Category Archives: JUST ASKING / CURIOUS QUESTIONS

What does “untoward” mean?

WHAT DOES “UNTOWARD” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word is found one time in the Authorized Version, Acts 2:40, where the Apostle Peter is preaching to the nation Israel on the day of Pentecost: “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” At first glance, we understand this to be an appeal to seek deliverance from an evil entity. Let us fine-tune that definition.

Up to the time of chapter 2 of Acts, Israel’s behavior has been anything but exemplary. Read these excerpts from Peter’s sermon: “[22] Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: [23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: [24] Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it…. [36] Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. [37] Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? [38] Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [39] For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. [40] And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Peter urges his unsaved Jewish audience to convert to Jesus Christ, the same God-Man they murdered in cold blood only about two months earlier. They should “repent” (change their mind about who He is—He is Messiah) and then be water baptized in His name so as to receive forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Otherwise, when He returns, He will consume them in His fiery wrath. They are to leave their apostate nation and join the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, who will survive that wrath and inherit God’s earthly kingdom (cf. Luke 12:32: “Fear now, little flock: for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”).

The Greek word for “untoward” in Acts 2:40 is “skolios,” which, of course, is the origin of “scoliosis.” Scoliosis is an abnormal medical condition characterized by a sideways curvature of the spine. The basic idea, then, is a deviation from the correct path. That Greek term was rendered “crooked” in Luke 3:5 and Philippians 2:15. It was once translated “froward” in 1 Peter 2:18. “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;…” (Luke 3:5; cf. Isaiah 40:4). “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;…” (Philippians 2:15). “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward (1 Peter 2:18).

Returning to Acts 2:40, Israel is wicked, a “generation” that is evil. In fact, Matthew 3:7 and Luke 3:7 refers to them as a “generation of vipers” (snakes). Even Jesus called them this in Matthew 23:33. They are “of [their] father the devil” (John 8:44)—he himself being the chief snake or cunning individual (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2). It is this very nation that will be consumed at Christ’s return, with the Little Flock alone surviving. For more information, see our Hebrews 10:25 study linked below.

By the way, the English prefix “un–” means “not, absent, reversed.” Instead of “toward,” one who is “untoward” is literally “not toward” (that is, resistant or defiant; rebellious).

Also see:
» Does Hebrews 10:25 mean we are obligated to attend church?
» What does “froward” mean?
»
Who are those “afar off” in Acts 2:39?

What does “froward” mean?

WHAT DOES “FROWARD” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word is found two dozen times in a King James Bible, mostly in Proverbs. Let us read them:

  • Deuteronomy 32:20: “And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.” (This does not sound good, does it?)
  • 2 Samuel 22:27: “With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.” (Repeated in Psalm 18:26: “With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.”)
  • Job 5:13: “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.”
  • Psalm 101:4: “A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.”
  • Proverbs 2:12,14-15: “[12] To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;…. [14] Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; [15] Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:….”
  • Proverbs 3:32: “For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.”
  • Proverbs 4:24: “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”
  • Proverbs 6:12,14: “[12] A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth…. [14] Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.”
  • Proverbs 8:8,13: “[8] All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them…. [13] The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
  • Proverbs 10:31-32: “[31] The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out. [32] The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.”
  • Proverbs 11:20: “They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.”
  • Proverbs 16:28: “[28] A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends…. [30] He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.”
  • Proverbs 17:20: “He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.”
  • Proverbs 21:8: “The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.”
  • Proverbs 22:5: “Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.”
  • Isaiah 57:17: “For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.”
  • 1 Peter 2:18: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.”

It is this last instance that makes the sense the clearest: “froward” is the opposite of “good and gentle.” “Froward” is from the Old English “fraward,” meaning “leading away from” (as in shortening of “fromward;” “weard” is a Germanic base meaning “turn”). A simple definition for “forward” is “difficult to deal with; contrary.” Someone has “turned away.” If you re-read the verses above, it often describes the sinner being headstrong in refusing God’s path for life. Sinners do not want to cooperate with their Creator in accomplishing His will. Another way to think of it is perversity, drifting from the right course. Proverbs 23:33 says to this point: “Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things [“tahpukah,” same Hebrew word as “froward” in Deuteronomy 32:20—our first verse in the list].” Here, speech is far removed from sound Bible doctrine. It is nothing but falsehoods or lies.

Also see:
» What does “untoward” mean?
» What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?
» Can you explain the “spot” in Deuteronomy 32:5?

What is “ignominy?”

WHAT IS “IGNOMINY?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

We locate it a solitary time in the King James Bible, Proverbs 18:3: “When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.” Using context clues, we immediately recognize a negative connotation. It is associated with the word “reproach.” What else can we say about it?

The above aphorism can be summarized thusly. A wrongdoer and a contemptuous reputation go hand in hand. Contempt is simply dishonor or disgrace. Likewise, where there is “ignominy,” “reproach” will be there as well! Reproach, of course, is shame or embarrassment. There is one nuance in difference between this and ignominy. Ignominy is public disgrace or shame—a well-known, scandalous affair. By the way, “ignominy” is derived either from French (“ignominie”) or Latin (“ignominia”), with “ig” meaning “not” and “nomen” being “name.” The adjective “ignoble” (“of low character, not honorable, base”) is etymologically related.

In Hebrew, “ignominy” is “qalown.” It is usually translated “shame” (Psalm 83:16; Proverbs 3:35; Proverbs 9:7; Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 12:16; Proverbs 13:18; Isaiah 22:18; Jeremiah 13:26; Jeremiah 46:12; Hosea 4:7; Hosea 4:18; Nahum 3:5; Habakkuk 2:16). Other ways it was rendered include: “dishonour” (Proverbs 6:33), “reproach” (Proverbs 22:10), and “confusion” (Job 10:15).

Also see:
» What is “leasing” in the King James Bible?
» What is “purloining?”
» What are “lewd fellows of the baser sort?”

Did God really demand Ezekiel eat excrement?

DID GOD REALLY DEMAND EZEKIEL EAT EXCREMENT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No. There is a misunderstanding here. It is important to look at the Bible passage in question so we can set the record straight.

The inquiry stems from Ezekiel chapter 4: “[9] Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. [10] And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. [11] Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink. [12] And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. [13] And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.

“[14] Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth. [15] Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith. [16] Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: [17] That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.”

These are certainly bizarre instructions, are they not?! However, they are not as strange as we first suspect. Contrary to what we may have heard, Ezekiel was not actually required to use human or cow excrement as ingredients for his bread. Rather, the feces were a form of fuel to cook that food. While an unpleasant thought to “cultured” people such as ourselves, the ancient Egyptians and Persians (Iranians) used dried animal dung as fuel—and this is true even today. People throughout modern Asia (India, Pakistan, China, for example) still resort to the practice because manure is cheap, plentiful, and easy to collect, among other “advantages.”

How could God be so extreme and grotesque here? The key is verse 13: “And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.” JEHOVAH God was leading the Prophet Ezekiel to behave in a certain way so as to teach the Jewish people a lesson. These “skits” or “plays” are found in chapters 4 and 5 of Ezekiel. In the case of the “object lesson” using cow dung to cook his bread, Ezekiel was demonstrating to Israel they would be deported to foreign (Gentile) lands. These Gentiles or non-Jews did not observe the kosher food laws as found in Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter 14. Such conduct was just as repulsive to Israel as Ezekiel’s disgusting dung fuel! After centuries of pagan idolatry, the Kingdom of Judah (Southern Kingdom) would be chastised as God promised in the Law of Moses. This is the Babylonian Captivity of 606–536 B.C., of which Ezekiel (and other prophets) predicted.

Leviticus chapter 26: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. [29] And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. [30] And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. [31] And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. [32] And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.

“[33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. [34] Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. [35] As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. [36] And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. [37] And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. [38] And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. [39] And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

Also see:
» What are “vanities” in Scripture?
» Why did John the Baptist behave so strangely?
» Who is the “foolish nation” in Romans 10:19?

What is “visitation” in Scripture?

WHAT IS “VISITATION” IN SCRIPTURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word appears 15 times in the Authorized Version King James Bible. In Hebrew, it is “pequddah.” The Greek equivalent is “episcope” (“look over, inspect”). Depending on the context, it can be good or bad. For example, the first instance is Numbers 16:29: “If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me.” This, of course, is bad. It is in connection with physical death! In the case of Job 10:12, however, the word is employed in the sense of God’s caring or loving oversight: “Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.”

Most of the time in Scripture (especially Jeremiah), the idea concerns Divine judgment or God’s punishment of sinners:

  • Isaiah 10:3: “And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?”
  • Jeremiah 8:12: “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.”
  • Jeremiah 10:15: “They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.”
  • Jeremiah 11:23: “And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.”
  • Jeremiah 23:12: “Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.”
  • Jeremiah 46:21: “Also her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they also are turned back, and are fled away together: they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation.”
  • Jeremiah 48:44: “He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.”
  • Jeremiah 50:27: “Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.”
  • Jeremiah 51:18: “They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.”
  • Hosea 9:7: “The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.”
  • Micah 7:4: “The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.”

The word twice appears in the Greek New Testament (Luke 19:44; 1 Peter 2:12): “episcope” means “look over, inspect.” It is translated “bishoprick” in Acts 1:20 (referring to Judas Iscariot’s apostolic office that Matthias later fills) and “office of a bishop” with respect to the local church leader (1 Timothy 3:1). Remember, the idea is “oversight,” as in a superintendent watching over operations. Acts 20:28, the Apostle Paul’s words to the elders of the church at Ephesus, captures this tenor: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers [episkopos], to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

In the case of Luke 19:44, Christ Jesus, having been rejected, spoke of Jerusalem’s future destruction: “And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Israel did not have spiritual eyes to recognize the Lord Jesus Christ had fulfilled prophecy when He entered Jerusalem rising on the donkey. God was considering their response to His Son here, and they refused to have Him. Now, He would “pay them back” in righteous anger (yet future even now).

The final instance of “visitation” is 1 Peter 2:12: “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Israel’s believing remnant is exhorted or urged to conduct themselves separate and distinct from the evil world system. Gentiles (non-Jews) are observing them, so they need to have testimonies that lead the Gentiles to glorify the God of Israel. Daniel’s 70th Week will be another time of God considering or inspecting Israel’s behavior, their response to Him and His Son Jesus Christ.

Studying all these instances of “visitation” in Scripture, we understand the LORD God is looking over creation with considerate but righteous eyes. He is gracious and compassionate, watching over and blessing, like a loving parent monitoring the wellbeing of a child. However, He is also holy and separate from sinners, and His justice demands He enforce His righteousness. He must address and punish sin at some point. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon summarizes the concept succinctly: “In biblical Greek, after the Hebrew, that act by which God looks into and searches out the ways, deeds, character, of men, in order to adjudge them their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad; inspection, investigation, visitation.”

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:
» Did God create evil?
» How can a “loving” God send people to Hell forever?
» Does God chasten us when we sin?

“As the LORD liveth?”

“AS THE LORD LIVETH?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“As the LORD liveth” appears 27 times in the King James Bible (and only in the Old Testament Scriptures). Moreover, there are four variants: “as the LORD God of Israel liveth” (2 times), “as the LORD of hosts liveth” (2 times), “as God liveth” (2 times), and “as the LORD thy God liveth” (2 times). What exactly is being communicated here?

The connotation is a declaration of certainty. There is no doubt or question as to the statement to which the expression is attached. It is the truth, and including God’s name means it is a solemn pledge. In today’s informal English, we would say, “As sure as I am standing here,” “As certain as the sky is blue,” or “As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.” For your convenience, the pertinent verses have been integrated into this study. Read them carefully, and see how the phrase functions as a guarantee or promise.

  • Judges 8:19: “And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother: as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.”
  • Ruth 3:13: “Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.”
  • 1 Samuel 14:39: “For, as the LORD liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But there was not a man among all the people that answered him.”
  • 1 Samuel 14:45: “And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not.”
  • 1 Samuel 19:6: “And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain.”
  • 1 Samuel 20:3: “And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.”
  • 1 Samuel 20:21: “And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the LORD liveth.”
  • 1 Samuel 25:26: “Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my LORD, be as Nabal.”
  • 1 Samuel 25:34: “For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.”
  • 1 Samuel 26:10: “David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.”
  • 1 Samuel 26:16: “This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the LORD liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD’S anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.”
  • 1 Samuel 28:10: “And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.”
  • 1 Samuel 29:6: “Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the LORD’S favour thee not.”
  • 2 Samuel 2:27: “And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother.”
  • 2 Samuel 4:9: “And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity,….”
  • 2 Samuel 12:5: “And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:….”
  • 2 Samuel 14:11: “Then said she, I pray thee, let the king remember the LORD thy God, that thou wouldest not suffer the revengers of blood to destroy any more, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth.”
  • 2 Samuel 15:21: “And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.”
  • 1 Kings 1:29: “And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,….”
  • 1 Kings 2:24: “Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.”
  • 1 Kings 17:1: “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”
  • 1 Kings 17:12: “And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
  • 1 Kings 18:10: As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.”
  • 1 Kings 18:15: “And Elijah said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day.”
  • 1 Kings 22:14: “And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.”
  • 2 Kings 2:2: “And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.”
  • 2 Kings 2:4: “And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.”
  • 2 Kings 2:6: “And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.”
  • 2 Kings 3:14: “And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.”
  • 2 Kings 4:30: “And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.”
  • 2 Kings 5:16: “But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.”
  • 2 Kings 5:20: “But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.”
  • 2 Chronicles 18:13: “And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.”
  • Job 27:2: As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;….”
  • Jeremiah 38:16: “So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the LORD liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life.”

SUPPLEMENTAL: “AS THY SOUL LIVETH”

“As thy soul liveth” is a similar expression, and it appears 10 times (you might have noticed a few in the previous verses). In modern speech, a related phrase is, “As I live and breathe” (an English statement dating back 400 years). Again, it is a promise that the information being relayed is a factual promise and worthy of trust.

  • 1 Samuel 1:26: “And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.”
  • 1 Samuel 17:55: “And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.”
  • 1 Samuel 20:3: “And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.”
  • 1 Samuel 25:26: “Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.”
  • 2 Samuel 11:11: “And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.”
  • 2 Samuel 14:19: “And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king hath spoken: for thy servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid:….”
  • 2 Kings 2:2: “And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.”
  • 2 Kings 2:4: “And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.”
  • 2 Kings 2:6: “And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.”
  • 2 Kings 4:30: “And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.”

Also see:
» Is “God forbid” a “poor translation” in the King James Bible?
» Why did Paul write, “I lie not?”
» Does 2 Corinthians 12:16 mean Paul was dishonest?

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?