been working within the leadership ranks of “Christianity” for many centuries, apostates and heretics causing millions upon millions to doubt the Bible… spiritually-perverted people WITHIN the church teaching lies as opposed to WITHOUT it! It is one thing to tell someone to disbelieve and discard the Bible (here is the position of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, et cetera). However, it is infinitesimally more serious to encourage someone to keep and correct the Bible (here is the “scholarly” opinion). The first position is at least consistent; the second is far subtler and actually hypocritical.

Let it be clearly understood: perhaps, next time, we had better not be so eager to appeal to “Bible scholars” when we should be listening to the Holy Spirit!

HOW GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS

Read 1 Kings 9:28 in context: “[26] And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom. [27] And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. [28] And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.”

Now, 2 Chronicles 8:18 in context: “[17] Then went Solomon to Eziongeber, and to Eloth, at the sea side in the land of Edom. [18] And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.”

Both King Solomon and King Hiram/Huram are engaged in international trade. Of particular note is the gold of Ophir, which Solomon’s servants brought back to their king. The precise location of Ophir is unknown, but it may have been in southern Arabia, eastern Africa, the Persian Gulf, or India. As we have stated before, so we say again. In Kings, the amount of gold given to Solomon is 420 talents, but Chronicles has the total as 450 talents. Why are these values different?

Here are some facts from the Bible (if we care to see them, if we want to submit to God’s authoritative words, if we desire to “believe” the Scriptures as we claim we do!):

  1. Solomon has a “navy” or fleet of ships (1 Kings 9:26); Huram has “ships” (2 Chronicles 8:18). Is it possible there are at least four ships under consideration? Actually, there might have been 10, 20, or 30 ships—that point is irrelevant! Whatever the case, could 420 talents of gold have been on one of those ships, and 450 talents of gold been on another of those ships? Again, are we not dealing with more than one ship?! (Why have the scholars not given the Scriptures the benefit of the doubt? Should we trust the Scriptures [faith], or the “scholars” [doubt]?)
  2. We do not need to be mathematical geniuses to see “450” contains “420.” Perhaps 420 talents were on one ship, and 30 talents were on another ship, bringing the sum up to 450 talents. (Why have the scholars not given the Scriptures the benefit of the doubt? Should we trust the Scriptures [faith], or the “scholars” [doubt]?)
  3. According to 1 Kings 11:42 and 2 Chronicles 9:30, Solomon reigned a total of 40 years. As a dear brother in Christ (a Bible believer) once asked, was Ophir so far away Solomon managed to receive only one shipment of gold during those four decades—and that single delivery had to be either 420 or 450?! (Why have the scholars not given the Scriptures the benefit of the doubt? Should we trust the Scriptures [faith], or the “scholars” [doubt]?)
  4. Excluding these passages, there are many variations between Kings and Chronicles, even large sections of text unique to each. Should we relegate these dozens upon dozens of disparate portions to the dreaded status of “scribal errors” too?! Again, where do we stop with the doubts?! (We do not!)

We have just provided a few simple explanations to account for the difference between 1 Kings 9:28 and 2 Chronicles 8:18. It does take some mental effort, as can be observed. Nevertheless, the easier approach is to follow the “scholars” in their unbelief and dismiss the whole matter as a “scribal error.” Friends, here are our two choices—doubt or faith. May we choose the right (not left) one. (If you want an advanced, really “eye-opening” example of doubting scholarship, see our Mark 16:9-20 study linked at the end of this article.)

SUPPLEMENTAL

To put the values of the gold of Ophir into a modern perspective, the 420 talents (1 Kings 9:28) equates to approximately 16 tons (14.5 metric tons) and the 450 talents (2 Chronicles 8:18) is roughly 17 tons (15.4 metric tons). Each weight involves well in excess of (United States) $800 million! By the way, a “talent” was the standard measurement of gold weight in those days, for it was the maximum load a man could carry (2 Kings 5:23).

Also see:
» Does Acts 7:14 have a mistake?
» Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:6 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:16 have a mistake?
» Is “Abiathar” a mistake in Mark 2:26?
» Is Matthew 2:23 a mistake?
» Is there an historical mistake in Luke 2:1-2?
» Is “Cainan” in Luke 3:36 a “scribal error?”
» Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?
» Is there a geographical error in 2 Kings 2:2?
» Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?

Did Moses write about his own death?

DID MOSES WRITE ABOUT HIS OWN DEATH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Did Moses actually write about his own death? If we are Bible believers, then we answer in the affirmative: “YES, Moses did write about his own death.” If we are Bible rejecters, however, we respond in the negative: “NO, Moses did not write about his own death.”

The issue at hand regards the final words of Deuteronomy, as found in chapter 34: “[1] And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, [2] And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, [3] And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. [4] And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

[5] So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. [6] And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. [7] And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. [8] And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. [9] And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses. [10] And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, [11] In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, [12] And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.”

Verses 5-8 are a major problem for some readers. How could Moses write about his own death and burial place? How could he know his age and physical condition at the moment of his decease? How could he describe Israel’s activities following that demise? Higher criticism is the field of questioning who wrote what in the Bible. (Lower criticism is the study of reconstructing the “original text” itself.) To be blunt, this is nothing but unbelief—but such “scholarship” is common, and its thousands of “experts” can be found leading (!) our churches, seminaries, “Christian” colleges, and so on. (It is no secret why the average church member or preacher struggles with doubts the world over.) We are subjecting the Scriptures to the same criteria we use to examine other books. Except for the Bible, the Holy Spirit wrote no other Book. If we are Bible believers, we will treat the Scriptures as what they are (the Words of God)—and that would force us to approach the Scriptures differently than we would other ancient literature.

For example, if we believe the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, He thought Moses wrote Deuteronomy (cf. Matthew 19:7-8 and Mark 10:2-5 with Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Deuteronomy (literally, “second law”) is the restating of the Law. Is it not called “the Law of Moses?” If the LORD God used Moses to deliver the Law once to Israel, He used Moses to do it again. All of Deuteronomy would be the work of Moses under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit. Moses was not writing with his intellect alone: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Whatever limitations Moses had, Almighty God overrode them—and that principle would apply to all other human writers of Scripture.

If we disallow Moses from writing about his own death, then our fundamental problem is further exposed. We really do not believe he wrote any other prophecies either. That is, since we consider it “doubtful” for him to write about his demise, and the details following it, nothing prevents us from extending the logic to its ultimate conclusion. Moses could not have written about Jesus Christ millennia into the future, either! If, on the other hand, Moses could have foretold what Jesus would do centuries after he penned the Books of Genesis to Deuteronomy, Moses could have done the easier and written about his own expiration just days away.

“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?(John 5:45-47). “And he [Christ Jesus] said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:…” (Luke 24:44-46).

If we deem it incredible that Moses foresaw the events surrounding his death, then we really do not believe the Holy Spirit was ever leading him to write any words in the first place! We are in the exact same position as the atheist, agnostic, freethinker, and every other Bible rejecter. Lastly, if we “Bible believers” find implausible the prophetic ability of the Scriptures, we dare not demand these rejecters treat those precious words of God any better than we (“who ‘love’ the Bible”) do!

SUPPLEMENTAL: JOSHUA’S DESCRIPTION OF HIS OWN DEATH

As long as we do not have any problem with Moses writing about his own death, we would have no issue with Joshua writing about his own death, or subsequent events, either. The Holy Spirit gave Joshua the same foresight He gave Moses decades prior.

“And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel. And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph. And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim” (Joshua 24:29-33).

Also see:
» Why could Moses not enter the Promised Land?
» How did Israel manipulate Moses to murder Messiah?
» Why was Moses ordered to be shoeless?
» What was wrong with Moses’ speech?
» How was Moses very meek?
» Was the Law of Moses given by the LORD or by angels?
» Why did God want to kill Moses in Exodus 4:24?

Why forgive “seventy times seven?”

WHY FORGIVE “SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). Is there any importance to this “seventy times seven” here? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Of course, the context is how to handle conflicts within the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, the Messianic Church (see verses 15-20). Peter and the 11 other Apostles have been given authority to act in Christ’s absence. (For more information on their apostolic power, see our Matthew 18:19-20 article linked at the end of this study.) In light of Jesus’ prior comments about brethren trespassing against brethren, the Apostle Peter asked a question, and that is precisely the inquiry and its response with which we concern ourselves now.

The Berean Bible student can easily see the shallowness in Christendom (denominationalism). Jesus did not randomly pick a number, as some might conclude. Also, unlike others, never should we interpret His words as “forgive thy brother countless times.” He chose “seventy times seven” because the number 490 had tremendous prophetic significance. As we will see shortly, it concerned the restoration of Israel and the rebuilding of her holy city Jerusalem.

When Peter asked, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” (Matthew 18:21), he assumed he was being quite generous. The rabbis of that day taught someone should be forgiven only three times (based on Amos 1:3,6,9,11,13; Amos 2:1,4,6). Peter doubled that number and added one, but it still was not enough. Yet, since seven in the Bible is the number of completion or perfection, Peter assumed nothing could be better than forgiving someone seven times. Christ corrected his erroneous idea. Again, the Bible student should always be mindful of every word in the King James Bible. When God’s Word is specific, it is for a reason. Matthew 18:22 is such an instance where Bible specifics, not just “general fundamentals,” are important. Jesus answered, “Until seventy times seven.” It is our firm conviction that Jesus did not randomly select this number; He was teaching a doctrine about a special completion.

In Daniel 9:24, the Angel Gabriel explained to the Prophet: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” The Hebrew word rendered “week” here signifies seven, like our English word dozen means 12. (For more information on dating this, read our “What about a six-year Tribulation?” study linked at the end of this article.)

As per Daniel 9:24, it would take seventy weeks of years—or 490 years—to cleanse the nation Israel. For 490 years, God would patiently deal with Israel’s sins and purge her of all wickedness (to be followed by Jesus Christ’s earthly kingdom and the New Covenant, the latter part of the verse). Verses 25 and 26 explain that 69 weeks of years (or 483 years) were fulfilled before Calvary, and the final seven years (verse 27) are still awaiting fulfillment (the future seven-year Tribulation). The 70 weeks began with Nehemiah chapter 2, the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall circa 445 B.C., and they will terminate at Christ’s Second Coming. Obviously, our 2,000-year-long Dispensation of Grace is not included in those 490 years. Just as it took 70 years to cleanse Israel’s land of her idolatry—the Babylonian Captivity (Jeremiah 25:11-12; Jeremiah 29:10-11; Daniel 9:2)—it will take 70 weeks of years to cleanse her people of idolatry.

What Jesus was saying in Matthew 18:22 was (paraphrased), “Peter, you are to forgive your Jewish neighbor to the extent I forgive your Jewish nation.” According to the foregoing verses, the schedule of Daniel 9:24 was operating when Jesus spoke those words to Peter! Amazing! (By the way, if you want more information about forgiveness in this the Dispensation of Grace, read our “true forgiveness” article below.)

Let us close by making a highly significant textual note. Very few people know the impact of this matter, and even fewer are aware of the “seventy times seven” (490) reading anyway. Why? The more popular modern English versions* read “seventy-seven times” in Matthew 18:22. (*Contemporary English Version, English Standard Version, New American [Catholic] Bible, New American Standard Bible, New English Translation, New International Version, New Revised Standard Version, New World [Jehovah’s Witness] Translation) Who would be able to see any connection between the 77 of Matthew and the 490 of Daniel? The cross-reference has been embarrassingly destroyed! This is clearly a case of modern versions affecting doctrine—and inhibiting spiritual light and growth. If modern version readers are unaware of a reading other than what they have, then they are unable to ask a question based on that reading unavailable to them.

Having evaluated the evidence, we have chosen to retain our King James Bible reading of Matthew 18:22. As we demonstrated, the correct translation of the Greek “hebdomekontakis hepta” is “seventy times seven” (and not “seventy-seven times”). Even if we have multiple theological degrees, if we cannot see these simple truths, we have no business whatsoever sitting on a Bible translation committee and choosing “seventy-seven times” as the appropriate reading of Matthew 18:22! To say “seventy-seven times” is to show our complete incompetence, our total ignorance of Daniel 9:24!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» What is true forgiveness?
» “Remission” and “forgiveness”—same or different?
» What does Matthew 18:19-20 really mean?
» What about a six-year Tribulation?

Why did Paul label the Athenians “too superstitious?”

WHY DID PAUL LABEL THE ATHENIANS “TOO SUPERSTITIOUS?” WAS THAT NOT OFFENSIVE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Apostle Paul has been censured for the words he preached in Acts 17:22 (King James Bible): “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” How could he be so “cruel,” so “insensitive” to the feelings of these prospective believers?

Here is an easy example of how modern Bible “scholarship” has employed human wisdom to soften the Scriptures. Man always endeavors to make himself look better than he really is, whereas God’s Word always takes a negative view of man. Bible translators, teachers, and preachers are thus always tempted to “tone down” any verses that may be perceived as “nasty” or “unfriendly.” Friends, if we cannot find the courage to preach all the words of God, then we are far better off shutting our mouths and saying absolutely nothing!

In Acts chapter 17, Paul is visiting Athens, Greece, the intellectual capital of the world in New Testament times. Read this excerpt: “[16] Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry…. [22] Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. [23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”

As noted earlier, we want to concentrate on verse 22. Paul referred to these souls as “too superstitious.” It is an extremely long Greek word: “deisidaimonesterous.” Literally, it means “fearing more demons/devils than others.” In English, we would not say “too religious” because that is not as descriptive as “too superstitious.” The stronger word, the negative word, is “superstitious.” “Religious” obscures the wicked nature of the behavior. From God’s perspective, they were fanatics in heathenism. Remember, the city was “wholly [completely, entirely] given to idolatry” (verse 16). They had devotions, shrines, or altars dedicated to numerous deities. Yet, out of fear of perhaps overlooking a particular “higher power,” they added one particular memorial—a monument to “the unknown god” (verse 23). Had they not included this, they reasoned, that deity (if in existence) might possibly retaliate and punish them for their disrespectful negligence!

However, nearly every modern English version—including the NKJV—has the inferior reading “very religious” or “extremely religious” here. The offensive words “too superstitious” have been removed, so the thrust of Paul’s argument has been toned down (a mighty roar now a mere whimper). In the words of one English dictionary, to be “superstitious” is to “have an irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with religion.” This was precisely the problem of the Athenians: they dreaded a plethora of deities, including an “unknown god,” so it was much more than ordinary religion (paying homage to a known deity). The correct reading, the superior reading, is “too superstitious,” exactly as in our King James Bible. (Unless we are ungrateful for this light, and prefer the darkness of modern “scholarship.”)

If we would not fault Jesus for rightly calling unsaved people “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “fools,” “vipers” (Matthew chapter 23); if we would not criticize John the Baptist for labelling lost people “vipers” in Luke chapter 3 (verse 7); then we should have no issue with Paul calling the pagan Athenians “too superstitious.” This is not brutal name-calling but rather a declaration of spiritual truth. Until lost people are told just how bad off they really are, until they come to the point of realizing they need to be saved from their sins, they have no ability to see the gravity of their situation. They must take care of their sin problem at Calvary (trusting Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour) or wind up taking care of it themselves in Hell and the Lake of Fire forever!

Paul would not have complimented or praised them for their careful pagan idolatry: “I have seen with my own eyes just how very religious you Athenians are!” (This is exactly the tone of the modern English versions in Acts 17:22.) We would expect a lost person, or a Christian thinking like a lost person, to speak such words. However, a Christian under the control of the Holy Spirit would condemn such behavior. It was far more than mere religion. It was extreme superstitious nonsense, as fear-based as a belief system could be. Paul took advantage of their agnosticism—their “without knowledge” of the one true God—and began to preach Jesus Christ to them. Yet, he never actually followed through with a clear Gospel message in Athens. Why? See our related study linked below!

Also see:
» Why did Paul not give the Gospel of Grace in Acts 17?
» Should we use the term “demons?”
» What are “curious arts?”
» What about those who have not heard?
» Why does the Bible say “Have no other gods before Me?”
» How do I know I am praying to the living God and not false gods?
» I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?

What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?

WHAT IS THE “MADNESS” OF LUKE 6:11?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In the King James Bible, we read in Luke 6:11: “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.” What is this “madness?”

Confusion surrounds the passage because modern English versions departed from the centuries-old standard English reading as found in the Authorized Version. According to the King James, Christ’s critics were “filled with madness.” However, modern translations read “filled with rage” (NKJV), “furious” (NIV), and so on. Is Luke stressing their anger here? We think not! By tampering with this word, modern versions have watered down a salient truth, removing the thrust of the verse.

The idea being carried with “madness” is insanity. In Greek, it is “anoia,” literally “without understanding or mind” (related to “paranoia”). The word is found one other time in the New Testament, and it is rendered “folly” (foolishness) in 2 Timothy 3:9: “But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” Whether the corrupt religionists in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, the Egyptian magicians opposing Moses in Exodus by counterfeiting God’s work, or Israel’s apostate religious leaders challenging Jesus, they are all spiritually senseless. They have been given over to the spiritual darkness and silliness they so preferred when they rejected God’s spiritual light and wisdom! Neither God nor His servants/preachers can reason with them.

As it was true of the Gentiles/nations at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapter 10), as it is applicable of Bible-rejecters today, so Romans 1:20-25 is true of those unbelievers during Christ’s earthly ministry: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Verses 26-32 describe their additional nonsensical ideas and behaviors!)

Read the parallels of Luke 6:11. “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him” (Matthew 12:14). “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him” (Mark 3:6).They are irrational, and cannot be reasoned with. While they have their major political and religious disagreements, Jesus’ critics can all concur He needs to be taken care of. Too willfully blind to see their need for the Saviour, they are opposing the God-Man to the point of murdering Him!

In Acts 26:9-11, when the Apostle Paul is sharing his testimony, he recounts how he as Saul of Tarsus was another unbelieving Judaistic fanatic hell-bent on imprisoning and/or killing Jesus’ followers (cf. Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-22): “[9] I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. [10] Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. [11] And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.” Worse than Christ’s opponents in Matthew through John, Saul of Tarsus was also entangled with works-religion. Thankfully, Saul came to faith in Christ Jesus alone, throwing away his worthless self-righteousness and ridiculousness (Philippians chapter 3)!

For more information, refer to our “lunatick” companion study linked at the end of this article.

SUPPLEMENTAL: THE MADNESS OF MADNESS

Our English term “madness” can be traced back to the Middle English “medd, madd,” to the Old English “gemaed,” meaning “silly;” it is related to the Old High German word “gimeit,” meaning “foolish, crazy.” Although the Greek word is different (“mainomai”) from that used in Luke 6:11, the King James translators used “mad” to specify craziness as opposed to anger in five places:

  • John 10:20: “And many of them said, He [Jesus] hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?”
  • Acts 12:15: “And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.”
  • Acts 26:24: “And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.”
  • Acts 26:25: “But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.”
  • 1 Corinthians 14:23: “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”

Also see:
» What is a “lunatick?” Is it an “epileptic?”
» What is a “demon?” Is that the same as “devil?”
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?
» Does the Bible teach that mental illness is really devil possession?

What is a “lunatick?”

WHAT IS A “LUNATICK?” IS IT AN “EPILEPTIC?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The King James Bible employs the word “lunatick” in only two passages, both in the Book of Matthew.

  • Matthew 4:23-24: “[23] And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. [24] And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”
  • Matthew 17:14-16: “[14] And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, [15] Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. [16] And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.”

As the name implies, “lunatick” literally means “moonstruck.” It is not a mistranslation, as the Greek is “seleniazomai,” with “selene” meaning “moon.” This strange English name, dating back to the 14th century, was derived from the now-antiquated idea that the moon’s phases temporarily caused mental instability. Most modern English versions, however, retranslate it to mean “epileptics” (NKJV, HCSB, NASB, et cetera), “those having seizures” (NIV, ESV, et cetera), or the like. However, epilepsy seems unlikely because the ancient Greeks knew nothing of it. We should retain the King James reading and not change the Word of God, lest we lose the following insight.

“Lunatic” (KJV, “lunatick”) is not a technical word, but it was once commonly applied to anyone suffering various mental illnesses. The lunatics Jesus healed represented spiritually-insane Israel: Israel is not thinking properly, as she has refused and still refuses to let God’s Word transform her mind. We are warned not to fall into the same trap! “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). Sound Bible doctrine—especially Romans through Philemon—will guard us against spiritual lunacy!

As touching Christ’s earthly ministry, for many centuries now, the Jews have focused on pagan idols, empty works-religion, materialism—anything and everything but JEHOVAH God and the revelation He gave them! They are “filled with madness,” Luke 6:11 reports, to the point of attempting to kill the Son of God. In fact, they are so insane they accused Jesus of craziness (John 10:20)! Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul before salvation, was another “mad” man against Christ and His followers (Acts 26:11). For more information, see our Luke 6:11 companion study linked below.

Also see:
» What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?
» What is a “demon?” Is that the same as “devil?”

» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?
» Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17:14-21?
» Does the Bible teach that mental illness is really devil possession?

Must we follow along in the Bible?

MUST WE FOLLOW ALONG IN THE BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Some Christians have told me that they do not need to follow along in their Bible when a man teaches and/or preaches from it. They supposedly “know what the Bible teaches” to such an extent that them flipping through Bible pages and reading along is pointless. (Evidently, they stand on some spiritual plateau that the rest of us are still struggling to reach!) How did they get to this “I-do-not-need-to-follow-along-in-the-Bible” point in their Christian life? Can we ever hope to meet them there? Let us see what the Scriptures say.

A primary example of someone actually reading the Bible text in the Bible is the Lord Jesus Himself. He knew the Holy Bible better than any mortal man will ever know it! Yet, He valued the Scripture so much that He actually held its Isaiah scroll in hand and read from it! For the benefit of His audience, He did not quote it from memory (although He could have very easily done so). To set the example, He requested a Bible scroll, held it, searched for the passage He wanted, and then He read from it. In those days of synagogue worship and limited writing media, not everyone had a personal Bible. The synagogues had their own Bible scrolls, and curiosity seekers had to go to the synagogue to read the “Old Testament” (Law of Moses, Psalms, and Prophets). How much more should we read the Bible, we who have a personal copy!

The Bible speaks for itself in Luke chapter 4: “[14] And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. [15] And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. [16] And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. [17] And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, [18] The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, [19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. [20] And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. [21] And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

Moses was strictly commanded of God to write instructions about Israel’s king reading from the Old Testament Scriptures. We read in Deuteronomy chapter 17: “[18] And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: [19] And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: [20] That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” There would never come a time when Israel’s king would no longer need to read the Bible. Verse 18 again: “he shall read therein all the days of his life….” “All the days of his life.” “ALL the days of his life.” “ALL the days of his life.” “ALL the days of his life.” Got it?

The Apostle Paul told Timothy, a young pastor, to read the Bible. First Timothy 4:13 says, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” Timothy knew the Bible well enough to become a pastor and even teach the Bible to others. Still, he was encouraged to keep reading it. If a pastor was urged to read the Bible, how much more should the common church member be?

Just before dying, in prison, Paul again wrote to Timothy. Second Timothy 4:13: “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.” Were these “parchments” a reference to Bible scrolls? As others have commented, I agree that it is very likely. Paul evidently wanted parts of the Word of God so he could read them… even though he knew he would not be alive much longer! How much more should we who plan to live for decades more?

Paul himself had admitted years earlier in Philippians chapter 3: “[12] Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. [13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” This apostle, having preached God’s Word for 35 years at that point, and he still had not plummeted the depths of the Bible! He still had more growing, maturing, to do. He was still attempting to understand the Christian life. Paul had not yet grasped just why God had saved him on the road to Damascus all those years earlier! That was his motivation for reading God’s Word even more in his dying days.

SOME HARSH WORDS WRITTEN IN LOVE

Christians who say they do not have to follow along in their Bible when a man teaches and/or preaches from it, they are lazy. We need not sugarcoat it, dear friends. Christians who refuse to flip through the Bible and read it for themselves are deceived and lazy. They believe they can remember the Bible so well that they have no reason to actually appeal to it in written form. This is thoroughly unwise. Brethren, God never intended us to rely on our memory when it came to His Word. If He had, He would have never given us a written Bible at all. Memory fails; memory is not 100 percent reliable. You want to base your soul’s well-being on your memory? You go right on ahead—but count me out!

Timothy was a pastor and yet Paul encouraged him to give attention to reading the Bible in his own personal life. Jesus flipped through the Bible. Israel’s kings were to flip through the scrolls of the Law of Moses and read them all their days. I know pastors who have been teaching the Word of God rightly divided for 30, 40, or even 50 years. They still open their Bibles and follow along when someone is teaching or preaching. They are honest enough to admit that they have more learning to do themselves! I have been teaching the Bible for over 10 years, and yet I still like to follow along in the Scriptures when others teach from it. Personally, I think people do not like to read the Bible because the Bible “reads” them—it pricks their hearts and they resist its admonitions and rebukes.

Frankly, people who claim to “know” the Bible so much that they no longer need to open it and follow along in it, they know very little about what the Bible actually says. No one ever reaches the point of “spirituality” where they no longer need to read the Bible for themselves. What these people want to do is let the preacher, priest, or Bible teacher do all the work of flipping and reading. They, on the other hand, will just sit idly in an easy chair and bob their heads in acknowledgment. They sit in the pew and agree with everything said. Friends, the minister or Bible teacher is just as human as all of us. He will overlook letters or words. He may honestly misread the Bible text. Unless you are following along in your own Bible, you may miss subtle truths. Then, there are other ministers who are intentionally misreading verses so that their denomination/theology is supported. No one will ever check what these leaders say anyway because the audience never uses a Bible. These ministers have been to Bible College or seminary. They are expected to know what the Bible says so most will never question them. (This is the primary reason why the Body of Christ has been so deceived for so many centuries.)

Friend, indeed, follow along in the King James Bible for yourself. If you do not, you will have no valid reason to complain when religion deceives you!

Also see:
» “But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!”
» What if I do not accept the Bible’s authority?
» How do we identify false teachers?
» I am new to the Bible, so where should I begin?
» Why do I get nothing out of the Bible when I read it?
» Has God’s Word failed?

Is “Cainan” in Luke 3:36 a “scribal error?”

IS “CAINAN” IN LUKE 3:36 A “SCRIBAL ERROR?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Concerning Jesus’ genealogy through His mother Mary, we read in Luke 3:35-36: “[35] Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, [36] Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,….” Since the name “Cainan” (verse 36) does not appear in Genesis or 1 Chronicles, it is assumed to be a “scribal error.” Is that the Bible-believing position? No! Then, how do we in faith reconcile Luke’s deviation from the Old Testament family trees he was quoting?

Luke is tracing Jesus’ bloodline in reverse, so when we arrange the names chronologically, they are as follows (verses 35-36): Lamech, Noe, Sem, Arphaxad, Cainan, Salah, Heber, Phalec, Ragau, Saruch. Having organized these names to correspond to the Old Testament order, we now compare Luke to the parallel verses:

  • Genesis 10:24: “And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.”
  • Genesis 11:11-15: “[11] And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. [12] And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: [13] And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. [14] And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: [15] And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.”
  • 1 Chronicles 1:18,24-25: “[18] And Arphaxad begat Shelah, and Shelah begat Eber…. [24] Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, [25] Eber, Peleg, Reu,….”

The spelling variations can be accounted for as follows: Luke is writing in Greek, whereas Moses (Genesis) and the Chronicler (Chronicles) are writing in Hebrew. Moreover, as you discerned, there is one other discrepancy, and that is the focus of this article. Why does Luke add a “Cainan” between Arphaxad and Salah/Shelah?

Doubtless, the most common explanation is some ancient copyist accidentally looked at “Cainan” of verse 38 and incorrectly inserted it into verse 36. This phenomenon is called “homeoteleuton” (“having the same end”), common with transcriptions. We cannot and do not accept careless duplication as the reason for the “Cainan” of verse 38. It was an intentional addition of the Holy Spirit, and we will outline our reasoning here.

By the way, Luke 3:36 cannot be written off as a “King James” error either, since both the Textus Receptus of the Authorized Version and the Critical Text underlying modern English versions include the name “Cainan” or “Cainam” here. Of all the manuscripts containing Luke 3:36, only two witnesses omit this “Cainan”—papyrus P75 (A.D. 2nd/3rd century) and Codex D/Bezae (A.D 450–550). However, it should be pointed out, textual critics are not entirely sure as to the original reading of P75 here anyway. Thus, only one manuscript is without “Cainan” for certain. Could a transcription error (homeoteleuton) account for nearly all manuscripts but one having it?! Ridiculous!

Genealogies not matching verbatim is not exclusive to Luke. For example, in Matthew 1:8-9, Matthew eliminated three names found in the Old Testament genealogical records—Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah. This was done for two reasons. Firstly, these men were idolaters, which Cainan may have been as well (and thus prompted the Holy Spirit through Moses and the Chronicler to omit him from their records). Secondly, Matthew’s intention was to make three sets of 14 generations (Abraham to David, David to Babylon, and Babylon to Christ). Those three names would have made 17, offsetting Matthew’s symmetry. Also, at verse 11, Matthew stresses Jeconiah but makes no reference to Zedekiah. Plus, there is a question as to who Zerubbabel’s father actually is. (For more information, see our related Matthew studies linked at the end of this article.)

Likewise, Luke is not word-for-word with his Old Testament family trees. In fact, by adding Cainan to verse 36, the Holy Spirit through Luke totals 77 generations from Adam to Christ (thus perfectly divisible by seven, the Bible’s number of perfection or completion). Jesus is the perfect Man, “the son of” appearing 77 times in Luke 3:23-38! Eliminating “Cainan” from verse 36 to make it conform to Moses and the Chronicler, however, we have merely 76 generations in Luke. Then, Jesus therefore was not perfect in His generations. Simply put, “Cainan” is necessary in Luke 3:36; it was Luke’s original writing, and therefore belongs.

Since Matthew skipped some names to provide only three sets of 14 generations in his genealogical records, surely, we can: (1) permit Moses and the Chronicler to intentionally skip one name in their respective Books, and (2) allow Luke to insert that name not found in the Old Testament in order to show Jesus’ perfection. The Holy Spirit superintended all these men, so we need not question the infallibility of their writings. (Unless, our hearts of doubt reveal we never actually believed the Bible in the first place!) Luke only differs from Moses and the Chronicler in the case of one name; there are not dozens of extra names in Luke. The “problem” is overstated and actually imaginary.

Moreover, unfortunately, well-intended young-Earth creationists are reluctant to allow “Cainan” to remain in Luke 3:36. They argue the inclusion suggests Genesis and Chronicles have one “gap”—or more—in their genealogical records. Supposedly, this opens up the possibility for an old Earth. Therefore, they defer to the aforementioned “P75 / scribal error” argument. Again, we need not sacrifice Bible inspiration, infallibility, or preservation. All we need to do is adjust our thinking to better understand Moses’ handling of the family tree in Genesis chapters 10 and 11.

The Hebrew word (“yalad”) does not always imply the birth of immediate children. For example, it can be used more generally or broadly to refer to grandchildren (for example, see the sons Jacob’s wives “bare” [“yalad”] unto him; Genesis 46:15,18,22,25). Likewise, Arphaxad was actually Salah’s grandfather instead of his immediate father. Cainan was Salah’s immediate father. Yet, Arphaxad is still a “father” to Salah because he is Salah’s progenitor or ancestor; he still “begot” Salah through his own son Cainan (which fact only Luke reveals). Remember, Jesus is David’s “son” and David is Jesus’ “father,” but this is in the sense of great-(40X) grandson and great-(40X) grandfather. The sense is forefather and posterity, with a millennium separating them, but still an unbroken bloodline nonetheless (Luke 1:31-33).

CONCLUSION

“Cainan” belongs in Luke 3:36. It was always part of Luke! The Holy Spirit is responsible, not some thoughtless scribe. Contrary to popular belief, inserting “Cainan” into Genesis and Chronicles in no way introduces extra years into the chronology of Genesis 11:12. Arphaxad was still 35 years old when his son (Cainan) fathered his grandson Salah. We do not make the Bible more favorable to evolutionary theory (old Earth) by letting Luke 3:36 stand as is. However, in our impulsive fervor to refute secular errors, we actually do introduce a mistake into the Bible. Claiming Luke 3:36 has a “scribal error,” thus removing “Cainan,” only discredits the very Book we claim to believe!

A better way to look at Luke 3:36 is simply to see it as progressive revelation. The Holy Spirit caused Moses and the Chronicler to skip Cainan’s generation when recording family information (reason unknown—perhaps idolatry?) but had Luke write it because Luke was focused specifically on Jesus being Israel’s Messiah perfect in His 77 generations. Without Luke, we would have never known a Cainan existed between Arphaxad and Salah.

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A s for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?
» Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?
» Does Acts 7:6 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:43 have mistakes?
» Does Acts 7:16 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:14 have a mistake?