Category Archives: JUST ASKING / CURIOUS QUESTIONS

What does “ado” mean?

WHAT DOES “ADO” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

It is a bizarre little word, found only once in a King James Bible. Mark 5:39 tells us, “And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” What could “ado” mean?

One way to discover the meaning is to scan the context (previous verse). “And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” To further amplify our understanding, we turn to Matthew chapter 9 for the parallel account: “[23] And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, [24] He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.”

The Greek word for “ado” is “thorybeo,” and it was rendered “making a noise” in Matthew (see above). In the wake of Jairus’ daughter’s death, loved ones are crying and moaning, professional mourners are grieving, and musicians (flutists) are playing a sad song. What a “tumult” or commotion! Such “trouble” struck those who witnessed Eutychus’ tragic death in Acts 20:10. The city of Thessalonica was “set on an uproar” because unbelieving Jews stirred it up against the Apostle Paul and other Christians (Acts 17:5). Similar disturbances or upheavals can be found in Matthew 26:5, Matthew 27:24, Mark 5:38, Mark 14:2, Acts 20:1, Acts 21:34, and Acts 24:18.

“Ado” may seem strange to us, but it is really an abbreviated form of two familiar words. In Middle English (1300s), it was the infinitive phrase “at do,” with the original sense being “action, business.” Later, the “t” in “at” was dropped and the expression became “ado.”

Also see:
» What does “subvert” mean?
» What does “implacable” mean?
» What does “fetch a compass” mean?

Can you explain Psalm 22:20-21?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN PSALM 22:20-21?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How should we handle these two verses from Psalm 22? “[20] Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. [21] Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.” Several enigmatic references make this passage a real challenge. How is a “sword” involved? What is “my darling?” Why is there a reference to a “dog?” Are not “unicorns” fiction?

As always, we look at the context to gather some basic clues. Psalm 22:1-19, of course, deals with Christ’s crucifixion. Verse 1 matches Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34, with Jesus crying out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Verses 7-8 are fulfilled in Matthew 27:39-44, Mark 15:29-32, and Luke 23:35-37: His tormentors sit before His cross, staring and taunting Him. Verse 18 corresponds to Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, and John 19:24-25—they took His clothes and parted them amongst themselves.

Beginning with Psalm 22:22, and going to the end of the chapter, we see Christ’s resurrection and subsequent reign as King. “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” This, of course, is quoting Messiah 10 centuries before He actually said it in Hebrews 2:12. If you look at Hebrews 2:5-18, you will read about Jesus ruling as King over Israel in the Millennium (1,000 years). Most importantly, He identifies with and fellowships with His Little Flock, the Jewish believing remnant that has come to Him by faith. “For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations” (Psalm 22:28).

When writing Psalm 22 as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance, King David penned in accordance with the other Old Testament Prophets: “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11). Although they did not have as much understanding as we do with a completed Bible, they wrote and preached concerning Christ’s First Coming (“sufferings of Christ”—crucifixion) and His Second Coming (“glory that should follow”—kingdom reign). In case you have not detected it yet, Psalm 22 can be divided into these two units.

Psalm 22:20-21 sits between Jesus’ crucifixion to die and His resurrection to reign. They are actually His burial, His activity in the spirit world while His physical body is in the grave. “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). We will take Psalm 22:20-21 phrase by phrase, line by line, and show you how to frame it in context. “Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.” Simply put, it is the Lord Jesus Christ praying to (asking) His Heavenly Father to come to His rescue now that He is dead.

WHAT ABOUT THE “SWORD?”

What is the “sword” in “deliver my soul from the sword?” Some would draw a parallel between this and the “sword” of Zechariah 13:7 and Matthew 26:31. However, Zechariah and Matthew are speaking of the Father’s sword attacking the Son’s soul: “Awake, O my sword, against the man that is my fellow [my equal, my associate]….” This is the Father talking about His judgment against the Son. If we consider all of Psalm 22:20-21, the “sword” has to be something else.

Acknowledging the parallelism of Psalm 22:20-21 is the best way to see the passage:

  • “Deliver my soul from the sword,” “my darling from the power of the dog,” and “Save me from the lion’s mouth” are three different ways of saying the same thing.
  • “My soul,” “my darling,” and “me” are all Jesus Christ.
  • “The sword,” “the power of the dog,” and “the lion’s mouth” are three distinctive references to Satan.

WHAT ABOUT THE “DARLING?”

Why would Christ refer to His soul as His “darling?” The Hebrew is “yachiyd,” and our 1611 King James translators rendered it other ways too. For example, it is translated with respect to Isaac being Abraham’s “only” son (Genesis 22:2,12,16). It is “only child” concerning Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11:34). See also Proverbs 4:3 (“only beloved”), Jeremiah 6:26 (“only son”), Amos 8:10 (“only son”), and Zechariah 12:10 (“only son”). It is rendered “solitary” in Psalm 68:6, and “desolate” in Psalm 25:16. When Jesus called His soul His “darling,” He meant something that was dear to Him. It is that which is unique and irreplaceable. This idea is repeated in the parallelism of Psalm 35:17: “Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.” (Check verse 11, and then compare that to Mark 14:57-58. Look at verse 19, and cross-reference that with John 15:24-25. Like Psalm 22, Psalm 35 is another Messianic passage that King David wrote. It foretells Jesus Christ’s earthly life and ministry.)

WHAT ABOUT THE “DOG?”

According to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, the Hebrew word for “dog” is “keleb,” from a root meaning “yelp” (barking) or “attack.” Dogs are “rabid” or violent—as in persecuting enemies. “In the East, troops of fierce half-famished dogs, without masters, are often wandering around the towns and villages.” This is supported by such verses as 1 Kings 14:11, 1 Kings 16:4, and 2 Kings 9:10. “Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it.” “Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.” “And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled.” (Also see 1 Kings 21:19,23-24; 1 Kings 22:38; 2 Kings 9:36.)

The Jews regarded dogs not as pets like we do but rather unclean scavenger animals. “And ye shall be holy men unto me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs (Exodus 22:31). Jeremiah 15:3: “And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.” Hence, despised men are called “dogs” in Scripture (1 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 3:8; 2 Samuel 9:8; 2 Samuel 16:9; 2 Kings 8:13).

When commissioning His Apostles and other believers, Jesus warned of the persecution they would face because they were fighting against Satan working in Israel. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15). “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). “Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves (Luke 10:3). “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly” (Proverbs 26:11; cf. 2 Peter 2:1-22, especially verse 22). These “wolves” are not actual animals, but rather ferocious, unbelieving men who teach lies in the name of religion. Like physical dogs, they attack opposition with utter brutality.

The Apostle Paul thus advised: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30). Also, Philippians 3:2: “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.”

Psalm 22:16 says concerning Christ watching the unbelievers coming before His cross and making fun of Him: “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” They are vicious and animalistic in their treatment of Him! Satan is the cruelest and fiercest of creatures, which is why he is rightly called a “dog” in Psalm 22:20.

WHAT ABOUT THE “UNICORNS?”

As for “unicorns,” that requires special treatment, so please see our related “mythological animals” study linked at the end of this article. Keeping the notion in context, it must apply to the spirit world in which Christ was during the three days and three nights He was physically dead.

CONCLUSION

The parallelism of Psalm 22:20-21 is the best method of grasping the passage:

  • “Deliver my soul from the sword,” “my darling from the power of the dog,” and “Save me from the lion’s mouth” are three different ways of saying the same thing. They refer to Jesus praying to the Father to rescue Him from physical death—that is, resurrect Him (cf. Psalm 16:8-11 and Acts 2:22-36). Satan is trying to keep Him dead, but He will burst forth in physical life most triumphantly (Hebrews 2:12-15; Revelation 1:17-18)!
  • “My soul,” “my darling,” and “me” are all Jesus Christ personally. “Darling” underscores the uniqueness and irreplaceability of His soul.
  • “The sword,” “the power of the dog,” and “the lion’s mouth” are three distinctive references to Satan and his evil deeds that interfere with God’s work. The Devil is also likened unto a lion in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:….” Also, notice Paul’s fight with Satan as he conducted his apostolic ministry. Second Timothy 4:17: “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”

Also see:
» What about the “mythological” animals in Scripture?
» Where was Jesus during the three days between His death and resurrection?
» Can you explain 1 Peter 3:18-21?

What about the “mythological” animals in Scripture?

WHAT ABOUT THE “MYTHOLOGICAL” ANIMALS IN SCRIPTURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In a desperate effort to disparage and discredit the King James Bible, skeptics point to these “imaginary” animals as proof that Scripture is not inerrant. They jest as follows: “The Bible is nothing but a book of fairytales because it says dragons, satyrs, unicorns, and cockatrices exist. We should not take it literally because it has no basis in reality.” Can we answer these charges? Yes, we most certainly can—and will (!)—reply with an intelligent response!

WHAT ABOUT “DRAGONS?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a “dragon” is “a mythical monster like a giant reptile.” It continues, “In European tradition the dragon is typically fire-breathing and tends to symbolize chaos or evil, whereas in East Asia it is usually a beneficent symbol of fertility, associated with water and the heavens.” The word originated from a Middle English term that also denotes a large serpent. Actually, the name comes to us from Old French, via Latin from Greek “drakon” (“serpent”).

The term “dragon” appears in excess of 30 times in a King James Bible. In Hebrew, it is “tanniyn.” Genesis 1:21 renders it “whales” (as in sea monsters): “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” This seems to be the sense of Job 7:12: “Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?” Also, Jeremiah 51:34 may be speaking of a sea monster: “Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.” Psalm 148:7 fits with this idea too: “Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:….” Lastly, Jeremiah 51:34: “Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.”

On three occasions, it was translated “serpent.” See Exodus chapter 7: “[9] When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. [10] And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent…. [12] For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” This would seem to be the sense of Deuteronomy 32:33: “Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” (An “asp” is a venomous snake.)

The “dragon” in Jeremiah 14:6 is enigmatic; we have no way of knowing what it is. “And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.” Neither can we say what the “dragon” is in Nehemiah 2:13: “And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.”

A dozen Bible verses link “dragons” to ruins and desert places:

  • Job 30:29: “I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.”
  • Isaiah 13:22: “And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.”
  • Isaiah 34:13: “And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.”
  • Isaiah 35:7: “And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.”
  • Isaiah 43:20: “The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.”
  • Jeremiah 9:11: “And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.”
  • Jeremiah 10:22: “Behold, the noise of the bruit [report, news] is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.”
  • Jeremiah 49:33: “And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.”
  • Jeremiah 51:37: “And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.”
  • Micah 1:8: “Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.”
  • Malachi 1:3: “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”

In the above verses, the Bible writers may have been referring to physical animals they observed in Palestine thousands of years ago. These creatures may have since gone extinct. Some suppose it to be “jackal,” but this author views that as rather absurd. Be that as it may, we must also bear in mind, that some of these passages are prophetic—future. The verses from Isaiah and some from Jeremiah have not been fulfilled yet: they look forward to Christ’s return in fiery wrath, when He judges Babylon. (See our “satyr” remarks later in this study.) Perhaps they are creatures from the spirit world, and resemble the dragons of mythology!

Psalm 44:19 seems to indicate “dragons” are connected to the spirit world or death: “Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.” Whatever they are, they are real beings because the Bible says they are. Most importantly, we must not forget to see the spiritual aspect of the dragon in Scripture. As noted earlier, the word originated from a Middle English term that also denotes a large serpent. The word comes to us from Old French, via Latin from Greek “drakon” (“serpent”). Bearing in mind the etymological relationship between “snake” and “dragon,” we better appreciate how the Bible pairs them when applying those titles to Satan figuratively.

  • Isaiah 27:1: “In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” Here is Satan’s destruction at Christ’s Second Coming, which is also pictured in Job chapter 41.
  • Isaiah 51:9: “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?” Again, this is Satan’s destruction at Christ’s Second Coming.
  • Ezekiel 29:3: “Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.” While there is a historical application, this too may be Christ destroying Satan as His Second Coming.
  • Psalm 74:13-14: “[13] Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. [14] Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.” Once more, this is Satan’s destruction at Christ’s Second Coming.
  • Psalm 91:13: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” Here is God’s promise to the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, that they will overcome Satan upon Christ’s return. The Devil deliberately omitted this from his quotation of Psalm 91 in Matthew 4:6 and Luke 4:10-11!

Revelation chapter 12: “[3] And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. [4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born…. [7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,…. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. [13] And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child…. [16] And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. [17] And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Revelation chapter 13: “[2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority…. [4] And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?…. [11] And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon…. [13] And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”

As Revelation 12:9 reveals, the “dragon” in the Revelation is none other than Satan, the Devil. Lest we fail to make the connection, it is repeated in Revelation 20:2: “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,….” Satan is a “serpent” in character, sneaky or duplicitous, as seen in Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made” (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Ephesians 4:14, and Ephesians 6:11).

WHAT ABOUT “SATYRS?”

As defined in The Oxford English Dictionary, a “satyr” is “[Greek mythology] one of a class of lustful, drunken woodland gods. In Greek art they were represented as a man with a horse’s ears and tail, but in Roman representations as a man with a goat’s ears, tail, legs, and horns.”

“Satyr” appears just twice in King James Bible. “But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there” (Isaiah 13:21). “The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest” (Isaiah 34:14). Some make these verses references to baboons—and translate the Hebrew thusly—but this seems ridiculous and not worthy of our consideration.

The Hebrew is “sa`iyr,” meaning “hairy.” It was used two times to refer to Esau the brother of Jacob (Genesis 27:11,23). Almost 30 times it was translated “kid,” a young goat. Two dozen times it was rendered “goat.” Interestingly, it was twice translated “devils”—a goat-idol the ancient Hebrews worshipped. “And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations” (Leviticus 17:7). “And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made” (2 Chronicles 11:15).

Regarding the two quotes we read from Isaiah at the beginning of this section, “satyrs” are connected to cursed Babylon (cf. Isaiah 13:19) and cursed Bozrah and Idumea (cf. Isaiah 34:6). Like “dragons,” they are found in desolate or ruined regions. Babylon is near present Baghdad, Iraq, whereas Bozrah and Idumea are south of the Dead Sea. These are two areas to be judged with fire at Christ’s Second Coming: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;…” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Read Isaiah chapter 34: “[8] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. [9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. [10] It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.” Compare this to Revelation 14:9-11.

Could there be some type of real creature that resembles a satyr—a half-goat/half-man being? After all, we read earlier about the goat-idol the ancient Israelites worshipped. Even today, the “Baphomet” idol of Satanists is partly man and partly goat. What could inspire such a horrific image? This should not surprise us, as we see a creature equally disturbing in the Book of the Revelation. Look at these “locusts” of chapter 9, and you will see they are no ordinary grasshoppers!

“[1] And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. [2] And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. [3] And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. [4] And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. [5] And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. [6] And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

“[7] And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. [8] And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. [9] And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. [10] And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. [11] And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.”

These beings from the “bottomless pit” (spirit world) have a face like a man, hair like a woman, teeth like a lion, and tails with stingers like scorpions. They can fly, and generate a great deal of noise when swarming. Such a dreadful sight and sound! They indeed are monsters—but exist in the spirit world. We cannot see them with physical eyes yet they exist. Sin has corrupted even these fallen angels, and, one day, they will work with Satan to torment lost mankind during Daniel’s 70th Week. We can consider the “satyrs” as just another group of these deformed and evil beings, to be let lose in the ages to come (after our Dispensation of Grace).

WHAT ABOUT “UNICORNS?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a “unicorn” is “a mythical animal represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.” “Unicorns” appear nine times in the King James Bible. The Hebrew word is “re’em.” Notice them:

  • Numbers 23:22: “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”
  • Numbers 24:8: “God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.”
  • Deuteronomy 33:17: “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”
  • Job 39:9: “Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?”
  • Job 39:10: “Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?”
  • Psalm 22:21: “Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”
  • Psalm 29:6: “He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”
  • Psalm 92:10: “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”
  • Isaiah 34:7: “And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.”

Various ideas have been offered to explain what “unicorns” are in Scripture. Some believe them to be a buffalo, an ox, or even an antelope called an “oryx.” A general explanation is a wild bull. Based on the description in the above verses (Numbers and Job), whatever the “unicorn” was, it was a beast of burden. It is associated with a bull or calf. We would do well, again, to notice the spiritual connection. “Unicorns” appear at Christ’s Second Coming (remember Isaiah chapter 34 and the dragons and satyrs?). There may very well be spirit creatures that have just a single horn on their forehead. Never forget: cherubim, in addition to having four wings and a calf’s hooves, have four faces—a man’s face, a lion’s face, an ox’s face, and an eagle’s face (Ezekiel 1:5-10)!

In the case of Psalm 22:21, this is Christ Jesus during the three days and three nights He was dead, and in the heart of the earth. He was with “unicorns”—that is, in the spirit world, where Satan was attempting to keep him and prevent His resurrection. For more information, see the Psalm 22:20-21 study linked at the end of this article.

WHAT ABOUT “COCKATRICES?”

In The Oxford English Dictionary, a “cockatrice” is “[heraldry] a mythical animal depicted as a two-legged dragon (or wyvern) with a cock’s [rooster’s] head.” “Cockatrices” appear four times in the King James Bible. The Hebrew word is “tsepha`.” Look at those now:

  • Isaiah 11:8: “And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.”
  • Isaiah 14:29: “Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.”
  • Isaiah 59:5: “They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.”
  • Jeremiah 8:17: “For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.”

Are these “make-believe” verses? No! It should be pointed out that “tsepha`” was also rendered “adder.” Proverbs 23:32: “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” A “cockatrice” in the Bible is a venomous snake, and, as you can see, the context of all these verses is definitely snake-oriented. Beyond that, we cannot be sure what it is. Perhaps it was a type of animal alive on Earth in Bible days that has since become extinct. Once more, the idea is certainly related to Satan (remember “dragon” and “snake”). Go back and check Isaiah 14:29 (see Lucifer/Satan in the context, verses 12-15 in particular).

CONCLUSION

The Bible sometimes uses “dragons” and “serpents” interchangeably because of their resemblance. In fact, a dragon in Scripture is often used figuratively of Satan to underscore his craftiness (as in the common idiom, “a snake in the grass”). Other times, however, “dragons” and “serpents” are not synonymous. A “dragon” can even be a sea monster—such as the whale or fish that swallowed Jonah. As with every Bible term, let the context restrict the meaning!

Concerning “satyrs,” they are half-man and half-goat beings in Greek mythology. As touching the Bible, they are certainly associated with goats—namely, a goat-idol that is a physical representation of an invisible, evil spirit creature. These are fallen angels, undergoing the deteriorating and disfiguring effects of sin. The “unicorns” are most enigmatic. Scripture speaks of them as strong beasts of burden, which existed in Bible days. Yet, there is a spiritual connection because they are associated with Christ’s death and resurrection. Regarding “cockatrices,” they are a type of venomous snake in Scripture. They have some relation to Satan, the serpent.

These creatures, even if they never existed on Earth, are linked to and exist in the spirit world—namely, Hell and accomplishing Satan’s work. We never want to discount the fact that various animals of the ancient world have gone extinct, and this is just as valid an explanation. Maybe the Bible writers were alluding to physical animals alive in their day. Then again, some were spirit beings God afforded them the opportunity to see in order to write His Word. As Bible believers, we should not and do not see their inclusion as a challenge to the historicity or literalness of the Scriptures. Even when employing metaphorical or figurative language, the Bible communicates literal truth. For example, while Satan is not an actual snake with scales and fangs, he nevertheless is a serpent in character—sly, deceptive, insidious. We use such terminology when describing people, do we not? Why are we so opposed to the Scripture doing the same? (Perhaps we have an agenda to shame it so we have an excuse not to believe it when it speaks of our sin problem?!)

(By the way, if someone should mock a Bible believer for saying “dragons” exist, just politely remind them of “make-believe” “Komodo dragons” and “bearded dragons.” That should reduce them to silence!)

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:
» Can you explain Psalm 22:20-21?
» What about the “talking snake” of Genesis 3?
» What swallowed Jonah—a fish or a whale?
» “But, what if I don’t accept the Bible’s authority?”

What is the “hoary head” in the Bible?

WHAT IS THE “HOARY HEAD” IN THE BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

God’s Word makes five references to the “hoary head.” Exactly what is it?

Overall, the King James Bible uses the term “hoar” nine times (including paired five times with “head”). Look at these nine instances and use context clues to gain the meaning:

  • Exodus 16:14: “And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.” What color is frost on the ground?
  • Leviticus 19:32: “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” Did you see how the words “hoary head” and “old man” are used interchangeably?
  • 1 Kings 2:6,9: “[6] Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. [9] Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.”
  • Job 38:29: “Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?” Again, what color is frost?
  • Job 41:32: “He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.”
  • Psalm 147:16: “He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.” Once more, what is the hue of the frost on the ground?
  • Proverbs 16:31: The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.”
  • Isaiah 46:4: “And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Again, notice how “old age” and “hoar hairs” are connected.

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “hoar” is archaic poetry/literary term meaning “greyish white; grey or grey-haired with age.” It is derived from the Old English hār, of Germanic origin; related to German hehr “majestic, noble.”

The word “hoary” refers to the color gray or white, so the “hoary head” is better known as a senior citizen or elderly person. Old age is not necessarily good, be sure to notice; it is not automatically bad either. It can be advantageous, as Proverbs 16:31 says: “The hoary head is a crown [distinguishing mark] of glory [honor or praise], if it be found in the way of righteousness.” However, there are plenty of people who are both aged and foolish. If they are unsaved, they are certainly not wise concerning spiritual matters. “Way” here is in the sense of “way of living, course of action, manner of conduct.”

As a final note, the Hebrew word rendered “hoary” is “seybah,” and was translated “old age” six times (Genesis 15:15; Genesis 25:8; Judges 8:32; Ruth 4:15; 1 Chronicles 29:28; Psalm 92:14), as well as “gray hairs” five times (Genesis 42:38; Genesis 44:29,31; Deuteronomy 32:25; Hosea 7:9), “grayheaded” once (Psalm 71:18), and “gray head” one time (Proverbs 20:29).

Also see:
» Does God suffer from Alzheimer’s disease?
» What happens after death?
» Why is the Bible Book of “Ecclesiastes” thus named?

What distance is “a stone’s cast?”

WHAT DISTANCE IS “A STONE’S CAST?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Luke 22:41, we read of the Lord Jesus Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal and arrest: “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,….” Exactly how far is “a stone’s cast?”

Various and sundry definitions exist, but we can begin by establishing two simple rules of interpretation. Firstly, it basically means how far one can throw (cast) a stone. Of course, this is rather vague, as the size of the stone and strength of the thrower greatly influence the final distance. Secondly, we appeal to other verses for enlightenment. Matthew records it as: “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed…” (26:39). Mark’s version reads like this: “And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that,…” (14:35). Scripture twice delineates a “stone’s cast” as “a little” distance.

The precise physical space between Jesus and His three Apostles (Peter, James, and John) does not matter, since the Holy Spirit did not provide an exact measurement. One final comment we can make is Jesus was likely praying within earshot—that is, He was close enough for them to hear Him praying. After all, He encouraged them to pray with Him. “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-41).

Also see:
» Did Judas Iscariot have to betray Christ?
» Why did Jesus select evil Judas Iscariot to be an apostle?
» How did Satan “take” the Lord Jesus during His temptations?

At what age did Jesus Christ die?

AT WHAT AGE DID CHRIST DIE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Holy Bible provides two methods for establishing Christ’s age when He died on Calvary’s tree for our sins.

Firstly, He was approximately 30 years old when He began His earthly ministry: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,…” (Luke 3:23). His ministry lasted just three years, according to Luke chapter 13: “[6] He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. [7] Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? [8] And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: [9] And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” Therefore, we conclude Jesus was about 33 years old when He died.

Secondly, John’s Gospel Record uniquely provides a schedule of yearly Passover feasts held during Christ’s earthly ministry. Chapter 2 (verses 1-11) relates Jesus’ first miracle—transforming water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. This was near the first Passover (verses 13,23). A second Passover seems to be implied in John 5:1, although it is not explicitly named in Scripture like the others. Chapter 6, verse 4, is another Passover. Finally, John 11:5 onward (12:1; 13:1; 18:28,39; 19:14) is the fourth and last Passover—the one during which Jesus dies. In other words, we find three years among these four annual Passovers.

We can finetune our answer. If we date Christ’s birth in late September—the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, as opposed to December 25th—that adds a little more insight into His final age. (See our related study linked below.) Passover was held in the Jewish month Abib (or Nisan), roughly equivalent to our April (technically, it covers the latter half of March and the first half of April). To wit, if Christ died in April, and He had just turned 33 the previous September, He was an extra half-year old at His death. Therefore, He would have been executed at age 33½ years. Quite young indeed!

Also see:
» Was Jesus really born on December 25th?
» How long was Christ’s earthly ministry?
» Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?

What is “leasing” in the King James Bible?

WHAT IS “LEASING” IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word “leasing” is found twice in the Authorized Version. Both occurrences are in the Book of Psalms. “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah” (4:2). “Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man” (5:6).

We often think of “leasing” in terms of finance or business—that is, renting, or paying to use another’s property. Of course, if applied to the Scriptures above, this sense is nonsense. “Leasing,” in the Bible, is something spoken (Psalm 5:6). Let us try using the context to understand what is going on here. Scanning Psalm 4 is of no help, but Psalm 5 says in verse 9: “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.” Anything spoken that is not faithful is something not worthy of our faith or trust. In other words, it is a lie. As you might have guessed, our English term “leasing” (in the Bible sense) is derived from an Old English word “leasung,” from “leasian” (“to lie”), itself from “leas” (“false”).

The Hebrew word is “kazab,” and was rendered “lies,” “lying,” “deceitful,” “false,” and “liar” nearly 30 times in our King James Bible (Judges 16:10,13; Psalm 40:4; Psalm 58:3; Psalm 62:4,9; Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 14:5,25; Proverbs 19:5,9,22; Proverbs 21:28; Proverbs 23:3; Proverbs 30:8; Isaiah 28:15,17; Ezekiel 13:6-9,19; Ezekiel 21:29; Ezekiel 22:28; Daniel 11:27; Hosea 7:13; Hosea 12:1; Amos 2:4; Zephaniah 3:13).

Also see:
» Is “corn” a mistake in the King James Bible?
» Why does the King James Bible say, “pisseth against the wall?”
» Is “rooms” a King James Bible mistake in Matthew 23:6?

Who were the “Epicureans” and the “Stoicks?”

WHO WERE THE “EPICUREANS” AND THE “STOICKS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

They appear only once, Acts chapter 17: “[16] Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. [17] Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. [18] Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. [19] And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? [20] For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. [21] (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)”

In short, the Epicureans and the Stoicks were adherents to competing schools of pagan philosophy. For a more detailed analysis, consult the following information.

EPICUREANS

The word “Epicureans” means “defenders, helpers.” Dr. Scofield wrote the following marginal note: “Disciples of Epicurus, B.C. 342-271, who abandoned as hopeless the search by reason for pure truth (cf. John 18.38), seeking instead true pleasure through experience.”

Smith’s Bible Dictionary says: “Derived their name from Epicurus (342–271 B.C.), a philosopher of Attic descent, whose ‘Garden’ at Athens rivalled in popularity the ‘Porch’ and the ‘Academy.’ The doctrines of Epicurus found wide acceptance in Asia Minor and Alexandria. (95–50 B.C.) The object of Epicurus was to find in philosophy a practical guide to happiness. True pleasure and not absolute truth was the end at which he aimed; experience and not reason the test on which he relied. It is obvious that a system thus framed would degenerate by a natural descent into mere materialism; and in this form Epicurism was the popular philosophy at the beginning of the Christian era. When St. Paul addressed ‘Epicureans and Stoics,’ Acts 17:18, at Athens, the philosophy of life was practically reduced to the teaching of these two antagonistic schools.”

STOICKS

The word “Stoics” means “of the portico,” referring to a porch in Athens (more on this later). Regarding them, Dr. Scofield said: “Disciples of Zeno, B.C. 280, and Chrysippus, B.C. 240. This philosophy was founded on human self-sufficiency, inculcated stern self-repression, the solidarity of the race, and the unity of Deity. Epicureans and Stoics divided the apostolic world.”

Smith’s Bible Dictionary thus defines them: “The Stoics and Epicureans, who are mentioned together in Acts 17:28, represent the two opposite schools of practical philosophy which survived the fall of higher speculation in Greece. The Stoic school was founded by Zeno of Citium (cir. B.C. 280), and derived its name from the painted portico at Athens in which he taught. Zeno was followed by Cleanthes (cir. B.C. 260); Cleanthes by Chrysippus (cir. B.C. 240), who was regarded as the intellectual founder of the Stoic system. ‘They regarded God and the world as power and its manifestation, matter being a passive ground in which dwells the divine energy. Their ethics were a protest against moral indifference, and to live in harmony with nature, conformably with reason and the demands of universal good, and in the utmost indifference to pleasure, pain and all external good or evil, was their fundamental maxim.’—American Cyclopaedia. The ethical system of the Stoics has been commonly supposed to have a close connection with Christian morality; but the morality of Stoicism is essentially based on pride, that of Christianity on humility; the one upholds individual independence, the other absolute faith in another; the one looks for consolation in the issue of fate, the other in Providence; the one is limited by periods of cosmic ruin, the other is consummated in personal resurrection. Acts 17:18. But in spite of the fundamental error of Stoicism, which lies in a supreme egotism, the teaching of this school gave a wide currency to the noble doctrines of the fatherhood of God, the common bonds of mankind, the sovereignty of the soul. Among their most prominent representatives were Zeno and Antipater of Tarsus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius.”

If you read Paul’s sermon (Acts 17:22-31), you will see the Holy Spirit through the Apostle reasoning with these pagans to come to faith in Jesus Christ and thus abandon their vain philosophical nonsense. Although a few believed, the majority refused. They favored their religious error!

Also see:
» Why did Paul not give the Gospel of Grace in Acts 17?
» How long should I keep witnessing to the same person?
» Would God want me to share the Gospel?

Can you explain Titus 1:12?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN TITUS 1:12?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Could you explain Titus 1:12? “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.” Friend, it would be a pleasure!

An island in the Mediterranean Sea, Crete lies south of the Aegean Sea and southwest of Turkey. The Apostle Paul visited it briefly in Acts 27:7-12, en route to Rome. He also evidently stayed there temporarily after the Book of Acts ended, as Titus 1:5 indicates: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee….” He left Titus, a young preacher (likely older than Timothy), to continue the grace ministry on the island. Now, some time has passed, and Paul writes to Titus to instruct him further. As with every local assembly even today, there are problems among the Christians of Crete. To some extent, they are believing and teaching false doctrine. Moreover, there is widespread misbehavior. With background established, we proceed to expounding the verse.

EPIMENIDES, THE “PROPHET” OF CRETE

When Paul refers to “one of themselves, even a prophet of their own,” he is not talking about an Old Testament prophet or even a New Testament prophet. Epimenides was a pagan Greek poet and philosopher who lived in the sixth century B.C. He himself was from Crete—the city of Knossos, to be exact. The Greeks held him in high regard.

Epimenides, in his work “Cretica” (second line), wrote of the Cretians’ lifestyle back during the time before the Gospel of Grace had even gone to these Gentiles. Several hundred years later, the Cretians still have a reputation for gross misconduct. Epimenides’ words are now proverbial, a common saying. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul, in the A.D. first century, declares it to be substantiated! It is not a baseless charge, mere gossip, a false accusation. No, the news of the Cretians is true… 500 years after Epimenides first commented on it! Moreover, it describes some Christians living on Crete, those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ! Hence, Paul orders Titus to sternly fuss or scold them: “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;….” Read all the Book of Titus.

“THE CRETIANS ARE ALWAY LIARS”

This is not “always” (eternally, without end) but “alway” (all the way, completely, entirely). Epimenides, in his writing, accused the Cretians of repeating what he thought was a lie—the Greek king of the gods, Zeus, was dead and buried on Crete. The philosopher was outraged, since he considered Zeus immortal! Paul’s argument does not so much concern this “lie” per se, but simply highlights one of the Cretians identified them as being dishonest. The Holy Spirit through Paul agrees they are deceitful about various issues… including false teaching and false teachers (see verses 9-16)!

“THE CRETIANS ARE… EVIL BEASTS”

“Evil” is self-explanatory. Obviously, “beasts” is to be understood as “bestial, savage, wild, ferocious, cruel, brute.” These are not literal animals but rather people who behave like animals. Scripture repeatedly uses this term for the Antichrist (Revelation 11:7; Revelation 13:1-4,12,14-15,17-18; Revelation 14:9,11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2,10,13; Revelation 17:3,7-8,11-13,16,17; Revelation 19:19-20; Revelation 20:4,10).

“THE CRETIANS ARE… SLOW BELLIES”

“Slow”—elsewhere translated in the King James Bible as “idle” (Matthew 12:36; Matthew 20:3,6; 1 Timothy 5:13) and “barren” (2 Peter 1:8) in the King James Bible—is defined as “sluggish to move or work.” They habitually sit or lie around. To wit, they are lazy.

If someone is intelligent, we say he or she is a “brain.” It is as if the person’s body consists of nothing but a brain. Similarly, when the Cretians are called “bellies,” it is like their whole body is a stomach! Gluttony, overindulgence with food, has consumed them. Greediness is their reputation. Overall, they lounge about and eat everything they can!

SUPPLEMENTAL: ACTS 17 AND EPIMENIDES

When preaching God’s Word to the ignorant, pagan, idolatrous philosophers of Athens in Acts chapter 17 (verses 16-34), the Apostle Paul said, in part: “[27] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being” is actually another quote from Epimenides (“Cretica,” same work alluded to Titus 1:12, but this is from the fourth line whereas Titus quotes the second line). Evidently, Paul was conversant in Epimenides’ writings. It is okay for us to read non-biblical books—provided the King James Bible is our final authority. Paul wisely appealed to something with which the pagans of Athens were familiar and accepted. As for the phrase, “For we are also his offspring,” he took that from the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus (315–245 B.C.), his poem on astronomy titled “Phaenomena.” Likewise, we should read and familiarize ourselves with pertinent literature when dealing with people from world religions, denominations, cults, sects, and so on. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Proverbs 18:13).

Also see:
» What are “evil communications” in 1 Corinthians 15:33?
» Should we read denominational literature?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?

Who was “Caesar?”

WHO WAS “CAESAR?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Like “Herod,” “Caesar” is a title applicable to several men. Whereas “Herod” was the appellation given to Idumean (Gentile/Edomite) kings who reigned over parts of Palestine during the A.D. first century, “Caesar” pertained to the rulers of the Roman Empire. Meaning “severed,” Julius Caesar was first to use the name and his successors adopted it for themselves. Five Roman emperors governed the then-known world during New Testament times, with three explicitly named in Scripture and one implied. This is just one of several examples of the Bible’s historical accuracy, how secular history agrees with it. It is certainly not a Book of myths and fables, neither fantasy nor fiction!

  1. AUGUSTUS (reigned 27 B.C.–A.D. 14). “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed” (Luke 2:1). Jesus Christ was born during this time, circa 7–4 B.C.
  2. TIBERIUS (reigned A.D. 14–37). “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,…” (Luke 3:1). He was Roman emperor throughout Christ’s earthly ministry, ruling up until roughly seven years after Calvary. See Matthew 22:17,21; Mark 12:14,16-17; Luke 20:22,24-25; Luke 23:2; and John 19:12,15.
  3. CALIGULA (reigned A.D. 37–41). While Scripture does not mention him by name, he would have ruled no later than Acts chapter 11. See #4 below.
  4. CLAUDIUS (reigned A.D. 41–54). “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar(Acts 11:28). The “Caesar” of Acts 17:7 is either him, or Nero (see #5 below).
  5. NERO (reigned A.D. 54–68). Although the Bible does not name him, he is implied toward the latter Acts (namely, chapter 18 onward?). This is evidently the “Augustus” and “Caesar” to whom Paul wanted to appeal once he arrived in Rome near the close of Acts (Acts 25:8,10-12,21,25; Acts 26:32; Acts 27:1,24; Acts 28:19). He was the “Caesar” whose household had Christian converts when Paul wrote his epistle to the Philippians (4:22). The worst (most despotic) of the Caesars, Nero is thought to have executed both Apostles Peter and Paul.

Also see:
» Who was “Herod?”
» Who were the “Herodians?”
» Who or what are the 10 “toes” or “horns” or “crowns” associated with the Antichrist?