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A STUDY OF THE SUPPOSED ERRORS IN THE BIBLE

A STUDY OF THE SUPPOSED ERRORS IN THE BIBLE

TABLE OF CONTENT

Introduction

Irrefutable Proof that the Bible is the Word of God

Creation

Other Supposed Errors in the Pentateuch

Supposed Errors in the Historic Books

The Purpose of Samuel and Kings as Opposed to Chronicles

The Ages at Which Some Kings Began to Reign

Errors of the Scribes

Further Supposed Errors in the Historic Books

Supposed Errors in the Poetry Books

Supposed Errors in the Prophets

Supposed Errors in the Gospels

Seeming Contradictions Between the Mosaic Law and the Sermon on the Mount

Other Supposed Errors in the Gospels

Supposed Errors in the Record of Christ’s Last Week

Supposed Errors in The Book of Acts

Supposed Errors in the Epistles

INTRODUCTION

In the section below I have given several passages which, in my opinion, prove that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. But there are some passages, the explanation of which will be either accepted or rejected on the basis of faith because there are, at times, two ways to interpret a given passage. One way proves an error another does not. So one’s conclusion is based on faith, i.e. what one believes to be true. For example, we read in I Sam. 16:10-11 and 17:12 that Jesse had seven sons. But we read in Jesse’s chronology that Jesse had eight sons. I will quote Dr. E. W. Bullinger.  “Jesse begat eight sons.  Here (I Chron. 2) seven are numbered and named, and David is the seventh and the youngest; the eighth may have died young and left no issue.  While it was proper to mention the eight in the history, it is unnecessary to do so in the genealogy”. In other words, if one accepts the Bible as the Word of God he will agree that the eighth son had died without “issue” and was not considered in the genealogy. But if one believes that the Bible is not the Word of God he will see this as an error. Because neither interpretation can be proved one must accept one or the other by faith. 

However, logic supports an acceptance that the Bible is the Word of God. That is to say, there are estimated to be approximately 31,000 verses in the KJ Bible. As the reader will see, there are only a very few out of the 31,000 where the veracity, or lack thereof, must be accepted by faith. So from a very practical  and logical standpoint, given that there are thousands of verses in the Bible, and that there are so few that may be interpreted as correct or as incorrect, I believe logic, if nothing else, dictates that the Bible is indeed the Word of God and therefore there are no contradictions or errors.

IRREFUTABLE PROOF THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD

I would like to share six  scriptures that show that the men who penned the Bible wrote of something about which no one knew at the time those scriptures were written.  My point is, of course, that man did not know, but God knew and inspired these men to write something that only God knew at the time, thus proving that the Bible is indeed the Word of God.

One of those scriptures is Is. 40:22, “It is He That sitteth upon the circle of the earth...”. The phrase “circle of the earth” implies, of course, a round, not a flat earth (this will be proved in detail in the body of  this paper). This verse was written centuries before it even occurred to man that earth was round, not flat. But God, of course knew that the earth was round and He inspired Isaiah to write that truth long before it was known to man.

Another scripture that proves that the Bible is the Word of God is Job 26:7, “He stretcheth out  the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing”. This verse says in no uncertain terms that the earth was hung on “nothing”. How can the earth have been hung on “nothing”? In my opinion, it means it was hung on the forces of the heavens, such as gravity. This phrase teaches, once again that the Bible must be the Word of God because man was unaware of this truth at the time it was written. (The passages that seem to say that the earth is on pillars will be discussed below).

A third scripture that reveals a truth that could not have been known at the time it was written is Heb. 11:11, “Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age….”.   The Greek word translated “conceive” is “katabole”, the definition of which is defined in Heb. 11:11. I am indebted to an anonymous writer of an article on the inter-net from which I will quote one paragraph.

“So, what exactly does the Greek term katabole (the English scientific use=catabolic) mean? In simple terms, it refers to a process of breaking something down and making something new as result. In order for a woman to conceive, her body must be able to breakdown the male’s sperm in order to incorporate his DNA information (in the sperm’s nucleolus) with her DNA (in the egg’s cytoplasm) in order to conceive a child which has the DNA characteristics of both the father and mother. This is accomplished through a biochemical process called catabolism. If the female’s body no longer produces the necessary hormonal chemistry to initiate this catabolic process, she cannot conceive. That is why Sarah, who was way past child bearing years, was able to conceive because God strengthened her body to do it. That is why the English Bible uses the word “conceive” as a translation of the Greek word katabole, because the English word perfectly describes the end result of a foundational biological process, even though the exact dynamics of that biological process was unknown to man at the time Hebrews 11:11 was penned. This is yet another Biblical example of “Progressive Revelation” of the Scriptures; it was an established scientific truth documented in the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit many hundreds of years before mankind would be able to comprehend the full meaning of what had been written”.

The fourth scripture that speaks of something that man could not have known at the time of the writing of the Bible, nor indeed is it widely known even today in the 21st century, is  Ps. 148:4 which reads, “Praise ye, heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens”. This verse needs further explanation.

We must understand that the first chapter of Genesis speaks of the creation of two heavens.  We read in Gen. 1:1 that “God created the heaven and the earth”. And in Gen. 1:6-7 we read that God created the firmament which, in verse 8 He called “heaven”. Verse 7 reads, “And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament“. As the paper on Rev. 21:1 will show, the term “heavens of heavens” used in Ps. 148:4 is always used of the heaven of the six day creation (i.e. of Gen. 1:6-8), not of the creation of Gen. 1:1. So we have, from the top down, the heaven of Gen. 1:1, below that are waters referred to in Ps. 148:4, and below that are the waters of earth, i.e. the oceans etc. .

I know this seems contrary to what most believe science teaches so I will quote a portion of an article I found recently on the internet. “The water is out in space, a place we used to think of as desolate and desert dry, but it’s turning out to be pretty lush. Researchers found a lake of water so large that it could provide each person on Earth an entire planet’s worth of water—20,000 times over. Yes, so much water out there in space that it could supply each one of us all the water on Earth—Niagara Falls, the Pacific Ocean, the polar ice caps, the puddle in the bottom of the canoe you forgot to flip over—20,000 times over”.

My point is that Ps. 148:4 is another verse which describes something, i.e. water above the heaven of Gen. 1:6-8 and  below the heaven of  Gen. 1:1, that man could not have know of, but wrote of anyway. I believe this proves that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God.

The fifth scripture that I believe proves that it was God Who inspired men of old to pen the Bible and not man on his own is, Prov. 8:27 which speaks of wisdom having been created before the heaven and earth (this verse will be discussed in detail in the body of this paper). “…….when He set a compass (Hebrew “ghoog”) upon the face of the depth”. The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance suggests the correct translation of “ghoog” is “circle”. What does the phrase, “upon the face of the depth” mean? “The depth” is used for the oceans of the earth.

With those things in mind let us try to picture what this verse describes. We read that “God had “set a circle upon the face of the oceans”. That is as a clear picture of a circular horizon as one can imagine. In other words, the Bible teaches a circular horizon. 

But man could not have known of a circular horizon at the time of the writing of the Bible because it could only be seen from above the earth, i.e. from space. Therefore, once again we have a truth written in the Bible that could not have been know by the men who penned it, it must have been inspired by God.

Let us consider a sixth truth that proves that the Bible had to have been written by God.  We read in Gen. 1:3 that God created light, and we read in Gen. 1:17 that He “made two great lights”, i.e. the sun and the moon.  Many see this as an error because they believe that God could not have created light before He created the sun and the moon which give light. But let us consider the definition of “light”.

The noun is defined as, “the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible”. What is the “natural agent” of the sun that “makes things visible”? It is obviously the burning gases that make up the sun. We learn then that God first created the gases and later made the sun and the moon. (This topic, and the creation of the moon is discussed below in the section on the supposed errors in creation).

In point of fact the same truth is seen in Ps. 74:16 which reads, “Thou hast prepared the light and the sun”. Note that in this verse God is said to have created two things, i.e. “the light and the sun”. The “light” is in reference to the “natural agent that ….makes things visible”.  So we learn from this verse that, just as in Gen. 1:3 and 16, God created the gasses of the sun and then He later created the sun.

Once again, Moses could not have possibly known that the “light” of Gen. 1:3 was the burning gases of the sun. Only God knew that. And this is yet another proof that the Bible must have been inspired by God. (The reference to the moon as a light will be discussed below).

This paper does not go into the order of the books of the Bible as that order is not  inspired of God.

Most of the supposed errors in the Bible discussed in this paper were suggested by Mr. Donald Gordon.

CREATION

 Genesis 1:1, Zechariah 12:1. John 1:1-14 and I Corinthians 8:6

We read in Gen 1:1, In the beginning God* (Hebrew Elohim) created the heaven and the earth”. And in Zech. 12:1,”The burden of the word of Jehovah for Israel, saith Jehovah, Which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.”

Is there a contradiction between these two verses in terms of  just Who did create the heaven and earth?  There is not. Consider  Isaiah 42:8 which reads, “I am Jehovah, that is My Name…”.  Jehovah is God’s name but He has many titles, one of which is “Elohim”. Let us consider other scriptures that speak of Jehovah’s titles used in connection with creation.  For example, we read in Deut. 32:15 of Jeshurun, “he forsook Eloah which made him“. This verse tells us that Eloah created man. “Eloah” is another title of Jehovah. And in Deut. 32:18, we read, “….And hast El (yet another title of Jehovah) that formed thee…“. This verse tells us that El created man.

My point is that there is no contradiction here, but one must understand what the Bible actually says about God’s name and God’s different titles.

Let us also consider John 1:1-14 and  I Corinthians 8:6

In Jn.1:1 we read, “In the beginning was the Word …….. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. …….10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. … 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”.

We learn from the phrase, “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” that the title “Word” refers to Christ.  In other words, this passage tells us that Christ created all things. As the paper on Jehovah will show, Jesus Christ is Jehovah.  There is no contradiction here because Jehovah and Christ are one and the same.

Genesis 1:3-5 and Genesis 1:14-19: The Lights of Heaven

Gen. 1:3-5, “And God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness, and God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night….”.  And in Gen.1:14-19 we read of the creation of the sun, moon and stars. The seeming inconsistency lies in the fact that God created light to divide the light from the darkness before He created the sun and the moon.

Are we to believe that Moses failed to notice that he wrote that light was created before the creation of the sun and the moon? I do not believe that is the most obvious conclusion. Let us consider these verses more carefully.

The Hebrew word translated “lights” is used most often in the phrase “oil for the light”. That is to say, the light is the result of the oil burning. And that is exactly how we use the English word “light”. The noun is defined as, “the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible”. So just as the oil is the “natural agent” that “makes things visible”, so too the gases that make up the sun are the natural agents that make things visible.

In other words, God created the gases etc. which would be used in the sun which He would later place in the heaven. This suggestion is substantiated by Ps. 74:16 which reads, “Thou hast prepared the light and the sun”. Note that in this verse God is said to have created two things, i.e. “the light and the sun”.  Again, I believe the “light” referred to in this verse is the gasses, i.e. the natural agent that make up the sun.

But the moon is believed to be  basically rock and only reflects the sun’s light. But the same definition applies to the moon. In other words, just as light is the result of the burning gases of the sun, so too light is the result of the reflection of the sun on the moon.  Or in terms  of our definition  quoted above, the light reflected from the sun is the natural agent that illuminates the moon and  makes things visible at night.

So when we read in Gen. 1:3, “Let there be light” the “light” referred to in this verse refers to the gases etc. that make up the sun that in turn “makes things visible”.  And when we read in Gen. 1:14, “Let there be lights in the firmament….” we understand that those lights are the sun and the moon.

Genesis 1:16 and Job 38:4-7: When Were the Stars Created?

Mr. Austin Cline wrote, “Contradictory accounts of when the stars were created. The first creation story in Genesis says that the stars were created on the fourth day, the day after the earth was created. Job, however, says that at the time the corner stone of the earth was laid, the stars already existed. So when exactly did God create the stars: before or after God created the earth?”

It is true that the stars were created on the fourth day of the six day creation as is recorded in Gen. 1:16. And we read in Job 38:4-7 “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?………when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

On the surface it does seem that Job contradicts Gen. 1:16. But there are several questions that present themselves that cannot be answered by the immediate context alone. For example to whom does the phrase “sons of God” refer? And how are we to understand the phrase, “morning stars”?  And why are they referred to as “morning stars”?  But let us begin with a much more basic question which is, when Job wrote of the foundation of the earth, to  which earth was he referring? Let me clarify that question.

As the paper on the apparent contradiction in Rev. 21:1 proves from Scripture, Gen. 1:2 should read “and the earth became without form and void”.  In other words, “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) and something happened (I believe it was the rebellion of Lucifer) to cause God to destroy the earth with water (please see the above mentioned paper) at which time, it “became without form and void”.  Then at some point God rebuilt, so to speak, the destroyed earth and that is what is recorded in Gen. 1:3-27, i.e. the six day creation.

We are now prepared to address the question of to which earth the foundation of which Job referred? The first earth was created “in the beginning”.  That means that the first thing God did was to create the heaven and earth of Gen. 1:1.  Because as we read in Job 38 the sons of God and the “morning stars” were already in existence at the point of the foundation of that earth, I believe it was the foundation of the earth that God created in the six days to which Job referred. In short, God created the earth of Gen. 1:1 and when (I believe) Lucifer rebelled God destroyed that earth, and then created the “sons of God” and the “morning stars,” and then He laid the foundations of the earth that was created in six days. In short, it was the foundations of the earth of the six day creation about which Job wrote in chapter 38.

 

 Now let us consider the phrase “sons of God” as used in Job 38:7. The Hebrew phrase translated “sons of God” should not be confused with the Greek phrase translated “sons of God”. Obviously, because they are in different languages, they do not necessarily refer to the same thing.

To continue, the term “sons of God” cannot refer to men because we read in Jn. 3:13, “No man hath ascended to heaven but He Who came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven”. That is to say, the “sons of God” spoken of in Job 38 who appeared before God in heaven cannot be men because no man, apart from Christ, has ever ascended to heaven. (Please see the paper on Elijah and Enoch for the Scriptural evidence that neither of them went to heaven). Another reason the term “sons of God” as used in Job 38  cannot refer to  men is because Job speaks of them being present at the time that God laid the foundation of the earth, i.e. long before man was created.

 Who then are these “sons of God”?  As mentioned above, they are not men, so who and what are they? Let us consider this question carefully. We know that God is spirit (Jn. 4:24) and we know from Ps. 104:4, (“Who maketh His angels spirits,……”) that angels are spirit. That is to say, angels were created spirit beings and because they are the same basic nature as God, Who is spirit, they are called in the Old Testament “sons of God”. In short, I believe that the Hebrew term translated ”sons of God” refers to angels.

Now let us address the question of what are the “morning stars”. The most obvious question is: is the phrase “morning stars” to be understood literally or figuratively? I believe that the answer is as obvious as the question. That is to say, literal stars do not sing, therefore we must understand the phrase to be a figure of speech. That figure of speech is “Metaphor” which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in part as “representing something”. What does the phrase “morning star” represent? Let us take the answer to that question from the Bible itself.

The English phrase “morning star” appears in the KJV three times, i.e. Job 38:7, Rev. 2:28 and 22:16. And although incorrectly translated is also used in Is. 14:12.  Let us consider that verse first as it will give us a clue as to why the stars of Job 38 are referred to as “the morning stars”.  We read in Is. 14:12, “How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer, the morning star…”. I suggest that the term “morning star” is used to indicate great importance. Let us consider the two passages in Revelation which also use the phrase “morning star”.

We read in Rev. 2:26-28, “And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron………and I will give him (i.e. the overcomer of the tribulation vs.26) the morning star”.  What does this passage mean? It means that as also promised in Rev. 20:4, the overcomers of the tribulation will reign with Christ for the millennium.  That verse reads, “…..they (those who did not receive the mark of the beast in the tribulation) lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years”.

Let us continue with the third occurrence of the phrase “morning star” which is found in Rev. 22:16, “….I (Jesus) am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning star”. So the overcomers of the tribulation will be given Christ, Who is the “morning star”. What does it mean that Christ will be given? As the context of Rev. 2:28 shows, it means that the overcomers of the tribulation will be given the right to reign with Christ.

Having considered the questions raised by Job 38:4-7 we are now prepared to address the question as to the seeming contradiction between the clear statement that the stars were not created until the fourth day of the six day creation, and the fact that the “morning stars” were present at the time of the foundation of the earth. I believe that Job 38:4-7 tells us that after the destruction of the earth of Gen. 1:1 God laid the foundation of the earth of the six day creation at which the angels and other very important spirit beings (i.e. “morning stars), sang and rejoiced.

In other words, Job 38:4-7 refers to a time before the foundations of the earth of the six day creation were laid.  Further, the passage in Job does not refer to literal stars, as does Gen. 1:16 it refers to important spirit beings who, along with angels (who are also spirit being) rejoiced in the foundation of the earth being laid.

We come to this conclusion by comparing scripture with scripture and by considering the passage in question in depth, as opposed to a cursory reading of it. Certainly it is much easier to consider only the surface, but any great literature, whether it be Shakespeare or Dante or the Bible deserves more than a surface consideration.

Genesis 2:11 and Genesis 2:5-6: The Trees of the Earth

It is argued that in Genesis one the trees were created before man, but in Gen. 2 the trees were created after man. Let us consider the creation of the trees etc.

Gen.1:11 reads, “And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself after his kind…”.  The creation of man is recorded in verse 27 and the creation of the trees is recorded in verse 11, i.e. before the creation of man. Now let us consider Gen. 2:5-6, “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord had not caused it to rain upon the earth and there was not a man to till the ground”.

Mr. Morgan wrote that Gen. 2 says that “Man was created before trees were created”. But the Bible could not be more clear, “and there was not a man to till the ground”. That tells us that man was created after the creation of the trees.

 I believe what has lead to the confusion on Mr. Morgan’s part is that Gen. 2:7 describes the creation of man but in verse 8 we read, “And the Lord God planted a Garden….”. Verse 8 does not speak of the creation of trees etc, it speaks of a specific garden which God had created. Therefore there is no error, i.e. the trees were created before the creation of man, but the Garden of Eden was created after the creation of man.

Genesis 1:20 and Genesis 2:19 Creation of the Birds and Animals

It is suggested that there is a contradiction in Genesis one and two in terms of when birds and animals were created in relation to when man was created. Let us consider this question.

Gen. 1:20 records the creation of birds and 1:25 records the creation of animals which is, of course, before the creation of man which is recorded in verses 26-27.  But we read in the second chapter of Genesis, i.e. Gen. 2:7 of the creation of man and in  Gen. 2:19  we read of birds and animals, but not of their creation, only that they were brought to Adam. I will quote verses 18-20, “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him’. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field…”.

Obviously, if the beasts etc. were brought to Adam, they must have been created before man or they could not have brought to him. All is clear when we consider the point of Gen. 2:18-20 which is not when birds and animals were created in relation to man, it is that God brought them to Adam to be named. In other words, by taking the two accounts together we learn that the animals and birds were created before the creation of man and that once man was created God brought the animals and birds to him to name”.

Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 2:22:  The Creation of Man and Woman

Mr. Gordon wrote that in Gen. 1:26-27, “Man and woman were created at the same time”.  He went on to write, that in Gen. 2:22 that “Man was created first and woman some time later”.

It is clear that Gen.2 does indeed tell us that woman was created some time after man, but what does Gen. 1:26-27 tell us about the creation of man and woman. We read in Gen. 1:27, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them”. This verse does not even hint that man and woman were created at the same time.  It says only that God created both man and woman. The timing of the creation of man and woman is not an issue in Gen. 1:27, but it is explained in chapter two.

Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 6:5-6: Is God Omniscient? 

We read in Gen. 1:31, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good”. But Mr. Gordon points to Gen. 6:5-6 as a supposed contradiction to this verse.  That passage reads, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart”.

Let me quote Mr. Morgan’s comment. “(Note: That God should be displeased is inconsistent with the concept of omniscience as well as with the fact that God allegedly does not change his mind: Nu. 23:19-20, I Sam. 15:29 James 1:17).

Let us first address the objection that the passages quoted above suggests to Mr. Gordon that God is not omniscient.  I believe that as we consider I Peter 1:18-20 it will become clear that God did know that man would be evil, even before man was created.  That passage reads, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from you fathers: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…..”..For what was Christ “foreordained”?  The context makes it clear that Christ had been foreordained as the Lamb of God, i.e. a Sacrifice so that man could be forgiven his evil ways.  When was Christ foreordained?  Christ was foreordained “before the foundation of the world”.  Obviously, God did know that man would take on evil ways because He had prepared for man’s salvation from those evil ways even before man was created.

Now let us consider the objection that God does not change His mind and yet we are told in Gen. 6 that God had repented (i.e. change of mind) that He had created man.

We read in Jn. 4:24 that “God is spirit” (not “a” spirit as in the KJV, as the Greek does not have the indefinite article). Because God is spirit He lives outside any confinements such as time and space. But because God is spirit, He is, by definition, invisible and because He is invisible, we would know nothing of Him.  But in His infinite grace He has made Himself known through His creation, through His written Word and through Christ, Who is the manifestation of God Who is spirit (please see the paper on Christ as Jehovah). Generally, when we speak of Christ as the manifestation of Jehovah we are referring to Christ as Man when He was born of Mary.  But Christ often took on the form of man as recorded in the Old Testament. (We must be careful to differentiate between Christ as Man in the New Testament and Christ in the form of a man as recorded in the Old Testament).   Let us consider just a few examples of when Christ appeared in the form of a man in Old Testament times.

In Genesis 1:26 we read, “And God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness….”. To correctly understand what is meant by the phrase “in Our image, after Our likeness” let us turn to Gen. 5:3 where we read the same phrase, “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness after his image….”. When we read of Adam’s son being born in “his own likeness after his image” we understand that Adam’s son looked like Adam. So also, when God created man in His likeness after His image, we must understand that God created Man to look like Himself. Any other interpretation is without Scriptural basis.

Since man was created to look like God, Who is spirit, God obviously must have taken on a bodily form, otherwise He could not have created man to look like Himself.

Let us continue for now with the Scriptural evidence showing that Jehovah took on a bodily form in the Old Testament. In Gen. 3:8 we read, “And they (Adam and Eve) heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…”.  The Hebrew translated “voice” is “kohl”. It is often translated “voice”, but it is also translated “sound” and “noise” and “thunder”.  In other words, the meaning must be determined from the context. Consider for example, I Kings 14:6, “when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet…”. Obviously the sound of her feet was the sound of her footsteps. Consider also II Kings 6:32, “…….Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” Here too the sound of His master’s feet were, of course, the sound of his footsteps. So too in Gen. 3:8, because we read that Adam and Eve heard the sound (Heb. “kohl”)  of Jehovah’s walking, we learn from the  context that it was Jehovah’s footsteps that they heard.  They could not have heard His footsteps, if He was not in bodily form, i.e. having feet.

My point is that God is spirit but He has chosen to reveal Himself in the form of a man in the Old Testament and as Man in the New Testament. With that in mind we are ready to consider the supposed contradiction inherent in God changing His mind (repenting) in Gen. 6.

Because God as spirit does not live in time he cannot change His mind.  That is to say, in order to change one’s mind one must repent from something he had done in the past. But God does not have a past or a future because He lives outside of time, i.e. in man’s terms we would say that God lives in a perpetual present. On the other hand, when Christ took on the form of a man as recorded in the Old Testament he did indeed live in time.  Therefore, I believe that when we read that God does not change His mind we are reading of Jehovah as spirit and when we read of God changing His mind we are reading of God (Christ) as the manifestation of God, Who, because He occupies a body in order to manifest God as spirit, does indeed live in time and space. Because as God manifest Christ may have a past, He can and did change His mind.

Supposed Errors Suggested by Mary W. Matthews In Regard to Creation

 Heaven A Metal Dome 

Ms. Matthews wrote, “The Hebrew word translated “firmament” in the KJV, separates the sky from the chaos waters beyond. Holes in the metal dome let rain in — in other words, the sky is a giant, upside-down colander. “And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters [of Earth] from the [chaos] waters [of outer space].’” — Genesis 1:6

To begin, many may have difficulty with the idea that the firmament separates the water of earth from the water in the heavens. That is to say, it is not widely understood that there is indeed water in the heavens. We must understand that the Bible speaks of the creation of two heavens in the first chapter of Genesis.  We read in Gen. 1:1 that “God created the heaven and the earth”. And in Gen. 1:6-7 we read that God created the firmament which, in verse 8 He called “heaven”. Verse 7 reads, “God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament form the waters which were above the firmament”.

As to the waters in heaven, we read in Ps. 148:4, “Praise ye, heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens”. As the paper on Rev. 21:1 will show, the term “heavens of heavens” is always used of the heaven of the six day creation (i.e. Gen. 1:6-8), not of the creation of Gen. 1:1 That is to say, we have from the top down, the heaven of Gen. 1:1,  below that are the waters of heaven,  below that is the firmament of Gen. 1:6. named in verse 8, “heaven”, and below that are the waters of earth, i.e. oceans etc. .

I know this seems contrary to what most believe science teaches so I will quote a portion of an article I found recently on the internet.

“The water is out in space, a place we used to think of as desolate and desert dry, but it’s turning out to be pretty lush. Researchers found a lake of water so large that it could provide each person on Earth an entire planet’s worth of water—20,000 times over. Yes, so much water out there in space that it could supply each one of us all the water on Earth—Niagara Falls, the Pacific Ocean, the polar ice caps, the puddle in the bottom of the canoe you forgot to flip over—20,000 times over”.

As mentioned in the Introduction of this paper, Ps. 148:4 is one of several scriptures which prove that the Bible must be the Word of God because the men who penned the Bible could not possibly have known of the waters above the heavens of the six day creation. That is to say, only God knew, therefore only God could have inspired men to pen that truth.

To continue let us consider the Hebrew word translated “firmament” in Gen. 1:6 in order to determine from its usage in the Bible the correct meaning.  That is to say, words are always defined by how they are used and that is how we must define the Hebrew word in question. That Hebrew word is, “rahkeeag”. It is always translated “firmament” (this English  word will be discussed below), The contexts of all these occurrences do not help us define the word so let us, for the sake of thoroughness, consider another verse Ms. Matthews suggested as “proof” that the Bible teaches that heaven is a “metal dome”, i.e.  “[God] walks on the dome of heaven.” — Job 22:14.

Job 22:14 reads in the KJV, “….He walketh in the circuit of heaven”. Here Ms. Matthews has translated the Hebrew word translated “circuit” in the KJV as “dome”. Let us consider how that word is used. It is used only three times so let us consider all occurrences.  The Hebrew word that Ms. Matthews has translated “dome” in Job 22:14 is “ghoog”.  The first occurrence is in Job 22:14 quoted above.  The second occurrence is in Prov. 8:27, “When He prepared the heavens, I (wisdom) was there; when He set a compass (Hebrew “ghoog”) upon the face of the depth”. The third occurrence  is found in Is. 40:22, “He That sitteth upon the circle of the earth”.

Our question is:  is the firmament a “metal dome” as Ms. Matthews suggests? What we learn from the passages quoted above is that the firmament is called by God ‘heaven” in Gen. 1:8. We learn from Job 22:14 and Is. 40:22 that heaven is circular. Ms. Matthews has suggested that the Bible teaches that heaven is like “an upside down colander” of metal and has referred to the circular shape of heaven as “a dome”, i.e. a “metal dome.  As we have seen above the Hebrew words translated “firmament” and “circuit” in Prov. 8:22, does indeed tell us that the heavens are circular. But as the reader can readily see, there is absolutely nothing in these verses, nor indeed in the entire Bible, to suggest that heaven is “metal” or that it is an “upside down colander” as Ms. Matthews suggests

Ms. Matthews may have gotten the idea of  heaven being a metal dome from the middle English definition of “firmament” In the interest of thoroughness, let us consider that definition. I will quote from Wikipedia, “The word “firmament” is used to translate raqia, or raqiya` ( רקיע), a word used in Biblical Hebrew. It is derived from the root raqa ( רקע), meaning “to beat or spread out“, e.g., the process of making a dish by hammering thin a lump of metal. Like most ancient peoples, the Hebrews believed the sky was a solid dome with the SunMoon and stars embedded in it.[7] According to The Jewish Encyclopedia:”.  It is important to note, according to Wikipedia that  “The word “firmament” is first recorded in a Middle English narrative based on scripture dated1250.[4] It later appeared in the King James Bible”. The KJV was printed in 1611.

To begin, we must understand that the notion of the firmament being a metal dome comes only from the translation of the Hebrew word, not the Hebrew word itself. That is to say, the notion of a metal dome does not come from the Bible, it comes from what men thought the Bible was saying about the firmament. As we considered every occurrence of the Hebrew word translated “firmament we saw that  there is nothing in the Hebrew word itself to indicate a metal dome.

 Along those same lines, it is important to note that “most ancient peoples” believed that the  “sky was a solid dome”. So when the men who translated the KJV considered the translation of the Hebrew word they would naturally choose a word that described what they thought the firmament was, i.e. a metal dome’. But that translation is not inspired by God as is the Hebrew word, so it is not part of the Word of God. That is to say, there is indeed an error, but the error is not in the Bible, it is in the translation of the Bible, which, of course, is not inspired. Therefore, the notion of heaven being a metal dome is based, not on the Bible, but on what the ancient people thought the Hebrew word meant based on their idea of what the firmament is.

In point of fact, Dr. E. W. Bullinger in his note in the Companion Bible on the word “firmament” in Gen. 1:6 suggested the translation “expanse” as have many versions of the Bible. This translation is in keeping with part of the definition suggested above. So if the translators had chosen the word “expanse” instead of “firmament” there would be no discussion of heaven being a metal dome.

My point is, once again, that the Bible does not teach that heaven is a metal dome.  The translators of the KJV chose a word that they thought described the firmament, but, again, that translation is not part of the Bible.  Therefore, there is no error in the Bible in regard to what heaven is, the error, again, is in the translation of man, not in the writing inspired by God.

Isaiah 40:22: A Flat Earth

 Ms. Matthews wrote, “The Earth is a flat disk in shape, like a dinner plate, and rests upon mountain pillars.  She suggested Is. 40:22 as proof of that statement.  That verse reads, “It is [God] who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in.”

I believe that Ms. Matthews interprets the Bible as teaching a flat earth in part, because she incorrectly understands the Bible to teach that the earth “rests upon…pillars”.  That subject will be discussed below, but let us consider first the phrase in Is. 40:22.  “It is [God] who sits above the circle of the earth…..” This verse does indeed speak of a “circle” in respect to the earth.

The question is then: Did Isaiah intend to convey the picture of a circular but flat earth, as Ms. Matthews suggests, or did he intend to convey the picture of a round earth like a ball?  But let us also consider other verses that use the same Hebrew word translated “circle” in Is. 40:22  and we will indeed have a clearer picture as to what Isaiah had intended us to understand.

The Hebrew word translated “circle” in Is. 40:22 is also used in Job 22:14 where it is translated “circuit”.  That verse reads, “…..He walketh in the circuit of heaven”. Note that heaven is a circle.  Can we say that heaven is circular in shape but flat?  Actually, as discussed above, Ms. Matthews herself believes that the Bible teaches that heaven is like an upside down colander which is certainly not flat. Therefore, because the same Hebrew word is used of the earth as is used of heaven I believe we must conclude that the Bible does not teach a circular but flat earth any more than it teaches a circular but flat heaven. That is to say, if a word describes  heaven as round like a ball, which is certainly not flat logic demands that the same word describes the earth as round like a ball, not a flat one.

But again, I believe that part of the reason Ms. Matthews understands Is. 40:22 as referring to a “flat” earth” is based on her incorrect conclusion that the Bible teaches that the earth rests on “pillars”. Therefore, let us continue with the scriptures which Ms. Matthews has suggested speak of the earth on pillars.

We read in Job 9:6, “God shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble.” And Job 26:11 which reads, “The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astounded at [God’s] rebuke.” And Psalm 75:3,  “When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants, it is I [God] who keeps its pillars steady.” All three of these passages use the same Hebrew word that is translated “pillar” so we will consider them together.

The Hebrew word translated “pillars” in these verses is “gammood”.  It is used of pillars such as those used to build the temple, but is also used of a pillar of a different kind.  For example, we read in Ex. 14:21, “and the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud to lead them the way…”. How then are we to understand these verses?

May I suggest we consider Job 26:11 and Job 26:7.  Verse 7 tells us that God “hangeth the earth upon nothing”.  Did Job contradict himself in the space of a minute or two and say that the earth sits on literal pillars (vs. 11) after he had just said that the earth hangs on “nothing”?  That is not the most likely conclusion.  I believe that the most likely conclusion is that when he spoke of the pillars in verse 11 he was speaking of the invisible forces of heaven such as, for example, gravity. (As mentioned in the Introduction to this paper, Job 26:7 is one of several verses that prove that only God could have written the Bible because man did not know of the gravity in the heavens at the time the Bible was written).

To continue, I believe that all the verses that speak of pillars refer to the same forces. So “pillars” is used as the figure of speech “Metaphor” which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “A declaration that one thing is, or represents another”. In the case of “pillars” I believe it is used as a metaphor for the powers in heaven upon which, as we read in Job 27:7, the earth was hung.

In the interest of thoroughness I would like to post the scriptures that use other Hebrew words than the one discussed above that are incorrectly understood to mean that the earth rests on foundations.

The Hebrew word “yahsad” is used of the foundations of the earth in the following passages: Job 38:4; Ps. 78:69, 102:25, 104:5; Is. 48:13, 51:13, 51:16; Zech. 12:1. As quoted above, Job 26:7 tells us that the earth is hung on “nothing” and as explained above, I believe that the “nothing” spoken of is the invisible forcers of heaven. Therefore, I believe that “yahsad” is used metaphorically of the “nothing” of Job 26:7.

The Hebrew word “mohsahdohth” is translated “foundations”. It is used in II Sam. 22:8 which reads, “then the earth shook and trembled, the foundations of heaven moved…”.  .   If one is to argue that the earth has foundations which implies that it can not move, logic dictates that because the heaven has foundations neither can it move. But we learn in II Sam. 22:8 that the foundations of heaven do indeed move. Therefore, we must conclude that the passages which speak of the foundations of the earth are not to be understood as literal foundations but rather they speak of the forces of heaven. The Hebrew word translated “foundations” in II Sam. 22:8 is also used in the following verses concerning the foundations of the earth: II Sam. 22:16, Ps. 18:15, 82:5; Prov. 8:29; Is. 24:18, 40:21; Jer. 31:37, 51:56;  Mic. 6:2.

The Bible also speaks of the earth not moving which would seem to agree with Ms. Matthew’s position that it rests on pillars. Please see the paper on the geocentric theory for the Scriptural evidence that these passages do not speak of the earth, but of the land of Israel and/or the “oikoumenee”, the inhabited earth, i.e. the Old Roman Empire.

Boundaries: Job 26:10

Ms. Matthews suggests that “God has [created the Earth as] a circle on the face of the [chaos] waters [between the Earth and outer space], at the boundary between light and darkness.” — Job 26:10. Let us consider this verse.

Job 26:10 reads, “He hath compassed the waters with bounds; until the day and night come to an end”. But Ms. Matthews wrote that “God has created the Earth……at the boundary between light and darkness”. Is that what this verse says?  It does not. It does not say that God created the earth at the boundary of light and darkness, it says that God compassed the waters with boundaries, which will last until day and night come to an end.

“Before The Foundation of the World”: Proverbs 8:26-27

Let us continue with Prov. 8:26-27 about which Ms. Matthews wrote, “[Lady Wisdom] was brought forth when [God] had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil. “When [God] established the heavens, I was there, when [God] drew a circle on the face of the deep”.

Prov. 8:26-27 speaks of wisdom being brought forth before the heavens were “appointed”, vs. 29. The question is: to which heaven does this passage refer?  That is to say, Gen. 1:1 tells us of the creation of heaven and Gen. 1:6-7 tells us of the creation of the firmament, also named in vs. 8 “heaven”.

In the New Testament we read of three events which took place before the “foundation” of the world. The Greek word translated “world” is “kosmos” and refers to the entire universe, including, of course the earth. The Greek word translated “foundation” is “katabolee” and, as the paper on Rev. 21:1  proves, should be translated “overthrow” referring to the destruction of the first earth of Gen. 1:1 which became “without form and void” (Gen. 1:2).  I believe that as we consider the scriptures that speak of those three events we shall see that it tells us that God, knowing that He would destroy the earth, planned ahead of time, (i.e. “before the overthrow of the world”) to counter the event(s) that led to that destruction. Let us consider those events.

We will begin with I Peter 1:20 which speaks of Christ being “foreordained before the overthrow of the world”.  The context shows that Christ was “foreordained” as the Lamb of God.  That is to say, before man was even created God had put into place His plan of salvation, which, of course, centers on the sacrifice of Christ. And that brings us to Jn. 17:24 where we read of Christ’s statement that the Father loved Him “before the overthrow of the world”.   Again, we see in this verse that the relationship of Father and Son was in place even before the six day creation of the heaven and the earth.  And in Eph. 1:4 we read of saints being ”chosen before the overthrow of the world”, the implications, are, I believe self-evident.

Coming now to the creation of wisdom before the heaven and earth were created. Given that this passage speaks of “mountains”, “hills” and “fields” (see vs. 26), none of which are ever said to exist on the earth of Gen. 1:1, we must, in my opinion, conclude that the earth of this passage refers to the six day creation recorded in Genesis 1:2-20. If it refers to the earth of the six day creation, logic demands that it also refers to the “firmament”, called “heaven” of Gen. 1:6 and 8. That being the case wisdom was created “before the overthrow of the world”. I am sure the reader needs no further comment on why God chose to create wisdom before He created man.

Further, Ms. Matthews has assumed that God could not or would not create wisdom before He created the heavens and the earth. She is entitled to that opinion of course, but because her opinion is different than what the Bible teaches, does not constitute an error in the Bible. That is to say, because she has not proved that God would not or could not create wisdom before He created the earth, her suggestion that it is an error to say that He did so, is entirely without basis.

The Sun Rises and Sets

We read in several scriptures that the sun rises and sets.  For example we read in Ecc. 1:5, “The sun also riseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose”.

If the sun rises it goes up, i.e. north, and if it sets, it goes down, i.e. south.  My point is that because the sun does not literally go north, i.e. rise, or go south, i.e. set, we must take this figuratively. That is to say, as is true of all literature, including the Bible, it is to be understood either literally or figuratively. Whenever possible the Bible must be taken literally.  But when there is a seeming error or inconsistency if taken literally we must take that passage figuratively, i.e. as a figure of speech. Because the sun does not literally travel north or south (rise or set), we must understand this as a figure of speech.

In point of fact there is a figure of speech that will allow for the rising and setting of the sun. That figure of speech is the Metonymy of the Effect, which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “when the effect is put for the cause producing it”. So when we read of the sun rising the effect is that the sun rises because that is what we see. In other words, we cannot take literally the verses that say that the sun rises because the sun does not go north, i.e.  rise.  We must therefore,  understand the verses which speak of the sun rising or setting as the use of the figure of speech Metonymy of the Effect to say that what we see (the effect) is the sun rising and what we see (the effect) is the sun setting.  The effect, i.e. the rising and setting of the sun, is put for the cause producing it. The cause is, of course, the earth revolving around the sun.

  Let us consider another  example of the Metonymy of the Effect. We read in Gen. 25:23, “And the Lord said unto her, ‘Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels…’”. Note the phrase, “two nations are in thy womb”. We know that there were two baby boys in Rebekah’s womb, Jacob who became the father of Israel and Esau who became the father of the Edomites.  We must take this verse figuratively because there were obviously not two nations in Rebekah’s womb. The effect of the two boys in her womb was that there would come from her two nations. So the effect (i.e. two nations) was put for the cause producing it, (i.e. the two sons in Rebekah’s womb). Let me put that another way. The effect is two nations, the cause producing it is two male babies, each fathering a nation. So when we read that there were two nations in Rebekah’s womb that is the effect which is put for the cause producing it.

We read in Josh. 10:13, “and the sun stood still and the moon stayed”. Some take this verse to say that the sun is generally moving but in this case it stood still. Let us consider the context of this verse.

We read in verses 1-7 of “five kings of the Amorites….encamped before Gibeon and made war against it” (vs.5). In verse  6 we read of the men of Gibeon asking Joshua to come and help them in the battle, and in verse 8 we read, “and the Lord said unto Joshua, ‘Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee’”.

Then in verse 12 we read, “Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘Sun stand thou still upon Gibeon; And thou Moon, in the valley of Ajalon: until the People have avenged themselves upon their enemies”.

Why did Joshua ask for the sun and the moon to stand still?   Obviously, so that they would have the time to “avenge themselves upon their enemies”. What did the sun and moon standing still have to do with avenging their enemies? By the sun and moon standing still there would be daylight for the “about a whole day” (vs. 13)  thus giving Israel the time to avenge their enemies.

Here is my point. What happened that day was that there was daylight for most of the day. Was that daylight a result of the sun and moon standing still, or could God have chosen a different way to accomplish that? In point of fact, we are not told. But, as we learned above, there is no Scriptural evidence that says that the sun moves, only that as we see it, the sun moves. Therefore we may not assume that Josh. 10:13 says that the sun and the moon usually move.

I believe Josh. 10:13 does not prove that the sun moves. Rather, this verse uses the figure of speech Metonymy of the Effect, which again is defined as the effect put for the cause producing it. In short, those of Joshua’s day saw the miracle of “about a whole day” of daylight. The sun and moon stopping was, figuratively speaking,  the effect (what they saw) from God’s miracle of giving them light, which was the cause.

Jude 1:14: “Evil Comets”

We read in Jude 1:14,  “They are wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever”. Ms. Matthews has suggested that Jude 1:14 says that “comets are evil”.  Let us consider this verse in context.

We read in Jude 1:10-14, “But these (men) speak evil of things which they know not…..Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain…..These are spots on your feasts of charity, clouds they are without water….trees whose fruit withereth without fruit….raging waves of the sea,wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever”.

It is obvious that this passage uses several metaphors.  That is to say, we read, for example that these ones about whom Jude wrote are “clouds”.  He was not saying that these men are literal clouds, he was saying that they were figuratively speaking like clouds in that they were without water, i.e. they were empty. Jude was not saying that these men were literally trees without fruit.  He was saying that figuratively speaking they were void of good works. Obviously, “wandering stars” is also used as a metaphor.

In short, there is nothing in this context which would lead us to conclude that the Bible teaches that comets” are “evil” as Ms. Matthews suggests.

OTHER SUPPOSED ERRORS IN THE PENTATEUCH

Genesis 1:28 and Leviticus 12:1-8: “Childbirth a Sin”

We read in Gen. 1:28, “And God blessed them (Adam and Eve), and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it….”.  Mr. Gordon wrote with regard to Lev. 12:1-8, “God required purification rites following childbirth which, in effect, makes childbirth a sin”.  But we read in I Tim. 2:15 that a woman “shall be saved in childbearing”. So child bearing is a good thing for a woman, it is certainly not a sin. Mr. Gordon’s assumption that because a woman must complete purification rites after childbirth makes childbearing a sin is an incorrect assumption. Let us carefully consider Lev. 12.

Lev. 12:2 reads, “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, ‘If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days…..”.  Neither the English word “unclean” or the Hebrew word “tahmeh” used in this verse means to have sinned. The meaning of the English word is fairly obvious, i.e. not clean, but let us consider the Hebrew word translated “unclean” in this verse. Consider, for example, Lev. 14:33-36, “And the Lord spake, unto Moses and unto Aaron saying, ‘When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of our possession; and he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, ‘it seemeth to me there is as it  were a plague in the house’: then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean…” (Heb. “tahmeh”).

The house had not sinned, it was simply unclean. So too, Lev. 12 does not say that the woman who bears a child had sinned, it said only that she was unclean.

For the sake of  thoroughness, let us also consider Lev. 12:6  where we read, “And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled she ……shall bring a lamb….for a burnt offering and a pigeon of a turtle dove for a  sin offering…….and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood”.  Consider also Lev. 15:19-3. which speaks of a woman who because she was in her menstrual period was said in verse 19 and others was “unclean”.  But this was a natural part of the way a woman’s body works and was certainly not a sin.  And yet in verses 29- 30 we read that the priest offered a sin offering and a burnt offering, “for the issue of her uncleanness”.

Here is my point, in both cases, i.e. the woman who had given birth, and the woman who had her menstrual period, had a sin offering and a burnt offering made for her. There was no sin involved, in either case, so why was there a sin offering?

I believe the answer to that may be found in Gen. 3:16.  That verse comes, of course, in the context of God declaring His punishment for Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. We read in that verse, “Unto the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children….”.  In my opinion, childbearing and the associated menstrual period is not in itself a sin, but it is a reminder of Eve’s sin and therefore requires a sin offering.

In terms of an error in the Bible, there is no error because the Hebrew word used of a woman being “unclean” in child birth does not mean “to sin” any more than a house with mold had not sinned. It means simply that she is unclean.

 Genesis 2:17 and Gen. 5:5

We read in Gen. 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”.  But Gen. 5:5 tells us that Adam lived “nine hundred and thirty years”.

Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s note in the Companion Bible on Gen. 2:17 clears up the supposed contradiction.  That note reads, “Heb. ‘Dying thou shalt die’. In other words, God did not tell Adam that he would die on the day he ate of the forbidden fruit, He told him that he would begin to die, i.e. “dying thou shalt die”.

Genesis 2:16-17 and Hebrews 5:14: Good and Evil

We read in Gen. 2:16-17, “And the Lord commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat’, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it….”. But in Heb. 5:14 we read, “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”.

Mr. Gordon believes the inconsistency between Gen. 2:16-17 and Hebrews 5:124 is that in Genesis God was saying it is wrong to know good and evil but in Hebrews the writer encourages his readers to exercise the discernment between good and evil.

The problem with Mr. Gordon’s thinking is that Adam and Eve were quite different in respect to the knowledge of good and evil before they ate of the tree than every other human being that came after them. Let us consider that difference.

We read in Gen. 3:6 that Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  And in verse 7 we read of the immediate consequences, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked”. They had not been blind in the sense that they did not see that they were naked.  What does this verse tell us?  I will quote from Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s note in the Companion Bible on this verse, “They knew before but their knowledge now received a new meaning”.  Let us consider that statement.

I believe that before they had partaken of the fruit from the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve were unaware of the concept of good and evil. After they ate of that fruit they became aware of that concept and that is why they saw themselves as naked in a different sense.  In other words, God did not want Adam and Eve to be aware of the concept of good and evil so that they might live lives free from the temptations of evil.

But the writer of Hebrews was writing to we who are all too well aware of that concept and must make constant choices exercised by our discernment to avoid evil.

In short, there is no error because Adam and Eve were quite different in respect of knowing good and evil than all those who were to come after them. Where Adam and Eve had no concept of good and evil before their disobedience, we who followed are quite aware of it and must practice discernment.

Genesis 4:4-5: The Offerings of Cain and Abel

Mr. Morgan wrote that even though God shows no partiality, He “prefers Abel’s offerings and has no regard for Cain’s”. The suggestion is that there is a contradiction in terms of whether God does or does not show partiality. Let us examine that supposed contradiction.

There is one Old Testament passage which says that God does not have respect for persons and five which seem to say that He does.

II Chron. 19:7 “Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts”.  The Hebrew word translated “respect” in this verse is “massoh” and it occurs only once.

Now let us look at the Old Testament passage are said to contradict that.

Gen. 4:4 “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering”.  The Hebrew word used in this verse is shagah” and means basically. “look” as in  Is. 17:7, “In that day a man shall look to his Maker”. So in this verse we read that God looked unto, not favored,  Abel and his offering.

Ex. 2:25 “And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them”.  The Hebrew word translated “respect” here is “yahag” and its basic meaning is “know” as in Gen. 12:11, “I know that thou art a fair woman”. So in this verse we read that God knew Israel.

Lev. 26:9 “For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you”. Here the Hebrew word is “pahnah” and means “turned” as in Deut. 31:18, “they are turned unto other gods”. So here we read that God turned unto the faithful of Israel.

II Kings 13:23 “And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as ye”. The Hebrew word is the same as Lev. 26:9 quoted above and means “to turn unto”.

Psalms 138:6, “Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.  In this verse the Hebrew word translated “respect” is “rahah” and means “saw” or “look” as in Gen. 9:16 “I will look upon it”.

There are several passages in the New Testament that we shall also consider in regard to this question.

Romans 2:11, “ For there is no respect of persons with God”.

Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons’”.

Eph. 6:9, “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him”.

Col. 3:25, “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons”.

I Peter 1:17, “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear”.

The reader will note that all the passages quoted from the New Testament are perfectly consistent in that they all say that God is no respecter of persons. As we have seen above, none of the Old Testament passages that seem to say that God does respect persons use a word that means “respect”, i.e. all the Hebrew words mean something much different. Therefore, there is no contradiction, i.e. God does not have respect for persons. That is to say, God does not show partiality.

Genesis 4:9 and Jeremiah 23:23-24: “Where Is Your Brother?”

 We read in Gen. 4:9, “Where is Abel, thy brother….?”. Mr. Gordon references several scriptures which explain that God is everywhere, the implication being that God should have known without having to ask Cain where his brother was.

The immediate context will show that God knew the answer to His own question.  Verse 10 reads, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground”. God knew that Cain had killed Abel, He didn’t need to ask Cain.  But why did He ask?

It is common practice to ask questions to which we already know the answer.  For example, which of us has not at one time asked a young child, “Would you like some ice cream?”  We didn’t need to ask because we knew he would want ice cream.

Of this same passage Mr. Gordon references Jer. 23:23-24 which says that no man can hide from God.  He then referenced Gen. 4:16 and wrote, “Cain went away (or out) from the presence of the Lord”.

Let us consider what Jer. 23:23-24 actually says, “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him….”? There is a vast difference between one going out from the presence of the Lord and hiding from Him. In the former God allows it, in the latter God does not.  That is to say, God allowed Cain to go out from His presence, but Cain could never have hidden himself from  God

Let me suggest a case from every day life to explain that point. If I am angry with someone I may tell him to “get out of my presence”. But that does not mean that I am telling him to hide from me.  So too, God allowed Cain to go out from His presence, but again, Cain could never have hidden himself from the God.

Genesis 6:20 and Genesis 7:2-3

 Gen. 6:20 reads, “Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive”.  But in Gen. 7:2-3 we read, “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens….”.

The solution to this assumed contradiction is, in my opinion, quite obvious.  That is to say, Noah was to take seven of the clean beasts and two of the unclean.  Even the reason is obvious, i.e. the clean beasts were to serve as sacrifices.

Genesis 7:7 and 13: Noah Enters the Ark

 Gen. 7:7 and 13 both speak of Noah entering the ark.  Mr. Morgan wrote, “They enter the ark (again)?”

If there is an inconsistency in these two verses it means that Moses made a mistake when he wrote it.  That is to say, when he wrote verse 13 he would have had to have forgotten what he wrote in verse 7.  That seems highly unlikely. I think any reasonable person would assume that Moses wrote about Noah entering the ark twice because of the importance of that fact, rather than that there is some kind of “inconsistency” in this passage.

Genesis 10:5 and Genesis 11:1: How Many Languages Before and After Babel? 

Mr. Morgan referenced Gen. 10:5, 20 and 31 as proof that there were many tongues before the tower at Babel was built. Then he quoted  Gen. 11:1 which reads, “And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech..”.

Genesis chapter 11 records the events immediately after Noah and his family left the ark.  Chapter 10 records “The generations of the sons of Noah”. Chapter 11 obviously begins with the time before the tower of Babel was built. In other words, chapter 10 is obviously a parenthetical chapter in which the genealogy of Noah’s sons is given. Let us examine that suggestion more carefully.

We read in Gen. 10:1, “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah….”. Then in Gen. 11:1-9 we read of the building and destruction of the tower at Babel.  Then in Gen. 11:10 we read, “These are the generations of Shem….”. Obviously, the passage from Gen. 11:1-9 is parenthetical.

The Bible is not, nor is there any reason that it should be, written in strict chronological order.

Genesis 11:7-9 and Proverbs 6:16-19: “Soweth Discord”

 Mr. Gordon referenced two passages which, in his view contradict each other.  One is in Gen. 11:7-9 and the other is Prov. 6:16-19.

Gen. 11:7-9 records God confounding the language of man. And we read in Prov. 6:16-19, “these six doth the Lord hate” and we read in verse 19, “and he that soweth discord among brethren”.

What does it mean to “sow discord”? Webster’s Dictionary defines “discord” as “lack of concord, disagreement”.  To “confound”, on the other hand, is, according to Webster’s Dictionary, “to put into confusion”.  Obviously, what God did as recorded in Gen. 11 was not to sow discord, but to put in confusion. A simple understanding of the English words clear up this assumed contradiction quite easily.

Genesis 11:9 and I Corinthians 14:33: Not the Author of Confusion

Mr. Gordon referenced Gen. 11:9 and wrote, “At Babel, the Lord confused the language of the whole world”. And then he referenced I Cor. 14:33 about which he wrote, “Paul says that God is not the author of confusion”.

What is required here is a correct understanding of the Greek word translated “confusion” in I Cor. 14:33.  That word is, “akatastasia”. It is used five times.  Let us consider briefly all five occurrences and I believe the reader will understand the word to mean “tumult”, “commotion” which is not the same as “confusion”.

Luke 21:9, “shall hear of wars and commotions”.

I Cor. 14:33.  We will come back to this verse.

II Cor. 6:5, “in prison and in tumults

II Cor. 12:20, “whisperings, swellings, tumults”.

James 3:16, “there is confusion and evil works”.

Let us consider the two verses in which the Greek word is translated “confusion”. James 3:16 reads, “For where is envying and strife there is confusion and every evil work”. The translation of “confusion” is not without warrant, but it could also have been translated “tumult”. So this verse is not a great deal of help in determining the meaning of the Greek word.

Now let us return to I Cor. 14:33. The entire passage concerns speaking in tongues.  Verses 27-31 are helpful in determining the meaning of the Greek word “akatastasia”.  In verse 27 Paul admonished the Corinthians to speak “by two or at the most by three, and that by course”, i.e. in turn.  Evidently the Corinthians were all speaking at once.  The result would be more than just confusion, it would be tumult. And in verse 30 Paul once again admonishes them that when one has a word of prophecy, “let the first hold his peace”.

Given the context and the fact that the Greek word is translated “tumult” in other passages, I believe that “tumult” is the better translation than “confusion”. In short, in Gen. 11 God confused the language of man, but Paul wrote of tumult which is not the same as confusion.

Genesis 11:12 and Luke 3:35-36: Father or Grandfather

 Mr. Gordon cites the reference (Gen. 11:12) which tells us that Arpachshad was the father of Shelah, where in Luke 3:35-36 we read that he was the grandfather of Shelah. As anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the Bible knows grandsons, great grandsons, great great-grandsons etc. are often referred to as “sons”.  Christ, for example is often called “the Son of David”.  The reason being that there is no word in the Hebrew for “grandfather”.

Genesis 11:26 and Genesis 11:32: How Old was Terah When He Died?

 We read in Gen. 11:26, “Terah lived 70 years and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran”.  And in Gen.  11:32 we read that Terah was 205 years old when he died. And we read in Gen. 12:4 that “Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran”. Mr. Gordon referenced Acts 7:4 and wrote “Abram was 75 when he left Haran.  This was after Terah died.  Thus, Terah could have been no more that 145 when he died; Abram was only 75 years old after he had lived 135 years”.

Mr. Gordon’s error is in assuming that Abram was born when Terah was 70 years old? That is to say, we read that when Terah was 70 years old he had three sons.  One cannot assume that Abram was the first to be born just because his name was listed first.  That is to say, as the reader will see, there is quite a different reason that Abram’s name was listed first.

Consider Gen. 5:32, “And Noah was five hundred years old; and Noah begat Shem, Ham and Japheth”. But Gen. 10:21 tells us that Japheth was the elder”.  In this verse, the order of the birth of the three brothers are in inverse order.  And there is a very good reason for that.  Shem’s name is listed first because as we learn in Luke 3:36, Shem was an ancestor of Christ’s and as such was the most important of the three brothers.

Just as Shem’s name is listed first in relation to his brothers because of his importance in the genealogy of Christ, so too is Abram’s name listed before his brother’s because of his importance in the genealogy of Christ.

If indeed Abram was the youngest of the three brothers, Terah could have been 130 years old when Abram was born, which would account for the seeming discrepancy.

So Terah was 130 when Abram was born and Abram was 75 year old when Terah died at the age of 205.

Abraham’s Son

We know that Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.  But in Heb, 11:17 we read, “By faith Abraham…..offered up Isaac….his only begotten son”. Is this an error?  Did the writer of Hebrews not know how many sons Abraham had?  Of course he did.  I believe the answer to this seeming error is found in the very next verse.  Verse 18 reads, “Of whom it was said that ‘In Isaac shall thy seed be called”. In other words, in terms of the promise God made to Abraham of a son in whom the Seed (Christ) would come, Abraham had only one son, i.e. Isaac.  In secular literature this would be called “poetic license” in the Bible Mr. Gordon calls it an error.

Genesis 17:7 and Galatians 6:15: Circumcision

Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction between Gen. 17:7 which speaks of circumcision and an everlasting covenant, and Gal. 6:15 which says of circumcision that it avails nothing. Let us consider these two passages.

We read in Gen.17:7, “And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee”. What was the purpose of circumcision? It was to serve as a sign of the covenant which God made with Abraham. That covenant included many things: it included the promise of a portion of land, it included the promise that if Abraham’s seed obeyed the law God would be their God and they would be His people. But it never included the promise of salvation.

Now let us consider Gal.6:15 where we read, “for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature”. Mr. Gordon fails to understand that the whole purpose of the epistle to the Galatians was to let them know that they were not saved by observing the Law of Moses, but by faith in Christ.

In short, Paul knew that circumcision was a sign of a covenant which had nothing to do with salvation and he explained that truth to the Galatians.

Gen. 17:8: The Promise of Land

We read in Gen.17:8, “And I will give unto thee (Abraham), and to thy seed after thee, the land, wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan…”. Mr. Morgan correctly gives the references that prove that Abraham died without having received the promised land.

Mr. Gordon does not understand that the promise made in Gen. 17:8 will be fulfilled in the millennial reign of Christ, when believers (including Abraham) will be raised.  See Ezek. 48 for the boundaries of the land promised to believing Israel in the millennial reign of Christ.

Abraham Marries His Sister

Mr. Gordon sees an inconsistency in the fact that the Law of Moses forbids one from marrying his sister and yet Sarah was Abraham’s half sister but God blessed their marriage. What Mr. Gordon fails to take into consideration is the fact that the Mosaic Law was given hundreds of years after Abraham and therefore, Abraham was not under that law.

Gen. 18:20-21 Is God Everywhere?

We read in Gen. 18:20-21, “And the Lord said, ‘Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me; and if not I will know”.

Does this passage say that God did not know what was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah? I believe the answer is quite simple.  We have in this verse the use of the figure of speech anthropopatheia which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in his treaties on figures of speech used in the Bible as, “Ascribing to God what belongs to human, rational beings, irrational creatures of inanimate things”. In this case we know that God knew of their outcry because we are told that it had come unto God.

But why do we read that the Lord said, “I will go down” when in point of fact, God did not go down, but rather He “rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire…” out of heaven. The phrase “will go down” is the formulae, so to speak, for God’s judgment (see Gen. 11:7 and Ex. 3:8).

Genesis 22:1 and James 1:13 Abraham Tempted

We read in Genesis 22:1-2, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, ‘Abraham’, and he said, ‘Behold, here I am’.  And He said, ‘Take now thy son……..and offer him for a burnt offering….”. But we read in James 1:13, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither He tempteth no man”.

To begin, let us determine the meaning of the Greek word translated “tempteth”.  That word is “pirazo”. It is often translated “tempt”, but let us consider several passages where that is not the translation.

Consider for example, Jn. 6:5-6, “When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, ‘Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?’ And this He said to prove (Gr. “pirazo”) him: for He Himself knew what He would do”. Our Lord was not tempting Philip with His question, he was testing him to see what he would say.

Consider also II Cor. 13:5, “Examine (Gr. “pirazo”) yourself whether ye be in the faith….”. Obviously Paul was not asking the Corinthians to tempt themselves, he was asking them to test their hearts and minds (examine) to see if they were in the faith.

Having determined the correct meaning of the Greek word translated “tempt” now let us consider James 1:13 more carefully.  That is to say, let us consider all of that verse, not just part of it.  We read that “God cannot be tempted with evil”.  In other words, it is impossible for God to be tempted into an evil act.  But when we read that God does not tempt man we must not take it out of context and fail to consider that phrase in connection with the previous phrase. In other words, just as God cannot be tempted to do evil, neither will He tempt man to do evil. If we add an ellipsis taken from the immediate context the meaning of this verse will be made clear.  “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither he tempteth no man to do evil”.

Did God tempt Abraham to do evil in Gen. 22?  The answer to that question is found in Heb. 11:17-19, “By faith Abraham when he was tried offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That ‘in Isaac shall thy seed be called’. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure”.

In short, James tells us that God will never tempt a man to do evil. And the writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham did not do evil in offering up his son, because he knew that God was able to raise him from the dead.

Now let us consider Matt, 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”.

It is argued that if God does not tempt, Christ would have no reason to pray “lead us not into temptation”.  This argument shows a lack of knowledge of the dispensational importance of Matt. 6:13. First century Jews were expecting the end times in their life time. The end times include, of course, the tribulation. As we read in Rev. 3:10 the tribulation will be a time of testing.  But it is not God who will test, it is Satan who will attempt to have man worship him through the antichrist by receiving the mark of the beast. The paper on this web-site will prove from Scripture that God will allow Satan to test man, but the tribulation is driven entirely by Satan.  Therefore, it is not God who is doing the testing, it is Satan.

But why did Christ ask them to pray, “Lead us not into temptation”? Israel knew, of course, that the tribulation would indeed be a time of testing. But what they did not know, because it was not revealed until after Christ’s earthly ministry, that God had prepared a safe haven for them.  We read of this in Rev. 12:6, “And the woman (Israel, see vs. 1) fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days”. In other words, the prayers of Israel to be kept from the three and one/half year tribulation period were answered in this verse, i.e. they would flee to this place prepared for them by God to escape the tribulation.

So the prayer to be kept from testing will be answered when, in the time of the tribulation a place will have been prepared to which Israel may escape the testing of the tribulation.

Jacob and Israel 

We read in Gen. 35:10, “And God said unto him, ‘Thy name is Jacob; thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name…..”. And Mr. Gordon references several passages in which God used the name “Jacob” rather than “Israel”.

What Mr. Gordon fails to realize is that “name” is often used in the Bible as a figure of speech metonymy of adjunct which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as “when something pertaining to the subject is put for the subject itself”. In this case “name” pertains to the subject which is Jacob/Israel.  Once we understand the meaning of the names in question we will see the point of the use of this figure of speech.

Dr. Bullinger defines “Jacob” as “contender” which is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “one who strives in opposition or rivalry”. Dr. Bullinger defines “Israel” as “God rules”. Figures of speech are used to enhance a truth, what is being enhanced by the figure of speech metonymy of adjunct in this verse?  The truth that is being enhanced is that God will no longer see Jacob as a contender, but will see him as one who embodies the sense of God ruling.

 Genesis 50:13 and Acts 7:15-16: Jacob’s Burial

We read in Gen. 50:13, “For his (Jacob’s) sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah which Abram bought with the field for a possession of a burying place of Ephron the Hittite” But we read in Acts 7:15-16, “So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he and our fathers.  And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem”.

Genesis 50 tells us that Jacob was buried in a field of Machpelah, but Acts 7 seems to tell us that he was buried in Sychem. I am indebted to an anonymous author for the following article.

“On occasion, when the English text seems unclear or appears to contradict itself, it often is beneficial to be able to examine the original language in which the passage was written. This is one such instance. One of the leading biblical scholars (some have suggested he was the leading biblical scholar) of his day was J.W. McGarvey, whose knowledge of both the languages and the customs of the biblical lands was without peer. His 1881 volume, Lands of the Bible, was considered a classic, even in its day, and remains so today. In his commentary on the New Testament book of Acts, McGarvey provided an excursion into the Greek text that helps immensely in explaining the “contradiction” posed by Stephen’s statement.

“As the two clauses stand in our version, “he died, himself, and our fathers; and they were carried over into Shecham,” there can be no doubt that “himself ” and “fathers” are common subjects of one verb “died,” and that the pronoun “they” before “were carried” refers to both alike. But it is not so in the original. The construction is different. The verb rendered died is in the singular number,eteleutasen, and it agrees only with autos, himself. The plural substantive “fathers” is not the subject of that verb, but of the plural eteleutasan understood. The construction having been changed with the introduction of the plural subject, it follows that the plural verb metetéthasan, “were carried,” belongs to fathers, and not to Jacob. The two clauses, properly punctuated, and with the ellipsis supplied, read thus: “and he died; and our fathers died, and were carried over into Shechem.” With this rendering and punctuation, which are certainly admissible, the contradiction totally disappears; and if the passage had been thus rendered at first into English, a contradiction would not have been thought of (1892, p. 121, emp. added, italics in orig.).

Who Is God?

Mr. Gordon gives many scriptures to prove that God is an angry, fierce, and jealous God, but that He is also love. Mr. Gordon assumes that some of these characteristics contradict a God of love. That, in my opinion, is a problem of his own making.  Even an individual man can be at times angry, jealous and loving. Who is to say that God cannot be all of those things at different times?

But Mr. Gordon goes on to give Gal. 5:22-23 as a reference about which his comment reads, “The fruit of the Spirit of God is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control”.

To begin, Mr. Gordon did not correctly quote Gal. 5:22. The Bible does not read “the fruit of the Spirit of God” as he suggested, it reads, “the fruit of the spirit”. It is true that the KJV has an upper case “S” but the Greek language rarely used upper case letters so this is an interpretation, not a translation of the Greek.

The word “spirit” as used in the Bible can refer to God as spirit, or as the figure of speech metonymy of a adjunct, for power from the Holy Spirit, or to the spirit that gives life, or to the spirit that is the psychological element of man or to the “new man”.  Let us consider the “new man”.

We read in Eph. 4:22-24, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

But how do we know if Gal. 5:22 refers to God or to the new man, i.e. the spirit from God? We read in verse 1:16, “….Walk in the spirit and not after the lusts of the flesh”.  Please note the contrast between flesh and spirit in Gal. 5.  Just as the old man has to do with things that are corrupt etc. and the new man with things which “after God”, so too is the contrast between the flesh and the spirit.  Consider also Gal. 5:17, “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh….”.  Here again is the contrast between flesh and spirit.

In short, Gal. 5:22-23 describes the fruit of the new man.  The new man is not God, it is a spirit sent from God to every believer which allows us, among many other things, to walk after godliness.

Exodus 3:1 and Numbers 10:29: The Father in Law of Moses

Mr. Gordon gives Ex. 3:1 as a reference to Moses’ father in law’s name. That verse reads, “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian….”.   In Ex. 2:18 we read, “And when they came to Reuel their father….”. In Exodus 3 Moses wrote that Moses’ father-in-law’s name was “Jethro” and in Ex. 2 he wrote that it was “Reuel”.

Did Moses when he wrote the book of Exodus forget the name of  his own father-in-law?  Of course he did not! “Reuel” (also called “Raguel” in Nu. 10:29) is the Arabic spelling of the Hebrew “Jethro”.

But Mr. Gordon believes that Nu. 10:29 contradicts Ex. 3:1.  He wrote, “Hobab was the father in law of Moses”.  That verse reads, “And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel, the Midianite, Moses’ father in law…..”.

This verse in Numbers does not say that Hobab was the father in law of Moses, it clearly says that Hobab was “the son of Raguel”.

Mr. Gordon also gave Judges 4:11 as a reference to prove that Hobab was the father in law of Moses thus contradicting Ex. 3:1. Let us consider that verse as well, “Now Heber   which was of the children of Hobab, the father in law of Moses”.  There is only one Biblical Hebrew word for both “brother-in-law” and “father-in-law” (chathan). It is, in fact, the word for any and all relations by marriage. If one takes into account the Biblical custom of multiple names for one person as well as Judges 4:11 calling Hobab Reuel’s son, Reuel, i.e. Jethro appears as Moses’ father-in-law, while Hobab may be seen as his brother-in-law.

Exodus 6:2-3: When Was The Name “Jehovah” Known?

We read in Ex. 6:2-3, “And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, ‘I am the Lord (Heb. Jehovah). And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of GOD ALMIGHTY, but by My name JEHOVAH was I not known to them”

Mr. Gordon offered several passages in which the term “Jehovah” appears much earlier than Moses. In point of fact, even though he did not include this passage, Gen. 18 records Abraham’s conversation with Jehovah about not destroying Sodom and Abraham even addresses God as “Jehovah”. What Mr. Gordon is missing is the fact that “name” is sometimes used as a figure of speech.  Let us first determine if “name” is used as a figure of speech in Ex. 6:2-3.

Let us once again assume for the sake of discussion that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible on his own, i.e, they were not inspired by God. That would mean that between writing chapter 18 of Gen. and chapter  6 of Exodus that Moses had forgotten all about Abraham having the discussion with Jehovah, and addressing Him as ”Jehovah”. That does not make much sense to me. In short, if logic demands that a passage not be taken literally, then it must be taken figuratively.

We read in Isaiah 42:8, “I am Jehovah, that is My Name…”.  (It is true that many do not agree that “Jehovah” is correct, and offer other alternatives.  In point of fact, however, no one can be certain what God’s name is because Old Testament Hebrew did not have vowels, so the vowels of the name were added centuries after the writing of the Old Testament). To continue, please note this verse begins, “I am Jehovah”.  This verse tells us much more than what God is called, which is the usual reason for a name. It is important to understand that “name” is sometimes used as a figure of speech metonymy of adjunct, which is defined in the Companion Bible as, “When something pertaining to the subject is put for the subject itself”. In this verse the word “Name” is used as that which pertains to Jehovah, Who is the subject. It is used as a figure of speech for Who God is.

Figures of speech are used to enhance a truth. What truth is being enhanced by the use of the figure of speech in Is. 42:8? In my opinion, it is used to enhance the truth of Who God is. A definition of “Jehovah” might be helpful in making this point. Dr. E.W. Bullinger gives the following definition of the word “Jehovah” in the Companion Bible: “Jehovah means the Eternal, the Immutable One, He Who Was and IS and IS TO COME”. So when we read “I am Jehovah, that is My Name” we are reading, I am “the Eternal, the Immutable One, He Who Was and IS and IS TO COME”, that is Who I am.

So when we read in Exodus 6:3, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My Name, Jehovah, I did not make Myself known to them we learn that God had appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but not as “the Eternal, Immutable One”, but as “God Almighty”. But when God appeared to Moses, He made Himself known as Who He is, His very essence, i.e. Eternal.

None Righteous

Mr. Gordon references several scriptures that say that individuals such as Noah, Zechariah and Elizabeth and all believers are righteous. He then suggests Rom. 3:10, 3:23, I Jn. 1:8-10 as proof that the Bible says that no one is righteous. Let us consider these passages.

Unfortunately, Mr. Morgan does not understand God’s plan of salvation.  If he did he would understand that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  But that when one becomes a believer in Jesus Christ God forgives those sins and counts that person as righteous, i.e. without sin.

We read in Romans 3:25, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “kaphar”, “to cover)) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins……..” . Let us put this verse in context so that we are not misled.

We read in verse 22 of the “righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe….”. Please note that this righteousness is “by faith of Jesus Christ“. Both the NIV and the NASB have “faith in Jesus Christ”.

Let us consider the reason that Christ is the propitiation of our sins. We read in verse 25 exactly what that reason was, “to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins”. What does that tell us? It tells us that a holy God cannot look upon, or fellowship with sinful man, so by covering those sins He maintains His own righteousness while He fellowships with His children.

In other words, when understood in light of the entire Bible (as opposed to taking verses out of context) one understands that all are unrighteous unless and until they accept Christ as the Son of God, at which point God counts that person as never having sinned.

Was Lot Righteous?

We read in II Peter 2:7, “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked”. But we know from Gen.19:30-38 that while drunk, Lot’s daughters did “lie with him”.  Is this a contradiction, i.e. was Lot just?

We must understand what it means to be “just”. If a person believes the message that God has for him, and acts on that message, he proves his faith/belief in God. For example, we read in Heb. 11 that Noah was made just when he believed God’s message about the rain and built the ark. So by believing, Noah was made just in God’s eyes, which is to say, that because Noah believed God, God forgave him his sins and Noah was seen to have not sinned, i.e. he was just. So too Lot.  We read in Gen. 19:12-22 of Lot being told that God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and that Lot should take his family and leave the city, which he did.  In doing that he not only saved his life but he became just in God’s eyes.

Exodus 12:13: The Blood on the Door Posts

We read in Ex. 12:13, “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood, I will Pass over  you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt”.  Does this passage tell us that God needed the blood on the house to know if He should pass over it? Of course not!

The point of the blood on the door posts was not to show God, but to show man that as they did what God had commanded, they were safe in God’s hands.

Exodus 20:17 and Exodus 3:20-22: Spoil From Enemies

Mr. Gordon references Ex. 3:20-22 and Deut. 20:13-17 citing that God told Israel to take spoils from Egypt. Then he cited Ex. 20:17, 17 and Lev. 19:13 wherein God forbids stealing from neighbors. There is no contradiction here.  The former passages refer to taking from enemies of God, the later to neighbors.

Exodus 12:37: How Many Left Egypt?

We read in Ex. 12:37, “And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children”.  Now let us consider Nu. 1:45 which reads, “So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; even all that were numbered were six hundred thousand, and three thousand and five hundred and fifty”.  There is no contradiction as the census of  Nu. 11 was taken later than the one of Ex. 12. We know that from Nu. 1:1, “And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai in the tabernacle of the congregation on the first day of the second month in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt…”.

 Further, Mr. Gordon estimates that the total number of Israel to leave Egypt were 2,00,000.  We read in I Kings 20:15,”Then he (Ahab, King of Israel) numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces and they were two hundred and thirty two, and after them he numbered all the People, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand”.  Mr. Gordon has failed to reckon three things.

The Hebrew word translated “children” in I Kings 20:15 is “behn” and means “sons” which, of course, does not include women.

We read in Num. 14:29, “Your (those who left Egypt under Moses) carcasses shall fall in the wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against Me”. In other words, most who left Egypt under Moses died in the wilderness.

The seven thousand were men only and they were of the northern kingdom, Israel, which of course, did not include the men of the southern kingdom.

So the seven thousand of I Kings 20:15 were men from the northern kingdom only. And if we accept Mr. Gordon’s guess as to the number that left Egypt, we must bear in mind that all those adults died in the wilderness so there were certainly not 2,00,000 after forty years. In point of fact we do not know how many Israelites left Egypt and any guesses would be immaterial.

Exodus 20:4 Exodus 25:18: Graven Images

Ex. 20:4, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”. But let us also consider Deut. 4:23, “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee”. But we read in Ex. 25:18, 25:19-20, the directions for how Israel should build the images of the cherubim for the temple.

This is not a contradiction as one considers Deut. 4. That is to say, we read in Deut. 4 that Israel should not build any grave images that “the Lord thy God hath forbidden”. Obviously, if God gave instructions in how to build the graven images of the cherubim, they were allowed. 

In other words, this seeming contradiction makes sense only if one ignores part of the Bible.

Exodus 20:1-7 and Galatians 3:19: By Whom Was The Law Given?

Mr. Gordon gives Ex. 20:1-7 as proof that the law was given by God.  But then he gave Gal, 3:19 as a reference to prove his point that it was given by angels. As we consider Gal, 3:19 more carefully the reader will see that Galatians does not speak of the law being given, it speaks of it being ordained by angels.

Gal. 3:19 reads, “….it (the law) was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator”. The Greek word translated “ordained” is “diatasso” and is often translated “commanded” or “appointed”. It is never translated “given”.  What does the word mean in Gal. 3:19? Bearing in mind that angels are God’s messengers,  I do not believe that Gal. 3:19 tells us that the angels commanded, but I believe we can say that the angels appointed the law unto Israel with Christ (Who is Jehovah, please see the paper that proves that statement) as the mediator between the angels and Israel.

Now let us consider Deut. 33:2 which reads, “And he (Moses) said, ‘The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came with ten thousand of His saints: From His right hand went a fiery law for them”.  The Hebrew word translated “saints” is “kodesh” and means “set apart”, i.e. “holy”. So the Lord came with His holy ones”. The holy ones cannot refer to saints, which is proved in the paper on death, therefore, it must refer, in this case to angels. So we learn from Deut. 33:2 that God came with ten thousand angels when He gave the law to Israel.

Let us put this all together. The law was appointed by angels which came with  God as he mediated between them and Israel.  In any case, because Galatians three does not say that the law was “given” by angels as Mr. Gordon erroneously believes, there is no contradiction here.

Exodus 20:5 and Deuteronomy 24:16: Sins of the Fathers

We read in Ex. 20:5, 34:7, Nu. 14:18 and Deut. 4:9 the following phrase as part of the Mosaic Law, “….visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me”. Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction between these passages and Deut. 24:16 and Ezek. 18:19-20. (He also listed Is. 14:21-22 but that passage concerns Babylon which, of course was never under the Mosaic law, therefore does not figure in to this discussion). But let us consider the two passages that are relevant.

Deut. 24:16 reads, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers, every man shall be put to death for his own sin”.  And we read in Ezek. 18:19-20, “….When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all My statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die.  The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him”.

Even a cursory reading will show that there is no contraction here because Ex. 20:5 etc. does not say that the “iniquity of the fathers” will result in the death of following generations. It says that the iniquity will be “visited” upon following generations. In order to understand what that punishment will be one must understand the old covenant.

What is the old covenant? As recorded in Lev. 26, God promised Israel that if they obey His law (i.e. the Law of Moses) He will reward them with earthly temporal blessings such as rain for their crops etc. But He also promised that if they disobey He will punish them.  Let us consider what those punishments will be. Their punishments will be “sorrow of heart”, they will sow their seed in vain because their enemies will eat it (vs. 16). Let us skip to verse 21 where we learn that if they disobey God will send plagues.  In verse 22 God will send them wild beasts. And in verses 25-38 we learn that after all these punishments and Israel has still not turned to God, He will send swords and battles against them and their enemies will take them captive. In point of fact that is exactly what happened when God sent the Babylonians to burn Jerusalem and take the inhabitants captive. And indeed that captivity lasted for 70 years, i.e. three generations.

The sins of the father visited on the sons always resulted in earthly, temporal punishments. 

Exodus 34:6-7 and Jeremiah 31:34

We read in Ex. 34:7, “Keeping mercy for thousands forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin and  that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “God remembers sin even when it has been forgiven”.

As shown in the paragraphs above on Ex. 20:5 etc., the iniquity spoken of in Ex. 34 is that of disobedience to the Mosaic Law, the consequences of which include being taken captive to a strange land as described in Lev. 26. In point of fact, that is exactly what happened when after decades of warnings and continued disobedience Israel was taken captive to Babylon for 70 years, i.e. about three generations.

That captivity had nothing to do with God remembering forgiven sins.  In point of fact there is no record of Israel ever having asked for forgiveness until the 70 year captivity was about to come to a close. The punishment was one that was  in keeping with the Mosaic Law.  That is to say, Lev. 26 makes it very clear that if Israel continued to disobey the law, She would be carried into captivity and that is exactly what happened. This captivity was a result of the iniquity of one generation that, according to the Law of Moses, was carried out into future generations, but it was not because sins had been remembered, it was because of the consequence of disobedience to the Law.

In Jer. 31:34 we read, “……I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more”. As the paper on the covenants of God shows, this verse is, in part, a description of the new covenant that will be put into effect in the millennial reign of Christ and therefore it not a promise made to any but to believers of the millennium.

But it is true that God will not remember sin committed by any believer because his sins will be covered. But the passage in Ex. 34 is not about forgiveness of sins, it is about the condition clearly explained in the old covenant (see Lev. 26)  concerning the consequences of continued disobedience.

Leviticus 11:6

Lev. 11:6 reads, “And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof: he is unclean unto you”. It has been suggested that the hare does not chew cud and this verse, therefore is in error.

I am greatly indebted to an anonymous source from the inter-net for the following explanation of Lev. 11:6,

“Leviticus 11:6 and Deuteronomy 14:7 : Another case of pre-Linnaean classification. If you observe a rabbit or hare in the wild while it’s there for you to observe, most of the time it will be chewing, and the food will be moving around in its mouth, being brought up from the back to the front of the mouth, and becoming pretty cud-like. The early Israelites would not have made a distinction between cud that is brought back from a second stomach and food that is being thoroughly chewed, so true ruminants and the hare and rock hyrax (a species of rabbit, Latin: cuniculus becoming in English, Coney) were all described as those that chew the cud (literally, bring up the cud). So in terms of language used at the time, the texts are accurate enough”.

“And ………“hoof” – “divide” in this context means [i]bisect[/i] and there’s no more of a trace of bisection in a hare’s paw than in our own hands”.

I would add only that the Bible is not a science text book.  It is accurate in all that it says about scientific matters, but it does not pretend to be a book that teaches science.

Leviticus 11:19

We read in Lev. 11:20,”All fowls that creep going on all four feet, shall be an abomination unto you”.

It is said by some that this must be a mistake because fowls do not creep on four feet. But we read in Deut. 14:19, “And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you”.  The Hebrew word translated “flieth” in this verse is the same word translated “fowls” in Lev. 11:20. So Lev. 11:20 refers to that being which both creeps and flies. We know, for example that many insects do both.

Leviticus 25:37 and Matthew 25:27: Lending of Money 

We read in Lev. 25:37, “Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usery…”. And in Matt. 25:27, we read, “Thou oughtest therefore have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received my own with usery”. 

Matt. 25:27 comes in the context of a parable. Each parable has a point and sometimes, the actions of the person in the parable are used to make the point of the parable, it is not to recommend those actions. Let us consider the parable and the point.

 “For the kingdom of Heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise, he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying ‘Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more’. His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the lord‘. He also that had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.’ His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the lord.’ Then he which had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, that thou hast that is thine’. His lord answered and said unto him ‘Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents’”.

The point of the parable is recorded in the following verses: “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but for him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth’”.  The point of the parable is not to promote usury, it is that in the millennial reign of Christ the first shall be last and the last shall be first, as stated throughout the Gospels.

Usury is not being promoted in this parable: it is simply part of the story that helps make the point of the parable.

Numbers 14:30 and Exodus 33:1: Did God Break His Promise?

 We all know that God cannot lie. But Mr. Gordon says that God did indeed lie as recorded in Nu. 14:30 which reads, “Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun”. In other words, Mr. Gordon suggests that in spite of God’s promise to the Israelites who left Egypt, they did not enter the promised land.

It is interesting that Mr. Gordon does not give the reference to the promise that God had made concerning the land. That promise is recorded in Ex. 33:1, “and the Lord said unto  Moses, ‘Depart, and go up hence, thou and the People which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘Unto thy seed will I give it’”.

My point is that nowhere in the entire Bible did God ever promise those who left Egypt specifically that they would inherit the promised land. The promise was to “the seed” of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and that promise was indeed fulfilled in the time of Joshua (see Josh. 21:43). And, in point of fact as is proved in the paper on covenants, the promise of land that God made to Abraham and his seed was a conditional one. That condition being faithfulness. 

Numbers 15:24-28 and Hebrews 10:11: Sacrifices and Forgiveness of Sins

  We read in Num. 15:24-28 of a sacrifice for a sin committed in ignorance of the law.  In verse 28 we read, “And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the Lord, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him”. We read in Heb. 10:11, “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins”. Here we read that sacrifices can not take away sins, but Mr. Gordon sees an implied error in that in Numbers 15 we read of forgiveness of sins when a sacrifice is made.

If one were to read these passages carefully, it is clear that there is no contradiction. Note in Nu. 15 the priest will make an atonement with the sacrifice, but in Heb. 10 we read that no sacrifice of animals can “take away” our sins. Let us consider the difference between atonement for sins and sins being taken away.

What does “atonement” mean? For the answer to that question we will look at the first occurrence of the word as found in Gen. 6:14 where God tells Noah how to build the ark, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the arc, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch”. The note in the Companion Bible on the word “pitch” is extremely helpful. That note reads, “Coat it. Heb. kaphar, to cover; the only word for ‘atonement’ in the OT so that it is only atonement that can keep the waters of judgment from us”.

What does “kaphar”, i.e. “atonement” mean in terms of God’s plan of salvation? The Greek equivalent is found in Romans 3:25 where we read, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “kaphar”) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins……..”. The Greek word translated “remission” in the phrase “remission of  sins” is “paresis” and is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as “the passing over”, and is used only this once in Rom. 3:25.  That word tell us that the sins of believers are covered by the blood of Christ and are passed over. In short, this word does not mean that sins are remitted in the sense of being taken away.

In short, the animal sacrifices served to cover sin so that a holy God could have fellowship with man.  But those sins were covered, not taken away.

So in regard to this supposed error, the blood of animal sacrifices were a shadow of the blood of Christ which covered the sins of the believer, but nothing, not even the blood of Christ, could take away the sins. If it could then the believer would not have to die.  But the fact that the believer does indeed die shows that the covering of sins is not the same as the taking way of sins.

Numbers 23:33: Nephilim Before And After the Flood

Mr. Gordon correctly states that even though Noah and his clan were the only ones to escape the great flood of that day, there were Nephilim before and after the flood. He then gave Num. 23:33 as a reference to show that there were Nephilim after the flood.  Let us consider that verse.

Nu. 13:33 “And there we saw the giants (Hebrew is Nephilim), the sons of Anak…”. As is very plainly stated, the Nephilim were the “sons of Anak”.  Obviously, Anak was a descendant from one of Noah’s children.

Let us also consider Gen. 6:4 where we read, “There were Nephilim in the earth in those days; and also after that”. My point is that far from there being an error here, the fact that there would be Nephilim after the flood was announced as early as Gen. 6:4.

Numbers 25:9 and II Corinthians 10:8: How Many Died?

 We read in Nu.25:9, “And these that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand”. In I Cor. 10:8 we read, “Neither let us commit fornication as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand”.

Let us add verses 4-5 of Nu. 25, “And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘Take all the heads of the People, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said unto the Judges of Israel, ‘Slay ye every one of his men that were joined unto Baal-peor”.

To begin, let us determine the correct meaning of the phrase, “all the heads of the people” which were hung. The note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger on that phrase reads, “chiefs or princes of the people”.

Note that in Numbers verse 5 we read that Moses told “the Judges of Israel, ‘Slay ye every one of his men that were joined unto Baal-peor”. We are not told in this context how many were killed by the judges.  As we put together Nu. 25 and II Cor. 10:8 however, we learn that there must have been 8,000 killed by the judges.

In other words, there were 32,000 all together who died that day, but Numbers did not include those who were hung, only those who “fell” from the plague.

 Numbers 33:38 and  Deuteronomy 10:6: Where Did Aaron Die?

Nu. 33:38 tells us that Aaron died on Mt. Hor, and Deut. 10:6 tells us he died in Mosera.  Strong’s Dictionary tells us that Mosera was a place in the wilderness.  Is this a contradiction?  Only if one does not understand that Mt. Hor was a mountain in the area of Mosera.

Deuteronomy 2:19 and Joshua 13:24

We read in Deut. 2:19, “And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession, because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession”.

But we read in Josh. 13:24-25, “And Moses gave inheritance unto the tribe of Gad, even unto the children of Gad according to their families. And their coast was Jazer, all the cities of Gilead, half the land of the children of Ammon, unto Aroer that is before Rabbah”.

In Deut. we read that the land of the Ammonites will not be given to the Israelites and yet Josh. 13  says that some of the land of the Ammonites was given to Israel. The answer to this seeming contradiction is found in Deut. chapter 3.   Let us consider the passage from verses 8-12. We read in verse 8, “and we took at that time….”  The rest of this verse and verse 9 lists the lands that Israel had taken.  The list continues in verse 10 where we read that they had taken Bashan of the kingdom of Og.  Verse 12 continues the narrative with the words, “And this land which we possessed at that time…..”. The boundaries of “this land” are given and then we read, “and the cities thereof gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites”.  Which land is the land that they “possessed at that time”? Obviously, it was the land discussed in the previous verses, which include the land of Bashan. We come now to verse 11b, “behold his (Og, king of Bashan) bedstead was a bedstead of iron: is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon”. 

We are now prepared to answer the supposed error that has been suggested. That is to say, we read in Deut. 2 that God would not give Israel possession of the land of the Ammonites but in Josh. 13 we read that some the land of the Ammonites were given to the tribe of Gad.

Og, the king of Bashan had his bedstead in a city which was in the land of “the children of Ammon” (vs. 11b).  That tells us that Og had conquered at least part of the kingdom of the Ammonites or he could not have had his bedstead there. And, we read in Deut. 3:10 that Israel had taken Bashan (see also verses 3-4) which as we read in verse 11 was part of the kingdom of the Moabites. It was the land that Israel had taken from Og, not the Moabites, that was given to the Gadites.

In other words, the land that was given to the Gadites had once been part of the kingdom of Ammon, but had been taken over by Og, the king of Bashan and then taken over by Israel and then given to the tribe of Gad. That means that Israel had not come up against the Moabites, they had come up against the kingdom of Og.  Therefore, Moses gave Gad an inheritance of land that had been taken by Israel, not from the Moabites, but from Og.

But Deut. 2:19 speaks of the land being given to Lot.  What is the connection between Lot and the Ammonites?  . We read of the birth of Ammon in Gen. 19. In verse 36 of that chapter we read, “thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father”. And in verse 38 we read, “and the younger (daughter of Lot), she also bare a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day”. In other words, Ammon was the son of Lot and Lot’s daughter and is the father of the Ammonites.

Deuteronomy 23:1 and Isaiah 56:4-5:  Eunuchs

In Deut. 23:1 we read, “He that is wounded in the stones, or have his privy member cut off, shall not enter the congregation of the Lord”.  We read in Is. 56:4-5, “For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My Sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant; Even unto them will I give Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters….”.   In Deut. 23 we read that the eunuch may not enter the congregation of the Lord and in Is. 56 we read that they may.  Is this a contradiction?  No it is not, but one must understand the historical settings of these passages. 

Deuteronomy was written as part of the Mosaic Law that was to be observed in the past. Is.56, on the other hand, is a passage that is written for those who will live in the millennial reign of Christ, i.e. in the future. Let us consider verse 7 of Is. 56, “Even them (“sons of strangers”, i.e. Gentiles, and eunuchs) will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer….”. Gentiles have never been allowed in God’s house.  That tells us that this is a prophecy of millennial times. That is to say, there is no contradiction here because Deut. 23:1 speaks of a law pertaining to times past, and Is. 56 speaks of a law for times in the future, i.e. the millennial reign of Christ.

Along these same lines Mr. Gordon suggest that Matthew 19:12 teaches that “men are encouraged to consider making themselves castrates for the sake of the kingdom of God”. Let us consider this passage from verse 11, “But He said unto them (the Pharisees), ‘All men cannot receive this saying save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, who were made eunuchs of men:  and for the king of Heaven’s sake…”. 

Let us consider another passage that is similar in subject. We read in I Cor. 7:8-9, “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.  But if they cannot contain, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn”.

Let us consider Paul’s reason for saying it was better to not marry. The epistle to the Corinthians was written in the Acts period when Israel was still looking for the end times which included the great tribulation. Christ spoke to those who would be caught in those times when He said, “Woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!”. We know that the term “those days” refer to the tribulation because we read in verse 15, “when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place…..then let them which be in Judea flee….”. 

Here is my point: The tribulation will be a time of great testing and that testing will be made more egregious if one were married which could lead to having a child. Therefore, some made themselves eunuchs, and some chose to not marry in order to withstand the testing of the tribulation. 

Furthermore, Mr. Gordon misquoted Matt.19:12. That verse speaks of the “kingdom of heaven” not the kingdom of God. As the paper on that subject will prove, the kingdom of Heaven is the term used of Christ’s millennial reign over Israel.  And as discussed in the paragraphs above concerning Is. 56, eunuchs will be honored in the millennial house of God. 

In short,  Christ said it was better to be a eunuch in the coming tribulation period than to be tried beyond one’s capability to resist receiving the mark of the beast, and be cast into the lake of fire. It is not good  scholarship to ignore the historic setting of any statement, whether in the Bible or in secular writing.

Deuteronomy 24:1-5 and Mark 10:2-12: Divorce 

Mr. Gordon gives Mark 10:2-12 and Deut. 24:1-5 as contradictory statements on divorce.  He wrote in relation to Mark 10, “Divorce is wrong and to remarry is to commit adultery”.

Does the Bible really say that it is wrong to divorce? No it does not! Let us consider our Lord’s statement on divorce. In verse 2 of Mark 10 we read that the Pharisees had asked Jesus “’Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife’, tempting Him?”  Then we read in verse 3, “And He answered and said unto them ‘What did Moses command you?’ And they said, ‘Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away’.  And Jesus answered….’For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.  But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the twain shall be one flesh…”. 

Did Christ say it was wrong to divorce?  He did not.  What He said was that marriage was created to make a husband and wife one. But God knew very well the heart of man and knew that sometimes a marriage just would not work.  So He put in place a plan so that a man may divorce his wife.   

Now let us consider Mr. Gordon’s comment on Deut, 24:1, “A man can divorce his wife simply because she displeases him and both he and his wife can remarry”.

In Deut. 24:1 we read, “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes because he hath found some uncleanness in her, then let him write a bill of divorcement”. 

The Hebrew word translated “uncleanness” is “gerveh” and is usually translated “nakedness”.  But it is also translated “shame” as in Is. 2o:4 where we read, “So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame (Heb. “gerveh”) of Egypt”. Given that any wife would be naked at times and therefore not a reason for divorce, I believe we may conclude that Deut. 24 tells us that if a man finds shame in his wife, he may then divorce her. So while “uncleanness” is a good translation it does not convey the level of uncleanness as does the translation “shame”.

Far from a man divorcing his wife “simply because she displeases him”, as Mr. Gordon suggestsDeut. 24:1 tells us that if the wife has some shame on her, then he may divorce her.

Now let us consider Mark 10:11 which reads, “…..Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, commiteth adultery against her”.  In other words, Deut. concerns divorce because a man had found shame in his wife, but Christ’s comment concerned divorce of a woman who had not been a shame to her husband. Because these were two totally different situations the passage in Deut.  has nothing to do with the comments our Lord made about divorce. That being the case, there can be no contradiction.

Deuteronomy 24:16: Sins of the Parents 

Mr. Gordon suggests several references that say that children are not to suffer for the sins of their parents. And he suggests that Rom. 5:12 contradicts that in that all men die because of Adam’s sin.

Let us begin by considering  one of the passages which speaks of the children not dying for the sins of the father. , i.e. Deut. 24:16, which reads, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers”.

We read in Rom. 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. We are told in this verse that all men die, because all men have sinned, not, as Mr. Gordon suggests, because they are in Adam. It is true that if Adam had not sinned death would not have entered the world, but that does not negate the fact that all men die because they themselves have sinned. 

Let us continue with verse 19 which reads, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous”. Here again the point is that by Adam’s disobedience many “were made sinners”. That is to say, before Adam disobeyed, there was no sin in the world, but after that disobedience sin entered the world and because of that, all men sinned.  But this verse does not say, as Mr. Gordon suggests, that all men die because of Adam’s disobedience, it says that because Adam allowed sin to enter the world all men sin and because they sin, they die.

Mr. Gordon also gave I Cor. 15:22 to prove that all men die because of Adam’s sin.  That verse reads, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”.  The message in this verse is that all men are in Adam and all men die.  But we cannot discount Rom. 5:12 where we read that the reason all men die is because all men have sinned.

In short, Adam’s disobedience allowed sin to enter the world, and with sin came death, but that is not why men die. All men die because they have sinned. Therefore all men die for their own sins, not for Adam’s sin.

Supposed Errors in the Historic Books

Joshua 10:38-39 and Judges 1:12-13

We read in Josh. 10:38-39, “And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it; and he took it….”. We read in Judges 12:13, “and Caleb said, ‘He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife’. And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it;  and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife’.

It should be noted that Kirjath-sepher  is often also called “Debir” as in Josh. 10. Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction in these two passages in that in the book of Joshua we read the he, Joshua, took the city and in the book of Judges it was  Othniel who took the city.

I must admit to having been quite surprised at Mr. Gordon’s comment. The reason for that surprise is that we read in Judges 1:1, “Now after the death of Joshua….”. In other words, the book of Judges speaks of a different time than does the book of  Joshua. Judges speaks of a time after Joshua had died, and the book of Joshua speaks of Joshua having taken the city, which obviously occurred before Joshua had died. 

Judges 1:19 and Matt. 19:26

Judges 1:19 reads, “And the Lord was with Judah: and he  (Judah) drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had chariots of iron”.  But we read in Matt. 19:26, “But Jesus beheld them and said unto them, ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible”.

It must be noted that it was not God who could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, it was Judah. It is assumed that because the Lord was with Judah that he, i.e. Judah, would have had success in all things.  But the Bible has many examples of man not fully succeeding even though the Lord was with them. That does not prove that God could not have driven them out of the valley, only that Judah could not do so and that God allowed the failure.

Sisera Killed Jael 

We read in Judges 4:21, “Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground, for he was fast asleep”. Then in Judges 5:27 we read, “At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down…”.

 Mr. Gordon wrote that in Judges 4 ”Sisera  was sleeping” and in Judges 5 “Sisera was standing”.  To begin, the suggestion that a woman was able to nail a tent nail into a man’s temple as he was awake and standing is, to say the very least, improbable.

Further, Judges 5 does not say that Sisera was standing. It says that “he fell”.  The Hebrew word translated “fell” is “nahphal” and is sometimes translated “died” as obviously, it should be understood in this verse. If “fell” means in this verse to die, obviously the other phrases, i.e. “bowed” and “lay down” must mean the same.

Specific Purposes of Kings and Samuel as Opposed to Chronicles

As the reader will see in the section below on the four Gospels, each of the four Gospel writers had a specific purpose in mind as he wrote his account of the life and ministry of Christ.  Each presented Christ in a different office, i.e, Matthew as King, Mark as Servant, Luke as the Son of man and John as God. Chronicles for the most part, records the same events as does Samuel and Kings, but just as in the Gospels, so too in the historical books, there is a different purpose for Chronicles than there is for Samuel and Kings.  I will quote Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s comments on Kings in the Companion Bible. “As compared with Chronicles, Kings and Samuel give the history from the human point of view, while Chronicles gives the same history from the Divine standpoint. The former as man rules history; the latter as God overruled it. Compare Saul’s death, I Samuel 31:6 with I Chronicles 10:13, 14; and in Kings three verses given to Hezekiah’s reformation, and Chronicles three chapters”.

With that in mind let us consider the supposed errors in the historic books of the Bible.

II Samuel 24:1 and I Chronicles 21:1

We read in II Sam. 24:1, “And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, ’Go number Israel and Judah.”   And we read in I Chron. 21:1, “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel”.

I will quote Dr. Bullinger’s note in the Companion Bible on the phrase “He moved”.  “He moved= He suffered him to be moved. By Hebrew idiom (and also by modern usage) a person is said to do that which he permits to be done. Here we have the historical fact.  In I Chron. 21:1 we have the real fact from the Divine stand point.  Here the exoteric, in I Chronicles 21:1 the esoteric”.

In other words, God allowed Satan to provoke David to number Israel because, as we learn in II Sam. 24:1, “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel”.

We read in I Kings 15:5, “Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that He commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite”.  This suggests that the “matter of Uriah the Hittite” was David’s only sin, but, as discussed above David did sin in numbering Israel and Judah.

Those of us who believe that the Bible is the Word of God take the announcement that David sinned in only the one matter at face value. In my opinion, God did not count David’s numbering of Israel as a sin, because God had allowed Satan to tempt David to do just that. But those who set out to “prove” that there are errors in the Bible see this statement as being incorrect.

  1. Mistakes of the Scribes

I believe it would be helpful to consider a note by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible about the transcription of numbers. “The ancient Hebrew characters were Phoenician and may be seen on the Moabite Stone.  These were in current use till about 140 B.C. and were gradually replaced by the modern Hebrew “square” characters. Mistakes in copying occurred through the similarity of certain letters”.  With that in mind we will consider the following passages in which these errors occur.

II Samuel 10:18 and I Chronicles 19:18

II Samuel 10:18 reads, “And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there”. And in I Chron. 19:18 we read, “But the Syrians fled before Israel, and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and killed Shophach, the captain of their host”. This is an error in transcribing the numbers.

II Samuel 8:4 and I Chronicles 18:4

II Sam. 8:4 tells us that “David took from him (Hadadezer) …seven hundred horsemen…”.But in II Chron. 18:4 we read that David took seven thousand horseman.  As discussed above, this is an error in transcription.

I Kings 4:26 and II Chronicles 9:29

I Kings 4:26 tells us that Solomon had forty thousand stalls for his horses, whereas we read in II Chron. 9:29 that he had four thousand. As discussed above, this is an error in transcription.

 II Samuel 6:23 and II Samuel 21:8

We read in II Sam 6:23, “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death”. But we read in II Sam. 21:8 of the “five sons of Michal, the daughter of Saul”.

Some manuscripts read “Merad” rather than Michal in II Sam. 21:8. But most read “Michal”. Here again the mistake of the scribes is evident.

 II Samuel 24:13 and I Chronicles 21:12

II Samuel 24:13 reads, “So Gad came to David and told him, and said unto him, ‘Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land?……”.  But we read in I Chron. 21:11-12, “So Gad came to David, and said unto him, ‘Thus saith the Lord, ‘Choose thee either three years’ famine….”.

Once again I will quote from the Companion Bible on the note in II Sam. 24:13, “The Hebrew numeral letters for three and seven were probably very much alike.  Hence perhaps mistaken by an ancient scribe.  Both may be right= seven or even three”.

I Chronicles 3:10 and Ezra 3:3

We read in I Chron. 3:10 that Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel. In Ezra 3:3 we read that Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.

Haggai 1:12 and 2:2 also tells us that Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.  Obviously, I Chron. 3 is an error on the part of the scribes.

Ezra 2:6 and Neh. 7:11

Ezra 2:6, “The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve. But we read in Neh. 7:11, “The Children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab two thousand eight hundred and eighteen”. Again, this is an error by the scribes.

The Ages At Which Some Kings Began To Reign

On this web-site is a paper which explains that although it is clear that Christ will reign on the millennial throne, David will serve as His co-regent. Consider, for example, Jer. 30:9, “But they shall serve Jehovah their Elohim, and David their king whom I will raise up unto them” (please see the paper proving from Scripture, that Jesus Christ is Jehovah Elohim). This verse clearly states that David will be king and that Israel will serve him as well as Christ.  And the note in the Companion Bible on II Chron. 36:9 reads, “This practice (co-regencies) was common in Israel and Judah as well as in ancient contemporary kingdoms”.

There are a few seeming contradictory passages which concern the age at which a king began to reign. One can either assume there is an error, or one can assume that there is no error but that the earlier age refers to the point at which a king began to reign as co-regent, and the later age refers to the age at which he reigned alone. In my opinion, if every other assumed contradiction can be accounted for then it would be most logical to conclude that in the case of the passage which speak of a different age at which a king began to reign, is not in error but is explained by a co-regency.

The following passages speak of different ages at which a king reigned.

 I Kings 15:33 and II Chron. 16:1

I Kings 15:33 reads, “In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel”. But we read in II Chron. 16:1, “In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah…..”.  Asa reigned as co-regent in the third year and by himself in the 36th year.

I Kings 16:23 and I Kings 16:28-29

I Kings 16:23 reads, In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years…”.

The note in the Companion Bible on this verse by Dr. E. W. Bullinger reads, “He reigned twelve years (833-821) and yet in vs. 29 Ahab began in the thirty-eighth year of Asa. Omrit began to reign de jure when he slew Zimri, in the twenty-seventh year of Asa; but only de fact on the death of Tibni the userper”.

II Kings 8:26 and II Chronicles 22:2

II Kings 8:26 reads, “Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign….”.  But we read in II Chron. 22:2, “Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign…..”.

I believe that Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began his reign as a co-regent and he was forty-two years old when he reigned by himself.

II Kings 24:8 and II Chronicles 36:9

II Kings 24:8 reads, “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign…”  But in II Chron. 36:9 we read, “Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign…..”.

I believe that Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign as a co-regent and he was eighteen years old when he began to reign alone.

Other Supposed Errors In the Historic Books

I Samuel 15:8 and I Samuel 27:8-9: Destruction of the Amalekites 

We read in I Sam. 15:8, “And he (Saul) took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword”.  Mr. Gordon then gives I Sam. 27:8-9 as a reference to prove that the Amalekites were destroyed again.  We read in I Sam. 27:9, “And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep….”. 

The note in the Companion Bible on the phrase “utterly destroyed” in I Sam. 15:8 tells us that it should read, “devote to destruction”. In other words, Saul did not utterly destroy the Amalekites, he devoted himself to their destruction.  Obviously, he did not destroy the Amalikites.

Saul Does Not Know David? 

Mr. Gordon references I Sam. 16:19-23 as proof that Saul knew David, but references I Sam. 17:55-58 as proof that Saul did not know David.

I am indebted to Mr. Eric Lyons for the following article: 

“First of all, it is imperative for one to recognize that, as with other Bible passages, nowhere in 1 Samuel 16-17 are we told that all of these events occurred in chronological order. Although throughout 1 Samuel, there is a general, sequential progression, such does not demand that every event recorded in the book must be laid out chronologically. In fact, within chapter 17 there is evidence that this is not the case. For example, the events recorded in 17:54 (i.e., David putting his armor in his tent, and taking the head of Goliath to Jerusalem) postdate the conversations mentioned in verses 55-58 (as verse 57 makes clear). More precisely, verses 55-56 synchronize with verse 40, while verses 57-58 could be placed immediately following verse 51 (Youngblood, 1992, 3:703). And, regarding chapter 16, who can say for certain that David was not already playing the harp for Saul before Samuel anointed him? First Samuel 17:15 indicates that “David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.” Perhaps it was during one of these furloughs that he was anointed as the future king of Israel (16:1-13). Unless the text clearly distinguishes one event as occurring before or after another, a person cannot conclude for certain the exact chronology of those events. Just because one historical event recorded in the Bible precedes another, does not mean that it could not have occurred at a later time (or vice versa). Truly, the ancients were not as concerned about chronology as is the average person in twenty-first-century America.

“Aside from the fact that one cannot be certain about the exact sequence of events recorded in 1 Samuel 16-17, several possible explanations exist as to why Saul appeared not to recognize David after his triumphal victory over Goliath. First, enough time could have lapsed so that David’s appearance changed significantly since the last time he appeared before king Saul. William M. Thomson, a missionary in Syria and Palestine for nearly half of the nineteenth century, once described the sudden changes in the physical development of Eastern youths in his book titled The Land and the Book.

“They not only spring into full-grown manhood as if by magic, but all their former beauty disappears; their complexion becomes dark; their features hard and angular, and the whole expression of countenance stern and even disagreeable. I have often been accosted by such persons, formerly intimate acquaintances, but who had suddenly grown entirely out of my knowledge, nor could I without difficulty recognize them (1859, 2:366).

“Few would deny that young men can change quickly over a relatively short period of time. Facial hair, increased height and weight, larger, more defined muscles, darker skin, a deeper voice, as well as the wearing of different apparel, may all factor into why a person may say to someone that he or she knows, but has not seen for some time, “I hardly recognized you. You’ve changed.” Surely, it is more than possible that between the time David served Saul as a harpist, and the time he slew Goliath, he could have experienced many physical changes that prevented a “distressed” king from recognizing his former harpist.

“A second reason Saul might have failed to recognize David is because he may have lapsed into another unreliable mental state. Saul’s intermittent deviation from normalcy is seen throughout the book of 1 Samuel (cf. 16:14-23; 18:9-12; 19:22-24; 22:6-19), and it is possible 17:54-58 is another illusion to his defective rationale. In his discussion of 1 Samuel 17, biblical commentator Robert Jamieson mentioned this possibility saying, “The king’s moody temper, not to say frequent fits of insanity, would alone be sufficient to explain the circumstance of his not recognizing a youth who, during the time of his mental aberration, had been much near him, trying to soothe his distempered soul” (Jamieson, 1997).

“Third, it could be that Saul did, in fact, remember David, but because of jealousy over David’s momentous victory (cf. 1 Samuel 18:8-11), and perhaps of hearing that Samuel had been to Bethlehem to anoint him as the next king (1 Samuel 16:1-13), Saul simply wanted to act like he did not know David. Such a scenario is not difficult to envision. Today, a teacher or coach might inquire about a student whom he or she already knows, yet in hopes of instilling more submission into the arrogant teen, the faculty member acts somewhat aloof. One textual indication that such may be the explanation of 1 Samuel 17:54-58 is that Saul still referred to David, the bear-killing, lion-slaying, Goliath-demolisher, as a “stripling” (Hebrew`elem—17:56, ASV) and “young man” (Hebrew na`ar—17:55,58). Although these two words do not necessarily carry a belittling connotation, neither designation seems very appropriate for a man who had just tried on the armor of King Saul—a man once described as “shoulders upward…taller than any of the people” (1 Samuel 9:2)—and had just killed one of the fiercest enemies of Israel. Truly, Saul’s supposed ignorance of David and his family may well have been a “performance” instigated by, what physician Herman van Praag once called, “haughtiness fed by envy” (1986, 35:421).

“Finally, one must realize that the text does not even actually say that Saul did not know David. It only records that Saul asked, “Whose son is this youth?” (1 Samuel 17:55; cf. vss. 56,58). It is an assumption to conclude that Saul did not recognize David. The king simply could have been inquiring about David’s family. Since Saul had promised to reward the man who killed Goliath by giving “his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel” (17:25), Saul might have been questioning David in order to ensure the identity of David’s family. Furthermore, 18:1 seems to presuppose an extended conversation between the two, which would imply that Saul wanted even more information than just the name of David’s father.

Truly, any of these possibilities could account for Saul’s examination of David. The burden of proof is on the skeptic to show otherwise. As respected law professor Simon Greenleaf concluded regarding the rule of municipal law in relation to ancient writings:

Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise (1995, p. 16, emp. added).

 How Many Sons Did Jesse Have? 

We read in I Sam. 16:10-11 and 17:12 that Jesse had seven sons. We read in Jesse’s chronology that Jesse had eight sons. I will quote Dr. E. W. Bullinger.  “Jesse begat eight sons.  Here (I Chron. 2) seven are numbered and named, and David is the seventh and the youngest; the eighth may have died young and left no issue.  While it was proper to mention the eight in the history, it is unnecessary to do so in the genealogy”.

Two Goliath’s 

Mr. Gordon gives I Sam. 17:50 as a reference to prove that David killed Goliath. Then in II Sam. 21:19 we read, “Jaare-oregim….slew Goliath. Is this an error in the Bible? 

I Sam. 17 is a historical account of what David did long before he was made king of Israel. II Sam. 21 is an historical account of what happened long after David was made king of Israel as recorded in chapter two of II Samuel.  If one were to read a secular history text book and read that Goliath was killed in let’s say 1890 and then read again that Goliath was killed in 195o, I would think the most natural reaction, without even a second thought, would be that it was a different man named Goliath. Why then is there the suggestion that the Bible is in error because two different men named Goliath were killed many years apart? 

Goliath Killed Twice? 

We read in I Sam. 17:50-61, “So David prevailed over the Philistine, with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith”.

Mr. Morgan suggests that there is an error here because Goliath could not have been killed twice, as this passage suggests, to him. If this were not such a serious subject I would find that suggestion really humorous. That is to say, does Mr. Gordon really think that the author, even if it were a human author, would miss such a glaring error, if indeed it is an error?

It is perfectly obvious that Goliath was killed only once and that we have in this passage the use of the figure of speech repeitio, which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “Repetition of the same word or words irregularly in the same passage”.  Figures of speech are used to enhance a truth.  The truth being enhanced in this passage is that humanly speaking,  beyond all expectations,, David had indeed killed Goliath.

The Name of the High Priest 

In I Sam. 21:1-6 we read that Ahimalech was high priest when David ate the bread. In Mark 2:26 we read that his name was Abiathar.  Is this an error or could the high priest have had more than one name?  Of course he had more than one name. That is a common occurrence in the Bible.

Saul Receives No Answer From the Lord 

Mr. Gordon’s comment on I Sam. 28:6 reads, “Saul inquired of the Lord, but received no answer”. Let us consider I Sam. 28:6, “And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets”. The next verse (vs. 7) tells us that Saul then went to a woman with a “familiar spirit” (a medium), something that was forbidden in the law of Moses (see Lev. 19:31). 

Mr. Gordon’s comment on I Chron. 10:13 reads, “Saul died for not inquiring of the Lord.  Let us consider that verse, “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it”. 

We are told quite specifically in I Chron. 10:13 why Saul died, i.e. it was because he asked “counsel of one that had a familiar spirit”, not because, as Mr. Gordon suggests, “for not inquiring of the Lord”.

But there does seem to be a discrepancy between these two passages in that I Sam. 28:6 tells us that Saul did seek the Lord and I Chron. 10 tells us that he did not. What must be understood is that the Hebrew word translated “enquired” in I Sam. 28:6 is “shaal” which means “to ask”.  But the Hebrew word translated “enquired” in I Chron. 10 is darash” which means “to seek out”. Obviously, Saul “asked” the Lord, but did not “seek out” the answer from the Lord. 

How Did Saul Die?

Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction between I Sam. 31:4-6 about which he wrote, “Saul killed himself…”  and II Sam. 1:2-10 about which he wrote, “Saul, by his own request was slain by an Amalekite”. Let us consider these passages.

In I Sam. 31:4-5 we read, “Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, ‘Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through and abuse me.’  But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid.  Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him”

And in II Sam. 1:2-10 we read that “a man came out of the camp from Saul, he came to David…”. Then when David had asked the young man how the battle had gone and how he knew that Saul was dead, the young man answered, “As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold Saul leaned upon his spear; and lo the chariots and horseman followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him he saw me, and called unto me.  And I answered, ‘Here am I’ And he said unto me, ‘Who art thou?’ And I answered him, ‘I am an  Amalakite’. He said unto me again, ‘Stand, I pray thee over me and slay me….’.  So I stood upon him and slew him….and I took the crown that was  upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord’”.’”

Let us review these passages.  In I Samuel we read that Saul “fell upon” his sword and died.  In II Sam. we read the young man’s account to David that he had killed Saul.  We must bear in mind that II Sam. 1 is the record of what the young man told David as to how he killed Saul. The record of the conversation is accurate, but that does not mean that the young man was telling the truth.  Another example of this kind of thing is when Nebuchadnezzar told his prophets that he did not remember the dream recorded in Dan. 2.  Of course, he remembered the dream, but the lie was not the lie of Daniel who recorded what the king said, the lie was the king’s, the conversation was recorded by Daniel exactly as it transpired. So too, the recording of the young man’s account was accurate, but the account was obviously a lie.  Why would the young man lie?  I believe it is obvious.  He thought he would be reward by David for killing his (David’s) enemy.  As it turns out he was killed for killing the “Lord’s anointed” but he didn’t know that would be the outcome of his deception.

In short, the record of how Saul died is found in I Sam. 31 and II Sam. 1 is a false account of how Saul died.

 I Samuel 31:4 and II Samuel 21:12

I Samuel 31:4 reads, “Then said Saul unto his armouorbearer, ‘Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me.’ But the armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid.  Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it”. But we read in II Sam. 21:12 that “the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa”.

I will quote the note in the Companion Bible on I Samuel 31:4, “Here history from human standpoint; in Chronicles, God’s stand point….”.

In other words, in God’s eyes Saul died in the course of the battle against the Philistines, but from a human standpoint he killed himself.

II Samuel 24:9 and I Chronicles 21:5

II Sam. 24:9a reads, “And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the People unto the king; and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand (800,000) valiant men that drew the sword”.  But we read in I Chron. 21:5a, “And Joab gave the sum of the number of the People unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand (1,100,000) men that drew sword”.

There is no contradiction here. II Sam. 24 tells us that there were eight hundred thousand “valiant men” from Israel while I Chron. 21 speaks of all the number of Israel. All one has to do is read what is there, rather than assume a contradiction.

Let us continue with the second phrase of these two verses. We read in II Sam. 24:9b, “and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men (500,000)”. And in I Chronicles 21:5b we read,  “and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand (470,000) men that drew sword”. Obviously, there were 500,000 men of Judah, but only 470,000 of them “drew the sword”. I believe we may conclude that the other 30,000 men were occupied in other duties during battle.

II Samuel 24:24 and I Chronicles 21:22-25

II Samuel 22:24 tells us that David paid 50 shekels of silver for a “threshingfloor” and I Chron. 21:22-25 speaks of David paying 600 shekels of gold for “the place of the threshingfloor”

The note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger tells us that the Hebrew word translated “threshingfloor” in II Sam. 22 is “goren” while the Hebrew word translated  “place” in the phrase “place of the threshingfloor” is “makom”. I will quote the note on II Sam. 22:24, “….the place which was afterward the temple area, about eight acres and for which David gave the much larger sum of 600 shekels of gold. Two separate purchases, effected, the one here was hurried, as an earnest, and the other was made later”.

I Kings  3:12 and Matt. 12:42

I Kings 3:12 reads, “….Lo, I (God) have given thee (Solomon) a wise and an understanding heart so that there was none like thee before thee neither afterward shall any arise like unto thee”. And in Matt. 12:42 we read, “The queen of the south (Sheba) ……came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold a Man greater than Solomon is here”.

Christ can not fit into the category of “like” Solomon because Christ was both Man and is God. In other words, there was never a “man” like unto Solomon, but because Christ is also God, He is, of course greater in that God is greater than man.

I Kings 4:32-37, Matthew 9:18-25 and Acts 26:23

We read in I Kings 4:32 and Matt. 9:18-25 of some being raised from the dead.  Then in Acts 26:23 we read of Paul’s statement that Christ” should be the first that should rise from the dead”.

Are we to assume that Paul, a “Hebrew of Hebrews” and a scholar of the Old Testament was unaware of the the child being raised from the dead as recorded in I Kings 4?  And are we to assume that Paul was also unaware of the two being raised from the dead as recorded in Matt. 9? I believe those assumptions are unwarranted. Let us consider the Greek words used in Matt. 9 and Acts 26.

The Greek word translated “arose” in the phrase, “the maid arose” is “egiro”. It is used many times of being raised from the dead but it is also used many times in the sense of arising as in its first occurrence in Matt. 2:13, “arise and take the young child”. It is never translated “resurrection”.

The Greek word used in Acts 26:23 is “anastasis” and it is always used in the sense of resurrection. The three times it is not translated as such is in Luke 2:34, Jn. 11:24 and Acts 26:23. Luke 2:34 reads, “….Behold this Child is set for the fall and the rising again of many in Israel…”. The “rising again” is put in contrast to the fall of many and is, in my opinion, clearly in reference to resurrection. According to the Englishman’s Greek Concordance, the other two references where “anastasis” is not translated “resurrection”, the literal meaning is indeed resurrection. 

So we have two different words used of being raised from the dead. The reader of the English Bible would be at a disadvantage understanding the difference between the two Greek words.  But logic demands that there is at the very least a difference in nuance, if not in basic meaning or there would not be two different words used.

I believe that because the reader of the English Bible may not understand precisely the difference between “rising up” and “resurrection” there is a difference. Therefore there is no contradiction in Acts 26:23 which says that Christ was the first to be resurrected.

 I Kings 5:16 and II Chron. 22:2

I Kings 5:16 reads, “Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought the work”. And in II Chron. 22:2 we read that there were “three thousand and six hundred to over see them” (the workers).

I Kings 5:16 tells us that “beside the chief of Solomon’s officers” there were 3,300 that oversaw the workers. That means of course, that some who oversaw the workers were not the chief of Solomon’s officers. How many?  That question is answered in II Chron. 2:2 where we read that there were 3,600 overseers. In other words 300 of the overseers were not part of the group described in I Kings 5 as the chief of Solomon’s workers.

I Kings 7:15 and II Chronicles 3:15

We read in I Kings 7:15, “For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high a piece.….”.  and In II Chron. 3:15 we read, “Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five  cubits high….”.

The note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger on I Kings 7:15 reads, “So 2 Kings 25:17 and Jer. 52:21.  But 2 Chron. 3:15 says thirty-five cubits long: i.e. together, the top of “each” being reckoned separately.  Therefore the height here was 17 and 1/2 plus 1/2 cubit being taken up in the joining of the capital”.

 I Kings 7:23 Measurements and Pi

I Kings 7:23 reads, “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one rim to the other; it was round all about, and his height was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about”.

One commentator wrote, “Circumference = Pi () x Diameter, which means that the Bible is saying that Pi() = 3.  A strict literalist who believes a perfect God would allow no error must admit that in this case their perfect God is allowing some pretty sloppy approximations.  How sloppy does it have to be before it’s just wrong?”

I am indebted to my friend David Haaland for his expertise in this matter. Mr. Haaland is a software engineer in the avionics industry.  He works on software that takes sensor data (very imperfect measurements) and computes usable information from it to be displayed to the pilot. It is obvious therefore that he knows what he is talking about.

I wrote to Mr. Haaland with this question concerning the measurements given in  I Kings  and asked, “Am I to gather that it would not be possible to construct this item with the measurements given?”  To which he answered,” If the basin is a half-sphere, then it would not be possible to construct it with the exact measurements given. However, if it differs slightly from spherical, then it could be constructed”.

There is therefore no reason to assume that the measurements given in I Kings 7 is in error. That is to say, if the object can be built, even if the measurements do not  equal P1 then it is man’s problem not the Bible’s. I believe a comment by Dr. Bullinger would be helpful.  He wrote of this verse in Kings, “Here the proportion of the diameter to the circumference (1:3) was revealed while human wisdom is still searching it out”. 

I Kings 7:26 and II Chron. 4:5

We read in II Chron. 4:5 that “it (the brass altar) received and held three thousand baths”. But in I Kings 7:26 we read that “it contained two thousand baths”.

The Hebrew word translated “received” in the phrase “received and held three thousand baths” is “ghahzak”. The word is translated in several different ways but it’s basic meaning is “strong”. How does that meaning fit into the verse under consideration? I believe that when we read that the altar received three thousand baths we may understand it to say that the altar was strong enough to hold three thousand baths. That being the case there is no contradiction between these two verses.  That is to say, where II Chron. 4:5 tells us that the altar was strong enough to hold three thousand baths, I Kings 7:26 tells us that the altar actually contained two thousand baths.

I Kings 8:12 and I Timothy 6:16

We read in I Kings 8:12, “Then spake Solomon, ‘The Lord said that He would dwell in the thick darkness”.  And in I Tim. 6:15-16 we read, “Which in His (Christ’s) times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and power ever lasting”.

In order to understand these two passages we must understand the point of each.  The point of each is, of course, determined by the context. Let us consider the context of I Kings 8:12 first. We read in verses 10-12, “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.  Then spake Solomon and said, ‘The Lord said that He would dwell in the thick darkness”.  In this context then, the subject is the glory of the Lord which is represented by the thick darkness.

The Greek word translated “dwelling  in I Tim. 6:16 is “oikeo” and would better be translated “inhabiting”.  In other words, Christ inhabits the light. I Tim. 6 speaks of Who God is light.

So in I Kings we learn that the glory of the Lord was represented by the dark cloud. But we read in I John 1:9, “….God is light and in Him is no darkness at all”.  This tells us Who God is, i.e. light. The word “light” is used to enhance the truth that God is holy, He is the truth, and the life and goodness.

In short, there are two very different concepts and therefore cannot be contradictory.  The darkness of I kings represents God’s glory while the light of I Timothy speaks of Who God is, i.e. the light.

I Kings 8:13 and Acts 7:47-49

In I Kings 8:13 we read, “I have surely built Thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for Thee to abide in for ever”. And in Acts 7:47-49 we read, “But Solomon built Him an house.  Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in Temples made with hands, as saith the prophet, ‘Heaven is my throne…”.

What must be understood is that in one sense God dwells in heaven.  But what must also be understood is that God had a covenant relationship with Israel which means that God dwelt with His chosen People, Israel from the temple. We read in Exodus 25:21-22, “Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony which I will give you.  There above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all My commands for the Israelites”.  And in Deut. 12:11 we read, “Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for His Name …there you are to bring everything I command you”.  It is clear that God told Israel that He would dwell and meet with them from wherever the ark of the Testimony was.

In other words, God determined to meet with Israel from where the ark of the covenant was.  The ark of the covenant was placed in the temple that Solomon built so in one sense, while it is true that God dwells in heaven, in relation to Israel He dwelt with them in the temple.

I Kings 9:28 and II Chronicles 8:18

I Kings 9:28 reads, “And they came from Ofir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents and brought it to king Solomon”.  And in II Chronicles 8:18 we read that four hundred and fifty talents of gold was brought from Ofir.

There is not contradiction here. Obviously there was more than one trip to Ofir for gold.

I Kings 15:14 and II Chronicles 14:2-3

We read in I Kings 15:14 that Asa king of Judah did not remove the high places. And in II Chron. 14:2-3 we read that Asa did remove the high places. Let us add one more verse to this discussion.  We read in II Chron. 15:17 of Asa’s reign, “But the high places were not taken out of Israel.

I will quote the note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger, “There is no discrepancy between this and 15; for the high places referred to there belonged to Israel, not Judah. Asa could do nothing in Israel”.

I Kings 16:6-8 and II Chronicles 16:1

I Kings 16:6-8 tells us that “in the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Juda  began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel”. We read in II Chron. 16:1 that , “In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha, king of Israel came up against Judah and built  Ramah….”.  II Chron. 16:1 seems to say that Baasha “came against Judah” ten years after he died. We must correctly understand the two different Hebrew words translated “reign” in these passages.

The Hebrew word translated “reign” in I Kings 16:8 is “mahlach” and is always translated “reign”.  But the Hebrew word translated “reign” in II Chron. 16:1 is “malchooth” and is usually (but not always) translated “kingdom”.  In other words, I Kings 16 refers to when Elah began to reign as King which implies that his father Baasha had died in the twenty sixth year of the reign of Asa King of Judah. But II Chron. 16:1refers to the thirty-sixth year of the kingdom of Israel. This agrees with all other dates and lengths of reigns.

II Kings 9:27 and II Chronicles 22:9

We read II Kings 9:27, “But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house.  And Jehu followed after him and said ‘Smite him also in the chariot’. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam.  And he fled to Megiddo and died there”.  And we read in II Chron. 22:9, “And he sought Ahaziah; and they caught him (for he was in Samaria) and brought him to Jehu; and when they had slain him the buried him…”.

II kings 9:27 tells us that Ahaziah died in Megiddo and II Chron. 22:9 tells us that he died in Samaria.  There is no contradiction here. Megiddo is in the province of Samaria.

II Kings 16:5 and II Chronicles 28:5-6

In II kings 16:5 we read, “Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war; and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him”. We read in II Chron. 28:5-6, “Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and smote him, and carried away a great multitude of the captives, and brought them to Damascus.  And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.  For Pekah, the son Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day…..”

Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s note in the Companion Bible on verse 6 reads, “ As Pekah ends three years before Ahaz begins, this must have taken place between 632 and 629 B. C.” In other words, the events recorded in II Kings 16:5 occurred seven years before the events described in II Chron. 28:5-6. There is no contradiction here as the two events occurred at different times.

II Kings 24:8 and II Chronicles 36:9

We read in II Kings 24:8, “Jehoiachin …..reigned in Jerusalem three months…”. But we read in II Chron. 36:9, “Jehoiachin……. Reigned three months and ten days.

In order to correctly understand this seeming contradiction one must understand the figure of speech synecdoche.  That figure of speech is defined in the highly praised volume by Dr. E. W. Bullinger on figures of speeches used in the Bible. That definition reads, “When the part is put for the whole (Matt. 27:4)”.  Let us consider the suggested example, i.e. Matt. 27:4. “I (Judas) have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood…..”. Judas did not betray Christ’s blood only, he betrayed the whole Person of Christ.

So too in II Kings 24:8 the part, i.e. three months, is put for the whole, i.e. three months and ten days.

II Kings 24:17 and II Chronicles 36:10

II kings 24:17 reads, ”and the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother king in his stead…”.  And II Chron. 36:10 reads, “King Nebuchadnezer….made Zedekiah his brother king ….”.

The Hebrew word translated “brother” in II Chron. 36:10 is “ahgh” and is defined in Strong’s Dictionary as, “used in widest sense of literal relationships”.  In other words, it is not used only of a brother, but also of most other male relationships.

 II Kings 25:8 and Jer. 52:12

We read in II Kings 25:8, “In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuchadnezzar’s captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem; and he burnt the house of the Lord, and the kings house….”.But we read in Jer. 52:12, “Now in the fifth month of the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan Nebuchadnezzar’s, captain of the guard which served the king of Babylon into Jerusalem, and burned the house of the Lord and the kings house…”.

The note in the Companion Bible on II Kings 25:8 reads, “He may have set fire to it on the seventh day and it burnt until the tenth”. This makes perfect sense therefore I see no reason to assume a contradiction.

Ezra 2:64 and the Number of Names Listed 

We read in Ezra 2:64, “The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and three score” (i.e. 42,330). Mr. Gordon’s comment reads, “….the actual sum of the numbers is about three thousand.
But we read in Neh. 7:66, “The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and three score”. The reader will note that both Nehemiah and Ezra give the same number.  Also, the list of names recorded by Nehemiah and Ezra is not the same. Obviously, some names were not included in one list  but were included in the other, but the “whole congregation” added up to 42,330.

In short, Mr. Gordon counted the names included in the list and did not allow that some, or rather most, names were not listed in both lists.

Supposed Errors in the Poetry Books

Job 2:3-6, 21:7-13 and II Timothy 3:12

I will quote Mr. Gordon’s comment on these passages first. He wrote, “The godly are persecuted and chastised but the wicked grow old, wealthy, and powerful unchastised by God”. Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction between these words and the many scriptures which say that, as he wrote, “The  lives of the wicked are cut short. The righteous flourish and obtain favor from the Lord”.

Let us consider just one of the many references Mr. Gordon suggested to prove his point that the Bible teaches that “the lives of the wicked are cut short …..”.. We read, for example in Ps. 55:23, “ButThou O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days”. And let us consider one of the passages Mr. Gordon believes contradicts that statement.  We read in Job 2:7, “Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?”

Let us begin by addressing the seeming contradiction between the passage quoted from Job 2 and the passage quoted from Ps. 55. Ps. 55 was written by David to express God’s dealings with men.  Do the words spoken by Job record how God dealt with men or do they record what Job thought of how God dealt with men?  In other words, was Job correct in his statements recorded in this passage? To answer that question let us consider Job 38:1-2, which reads, “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, ‘Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge”.

We learn from the verse quoted above that Job spoke words “without knowledge”, i.e. he was incorrect in what he had said. Job 2 correctly records what Job thought and spoke, but his words were without knowledge and therefore not the true way in which God dealt with man.

We must conclude, therefore, that Job was expressing his thoughts on how God dealt with man, but was incorrect. So there is no contradiction because Ps. 55 tells us how God dealt with man and Job 2 is only Job’s thoughts on how God dealt with man.

Let us continue with a consideration of II Tim. 3:12 which reads, “Ye, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”. May I remind the reader of Mr. Gordon’s comment in respect to this verse in which he had written, “The godly are persecuted and chastised but the wicked grow old, wealthy, and powerful unchastised by God”. In other words, Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction in that in Ps. 55 and other passages record that the godly will “flourish and maintain favor from the Lord” whereas II Tim. 3 says that the godly will be persecuted.

What Mr. Gordon has done once again is to assume something which is not written.  In this case he has assumed that God  (“The godly are persecuted and chastised ……..by God”) ”will persecute the godly”. It is clear however, from the preceding verse, i.e. vs. 11 of II Tim. 3, that the persecutions were not from God, but from man.  Let us consider that verse, “Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch…..I endured: but out of them all, the Lord delivered me”. It is abundantly clear that it was not God who was persecuting Paul, it was man.

Here is my point: We learn from Ps. 55 and many other passages that the lives of the wicked are cut short and the godly flourish.  It is clear from the contexts of those passages that these are from God. The passage in II Tim. 3 speaks of the godly being persecuted, but those persecutions are not from God, they are from man.

Further, Mr. Gordon is incorrect when he wrote that “the godly are …….chastised” and gave II Tim. 3 as a reference. That is to say,  there is not one word of anyone being chastised in II Tim. 3.  Yes, they are persecuted by man because of their godliness, but there is nothing of being chastised and certainly, not from God.

Psalm 22:1 and Psalm 46:1

We read in Ps. 22:1, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?  Why art thou so far from helping me?” And in Ps. 46:1 we read, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”. The assumed error is in the fact that God had promised in Ps. 46 that He is “a very present help in trouble”, but in Ps. 22 David’s question is” Why hast Thou forsaken?”.

What one must bear in mind is that David is crying to the Lord asking why He has forsaken him. But the Holy Spirit, through David did not say in this or any other passage that He had forsaken David.  What is written is David’s question that came from David feeling  himself separated from God. (For a more complete study of this verse please see the paper on the subject).

In short, the Bible does not say in Ps. 22:1 that God forsakes the afflicted, it simply is a record of David’s own sense of being forsaken.  (For a more complete study of the question of whether David, or Christ, had been forsaken please see the paper on that topic).

Psalms 30:5. Jeremiah 17:4 and Matthew 25:46

We read in Ps. 30:5, “For His anger endureth for a moment…”. Other passages which also speak of God’s anger not lasting include Jer. 3:12 and Micah 7:18.

We read in Jer. 17:4, however, “And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not for ye have kindled a fire in Mine anger, which shall burn forever”.

The Hebrew word translated “forever” is “olam” and is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “This word is derived from ‘alam” (to hide) and means the hidden time or age….”. The Greek equivalent is the Greek “aion” which is defined by Dr. Bullinger as, “an age, or age-time, the duration of which is indefinite, and may be limited or extended as the context of each occurrence may demand”. With that in mind let us consider Jer. 17:4 again in order to determine from the context if “olam” refers to an extended period of time.

Note the phrase  “I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not”.  This is an obvious reference to the imminent 70 year Babylonian captivity which is a major theme in Jeremiah’s prophecy. I believe therefore, that this passage  speaks of God’s anger which will last 70 years and will end with the freeing of Israel at the end of the 70 years.

Now let us consider Matt. 25:46 which reads, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment….”. This entire chapter is a contrast between those judged to live eternal life and those to suffer punishment. I believe that in reference to those who will go to His right,  “aion” refers to (but does not mean) resurrection life which will, of course be never ending. That being the case, I believe “aion” must refer to the same period of time and will also be never ending. Is this a contradiction of Ps. 30:5 quoted above.  It is not.  Let me explain.

The first fact that should be noted is that this entire chapter makes absolutely no mention of God being angry. Note also vs. 41, “Depart from Me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. The devil and his angels have been enemies of God from the time that Lucifer rebelled. Those that will depart into everlasting fire are those who are enemies of God.

As the paper on who will suffer eternally will show from Scripture, there will be, once again, as in the days of Noah, men who will be progeny of fallen angels.  As enemies of God they will suffer eternally. But Matthew 25 does not speak of God’s anger, and we may not add to the Word of God in order to conclude that God will be eternally angry.

Some might object to that thinking, but the supposed error, which is what we are discussing, has to do with God’s anger. The eternal suffering of His enemies have nothing to do with anger.  Consider the fact that after the millennium there will be a new heaven and a new earth because the former heaven and earth will be destroyed. The reason for this destruction is not because God is angry with the present earth and heaven, it is because God will do away with anything tainted with sin.  So too, the cause of the eternal suffering of some is not God’s anger, but rather the cause is God’s final judgment of  all those who embody His enemy.

Further, it should be noted that Matt. 25 is an end time prophecy and serves as a warning to those of the end times who will be tempted to sin in the same way as those of Noah’s time.

Psalms 58:10 and Proverbs 24:17

We read in Ps. 58:10, “The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked”. But in Prov. 24:17 we read, “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth”.

Let us put Ps. 58:10 in context. We read in the very next verse, “….He is a God That judgeth in the earth”. In other words, the righteous will rejoice at God’s vengeance, but not at man’s.

Psalm 78:69 and II Peter 3:10

Psalms 78:69 reads, “….Like the earth which He hath established forever”. And in II Peter 3:10 we read of the destruction of the present earth.

What must be understood is that neither the Hebrew or the Greek has a word that means “forever”.  The words generally translated “forever” are the Hebrew “olam” and the Greek “aion”.  Both mean “an age” which is an indefinite length of time.  “Forever” on the other hand has no length. In point of fact, the Bible does not even tell us that the believer will live forever in those terms.  We know that believers will live forever in resurrection because we read in I Cor. 15:53, “….for corruption must put on incorruption…”. In other words, the Bible does not say that man will live “forever” because there is no Hebrew of Greek word that means “forever”, but we are told that in resurrection, the believer will put on incorruption, i.e. the resurrection body will never die.

So too the earth has not been established forever: but rather it has been established until the time (Gr. “olam”) that it will be destroyed.

Proverbs 26:4 and 26:5

We read in Prov. 26:3-6, “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit”.

Verses 4 and 5 do indeed seem to contradict each other, but are we to believe that Solomon contradicted himself in the space of two verses? No, of course not.

Let us consider verse 3. What is the point of that verse? The point is that a rod is the only appropriate response to a fool because one cannot reason with a fool.  The reasons one cannot answer a fool are given in verses 4 and 5.  That is to say,  one may become a fool himself if he tries to answer the fool.   And if one does answer, the fool may be “wise in his own conceit”.

In short, the whole point of verses 3-5 is that  it is folly to answer a fool or to  not answer a fool because one cannot reason with a fool.

Supposed Errors In The Prophets 

Isaiah 44:24 and John 1:1-3

We read in Is. 44:24, “Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and He That formed thee from the womb, ’I am the Lord that maketh all things….’”. And in Jn. 1:3, “All things were made by Him (i.e. Christ)…”.

The term “the Lord” is the translation of the Hebrew “Jehovah”.  As the paper on Jehovah will prove from Scripture, Jesus Christ is Jehovah. So there is no contradiction here.  Christ, Who is Jehovah, created all things.

Isaiah 53:9 and Matthew 27:57-60

In Is. 53:9-10 we read, “And He made His grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth, Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him….”.  And we read in Matt. 27:57-60, “When the even was come there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph….. . He went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock….”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Is. 53:9 reads, “Usually taken to be a prophecy re Jesus, mentions burial with others”.  And Mr. Gordon’s comment on Matt. 27:57-60 reads, “Jesus was buried by Himself.

There is no question that Jesus was indeed buried by Himself. But let us consider Is. 53 more carefully.

To begin, how are we to understand the phrase, “He made His grave”?   Are we to understand that Jesus literally carved out His own tomb in the rock?  Of course not. So if something is not to be understood literally, which this phrase is not, then it must be understood figuratively. We see in this phrase the figure of speech Euphemy which has been defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “When a pleasing expression is used for one that is unpleasant”. In other words, we learn from the phrase “He made His grave” that Jesus died and was buried.

Let us continue by considering the context so that we might determine what Isaiah meant when he wrote that Jesus was buried “with the wicked and with the rich”.  That is to say, was his point that Jesus was buried with more than one person, or did he have something else in mind?  Note the phrase from Is. 53:9-10, “because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth, Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him”. The phrase “to bruise Him” is obviously in reference to Christ’s death.

What is the point of this passage?  The point is that even though Christ had not sinned in any way, it pleased the Lord to allow His death, indeed He was sent to die as if He had sinned, because as we read in Is. 53:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities….”.

Let us consider the point of the phrase that reads, “with the wicked and with the rich in His death”. Note that Isaiah did not include the poor in this phrase. Was he saying that Christ did not make His grave with the poor, but only with the wicked and the rich?  Of course not. Here too we must understand the phrase to be  figurative as it does not fit the context or common sense when understood literally. The figure of speech we see is Synecdoche which is defined by Dr. Bullinger in part as, when a part is put for the whole”. In other words, the phrase “wicked and the rich” is put figuratively for the whole world. Isaiah’s point in using this phrase is that Christ was buried with all the people of the world.

One of the points of this passage in Is. 53 is that Christ, in Whom was found no sin, offered Himself by taking on the sins of the world and in His humility He figuratively speaking, made His grave with the wicked and the rich. When we understand the figures of speech used in this passage we may come to a correct understanding of Isaiah’s point.  What was his point?  It was that one of the purposes of Christ’s death and burial was  to die and be buried for all the people of the world

In short, I believe that if we take these statements from Is. 53 discussed above in context we learn something so much more profound than how many people with whom Christ was buried .  We learn that Christ humbled Himself to die and be buried for the sins of the world.

Jeremiah 7:22: When Did God Give A Law For Sacrifices?

We read in Jer. 7:22-23, “for I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: but this thing commanded I them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people…”. Mr. Gordon correctly referenced many scripture which show that God had indeed commanded Israel to offer sacrifices. Mr. Gordon is assuming that Jeremiah, a prophet of Israel, did not know that God had given sacrificial laws to Israel and not knowing wrote something that was grossly incorrect. On the very face of it, this seems to me to be a ludicrous suggestion, i.e. Mr. Gordon knows more about the giving of the sacrificial laws than did Jeremiah.

There is no contradiction here for the very simple reason that, as we read in the immediate context, the Mosaic Law was, of course not given on the day God led Israel out of Egypt, but in “the third month after Israel left Egypt” (Ex. 19:1).

Jeremiah 31:34 and Hebrews 9:27-28: Does God Remember Sins? 

We read in Jer. 31:34, “…..I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”. And we read in Heb. 9:27-28, “Even as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin, unto salvation”.   Let us add one more scripture to this discussion, even though it was not included by Mr. Morgan. We read in Jn. 5:24, “….He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him That sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life”.  The Greek word translated “condemnation” should have been translated “judgment”. In other words, the believer will never be judged in terms of salvation. He will be judged in terms of rewards, but not for salvation.  With that in mind let us consider Heb. 9.

But Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction in that we read in Jer. 31 that God will not remember sins and in Hebrews we read of a judgment.

As the paper on God’s covenants will prove from Scripture, Jer. 31:34 is in reference to the new covenant which will be put into effect in the millennial reign of Christ. It will also prove that this covenant will be made with believers of Israel who will live in the Land of Israel during the millennium  In other words, once the millennium begins, God will no longer remember the sins of believers.

Now let us consider the passage in Hebrews. If we look only at the surface there are several difficulties with this verse. First of all, as Paul makes very clear in I Cor. 15:51-53, “we shall not all sleep“, i.e. not all will die. Secondly, as we have seen in the verse quoted from Jn. 5, there is no judgment of the believer in terms of salvation.

In order to correctly understand this passage we must understand which judgment the writer of Hebrews has in mind in verse 27. A structure of verses 27-28 will give us that judgment.

  1. men will die once

    the judgment

    A1 Christ was offered once for sins

    B1 the second coming

The structure of this verse suggests that the judgment (B) is at the second coming of Christ (B1). But let us continue.

What does this verse teach? Of great importance is the contrast evident in the word “but”. Men will die, but after this the judgment. The contrasting word “but” tells us that this verse does not speak of death and judgment, it speaks of a contrast between death and judgment. But this verse does not speak of a resurrection unto judgment, so only those who are alive at the coming of Christ will be included in the “all” who will be judged.

Let me put this another way. From the fall of Adam until the coming of Christ men have been appointed unto death. At Christ’s coming, Christ does away with the appointment unto death. That is to say, there will be death outside the Land of Israel during the millennium (death is not destroyed until after the millennium) but believers are inside the Land, and they will be clothed with immortality at His coming, so they will obviously not die. Therefore, all men will not be appointed unto death. The judgment of Israel is to separate believers from unbelievers. The former to enter the Land, the latter to be excluded (please see Ezek. 20:37-38). It follows then, that the judgment will mean death to some but not to others.

Therefore, I believe that Heb. 9:27 is teaching the following: Death has been appointed unto all men. But when Christ returns and judges some worthy of avoiding this appointment with death because of their faith, they will enter the Land for millennial blessings and will not die. Let me paraphrase this verse. “Even as it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment which will determine that some will never die, i.e. are not appointed to death….”.

In short, there is no contradiction here. Heb. 9 speaks of a judgment of Israel at the second coming of Christ and Jer. 31 speaks of God’s promise, once the millennium has begun, that He will no longer remember the sins of believers. 

Jeremiah 34:2-5 and Jeremiah 52:10-11

Jer. 34:2-5 reads, “Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; ‘Go and speak to Zedekiah  king of Judah and tell him, ‘Thus saith the Lord; Behold I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shall surely be taken and delivered into his hand; and thy eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth and thou shall go to Babylon. Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Zedekiah, king of Judah; Thus saith the Lord of thee, thou shalt not die of the sword; But thou shalt die in peace…..’”.  We read in  Jer. 52:10-11, “And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes….then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; And the king of Babylon bound him in chains and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Jer. 34:3-5 reads, “Zedekiah was to die in peace”.  And his comment on the Jer. 52:10-11 reads, “Instead, Zedekiah’s sons are slain before his eyes, his eyes are then put out, he is bound in tethers, taken to Babylon and left in prison to die”.

Once again, Mr. Gordon has failed to consider the context and has inserted the word “instead” as a word that implies that something was done contrary to what had been prophesied. Let us consider the phrase, “thou shalt not die of the sword; But thou shalt die in peace…..”. The first thing we must do is to determine what the term “die in peace” means. In point of fact, although we may have our own views as to what that means, the Bible is quite clear in that it records a contrast between dying in peace and being killed by the sword. That is to say, the word “but” draws a contrast between the phrase before it and the phrase after it.  What exactly is that contrast?  It is that Zedechiah will not die by the sword, but will die in peace.

Certainly Zedekiah did suffer when he witnessed the death of his sons and when his eyes were put out, but, at that point,  he did not die.  He died as Mr. Gordon himself wrote after Zedekiah was, “left in prison to die”.

My point is that we may have our own ideas of what it means to die in peace, but this passage in Jeremiah depicts a contrast between dying in peace and dying by the sword.  Therefore, if we are to base our view on dying in peace on the passage at hand rather than our own views centuries later, we must conclude that Zedekiah did not die by the sword, and therefore, did indeed die, albeit in prison,  in peace.

Ezekiel 20:25-26 and Romans 7:12

Let us begin with Romans 7:12, which reads, “Wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just and good”.  And we read in Ezek. 20:25-26, “Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; and I polluted them in their own gifts in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord”.

 I will quote the note in the Companion Bible on the phrase “I gave them” in Ezek. 20:25 by Dr. E. W. Bullinger.  That note reads, “In Heb. Idiom = ‘I suffered others to give them statutes, etc. …’ . Active verbs in Hebrew were used to express not only the doing of the thing, but the permission of the thing which the agent is said to do.  The verb “nathan” to give, is therefore often rendered ‘to suffer’ in this sense”. In other words, God “suffered” or allowed Israel to receive statutes etc. that “were not good”.

Let us put this passage in its historical context. For over 100 years God had been warning Israel that if they continued to disobey His law, He would, in accordance with Lev. 26, punish them.  With that in mind, let us consider verses 11-12 of Ezek. 20, “And I gave them My statutes and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.  Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them”.

Lev. 26 records God’s covenant with Israel which states in effect that if they obeyed His law He would reward, them and if they disobeyed He would punish them.  In verses 11-12 of Ezek. 20 we read of God giving Israel His statutes etc. so that they would know that He is the Lord.  How would obedience to the law help Israel to know that He is the Lord?  They would see that in their obedience they would be rewarded in the ways God had promised in Lev. 26. So in verses 25-26 were we read that God allowed the teaching of statutes that “were not good” they were to learn by their punishments also according to Lev. 26 that God was the Lord.

In short, the law is good, but God allowed it to be perverted in order to help Israel to know that their punishment was from Him.

Ezekiel 26:7-12 and 13-14

We read in Ezek. 26:7-12, “For thus saith the Lord God; ‘Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, ……he shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee. and he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horseman, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach. with the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streetshe shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground. and they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water”.

This prophecy was fulfilled. How do we know that? We read in Is. 23:1, “The burden of Tyre (same as “Tyrus”). Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house…..”. But as we see in Is. 23:15-16, this was not to be a permanent destruction of Tyre. That verse reads, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of the seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot, that hast been forgotten: make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.”

Now let us go back to Ezek. 26 because there is a further prophecy concerning Tyre. We read in verses 13-14, “And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. and I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more, for I the Lord have spoken it, saith the Lord”. This speaks of a permanent destruction not a temporary one. Is there a contradiction here between a temporary destruction of 70 years as in Is. 23 and a permanent one? No, I do not believe there are any contradictions in the Word of God. Let us continue in this study.

It is crucial to note the personal pronoun “I” used in this passage. “I will cause thy songs to cease”, and “I will make thee like the top of a rock”. It is an obvious change from the previous verses which have to do with what the Lord tells Tyrus Nebuchadnezzar will do. Twelve times in the passage from verse 7 to verse 12 the pronouns “he” and “they” are used referring to Nebuchadnezzar and his armies respectively. While it is true, of course, that God used Nebuchadnezzar and his armies to destroy Tyre, we cannot just overlook the fact that the Holy Spirit has changed the pronoun to “I” after verse 13.

Verses 15-18 record what God says to Tyre, so we will go on to verse 19, “Thus saith the Lord God; When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee:……that thou be not inhabited….and thou shalt be no more: though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord God”. Let me quote an inter-net source concerning the present day city of Tyre.. “Tyre is an ancient Phoenician city and the legendary birthplace of Europa and Elissa (Dido). Today it is the fourth largest city in Lebanon and houses one of the nation’s major ports known locally in French as Soûr. Tyre is a popular destination for tourists. The city has many ancient sites, including its Roman Hippodrome which was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1979 (Resolution 459)” Tyre is certainly not uninhabited and it can not be said that it “cannot be found”. How are we to explain this seeming difficulty?

I suggest that because the pronouns from verse 13 through the remainder of the chapter changes from “he” and “they” to “I” this suggests a different time of fulfillment of this prophecy. Also, because verse 19 begins with the phrase, “For thus saith the Lord God” that we may expect a different time of fulfillment than what we read in the previous passage. Therefore, I believe that verses 7-12 were fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar, as we read in Is. 23, but verses 13-21 will be fulfilled in the end times. How do we know that the prophecy of Ezek. 26:13-21 will be fulfilled in the end times? Joel writes of the end time destruction of Tyre in Joel 3:4.

But let us first establish that Joel 3:4 refers to the end times. Note Joel 1:15, “alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand……”. Note also 2:1, “……for the day of the Lord cometh, it is nigh at hand….”. Note 2:19 which speaks of the millennium, “Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto His People, ‘Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith, and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen”. Note 2:28-31 which speaks of the signs “before the great and terrible day of the Lord”. It is clear that Joel’s prophecy concerns the end times.

Now let us look more closely at chapter 3. Joel 3:4 speaks of Tyre. That verse reads, “Yea, and what have ye to do with Me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine?……..”. And in verses 11-14 we read concerning Tyre and the other Gentile nations, “Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause Thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down: for the press is full the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision”. This passage speaks of an end time judgment of Tyre but does not tell us of a specific destruction. But Zech. 9 also speaks of Tyre.

Zech. 9:3-4 reads, “And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and He will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire“. But how do we know that Zechariah speaks of Tyre in the end times and not Tyre of Nebuchadnezzar time? Let us compare the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar with the destruction as described in Zech. 9.

We are told in Ezek. 26 that Nebuchadnezzar will “set engines of war against thy walls and with his axes he shall break down the towers. (vs. 10). He will “slay with the sword” and “cast a mount against thee”. And he shall “ tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword”. But in the end time prophecy of Zech. 9. Tyre will be destroyed when God “will cast her out, and He will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire“. There is no mention of Tyre being cast into the sea in Nebuchadnezzar’s time. Nor is there any mention of her being “devoured by fire”.

In short, there are two different prophesies concerning Tyre in Ezekiel 26.

1) One is a temporary destruction of 70 years, the other is a permanent one.

2) One prophecy tells of the destruction by one means, the other is by an entirely different means.

3) One was completed by Nebuchadnezzar the other will be completed by God.

4) One was a destruction in the days of Nebuchadnezzer, the other in the end times.

We must see two prophesies in Ezek. 26. That is to say, in Ezek. 26:21 we read of a permanent destruction of Tyre (“and thou shalt be no more“), but in Is. 23:25 we read of a temporary (“Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years“) destruction.

Ezekiel 29:3-5 and Matthew 24:34: Unfulfilled Prophecy

We read in Ezek. 29:3-5 of a prophecy concerning Israel in which we read that:

  1. Egypt and everything from the tower of Syene to Ethiopia will be desolate and waste

  2. God will own the Nile

  3. No humans will walk through Egypt

  4. No animals will walk through Egypt

  5. Nobody will live in Egypt for 40 years

  6. Egyptians will leave Egypt and be scattered among other nations

  7. After 40 years of scattering, Egypt will be repopulated by the scattered Egyptians

  8. Egypt will be a weak kingdom, and will never control “the nations”

One critic wrote, “This passage is one of the most erroneous in the Bible. Since Ezekiel was penned, Egypt has never been a desolate waste, there has never been a time when people have not walked through it, there has never been a period of forty years when Egypt was uninhabited after the civilization started there, and it has never been surrounded by other desolate countries”.

 This supposed error is not an error in the Bible, it is based on the erroneous assumption that because the prophecy has not yet been fulfilled it will not be.

It is absolutely true that none of the things mentioned in this passage have been fulfilled yet. The reason they have not yet been fulfilled  is that they are millennial prophecies and will not be fulfilled until Christ returns to establish His millennial kingdom on earth. How do we know that this is a millennial prophecy?  Consider Ezek. 29:15-16, “And it (Egypt) shall be the basest of the kingdoms;…..for I will diminish them…. . and it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity  to remembrance, when they shall look after them; but they shall know that I am the Lord God’. Israel will not know that Jehovah is the Lord God until the millennial reign of Christ (see Jer. 31:34, “for they -Israel vs. 31- shall all know Me”).

Again, this supposed error is not an error in the Bible, it is based on the erroneous assumption that because the prophecy has not yet been fulfilled it will not be.

Matthew 24:34 is also said to be an unfulfilled prophecy and it is just that, i.e. an unfulfilled prophecy. But is that an error in the Bible?  It is not.  That is to say, the Bible recorded what Christ prophesied, but there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that if the prophecy is not fulfilled it was in error. It does however, suggest that Christ was in error when He gave that prophecy. A discussion of that would take us too far off the subject of the inerrancy of the Bible so I would suggest the reader consider the paper on Matt. 24:34.

Daniel 5:1 King Belshazzar

We read in Dan. 5:1 that Belshazzar was “king”. But Belshazzar was, according to Mr. Gordon (and he is quite right) the “viceroy”.

In the section above on the supposed errors in the historic books of the Bible, there is mention of a paper which explains that Christ will reign on the millennial throne, but David will be His co-regent.  That section also lists several examples of kings that reigned as co-regents.

Dan. 5:1 is of the same category, i.e. Belshazzar was viceroy, but as in the cases listed in the section on the historical books of the Bible, called “king”.

Daniel 5:2: Who Was the Father of Belshazzar?

In Dan. 5:2 we read, “Belshazzar …commanded to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was at Jerusalem…”.  His father was actually Nebonidus.

It was Nebuchadnezzar who had brought the vessels out of Jerusalem, but Nebuchadnezzar was not the father of Belshazzar.  I will quote from the note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger on this verse. “No “historical difficulties”. Critics should tell us what word Daniel could have used, seeing there is no word in Chaldee or Hebrew for ‘grandfather’. The word ‘father’ is used by Fig. synecdoche …for ancestor”.  Dr. Bullinger has defined the figure of speech synecdoche as, “When the species is put for the genus, or particulars for universals).

Jonah 1:17 and Matthew 12:40

We read in Jonah 1:17, “Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.  And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights”. And in Matt. 12:40 we read, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly…..”.

Some have argued that a whale is not a fish, and therefore, the verse in Matthew is incorrect. Let us examine that thought.

What is extremely helpful is the fact that the New Testament is a quote from the Old Testament.  That means that the New Testament Greek word translated “whale” is the equivalent of the Old Testament Hebrew word translated “fish”.  In other words, it makes absolutely no difference how the Hebrew or Greek word is translated because it refers to the same thing. That being the case, there can be no contradiction between these two verses.

The Greek word translated “whale’s” is “keetos”. According to Strong’s Dictionary it comes from the same root as “kasma”.  “Kasma” is used only one time in the Bible, i.e. in Luke 16:26 which reads, “there is a great gulf fixed”.  It is the word “gulf” that is the translation of “kasma”. In other words, “whale” is not the best translation of “keetos”.  Rather the Greek word is used of something very large and the translation “a large fish” would have been more accurate.

  Supposed Errors in the Gospels 

 Introduction

Many, if not most of the supposed errors in the Gospels suggested by Mr. Gordon are not errors in the Gospels, but errors in Mr. Gordon’s assumption that each Gospel was written to stand alone. There is no indication that they were so written. When more than one Gospel writer records the same event, none reveal every aspect of that event. The event must be considered in each Gospel in order to correctly understand, not only the event itself, but each Gospel individually.

If a secular historian set out to write a study on a particular battle of the Civil War and there were four written eye witness accounts of that battle, he would, of course, consider carefully all the accounts.  Why then, in studying the Word of God do so many, in their eagerness to find “errors”, fail to take into account all the eye witnesses of events that are recorded in the Gospels?

In short, as one considers an event recorded in the Gospels or anywhere else, one must consider all eye witness accounts in order to come to a correct understanding of each individual account.  Only then will it be abundantly clear that there are, indeed, no errors in the Gospels.

Some have suggested some supposed errors that fall into the category of an Old Testament prophecy not being quoted exactly in the New Testament. There is no reason to assume that that constitutes an error.  It is God’s prophecy and He can quote it any way He deems fit.  Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s Appendix 107 in the Companion Bible gives several alterations of quoted prophecies.  They include the fact that the sense of the prophecy is true but the wording may vary.  Sometimes the original sense is modified and used differently than the Old Testament quote. My point is that God is not confined to man’s rules as to how a prophecy may or may not be used. And if they are not used according to man’s rules that does not prove they are errors, it only proves that man is searching too desperately for errors.

Another category of supposed errors is that the Greek, according to some, does not use “good grammar”. This assumes of course, that the grammar of the Greek language has not changed in the least for 2,000 years. If one considers how the grammar of the English language has changed in less than 500 years, such an assumption is not reasonable. For example, in an article from Western Michigan University, we read, “In order to read Shakespeare and other pre-modern writings with full comprehension, you need to be sure you understand a few now-obsolete grammatical features of English”. That sentence alone shows that grammar is not unchanging.

 Seeming Contradictions Between the Mosaic Law and the Sermon on the Mount

 There are a few cases where Christ interprets the Law of Moses in such a way as to create seeming difficulties.  We read for example in Matt. 5:21-22, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not kill; and whosever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:’ But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:….whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Gr. “gehenna”).

Note the contrast between what was written in the Mosaic Law and what Christ preached. This is not an error; it is a very legitimate contrast. It is an excellent example of Christ setting a higher standard for the believer than the standard set by the Mosaic Law. Because Christ is God He, of course, has every right to do just that.

Consider also Ex. 21:23-25 where we see that the law required “life for a life, eye for an eye”.  But we read in Matt.5:38 where Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other also”. Here too there is a contrast in the words, “But I say”.  Again, this is not an error; it is Christ’s right as God to set a higher standard for believers to live under than the standard set by the  Mosaic Law.

And let us also consider  Numbers 30:2 where we read “If a man vow a vow unto the Lord or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word……”. And in Matt. 5:33-34 we read, “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old times, ‘Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths’.  But I say unto you, ‘Swear not at all…..but let your communication be, ‘Yea, yea’…….’”.

Christ, as the Author of the Law, had every right to demand a higher standard, and that is what He did as demonstrated in these verses quoted above.

Other Supposed Errors in the Gospels and Acts

Matthew 1:6 and Luke 3:23

 We read in Matt. 1:16 that “Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary. But we read in Luke 3:23 that Joseph’s father was Heli. Did one of the two Gospel writers not know who Joseph’s father was? Consider the absurdity of that. The genealogical records were, until 70 AD, all in tact and would have been quite easy to consult if that had been necessary.  Let us consider this seeming contradiction.

Matthew presented Christ through the line of Solomon, from whom Joseph came, and Luke through the line of Nathan, through whom Mary came. Consider also that the Greek did not have a word for “in-law”. So Heli was  Mary’s father and Joseph’s father-in-law. Let us consider why that is the case and I believe it will become clear that, far from the differences showing an error, it shows the utter perfection of the Word of God.

As is shown in the paper on the kingdom of Heaven, Matthew presents Christ as King of Israel, and Luke presents Christ as the Son of man.  So Matthew traced the genealogy of Christ through the line of King Solomon who was of course, King of Israel, and Luke traced the line through Mary as it was by the seed of Mary that Christ could fulfill the office of Son of man.  In other words, Mary was from the line of Nathan and Joseph was of the line of Solomon.  And that is why the Gospels are not the same in their record of the genealogy of Christ.

 But Joseph was not the father of Christ so why did Matthew trace Christ’s line through Joseph? Or did he? Note that Matt. 1:1 reads, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ”. The word “generation” in Greek as well as in English does not tell us who was born to whom, it tells us only that someone came after the generation of someone else.  For example, Obed was of the preceding generation of Jesse. The word “generation” does not tell us that Obed was Jessie’s father, only that Jessie’s generation came after Obed’s. That is why it was necessary for Matthew to write that Obed begat Jessie.  That is to say, we would not know that Obed was Jessie’s father by the word “generation”, we would know only that Jessie came after Obed. But when we read that “Obed begat Jessie” then we know that Obed was Jessie’s father.

But when it comes to Christ, we do not read that Joseph begat Christ because he did not. What we do read is that Joseph was “the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus”. In short, Matthew traced the generations of Christ through Joseph (even though Joseph was not Christ’s father) in keeping with his presentation of Christ as King because Joseph was of the line of Solomon.

But that leaves us with the question of why Matthew included Joseph’s genealogy when Christ was not related physically to Joseph. The Bible does not say outright that Christ was adopted by Joseph, however, we read in Matt. 2:17 that it was Joseph who called the baby “Jesus” Surely Joseph must have assumed Christ as his legal Son if he was the one who named the baby.

Let us add that to the fact that Mary and Joseph were legally espoused and in the Old Testament when an espoused couple wanted to break their espousement, they needed to get a divorce.  My point is that there is some reason to conclude that Joseph was indeed the legal father of Christ.

Matthew 1:17 “Fourteen Generations”

We read in Matt. 1:17, “…and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”

One person wrote of this verse, “Almost 600 years separate the birth of Shealtiel from the birth of Jesus resulting in an average of 46 years per generation. This average is contradicted by all known averages for this period outside of Matthew. Luke’s average would be 27 years and Josephus’ average would be 25 years”.

To begin it should be noted that Matt. 1:17 does not, as this author leads one to believe, say the fourteen generations were counted from Shealtiel, it says that the generations were counted from “the carrying away into Babylon”. In point of fact, Shealtiel’s birth is not recorded in the Bible therefore, we have no evidence, nor is any suggested, of when he was born.

Now let us consider what Matt. 1:17 actually says and then try to determine how many years there were from the time of the carrying away in Babylon to the birth of Christ. As mentioned above, the starting point of the period of the fourteen generations is the “carrying away into Babylon”.  Many, if not most chronologists put that date at around 600 B.C, but Dr. E. W. Bullinger puts it at 474 B.C. How can one account for this rather pronounced difference? The simple answer is that most chronologists do not take into account that, at times, there  is a difference in how God reckons time and how man reckons time.  Let us consider the scriptures that will explain and prove that statement.

We read in Acts 13:18-21”And about the time of forty years suffered He their manners in the wilderness.  And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, He divided their land to them by lot.  And after that He gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years until Samuel the prophet. And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul……by the space of forty years”.  The reader will note that the history that Paul recounted took 530 years. That is to say, Paul recounted the history of Israel from the time that Israel was brought out of Egypt to the time of the end of Saul’s reign (i.e. the beginning of David’s reign) as 530 years. But that is not the same number of years recorded in the Old Testament in regard to this time span. Are we to believe that Paul did not know the history of his own people? That is not the most likely conclusion.  Let us therefore, consider the Old Testament account.

We read in I Kings 6:1, “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel….he began to build the house of the Lord”. We are trying to determine from Scripture how many years between the time of Israel’s coming out of Egypt to the time that Saul’s reign ended (and David’s began) which is the span of time of which Paul spoke in Acts 13. We learn from I Kings 6:1 that it was 480 years between the time that Israel was brought out of Egypt to the fourth year of Solomon.  In order to ascertain how many years it was from our starting point (when Israel was brought out of Egypt) to our ending point (the end of Saul’s reign, i.e. the beginning of David’s) we must subtract the 40 years of David’s reign (see I Kings 2:11) and the first three years of Solomon’s. So where Paul spoke of 530 years we should subtract from that number the 40 years of David’s reign and the three years of Solomon’s reign which gives us 437 years.  In other words, there is a difference between Paul’s account and the Old Testament account of 93 years. How do we account for that difference?

In order to answer that question let us consider Lev. 26:12, “And I will set My tabernacle among you…..and I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people”. This verse comes in the passage in which God explains to Israel the blessings that will be theirs if they obey Him, and the punishments if they disobey. Note that one of the blessings they will enjoy is that God will be their God and they will be His people.

Now let us consider Hosea 1:9. The context of this verse concerns God’s warning to Israel of the coming Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and Israel’s captivity.  Hosea’s wife had several children each named by God to teach His people of the coming punishments for their disobedience to Him. We read in Hosea 1:9, “Then said God, ’Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not My people and I will not be your God’”.  And we read in Jer.29:10,”For thus saith the Lord, ‘That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place””. So Israel was l0-ammi (“not My people”) for the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity. We are now ready to account for the 93 year difference between Israel’s history as recounted by Paul and the history as recorded in the Old Testament.

We read in Judges 3:8, “Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of …the king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served ….eight years. And in verse 14 of the same chapter we read, “So the children of Israel served ….the king of Moab eighteen years”.  And in Judges 4:2-3 we read, “And the Lord sold them into the hand of …the king of Canaan….and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel”. And in Judges 6:1 we read, “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years”. And we read in Judges 13:1, “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years”.

In all, Israel was led into captivity in the time of the Judges for 93 years. I suggest that during those 93 years Israel was “lo-ammi”, “not My people” and God did not count those years in his reckoning of time. So when Paul  spoke of 530 years of Israel’s history he included the years of time as reckoned by man, but the Old Testament accounts did not include the years that God was not Israel’s God and they were not His people.

I have tried to show from Scripture that God does not count the years in which His people were lo-ammi and that there were 93 years in the period of the Judges that were therefore not counted.  We must also subtract the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity as mentioned above in which Israel was lo-ammi.

We are now prepared to address the question of the fourteen generations of Matt. 1:17. As mentioned above, Dr. E. W. Bullinger set the date of Israel being carried away captive by the Babylonians at 474 B. C.  The reason for the difference between his chronology and that of most other chronologists is that only Dr. Bullinger took into account that God did not reckon 93 years in setting the date of the Babylonian captivity.  Further, most scholars agree that Christ was born about four years before the Common Era.

So let us “do the math”. In God’s reckoning of the years between our starting point and our ending point we have 400 years. That is to say, our starting point (the Babylonian captivity) is dated 474 B.C and we must subtract the 70 years of that captivity,  and the four years from the beginning of the first century when Christ was born, giving us 400 years. Naturally, if God did not count the years in which Israel was lo-ammi, He did not count the generations of those years. So if we then divide 400 into fourteen (i.e. the fourteen generations of Matt. 1:17) we have  each generation lasting approximately 28 years which is well within the range of the accepted length of a generation.

Matthew 1:17 and Luke 3:23-38

Mr. Gordon points out that in the genealogy recorded in Matthew’s Gospel there are twenty-eight recorded generations from David to Jesus, but in Luke’s Gospel there are forty-three recorded generations.

What Mr. Gordon has failed to note is that Matthew records Christ’s genealogy through the line of Solomon (see Matt. 1:6) all the way through Joseph, and Luke records Christ’s genealogy through the line of Nathan (see Luke 3:31) all the way to Mary. Obviously, Mary’s line was fuller than Joseph’s. (For the reason that Joseph’s line was included in the genealogy of Christ even though Joseph was not Christ’s biological father please see the paragraphs above on Matt. 1:6 and Luke 3:23).

Matthew 1:18-19:  Married or Engaged?

We read in Matthew 1: 18, “When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband….”

One critic of the Bible wrote, “Mary has gone from engaged to married after a mere thirteen words……..”.

What this critic does not understand is that in the Old Testament through the first century and beyond, the term “husband” in the Hebrew culture was used of a man who was engaged, not as we use the term today of a man who is married. In other words, according to the Hebrew culture of that time, Joseph was Mary’s husband while they were engaged.

Matthew 1:21:  A False Prophecy?

We read in Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” One critic wrote, “False prophecy. Everyone agrees that for two thousand years most Jews have died not believing in Jesus and therefore, according to Christian theology, were not saved from their sins”.

This critic either does not understand, or does not take into account, that the Greek often used the definite article before a noun to limit that noun.  That is the case in this verse.  That is to say, the Greek Interlinear reads, “he will save the people….”. The definite article limits the noun “people” to those who believe in Him which is the testimony of the entire Bible. And indeed Christ has saved many of His people, so this is not, as suggested, a false prophecy.

 Matthew 1:23: Prophecy of the Virgin Birth

We read in Matthew 1: 23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child,” To which one critic wrote, “It’s undisputed that the Hebrew text has the definite article “the” instead of “a” before “young woman” (KJV’s “virgin”). A slim majority of major Christian translations now have “the” here instead of “a”. The use of the definite article “the” means that the woman in question was known to the speaker of the prophecy, Isaiah, and could not be referring to someone who lived about 700 years later”.

This person obviously does not understand Bible prophecy. Why does he assume that Isaiah had to know that it was Mary about whom he wrote?  There is no logical or Scriptural reason for that assumption.

Matt. 1:23 is a quote from Is. 7:13-15. Isaiah’s prophecy was originally given as a sign to Ahaz that he will be victorious in his battle against Syria (see vss. 3-13). Obviously, the maiden who became pregnant was known to Ahaz otherwise it could not have been a sign.

There is absolutely no reason to dismiss this prophecy in Matthew 1:23 on the basis that Isaiah could not have known of Christ’s virgin birth. Of course he did not, but neither did any of the prophets know that their prophecies would be fulfilled by One Person.

Matthew 1:23: “Call His Name Emmanuel” 

We read in Matt. 1:23, “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, ‘God with us’”.

 In point of fact nowhere, apart from this verse is Jesus ever called “Emmanuel”. Does this constitute an error?  Of course not!  It is important to understand that “name” is sometimes used as a figure of speech metonymy of adjunct, which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible as, “When something pertaining to the subject is put for the subject itself”. In this verse the word “name” is used as that which pertains to Christ, Who is the subject. It is used as a figure of speech for Who Christ is.

  Figures of speech are used to enhance a truth. What truth is being enhanced by the use of the figure of speech in Matt. 1:23? It is used to enhance the truth that Christ is “God with us”.

In short, Matt. 1:23 is not about what Christ will be called, it is a figure of speech to express the truth that  Christ is “God with us”.

Matthew 1:18-21 and Luke 1:26-31

We read in Matthew 1:18-21, “Now the birth of Jesus was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph before they came together: she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband…..was minded to put her away privily.  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying ’Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:  That Which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a Son and thou shall call His name Jesus….”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment on this passage reads, “The Annunciation had occurred after Mary had conceived Jesus”.  That is perfectly accurate.

Then in Luke 1:26-31 we read, “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And the angel came in unto her, and said, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women’. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.  And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this passage reads, “It occurred before conception”. Assuming that “it” refers to the Annunciation, that also is perfectly accurate.What Mr. Gordon has failed to take into account however, is that the passage in Matthew concerns the angel of the Lord’s  appearance to Joseph while the passage in Luke concerns Gabriel’s appearance to Mary.

In other words, there is no contradiction here. An angel appeared to Joseph after Mary had conceived and an angel appeared to Mary before she had conceived.

In regard to these same passages Mr. Gordon wrote of Matt. 1:20, “The angel spoke to Joseph“.  And of the passage in Luke Mr. Gordon wrote, “The angel spoke to Mary“.

 Mr. Gordon assumes that it was the same angel that spoke to Joseph and Mary and at that same time.  There is no reason to make that assumption especially since we are told quite specifically that it was the angel of the Lord that appeared to Joseph and it was Gabriel who spoke with Mary. The angel Gabriel is never referred to in the Bible as “the angel of the Lord”.

Did Joseph, Mary and Jesus Flee to Egypt? Matthew 2:16

We read in Matt. 2:16, “Then Herod when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old…”. Mr. Gordon referenced Luke 2:22-40 as proof that Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned to Nazareth “without ever going to Egypt”, stating that “there is no slaughter of the infants”.

To begin, we read in Matt. 2:17 that after Herod sent forth to slay all the children under two years of age (vs. 16), then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, ‘In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and would not be comforted, because they were not’”. In other words, the children were indeed slain.

Next, let us consider Mr. Gordon’s comment that Joseph and his family did not go to Egypt (and yet were not killed). We read in Matt. 2:14, “When he (Joseph) arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt”.  In fact let us go a bit further and consider Matt. 2:19-21 which tells us that after Herod died, “an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise and take the young Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead which sought the young Child’s life’”.  In other words, Joseph and his family did indeed go to Egypt and returned to Israel when it was safe to do so.

It is true that Luke does not record the actual event of Joseph and his family going to Egypt, but that does not mean that those events did not occur as Mr. Gordon would have us believe. In point of fact there are relatively few events that are recorded in full in all four Gospels.  That is to say, one of the reasons for four Gospels, as opposed to just one, is that by considering all four accounts of an event, only then does one have a full account of it. The fact that an event is not recorded in one or even three Gospels does not mean it did not occur. The record of an event in one Gospel is sufficient evidence that it had occurred.

Matthew 2:23 “He shall Be Called a Nazarene”

We read in Matt. 2:23, “and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’”.

Mr. Gordon, correctly, points out that “this prophecy is not found in the OT…”. If one is going to be a critic of the Bible, I would think he would be more careful to read what it actually says. Matthew did not write that the prophecy was written, he specifically wrote, “which was spoken by the prophets”. This is one of several examples of a prophecy being verbal rather than written.

Matthew 3:16-17 and Mark 1:10-11 and John 1:32

We read in Matt. 3:16-17, “And Jesus when He was baptized went up straight out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo, a voice from heaven, saying ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased’”.  And in Mark 1:10-11 we read, “And straightway coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, ‘Thou art My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased’”. In John 1:32 we read, “And John bare record saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove…”.

Mr. Gordon sees an error in that in the Gospels written by Matthew and Mark we read that Christ saw the dove, while in John’s Gospel, it was John who saw it. There is no contradiction.  Matthew and Mark did not include John seeing the dove and John did not include Christ seeing the dove. Again, we may not assume that each Gospel writer intended to include all parts of an event and having not done so assume an error in the account.

But the different announcements from heaven do bear consideration. In Matthew’s Gospel we read, “This is My beloved Son” and Mark we read “Thou are My beloved Son”.  It is rather obvious in my opinion, that there were two announcements from heaven, one spoken to John who bore witness of these events “This is My beloved Son” and the other to Christ Himself, “Thou art My beloved Son”.

As for the fact that Matthew included the word “lo” and the other Gospel writers did not, obviously, Matthew chose to include it and the others did not.  This is not a contradiction. It is yet another example of the four Gospels presenting different pieces of the puzzle that make up the life of Christ on earth.

Matthew 4:1 and John 2:11

In Matt. 4:1 we read, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit, into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, and when He had fasted forty days….”.  In Jn. 2:1-2 reads, “and the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was called and His disciples to the marriage…..”.

The supposed error lies in the fact that we learn in Matthew’s Gospel that Christ was in the wilderness forty days after His baptism, and in John’s Gospel we read of Christ being at the marriage at Cana “the third day”. What we must determine is from what event is the “third day counted”.  That is to say, was the third day counted from the baptism of Christ or from another event?

The key verse in this question is Jn. 1:32 which reads, “And John (the Baptist) bare record saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him’”. As one reads this verse without preconceived ideas it is clear this verse does not record the actual baptism of Christ, it records the fact that John the Baptist told of what he had seen at the Baptism of Christ. Obviously, because we read of Christ being in Cana on the third day, it was three days after John had told what he had seen (Christ’s baptism) forty days earlier.

The Temptations of Christ: Matthew 4:5-8 and Luke 4:5-9

There are several seeming discrepancies in the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke as they recorded the temptations of Christ. But the problem is not with the Gospels, but with the assumption that there were but three temptations. I will quote from Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s Appendix number 116 in the Companion Bible. “We thus conclude that while there were temptations continuous during the whole for the forty days (Mk. 1:13, Lu. 4:2) they culminated in six different assaults on the Son of man, in three different forms; each form being repeated on two separate occasions, and under different circumstances, but not in the same order”.

Let us search the Scripture for the evidence of the statement quoted above by Dr. Bullinger. We will begin with a comparison of Matt. 4:8 with Luke 4:5.  We read in Luke 4:5, “And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time”. And in Matt. 4:8 we read, “Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shewth Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them”.   Note that Luke wrote of the devil taking Christ to a high mountain “again”.  This clearly tells us that it was the second time he had done so. That proves that Matthew and Luke recorded two different temptations which centered on the kingdoms of the world.

My point again, is that there is no reason to assume three temptations. If there is a difference between two accounts, it is because they refer to different temptations. Another excellent example of that is found as we compare Matt. 4:3 with Luke 4:3.  We read in Matt. 4:3, “….If Thou be the Son of God command that these stones be made bread”.  But in Luke 4:3 we read, “…. If Thou be the Son of God command this stone that it be made bread”.  Note that as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel the devil spoke of  “these stones” (plural) but in Luke’s account the devil spoke of “this stone” (singular).  This is not an error.  Matthew recorded one temptation and Luke recorded a different one each centered on turning stone(s) to bread.

In short, there are no errors in the accounts of the temptations of Christ once one reads carefully the accounts and does not assume that there were only three temptations.

Matthew 4:8

We read in Matt. 4:8, “Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them”.

It has been said that Christ could not possibly have seen all the kingdoms of the world. To begin, who is to say that He could not have seen all the kingdoms of the world? If one approaches the Word of God assuming errors one is not likely to have an open mind about what Christ could or could not have done.

Secondly, the Greek word translated “world” in this verse is “oikoumenee”. Dr. Bullinger defines “oikoumenee as “The world as inhabited. It is from the verb “oikeo:= to dwell. It is used of the habitable world as distinct from “kosmos“. Hence it is used in a more limited sense of the Roman Empire which was then predominant”.

As in every language, a word is defined by its usage. I suggest therefore, that we look at how the Holy Spirit used this word.

“Oikoumenee” is used in Luke 2:1, “… .all the world should be taxed”. It is also used in Acts 11:28, “…..through the Holy Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire world“. (The NIV has “Roman World”). It is also used in Acts 24:5, “stirring up trouble among the Jews over the world“. It is clear that “oikoumenee” refers to a portion of the world. If the entire world were meant in these verses the Greek word “kosmos” would have been used.

In short, Christ could have seen the entire world, but that is not what is written.  What is written is that Christ saw all the kingdoms of a limited portion of the earth.

Matthew 4:18-20, Luke 5:2-11 and John 1:35-42: Choosing of Peter

Let us first compare Matthew’s account of Christ choosing Peter with Luke’s account.

Matt. 4:18-20 tells us that “Jesus was walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon… and Andrew…casting a net into the sea… . And He said unto them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’. And they …left their nets and followed Him”. Luke’s account is much more complete, but in no way contradicts Matthew’s account. In Luke’s account we learn that Christ saw the two brothers and their ships, and Christ asked them to row the boat out to sea a bit from where “He taught the people”. When He had finished His teaching Christ asked Peter to go further out to sea and cast his nets, which Peter did and was astonished to find the nets full whereas before they had come up empty. At that time Peter fell down and worshiped Christ and we read in verse 11, “they forsook all and followed Him”.

It is obvious that Luke included much more than did Matthew of this event, but there is nothing contradictory in the two accounts. Matthew did not record Christ teaching the people or telling Peter to cast his nets, but again, there is nothing in these two accounts that contradict each other.

Now let us consider John’s account of the choosing of Peter. John’s record has nothing of fishing or nets, but rather it tells of Peter’s brother Andrew who overheard John the Baptist say of Christ that He was “The Lamb of God” and after spending the day with Christ went to his brother Peter and told him, “we have found the Messiah… . And he brought him to Jesus.  And when Jesus beheld him, He said ‘Thou art Simon, the son of Jona; thou shalt be called Cephas” (Jn. 1:41-42).

The reason John’s account is so different than Matthew’s and Luke’s is because John’s account records events that occurred the day before the events recorded by the other Gospel writers.  We read in Jn. 1:43 (the next verse), “The following day Jesus would go forth into Galilee…”. But in Matthew 4:18 we read, “Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee…”.   In other words, John recorded the events that occurred the day before Christ went to Galilee and Matthew and Luke recorded the events that occurred the day when Christ was in Galilee.

Note in John’s account there is no word of Peter leaving his nets to follow Christ as we read in Matthew’s account. And this also explains why, when Christ asked Peter to cast his nets again even though they had been empty, Peter said, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word, I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5). That is to say, Peter had accepted Christ as the Messiah the day before and was, therefore, most anxious to do as the Lord bid him.

Matthew 5:16 and Matthew 6:1

Matt. 5:16 reads, “Let your light so shine before men so that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Which is in heaven”. And in Matt. 6:1 we read, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father Which is in heaven”.

When Christ spoke the words recorded in chapter 6 had He  forgotten and contradicted Himself  in what He had said just a few minutes earlier as recorded in Matt. 5? Of course not, such a notion is untenable.  In order to understand any literature, we must use our common sense and the Bible is no exception.

Let us consider the word “to” in the phrase “to be seen”.  The Greek word translated “to” is “pros” and is defined, in part, in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “Its general meaning is the motive”. Dr. Bullinger’s suggested translation of the word in Matt. 6:1 is, “in order to”. That is to say, when correctly understood Matt. 6:1 records Christ’s admonition to not do alms in order to be seen by men”. Why should we not do good works in order to be seen?  Taking into consideration that if one did good works in order to be seen by men, God would not reward those good works, it seems obvious that we should not do them in a way that is boastful and draws attention to ourselves rather than to God. In other words, it is a good thing to do them in order to bring glory to God, as recorded in Matt. 5:16, but to do good works in order to bring attention to ourselves does not bring glory to God and the one who does those things will not be rewarded for them

So there is, of course, no contradiction between these two verses. Matt. 5:16 says that we should do our good works for men to see so that God would be glorified. Matt. 6:1 says that we should not do our good works in order to boast of them.

 Matthew 5:17, Ephesians 2:13-14 and Hebrews 7:18-19

We read in Matt. 5:17, “Think not that I come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfill”.  In Eph. 2:13-15 we read, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make of Himself of twain one new man, so making peace”.

Let us define some of the terms used in Eph. 2. Who did Paul mean by “ye” in the phrase, “ye who sometimes were far off”?  The context (see vs. 11, “ye being in time past Gentiles”) will show that “ye” refers to Gentiles. And the term “law of commandments” refers to the Mosaic Law.

There is no question that on the surface the passages quoted above do seem to be contradictory. But the Bible is quite clear in stating that “some things are hard to understand” (II Peter 3:16), so let us not stop at a surface understanding.

To begin let us consider the Scriptural evidence which proves that, indeed, the law was not abolished at the cross, it was observed by believing Jews all throughout the Acts period.  We read in Acts 21:24 of the believers in Jerusalem giving Paul the following advice, “Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved.  Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.”  The point of this passage is that Paul went out of his way to prove that he was observing the law.

How then are we to understand Eph. 2:13-14? The paper on this question proves from Scripture, there are five passages (Romans 6:14, Gal. 3:24-25, Eph. 2:13-15, Col. 2:16 and Hebrews chapter 10)  that seem to say that the law was abolished at the cross. As we consider Gal. 3:24-25 I believe the reader will understand that each of these passages tell us that for the purpose discussed in the context, the law was abolished at the cross.  Let me explain by using the passage in Galatians as an example.

We read in Gal. 3:23-25, “Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.  Now that faith has come we are no longer under the schoolmaster”.

The law was the schoolmaster. What was the purpose of the schoolmaster?  To lead them to faith, so that they may be justified. Why did they no longer need the schoolmaster? They no longer needed the schoolmaster (the law) because they had come to faith in Christ. If we add an ellipsis from the immediate context it will help make this passage a bit clearer.  Verse 25 would read then, “Now that faith has come we are no longer under the schoolmaster to bring us unto faith”. They were no longer under the schoolmaster to bring them unto faith because they already had faith. So in this passage we learn that for the purpose of leading Jews to faith, they were no longer under the law, i.e. the schoolmaster”.  For that purpose the law had been abolished.

With that in mind, let us consider more carefully Eph. 2:13-15. Note for example, the phrase, “for to make of Himself of twain one new man”.  This tells us that the “twain”, i.e. Jews and Gentiles” were made one at the cross.  What kept them from being one before the cross was “the middle wall of partition between us”. That middle wall was “the enmity, even the law of commandments”.

Let us put this together. This passage concerns the law which was a partition between Jews and Gentiles. It separated Jews and Gentiles.

In short, for the purpose of separating Jews and Gentiles, the law was abolished at the cross.  So just as in Gal. 3 the law was abolished for the purpose of bringing believing Jews to faith in Christ when they came to Him in faith, so too in Eph. 2 the law was abolished for the purpose of separating Jews and Gentiles.

 Again, each of the passages that seem to say that the law was abolished at the cross actually say that for a specific purpose, the law was abolished.  But we know from the fact that believing Jews were “zealous” of the law, the law had not, in actuality been abolished.

Mr. Gordon also suggested that Heb. 7:18-19 contradicted Matt. 5:17.  Let us consider that passage. We read in Heb. 7:15-18, “….After the similitude of Melchisedec  there arises another Priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life…..for there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did….”.

What is the point of this passage? It presents a contrast of the law to “a better hope”. What is that “better hope”? It is, according to the context, “another Priest” Who “is made…of an endless life”. In other words, the Mosaic Law was weak and unprofitable because it was observed in the flesh, i.e. “the law of a carnal commandment”. But Christ brings a better hope in that in Him is “the power of an endless life”.

Does that mean that because Christ is a “better hope” that the law was abolished? It does not. In point of fact the Bible is quite clear that the law, including burnt offerings, will be observed even in the millennium. Consider, for example, Is. 56:5-8, “Also the sons of the stranger……… even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar”. The fact that Gentiles, i.e. “the stranger” will be brought into the house of God, i.e. “My house”, proves this passage to be a millennial prophecy.

What will be abolished is the old covenant which was, of course, based on the Mosaic Law; but the law and the covenant are two different things. That is to say, the old covenant will be abolished and replaced by the new covenant but the law is and will not be abolished. The proof of that is found in the millennial prophecies that speak of the observing the law in the millennium.

The replacement of the old covenant (not the law) is explained in the very next chapter of Hebrews.  We read in Heb. 8:6-10, “But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them He saith, ‘….I will make a new covenant….not according to the covenant I made with their fathers….. I will put my Law into their minds and write them into their hearts….”.

Let us try to put all this together. Heb. 7 and 8 tell us that the old covenant will be replaced (at the millennial reign of Christ, please see the paper on covenants) by a better covenant. Does that mean that the law will be abolished at that time?  Absolutely not. As quoted above, the law will be put into the minds and hearts of the recipients of the new covenant. If the law will be put into the minds and hearts of its recipients, it has obviously, not been abolished.

So there is no contradiction between these two chapters and Matt. 5:17. As recorded in Matt. 5:17, Christ did not come to abolish the law and the law was not abolished. What Christ did accomplish by His blood was the establishment of the new covenant which would result in the law being observed from the heart and mind, as opposed to the flesh.

Matthew 5:17-19, Leviticus 10:8-11:47, Mark 7:15 and I Timothy 4:1-4

 We read in Matt. 5:17, “Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill”. Lev. 10:18-11:47 is a long passage which explains which foods are clean and which are unclean.  In Mark 7:15 we read, “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him; but the things that come out of him, those are the things that defile a man”. In I Tim. 4:4 we read, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if received with thanksgiving”.

Now let us consider Mr. Gordon’s comments on these passages.  About Matt. 5:17 he wrote, “Jesus underscores the permanence of the law”.  This is quite true.  About the passage in Leviticus he wrote, “The law distinguishes between clean and unclean foods”.  This also is quite correct. About Mark 7:15 he wrote, “Jesus says that there is no such distinction”.  This statement is quite false.  Let us consider the context in order to determine just what Christ did say and mean.

We read in Mark 7:2-9, “And when they (the Pharisees) saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. ……and many other things there be which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.  Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, ‘Why walk not Thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?  He answered……’Laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups; and many other such like things ye do’. And He said unto them, ‘Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own traditions.

It is clear that the basic topic of this discussion between Christ and the Pharisees was not about which foods to be eaten, but rather it was about the Pharisees rejecting the commandments of God in order to keep their own traditions. Yes, bread is mentioned in the context of the disciples eating bread with unwashed hands, but the bread was not the subject, the subject was the unwashed hands. Therefore, Mr. Gordon’s insinuation of the Mosaic Laws concerning food is without basis.  That is to say, he has assumed that when Christ spoke of what goes into a man He was speaking of food, but that assumption is not substantiated by the context because food is not the subject of the discussion recorded in this context. If that assumption were correct we are left with the conclusion that Christ’s point was that food does not defile (“There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him) but one is defiled when one gets rid of the food (i.e. regurgitate) (“but the things that come out of him, those are the things that defile a man”). That does not even make sense.

If Christ was not speaking of food, to what was He referring when He spoke of things going into a man as opposed to things coming out of a man? Given that Christ’s entire point was that the Pharisees were being true to their own traditions rather than to the Law of God, I believe we must take that into account in answering this question.

Let us first determine to what Christ was referring when He spoke of the “things that come out of him…… that defile a man”. What are those things in relation to the context, i.e. in relation to the discussion?  They are the false teachings of the Pharisees that are part of their own traditions that go against the spirit of the Mosaic Law. Having determined from the context what comes out of a man, we are prepared to consider what goes into a man that does not defile him. Because the contrast is made between what goes in and what goes out of a man, I believe we must conclude that if what goes out of a man is the false teachings of the Pharisees concerning their devotion to their own traditions, then what goes into a man are those false teachings.  In other words, I believe that Christ’s point was that if one hears those false teachings he is not defiled, but those who teach them are defiled.

I suggest therefore, that Christ’s comment as recorded in Mar 7:15 had nothing to do with food and therefore does not contradict any passages having to do with food. Neither does it have anything to do with the laws having to do with food and again, does not contradict Christ’s statement that He came to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it.

Now let us consider I Tim. 4:4, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if received with thanksgiving”.  The laws concerning clean and unclean foods was part of the Mosaic Law given to Israel.  As the paper on dispensational truth will prove from Scripture, Israel was set aside at the end of the Acts period and the law was set aside with Her. I  Tim. was, of course written after the end of the Acts period, therefore the law was no longer in effect.

Matthew 5:22 and Mark 3:5

 We read in Matt. 5:22, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not kill; and whosever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:’ But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment”. And in Mark 3:4-5 we read, “And He saith unto them, ‘Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life or to kill?’ But they held their peace.  And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, ‘Stretch forth thine hand’.  And He stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other”.

These two passages do not contradict each other in the sense that there is an error in the Bible because both accurately describe what took place. Rather, this is an implied condemnation of Christ for being angry with the Pharisees because they objected to Him healing on the Sabbath and He had preached that one should not be angry.

In point of fact the same Greek word translated “anger” (Gr. “orgee”) is often used of God’s wrath that will be meted out in the day of wrath.  Consider for example, Rev. 6:17 which reads, “For the great day of His wrath (Gr. “orgee”) is come”.

If one believes in the deity of  Christ one accepts that, as God, Christ had every right to be angry. So one has two choices in this matter.  One can either condemn Christ Who is God for His wrath or one can acknowledge the obvious fact that God is not man and should not be judged as if He were. In any case, as mentioned above, this is not an error in the Bible, but one example of a judgment of God by one who because he is man, has no right to judge Him.

Matthew 5:22 and Ephesians 4:26

We read in Matt. 5:21-22, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not kill; and whosever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:’ But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:….whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Gr. “gehenna”).

Note the contrast between what was written in the Mosaic Law and what Christ preached. This is not an error, it is a very legitimate contrast between the moral standard of the Mosaic law and the higher standard of our Lord’s..

But we must consider Eph. 4:26, “Be ye angry and sin not”. What must be understood is that Ephesians was written after the end of the Acts period to the church of the dispensation of the mystery, not to Israel, which was set aside at the end of the Acts period (please see the paper on this subject for the proof of that statement).  That being the case, the Mosaic Law had been set aside at the time of the writing of Ephesians and a different standard was established.

Matthew 6:13 and James 1:2-3

We read in Matt. 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil….”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “God might lead us into temptation and it is better avoided”. In James 1:2 we read, “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations”. And Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “Temptation is joy”.

Mr. Gordon has, once again, failed to consider the context and the historic setting of Matt. 6:13. Let us not make the same mistake.

The fourth chapter of Matthew’s  Gospel records the beginning of the first period of Christ’s earthly ministry, and we read in Matt. 4:17, “From that time on Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.  The kingdom of Heaven is the term used by Matthew for Christ’s millennial reign of Israel (please see the paper on the kingdom of Heaven for the Scriptural evidence of that statement). In other words, the message Christ preached as He began His earthly ministry was that His millennial reign would soon begin.

 But those to whom Christ preached understood from the prophets that just before that millennial reign would be a time of tribulation. The same Greek word translated “temptation” in Matt. 6:13 is used in Rev. 3:10 which reads, “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth”. In this context it is quite obvious, in my opinion, that it is the great tribulation that will “come upon all the world”.

In other words, Christ was speaking of a very specific temptation in Matt. 6:13, i.e. the great tribulation in which the anti-christ will tempt many to worship him, rather than God.

In point of fact, God will indeed make a place of escape so that, in answer to the prayer of Matt. 6:13, He will not lead them into temptation. We read in Rev. 12:14, “And to the woman (i.e. Israel, see vs. 1) were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent”. Note the phrase, “for a time, and times, and half a time” (i.e. three and one half years) for it is the exact length of the great tribulation. This escape was also prophesied by Jeremiah.  Consider Jer. 30:7 which speaks of “Jacob’s’ trouble” “but he shall be saved out of it“.

So Christ’s words recorded in Matt. 6:13 would be understood by those to whom He spoke, as a prayer that they would be taken into a safe place in the wilderness in order to escape the great tribulation.

Now let us consider James 1:2, “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations”.  To begin, James did not write that “temptation is joy” as Mr. Gordon suggests.  James wrote that one should count it all joy”, which means that one should reckon it joyful to fall into diverse temptations, which is quite different than saying that temptation is joy.  Temptation is not joy, but James is saying that one should count it as joy because, as we read in the very next verse, temptations are, “the trying of your faith” which “ worketh patience”.  But let us continue with this supposed error.

The most obvious term that tells us that this is not in regard to the great tribulation is the phrase, “divers temptations”, please note the plural. In other words, James had in mind the temptations of everyday life and Christ had in mind the temptation of the great tribulation.

Because there are two very different subjects in the two passages under consideration there can be no contradiction. That is to say, Christ was suggesting a prayer that God, as promised in Jeremiah, would not lead them into the great tribulation but rather take them, again, as promised, to a safe place.  James, on the other hand was speaking of the “divers temptations” of everyday life which they should count as joy because those temptations  are the trying of their faith which leads to patience.

Matthew 6:25 and I Timothy 5:8

We read in Matt. 6:24-25, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Therefore I say unto you, ‘Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” And in I Tim. 5:8 we read, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”.

By putting forth these two passages, Mr. Gordon is suggesting that where Paul wrote that one should provide for his own, Christ is saying the opposite, “take no thought for what you shall eat” etc. . Did Christ say that one should not provide food and clothing?  Of course He did not.  What is Christ’s point as recorded in Matt. 6:25?

In Matt. 6:25 Christ is making a contrast between serving two masters.  The one master concerns things of the temporal life (food and clothing) and the other the spiritual things concerning resurrection life.  How do we know that Christ was speaking of resurrection life? Note the phrase, “is not the life more than meat?”.   The definite article in the phrase, “the life” tells us that Christ is referring here to resurrection life.  In other words, resurrection life takes precedence over any concerns of food or clothing in one’s temporal life.  But Christ did not say or imply that one should not take care of the requirements of his temporal life, only that one should keep those things in balance with respect to resurrection life.

 In point of fact, the same Greek word translated “thought” in the phrase, “take no thought” is also used in Phil. 4:6 where it is translated “careful”. Let us consider Phil. 4:6-7.  “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.  Many versions have instead of the word “careful” the word “anxious”, i.e.” be anxious for nothing”.

 In short, the point Christ made in Matt. 6:25 and Paul made in Phil. 4:6-7 is that one should not be so concerned with the things of one’s temporal life that they lose sight of the fact that it is resurrection life they have to look forward to.

Does this point contradict what Paul wrote in I Tim. 5:8?  Of course not! In I Tim. 5:8 Paul was making the point that one should take care of his own, i.e. feed them, cloth them etc. . But, as mentioned, his point in Phil. 4 was that one should not be “careful” or “anxious” about anything. And Christ’s point was more or less, the same, i.e. that one should not be so concerned with the things concerning the temporal life that one loses sight of the importance of the spiritual things concerning resurrection life.

Matthew 7:7 and Luke 13:24

We read in Matt. 7:7-8, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you”. And in Luke 13:24 we read, “Strive to enter in at the srait gate: For many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able”.

There is no contradiction between these two passages because, as the immediate context will show, Matthew records Christ’s statement about God giving “good gifts” while Luke records Christ’s statement concerning salvation. Let us consider the immediate context of these passages.

We read in Matt. 7:9-11, “Or what man is there of you, whom, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father Which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your father Which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?”.  The point of  this passage in Matthew’s Gospel is summed up in verse 10, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father Which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?”. This passage has to do with receiving gifts from God.

Luke 13, on the other hand is not about receiving gifts, it is about entering into the kingdom of God, i.e. eternal salvation.  Let us consider Luke 13:23, “Then said one unto Him, ‘Lord, are there few that be saved?’ And the Lord’s answer to that question is recorded in the next verse, “Strive to enter in at the srait gate: For many, I say unto you , shall seek to enter in and shall not be able”. We can tell by the question to which Christ responded that both the question and the answer had to do with salvation unto eternal life, not with the receiving of gifts, per se.

Because the two passages under consideration have nothing in common, it is quite impossible for them to be contradictory.

Matthew 7:21 and Romans 10:13:  Justification by Faith or by Works?

Let us consider Rom. 10:13 first.  That verse reads, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. And Matt. 7:21 reads, “Not every one that saith to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father Which is in  heaven”. There are two reasons for the fact that not every one who says, “lord, Lord” may not enter the kingdom even though all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, i.e. will enter the kingdom.

The first reason lies in the phrase of Matt. 7:21, “he that doeth the will of My Father “.  That is to say, the emphasis is on works.  One must understand that God’s plan of salvation is like a two sided coin.  On one side we have “by grace ye are saved, not of works…” (Eph. 2:8-9). That coincides with the passage in Romans 10. And on the other side of the coin we have “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).  That coincides with the passage in Matthew 7. This seeming contradiction is explained most succinctly in James 2:17, “Even so, faith without works being alone is dead”.  And we read in James 2:22, “…by works was faith made perfect”.  The Greek word translated perfect in this verse is better understood as “complete”.  In other words, works complete one faith.

In short, Romans 10 emphasizes the fact that faith  is part of God’s plan of salvation and Matthew 7 emphasizes the fact that faith alone is dead, i.e. it must be accompanied by works. That is not a contradiction; it is two sides of the same coin in relation to God’s plan of salvation.

The second reason that some will not enter the kingdom even though they may say “Lord, Lord” lies in the fact that salvation is given to those who believe Who Christ is, i.e. God.  That is to say, “Lord” is a generic term and does not indicate one’s belief in the fact that Christ is God. We see that principle in the figure of speech used in the phrase, “call on the name”.  That figure of speech is metonymy of adjunct, which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible as, “When something pertaining to the subject is put for the subject itself”. In this verse the word “name” is used as that which pertains to Christ, Who is the subject. It is used as a figure of speech for Who Christ is.

Figures of speech are used to enhance a truth. The truth being enhanced by the use of “name” as a figure of speech is that one must accept Who Christ is, i.e. God, in order to be saved.

In short, the passage in Matthew emphasizes the truth that salvation is a gift given to those whose faith is completed by works and the passage in Romans emphasizes the truth that one must believe in Christ as God in order to be saved.  Again, two sides of the same coin in God’s plan of salvation.

Matthew 8:5-12 and Luke 7:2-10

In Matt. 8:5-6, “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy…”. And in Luke 7:2 we read, “And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus he sent unto Him the elders of the Jews, beseeching Him that He would come and heal his servant”.
In Matthew’s Gospel we read that a centurion came to Jesus and in Luke’s Gospel we read that a centurion had sent “the elders of the Jews” to Jesus.  Is this an error?  Absolutely not. These two passages record two different events that took place at two different times.  We read in Matt. 9:9 (i.e. one chapter after the centurion had come to Jesus) of the calling of Matthew.  In Luke 6:15 (i.e. one chapter before the centurion sent the elders to Jesus) of the calling of Matthew. There can be no error when there are two different events being compared.

Matthew 8:16 and Mark 1:34

In Matt. 8:16 we read, “When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils; and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick”.  In Mark 1:34 we read, “And He healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils….”. Did Christ heal all or many?

In point of fact, the Greek word translated “sick” in Matt. 8:16 is a combination of “eko”  and “kakos”. “Eko” is usually translated “have” and The Englishman’s Greek Concordance suggests that the literal meaning of the word “eko” as used in Matt. 8:16 is, “that had themselves sickly”.  “Kakos” is the Greek word translated “sick” in Mark 1:34 and is almost always translated “sick”. In other words Matthew and Mark wrote of people with different kinds of sickness.

In short, Matthew wrote of Christ healing all who were sickly while Mark wrote of Christ healing many who were sick. Where the Greek makes a difference, so too must the student of the Word if we are to understand what the Author had in mind.

Matthew 8:28-33 and Mark 5:2-16

Mr. Gordon correctly stated in regard to Matt. 8:28-33, “Two demoniacs are healed in the Gergesenes incident”.  And his comment on Mark 5:2-16 was again, correct, “One demoniac is healed in the incident”.

I will quote the note in the Companion Bible on Matt. 5:28 by Dr. E. W. Bullinger which reads, “This miracle of the two demoniacs was not the same as that recorded in Mark 5 and Luke 8. Here there were two men, in the later miracle there was one; here, they landed opposite the place whence they set sail (Gergesenes), there the Gardaremes (not Gadera), not opposite; here no name is asked, there the name is ‘Legion”; here no bonds used, there many; here the two were not used afterwards and the Twelve not yet called; there the one man was used, and the Twelve had been called. The consequences are also different”.

I believe that if one were to read a secular history text book on the first century that gave two very different accounts of a similar event, one would not assume, as has Mr. Gordon, that the text book was incorrect but rather that there were two different instances.  Reason is just as important when reading the Bible as when reading a secular history book.

Matthew 9:18 and Luke 8:42

Mr. Gordon correctly stated in regard to Matt. 9:18 that, “The ruler’s daughter was already dead when Jesus raised her.  And his comment on Luke 8:42 is also correct, when he wrote, “she was dying but not dead”.

I will quote Dr. Bullinger’s comment in the Appendix 138 of the Companion Bible. “1) There were two females raised from the dead. The first (Matt. 9:18) was Gr. ‘to koraision’ (a little girl), whose father was probably a civil magistrate (Gr. archon).  She died before her father started to see the Lord, and so no messengers were dispatched with the news.

“The second (Mark 5:22, Luke 8:41) was Gr. ‘to paidion’, a girl of about twelve years whose father was one of the rulers of the Synagogue (archisunagogos) by name Jairus.  She was not dead.  No mourning had commenced, but as the Lord approaches news of her death was brought.

“Other antecedents and consequents of time and place and circumstances are all different”.

Again, with all the differences evident in these two events, why would one assume that they were the same event and the Gospel writers were in error? That assumption is illogical.

Matthew 10:2 and Luke 6:13-16: Who were the Twelve Apostles?

I will quote Mr. Gordon’s comments for what he has written is accurate.  In regard to Matt. 10:2 he wrote, “The twelve apostles (disciples) were: Simon (Peter), Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee, John his brother, Philip, Bartholemew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus (Labbaeus), Simon, and Judas Iscariot”. In regard to Luke 6:13 Mr. Gordon wrote, “The above except that Thaddaeus (Labbaeus) is excluded, and Judas the son of James is added (and Judas Iscariot remains).

Mr. Gordon is suggesting that either Matthew or Luke did not know who the twelve apostles were. I find that most extraordinary when it is much more logical to believe that both men did indeed know the names of the twelve apostles. But I will quote from the Appendix number 141 in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger which reads, “….. Judas was called Thaddaeus, which words have a similar meaning-the latter being Aramaic”.

In other words, Thaddaeus and Judas was the same person but Matthew used the name Thaddaeus and Luke used the name Judas.

Matthew 10:5-6 and Acts 15:7:Was Peter an Apostle to the Jews?

We read in Matthew 10:5-6, “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them saying, ‘Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the city of Samaritans enter ye not; But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this passage reads, “Peter was to be an apostle to the Jews and not go near the Gentiles”. And in Acts 15:7 we read, “…..God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my (Peter’s) mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “He” (Peter) “was an apostle to the Gentiles”.

Let us first consider Matt. 10:6.  I will quote from the note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger which reads, “Go not: =go not abroad, i.e. from the land”. In other words, Christ told Peter to not go out of the land of Israel to the nations.  As we consider the Greek preposition translated “into” in the phrase “go not into the way of the Gentiles” we will see that this note by Dr. Bullinger is, indeed correct.

The preposition translated “into” is “eis” and I will quote Dr. Bullinger’s definition from the Companion’s Bible, Appendix number 104. “ ….when a line is drawn to meet another at a certain point. Hence, it denotes motion to or unto an object with the purpose of reaching or touching it. From this comes the idea of the object toward which such motion is directed…”.  In contrast with eis, pros may mark one object as the means of reaching an ulterior object which is denoted by eis”.

In other words, when Christ told Peter to not go to the Gentiles, He was telling Peter and the others, that they were not to go towards (Gr. eis) the Gentiles, i.e. not go into the land of the Gentiles but rather preach only in the land of the Jews, i.e. Israel.

With that in mind let us consider what exactly Peter did do when he preached to the Gentiles. That encounter is recorded in Acts 10, and in verse 24 we read that the day after Peter had his vision and met Cornelius he “entered into Caesarea”. Does this refer to Caesarea Philippi in Macedonia or to Caesarea which is a few miles north of Jerusalem? Given that Peter had reached Caesarea the next day, we must conclude that he could not have traveled to Macedonia, but to Caesarea, a few miles from Jerusalem.

In short, Christ told the apostles to not go to the land of the Gentiles, not as Mr. Gordon suggests, to “not go near the Gentiles”.  And Peter obeyed that command when he went to the Gentiles in Caesarea in the land of Israel.

Did that one visit to the Gentiles near Jerusalem make Peter an apostle to the Gentiles as Mr. Gordon suggests? Of course not.  Peter was commanded in a vision to go to the Gentiles and he, of course, obeyed that commandment. There is no other record of Peter preaching to the Gentiles.

Matthew 10:10 and Mark 6:8-9

We read in Matt. 10:9-10, “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves….”. And we read in Mark 6:8-9, “And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only, no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse”. The seeming contradiction in these two passages is that in Matthew’s Gospel Christ told His disciples to not “yet” take “staves” and in Mark He told them to take a “staff”. Staves were used both for walking, as a walking stick, and for clubs as in battle. According to Dr. E. W. Bullinger, when the word is used as a club the Greek word is plural, when used for a rod/stick the Greek word is singular.

 In point of fact there really is no contradiction between these two passages because Matthew did not record Christ telling His disciples to not take staves, He told them not to take staves “yet”.  But in the interest of a correct understanding of these two passages let us first address the fact that in Matthew’s Gospel Christ said that they should not yet take staves (plural, clubs).  We read in Luke 22:35-36, “And He said unto them, ‘’when I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing?’ And they said, ‘No, nothing’.  Then said He unto them, ‘But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one’”.  When we read in this passage about Christ having sent the disciples out without purse etc. we know that it refers to what He told His disciples as recorded in Matt. 10:10. But note the phrase “but now”.  In other words, something has changed to such a degree that Christ is telling His disciples to do just the opposite of what He told them to do in Matt. 10.  What changed?  Luke 22 records the events that immediately preceded Christ’s arrest and trial which, of course, ended in His death and later by His resurrection. My point is that the phrase “but now’ in Luke 22 refers to the end times.  The end times includes, of course, the great tribulation when swords and/or  staves would be absolutely necessary for self defense.

In short, in Matt. 10:10 Christ told His disciples that they should not yet carry clubs (Gr. plural) as the time for that had not yet come. But in Mark’s Gospel, i.e. 6:8-9, Mark recorded Christ telling the disciples to carry a rod, or a walking stick (Gr. singular).

Is There More than One Gospel of Salvation?: Matthew 10:22 

We read in Matt, 10:22 that “he that shall endure to the end shall be saved”.  We also read that he who believes and is baptized shall be saved (see Mark 16:16).  And in I Jn. 4:7 we read that he who loves is born again. This brings up the question: just what is the gospel of salvation?

As the paper on salvation will prove, there is one gospel of salvation and that is clearly defined in Jn. 3:16, “whosoever believes in Him (Christ) …..shall have eternal life”. How then are we to understand these other verses?

As the paper on faith and works in God’s plan of salvation proves from Scripture, faith is completed by works.  In other words, as James puts it in James 2, “faith without works is dead”. So when we read, for example that one must believe and be baptized, baptism is the outward sign (the work) that one has believed (shown faith in) the message that God has for him to accept. And when we read that he who loves is born again, it is love that is the work that completes his faith.

But let us consider more carefully Matt. 10:22, i.e. “he that endures to the end will be saved”. If not understood in its historical setting this verse may be mistakenly said to mean that if one does not hold to his faith to the end of his life he will not be saved. But we read in II Tim. 2:13, “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself”.

 We must, when considering Matt. 10:22 ask the question endure to the end of what?  That is to say, we must not assume that we must endure to the end of our lives (which the context does not support) and then declare a contradiction with II Tim. 2:13.  We read in Matt. 10:21-23 of some of the circumstances of the coming tribulation. Because verse 22 comes in this discussion we may conclude that one must endure to the end of the tribulation in order to be saved.  This is in keeping with the truth that works complete one’s faith. That is to say, if, during the tribulation period one worships the beast and, in that act denies God, he proves  that he never had saving faith

Matthew 10:34 and John 16:33

Matt. 10:34 reads, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword”.  Jn. 16:33 reads, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me, you, might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation:  But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”.

Christ’s statement recorded in Matthew’s Gospel is quite clear, i.e. Christ did indeed come to send a sword to the earth. Does Christ’s statement recorded in Jn. 16:33 contradict that statement?  Certainly not, but one must consider the entire verse as recorded in Jn. 16:33.  That is to say, there is a contrast between the peace that is in Christ and the tribulation that is in the world. I believe that as we consider the Greek preposition translated “in” in the phrase “in Christ” we will have a better understanding of Jn. 16:33.

The Greek word translated “in” in Jn. 16:33 is “en” and is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in his Appendix 104 as, “…denotes being or remaining within, with the primary idea of rest and continuance…”. In other words, the point of Christ’s statement recorded in Jn. 16:33 is that He gives peace to those who are “in” Him.  That is to say, to those who find rest and continuance in Christ (i.e. “in Him”) He will give peace.  Given that this peace is contrasted with the tribulation of the world, I believe the most logical conclusion is that Christ was speaking of an inner peace.

So  the message in Matt. 10:34 is that Christ will send a sword to the earth, but the message in Jn. 16:33 is that in spite of the tribulation in the world, there is an inner peace for those who find rest and continuance in Christ.

Therefore,  there can be no contradiction between the two passages quoted above because they are in reference to two very different things. Matthew recorded Christ’s statement concerning the lack of peace in the earth and John recorded Christ’s statement concerning the inner peace that those who find rest and continuance in Him will have.

Matthew 10:35-37: Honor Your Father and Mother

We all know that one of the ten commandments is to honor your mother and father so I will not quote the references suggested by Mr. Gordon. But Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction to that commandment with Matt. 10:35-37. Mr. Morgan also gave Luke 12:51-53 and 14:26 as a reference but these all say much the same thing, so I will concentrate on Matthew’s Gospel. He also referenced Matt. 23:9.  Let us first consider Matt. 10:35-37.

We read in Matt. 10:33-37, “But Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father Which is in heaven.  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me”.

In order to correctly understand this passage we must put it in its historical setting. The first century Jews were expecting Christ to establish His millennial kingdom on earth during their life time. But before that kingdom would be established, as most who have any knowledge of the end times know, the tribulation must come to test those on the earth. We read in Mark 13:12, of the terrible relationships between fathers and children brought on by the “beginning of sorrows” that directly precedes the tribulation, “Now the brother shall betray brother to death, and the father the son; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death”.  Perhaps a word of explanation would be helpful.

 The antichrist will persecute believers and non-believers alike in order to get them to worship him. We have read in the paragraphs above of how that persecution will affect family relationships. In some ways, the situation will not be that unlike other periods of persecution when many have been persecuted to get them to turn on their friends, and yes their family members as well.

We are now ready to consider the supposed contradiction. We have read from the Gospel of Matthew that Christ said that one must put Him above one’s own family members.  If we consider the purpose of the tribulation this will become more clear. That is to say, the purpose of the tribulation is to get people to deny Christ. To deny Christ in the context of the tribulation is to worship Satan through his antichrist. So our Lord has told people in advance that the testing of the tribulation period will “set at variance”  family members against each other.

Yes, we are called upon to honor our parents, but as Christ makes quite clear, not to the point of denying Him in the act of worshiping Satan.

Matt. 24:9 does not come in the context of the tribulation and it has been suggested by Mr. Morgan that it too contradicts the fifth commandment.  Let us consider that verse in context. We read in Matt. 24:2 where Christ said, “…the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat”.  The rest of the chapter is Christ’s denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees.  And that is the context in which we find verse 9 which reads, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father Which is in heaven”. In other words, in this context, Christ’s message was to not call some, i.e. the Pharisees, “father” as they like to be called, because they do not meet the conditions of that honor.

Matthew 11:7-15 and John 1:21: Was John the Baptist Elias?

 Mr. Gordon’s comment on the passage in Matt. 11 reads, “Jesus says that John the Baptist was a prophet and more”. I will not quote that passage because that is exactly what Jesus did say. But Mr. Gordon’s comment on Jn. 1:21 reads, “John himself says that he is not a prophet nor is he Elias”.   Let us consider that verse, “And they asked him (John the Baptist), ‘What then? Art thou Elias?’ and he saith, ‘I am not.’ Art thou that prophet?’ And he answered ‘No’”. 

Did John say, as Mr. Gordon suggests, that he was not a prophet? He did not! He was asked, “Art thou that prophet?” We cannot just ignore the word “that”.  To what does it refer?  It refers to the question asked immediately preceding it, i.e. “Art thou Elias?”  John  did not say that he was not a prophet, he said that he was not Elias. In short, by misquoting Scripture Mr. Gordon has manufactured an error which does not exist.

But let us consider the question as to whether John the Baptist was Elias. We read in Matt. 11:14 of Christ’s words concerning John the Baptist, “If ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come”. In other words, if Israel had received Christ, John the Baptist would have fulfilled the office of Elijah. John the Baptist would not, of course, suddenly turn into a different person, i.e. Elijah, he would have fulfilled the office of the prophet Elijah.

Matthew 12:5

We read in Matt. 12:5, “Or have ye not read in the law how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath and are blameless?”  Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads “Jesus says that the law (OT) states that the priests profane the Sabbath, but are blameless. (No such statement is found in the OT).”

Mr. Gordon is suggesting that Christ did not know what was written or not written in the Old Testament. I hope the reader will agree that that is highly unlikely. In point of fact, every Jewish child of the first century knew that the Old Testament required more sacrifices on the sabbath than on any other day. Therefore, though the priests did indeed profane the sabbath, they were blameless.

In short, Christ was not referring to a specific verse, but rather to the general teachings of the Old Testament sacrificial laws.

Matthew 12:39 and John 20:30

In Matt. 12:39-40 we read, “But He answered and said unto them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas; 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’”. And in Jn. 20:30 we read, “And many other signs did Jesus in the presence of His disciples…”.

So in Matthew’s Gospel we read that there will not be a sign except the sign of Jonah, but in John’s Gospel we read that Christ performed many signs. Is there a contradiction in these two verses?  Only if one takes the passage in Matt. 12 out of context.  Clearly, Christ was speaking of the sign of His death and resurrection in Matt. 12.  That is to say, Matthew recorded Christ saying that there would be no sign of His death and resurrection except the sign of Jonah. He was, in that context, speaking of a very specific event for which there would be no sign.

But John recorded many signs that Christ did over His entire earthly ministry which point to His being the Son of God. Christ being the Son of God is a truth that, unlike His death and resurrection which was, of course a one time event, covered the entire three years of Christ’s earthly  ministry.

Even students of secular topics must consider the context of what they read or hear if they have any regard for coming to the truth of the matter they are studying.

Matthew 13:34 and John 1:1-21

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Matt. 13:34 reads, “Jesus addresses the crowds only in parable, so that they would not fully understand.  He explains the meaning only to His disciples”. And his comment on John’s Gospel reads, “Throughout the book of John, unlike the other Gospels, Jesus addresses the crowds in a very straightforward manner.  He does not employ parables”.

Both statements are true so I will not quote the passages.  But once again, Mr. Gordon has failed to consider the context. We read in Matt. 13:10-11,”And His disciples came, and said unto Him, ‘Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?’ He answered and said unto them, ‘Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given’”. In other words, it was not truths in general that Christ hid from unbelievers, it was the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven about which Christ hid the meaning from the unbelievers. But John’s Gospel did not record one statement of Christ’s concerning the kingdom of Heaven.

 So there is no error in these two passages. Christ performed many miracles to testify to the fact that He was the Son of God so unbelievers would accept Him and upon doing so might have “life through His name”. But He hid the truths concerning the kingdom of Heaven from unbelievers.

 Matthew 13:42 and 8:12: What is Hell?

In Matthew 13:42 Christ referred to hell as “a furnace of fire” and in 8:12 as “outer darkness” which is, as Mr. Gordon suggested “therefore dark”. The seeming implied error is, of course, that hell is either dark or a furnace of fire but cannot be both.

To begin, as the paper on hell will prove from Scripture, hell, the translation of the Greek word “hades” is the grave. The phrase “a furnace of fire” is obviously not to be understood literally as some huge furnace somewhere.  It is the figure of speech, metaphor, which is used when something is said to be something else. In the case of “furnace of fire” It is used to emphasize the awfulness of being cast out into outer darkness.  What is meant by the phrase “outer darkness”?

As the paper on the kingdom of Heaven will prove from Scripture, the phrase “outer darkness”refers to the nations outside the land of Israel in the millennial reign of Christ. That is to say, in the land will live only believers, who will enjoy all the blessings of the millennium.  But outside the land of Israel will live unbelievers to whom Israel will witness during the millennium. Those living outside the land will not enjoy the millennial blessings that those in the land will enjoy. Let me quote a few short paragraphs from the above mentioned paper on the kingdom of Heaven to prove that point.

The millennial reign is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Ps. 2:7-9, “I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, ‘You are My Son, today I have become your Father.  Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  You will rule them with an iron scepter, you will dash them to pieces like pottery”.  The fact that Christ will rule the nations so harshly indicates that they will not submit willingly to His reign.

Let us consider just a few of the many prophesies about the millennial reign which show that there will be a difference between life in the land of Israel and life outside it.

Is. 2:4, “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.  They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore”.

Is. 60:14, “The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you (Israel); all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel”.

Is. 60:18, “No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise”.

In short, the term “outer darkness” is not used of hades, it is used of the nations of unbelievers living outside the land of Israel during Christ’s millennial reign.  The term “furnace of fire” is a metaphor used to enhance the awfulness of life for the nations outside the land of Israel, especially in comparison to the millennial blessing that will be showered on Israel at that time.

Matthew 16:18:  Was Peter the Founder of the Church?

Most misunderstand Christ’s statement in Matt. 16:18 to mean that the church was founded on Peter.  Mr. Gordon has taken that misunderstanding to a new level and suggested that Peter was not the founder of the church because “Christ called him a ‘Satan’”and because it was James, not Peter who presided over the council at Jerusalem. But again, this notion that Christ founded the church on Peter is in error so these objections are meaningless.  Let us consider the passage in question.

We read in Matt. 16:15-18, “And he saith unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’. And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.

We must understand the phrase “upon this rock I will build My church”. I will quote from Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s note in the Companion Bible. “This rock = Gr. petra. Petra is Fem., and therefore could not refer to Peter; but if it refers to Peter’s confession, then it would agree with ‘homologia’ (which is Fem.) and is rendered ‘confession’ in I Tim. 6:13, and ‘profession’ in I Tim.6:12. ….. Peter’s confession is the foundation to which Christ referred, and not Peter himself. He was neither the foundation nor the builder-(a poor builder, v. 23) but Christ alone Whom he had confessed….”.  In other words, the rock upon which Christ’s church is built is Peter’s confession, “Thou art the Son of the living God”.

Because Peter was not the founder of the church, the errors Mr. Gordon suggests are without basis.

Matthew 17:1-2 and Luke 9:28-29: When Was the Transfiguration?

In Matthew 17:1-2 we read, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John, his brother, and bringeth them up to an high mountain apart.  And was transfigured….”. And in Luke 9:28-29 we read, “And it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray”.

The note by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible on the phrase “about eight days” reads, “This is inclusive reckoning (including parts of two other days) and is exactly the same as the exclusive six days of Matt. 17:1 and Mark 9:2”. I believe an explanation will make this point more clearly.

Let us say that Jesus took Peter, James and John to the mountain on a Monday.  That would mean that the six days before was Sunday, Saturday, Friday, Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday. That would account for the six days of Matthew’s account. But, as Dr. Bullinger suggests, we could also include the days beginning with the day the “sayings”  (“about eight days after these sayings“) were spoken, i.e. the day they left for the mountain, as well as the day they arrived at the mountain.  That would include Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Matthew 17:19-20 and Matthew 13:58

In Matt. 17:19-20 we read, “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, ‘Why could not we cast him (the devil, vs. 18) out’? And Jesus said unto them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, ‘If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Remove hence to yonder place;’ and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto thee. Howbeit, this kind goeth not out except by prayer and fasting’”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this passage reads, “Jesus said that anything is possible to anyone who has the faith of a mustard seed…..”. We read in Matt. 13:58, “And He did no mighty works there because of their unbelief”.  To which Mr. Gordon commented, “In spite of His faith, Jesus is not able to perform mighty miracles”.

Let us first consider the fact that Christ had told the disciples that they were unable to cast out a devil because of their unbelief. Did the disciples lack belief?  They did. Consider for example, Thomas, who would not believe that Christ had risen from the grave until he saw the risen Christ and put his hand in His side (see Jn. 20:24-29).  Consider also that the other disciples refused to believe Mary when, after seeing Christ’s empty tomb, told them that He had risen (see Luke 24:9-11).

Now let us consider Mr. Gordon’s comment on Matt. 17:19-20. It is interesting that his reference did not include vs. 21, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out except with prayer and fasting”. That is to say, Christ was quite specific in pointing out that yes, all things are possible to those with the faith of a grain of mustard seed, but this particular kind of devil requires prayer and fasting in addition to faith.

Let us continue with Mr. Gordon’s comment on Matt. 13:38.  Let me quote that verse again, “And He did no mighty works there because of their unbelief”.  Does this verse say, as Mr. Gordon suggests that “Jesus is not able to perform mighty miracles”?  It does not! It says that He did no mighty works and it gives the reason He did none.  The reason He did no mighty works was because of the unbelief of those of His “own country” (vs. 54).  .

In other words, Mr. Gordon, with absolutely no evidence, assumed that Christ was unable to perform mighty works. In my opinion, the context makes it quite clear that Christ chose to do no mighty works because of the unbelief of those to whom He had been preaching.

There is therefore, no contradiction between the passages under consideration. Yes, all things are possible for those whose faith is as a mustard seed, but Christ chose to do no mighty works in His own country because of their unbelief.

Matthew 20:20-22 and Mark 10:35-37

We read in Matt. 20:20-23, “Then came to Him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshiping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him. And He said unto her, ‘What wilt thou?’ She said unto Him, ‘Grant that these, my two sons may sit at Thy right hand and the other on the left in Thy kingdom’. But Jesus answered and said, ‘Ye know not what you ask.  Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They say unto Him, ‘We are able’. And He saith unto them…..”.

And in Mark 10:35-37 we read, “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee come unto Him saying, ‘Master, we would that Thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire’.  And He said unto them, ‘What would ye that I should do for you?’ They said unto Him, ‘Grant unto us that we may sit one on Thy right hand and the other on Thy left hand in Thy glory’. But Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye know not what you ask.  Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?  and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They say unto Him, ‘We  can’”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on the passage in Matthew reads, “The Mother of James and John asks Jesus a favor for her sons”. And his comment on the passage in Mark reads, “They ask for themselves”.

Actually both are true.  That is to say, the mother and the sons made the same request of Jesus. How do we know that? To begin, Matthew’s Gospel records the fact that the mother  came “with her sons”. Mark did not record that fact but that does not negate what we read in Matthew.We must consider all accounts of an event in order to understand the event correctly. There is nothing contradictory between these two passages, and given the request, in my opinion, it is perfectly understandable that both the mother and the sons made it. Let us consider these two passages more carefully.

Matthew recorded the mother’s question, i.e. “Grant that these, my two sons may sit….”.  But Mark recorded the sons’ question, “Grant unto us that we may sit….”.  This makes perfect sense, of course, because Mark did not record the fact that the mother came with the sons but Matthew did record it.

Let us establish from the passages themselves that the mother and the sons made the same request of Jesus. Again, in  Matthew’s account of the event we learn that the mother came with her two sons. When the mother came to Jesus, He “said unto her…”, i.e. the mother.  And “She said unto Him….”.  In other words, Matthew’s account begins with the mother and Jesus speaking to each other. But after she made her request Jesus was no longer speaking to her but to the sons.  How do know that? We know that from the plural pronouns in answer to Christ’s  responseto the request, i.e. “And “they say unto Him, ‘We are able’. And He saith unto them…..”.  Obviously, the plural pronouns indicate that Christ had been speaking not to the mother, but to the sons.

Let us put these two accounts together. The two sons and their mother went to Jesus to make a request of Him. The mother puts her request and then the sons make the same request and Christ answers the sons.

Christ answered the mother and the sons with the same answer. But Matthew recorded Christ’s answer as, “…..Are you able to drink of the cup…..” and Mark recorded Christ’s answer as, “……. Can ye drink of the cup….”.  Note that Matthew wrote “are you able” and Mark wrote, “can ye”. The Greek word translated “able” (dunamai)  in Matthew’s Gospel is the same word as is translated “can” in Mark’s Gospel and should have been translated the same in both accounts.

There is therefore, no contradiction in the two passages under consideration. When the event is considered by both Gospel writers it is clear that the mother and the sons put the same request to Christ, so both accounts are absolutely correct.

Matthew 20:23 and Matthew 28:18 

Let us begin with a consideration of Matt. 28:18 which reads, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth”. Let us then consider Matt. 20:23 which reads, “…..to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not mine to givebut it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father”. There does seem to be a contradiction between these two verses because in verse 28:18 we read that “all power is given” to Christ, and yet verse 20:23 says that Christ did not have the authority to seat one on His right or on His left.

Let us consider the question by Whom all power was given to Christ? Who has all power to give? Obviously God has all power, therefore all power was given to Christ by God Himself. That being the case, why didn’t Christ have the power to determine who sat on His right and left?

These questions are answered once one accepts that Christ is God (please see the paper on Jehovah for the Scriptural evidence of that statement). In other words, as God Christ gave Himself all power. But obviously when it came to who would sit on His right and left, He gave that power (having all power He could do that) to the Father.

Matthew 20:29-34 and Mark 10:46-52 

Matthew recorded Christ healing two blind men and Mark recorded Christ healing one blind man.  Is this a contradiction?  Of course not! The events recorded in Matthew and Mark are two separate events. In Matt. 20:29 we read, “and as they departed from Jericho…”.  While in Mark 10:46 we read, “and they came to Jericho…”.

There is no contradiction here as each passage records a different event that took place at a different time and a different place.

(A study of the supposed errors in the events in Christ’s last week of His earthly ministry is presented in the section below).

Matthew 23:35 and II Chronicles 24:20-21

We read in Matt. 24:35, “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the Temple and the altar”. And in II Chron. 24:20-21 we read, “And the Spirit of God came upon  Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest……and they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord”.

I am indebted to an anonymous author for the following:

“The phrase son of Berechiah is absent from the important early manuscript Codex Sinaiticus, and a few other manuscripts. It was inserted by an early copyist who thought (mistakenly) that he was thus making a helpful and benign specification of which Zechariah was meant (since there are quite a few Zechariases in the Bible). But in the original text, the entire phrase son of Berechiah was absent from this verse in Matthew, just as it is absent from the parallel-passage in Luke 11:51. So what we have here in the KJV is the result of a copyists insertion which contaminated most, but not all, manuscripts”.

Matthew 24:9, John 8:51 and Hebrews 9:27

We read in Matt. 24:9, “….Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you…”. We read in Jn. 8:51, “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, ‘If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death”.

Is Christ saying in Jn. 8 that those who follow Him will not die even though He said they will die in Matt. 24?  I will quote the note on the verse in John in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W.Bullinger, “by no means see death forever, i.e. eternal death because he will have part in the resurrection unto life”.

In point of fact, there are not two different words for the temporary and permanent death.  One must consider the context in order to determine which is meant. As Mr. Gordon referenced himself that even some of the disciples will die, obviously, “death” in Jn. 8:51 refers to a permanent death in which there will be no resurrection.

Now let us consider Heb. 9:27, “…it is given unto men once to die”. This agrees with Matt. 24:9 quoted above and with reality. There is however, no error in any of these passages because John 8 does not record Christ saying that one will not die, Christ said that one will not remain dead forever.

Matthew 24:29-33 and Luke 17:20-21: The Kingdom of God and the Second Coming of Christ

 We read in Matt. 24:29-32, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other.  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh; so likewise ye when ye shall see all these things know that it is near, even at the doors”. And in Luke  17:20-21, “…..the kingdom of  God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, ‘lo, here  Or, ‘lo there’, for behold the kingdom of God is within you”.

In regard to the passage in Matthew Mr. Gordon’s comment reads, “The coming of the kingdom will be accompanied by signs and miracles”. And in regard to the passage in Luke he wrote, “It will not be accompanied by signs and miracles.  It is already within”.

There are two errors in Mr. Gordon’s comparison of these two passages. 1) The passage in Matthew’s Gospel refers to the coming of Christ, while the passage in Luke refers to the kingdom of God which will be established after the second coming of Christ.  In other words, one passage is about one event and the other passage concerns an entirely different event.

2) Luke wrote that the kingdom of God does not come with “observation”. We must have a correct understanding of the Greek word translated “observation”.  I will quote the note by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible on the word. “Observation”: “hostile watching. Gr. parateresis occurs only here.  The verb paratereo is used always used in a bad sense….”. In other words, Christ did not say, as Mr. Gordon wrote that there would be no signs of the kingdom of God.  What Christ did say was that the kingdom will not be accompanied with “hostile watching”.  The reason is that when the kingdom is established it will be after unbelievers have been cast outside the kingdom and there will be only believers in the kingdom who, of course, will not be watching with hostility. (Please see the paper on the kingdom of Heaven for the Scriptural evidence for the fact that unbelievers will be cast out of the kingdom when it is established).

Let us also consider Mr. Gordon’s comment that the kingdom of God is “already within”. Let us consider the preposition translated “within” in the phrase, “the kingdom of God is within you”. That preposition is “en” and is defined in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “denotes being or remaining within….with plural =among”. In other words, Christ did not say to the Pharisees that the kingdom of God is within them as it certainly was not within them.  What He did say was the kingdom of God is among them, in the Person of Jesus Christ, the King of the kingdom of God. That is to say, we see in this verse the figure of speech metonymy of adjunct, where something pertaining to the subject is put for the subject itself.  In this case, the kingdom of God is the subject and Christ, as he pertains to the kingdom as its King, is put for the subject. When correctly understood it is clear that Christ was not saying that the kingdom was in the Pharisees, as Mr. Gordon asserts, but that Christ as King of the Kingdom put in a figure of speech for the kingdom, was among them.

In short, Matthew speaks of one event, (i.e. the second coming of Christ) which will be accompanied with signs, while Luke speaks of a totally different event (i.e. the kingdom of God) which will not be accompanied with hostile watching.

Matthew 24:35, and Ephesians  2:6: “Heavens Will Pass Away”

We read in Matt, 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away”.  And we read in Eph. 2:6, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. If believers are, as we see in Eph. 2:6 promised resurrection life in heavenly places, what will happen when the heavens are destroyed?

The answer to that question is found as we consider Gen. 1. In Gen. 1:1 we read, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. That is the first heaven created. But in Gen. 1:6-8 we read, “And God said. ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters’. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament…And God called the firmament Heaven….”. This firmament, that God called “heaven” is the second heaven God created.

The third heaven, the new heaven of Rev. 21:1, will replace the firmament of Gen. 1:6-8. That then, is the third heaven to be created.

Going from the top down then, we have the heavens of Gen. 1:1, under that we have water, under that we have the firmament that divided the waters under the firmament from the waters above that firmament, then the waters below that firmament were later gathered (on the third day of the six day creation) on the earth to become the seas. The fact of water above the firmament is substantiated by Ps. 148:4 where we read, “Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens, And ye waters that be above the heavens“.

The first heaven to be created, i.e. the heaven above the waters, is where Christ is seated and where believers of the dispensation of the mystery will live resurrection life as we read in Ephesians. As the paper on the apparent contradiction in Rev. 21:1 shows from Scripture, apart from Gen. 1:1 that heaven is never mentioned again until the first epistle written after the end of the Acts period when the dispensation of the mystery began. As we read in Rev. 21:1 the heavens and the earth will pass away, but as the above mentioned paper proves from Scripture, that is in reference to the heaven below the waters, even though John wrote that the “first heaven” will pass away.

In short, believers will live with God in the heaven above the waters and the heavens below the waters will be destroyed.

Matthew 24:35 and Ecclesiastes 1:4

We read in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” And we read in  Ecclesiastes 1:4, “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; and the earth abideth for ever.”

If one were not aware of the fact that the Hebrew does not have a word for “forever”, it would seem that there is a contradiction between Matt. 24:35 in which Christ spoke of heaven and earth passing away and Ecc. 1:4 which states that the earth will abide forever.  The Hebrew word translated “forever” in Ecc. 1:4 is “olam” and means “an indefinite period of time”. In other words, Solomon wrote that the earth will abide for an indefinite period of time.  And this is consistent with the fact that we read in Rev. 21:1, “the first heaven and first earth were passed away….”.

Matthew 25:34 and John 14:2-3: “I Go To Prepare a Place”

 We read in Matt. 15:23, “Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, ‘Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”.  And in Jn. 14:2-3 we read, “In My Father’s house are many mansions: If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on the passage in Matt. reads, “Heaven was prepared before the ascension of Jesus”. And his comment on the verse in John reads, “It was prepared after the ascension of Jesus”.

May I respectfully suggest that the reader consider the paper on “mansions in heaven” as an understanding of the entire passage should be understood correctly.  However, I will share part of that paper in hopes it will answer the supposed error.   I agree that the kingdom was prepared before the ascension of Christ, but let us consider the Greek word translated “place” in the phrase, “I go to prepare a place for you”.

The Greek word translated “place” is most often used of a place in the same way we think of “place”, i.e. a location. But it is also used in other ways. Let us look, for example, at how “place” is used in Acts 1:25, “that he (the apostle that would replace Judas) might go to his own (the Companion Bible has “proper”) place“. Here “place” is used to speak of the position that the new apostle would hold.

Let us also consider Jn. 11:48 wherein is recorded the Pharisees’ debate about what they should do about Jesus, “If we let Him alone, all men will believe on Him: and the Romans will come and take away our place, and nation”. We know how the Pharisees did appreciate their exalted position.

Heb. 8:7 is also worthy of consideration, “if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place been sought for the second”. This obviously does not refer to a location. To what does the word “place” refer? It refers, in my opinion, to “position”. That is to say, if the first covenant had been without fault it would have held its position and not given way to a second covenant.

Let us come back to Jn. 14 which tells us that Christ is going to prepare a place for His disciples. I believe that Christ was telling His disciples that He was going to prepare a position for each of His disciples. That position had already been told them, i.e that they will judge the twelve tribes of Israel in the millennial reign (see Matt. 19:28).

In short, the place of Jn. 14 was not the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, it was a position in that kingdom prepared for the disciples.

Matthew 27:7 and Acts 1:18: Judas’ Burial

In Matt. 27:7 we read, “And they (the chief priests) counseled and bought with them (the thirty pieces of silver) the potter’s field, to bury strangers in”. And in Acts 1:18, “Now this man (Judas) purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst , and all his bowels gushed out”.

Mr. Gordon sees an error here in that he believes that in Matthew’s Gospel we read that the chief priests bought the field and in Acts it was Judas who bought the same field.

Did Peter not know who bought the field in which Judas was buried? Of course he did.  The Greek word translated “field” in Matthew’s Gospel is “agros”. i.e. a field, while in Acts the word is, “chorion”, i.e. a farm. And the Greek verbs used for the purchase are not the same in Matthew as in Acts.  In Matthew the verb is “orazo”, i.e. to buy in the open market, while in Acts it is “ktaomai”, i.e. to acquire possession of.

We read in Jn. 12:6 that Judas “was a thief, and had the bag”. It is not difficult therefore, to conclude that Judas had used that money that he had stolen to purchase the farm.  Given that Judas had returned the thirty pieces of silver, it was obviously not that money that is referred to as “reward of iniquity” in Acts 1:18, but rather the money he had stolen from “the bag”.

In short, the purchase as described in Matthew is a different one than is described in Acts. Given that Judas had no time after he repented of his betrayal, we may conclude that his purchase was made some time before his betrayal. Obviously, the purchase by the chief priests was made after Judas had repented and had thrown down the thirty pieces of silver.

Matthew 27:9: Jeremiah and the Potters Field

We read in Matt. 27:9, “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was valued, Whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potters field, as the Lord appointed”.

Critics point, correctly, to the fact that we do not read of such a prophecy in Jeremiah.  But the reader should note that Matthew did not say “it was written”. He said is was ”spoken” by Jeremiah the prophet. There is therefore, no error in this.

Mark 1:2 “Written in the Prophets” 

We read in Mark 1:2-3, “As it is written in the prophets, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight’”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment reads, “Jesus quotes a statement that allegedly appears in Isaiah.  No such statement appears in Isaiah.  (Note: Is. 40:3 is seen by some as equivalent to Mk. 1:2: Mal. 3:1 is a much better fit, however given that Jesus is allegedly quoting word for word in Mk. 1:2)”.

To begin, Mark 1:2-3 is not Christ’s statement, as Mr. Gordon states, it is Mark’s. Secondly, there is no indication that Mark said he quoted the prophecy “word for word” as Mr. Gordon asserts. Matt. 3:3 does quote the prophecy word for word

But let us consider the two prophecies Mr. Gordon mentions. We read in Is. 40:3,”The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God”.  Let us compare that with Mark’s quote, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight’”.

I would like to share with the reader a few remarks by Dr. E. W. Bullinger from the Appendix 107 in the Companion Bible on “The Principles Underlying The Quotations From the Old Testament in the New”.

“The difficulties found in connection with this subject arise from our thinking and speaking only of the human agent as the writer, instead of having regard to the fact that the Word of God is the record of the words, which He Himself employed…. . It thus seems that man may take any liberty he chooses in quoting adapting, or repeating in a varied form his own preciously written words; but that he denies the divine Author of Holy Scriptures the right to deal in the same manner with His own words. ….The Holy Spirit, in referring to words which He has before caused to be written in connection with the special circumstances of each particular case, frequently refer to them again in relation to different circumstances in other cases”.

In short, in secular writing we would say that Mar. 1:2 is an example of “poetic license”, but in the Word of God, some would say that it is an error.

Mark 1:13 and Matthew 4:1

We read in Mark 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.”  And in Matthew 4:1-3 we read, “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

One critic wrote, “According to “Mark” Jesus was tempted by Satan during his forty days in the wilderness. According to “Matthew” Jesus was tempted by Satan after spending forty days in the wilderness”.

Does Mark 1:13 say that Christ was tempted by Satan “during” His forty days in the wilderness as suggested?  It does not! It says that Christ was in the wilderness for forty days and that He had been tempted by Satan.  It is pure conjecture to say that He was tempted during the forty days.

In point of fact as we compare the passages in Matthew and Mark we will see that Mark implied that the temptations occurred after forty days.  Matthew recorded the fact that when the temptations were concluded and Satan left Christ,  the “angels came and ministered unto Him” (see Matt. 4:11).  So too Mark tells us that “the angels ministered unto Him”. That is to say, Mark wrote that Christ was in the wilderness forty days. He also wrote that Christ was tempted by Satan.  And by mentioning the angels who ministered unto Christ, implies that the temptations occurred after forty days.

Mark 1:14 and John 3:22-24: When Did Jesus Begin His Ministry?

Let us consider Mark 1:13-14 which reads, “And He was there in the wilderness forty days and was tempted of Satan: and was with wild beasts. 14) Now after that John was put into prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the kingdom of God”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Mark 1:14 reads, “Jesus began His ministry after the arrest of John the Baptist”.

Now let us consider John 3:22-24 which reads, “After these things came Jesus and His disciples into the land of Judea; and there He tarried with them and baptized.  And John also was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there….”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on this passage reads, “Before the arrest of John the Baptist’. The implication is, of course, that John wrote in this passage that Jesus had begun His ministry.  But that is not what John wrote.

We know from Mark 1:9-12 that Jesus began His earthly ministry after His baptism and His being tested by Satan. In point of fact John does not record either of those events.  We learn from that fact that we cannot learn from John when Jesus began His earthly ministry.

We are told quite specifically in Mark’s Gospel that Jesus began preaching the kingdom of God “after that John was put into prison”.  Because the Lord’s preaching as recorded in John’s Gospel was obviously before John was put into prison, it is clear that the events of John 3:22-24 took place before Jesus actually began His ministry.

Mr. Gordon has assumed that Jesus began His ministry at some point before Jn. 3 and based on his assumption, found a supposed error.  Once again, I believe any historian must consider all the eye witness accounts of a ministry in order to come to a correct understanding of all facets of it. Mr. Gordon has not done that and is himself in error with his conclusion.

Mark 2:24: Keeping of the Sabbath

Mr. Gordon references several passages from the Pentateuch which speak of the keeping of the Sabbath. There is no dispute that that is what these passages say, so I will go on to the supposed contradiction.

In Mark  2:24 we read “And the Pharisees said unto him, ‘Behold, why do they (the disciples) on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful”.  And Christ’s response is recorded in 2:27-28, “And He said unto them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath’”.

The Pharisees criticized the disciples for picking corn from the field on the Sabbath. In point of fact it was not against the law for the disciples to pick the corn as we read in Deut. 23:25, “When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbor, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor’s standing corn”.

But the objection was that they were plucking the corn on the Sabbath. I believe verse 28 answers the perceived discrepancy. That is to say, Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath and as such could and did interpret the law to serve man for whom the law was made.

 Mr. Gordon also gave Rom. 14:5 and Col. 2:14-16 as passages that, in his opinion, contradict the Mosaic law in respect to the sabbath.  Let us consider those passages.

Rom. 14:5 reads, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike, Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind”.  The implied discrepancy lies in the fact that according to the Mosaic Law, there is one day that is above the others and yet Paul wrote that one does not have to esteem one day better than the others.

The church in Rome was made up of Jews and Gentiles.  As we learn in Acts 15:24-29 the council at Jerusalem sent letters to believing Gentiles advising them that they were not obligated to observe the Mosaic Law. Therefore, Paul was not contradicting the law, but rather he was acting in obedience to that letter. That is to say, believing Jews esteemed one day above the others in accordance to the Mosaic Law. But Gentiles who were not under the Mosaic Law esteemed every day the same.

Col. 2:14-16, reads, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days”.

In point of fact there are five passages that seem to say that the law was no longer to be observed after the cross. They are Gal. 3:24-25, Hebrews chapter 10, Rom. 6:14, Eph. 2:14-15 and the passage under consideration, i.e. Col. 2:14-16. But let us first examine the question of whether the law was observed by believing Israel during the Acts period.  It is clear from the book of Acts that they were indeed observing the law, as the following passages from that book will show.

We read in Acts 21:24 of the believers in Jerusalem giving Paul the following advice, “Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved.  Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.”  In that same context we read in Acts 21:20, “…..You see brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed and all of them are zealous of the law.”  The point of this passage is that Paul went out of his way to prove that he was observing the law.

The paper on whether the law of Moses was abolished at the cross proves from Scripture that in Galatians, for example, the law was abolished only for the purpose of bringing believing Israel to Christ.  That is to say Israel continued to observe the law, but observance of the law was no longer required to bring believers to Christ because they were already believers. As the above mentioned paper will show, each passage, including the passage in Col.2 explains that for a particular purpose the law had been abolished at the cross.

With that in mind let us consider Col. 2:14-15, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days”.

Let us begin by considering the context, i.e. Col. 2:8-10, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ: For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are complete in Him….”. Note the point of this passage, i.e. “ye are complete in Him”. In other words, because the believer is complete in Christ he is not to be taken in by “philosophy and vain deceit”. So for the purpose of salvation, believers were not required to observe the law because Christ fulfilled all that was required for salvation.

In short, none of the passages Mr. Gordon suggests say that the laws concerning the Sabbath should not be observed.  What they do say, is that for the purpose declared in the context of each passage, the law had been abolished.

Mark 3:29, Acts 13:38-39, Colossians 2:13 and I John 1:9

We read in Mark 3:29, “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation”. Mr. Gordon’s comment reads, “Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin”.

In Acts 13:38-39 we read, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses”.  Col. 2:13 reads, “And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses”. And in I Jn. 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.  And Mr. Gordon’s comment on these passages read, “All sins are forgivable”.

What Mr. Gordon fails to realize is that while the English version of the Bible has the one word “sin” in the passages quoted above, the Greek has three different words translated “sin(s)”. I am indebted to Dr. E. W. Bullinger for his Appendix 128 in the Companion Bible for the following definitions of the Greek nouns translated “sins” in the passages quoted above.

“1. hamaratia= a failing to hit the mark; aberration from prescribed law. In the NT always in a moral sense…..

2) hamartema= the actual sin. The evil principle in action…

3) paraptoma= a falling aside when one should have stood upright. Hence morally a falling aside from truth and equity: a fault, or trespass”.

The Greek noun used in Acts 13:38 and I Jn. 1:9 is “hamaratia”, number one above. The Greek noun used in Col. 2:13 is “paraptoma”, number three above. The passage in Mark is the only one of the passages quoted above that uses the Greek noun “hamartema”, number 2 above.

In short, there are no errors in these passages.  Mark speaks of sins that are, by definition “the evil principle in action” and is unforgivable.  The other passages speak of different kinds of sins which are forgivable.

  Mark 4:11 and Mark 4:22: Hidden or Made Known?

We read in Mark 4:11-12, “And He said unto them, ‘Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables’”. And in Mark 4:22 we read, “For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, that it should come abroad”.

In verses 11-12 Christ said that some truths will be given to them (the disciples) but not to “them that are without”. And in verse 22 He said that all things will be make known. Did He forget what He had said in verses 11-12?  Of course not.  We must consider verse 22 in the context of verses 11-12.  That is to say, we must understand verse 22 as Christ saying that all things will be made known to His disciples, but not to unbelievers.

Mark 6:16 and Luke 9:7

Mark 6:16 reads, “But when Herod heard thereof (the miracles performed by Christ) he said, ‘It is John whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead’”.  And in Luke 9:7 we read, “Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him, and he was perplexed because it was said of some that John had risen from the dead”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Mark 6:16 reads, “Herod was the source of the belief that John had been raised from the dead”.  And his comment on Luke 9:7 reads, “Others were the source.  Herod was perplexed by the belief”.

Did Mark write that Herod was the “the source of the belief that John had been raised from the dead” as Mr. Gordon suggests? Even a cursory reading will show that he did not write any such thing. Mark simply recorded Herod’s conclusion based on what he had heard. Mark did not write that the source of the belief was from others because that information was given by Luke. That is to say we learn from Luke’s Gospel that it was “said of some”, but Mark simply did not include that but rather skipped to Herod’s conclusion.  There is no contradiction, there is only one step not included in Mark’s Gospel but had been included in Luke’s Gospel.

In short, Mr. Gordon has once again assumed an error because one Gospel writer did not record what another did. Again, none of the four Gospels were ever meant to stand alone.  It is only by combining all that is written about an event that one can learn the truth. Even a secular historian studys every account he can find of a given event and puts them all together in order to determine what is historically correct.  Why then do some find errors when certain aspects of an event are not recorded by each of the Gospel writers?

Mark 6:52 and John 6:14-15

We read in Mark 6:52, “For they considered not the miracles of the loaves: for their heart was hardened”.  And in Jn. 6:14-15 we read, “Then those men when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, ‘This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world’ When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Mark 6:52 reads, “The people were so unimpressed with ‘the feeding of the multitude’ that they did not even understand the event”. And his comment on the passage in Jn. 6 reads, “They were so impressed that the tried to force Jesus to be their king”.

Let us consider the term “for they” in the phrase “For they considered not” in Mark’s Gospel  To whom does the pronoun “they” refer in this verse? We must allow the context to answer that question. We read in verse 45 that Christ told His “disciples” to get into the ship and go to the other side. Verse 46 tells of Christ departing to the mountain to pray.  Then in verse 47 we read, “And when even was come the ship was in the midst of the sea..”.  To what ship was Mark referring?  Obviously he was referring to the ship of verse 45 to which Christ had told the disciples to go. Verses 48-51 record Christ walking on the sea to the ship which the disciples were rowing. Then in verse 52 we read, “For they considered not the miracles of the loaves”.  Who are the “they” about which Mark wrote in this verse?  Obviously, it was the disciples who had seen Christ walk on the sea but were “sore amazed in themselves beyond measure and wondered, for they considered not the miracles of the loaves, for their heart was hardened”. In short, it was the disciples whose hearts had been hardened and had not considered the miracles of the loaves. Further, verse 52 refers to the “even” after Christ had returned from the mountains to pray (vs. 46).

Now let us come back to the passage in John. Jn. 6:14-15 reads, “Then those men when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, ‘This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world’. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone”. To whom does the phrase “those men” refer? We must go all the way back to verse 10 in order to answer that question.  Verse 10 reads, “And Jesus said, ‘Make the men sit down’……and the men sat down”. John 6 speaks of the men who had sat down to eat, not to the disciples of whom Mark wrote.

Now let us first determine when in relation to Christ’s going to the mountain to pray this passage in John refers. Verse 15 reads, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone”.  In other words, verses 14-15 refer to the time before Christ departed to the mountain to pray. But Mark 6:52 refers to the time after Christ returned from the mountain (see Mk. 6:46). Because the timing is different in John’s Gospel from that of Mark’s Gospel there is no reason to assume that John wrote of the disciples (as did Mark) wanting to make Christ king.

In short, Mark wrote of a different group (the disciples) and a different time (when Jesus returned from the mountain to pray) than did John who wrote of the men who had eaten and the time before Christ had left for the mountain to pray.

There is no error here.  Because each Gospel writer wrote of two different groups there can be no contradiction in terms of their reaction to the miracle of the feeding of the multitude.

Mark 6:53 and John 6:25

In Mark 6:53 we read, “And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesart….”. And in Jn. 6:24 we read, “When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither His disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum”.

As one considers the map of first century Palestine it is clear that Lake Gennesart borders Capernaum.  Strong’s Dictionary defines “Gennesart” as. “a lake and plain in Palestine”. In other words, the plain of Gennesart is in Capernaum.

There is no error. Mark used the name of the plain in which, as John described, is in Capernaum.

Luke 8:11-12: Who Is Responsible for Unbelief?

Mr. Gordon has suggested that Satan, Jesus and God are responsible for unbelief.  On the very surface this suggestion is fraught with conclusions that defy logic. For example, as recorded in the entire Bible, Satan has been God’s arch enemy since the fall of Lucifer.  It makes no sense that they would both be trying to accomplish the same thing, especially in regard to whether one believes in God.  But let us consider the passages which Mr. Gordon suggests as evidence.

We read in Luke 8:11-12, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment reads, “The devil causes unbelief”. Is that what Christ said as recorded in Luke 8? No, it is not.  Note that those who are the subject of verse 12 were not believers. How do we know that?  We know that from the fact that the word was taken from them, “lest they should believe”. In other words, they were not believers and the devil took advantage of their unbelief and took from them what they may have had of the word of God.  So it was not the devil that “causes unbelief” as Mr. Gordon suggests, it is the individual who determines whether he believes and if he does not believe, then the devil takes from him the word of God that would have led him to belief.

Now let us consider Mark 4:11-12 about which Mr. Gordon wrote, “Jesus is responsible for unbelief at least in some cases.  Let us consider Mark 4:11-12, “And He said unto them (the disciples), ‘Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to them that are without all these things are done in parables. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they shall hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them’”.

It is interesting that Mr. Gordon chose Mark’s account of this event when Matthew makes the point quite clearly that it is because the multitude do not believe that Christ did not explain the mysteries of the kingdom to them.  Let us consider Matt. 13:10-15, “And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?’ And He answered and said unto them, ‘Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given.  For whosoever hath to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables, because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esais, which saith, ‘By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand…..’”. Christ explains quite clearly that He will not explain the parables to the multitude “because”  they have rejected what they had. In other words, Christ knew that they did not accept the truth and He would therefore not give them any more truths. This is in perfect agreement with the parable of the seeds discussed above.

Mr. Gordon suggests II Thess. 22:11-12 as evidence that “God is ultimately responsible for unbelief in at least in some cases”. Let us not limit ourselves to Mr. Gordon’s suggested reference but consider also verse 10.  We read in II Thess. 2:10-12, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall sent them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”.

To whom will God send “strong delusion that they should believe a lie”? The answer to that question is given in the context not once but twice.  Note the phrases, “in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth” and “who believed not the truth”. It will be to unbelievers that God will send a strong delusion”. Again, this is in perfect harmony with the scriptures quoted above.

As we consider all the scriptures quoted above, we see that there is a consistent message in each.  That message is that if one rejects truth, God will sooner or later, not offer that person any more truths. Consider for example the parable of the talents recorded in Matt. 25:14-30. I will not quote the entire parable but the point of the parable is recorded in the following verses: “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but for him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath”.

Consider also the parable of the ten pounds as recorded in Luke 19:11-27. Again, the point is given in the next verses, “For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

The same truth (i.e. if one continually rejects truth, God will not offer it any more)  is found in the Old Testament as we consider, for example,  Ezek. 14:9, “And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet….”. The note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger on the phrase “have deceived” reads, “Heb. idiom=have permitted him to be deceived: i.e. as a judicial punishment for his own deception of the People”.

 Let us review the scriptures Mr. Gordon suggested as evidence that it is not the individual that rejects truth, but Satan, Christ and God who are responsible for their unbelief.

In the parable of Luke 8 the ones symbolized by those from whom the devil takes away what truth they may have had are unbelievers as is proved by the phrase, “lest they should believe and be saved”.

In Matt. 13 Christ explains exactly why He will not explain the parables to the multitudes, i.e. “because” they will not see or hear or understand, therefore in that they have not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath”.

II Thess. 2 explains to whom it is that God will send “a strong delusion”. It will be to unbelievers, “because they received not the love of the truth” and “who believed not the truth”.

The Bible teaches that each individual (“whosoever believeth in Him”) is responsible for his decision to accept or reject God’s truth. The Bible also teaches that when given every opportunity to accept God’s truth, an individual continually rejects it, God will at some point not allow that individual to understand His truths.

Let me put this in mundane terms. Let’s say that I offer a person one million dollars.  That person declines to accept it. Let’s say I offer it to him again, in fact I offer it to him several times, but each time he refuses it. Finally after so many attempts to give away that million dollars,  the offer is not made any more. Who is responsible for that person to go without the one million dollars, was it that person or the person who offered it?

Who then is responsible for not being offered truth after so many attempts to do so, the one who rejects it time after time, or the One Who offered it time after time?

Luke 14:26, “He Must Hate His father and Mother…..”

We read in Luke 14:26, “If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters. Yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple”. And yet we read in I Jn. 3:15, “Whoever hateth his brother is a murderer…”. And in I Jn. 4:20 we read, “If a man say ‘I love God’ and hate his brother, he is a liar….”.

How are we to understand Christ’s comment about hating one’s father and mother etc.? Are we to believe that Christ was unaware of the commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother”? I do not believe that is likely. How then shall we interpret His comment as recorded in Luke 14:26”.

If something in literature, including the Bible, cannot be understood literally, it must be understood as a figure of speech.  For example, we read in Rev. 6:1, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals….”.  John did not see a literal lamb, we must interpret this as a metaphor. The context will show that “Lamb” is used as a figure of speech for Christ, Who is said to be “the Lamb of God”. Figures of speech are used to enhance a truth.  The truth being enhanced in this verse is that Christ offered Himself as the sacrificial Lamb for mankind.

Coming back then to Luke 14:26, because Christ obviously did know of the commandment to honor one’s parents, we cannot take His statement about hating them literally. We must then take it as a figure of speech. Dr. E. W. Bullinger has written a highly regarded two volume treatise of figures of speech in the Bible.  I will quote his definition of the figure of speech Hyperbole, “When more is said than is literally meant”.

I realize that many may find it difficult to accept that Christ spoke in hyperbole, but I believe that as we consider other passages in which He did indeed use hyperbole, it will be easier to accept. Consider for example, “If thy right eye offend thee pluck it out and cast it from thee….”. Is Christ suggesting self-mutilization? Of course not. This is an example of hyperbole. It enhances the truth that one must do his utmost to avoid sin.

In short, I believe that Christ was using the figure of speech hyperbole to enhance His point that one must give up what he holds dear in order to be a disciple of His.

Paul and Boasting: Luke 18:9-14

We read in Luke 18:9-14 the parable of the Pharisee who thanked God that he was not like the publican.  The point of the parable is given in verse 14 which reads, “Everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”. The message is quite clear but must be considered in context, specifically verse 9 which reads, “And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others”. The note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger on the phrase “despised others” reads, “made nothing of the rest”.

We must bear in mind that the point of the parable has to do with those who thought themselves righteous by their own deeds, rather than in faith in God Who only can make man righteous.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “Do not boast of your virtue”. But that comment misses the point of the parable. The point of the parable is not that one should not boast of one’s virtue, per se, it is that one should not consider himself righteous apart from the work of Christ on our behalf.  But let us continue.

 Mr. Gordon referenced six passages about which he wrote, “Paul boasts of his faith and says that one should be proud of it”.  We will consider those passages.

We read in Rom. 15:17-18, “I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed”.

Note the phrases, “I may glory through Jesus Christ” and  “which Christ hath wrought by me”. Paul is saying that what he has done has been through Christ.  That is to say, if he has accomplished anything by which he may glory, it has been accomplished through Christ. Let us consider the Greek prepositions translated “through” in the first phrase and “by” in the second.

The Greek preposition translated “through” in the phrase “I may glory through” is “en” and is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinter as, “It is also used as the efficient cause as emanating from within, and hence has sometimes the force of by, denoting the instrument…”. In other words the phrase should be understood as Paul saying that he may glory in the things accomplished by Jesus Christ.

Now let us consider the Greek preposition translated “by” in the phrase “wrought by me”. That word is “dia” and is defined by Dr. Bullinger in part as, “denoted any cause by means of an action passes into accomplishment..”. So this phrase should be understood as Paul saying that he dare not speak of anything that he had accomplished except those things that were accomplished by him through Christ.

In short, this passage speaks of Paul “boasting” only of those things which were accomplished by Christ through him.

The second reference given by Mr. Gordon to show that Paul was boasting is II Cor. 1:12 which reads, “For our rejoicing is this…..that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you ward”.

Here again Paul makes the point that it is God’s grace through which he has had “conversation in the world”. Again note the Greek preposition translated “by” in the phrase, “by the grace of God we have had our conversation”. As explained above, the word means, “the efficient cause”.

Let us consider Heb. 3:6 which reads, “…..Whose (Christ’s) house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end”. As we consider the definition of the Greek word translated “if” we will see that this is not boasting at all.  That word is “ean” and is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “It expresses a hypothetical but possible condition, contingent on circumstances which the future will show”. The writer of Hebrews makes the point that one is part of the “house” of Christ if, he holds to the faith. This is not boasting, it is more of a warning to hold to the faith.

In II Cor. 2:14 we read, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ….”. Paul wrote that he triumphs “in Christ”. What does that mean?  The Greek preposition translated “in” is “en” and as stated above “has sometimes the force of by, denoting the instrument”. In other words, Paul is saying that it is by Christ’s working that he and his fellow workers triumph.

II Cor. 5:12 reads, “For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart”.

Let us first consider the fact that Paul wrote that he did not commend himself (or his fellow workers) “again”. That tells us that he had at some point commended himself to them. If we are to correctly understand II Cor. 5:12, then we must understand I Cor. 9 for it is in that chapter that we read of Paul commending himself to them. Let us consider that chapter.

We read in I Cor. 9:1-2, “Am I not an apostle?…..If I be not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord”. We learn from these verses that evidently there were some who were causing the Corinthian believers to doubt that Paul was an apostle. In addressing their doubt Paul assures them that if nothing else, the fact that they are believers led to Christ by him, Paul, should prove that he is indeed an apostle.  The rest of this chapter records Paul assurances that he is indeed an apostle. Verse 16 is important because it gives Paul’s own sense of what it means that he is an apostle.  That verse reads, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me, yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

We are now prepared to consider II Cor.5:12, quoted above. Paul’s point in that verse is that he will not commend himself to them again, but tells them instead that  they should “glory” on his behalf and that they have an answer to those who doubt his apostleship. To “glory” is to boast.  In short Paul did tell these Corinthians to boast on his behalf.  Of what were they to boast?  They were to boast that Paul was indeed an apostle, not as some were saying that he was not sent by God i.e. an apostle.

John 1:1, 10:30 and 14:28

We read in Jn. 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.  And Jn. 10:30 reads, “I and My Father are One”. And in Jn. 14:28 we read, “…..My Father is greater than I”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Jn. 1:1 and 10:30 reads, “Jesus and God are one”.  And his comment on Jn. 14:28 reads, “God is greater than Jesus”.

To begin one needs to be very aware that Mr. Gordon’s comment on Jn. 14:28 woefully misquotes that verse.  That is to say, the verse does not say, as Mr. Gordon suggests, that God is greater than Jesus, it says that the “Father is greater”. He makes the same mistake that many believers make by equating the term “God” with the term “Father”.  The Father is not all that God is. The Father, for example, is never said to have created the heavens and the earth.  The Father did not offer Himself as a sacrificial Lamb. Certainly the Father is God, but the two terms cannot be equated.   Further, Jn. 14:28 does not say that the Father is greater than Jesus, it says “My Father is greater than I”. As the reader will see as he/she continues to read this section, an exact quote is crucial to a correct understanding of this verse.

In all candor, when viewed according to the traditional teaching of the trinity, there does indeed seem to be an error.  That is to say, Christ is the Word and the Word is God. But if Christ is God He cannot be less than the Father, Who is God. God cannot be less than God. But the difficulty is not in the Bible, it is in how traditional Christianity interprets the Bible.  Let me explain.

As the paper on Jehovah will show from Scripture, Jesus Christ is Jehovah, Who is spirit, and He is the manifestation of Jehovah.  That is to say, Jehovah has many titles or offices, such as “Elohim”, “El”, the ten Jehovah titles including “Jehovah-Jireh” etc..  Each of these titles/offices manifests a different office of Jehovah.  For example, we read in Gen. 1:1 that “Elohim created the heaven and the earth”.  But in other verses we read that Jehovah created all things (see Is. 44:24, 45:12 and Zech. 12:1).  There is no error in this because “Elohim” is one of the many offices of Jehovah.

As the paper on the trinity will show from Scripture, “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Spirit” are three of the titles of Jehovah. Consider for example, Is. 9:6 which begins “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given”.  This verse goes on to list many of the titles of the Son including  “everlasting Father”. Obviously, a son cannot be his own father. “Father” is used as one of the titles of the “Child” as is “Son”.

My point is that, as the paper on the trinity will show, when Christ said, “the Father is greater than I”, He was expressing the fact that the office of “Father” is greater than the office of “Son”.  But again, Jesus Christ fulfills all the offices of Jehovah, including “Father” and “Son” as well as every other title.

We are now prepared to address the supposed error in Jn. 10:30 which reads, “I and My Father are One”. The supposed error lies in the fact that Christ said “the Father is greater than I” and yet He also said the He and the Father are one. That is to say, if He and the Father are one (which is true) how can the Father be greater?  The answer to that question lies in the fact that “Son” and “Father” are two of the many titles of God, Who is One.  That is to say, Christ is the One true God, and He fulfills all the offices of God including “Father” and “Son”. So there is one God, Christ, Who fulfills the offices of “Father” and “Son”.

John 1:1: Jesus Christ: Man or God?

We read in Jn. 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “Jesus was God incarnate”.  In Acts 2:22 we read Peter’s statement that “Jesus Christ, a Man approved of God…”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “Jesus was a man approved by God”.

Mr. Gordon implies by his two comments that Christ cannot be both Man and God. As the paper on this very subject proves from Scripture, Jesus Christ not only can be, but is both Man and God.

John 1:18 and Genesis 32:30

We read in Gen. 32:30, “And Jacob called the name of the place ‘Peniel: for I have seen God face to face….”. But we read in Jn. 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time….”. In order to correctly understand this seeming contradiction, one must understand the nature of God.

We read in Jn. 4:24 that “God is spirit” (not a spirit, as the Greek does not have “a”).  “Spirit” by definition is invisible.  So it is the invisible God that no man has seen. But God has, at times, chosen to take on the form of a Man which, of course can be seen.  In point of fact we read in Gen. 32:24 that Jacob had wrestled with “a Man”.  This Man was God, in His office of Elohim Who had taken on the form of a Man. Let me put that in other terms for clarification.

When we read in English that Jacob said, “I have seen God” we are left with the impression that Jacob saw the very Person of Whom Christ said no one has seen.  But the Hebrew word translated “God” in that phrase is “Elohim”. Elohim is one of the many titles of God, Who is spirit. (Please see the paper on the titles of Jehovah). Jacob could not have seen God, Who is spirit, but He did see God manifest as “a Man”.

John 3:13 and II Kings 2:11 and Heb. 11:5.

We read in Jn. 3:13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven”. But we read in II Kings 2:11, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven”.

To begin, the Hebrew word translated “heaven” is “shahmahyim“. The “im” tells us that it is plural, i.e. there is more than one heaven. The Hebrew word is used in Gen. 1:1 where we read, “In the beginning God created the heaven(s) and the earth”. As the paper on the apparent contradiction in Rev. 21:1 will prove from Scripture, the heaven of Gen. 1:1 is that heaven that is above the waters and above all other heavens and is the place of the throne of God.  The same Hebrew word is used in Gen.1: 26 where we read, “and God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image…..and let them have dominion over…… the fowls of the air (Heb. shahmahyim).…..”. And in Gen. 7:11 we read, “In the sixth hundredth year of Noah’s life, ……were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven(s)  (shahmahyim) were opened”. So the same Hebrew word is used of the heaven where the birds fly, where the clouds gather and where God is on His throne. The question we must answer then is; to which heaven was Elijah taken?

I believe that as we consider II Chron. 21:12 we will have the answer as to which heaven Elijah was carried away unto. “And there came a writing to him (King Jehoram) from Elijah the prophet…….”. This “writing” came to the Jehoram  after Elijah was taken up into heaven. How do we know that?

As to when Elijah wrote his letter, we read in II Kings chapter one of Ahaziah’s illness and how the Lord told Elijah to meet Ahaziah’s messengers. My point is that Elijah was taken up in the time of Ahaziah as recorded in II Kings 2:12. Elijah wrote a letter to King Jehoram as recorded in II Chron. 21:12. Jehoram lived after Ahaziah’s death making the Elijiah’s letter written after Elijah was taken up.

Surely, we cannot think that Elijah was writing from heaven. I am suggesting therefore, that Elijah was carried into the heaven where the birds fly, but then came back to earth in a different place from which he wrote to King  Jehoram.

Now let us consider Heb. 11:5, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see deathand was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God”.

To begin, this verse does not even hint that Enoch was taken into heaven. As the paper on what happens when we die will prove from Scripture, no one goes to heaven until the resurrection. The resurrection is not until the second coming of Christ, therefore no one has yet been raised and no one, but Christ, has ever ascended to heaven. For a study of what did happen to Enoch please see the paper on that subject.

John 3:13 and II Corinthians 12:2-5

We read in Jn. 3:13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven”. And we read in II Cor. 12:2-5 of a man who had been caught up to heaven.

There is no contradiction here. Most assume that the “third heaven” refers to the third in position, i.e. the heaven above the second heaven. But I believe that it refers to the third heaven in time, i.e. the third heaven to be created. Let us examine carefully the truth that the Bible speaks of three heavens created at three different times.

We read in Gen. 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. That is, of course, the first heaven to be created. Then we read in Gen. 1:6, “And God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters….”. And in verse 8 we read that “God called the firmament ‘heaven’”. This then, is the second heaven to be created. And then in Rev. 21:1 we read, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth”. This, of course, is the third heaven to be created.

How can we tell if Paul was saying that this man about whom he wrote was caught up to the third heaven in position, (height) or in time (i.e. the third to be created)? In verse 2 we read that “such an man was caught up to the third heaven”. Then in verse 4 Paul goes on, “How that this man was caught up into paradise”. My point is that with these two verses, Paul connects the third heaven to paradise.

By comparing Rev. 2:7 with 22:14 we will see that paradise is the new Jerusalem that will come “down from God out of heaven” to the new earth. Rev. 2:7 reads, “…..To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God”. And we read in Rev. 22:14, “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city”, i.e. the new Jerusalem, which is the topic of this passage. In other words, the tree of life is in Paradise according to Rev. 2:7 and according to Rev. 22:14 it is in the new Jerusalem.  By comparing scripture with scripture, we learn that Paradise is the new Jerusalem.

Coming back to II Cor. 12, in verse two we see that this man about whom Paul wrote was caught up to the third heaven and in verse 4 he was caught up into paradise, which, by comparing scripture with scripture, we see is the new Jerusalem. In my opinion, that connects us to the new heaven of Rev. 21. Let me put this in other terms for clarity.

We read in Rev. 1:10-11 of John, “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, ‘…….what thou seest write in a book and send it to the seven churches…..’”. In other words, John had been carried away by the spirit to observe and record all the things we read in the book of Revelation.

Let us consider what John had seen as recorded in Rev. 21:1-2, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away: and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…..”.

John had seen the new heaven (i.e. the third heaven to be created). And he saw the new Jerusalem coming from heaven. In other words, John had seen Paradise in the third heaven and then saw it coming out of heaven.

So the man, i.e. John, who had been caught up had been caught up by the spirit to the new heaven which, at the time that Paul wrote II Cor. had not even been created yet. Christ, on the other hand ‘ascended far above all heavens” (Eph. 4:10) to the heavens of Gen. 1:1 which, no other has ever ascended.

Does Jesus Judge? John 3:17

Mr. Gordon suggested several references concerning what the Bible says in respect to Jesus not judging, and several references concerning Jesus as Judge. We will examine each of those references.

We read in Jn. 3:17, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn (Gr. “krino”, “to judge”) the world; but that the world through Him might be saved”. We must consider verse 18 as it will clarify just who it is that Christ will not judge, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned (Gr. “krino”, “to judge”)  but he that believeth not is condemned (Gr. “krino”)  already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”.

It is obvious that Christ will not judge anyone who is a believer in Him as to whether that person will have eternal life.  And it is equally clear that the unbeliever is “judged already”.

In Jn. 12:46-47 we read, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness.  And if any man (Gr. “anthropos”) hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world but to save the world”. Scriptures show that Christ will not judge any man (Gr. “anthropos”) in terms of whether he shall inherit resurrection life, but the Bible also speaks of those who are not men (Gr. “anthropos”) in the fullest sense of the word. As the reader will see as we continue in this study, it is of utmost importance to bear in mind that Christ said that he would not judge any “anthropos”, i.e. man.

Now let us consider the passage about which Mr. Gordon wrote, “Jesus does judge”.

We read in Jn. 5:22, “For as the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father Which hath sent Him”. Are we to believe that Christ contradicted Himself in the space of a few chapters as to whether He would judge?  Even a mediocre preacher would, in all probability not do that.  I suggest we consider carefully John chapter 5. I beg the reader’s indulgence in this rather lengthy explanation of Jn. 5, but this chapter has many truths that are not easily or widely understood.

Let us begin our study of this chapter by addressing another seeming contradiction. John 5:24-25 reads, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him Who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned (i.e. judged); he has crossed over from death to life.  I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man, and those who hear will live.

But then in verses 28-29 our Lord said, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (Gr. “krisis”, “judged”).

In verse 25 we read that those who hear His voice “will not be condemned”.  But in verse 29 we are told that some who hear His voice will be condemned.  (“Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”.)  There seems to be a contradiction in this passage. It is true that the Greek word “krisis”  translated “condemned” is better translated “judged”, however, the seeming contradiction is still there. That is to say in verse 25 we read that those who hear His voice will not be judged and in verse 29 we read that some who hear His voice will be judged.

Again, we must ask if Christ contradicted Himself in the space of eight verses? Of course He did not. The key to understanding this passage is to note that both statements begin with the phrase, “a time is coming”.  I believe that we  must recognize the fact that there are two resurrections mentioned, and they occur at two different times. The first one mentioned is for the believer who will not be judged, but has passed from death to life; the second resurrection mentioned is for those who will be judged. Let us examine each resurrection and that will tell us when these two resurrections will take place and who will be judged.

In verse 24 we read of those who “believe” and have therefore, “crossed over from death to life”.  I believe that this resurrection points us to I Thess. 4:16 where we read of the second coming of our Lord when “the dead in Christ will rise …”.  The resurrection of verses 24-26 then, refers to the resurrection of believers at the second coming, i.e. at the beginning of the millennial reign.

When will the resurrection of verses 28-29 occur?  We are not told explicitly when, but we are told something of the character of the judgment of those who are resurrected.  We read in verse 29 that they will be judged according to what they have done, “those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”. Nowhere in the New Testament but here in John 5, and in Revelation 20 do we read of the resurrection of the unbeliever in order to be judged according to what they had done.

The only record we have in the New Testament as to when and where the raised unbeliever is to be judged is at the great white throne.  And the only two passages that speak of a resurrection to judgment by what they had done are in John 5:28-29 and in Rev. 20 (the great white throne).  Therefore, I believe that we may conclude both passages speak of the same event, i.e. the great white throne judgment.  That judgment will take place after the millennial reign, so the resurrection of John five verses 28-29 refers to the one after the millennial reign.

At this point let us once again consider the statement, “those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (Gr. “krisis”, “judged”). We must not add to the Word that which is not stated. That is to say, we are told that some “will rise to live”, this verse does not say that those who will rise to live will be judged.  They will not be judged because they have already passed from death to life.

So just as the first resurrection mentioned in Rev. 20:4 is for those who were resurrected before the millennial reign, so the first mention of a resurrection in John 5 (i.e. verses 25-27) is before the millennial reign.  So also, just as the second resurrection of Rev. 20:5 will be for those who will be raised for judgment after the millennial reign, so too the unbelievers of John 5:28-29 will be raised after the millennial reign. The judgment that occurs after the millennial reign is at the great white throne.

Let me summarize what has been written here concerning John 5.  John 5:24-27 speaks of the resurrection of believers; they will be raised just before the millennial reign of Christ, and they will not be judged.  The resurrection of verses 28-29, on the other hand, will be after the millennial reign of Christ and, with the exception of believers who will live (without judgment), will be judged. By comparing John 5:28-29 with Rev. 20:5 we see that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 will lead us to the great white throne.

The paper on the resurrection of the unbelievers will prove from Scripture that the judgment at the great white throne is limited to those of the tribulation period. John 5:28-29 concerns those at the great white throne, we must conclude that the resurrection spoken of in John 5:28-29 is limited to the judgment of those of the tribulation period.

We are now prepared to consider Mr. Gordon’s assumed contradiction. I believe that not only are there no errors in the Bible, but that every word is inspired. I state that belief because the Greek word translated “no man” in the phrase, “The Father judgeth no man” is not “anthropos”,  the word that is translated “man” several hundred times in the Bible. The Greek word used in Jn. 5:22 is “oudis”.  The word is translated “nothing” or “none” or “no” over 60% of the times it is used.  That means that “one” or “man” is not in the Greek manuscripts, so the subject of “oudis” must be taken from the context.

I believe a few examples of when “oudis” is translated “any” or “no man” will be helpful.  For example we read in Matt. 11:27, “….No man (Gr. “oudis”) knoweth the Father but the Son…”. In my opinion, the fact that “anthropos” (i.e. man) was not the word used, but rather “oudis” tells us that no living beings, i.e. no angels, no “principalities or powers in heavenly places”, etc. knows the Father.  In other words, “oudis” is used here to indicate more than man. Further, even when the context implies the meaning of “no man”, the word “oudis” could be understood as more than man. For example, we read in Matt. 22:46 Christ’s answer to the Pharisees who asked about His Sonship, “And no one (Gr. “oudis”) was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any from that day forth ask Him any more questions”. In other words, we may understand this verse to say that no living being from that time forward could dare question Christ about His Sonship.

In short, Jn. 5 seems to tell us that the Son, not the Father will judge none. But that makes no sense.  That is to say, we read that rather than the Father judging, judgment will fall to the Son, so the Son will be judging someone, not “none”. Again, we must bear in mind that “anthropos” (“man”) is not used in this verse, so it is not man that will be judged by the Son. If not man, then who?

We read in Matt. 24:36-39, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, unto the day that Noe entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be“.

I believe that the primary message of this passage is that just as the flood caught its victims by surprise, so too shall the coming of the Son of man be a surprise. But I believe I Peter 3:18-20, which also speaks of the days of Noe tells us a bit more of those days as it relates to our study. That passage reads, “For Christ……being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing…..”.

Who are those spirits in prison to whom Christ preached? II Peter 2:4-5 is another passage that connects spirits in prison with the days of Noah. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly”.

There are several interesting points to note about this passage. For example, the word translated “hell” in the phrase “cast them down to hell” is not the usual Greek word “hades” or even “Gehenna”, translated “hell”. The Greek word used in II Peter is “Tartarus” and is used just this one time. Who were these “angels that sinned”? For the answer to that question we will look at Jude 6.

Jude 6 reads, “and the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day”. Note that like the angels of II Peter these are “reserved unto judgment”. Note also the Greek word translated “habitation” in the phrase, “left their own habitation”.  That Greek word is “oiketerion”, it is used only here and II Cor. 5:2 where it is translated “house”, “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven”. Just as in II Cor. 5:2 the Greek word is used of a certain kind of a body, so too in Jude 6 it is used of a certain kind of a body. So Jude tells us that these angels who are being reserved unto judgment had left “their own” bodies. I believe that it is significant that the Greek word “soma” (which means “body”) is not used for “body” in Jude 6, as angels, who were created as spirit beings did not really have a body. Because these angels are being reserved for judgment we may conclude that they acted against the will of God. We may refer to them therefore, as “fallen or rebellious angels“.

We have learned that in the days of Noah were angels who had sinned and were consequently cast into Tartarus and reserved unto judgment. We must ask in what way did these angels in the days of Noah sin? For the answer to that question we must turn to Gen. 6. In order to do that passage justice however, we must go back to Gen. 3:15.

We read in Gen. 3:15 that God will put “enmity” between Satan and the woman, and her Seed (Christ) will bruise Satan’s head, i.e. destroy him, but Satan’s seed will bruise the heel of the woman’s Seed (Christ). The heel being bruised is not total destruction as is the head being bruised. In short, here is the prophecy of Christ’s death (bruising the heel, because He rose from the dead) and Satan’s total destruction.

Much of the Bible is the story of how Satan tried to prevent the Seed of the woman being born or at least if born, tainted. For example, we read in II Kings 11:2 of every child in the line of David being killed but one, Joash, who had been hidden. Because Christ was to come from the seed of David, I believe that this is an example of Satan trying to prevent the birth of the Seed (Christ) Who would destroy him.

We come now to Gen. 6. Let us first consider Noah.  We read in Gen. 6:9, that Noah was “a just man and perfect in his generations“. Dr. E. W. Bullinger defines the Hebrew word translated “perfect” as, “without blemish as to breed or pedigree“.  What has that to do with our subject?  Let us consider Gen. 6:2, “And the sons of God took them daughters of men and they took them wives…”. The Hebrew phrase translated “sons of God” is used only of angels as in Job. 1:6 and 2:1.

Job 1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them”.

Job 2:1, “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord”.

So we have fallen angels assuming bodies of man taking daughters of men for wives. As we learned from Jude 6 angels had left their original “bodies” and are being held for judgment. Their offspring would have been tainted by Satan’s fallen angels and when the time for Christ to be born He too (God forbid) would have been tainted and could not have destroyed Satan.

And that is the primary reason for the great flood, i.e. to rid the world of Satan’s offspring so as to not taint the blood line of Christ. And that is why Noah and his family were saved from the flood, i.e. because he was “perfect in his pedigree”.

Let me try to pull this section together. We have learned that in the days of Noah fallen angels had married the “daughters of men”, and that these angels are being held in chains until they are judged.

But our study has to do with those of the end times (i.e. the tribulation) being judged at the great white throne. Is there a connection between the days of Noah and the end times? I believe there is. I believe that Daniel two also implies fallen angels who mix with the seed of man in the end times. Let us consider that passage.

Again, as the paper on the judgment at the great white throne will prove, that judgment concerns the judgment of those who will live in the tribulation period of the end times. As we look at Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation in Dan. 2, we will see that part of that dream is also about the tribulation period.

The interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is recorded in Dan. 2:36-45. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of an image with a head of gold, a breast and arms of silver, a belly and thighs of brass, and legs of iron, and feet “part of iron and part of clay”. Nebuchadnezzar, as king of Babylon, was represented by the head of gold (vs. 37). The breast and arms of silver represented the kingdom that was to follow after Nebuchadnezzar. The belly and thighs of brass represented the kingdom after that. And the legs of iron and feet of iron and clay represent the kingdom after that. We read in verses 34-35, “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. The iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, were broken to pieces together and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth“.

We will now concentrate on the part of this dream that centers on the end times. We read in verse 44 of that part of the interpretation that explains the kingdom that “filled the whole earth”, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdom and it shall stand for ever“.

It is clear that this is the kingdom of God that will be established at the second coming of Jesus Christ when He reigns over the earth for a thousand years. So the kingdom represented by the iron and clay will be the kingdom that immediately precedes the millennial reign of Christ. It is what we learn of that kingdom that will tell us a great deal about who will be judged at the great white throne.

Let us consider for example Dan. 2:43 which tells us of the feet and toes of the image, “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay”. The phrase, “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men” is, in my opinion, reminiscent of the phrase we read in Gen. 6:2, “…the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair and they took them wives of all which they chose”. Let us consider this verse in Dan. 2 more carefully.

Verse 43 tells us that even though those represented by the iron and clay mingled “with the seed of men”, they did not “cleave one to another”. That in my opinion, implies that like the days of Noah, the fallen angels of Satan will occupy the kingdom of Satan and his antichrist before it is destroyed by the coming of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, I believe that the ones judged at the great white throne and subsequently cast into the lake of fire are not men (Gr, “anthropos”), in the truest sense of the word, but progeny of fallen angels.  In other words, Christ, as He said, will not judge man (Gr, “anthropos”) but will indeed judge the progeny of fallen angels.

Another verse suggested by Mr. Gordon is Jn. 8:15 which reads, “Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man’”. Here too the phrase “no man” is an interpretation of the Greek “oudis” and should be understood in the same way as Jn. 5:22 discussed above. So this verse says that Christ will not judge “oudis”. Is this a contradiction? Are we to believe that Christ forgot what He said as recorded in chapter 5 about judging “oudis”?  Of course not, we must consider the context.

In verse 14 we read, “Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Though I bear record of Myself, yet My record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go: but ye cannot tell whence I come and wither I go.  Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no one”.  I believe we must add an ellipses from the context so the last phrase will read, “I judge no man after the flesh”. In other words, unlike the Pharisees who Christ was addressing, who can judge only by what they see on the outside, Christ will judge who, or in this case, what a man is, i.e. fully man or progeny of fallen angels not after the flesh.

In short, there is no contradiction in the Bible concerning Christ judging men.  It is clear that He said that He would not judge men (Gr. “anthropos”) in terms of whether they shall inherit eternal life, but by understanding the Greek we learn that He will indeed judge the progeny of fallen angels of the tribulation period.

Let us continue by considering the two other references Mr. Gordon suggested to prove that Christ does indeed judge.

We read in II Cor. 5:10 we read, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done whether it be good or bad”. There are two important points to consider if we are to correctly understand this verse. 1) Paul includes himself in this judgment by the phrase, “we must all appear…..”. And 2)  this judgment will be based on what one had “done, whether it be good or bad”.

1) As for Paul including himself in this judgment, we read in Jn. 5:24-25, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him Who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned (Gr. “judge”) ; he has crossed over from death to life”. The fact that Paul is a believer and therefore will not be judged, but already has eternal life, leads to the conclusion that the judgment of II Cor. 5:10 can not be a judgment as to who will have eternal life. Let us consider the second important fact of II Cor. 5:10.

2) This judgment will be based on what one had “done, whether it be good or bad”. We know that salvation is “by grace, through faith, not of works…..” (Eph. 2:8-9).  As we consider I Cor. 9:24-25 we will have our answer as to the judgment of II Cor. 5:10. That passage reads, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible”.  In other words, all believers will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ in order to determine who will receive a crown, i.e. “reign with Him”.  

Consider II Tim. 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…”. And Rev. 20:6, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection……but they…..shall  reign with Him a thousand years”.

We read in Acts 10:42, “And He commanded us to preach and to testify to the people that it is He Which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead”.  To begin we should understand that the phrase “quick and the dead” means “those who are alive and those who are dead”.  This judgment is also the judgment of believers as to their reward, i.e. will they reign with Christ?

In short, the judgment of II Cor. 5:10 and Acts 10:42 is a judgment unto rewards for those believers who have remained faithful to Christ. Although Mr. Gordon did not include Jn. 5:27, that verse also says that Christ will judge “because He is the Son of man”. Because we know that Christ will judge man (Gr. “anthropos”) in terms of rewards, and we know that He will not judge man (“Gr. “anthropos”) in term of salvation, we may conclude that the judgment of Jn. 5:27 is for rewards.

Does God Judge? John 5:22

Mr. Gordon referenced Jn. 5:22 as evidence that, as he put it, “God does not judge”. Let us first consider that verse which reads, “But the Father judgeth no man. But hath committed all judgment unto the Son”. This verse does not say that “God” does not judge as Mr. Gordon suggests, it says that the “Father” will not judge. The Father is, of course, God, but it is an error made by too many to equate the term “Father” with the term “God”.  That is to say, the Father is not all that God is.  For example, the Father is never said to have created the earth and heavens. Therefore, we can not equate the term “Father” with the term “God”. So to be clear, we read in John 5:22 that “The Father” will not judge any man.

The scriptures Mr. Gordon suggested as evidence that God does judge are Rom. 2:2-5, 3:19, II Thess. 1:5 and I Peter 1:17.  In every case the wording is that it is God Who judges, not God in His office of Father (please see the paper on the trinity for an explanation of that statement).  Therefore there is no contradiction between those scriptures and Jn. 5:22.

Are Believers Judged? John 5:24 

John 5:24-25 reads, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him Who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned (i.e. judged); he has crossed over from death to life.  I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man, and those who hear will live.” We read in Matt. 12:36, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of  judgment”.

If one is to understand this verse in Matt. 12 correctly, one must determine which day of judgment is referred to in this verse.  That is to say, there are four judgments that are yet future. There will be 1) the day of judgment in the day of the Lord which is a judgment of unbelievers only as believers will have been raptured.  (Please see the paper on the differences between the tribulation and the day of the Lord for the Scriptural evidence of that statement). 2) There will be the judgment of Israel at the second coming of Christ to determine who will enter the land of Israel for the millennial reign. 3) There will be the judgment at the judgment seat of Christ of believers to determine who will reign with Him. And there will be 4) the judgment of unbelievers at the great white throne.  Let us consider each of these future judgments.

I believe that it is widely held that the day of God’s wrath will be a future judgment of unbelievers, so I will not belabor the point.  The paper on the differences between the tribulation and the day of wrath will prove from Scripture that that judgment will be one of unbelievers only because believers will have been raptured just before it.

 The judgment of Israel at the second coming of Christ is not as widely known but it is spoken of several times in the Old Testament.  Consider, for example Ezek. 20:34-38, “And I will gather you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people and there will I plead with you face to face.  Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you saith the Lord God.  And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against Me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord”.

Many believe that the modern day return of Jews to Israel is in fulfillment of this prophecy, but there are four phrases within the prophecy itself which disprove that view.  One is the phrase, “I will purge out from among you”.  Note also the phrase “they shall not enter into the land”.  That is certainly not the case in the modern day return to the land, as any Jew who wants to live in the land is welcome.  Every Jew who wishes to enter the modern day land of Israel is allowed, no one is “purged”. Note also the phrase, “I will bring you into the bond of the covenant”.  It is clear that not all Jews that now live in Israel are under “the bond of the covenant”.  And the phrase, “ye shall know that I am the Lord” is unfortunately not true of the majority of Jews now living in Israel.

The third judgment that is yet future is the judgment at the judgment seat of Christ.

The fourth judgment is that judgment at the great white throne which will be discussed in more detail below.

We are now prepared to address the question as to which judgment Christ referred in Matt. 12:36. The correct answer to this question relies on an understanding of why there are four Gospels.  I beg the reader’s indulgence as we consider that very important question.

Each of the four Gospel writers presents Christ as one of the four “Branches” written about in the Old Testament.  Each of these “Branches” refer to Christ.  Let us examine those four passages.

Jeremiah 23:5 reads, “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land”.  It is not coincidental that Matthew, in his genealogy of Christ, traces His line through David, because the King of Israel was to come from the lineage of Judah through King David.  Matthew then presents Christ as the King of Israel.

Zechariah 3:8 reads, “….I am going to bring  My Servant, the Branch”.  Note that Mark gives no genealogy of our Lord, this is because Christ is presented in Mark’s Gospel as God’s Servant and servants have no written genealogy.

Zech. 6:12, “Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says, ‘Here is the Man whose name is the Branch, and He will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord, and He will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne…..”.  Luke’s Gospel records our Lord’s genealogy all the way back to Adam because he presents Christ as the Son of Man.

The genealogy of John’s Gospel makes it abundantly clear, in my opinion, that John presents Christ as God.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God“.  The reference to the Branch is not as obvious as in the other Gospels but we read in Is. 4:2, “In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious”. Only God is glorious. The Branch of the Lord is Christ, Who, as God, is “beautiful and glorious”.

My point is that Matthew presented Christ as Israel’s King therefore, Matthew’s record of Christ’s messages concern primarily Christ’s kingdom.  Consider also that Matthew is the only writer of the New Testament that uses the phrase “kingdom of Heaven, rather than the term used by the other Gospel writers, “kingdom of God”.  (For a more complete study of the differences between those two terms please see the paper on the terms used of God’s kingdom). The paper on the kingdom of Heaven will show that the kingdom of Heaven is Christ’s reign over Israel in the millennium.  That is to say, Christ will reign over all the nations of the earth in the millennium, but the term “kingdom of Heaven” is used in a limited sense to indicate His reign over Israel in particular.

Because Matthew’s Gospel is centered on Christ as Israel’s King, I believe that the judgment of Matt. 12 is the judgment of Israel as to who will enter the land (i.e. the kingdom of Heaven) for that millennial reign.

Now let us consider John’s Gospel.  As mentioned above, John’s Gospel presents Christ as God.  Further, the reason that John recorded some signs and not others is given in Jn. 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name”.  That is to say, that while Matthew presented Christ as King of Israel, John’s Gospel concerns itself primarily with Christ as God, i.e. the Savior of the world.

We are now prepared to consider the supposed error between Jn. 5:22 and Matt. 12.  Jn. 5:22 is God’s promise that in terms of eternal life, believers will not be judged but have passed from death to life.  But Matthew 12 concerns a judgment as to who of the gathered of Israel will be allowed entrance into the land of Israel for the millennial reign of Christ.

Let us continue with a consideration of another scripture that Mr. Gordon has suggested proves that believers will be judged which is in contradiction to Jn. 5:22.  Rom. 5:18 reads, “Therefore, by the offence of one judgment came upon all men, even so by the righteousness of One, the free gift came upon all men unto the justification of life”. The “one” through whom judgment came upon all men is, according to this context Adam.  We read in verse 14, “Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses…”.

The KJV has the phrase “judgment came” in italics, which means of course, that the words are not in the Greek manuscripts.  So the Greek reads, “By the offence of one upon all men”.  Obviously, this verse does need an ellipsis (i.e. an added word or phrase to make sense of a sentence). But that ellipsis must come from the context, near and far.  Verse 14 quoted above tells us exactly what “came upon all men”, i.e. death. So with the ellipsis taken from the immediate context the verse reads, “Therefore, by the offence of one death came upon all men, even so by the righteousness of One, the free gift came upon all men unto the justification of life”. With the ellipsis this verse makes perfect sense as we have the intended contrast between death through Adam and life through Christ.

Does this verse say that believers will be judged? To begin, as mentioned above, the word phrase “judgment came” is not in the manuscripts. Secondly, this verse in Rom. 5 tells us that all men die because when Adam disobeyed God death entered  the world.  There is no judgment, per se in this context. It is a statement of fact that all men die because of Adam’s disobedience. In short, one cannot prove an error by a phrase that is not even in the manuscripts and does not fit the context.

In short, one cannot prove an error by a phrase that is not even in the manuscripts.

Going on now to another verse suggested by Mr. Gordon to prove his point, i.e. II Cor. 5:10 which reads, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ: that everyone may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, good or bad”.  There are two important points to consider if we are to correctly understand this verse. 1) Paul includes himself in this judgment by the phrase, “we must all appear…..”. And 2) this judgment will be based on what one had “done, whether it be good or bad”.

1) As for Paul including himself in this judgment, we read in Jn. 5:24-25, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him Who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned (Gr. “judged”); he has crossed over from death to life”. The fact that Paul is a believer and therefore will not be judged, but already has eternal life, leads to the conclusion that the judgment of II Cor. 5:10 can not be a judgment as to who will have eternal life. Let us consider the second important fact of II Cor. 5:10.

2) This judgment will be based on what one had “done, whether it be good or bad”. We know that salvation is “by grace, through faith, not of works…..” (Eph. 2:8-9).  As we consider I Cor. 9:24-25 we will have our answer as to the judgment of II Cor. 5:10. That passage reads, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible”.  In other words, all believers will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ in order to determine who will receive a crown, i.e. “reign with Him”.

Consider II Tim. 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…”. And Rev. 20:6, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection……but they…..shall  reign with Him a thousand years”.

We read in Acts 10:42, “And He commanded us to preach and to testify to the people that it is He Which was ordained  of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead”.  To begin we should understand that the phrase “quick and the dead” means “those who are alive and those who are dead”.  This judgment is also the judgment of believers as to their reward, i.e. will they reign with Christ?

In short, the judgment of II Cor. 5: is a judgment unto rewards for those believers who have remained faithful to Christ.

John 5:31 and 8:14

We read in Jn. 5:31, “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true”.  And in Jn. 8:14 we read, “….Though I bear record of Myself, yet My record is true….”.

Again, Mr. Gordon would have us accept that Christ contradicted Himself in the space of three chapters. Again, that is highly unlikely. One must consider the context of any statement in order to understand it correctly.

We read in Jn. 5:36, “……for the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me. And the Father Himself, Which hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me….”. In other words, Christ was saying that He was not bearing witness of Himself alone, but that the Father also bears witness. The point Christ made was that if He bore witness of Himself alone, His witness would not be true.  But because the Father also bore witness, His witness is true.

Now let us consider the context of Jn. 8:14.  Verses 16-18 of chapter eight reads, “….For I am not alone, but I and the Father That sent Me.  It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.  I am one that beareth witness of Myself, and the Father That sent Me beareth witness of Me”. In this passage Christ again made the point that His witness is true because the Father also bears witness, making the witness of two: and in accordance with the Mosaic Law, the witness of two is true.

In short, both passages, when considered in context say the same thing, i.e. if Christ was alone in bearing witness of Himself His witness would not be true, but because the Father also bears witness, His witness is true.

Do All Men Have a Choice? John 5:38

Mr. Gordon suggests that Jn. 5:38-47 teaches that all men have the choice of believing in Christ.  I will not quote that entire passage because it is clear that that is true.  But he goes on to suggest that Jn. 6:44 teaches that not all men do have a choice. Let us consider that verse.

Jn. 6:44 reads, “No man can come to Me except the Father Which hath sent Me draw him….”. Again, we must consider this verse in context. There are several verses which speak of those the Father gave to Christ.  For example we read in verse 37, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”.  And in verses 39-40 we read, “And this is the Father’s will Which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  And this is the will of Him That sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day”.

We learn that all the Father gave Christ will be raised up in the last days.  Who are those who will be raised?  That question is answered in the context, i.e. all who believe in Christ.  In other words, all who believe in Christ are those given Him by the Father. But this does not say, as Mr. Gordon’s comments implies, that some are not drawn, it says rather that those who believe in Christ are those the Father has drawn. Let me put that in other terms for clarity.

All who believe in Christ were drawn by the Father. Obviously, some do not believe in Christ, but we must not read into this passage something which is not there. What is not there is that some were not drawn. In other words, all men are drawn unto salvation, but this passage teaches that all who accept Christ were drawn by the Father, it does not say that some were not drawn, only that those who did accept Christ had been drawn by the Father.

In short, only by reading into Jn. 6:44 something that is obviously not there, can one see an error.

John 7:2-10: Did Jesus Lie About Going to Jerusalem? 

We read in Jn. 7:8 where Jesus said, “Go up unto this feast” I go not up yet unto this feast; for My time is not yet full come”.  But we read in verse 10 of this chapter, “But when His brethren were gone up, then He also went up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were, in secret”.  Did Jesus lie to His brethren?  Of course not! I will quote the note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger on the phrase “go up” in verse 8.  That note reads, “Gr. anabaino, the technical word for going up with a caravan.  See 11:55, Matt.20:17, 18, Mark 10:32, 33…..;.”.

In other words, Christ said that He would not go up with the others in the caravan to the feast, which He did not do.  Therefore, there is nothing false in His statement.

John 7:38

We read in Jn. 7:38, “He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “Jesus quotes a statement that he says appears in scripture (i.e. the OT).  (No such statement is found in the OT).” Mr. Gordon is asking us to believe that Jesus Christ, at the very least a prophet of Israel,  did not know what was in the Old Testament.  Is that logical? I believe it is not. But let us continue.

Mr. Gordon wrote that “Jesus quotes a statement”.  But that is not what this verse says.  That is to say, Jesus said “as the scripture hath said”. That is to say, Jesus did not say that there was one scripture that He was quoting, He said rather that the Old Testament spoke of living waters. That means that in the Scripture, i.e. the Old Testament, one will read of living waters.

Before we consider this particular verse I would like to quote a small portion of  Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s Appendix 107, “The Principle Underlying the Quotations From the Old Testament to the New Testament” in the Companion Bible. “Where the sense originally intended by the Holy Spirit is preserved, though the words may vary”. In short, if we are to understand the sense of what Christ had in mind, then, and only then are we able to determine if what He said was accurate. We must therefore be certain we understand the true meaning of Jn. 7:38.

We must, as always, consider this verse in context. We read in verse 37 Christ’s statement, “…..If any man thirst let him come unto Me, and drink”. So when we read the next verse, “He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water” and consider it in relation to the previous verse we see that it is out of Christ that living waters will flow.  That is to say, it makes no sense if we interpret this passage to say that one that thirsts should come to Christ because  the one that thirsts will have living waters flow from him. It makes perfect sense however, if we interpret this passage to say that living waters will flow from Christ so that any one who thirsts may come to Him and be satisfied.

In short, we read in this passage from Jn. 7 that Christ is alluding to the Old Testament passage(s) which speak of living waters so that anyone who thirsts may be satisfied.  It is understood from the phrase “living waters” that it is spiritual blessings that are at the heart of this passage, not temporal one. That is to say, waters are not literally alive, therefore, we must interpret this phrase in a figurative, rather than in a literal sense. The waters then, are used as a figure of speech for spiritual blessings.

We are now ready to consider several Old Testament passages which speak of believer’s thirst for spiritual blessings being satisfied by the Messiah/Christ.

Is.12:3, “Therefore shall ye draw waters out of the wells of salvation”.

Zech. 13:1, “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness”.

Zech. 14:8, “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem….”.

In short, by misquoting a verse to say that Christ quoted one passage from the Old Testament, Mr. Gordon has failed to consider the passages that do indeed concern living (i.e. spiritual) waters. The only error here is Mr. Gordon’s.

John 7:39: Confusion Concerning the Holy Spirit

I will quote Mr. Gordon’s comments and then offer a short study of the Hebrew and Greek words translated “spirit” to show that the subject of “spirit” is much more complex than Mr. Gordon realizes.

Mr. Gordon wrote, “Lk. 1:15 John the Baptist had the Holy Spirit from before his birth or the birth of Jesus. Lk. 1:41 Elizabeth had it long before Jesus went away. Lk. 1:67 So did Zechariah. Lk. 2:25 So did Simeon. Lk. 11:13 It is obtained by prayer (presumably at any time)”. At the very crux of the assumed error is that Mr. Gordon fails to understand how the Hebrew and Greek words translated “spirit” are used. So when we read in   Jn. 7:39, Jn. 16:7, Ac 1:3-5,  The Holy Spirit cannot come into the world until after Jesus has departed” Mr. Gordon does not understand what is meant in those verses.

First let us define the term “spirit” by how it is used in the Bible.  The Hebrew word translated “spirit” is “ruach”. Dr. E. W. Bullinger has written a very helpful Appendix in his Companion Bible on this word and I will quote from that Appendix. “The meaning of the word is to be deduced only from its usage. The one root idea running through all the passages is invisible force. As this force may be execrated in varying forms, and may be manifested in divers ways, so various renderings are necessitated corresponding thereto. Ruach, in whatever sense it is used, always represents that which is invisible except by its manifestations. These are seen both externally to man, as well as internally within in man.”

The Greek word translated “spirit” is “pneuma” and is equivalent to the Hebrew “ruach”.

As the paper on the study of “spirit” will show, the word is used, in, among other ways, of the Holy Spirit, and it is used, figuratively, of power from the Holy Spirit and it is also used of the Holy Spirit as Comforter. With that in mind let us consider the verses Mr. Gordon has suggested as evidence of errors in the Bible.

We read in Luke 1:16, “For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost (the Greek word  “pneuma” is sometimes translated “ghost” and other times as “spirit), even from his mother’s womb”. To begin it should be noted that John was not filled with the holy spirit before his birth, as Mr. Gordon suggests because the phrase “from his mother’s womb” implies the time of his birth. But it is certainly true that it was before the birth of Christ.

As we look at the passages in the Bible that speak of the Holy Spirit, we must be careful to see the difference between the Holy Spirit and the power from the Holy Spirit. Many verses speak of the Holy Spirit “filling” or “coming upon” or the Holy Spirit being “poured out” or entering.  One is not “filled” with God, the Holy Spirit. God is not “poured out”, nor does God “come upon” another or enter another. These verses use the figure of speech, metonymy of the cause, i.e. the cause is put for the effect. In other words, the cause is the Holy Spirit, the effect is being filled with the power from the Holy Spirit.

We use that figure of speech when we say for example, “Joe really pours himself into his work”. Obviously, Joe does not “pour himself”.  Joe is the cause, the effect is that he shows himself to be a dedicated worker. So when the Holy Spirit is poured out or comes upon someone, we must understand those passages to mean power from the Holy Spirit.

As with all figures of speech, metonymy of the cause is used to enhance the meaning of the phrase in which it is used. We could say that Joe is a dedicated worker, but it does not have the same force as when we say that Joe pours himself into his work. The same is true of the figure of speech when used of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not simply empower one to accomplish that for which the person has been empowered, His power “fills” it is “poured out”. Similarly, His power is not simply “sent”, it “comes upon” the one who is to be empowered. So when we read, for example in Judges 14:6, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him with power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands”, we are reading of the power from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the cause, and the power from the Holy Spirit is the effect. Just as Joe does not “pour” himself, but his energies, so too the Holy Spirit does not pour Himself, but His power.

Mr. Gordon mentioned several times that certain ones “had the Holy Spirit” before the birth of Christ. This he sees as a contradiction to other passages which will be discussed below.

But many were filled with power from the Holy Spirit in Old Testament times. In point of fact there are 42 times where we read in the Old Testament that one was filled, or words to that effect, with the Holy Spirit, i.e. power from the Holy Spirit.   Let us consider just the first few occurrences: Ex. 28:3, “And thou shalt speak unto the wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom…”.  Is. 29:10, “For Jehovah hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath He covered.” Ex. 31:3, “And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom and in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship”.  Certain men were filled with power from the Holy Spirit in order that they might build those things that were required for the tabernacle. I believe that the “of” in the phrase “spirit of God” is the Genitive of Origin, i.e. the spirit came from God. Ex. 35:31, “And He hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding…..and in all manner of workmanship.”

The paper on spirit quotes and categorizes every time the Hebrew and Greek words translated “spirit” are used. I mention this only so that the reader may easily consider every time we read in the Bible of one being filled with power from the Holy Spirit. As one looks at these verses it will be very clear that the context always describes the purpose for which one was filled with that power. Consider for example, Luke 1:6 which gives the reason for Luke being filled with power from the Holy Spirit, “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God”.  In other words, John was filled with power from the Holy Spirit from his birth for the express purpose of leading Israel to their God. 

Let us consider Luke 1:41 which speaks of Elizabeth being filled with power from the Holy Spirit, “And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost”. And in the next verse we read the reason she was filled, “And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, ‘Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”.  Elizabeth was filled with power from the Holy Spirit in order to prophecy of Christ’s birth.

We read in Luke 1:67, “And his (John the Baptist’s) father Zacharius was filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesied, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He has visited and redeemed His people”.  We have the reason Zacharius was filled with power from the Holy Spirit in this verse, i.e. “he prophesied”.

In Luke 2:25 we read of Simeon having “the Holy Ghost come upon him”, i.e. he was endowed with power from the Holy Spirit, and the reason is given in verse 27, “And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”. In the next verses is recorded his prophecy concerning Christ.

It is clear that the passages quoted above refer to certain ones being filled with power from the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish a specific goal God had in mind for him to accomplish.  This was nothing new as it occurred many times in the Old Testament (please see the paper on the study of spirit).

With that in mind let us now consider Luke 11:13 about which Mr. Gordon’s comment was, “it is obtained by prayer (presumably at any time)”. We read in Luke 11:13, “….how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Ghost to them that ask Him”. Obviously, God, the Holy Spirit is not “given”, I believe therefore that this verse also refers to power from the Holy Spirit. The fact that power from the Holy Spirit is given in answer to prayer does not contradict any other statement about the power from the Holy Spirit. Power from the Holy Spirit is sometimes given apart from asking and sometimes given in response to it. In other words, it is not an either or, both are possible.  And this brings us to Jn. 7:39.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Jn. 7:39 reads, “The Holy Spirit cannot come into the world until after Jesus has departed”.  Let us consider Jn. 7:38-39, “He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water,’ (But this spake He of the Spirit, Which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified”. Does this passage say, as Mr. Gordon suggested, that “the Holy Spirit cannot come into the world until after Jesus has departed”?  It does not, it says that the holy spirit (i.e.power from the Holy Spirit) was not given as yet and would not be until Jesus was glorified.  In point of fact, as mentioned above, there are literally dozens of times that we read in the Old Testament of various ones being filled with power from the Holy Spirit (please see the paper on spirit).  Did John not know of the dozens of times that power from the Holy Spirit was given in Old Testament times?  Of course he knew. If we are to understand this passage we must understand it from the point of view of the person who wrote it. That is to say, John understood that power from the Holy Spirit had been given in Old Testament times many, many times and that Jn. 7:38-39 was in reference to a particular promise regarding power from the Holy Spirit.  Let us continue.

In order to clarify the question of power from the Holy Spirit given after Christ was glorified let us consider the passages that have to do with this subject. We read in Acts 1:4-5, “And being assembled together with them (the disciples), commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father…for John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence”. ”. And we read in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come unto you… .” Verse 8 makes it quite clear that it was power from the Holy Ghost that is the subject of these verses.

In short, Christ told His disciples that they will receive power from the Holy Spirit once He had ascended. This promise was fulfilled in Acts 2:4, “and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance”.

Let us summarize what has been discussed thus far. The Holy Spirit had sent His power to individuals all throughout the Old Testament and all throughout the Gospel and Acts periods of the New Testament. Obviously, most of this was done before Christ was born. Mr. Gordon’s comment that the Holy Spirit could not come into the world until Christ’s glorification is based on Jn. 7:39 and Acts 1:3-5 (he also suggests Jn. 16:7 which will be discussed below).  As the reader has considered those verses  quoted above, it is clear that no such comment was made.  That is to say, Christ told His disciples that they would receive the holy spirit after His glorification, but He did not say that the holy spirit could not come. In point of fact, the disciples knew very well that power from the Holy Spirit was seen many times before Christ’s birth and before His ascension.

(Before we go on to Jn. 16:7 we should consider, for the sake of thoroughness Jn. 20:22 which reads, “….He breathed on them and saith unto them, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” This was power from the Holy Spirit. We read in Jn. 20:23 just what the purpose was for this receiving of the power from the Holy Spirit, “Whosesoever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained. But this was before Christ’s ascension and before they were all “filled with the holy spirit” in Acts 2. I will quote Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s comment on this passage, it reads, “The firstfruits of the resurrection bestows the firstfruits of the Spirit….”.  In short, this was not the occasion in which the disciples received “the promise of the Father”, it was the firstfruits of that promise).

We are now ready to consider Jn. 16:7 which is one of the verses Mr. Gordon suggested as evidence that “the Holy Spirit cannot come into the world until after Jesus has departed”. That verse reads, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send Him unto you”. This verse does indeed say that the Comforter cannot come until after Jesus had departed. But even though the Comforter is the Holy Spirit,  we must not confuse, as Mr. Gordon has done, the power from the Holy Spirit with the Comforter.

As we consider all the scriptures that explain what the Comforter was sent to do, it will be clear that those things have nothing in common with what the power from the Holy Spirit was sent to accomplish at Acts 2.

1) Jn. 14:26, “that He (the Parakletos) may abide with you for ever”..

2) Jn. 14:26, “He shall teach you all things”.

3) Jn. 14:26, “and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

4) Jn. 15:26, “He shall testify of Me”.

5) Jn. 16:8, “He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”.

6) Jn. 16:13, “He will guide you into all truth”.

7) Jn. 16:13, “He will shew you things to come”.

8) Jn. 16:14, “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you”.

The above mentioned paper on spirit quotes and categorizes every reference to “spirit” in the Bible. That will, I believe, make it very easy to compare the work of the Comforter with what was accomplished as one was “filled” with power from the Holy Spirit. As the reader will see, they have nothing in common.

In short, there is no evidence that Christ said that the power from the Holy Spirit cannot come until He had departed.  In point of fact the Old Testament speaks of literally dozens of times one is filled with power from the Holy Spirit. What Christ did say was that the Comforter cannot come until He, Christ, had departed.  As shown above, even though the Comforter is the Holy Spirit,  the works of the Comforter and power from the Holy Spirit are two very different things.

John 8:33

We read in Jn. 8:33, “They answered Him, ‘we are Abraham’s seed and were never in bondage to any man…..”. It is argued that this statement is historically incorrect because, as we all know, Israel had been in bondage in Egypt and in Babylon. Let us consider this more carefully.

By whom was this statement made?  Verse 13 tells us that it was made by the “Pharisees”. The Bible records what the Pharisees said. There is no reason to believe that it was not a correct record of what was said. The fact that the statement was incorrect does not make the Bible in error, as the Bible only recorded what was said. Certainly the Pharisees were incorrect, but the Bible’s record of what they said was perfectly accurate.

John 10:27-29 and I Timothy 4:1

We read in Jn. 10:27-29, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.  My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand”. 

Mr. Gordon’s note on this passage reads, “None of Jesus’ followers will be lost”. He then suggests I Tim. 4:1 which he believes proves that “some of them will be lost”.

Let us consider that verse. We read in I Tim. 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. Does this verse say that some followers of Christ will be lost? It certainly does not! It says that some will depart from the faith, that is their decision, but we do not read that they will be lost in terms of eternal life.  In point of fact, we read in II Tim. 2:13, “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself”.  This verse could not be more clear, i.e. even if a believer denies Christ, Christ Himself cannot deny him.

Mr. Gordon has made an assumption that those of whom Paul wrote in I Tim. 4 will lose their salvation and based on his own erroneous assumption declares a contradiction with John 10.

John 12:32 and I Tim. 2:3-4

We read in Jn. 12:32, “And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me. And in I Ti. 2:4 we read of God, “who will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth”. The implied “error” is, of course, that not all men are saved which, in Mr. Gordon’s view proves the Bible to be incorrect in this issue.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Jn. 12:32 reads, ”Jesus implies that all persons will be saved”. Jesus implied no such thing.  He said that He will draw all men to Himself, but as we all know, not all men will respond in a positive way to that drawing, i.e. some will reject the gift of salvation no matter how much they may be drawn to it by God.

Let us consider I Ti. 2:4 in this discussion. The Greek word translated “will” in the phrase, “Who will have all me to be saved” is “theio” and is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “means to wish or desire….”.  In other words, God desires all men to be saved, that is why He draws them to Himself. If Paul had wanted to express the thought that God has determined that all men would be saved he would have used the Greek word, “boulomai” which is defined by Dr. Bullinger as, “…..deliberate determination”.

In short, once again, Mr. Gordon has failed to correctly understand the Greek word translated “will” and has erroneously concluded that I Tim. 2:4 contradicts Jn. 12:32.  Far from a contradiction, the two verses explain each other more fully.

Mr. Gordon referenced II Peter 3:9 as saying that “God wants all to be saved”.  That verse reads, “The Lord is…..longsuffering to us-ward not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.  What does it mean that God does not want any to perish?  That question must, of course, be answered from the context.

Let us come back to verse 9, “The Lord is…..longsuffering to us-ward not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.  Now let us consider the next verse, i.e. verse 10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night….”.  Note the very important contrasting word “but”.  In other words, there is a contrast between what Peter expressed in verse 10 with what he expressed in verse 9.  What is that contrast?  It is, of course, that when the day of the Lord comes it will be too late for unbelievers to repent. So God, Who is not willing for any to perish is longsuffering in His unwillingness for any to perish in the day of the Lord. In short, there is, in this passage a time limit for repentance.

Does verse 9 say that all men will be saved? It does not.  To begin, this verse and indeed the entire passage from verse 1 through verse 10 concerns the end times. Verse 9 says that God will exercise great patience in the end times in order that men will accept the truth and be saved. I find it impossible to see how this verse can be interpreted to say that God will save all men for two reasons. 1) It does not speak of all men, it speaks of  those of the end times, and 2) it says that God will be patient so that men will accept Him, it does not say that God will save all men.

John 13:36, 14:5 and 16:5

We read in Jn. 13:33-36, “Little children yet a little while I am with you.  Ye shall seek Me: and as I said unto the Jews, whither I go, ye cannot come………..36) Simon Peter said unto Him, ‘Lord,whither goest Thou? Jesus answered him, ‘Whither I go thou canst not follow me, but thou shalt follow Me afterwards….’”. And in Jn. 14:5 we read, “Thomas said unto Him, ‘Lord we know not whither Thou goest….’”.  Let us consider Jn. 16:5 which reads, “But now I go My way to Him That sent Me: and none of you asketh Me Whither goest Thou”.  Is there a contradiction between verse 36 in which Peter asked Christ where he was going and Jn. 16:5 where Christ said that no one asked where He was going?  Let us consider that.

The passage quoted above comes in the context of Christ’s words to the disciples during and after the last Passover supper. Are we to believe that when Christ made His comment recorded in  16:5 (i.e. “none of you asketh Me Whither goest Thou”) that He had forgotten Peter’s and Thomas’ question asked perhaps just minutes before? That seems highly unlikely, to say the very least. Let us be true students of God’s Word and look deeper at Christ’s comment.

The key to understanding Christ’s comment that none of the disciples had asked where He was going, when they obviously had asked, lies in the Greek word translated “asketh” in the phrase, “none of you asketh Me Whither goest Thou”. That Greek word is, “erotao”. In point of fact, there are six Greek verbs translated “ask”. Dr. E. W. Bullinger defines “erotoa” in the Appendix 134 of the Companion Bible as, “to ask or request a person to do….. something….”. I will not overburden the reader with the definition of all six Greek verbs translated “ask”, but we must also consider the word, “parakateo” which Dr. Bullinger defines as, “to call side, appeal to (by way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, or instruction”). With those definitions in mind, we are now ready to consider what exactly Christ said when He spoke of the disciples not asking where He was going.

It is clear that the disciples were not asking Christ to do something, which is the meaning of the Greek word used in His comment, but that they wanted to be instructed as to where Christ was going to go. In other words, if Christ had used the Greek verb “parakateo”, meaning “to be instructed” when He said that the disciples had not asked where He was going that indeed would have been an error. But that was not the Greek word He used. By using the Greek word “erotao” Christ was stating that none had asked Him to do something in regard to where He was going. What could have been the “something” they may have been asking about? Obviously, He was referring to them taking them with Him. 

In short, it is only by correctly understanding the Greek word translated “asketh” that the Lord’s comment becomes clear.  His comment was, in effect, that none of the disciples had asked Christ to take them with Him on his coming “journey”.

John 17:12 and 18:9

We read in Jn. 17:12, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name; those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled”. And in Jn. 18:9 we read, “….Of them which Thou gavest Me, have I lost none”.

I am frankly surprised that Mr. Gordon lists these two verses as contradictory when it is so very clear that Christ said that He had not lost any of those which God had given Him.  In point of fact, He said that in both verses. Obviously, Judas, the son of perdition, was not one who had been given Christ and therefore, does not count as one who had been given.

But Mr. Gordon’s comment on verse 18:9 reads, “Jesus had lost none, period”. Evidently Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction because Christ did not repeat the fact that Judas, as the son of perdition was never given Him. Does that constitute a contradiction?  Of course not.  The exception (i.e. Judas) was noted in verse 17:12, it need not have been made again.

John 17:12, The Son of Perdition Not Mentioned in the Old Testament.

We read in Jn. 17:12, “none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “Mentions a ‘son of perdition’ as appearing in scripture (meaning the OT). (Note: There is no ‘son of perdition’ mentioned in the OT)”.

Did Christ say that the phrase “son of perdition” appears in the Old Testament as Mr. Gordon suggests?  He did not! What He did say was that the scripture concerning the son of perdition would be fulfilled. Did Christ’s audience (the disciples) know about the son of perdition from the Old Testament?   Of course they did. It is true that the phrase, “son of perdition” is not used in the Old Testament, but they all understood that the term is used of the antichrist of whom there are many, many Old Testament references.

In short, Mr. Gordon has written that Christ said that the term “son of perdition” is not found in the Old Testament and therefore, Christ was mistaken in His statement.  But that is not at all what Christ said.  What He said was that the son of perdition, which His audience understood very well to refer to the antichrist, would be “lost” according to Old Testament prophecy.

John 18:37 and Romans 1:18-20

We read in Jn. 18:37, “Pilate said unto Him, ‘Art Thou a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born and for this cause came I unto the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth…”. In Rom. 1:18-20 we read, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, Even His eternal power and Godhead: so that they are without excuse”

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Jn. 18:37 reads, “Jesus came into the world to bear witness to the truth”.  And his comment on the passage in Romans reads, “The truth has always been evident”.

There is no contradict in these passages because there is no indication in Jn. 18:37 or in the context to suggest that Christ said that He was the only revelation of truth.  That is to say, in order for there to be a contradiction Jesus would have to have said that He was the first or the only One to bear witness of the truth.  He did not say anything remotely like that. He said that He came unto the world to “bear witness of the truth”.

Christ revealed truths that creation does not. The Bible reveals truths that neither creation or Christ revealed.  Consider also that the passage in Romans one specifically mentions the attribute of God’s “eternal power” as being revealed in creation. But Christ revealed so much more of Who God is. Christ revealed the fact that God is love, Christ revealed God’s message of salvation etc. .

In short, there is no contradiction in the two passages quoted above.  Mr. Gordon has read into the statement recorded in Jn. 18:37 that Christ said He was the first or the only to bear witness of the truth.  That is simply something that is not there, nor is there any hint of it in the verse itself or in the context

John 20:9 No Scripture Found in the Old Testament

We read in Jn. 20:9, “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “Jesus quotes a statement that He says appears in scripture (meaning the OT).  (No such statement is found in the Old Testament)”.

To begin, once again Mr. Gordon has misrepresented what Jesus actually said. Christ did not, as Mr. Gordon suggests quote “a statement”.  What Christ did say is that the disciples did not know the scripture that spoke of His resurrection. Is there such a scripture in the Old Testament?  Absolutely! We read in Ps. 16:10, “For Thou will not leave my soul in hell; Neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption”.

But surely the disciples knew Ps. 16:10 so how can it be said that they did not know that scripture? The answer to that question lies in the Greek word translated “knew”. That word is “aoida” and is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible Appendix 132 as, “….to understand”. This definition explains why Christ did not say, “know of” the scripture, but rather, “know” the scripture concerning His resurrection. Did the disciples not understand that Ps. 16:10 was in reference to Christ’s resurrection? That question is answered in Luke 18:31-34 where we read, “Then He took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished….and they shall…….put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again’.  And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from themneither knew they the things which were spoken”. 

At what point did the disciples understand the scriptures concerning Christ’s death and resurrection?  That question is answered in Luke 24:36 and 45.  We read in Luke 24:36, “And as they (the disciples) thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in them midst of them”. This meeting took place after Christ’s death and resurrection.  And in verse 45 we read, “Then opened He their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures”.

In short, there is a scripture that speaks of Christ’s resurrection but what John recorded in 20:9 was that the disciples did not understand that scripture.  As we have seen, it was not until they had met with the risen Christ when He “opened their understanding” did the disciples finally understand.

John 21:25 and Acts 1:1

In Jn. 21:25 we read, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written”. And in Acts 1:1 we read, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus of all that Jesus began both to do and teach”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Jn. 21:25 reads, “The world probably could not contain the books if all that Jesus did were to be written”.  And his comment on Acts 1:1 reads, “The author of Acts has already written about all that Jesus began to do”.

Let us begin with John’s statement that the world could not contain all the books that would record all that Jesus did and taught. In my opinion that could not possibly be literally true.  I do not believe that anyone would believe that there would be too many books on that subject for the entire world to hold. Bearing in mind that the Greek word translated “world” in Jn. 21:25 is “kosmos” which means “universe” which, of course includes the heavens, i.e. outer space, I believe that it is obvious that John has used the figure of speech “exaggeration” in this verse. That is to say, when something can not reasonably be understood literally, it must be understood as a figure of speech. Figures of speech are used to enhance a truth. Does the Bible use the figure of speech “exaggeration”?  It certainly does.  Consider for example, Matt. 5:29 which records Christ’s statement, “If thy right eye offend thee pluck it out and cast it from thee…”. Christ was not suggesting self-mutilization, He used the figure of speech “exaggeration” to emphasize the importance of avoiding the temptation to sin. My point is that John used the figure of speech “exaggeration” to emphasize the truth that Christ had done and taught many things.

Now let us consider Acts 1:1. In point of fact the author of the book of Acts is, as far as I am aware, universally believed to be Luke, the same Luke that wrote the Gospel of Luke.   That is to say, that the “former treatise“ mentioned in Acts 1:1 is indeed the Gospel according to Luke. Did Luke not know that he had not written everything Christ did and taught in his Gospel? Of course he knew. I believe just one example will suffice to prove that point.  Consider for example, Matthew 16:16 where Peter’s answer to Christ’s question, “Whom say ye that I am?”  is recorded as, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.  We read in Luke 9:19-20 of the very same conversation, “….He said unto them, ‘But Whom say ye that I am?’ Peter answering said, ‘The Christ of God’. My point is that Luke was present for this discussion and he recorded one part of Peter’s answer. He, of course, knew that he had not recorded Peter’s entire answer because he was there.  This proves that Luke knew that he had certainly not written in his “former treatise”, i.e. his Gospel, all that Christ had done or taught.

So is there a contradiction between these two passages? Another way to put that question is: Did Luke purposely say that he had written all that Christ had done and taught knowing that he had not done so?  Of course not! Let us consider the term “all”.

When the Bible speaks of “all” things or persons or nations etc. it often uses the definite article to limit the “all”.  Consider for example, Col. 3:8 which reads, “…put off all these, anger wrath, malice, filthy communication out of your mouth”. Here the translation is correct in that it translates the definite article with “all” as “all these”. But the same Greek term is not always translated in such a way as to make it clear that the “all” is limited.  Consider for example, Rom. 8:32, “…..He that spared not His own son…..how shall He not….freely give us all things”. The Greek has the definite article in front of “all” to indicate the blessings of verse 28, but on the surface this verse seems to indicate God giving all things.

Sometimes, however, the definite article in front of “all” is to be understood, i.e. it does not appear in the Greek.  Is it to be understood in Acts 1:1?  I believe common sense dictates that it should be.  That is to say, Luke had to have known that he did not record everything that Christ did and taught. That is to say, Luke was with Christ when He did so many of the things that Luke did not record. Therefore. because Luke knew that he had not recorded all that Christ had done and said, I believe we must understand the “all” to be limited to what Luke knew he had recorded that Christ did and taught.

Supposed Errors in the Record of Christ’s Last Week 

A Consideration Of The Feasts Of Unleavened Bread And Of Passover

In order to correctly understand the events of Christ’s last week of His earthly ministry it is imperative that we consider the feasts of Passover and unleavened bread. We read in Lev. 23:5-7, 5) “The fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord’s Passover. 6) And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7) In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein

It is clear that the two feasts are different feasts beginning on different days. And as the paper on the topic on what day Christ was crucified will show, the two feasts celebrated two different events of Hebraic history.

It is important to note that the first day of the feast of unleavened bread is specifically said to be a Sabbath, i.e. “ye shall do no servile work therein”. But please note, there is absolutely no indication that the Passover was to be a Sabbath. In point of fact the Bible never says that the Passover is a Sabbath.  (If the reader would like to confirm that statement I offer this complete list of the passages which speak of the Passover. Ex. 12:11 and 48. Lev. 23:5. Numbers 9:2-14 and 28:16. Deut. 16:1-6. Joshua 5:10-11. II Kings 23:21-23. II Chron. 30:1-18 and 35:1-19. Ezra 6:19-20. Ezek. 45:21. Matt. 26:18. Mark 15:42.  Luke 2:41 and 22:1-15. Jn. 2:13 and 23, 6:4, 11:55, 12:1, 13:1, 18:28, and 39, 19:14, 31 and 42. I Cor. 5:7. Heb.  11:28.).

Let us also consider Ex. 12:18, “In the first month on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day at even”.

In other words, Israel was told to eat unleavened bread on the fourteenth day, which was the day of Passover, but the feast of unleavened bread begins on the fifteenth day of the month.  That means that they ate unleavened bread for eight days, i.e. the day of Passover plus the seven days of the feast of unleavened bread. So we should not be surprised or confused when we read, for example, in Luke 22:1, “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover…”. That is to say, even though the two feasts are different feasts, by the first century, Jews considered the Passover part of the feast of unleavened bread.

In the interest of clarity we will determine first on what day the events of Christ’s last week occurred.

We know that Christ had already risen on the morning of the Sunday after Passover (see Matt. 28:1). That means that because He was in the grave for three days and three nights, Christ was buried on a Wednesday at sunset. He was in the grave Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night.  And the three days He was in the grave were Thursday, Friday and Saturday; that makes three nights and three days. We know that His grave was empty “early in the morning” on a Sunday which tells us that He rose from the grave shortly after sunset on Saturday evening. (For a more complete study of the day of Christ’s burial please see the paper on that subject).   Because Christ was crucified and buried on Passover and He was buried on a Wednesday, we may conclude that Passover was on a Wednesday.

Jesus Anointed

In Matthew 26:6 we read that Christ was anointed in the house of “Simon the leper”. And that the ointment was poured on Christ’s head (vs. 7).  But in John’s account recorded in chapter 12 we read that “Martha served” (vs. 2) and that Mary wiped Christ’s feet (vs. 3).

The seeming inconsistencies in the two accounts are easily reconciled.  While the supper was at the home of Simon the leper, Martha served and Mary anointed Christ in Simon’s home.  And I do not find it a problem that in one account the ointment was poured on Christ’s head and in the other on His feet because both could very well be true.

Mr.Gordon suggests that Luke 7:36-38 contradicts the passages considered above because in that passage the anointing is at the home of a Pharisee, while in Matthew’s account it was at the home of a leper. The anointing recorded in Luke 7 is obviously not the same anointing as is recorded in Matt. 26 and John 12 as those record the events of Christ’s last week whereas Luke 7 records an event which occurred years earlier.

 The Triumphal Entry To Passover

I believe the least complicated method of determining on what day Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem occurred is to consider that event as recorded in the Gospel of Mark. In an attempt to make a very difficult issue a bit less so, I will suggest a day to each of the passages quoted below, which will ultimately be proved to be correct.

We read in Mark 11:7-9, “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and He sat on him.  And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, ’Hosanna; Blessed is He That cometh in the name of the Lord…..and Jesus entered into Jerusalem”. Let us assume, for the moment that this occurred on a Sunday.

In verse 12 we read, “And on the morrow when they were come from Bethany…”.  Let us assume for the moment that refers to a Monday.

 Mark 11:12-13:37 records what Jesus said and did on that day, i.e. our assumed Monday.

Then in Mark 14:1 we read, “After two days was the feast of the Passover and of unleavened bread”.  The phrase “after two days” refers to after sunset on Tuesday, which would be the Hebrew Wednesday. How do we know that? We know that from verse 3 which reads, “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at meat”.  The phrase “as He sat at meat” tells us that it was after sunset. Bearing in mind that the Hebrew day ended at sunset if we include the two days of Monday and Tuesday, we can then understand the phrase “after two days” to refer to Tuesday after sunset, which would be the Hebrew Wednesday.

In Mark 14:12 we read, “And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, His disciples said unto Him, ‘Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that Thou mayest eat the Passover?’”  I believe this verse speaks of   Wednesday after sunrise  because the disciples asked where Christ would eat the Passover which was that day.

 Note that the Passover was killed on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread.  Here we have a clear statement that the first century Jews considered the feast of unleavened bread the same as the feast of Passover. So verse 12 refers to the Passover which is called “the first day of the feast of unleavened bread”. 

Let us put all this together.  Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a Sunday.  The next day, i.e. Monday, He went again to Jerusalem and what He did and said is recorded in Mark 11:12-13:37.  Then on Tuesday after sunset Christ was anointed, and then the next morning His disciples asked where Christ would eat the Passover.

 Now let us consider Matt. 26:1-2 which reads, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, He said unto His disciples, ‘Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.  As the reader will see, this coincides exactly with what we have studied of this event in Mark 14.
Now let us consider John’s account of the triumphal entry. We read in Jn. 12:1, “Then Jesus, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany”. Six days before Passover was Thursday of the preceding week.  In the next verse we read, “There they made supper….”. Verses 3-8 tell of Mary’s anointing of Jesus and the subsequent comments by Judas and Christ’s rebuttal of those comments. Then in verses 12-13 we read of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and most importantly in terms of this study, when that entry was made.  “On the next day, much people that were come to the feast…..took branches of palm trees and went forth to meet Him, and cried, ‘Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel…..’”.

In other words, this account seems to say that Christ made His triumphal entry the day after he arrived in Bethany (i.e. the day after He was anointed by Mary) which was on Thursday, putting that triumphal entry on Friday. But all is clear when one does not assume that the anointing took place on the same day as Christ’s arrival in Bethany. That is to say, if we are to understand these events correctly we must see that Christ arrived in Bethany on the Thursday before Passover, but was not anointed until the Saturday after that. It is just that John did not record those events between the day Christ arrived at Bethany (Thursday) and the day before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Saturday).

Let us now consider the Scriptural evidence for what has been suggested above.

Six days before Passover (Thursday) Christ arrived in Bethany (see Jn. 12:1).

On Saturday before Passover Mary anointed our Lord (see Jn. 12:3-8).

The next day (Sunday) Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (see Jn. 12:12-13).

 Events Surrounding The Triumphal Entry

We read in Matt. 20:29, “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him….”. The remainder of this chapter tells of Christ’s giving sight to the two blind men. Then in 21:1-2 we read, “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, ‘Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt…….”. The next verses through verse 11 tell of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

Let us first consider the fact that Matthew recorded the healing of the blind “as they departed from Jericho” while Mark recorded healing of the blind when “they came to Jericho”.  Is this a contradiction?  It is not, there are in fact two different occasions in which Christ on His way to Jerusalem for His triumphal entry that Christ healed the blind. As we compare each event we will see the differences that make them separate events.

The most obvious difference is that Matthew recorded the event as “they departed Jericho” and Mark recorded the event when “they came to Jericho”. But let us also consider that in Matthew’s account there were “two blind me” (vs. 30) whereas in Mark’s account there was one who was named “Bartimaeus”. Matthew’s account tells us that “Jesus touched their eyes” (vs. 34) but in the event that Mark recorded Christ did not touch their eyes but only said, “Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole” (vs. 52).

In short Matthew and Mark recorded two different events.  Each event occurred at a different place, each event involved a different number of people and in each event the blind man or men were healed in a different way.

I would like to address one other passage that speaks of Christ healing the blind at this time, i.e. Luke 18:35 which reads, “And it came to pass that as He was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging”.  This passage records the same event as Mark’s Gospel, but the reader will not that in Mark’s Gospel we read that “they came to Jericho” whereas in Luke’s Gospel we read that .  “He was come nigh”. This seeming difficulty is answered as we consider the Greek preposition “eis” translated “unto” in the phrase, “they came to Jericho”.  “Eis” is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Appendix 104 of the Companion Bible as, “denotes motion to or unto an object”.  In other words, Mark did not write that they had arrived at Jericho, that that they were coming to Jericho which fist exactly what Luke wrote.

Now let us consider Mark 10:46, “And they came to Jericho……”. The remainder of this chapter tells again of the healing of the two blind men. Then in 11:1 we read, “and when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of His disciples”. The next verses through verse 10 tell of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

Let us compare the two accounts as recorded in Matt. 21:1 and Mark 11:1.We read in Matt. 21:1, “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage…..”. The note in the Companion Bible on the phrase, “were come” reads, “had arrived”. That tells us that Christ and His disciples had arrived at Bethphage which was near Jerusalem. Mark 11:1 reads, “And when they came nigh to Jerusalem unto Bethphage and Bethany.....”. The Greek preposition translated “unto” (“they came unto Bethphage….”) is “eis”. The definition given in the App. 104 of the Companion Bible of “eis” reads, “….it denotes motion to or unto an object….”. This implies that Christ and His disciples had not quite reached Bethphage and Bethany. Why would Matthew write that they had arrived and Mark write that they were coming to their destination?

Note that both Mark and Luke (Luke 19:29) wrote that they were coming to “Bethphage and Bethany”. In my opinion the fact that the cities are twice mentioned together, tells us that the two cities were close enough together to be thought of much like the so-called “twin cities” of Minneapolis/St. Paul in Minnesota. That would mean that Matthew wrote that they had arrived at Bethphage, but Mark tells us that they were still approaching the other city, Bethany. When Christ and His disciples left Jerusalem at the end of the day of His entry into Jerusalem they went to Bethany, which we may assume was closer than was Bethphage.

In other words, as Christ and the disciples approached Jerusalem they came first to Bethphage so Matthew could write that they had arrived at Bethphage. However Bethany was in the same area but a bit further on.  Mark recorded them just coming to Bethany so he would write that they had approached Bethphage and Bethany.

Now let us look at Matthew’s and Mark’s account of Christ sending for the animals.

In Matt. 21:2 we read, “….Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me”.

Mark 11:2 reads, “…..Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.”

Mark records Christ telling His disciples to bring a colt, but he does not record anything about an ass. That does not mean that Christ didn’t mention two animals, it means only that Mark did not record Christ mentioning two animals. In other words, there is no contradiction here.  Further, Matthew specifically wrote in 21:4 that the prophecy of Zech. 9:9 was fulfilled. That prophecy does mention two animals and would not have been fulfilled if Matthew had not recorded the Lord’s asking for the two. Mark on the other hand, does not mention the prophecy and therefore, it was not necessary for Mark to record Christ asking for the two animals mentioned in the original prophecy.

But let us look at another difference in these two accounts. In Matthew’s account we read our Lord telling His disciples of an ass that was tied and a colt with her. Mark tells us that Christ told them that no one had ever sat on the colt. The point is that Matthew’s account and Mark’s account complete each other. That is to say, Matthew tells us that they were to bring two animals but not that the colt had never been sat upon. Mark’s account, on the other hand, does not mention the ass, but does tell us more about the colt.

This practice of each Gospel completing the others is a standard one. Let us, for example compare the account of John the Baptist’s ministry in each of the four Gospels. Matt. 3:7-10 tells us of John’s preaching to the Pharisees and Sadducees. Mark does not mention that sermon. Luke is the only Gospel writer to include the quote from Is. 40, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God”. John quotes less from Is. 40 than the other Gospel writers, but does tell us that John the Baptist denied that he was the Christ.

In short, the fact that in Matthew’s Gospel Christ asked for two animals while in Mark he mentions only the colt, does not mean that one contradicts the other.  They simply complete one another.

Mr. Gordon sees a contradiction in John’s account as we read in Jn, 12:14, “and Jesus, when He had found a young ass, sat thereon….”. John did not record the apostles finding the “young ass”.  Obviously, when the apostles had found it and brought the animal to Christ, He found it.

At What Point Did The Cleansing of the Temple Occur?

We read in Matt. 21:10-11 of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and then in verse 12 we read that Christ “went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers…”.

We read in Mark 11:7-10 of Mark’s account of Christ’s triumphal entry and in verses 11-12 we read, “And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when He had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, He went out unto Bethany…”.  Then in verse 15 we read, “And they came to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of them that sold doves”. 

In other words, we learn in Mark’s account that it was the day after Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem that He returned to the city and the temple and then overturned the tables etc.  Does this contradict Matthew’s account?  Of course not. Matthew simply did not record Christ leaving the city and returning the next day to the temple when He overturned the tables etc..

In the interest of thoroughness I would like to comment on Mr. Gordon’s comment that in Matt. 21:12-13 we learn that Christ cleansed the temple “at the end of His career” while we learn in Jn. 2:13-16 “it occurs near the beginning of His career”. Let us consider this suggested contradiction.

We read in Jn. 2:13-14, “And the Jew’s Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves and the changers of money, and overthrew the tables”. We learn from this passage that Christ went to the temple for Passover, which was, of course, an annual event.  The selling of these animals in the temple was also obviously an annual occurrence as we read of it both at the beginning of Christ’s ministry and at the end of His ministry.  Obviously, Christ “cleansed the temple” more than once. To assume that He did so only once is not a logical conclusion. But that is exactly what Mr. Gordon has done. So he based this supposed error on the illogical conclusion that Christ cleansed the temple only one time in His earthly ministry and  “found” a contradiction between Jn. 2 and Matt. 21.

In short, there is no error in this matter (or in any other).  Selling animals in the temple of God was an annual event and Christ cleansed the temple more than once. i.e. at the beginning and at the end of His earthly ministry.

The Fig Tree Cursed

Mr. Gordon has suggested that even though it is clear from Matt. 21:19-20 that the disciples did indeed notice that Christ cursed the fig tree that Mark 11:20-21 suggests, according to Mr. Gordon,  that the disciples “first noticed that the fig tree had withered away” the following day.  Let us consider these passages.

We read in Matt. 21:19-20, “And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, ‘Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever.’ And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciple saw it they marveled saying, ‘How soon is the fig tree withered away!”  We read in Mark 11:20-21, “And in the morning (of the following day), as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.  And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, ‘Master, behold the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away’”.

Mark 11:21 could not be more clear. That is to say, we are specifically told that Peter called to remembrance the cursing of the fig tree.  If Peter remembered the incident he obviously did not, as Mr. Gordon suggests, “first notice it” the following day as recorded in Mark 11:21. That is to say, to first notice something suggests that one had not noticed it before. But that was not true of Peter’s noticing the cursed fig tree because he remembered having seen it before. If he remembered having seen it before, seeing  it the following day could not have been when he first noticed it as Mr. Gordon suggests.

Peter’s statement was nothing more than an exclamation of the fact of the withering of the fig tree which Christ had cursed the day before.

The Last Supper 

We read in Mat. 26:17-18, “Now the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus saying unto Him, ‘Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?’” Note that in the second phrase the disciples asked about eating the Passover, which is of course on the fourteenth day of the month (see Lev. 23:5-7, 5).  But Matthew recorded this question being asked on the “first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread”, which is, of course on the fifteenth day of the month (see Lev. 23:5-7, 5). In other words, this verse seems to say that the disciples are asking about where to eat the Passover one day after the day of Passover was to be observed.  That makes no sense, of course.  But all is clear when we bear in mind that, as proved in the paper which addresses the question as to whether Christ was crucified on Passover, by the first century, the Jews thought of the two feasts as one.  The reason was that the law required Jews to eat unleavened bread for the Feast of Passover as well as the seven days of the feast of unleavened bread, (i.e. eight days in all). In other words, they were told to eat unleavened bread on the day of Passover, one day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This eventually led to their considering Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as the same feast, even though, as the above mentioned paper proves, they were two different feasts.

So the Passover was on Wednesday and the question of Matt. 26:17 was asked on Tuesday after sunset, i.e .according to the  Hebrew custom, Wednesday.  There is, however a problem with that statement that needs to be addressed. Let me explain the problem first.

The disciples asked our Lord on a Wednesday where He desired to eat the Passover that evening at sunset. But Matthew refers to that day as “the first day of the feast of unleavened bread” (actually the Passover) which would not really begin until that evening at sunset because according to Hebrew tradition, the day begins at sunset. As is sometimes the case however, the day of the coming sunset is referred to as that day.  In other words, the day of the 14th day of the month was referred to as the feast of unleavened bread Again, it was actually the Passover) even though it would not begin, according to tradition, until that evening.

The Announcement of the Betrayal 

We read in Matthew 26:21, “And as they ate (of the Passover meal), He said, ‘Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me’”.   Let us skip for the moment to John’s Gospel. We read in Jn. 13:2, “And supper being ended….”.  Verses 3-17 speak of Christ washing the feet of the disciples. Then in verse 21 we read, “….Verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me”.

We learn in Matt. 26:21 that Jesus announced His betrayal “as they ate”.  But in John’s Gospel the betrayal is recorded in verse 21, which we learn from verse 2 occurred when “supper being ended”. Is this an error?  No, it is not. The note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger on the phrase “being ended” reads, “….means ‘supper being laidWashing would naturally precede the meal”. In other words, when we read in the KJV of John’s Gospel that supper had ended, the Greek actually reads, “supper being laid”.  So John records the fact that supper had been laid, and that Christ washed the feet of His disciples.  Obviously this was done before they ate. John did not record that they had actually sat down to eat when Christ announced His betrayal, but we do know that that was the case because Matthew did record that the announcement came “as they ate”. Therefore, the Gospels are in agreement that Christ announced His betrayal as they ate.

Let us go on now to the other events of this Passover. We read in Matt. 26:21, “And as they did eat, He said, ‘Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me’.  Then we read in verses 26-29, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take eat; this is My body’.  And He took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them saying, ‘Drink ye all of it; for this is the blood of the new testament…. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom’”.

The sequence of events is a follows:

First, Christ spoke of His betrayal (“As they were eating”).

Then He spoke of His body and blood.

Then the announcement that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine.

In Mark 14:18 we reads, “And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, ‘Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with Me shall betray Me’” Then in verses 22-25 we read, “And as they did eat, Jesus took the bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, ‘Take eat, this is My body’”. And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them; and they all drank”. Then in the following verse we read, “Verily I say unto you, ‘I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God’”.

The sequence as recorded in this passage is the same as that recorded in Matthew’s Gospel except that Mark did not record Christ speaking of the blood of the new covenant:

First Christ spoke of the betrayal. 

Then “As they did eat” Christ spoke of His body and they drank of the wine.

 Then He spoke of His not drinking of the fruit of the vine.

We are now ready to consider Luke’s account of the last Passover supper.  We will begin with verses 14- 21 which read, “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.  And He said unto them, ‘With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto I will not any more eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And He took the cup and gave thanks, and said, ‘‘Take this and divide it among yourselves’; For I say unto you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall come”. Then in verses 19 and 20 we read “…..This is My body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me…….Likewise the cup also after supper saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.  But behold, the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table’”.

There are a few things we must note in order to come to a correct understanding of how Luke’s account fits into the accounts as recorded by Matthew and Mark. Note for example, that Luke wrote that Christ took the cup of wine and told the disciples to “divide it among yourselves’”, which statement is not recorded in the other Gospels.

Note also that in Luke’s Gospel Christ spoke of His body and blood “after supper” while in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark He spoke of His body and blood while they ate.

Note also that Matthew and Mark recorded that Christ spoke of not drinking of the fruit of the vine while they ate, but in Luke’s Gospel Christ spoke of His body and blood after supper. I believe that Christ spoke of His body and blood and not drinking of the wine, two times, i.e. once while they ate and again after supper.

So the sequence of events as given in Luke 22 is as follows:

Christ spoke of not drinking of the fruit of the vine while they ate.

Then after supper He spoke of His body and blood

But how are we to understand Luke’s account of Jesus announcing His betrayal in comparison to Matthew’s and Mark’s account?  That is to say, Matthew and Mark recorded Christ’s announcement of His betrayal as they ate, but Luke’s account seems to be that He announced His betrayal after supper.

Let us consider once again Luke 22:21 which reads, “But behold the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table”.  Note the word “but” that begins this verse.  “But” is a word that draws a contrast. What is the contrast between the statement before (“this is the cup of the new testament”) and the statement after “but behold the hand…”?  There is none. In order to determine the contrast implied in the word “but” we must go back to verse 17 where we read that the disciples were to “divide it (the cup of wine”) among yourselves”.  The contrast then becomes quite obvious.  That is to say, Christ told them to divide the wine among themselves, but that one of them will betray Him.

In short, in order to account for the contrasting word “but” the statement of verses 18-20 must be parenthetical. So if we, for the moment do not include the parenthetical statement, that passage would read, “”Take this cup and divide it among yourselves; But behold the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table”. Once we see the parenthetical statement all is clear. That is to say, we see the point of the contrasting word “but”, and we learn that the betrayal was announced before the announcement that Christ would not take the fruit of the vine any more until He took in the kingdom of God.

So, as was recorded in the other Gospels the announcement of the betrayal was first.  Then Christ saying He would drink of the fruit of the vine.  And after supper, Christ spoke again of His body and blood and not drinking of the wine.

The Disciples Falling Asleep: Matthew 26:40-45 and Luke 22:45

Mr. Gordon sees an error in that Matthew records the disciples falling asleep more than once and Luke records them falling asleep just once.

I will not quote those passages because both passages do indeed speak of the disciples falling asleep.  What must be understood however, is that many, if not most of the times, when the Gospel writers record the same event, they will each record some of what happened and not others, and it is only by putting the accounts together, do we get the entire picture.  That is one reason, humanly speaking, that there are four Gospels writers and not one.  There are several examples of this truth in this section alone on the last week of Christ’s ministry.

In other words, while Matthew did record the disciples falling asleep two times, Luke recorded them doing so only once. That is not an error, it is simply a difference in what events were recorded.

The Betrayal 

In Luke 22:47-48 we read, “….and he that was called Judas….went before them (i.e. the soldiers), and drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him.  But Jesus said unto him, ‘Judas betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’”

We read in Matt. 26:49-50, “…forthwith he (Judas) came to Jesus, and said, ‘Hail Master’; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, ‘Friend, wherefore art thou come?’ Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him”.

And in Jn. 18:4-9 we read, “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him went forth, and said unto them, ‘Whom seek ye?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, ‘I am He’. And Judas also, which betrayed Him stood with them. As soon then as He had said, unto them ‘I am He’, they went backward, and fell to the ground.  Then asked He them again, ‘Whom seek ye?’ and they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. Jesus answered, ‘I have told you that I am He; if therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way”.

There is no doubt that these accounts do indeed differ one from the other.  But that does not make any of the accounts wrong, just different. Is there anything in these accounts that contradict the other? No! This is yet another instance in which the entire scene is described, not in one Gospel, but can be understood only by putting all the accounts together. Let us put the accounts together so that we may gain the entire picture of what happened that night.

We learn from John’s account that at first Judas stood back with the soldiers, “And Judas also, which betrayed Him stood with them”.  Then we learn from Luke’s Gospel that “Judas “went before” the soldiers.  In other words, Judas at first stood back with the soldiers but then later Judas “drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him.  But Jesus said unto him, ‘Judas betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’”.  But at this, the first encounter, Judas did not kiss Christ.

Then in Matthew’s account we learn that Judas “came to Jesus, and said, ‘Hail Master’; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, ‘Friend, wherefore art thou come?’”  We know from the fact that Judas did indeed kiss Jesus and that Jesus’ remark differed from the remark recorded in Luke, that this was a second encounter at which Christ allowed Judas to kiss Him.

So the sequence of events as recorded in the Gospels are as follows:

Judas came with the soldiers but at first stood back with them (Jn. 18:4-9).

Then Judas came forward the first time, but was not allowed to kiss Christ (Luke 22:47-48).

Then Judas came to Him a second time and was then allowed to kiss Christ (Matt. 26:49-50).

At that point the soldiers took Christ (Matt. 26:49-50).

And this brings us to the question of why there might be four accounts of the same event.  It is this question that I would like the reader to consider.

As the paper on the kingdom of Heaven proves from Scripture, Matthew presented Christ as the King of Israel hence the genealogy through Solomon. Mark presented Christ as the Servant of God hence there is no genealogy as servants do not have a written genealogy.  Luke presented Christ as the Son of man, hence the genealogy goes all the way back to Adam.  And John’s Gospel was written to present Christ as God, hence the genealogy, “in the beginning was the Word, and the was with God, and the Word was God”.

We read in Matt. 26:56 in reference to Judas’ betrayal, “But all this was done that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”.  As the promised Messiah, the king of Israel (which is how Matthew presented Christ) Christ must fulfill the prophecies concerning Him.  And that is why Matthew included Judas’ kiss.

In Luke we read Christ’s statement to Judas, “betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’” Again, Luke presented Christ as the Son of man and that is why he included this remark.

As the paper on the dispensational place of John’s Gospel will show from Scripture, John wrote his Gospel to all people of the world regardless of their national origin.  In other words, he did not write his Gospel to Jews or to Gentiles, he wrote it to all peoples apart from their dispensational position.  My point is that of all the Gospel writers, John would have been the one to write the most about the encounter between the soldiers and Christ.

In short, there is a very good reason why the Gospel writers included or did not include what they did as they wrote.  To see these inclusions and exclusions as errors misses the point of why there are four Gospels.

Peter’s Sword: Matthew 26:52 and Luke 22:36 

We read in Matt. 26:52, “Then said Jesus unto him (Peter who had used his sword against a servant), ‘Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword’”.    And in Luke 22:36-38 we read, “Then said He unto them, ‘But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one’”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on the verse in Matthew reads, “Dispose of swords.  All who use the sword will perish by it”.  To begin, Christ did not tell Peter to “dispose” of his sword, He told him to put it away, i.e. he should not attempt to prevent the arrest of Christ by force. But let us continue with a consideration of the passage in Luke 22.

One of Mr. Gordon’s problems in this case is that he did not consider the context of this passage.  Verse 35 is crucial to a correct understanding of verse 36.  We read in Luke 22:35, “And He said unto them (His disciples), ‘When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing?’ And they said, ‘Nothing’”. Now let us consider once again verse 36 in that context, “Then said He unto them, ‘But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one’”.

Note the very important phrase, “but now”.  That tells us that the situation had changed between the time Jesus sent out the disciples to spread the gospel and the then present, when Jesus was about to be arrested. What was that change?

Christ knew and taught (though it was not understood until after His resurrection) that He would be killed and raised again. Once His earthly ministry was complete and He had offered Himself as the Lamb of God and been raised from the dead, the end times were ready to be set in motion. They were not set in motion immediately after His resurrection because, while dying on the cross Christ asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do”. That prayer was answered in that all through the Acts period Israel was given the opportunity to accept their risen Messiah. They did not accept Him and were consequently set aside as God’s chosen nation and when that happened the prophecies concerning Her were put in abeyance. (Please see the paper on this subject for the proof of those statements).

My point is that once Christ was crucified and raised from the grave the stage was set for the end times which included, of course, the tribulation. It was the tribulation for which Christ advised His disciples to buy a sword to defend themselves against the persecution of the antichrist.

In short, there is no contradiction here.  Christ told Peter to put away his sword because he was not going to prevent Christ’s arrest by force. And Christ told his disciples that they should buy a sword because by His impending death and resurrection, the stage was set for the end times tribulation.

The Slave’s Ear: Matthew 26:51 and Luke 22:50-51

We read in Matt. 26:51,”And behold, one of them (the disciples) which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s and smote off his ear”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Matt. 26:51 reads, “The ear of a slave was cut off and left that way”.  And his comment on Luke 22:50-51 reads, “The severed ear is miraculously healed by Jesus”.

I believe Mr. Gordon is suggesting that because the ear was left severed, Jesus would have had nothing with which He could replace the severed ear. There are two errors to this thinking. 1)  Christ could have given the man another ear and 2) Scripture does not say, as Mr. Gordon suggests, that the ear was “left that way”.

I included this supposed error because it presents yet another perfect example of the fact that there are four Gospels and the entire picture of an event can be seen only by considering all the accounts of that event. In this case, because Luke tells us that Christ healed the man with the severed ear, we know that indeed, the ear was not “left that way”.

In short, when an event is recorded in more than one Gospel, the facts of that event may differ from one account to the next.  But that does not mean that there is an error; it means that all accounts must be considered to have the complete picture of that event.

Peter’s Denials: Matthew 26:69-70

We read in Matt. 26:34, “Jesus saith unto him (Peter), ‘Verily I say unto thee that this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice’”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Peter’s first denial as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel reads, “Peter makes his first denial to a maid and ‘them all’”. And his comment on Mark’s account reads, “It was to one maid only”.

His comment on Mark’s account of Peter’s first denial is correct, so I will not quote that passage.  But to whom did Matthew refer by the phrase, “them all”. Mr. Gordon assumes that it was all the maids which contradicts Mark’s account.

Let us consider Matt.26:69-70, “Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him saying, ‘Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee’. But he denied before them all saying, ‘I know not what thou sayest’”.

There is absolutely no reason to assume that the phrase, “them all’ refers to the maids.  In point of fact we are told in verse 58 that Peter, “sat with the servants to see the end”.  In other words, it was the servants (a different word than “maid”) with whom Peter sat that he denied Christ.

But what about Peter’s other denials? I am indebted to Dr. E. W. Bullinger for his note in the Companion Bible on the word “thrice” in the phrase, “shall deny Me thrice” and for his Appendix 160 in the Companion Bible.  The note on the word “thrice” reads, “Three denials and a cock-crow: then three more and a second cock-crow: not three cock-crows. The Appendix  explains  Peter’s denials of Christ which not only answer all the supposed errors, but fit precisely what Scripture says.

Most of us, myself included, have assumed (with good reason, but not correctly) that Peter denied Christ three times. But as Dr. Bullinger shows, Peter denied Christ three times after each one of the cock’s  two crowings for a total of six denials. We know that from the fact that there are six different combinations of the time, the place and the questioner.

Before the first cock’s crow we read in Jn. 18:17 that the place was the door without (Gr.“thura”). The time was as he was entering, and the questioner was the porteress (Gr. “thuroros”).

The second denial before the first cock’s crow is recorded in Matt. 26:70 and Mark 14:6.8 Peter was in the hall (Gr. “aule”), he was “sitting” and the questioner was “a certain maid”. (Luke combines the same maid, and another (Gr.”heteros”, masc.).

The third denial before the first cock’s crow is recorded in Matt. 26:71. Peter was at the gateway or porch (Gr. “pulon”) in an interval of one hour. Jn. 18:25-26 combines the same place and time with another maid and bystanders, one of the being a relative of Malchus.

Before the cock crowed the second time the fourth denial is recorded in Mark 14:63. Peter was “beneath in the hall”. The questioner was the maid again.

The fifth denial (the second after the second cock’s crow) is recorded in Matt. 26:73 and Mark 14:76. Peter was by the gate (Gr. “pulon”) and it was “shortly after”. The questioners were bystanders.

The sixth denial (the third after the second cock crow) is recorded in Luke 22:59-60. Peter was in the midst of the hall (Gr. “aule”, vs. 55) an “hour afterward” and the questioner was “a certain one” masc..

In short, again, one must consider all the accounts of an event as recorded in the Gospels in order to correctly understand the event.

The Gospel Accounts of Christ’s Trial

On What Day Was the Trial?

Mr. Gordon’s comments on the scriptures that record the trial of Christ are as follows: About Matthew’s account he wrote, “Jesus’ initial hearing was at night on Passover.  In the morning he was taken to Pilate”.  And of Luke’s account he wrote, “The initial hearing took place in the morning on Passover”. And Mr. Gordon’s comment on John’s account reads, “It took place on the day before Passover, on the day of preparation”. (Note: Mr. Gordon sees the trial before the high priest as the “initial trial” but as my comments on Matthew 26:57 and John 18:13 in the paragraphs below will show, Christ was first taken to Annas, then to the high priest Caiaphas.  In other words, the trial before Caiaphas was not the “initial one”, as Mr. Gordon incorrectly assumes).

Let us consider Mathew’s account of these events first. Matt. 26:57 reads, “And they that had laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled”. At what point had the scribes and elders come together; was it that night or was it the next morning?  We do not have to guess as to the answer to that question because it is given in Luke’s Gospel.  We read in Luke 22:66, “And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests, and the scribes came together and led Him into their council..”. The note by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible on the phrase in Luke 22:66 “as it was day”, tells us that it refers to when “it came” day. In other words, the trial before the chief priests etc. occurred as morning was setting in, i.e. early in the morning

Let us also consider Matt. 27:1-2, “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the People took counsel against Jesus to put him to death; and when they had bound Him, they led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate, the governor”.  Note that there were no further questions when the morning had come.  That is to say, the trial had been held earlier that morning i.e. at sunrise, when “it came day” and later in the morning the council reached their decision to hand Christ over to Pilate.

Going back once more to Matthew’s account, let us consider verse 58 which speaks of Peter following Christ as He was taken to the palace of the high priest. Because the next verses tell of Christ’s trial, it is assumed that the trial was at night during which Peter denied Him.  But because we are told that the scribes etc. did not come together until the morning, we must not make such an assumption. All is clear when we see that the account of the trial is parenthetical.

So there is no contradiction here: the trial by the scribes etc. was in the early morning on the day of Passover.

We are now prepared to consider Mr. Gordon’s comment on John’s account that the initial trial “took place the day before Passover, on the day of Preparation”. Let us consider the reference that Mr. Gordon gives to prove that Christ’s trial was the “day before Passover”. We read in John 18:28, “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment; and it was early; and they themselves  went not into the judgment hall lest they should be defiled but that they might eat the Passover”. In other words, this verse seems to say that because the Jews were concerned about being defiled and therefore unable to eat the Passover, that Christ’s trial was before the Passover. This is a very common error, but it is indeed an error. Let me explain.

We read in Lev. 23:5-7, “The fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord’s Passover. 6) And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7) In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein”.

Each of these two feasts begins on a different day, which makes it a different feast. That is to say if the feast of unleavened bread was the same feast as the feast of Passover they would begin on the same day. But because they begin on two different days, we must, in my opinion, conclude that they are two different feasts.

The point of them being two different feasts is further proved as we consider Ex. 12 which gives us the reasons that these feasts are to be commemorated. We read in Ex. 12:26-27, 26) “And it shall come to pass that when your children shall say unto you, ‘What mean ye by this service’? (i.e. the Passover service, see vs. 18).  27) that ye shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, Who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses…”.

Verse 17 of Ex. 12 gives us the reason for the commemoration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. “And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread: for in this selfsame day have  I brought your armies out of Egypt:  therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever”. 

In other words, the Feast of Passover was to celebrate the fact that God passed over the houses of Israelites when the firstborn of every other house was to die.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the other hand was to celebrate God’s leading Israel out of Egypt.

The point I am making is that the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread are two separate feasts. This fact is often misunderstood because we read Ex. 12:18, “In the first month on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day at even”. In other words, Israel was told to eat unleavened bread on the fourteenth day, which was the day of Passover, but the feast of unleavened bread begins on the fifteenth day of the month.  That means that they ate unleavened bread for eight days, i.e. the day of Passover plus the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

So we should not be surprised or confused when we read, for example, in Luke 22:1, “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover…”. That is to say, even though the two feasts are different feasts, by the first century, Jews considered the Passover part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Coming back then to the supposed error. We read in Jn. 18:28 that the Jews did not want to be defiled before they ate of the Passover. But again, the first century Jews thought of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread as the same feast. So it was not the Passover that they were concerned about being defiled, it was the Feast of Unleavened bread.  Let me put this in other terms for clarity.

Christ was taken and crucified on the day of Passover, the fourteenth day of the month. The Jews did not want to be defiled lest they not be able to eat of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened bread, which was the fifteenth day of the month.

Let us also consider Jn. 19:14. That verse is in the context of the trial and reads, “It was the preparation of the Passover ….”.  As proved in the paragraphs above, Christ was crucified on the day of the Feast of Passover. To clarify once again: Passover was on the fourteenth day of the month and the Feast of Unleavened bread was on the fifteenth day of the month.  Therefore, the preparation of the Feast of Unleavened bread was, of course on the day before, i.e. the 14th day of the month.  But here again, John, as was the custom in the first century, used the term “Passover” in reference to the Feast of Unleavened bread.  That is to say, Jn. 19:14 tells us that it was the 14th day of the month which was the preparation for the Feast of Unleavened bread which began on the 15thday. All is clear when we see that in the first century, the Jews thought of the two feasts as one because they both involved the eating of unleavened bread.

In short, Jesus was taken after sunset on our Tuesday which, according to the Hebrew calendar, was the 14th day of the month. But He was not questioned until the chief priests etc. gathered the next morning, on Wednesday, the 14th day of the month. The preparation for which the scribes did not want to be defiled was the preparation, not for Passover, but for the Feast of Unleavened bread.

The Questioning 

To Whom Was Christ Sent First? Matthew 26:57 and John 18:13

We read in Matt. 26:57, “And they that had laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest where the scribes and the elders had assembled”.  And in Jn. 18:13 we read,  “And led Him away to Annas first: for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year” (Jn. 18:13).

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Matt. 26:57 reads, “After his arrest Jesus is first taken to Caiaphas, the high priest”.  And his comment on Jn. 18:13 reads, “First to Annas the son-in-law of Caiaphas”.

The reader will readily see that Mr. Gordon has added the word “first” in his comment on the passage in Matthew. That is to say, Matthew did not write that Jesus was “first” taken to Caiaphas”, only that He was taken to him.  Then in John’s account we do indeed read that “first” Jesus had been taken to Annas.

Once again, it is only by taking into consideration both accounts that the reader can see the entire picture. Jesus was first taken to Annas, as recorded in John’s Gospel, and then to Caiahphas.  Matthew does not record Jesus being taken to Annas, but that does not mean that there is an error in Matthew’s account, it was only different. If Matthew had said, as Mr. Gordon attributed to him, that Jesus was “first” taken to Caiaphas, then that would have been an error.  But as it is recorded, there is no error.

 Let us continue with the trial of Christ. In verse 28  of Jn. 18 we read that Jesus was led from Caiaphas  “unto the hall of judgment” . (The Greek word translated “hall of judgment” is “Praitorion” and is also used in Jn.18:33 and 19:9.  It is also used in Matt. 27:27, Mark 15:16).

Then in verse 29 we read that Pilate went out to the Jews to ask, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” In verses 30-31 the Jews answered Pilate, saying, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death”. In verse 33 we read that “Pilate entered the judgment hall (Greek “Praitorion”) again”, and he again questioned Jesus: that interrogation is recorded in verse 33-38a.

In verse 38b we read that Pilate went out to the Jews again saying, “I find in Him no fault at all”.  At this point Barabbas was released as recorded in verses 39-40.

In Jn. 19:1-we read that Pilate had Jesus scourged and a crown of thorns was placed on His head and He was mocked. In verse 4 we read that Pilate went forth yet again to the Jews saying that he found no fault in Jesus. In verses 5-7 we read that Jesus was brought forth to the Jews but they insisted that Jesus be crucified.  Then in verse 9 we read that Pilate once again went into the judgment hall to speak to Jesus. But “Jesus answered, ‘Thou couldest have no power at all against Me except it were given thee from above….’” (Jn. 19:11).

In verse 12 we read that yet again Pilate sought to release Jesus but the Jews insisted He be crucified saying, “If thou let this man go thou art not Caesar’s friend”.  Verse 13 tells us that Pilate then “sat down in the judgment seat”.  Jn. 19:16, “Then delivered he Him unto them to be crucified.  And they took Jesus and  led Him away”.We are now ready to consider the other Gospels as they recorded the events described in Jn. 18:28-19:16.

Matt. 26:63b reads, “…….And the high priest answered and said unto Him, ‘I adjure Thee by the living God that thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God’:  Jesus saith unto him, ‘Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, ‘Henceforth shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power….”.

Mark 14:61b reads, “……Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto Him, ‘Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ and Jesus said ‘I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power……..’”

The question of the high priest as to Who Christ was is put in different terms in each account and the answer Christ gave was also put in different terms. Further, in Matthew’s account, when the high priest asked Christ Who He is he said, “I adjure Thee”. That phrase implies that the high priest was desperate to know the answer. Therefore, I believe that Mark recorded the first time the question was asked and by the second time, as recorded in Matthew’s account, when Christ had said nothing, the high priest was desperate to have an answer and preceded the question with, “I adjure Thee”

I suggest therefore that the questioning went as follows:

1) As recorded in Mark, the high priest asked Him, “Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’. This is the first time Christ is asked outright Who He was.  And His answer was, “I am”.

2) Then, as recorded in Matthew, the high priest asked Christ a second time Who He is, this time with a sense of desperation with the words, “I adjure Thee”.

So Mark recorded the high priest asking Christ Who He was the first time, but not the second time, and then Matthew recorded the high priest asking Christ who He was the second time, but not the first time.

In short, the questions were slightly different because they were put at different times. And the answers were slightly different because they too were put at different times. Once again, it is apparent that in order to see the complete picture, one must consider all the accounts of an event.

Matt. 27:11 tells that “Jesus stood before the governor”. Pilate interrogated Jesus but Matthew does not record most of what John recorded. In verse 19 we read that Pilate sat down on the judgment seat.  At this point Barabbas was released (vs. 26).  In verse 27 we read that Jesus was taken to the “common hall” where they mocked Him and put a crown of thorns on His head.  (The Greek word translated “common hall” is Praitorion”, the same word translated “hall of judgment” in John’s account of these events.) 

Matthew 27:20, Mark 15:11 and Luke 23:18-23: Freeing Barabbas

Mr. Gordon’s comments on the passage in Matthew’s account reads, “The chief priests and elders are responsible for persuading the people to ask for the release of Barabbas”.  Of Luke’s account, Mr. Gordon wrote, “Only the chief priests are responsible”.  And of Luke’s account he wrote, “The people ask, apparently having decided for themselves”. Let us consider these passages.

Matt. 27:20 reads, “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus”. The Greek word translated “persuaded” in the phrase. “persuaded the multitude” is “pepoitha”.

Now let us consider Mark 15:11 which reads, “But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them”. The Greek word translated “moved” in the phrase, “moved the people” is “anasio”. I will quote Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s note in the Companion Bible on this word. It reads, “moved= vehemently stirred up (as an earthquake). Gr. anasio connected to seismos, an earthquake”.

I believe it is obvious when we consider both Matthew’s and Mark’s accounts that while the chief priests and elders “persuaded” the multitude, it was the chief priests alone who “moved” them. That is to say, there were two stages in getting the multitude to ask for Barabbas to be freed rather than Christ.  Stage one was recorded by Matthew and consisted of the chief priests and the elders persuading the multitude.  Stage two, recorded by Mark was the chief priests alone moving them to do so.

Now let us consider John’s account. I will not quote that passage because it says absolutely nothing about the chief priests or the elders even speaking to the multitude. Does that mean, as Mr. Gordon suggests that the multitude had “decided for themselves”? Of course not. Once again, we see the importance of considering all accounts of a scene in order to get the entire picture of it. John simply did not record the chief priests or the elders speaking to the multitude about releasing Barabbas. But two Gospel writers had indeed recorded it. And again, that is one reason we have four Gospels and not one.

If one is seeking the truth as to what these Gospels teach, one cannot read each Gospel as if it was written to stand alone, because they were not written to stand alone, they were written to give a complete picture of the life and death of Christ.

A Scarlet and a Purple Robe: Matthew 27:28 and Mark 15:17

We read in Matt. 27:28, “And they stripped Him and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews’”. And we read in Mark 15:17, “And they clothed Him with purple…”. And in Jn. 19:2 we read, “And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe”. Let us add verse 5 to this discussion, “Then came Jesus forth wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe…”.

Note that at first Jesus was clothed with a scarlet robe, which according to Mr. Gordon is a sign of “infamy”. But in John’s account we read that when Jesus finally came forth, he was wearing the purple robe. Mr. Gordon suggests that the purple robe is “a sign of royalty”. Note also, that Matthew, who was the only one that recorded them putting on a purple robe, was the only one to record that they “stripped Him”.

Now let us try to put all the accounts together.  I believe that when the soldiers first stripped Him they put on Him a scarlet robe,” a sign of infamy”. But Matthew also records that they put on Him a crown of thorns and they mocked Him saying, “Hail, king of the Jews”. It seems to me that if they went to all the trouble of making a crown of thorns for Christ, they would have, at that point, taken off the scarlet robe and replaced it with a purple robe, as it was more in keeping with their mocking Him as the “King of the Jews”.

In other words, once again, we do not see the true picture unless we consider all the accounts that record an event. By considering all the accounts we see that the soldiers first stripped Christ and put on Him a robe of scarlet. Neither Mark or John record that detail, but that does not mean it did not happen just as Matthew wrote that it did. Then when the soldiers began to mock Christ as the King of the Jews, they put on Him a crown of thorns and a purple robe, i.e. the color of  royalty. And it was that robe that Christ was wearing when He was finally led away.

Who Carried the Cross?: Matthew 27:32 and John 19:17

We read in Matt. 27:32, “And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear His cross” (see also Mark 15:21 and Luke 23:26). And in Jn. 19:17 we read, “And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha”.

Note that Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote that Simon bore the cross but John wrote that Christ Himself bore it. There is, of course, no contradiction here. Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote about when Christ started His march, i.e. “as they came out” while John recorded the time that Christ arrived at Golgotha. In other words, Simon started out carrying the cross, but by the time they reached Golgotha Christ was carrying it.

The Day of Christ’s Crucifixion

 The sign of Jonah is explained in Matt. 12:39-41. That passage reads, “But He answered and said unto them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 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’”.

In terms of our study, what is important is that the sign of Jonah is that Christ would be buried for three days and for three nights. I believe they are three whole days and three whole nights. This will be discussed below.

 We read in Jn. 20:1, “the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher”. The first day of the week is our Sunday. How do we know that? We know that from the fact that we read in Lev. 23:3, “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest…”. Jews today who keep the sabbath, keep it on Saturday. Because Jewish traditions have been kept without break from the time of Christ to this day, we may, in my opinion, conclude that Saturday was the sabbath day in the time of Christ as it is today. If Saturday is the weekly sabbath, the seventh day, (and I believe it is) that makes Sunday the first day of the week.

So Mary Magdalene went to the sepulcher early on Sunday morning while it was still dark, and she found it empty. Mary went to the tomb while it was still dark, which tells us that Christ was not there all of Saturday night. Therefore, because Christ was not in the tomb for all of Saturday night, Saturday night can not be counted as the third night.

I believe that Christ was buried at sunset Wednesday. If we count from Wednesday at sunset to Saturday at sunset we will have three whole days and three whole nights. We must bear in mind that the Jewish day began and ended at sunset. So the first night of His burial was Wednesday sunset to Thursday sunrise. The first day of His burial was Thursday sunrise to Thursday sunset. The second night of His burial was Thursday sunset to Friday’s sunrise. The second day of His burial was Friday’s sunrise to Friday’s sunset. The third night of His burial was Friday’s sunset to Saturday’s sunrise. And the third day of His burial was Saturday’s sunrise to Saturday’s sunset. In short, Christ was raised some time after sunset on Saturday night.

 But most believe that Christ died and was buried on Friday. I believe the reason for that almost universal misconception is based on Mark 15:42 which reads, “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, the day before the Sabbath….”.  The assumption is that the sabbath mentioned in this verse refers to the weekly sabbath and the “preparation” then would be on Friday. But, as proved in the paragraphs above, Christ was not buried on a Friday, but on a Wednesday. I suggest that the sabbath referred to in Mark 15:42 is in reference to the sabbath which is not the weekly sabbath, but the first day of the feast of unleavened bread.  Let us consider Lev. 23:6-7 which reads, “And on the fifteenth day of the same month (the first month, vs.5) is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein”. Note that the first day of the feast of unleavened bread is a sabbath, “ye shall do no servile work therein”.

Further, the term “preparation day” is used in John’s Gospel account of the day before Christ died.  We read in Jn. 19:14-16, “And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour…..then delivered he Him unto them to be crucified….”.  As shown in the section above, “On What Day Was The Trial Held?”, by the first century Jews considered the Passover as part of the feast of unleavened bread because the feast of Passover required the eating of unleavened bread. So when we read in Jn. 19:14 that “it was the preparation of the Passover, it was actually the preparation of the feast of unleavened bread, the preparation for which was on Passover.  So Jn. 19:14-16 tells us quite clearly that preparation was for the Passover, not for the weekly sabbath.   The term  is also used in Matt. 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, Jn. 19:31 and 42. But it is only Jn. 19:14-16 that tells us for which day the preparation was made. It was made for the feast of unleavened bread, not the weekly sabbath.

The Hour of Christ’s Crucifixion: Mark 15:25 and John 19:14-16

Mark 15:25 reads, “And it was the third hour and they crucified Him”.  But we read in Jn. 19:14-16, “And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour; and he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him……Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus and led Him away”.

The Hebrew day begins and ends at sunset. How do we know that? Let us consider Gen. 1:4, “…..and the evening and the morning were the first day. And 1:8, “…..and the evening and the morning were the second day”. And 1:13, “…..and the evening and the morning were the third day”. See also verses 19, 23 and 31. Please note that in every case, the order is first the evening, and then the day. That tells us that Jews reckoned the beginning of the day at sunset.

We are now ready to consider the apparent contradiction between Mark 15:25 and John 19:14-16.   In the KJV of Mark 15:25 we read, “And it was the third hour and they crucified Him”.  What exactly does it mean that Christ was crucified?  That is to say, I believe most of us think of the crucifixion as the time Christ hung on the cross.  And that is how the Holy Spirit usually, but not always used the word. I believe that as we consider a few verses about crucifixion, we will see that the word, as used in the New Testament, is indeed usually used of the process, but it is sometime used in reference to the actual death of the one being crucified, not to the process that led to that death. Gal. 5:24 is an example of the term “crucified” being used in reference to a death, rather than the process of being killed.  That verse reads, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lust”. And Gal. 6:14, “….by Whom the world is crucified unto me and I the world”.  Paul was saying in these verses that one is figuratively dead to the flesh, and that he is dead to the world.

With that in mind let us consider once more Mark 156:25.  Are we to believe that Mark had forgotten the time of Christ’s crucifixion?  I do not believe that that is the case. How then are we to understand this verse?  The Greek word translated “and” in the phrase, “the third hour and they crucified Him” is “kai” and is often translated “even” and should have been so translated in this verse.  I believe that this verse is a succinct description of what happened that afternoon.  That is to say, I believe that this verse should read, “And it was the third hour even they crucified Him”. That is to say, we know from Matt. 27:46 quoted above, that there was darkness over the land for three hours, which, in my opinion, were the three hours in which Christ hung on the cross.  I believe Mark 15:25 tells us that at the end of that three hours Christ died. So this verse should read, “And it was the third hour even they crucified Him”.  In other words, in the third hour during which Christ hung on the cross, His crucifixion was completed, and He died.

The Inscription on the Cross: Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38 and Jon 19:19

Let us consider the inscription on the cross as recorded by the four Gospel writers. Matt. 27:37 reads, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews”. Mark 15:26 reads, “The King of the Jews”.  Luke 23:38 reads, “This is the King of the Jews”. And in John 19:19 the recorded inscription reads, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”.

Each Gospel writer gives a different account as to the inscription on the cross. There is absolutely no reason to assume an error in these accounts.  By putting them together we find that the inscription reads, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”.

Those Who were Crucified with Jesus: Matthew 27:44 and Luke 23:39-42

Mr. Gordon’s comment on the passage in Matthew reads, “Both of those who are crucified with Jesus taunt him”.  And about the passage in Luke he wrote, “Only one taunts Jesus, and he is rebuked by the other for doing so”.

Mr. Gordon has made a very common error in his understanding of who had been crucified with Jesus. It is commonly believed that there were three who hung on the cross, but let us consider the scriptures that speak of them.

We read in Matt. 27:44, “The thieves also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth” (i.e. reviled Him).  The Greek word translated “thieves” is “lestai”. Now let us consider Luke 23:39, “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him……”. The Greek word translated “malefactors” is “kakourgoi”. Obviously, they are two different words and we must conclude that they refer to two different types of criminals.  Therefore, there were at least five, not three who were crucified at that time.  Matthew refers to the “thieves”, plural, so there must have been at least two thieves.  And Luke refers to “malefactors”, plural, so there must have been at least two malefactors.  So there were two thieves, two malefactors and Christ Who were crucified at that time. With that in mind we are now ready to consider the supposed error as suggested by Mr. Morgan.

Mr. Morgan is correct that both thieves taunted Jesus but he is incorrect in assuming that Luke’s Gospel records only one thief taunting Christ because Luke wrote of the malefactors, not the thieves who were crucified with Jesus.

“Today Shalt Thou Be With Me in Paradise”: Luke 23:40-43

We read in Luke 23:40-43 of Christ’s conversation with one of the thieves on the cross. “But the other (i.e. the other thief) answering rebuked him saying, ‘dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deed; but this Man hath done nothing amiss’.  And he said unto Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom’. And Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise’”.

As the reader may know, there were no commas in the Greek manuscripts.  That means, of course that the placement of the commas were interpretations of the translators and as such are, of course, liable for error. The comma in question is in the phrase, “I say unto thee, This day”.  That is to say, the KJV translators interpreted the statement of Christ’s to mean that the thief would be in paradise with Christ that very day. But as we know, Christ was not in paradise that day, He was in the grave three days and three nights. I suggest we consider the fact that the comma should be placed after the words “this day”. Then it would read, “I say unto thee this day, thou shalt be with Me in paradise”.

How do we know that that is the correct placement for the comma? Let us consider that this thief put his faith in Christ as being the promised Messiah (“when Thou comest into Thy kingdom”) at the very moment that Christ was suffering death and humiliation on the cross. In my opinion, that points to Christ saying in effect, ‘Thou hast put your faith in Me on this very day of My death, therefore I say unto you this day, you will be with me in Paradise.

In short, the context leads to the conclusion that the comma should be placed after “this day” so that statement should read, ‘Verily I say unto thee this day, Thou shalt be with Me in paradise”. 

Christ’s Last Words: Matthew 27:46 and John 10:30

We read in Matt. 27:46 of Christ saying as He hung on the cross, ’My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?”  And in John 10:30 we read Christ’s statement that “I and My Father are One”. The supposed error is that if Christ and the Father were one, Christ would not have felt forsaken. (For a more complete study of the question of whether David, or Christ, had been forsaken please see the paper on that topic).  It will explain why I believe that neither David or Christ was actually forsaken by God, but they felt as though they had been forsaken).

To begin, we must understand that the term “God” does not equate to the term “Father”.  That is to say, certainly the Father is God, but He is not all that God is.  For example, the Father is never said to have created the heavens or the earth, and it is not the Father Who is the Comforter. As the paper on the trinity will show, “Father” is one of the offices of God and as the paper on Jehovah will show, all the offices of God are fulfilled by Jesus Christ.  So when Christ said “I and My Father are One” He meant it quit literally, i.e. Father and Son are the same Person, i.e. God.  Consider for example, Is. 9:6 where we read, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace”. This passage is obviously about Christ, but one of His titles is “everlasting Father”. Christ is the Father in that He fulfills the office of “Father”.   In other words, Christ is both the Son (“unto us a Son is given”) and the Father, they are literally One.

As to the supposed contradiction, let us consider that Christ did not say on the cross that the Father had forsaken Him, He had said, “My God,,, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”  Consider also Christ’s last statement on the cross as recorded in Luke 23:46, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, ‘My Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit’: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost”.  (For a more complete study of the question of whether David, or Christ, had been forsaken please see the paper on that topic).

But there is in Matt. 27:46 a difficulty if not understood correctly. That difficulty is that because Christ fulfills all the offices of God, how could He have felt forsaken by God? That is to say, how could He have felt forsaken by Himself?

The answer to our question is that when Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice to be crucified on the cross He did so in fulfillment of at least two offices.  One was, of course, the Lamb of God and the other was as the Son of God. The former is mentioned in Rev. 5:12 where we read,  “…..worthy is the Lamb That was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom…..”. And in I John 4:10 we read, “….God….loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation of our sins”. The Greek word translated “propitiation” is “hilasmos” and means “to cover”.  In other words, Christ’s blood covers the sins of believers so that a holy God does not see those sins making it possible for Him to commune with His own. My point is that when Christ hung on the cross, He was fulfilling that which, as the Son of God, He was sent to accomplish.

So in terms of the supposed error, while He hung on the cross, Christ fulfilled the office of Son and in that office He felt forsaken by God.

Matthew 27:46-50, Mark 15:34-37, Luke 23:46 and John 19:30

Mr. Gordon’s comment on the passage in Matthew reads, ”Jesus’ last recorded words are: ’My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” (This is a quote from Matt. 27:46). These are not Jesus’ “last recorded words” as Mr. Gordon suggested.  We know that for sure from verse 50 which reads, “Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost”. In other words, because Christ cried again, we must conclude that the words recorded in verse 50 came after the words recorded in verse 46, therefore those of verse 46 could not have been Jesus’ “last words”.

Mr. Gordon goes on to say, “Even though Matthew and Mark represent direct quotes and are translated similarly, the actual Greek words used for God are different.  Matthew uses “Eli” and Mark uses “Eloi”. I will quote from Dr. E. W. Bullinger’s note on the words “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” which reads, “The English transliteration of the Greek is the Greek transliteration of the Aram. ‘eli,eli, lamah azabthani’. The whole expression is Aramaic”. Consider also the fact that Christ’s words were quoted from Ps. 22 which was, of course, written in Hebrew, and I believe we may conclude that the error was in the transliteration.

Continuing with the supposed errors involving Christ’s words on the cross, let us consider Luke 23:46 which reads, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit’: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost”. The parallel verse is found in John 19:30 which reads, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ’It is finished’: and He bowed His Head, and gave up the ghost”. 

Once again Mr. Gordon has failed to recognize the truth that no Gospel records the entire event.  If one seeks the truth, one must consider all the records of the event in all four Gospels.  This is common practice in secular history.  That is to say, if one were to write a history text book on the American Civil War, one would not consider just one account, but several.  So too, all four Gospels should be considered when determining the events recorded therein.

There were in fact seven statements the Lord made on the cross in the following order:

!) Luke 23:34 which reads, “Then said Jesus, ‘Father forgive them for they not what they do’”

2) Luke 23:43, “And Jesus said unto him (the thief on the cross) ‘Verily, I say unto thee this day, ‘Thou shalt be with Me in paradise’”

3) John 19:26, “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, ‘Woman, behold thy Son’”.

4) Matt. 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’”

5) Jn. 19:48, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, ‘I thirst’”

6) Jn. 19:30, “And when Jesus therefore, received the vinegar He said, ’It is finished’”.

7) Luke 23:46, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, ‘My Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit’: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost”

I believe this shows, once again, if we are to understand an event as it happened, we must consider all four accounts of that event.  It is then, and only then, that we can appreciate the perfection of the Word of God.

Mark 15:23, Matthew 27:33-34, Luke 23:36 and John 19:29-30

Mr. Gordon points out, correctly, that Matthew recorded Jesus being offered vinegar to drink and that Mark wrote of Jesus being offered wine and myrrh, but did not drink it and that John recorded Him being offered something that He did drink. As the reader will see, all of these drinks were offered at different times and therefore these accounts cannot refer to the same event, which in turn proves that they do not contradict each other.

We read in Mark 15:23, “And they gave Him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; but He received it not”. At what point was this drink offered? We read in the previous verse, i.e. verses 22, “And they bring Him unto the place Golgotha….”.  In order to fully appreciate the phrase, “bring Him unto” one must understand the Greek preposition translated “unto”.  That Greek word is “epi” which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “marks the point to be reached”. This definition will be made more readily understood as we consider its use in Mark 15:46 which reads, “…and rolled the stone unto the door of the sepulchre”.  In other words, just as the stone was rolled up to, but not in to the sepulchre, so too Christ was brought up to Golgotha.  This drink was offered as they brought Him to Golgotha, just before they hung Him on the cross. Note also that the drink they offered was “wine mingled with myrrh.  Note also that Christ did not taste it, “He received it not”.  This then is the record of the first drink offered Christ.

Let us consider Matt. 27:33-34 where we read, “And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear His cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a  skull, they gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall; and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink”.  At what point was this drink offered?   Let us consider the phrase, “when they were come unto“.  The Greek preposition translated “unto” in this phrase is “eis” which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger as, “motion to or unto an object”. It is clear by this definition that here too, we learn that Christ was brought towards Golotha, but not right to it.  There are two possibilities as to whether this passage contradicts Mark 15:22-23 quoted above. One possibility is that the two passages do indeed contradict each other, and the other possibility is that each refers to a different time.  Let us consider the second possibility.

Note that according to Mark’s Gospel Christ was given “wine mingled with myrrh”, but that He did not receive it. But in Matthew’s Gospel we read that Christ was offered vinegar mingled with gall and Christ “tasted thereof”. If one were considering a secular account of things that are obviously different, I believe most would logically conclude that they do not refer to the same event.  Why then, would one determine to defy logic and come to a different conclusion when considering events recorded in the Bible?

I suggest that when Christ was brought to Golgotha, but before He was hung on the cross, (bear in mind that the cross had to be anchored down and the inscription carved on it) He was offered wine mingled with myrrh, but He refused it.  Not satisfied with that, His mockers then offered Him another drink, this time one of vinegar mingled with gall, this He tasted. In short, there were two offerings made before Christ was hung on the cross.

Luke 23:36 reads, “And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him and offering Him vinegar”.  Note the phrase “the soldiers also mocked Him”.  The word “also” connects this verse to verse 34 which speak of the people around the cross mocking Him.  At what point was this drink offered? That question is answered in verse 34 which reads, “Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do’”. As is shown in the section above on Christ’s last words, this was His first statement as He hung on the cross. Therefore, I believe we may conclude that it was the first time Christ was offered something to drink as He hung on the cross, but when including the wine mingled with myrrh recorded in Mark 15:23 quoted above, and the vinegar mingled with gall, it was the third offer of a drink.

We read in Matt. 27:46-48, “And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is to say, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’….and straightway one of them ran and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink”. Matthew records Jesus being offered vinegar right after Christ’s fourth statement on the cross at the ninth hour of the day. This then is the fourth time Christ was offered something to drink.

In John 19:28-30, “….Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled saith ‘I thirst’. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’”. John’s account speaks of Christ drinking the vinegar just before Christ’s sixth statement.

 It is, I believe clear that there is no error in these accounts. Mark recorded the first time Christ was offered a drink which was before He had arrived at Golgotha. Matthew recorded the second offer of a drink before Christ was hung on the cross. Luke recorded the third offer of a drink to Christ, the first which was made as He hung on the cross just after His first statement from the cross.  Matthew also recorded the fourth offer which was made just after Christ’s fourth statement from the cross.  And John recorded the fifth offer which was made just before Christ’s sixth statement from the cross.

In short, there were in fact five offers of drinks some of which differed from the others, some of which Christ received, but all offered at different times.

Where Were the Women?: Matthew 27:55 and John 19:25-26

Mr. Gordon sees an error in that one verse says that the women looked on from afar and the other says that they were standing close enough to the cross for Jesus to address His mother. Let us consider these passages in context in order to learn if they refer to the same time.

We read in Matt. 27:51-53 of the events that occurred after Jesus died, i.e. the earthquake, the graves opened etc.  Then in verse 55 we read, “And many women were there beholding afar off……”.  That is to say, Matthew speaks of where the women were after Christ had died. In John 19:25-26 we read, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother…He saith unto His mother, Woman behold they Son’”.  This comment was Christ’s third comment from the cross, spoken, obviously before He died.

In other words, while Christ was still alive the women were “by the cross”, as recorded in John’s Gospel,  but once He had died, as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, they had moved away “beholding Him afar off”.

What Had the Centurions Said?: Matthew 27:54, Mark 15:39 and Luke 23:47

Matt. 27:54 reads, “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, ‘Truly This was the Son of God’”.  And in Mark 15:39 we read, “And the centurion which stood over against Him, saw that He so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, ‘Truly this Man was the Son of God’”. And in Luke 23:47 we read, “Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God saying, ‘Certainly this was a righteous Man’”.

Each Gospel writer recorded a different statement.  Does that prove an error?  I believe not. Note the phrase in Matt. 27:54, “and they that were with him”. We learn from that phrase that there were several centurions observing these events.  I believe that one of the centurions was correctly quoted by Matthew, a second was correctly quoted by Mark, and a third correctly quoted by Luke.

Was There A Guard At the Tomb?: Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 15:42-16:8 and Mark 16:1-3

Mr. Gordon correctly states that, as we read in Matthew 27:62-66 a guard was placed at the tomb of Christ. He then went on to say that neither Mark, Luke or John mentions the guard. Let us consider that objection first.

As mentioned several times in this study, one Gospel writer does not record all the details of most events which are described in more than one Gospel.  There is no error in that. There is nothing in any of the Gospels that would lead any thinking person to conclude that each one was written to stand alone.  An event can only be fully understood by reading all accounts of it. I believe even a secular historian would agree with that approach. In short, the fact that Mark, Luke and John do not mention the guard does not mean that the guard was not posted at the tomb.

But Mr. Gordon went on to write that “There could not have been a guard, as far as the women were concerned, since they were planning to enter the tomb with spices.  Though the women were aware of the stone, they were obviously unaware of the guard”.

The women were aware that the stone was placed there to keep anyone out of the sepulchre and yet they, as Mr. Gordon suggests, planned on entering anyway. Obviously, they thought they would be able to somehow overcome the obstacle of the stone. If they thought they could overcome the obstacle of a stone they also believed they could overcome the obstacle of a guard. That is to say, they would more likely than not considered that, given that the guard would not have been concerned with a few women moving the body without his noticing, they would have thought that they could overcome the obstacle of the guard.

In short, logic does not allow for this supposed error.  One cannot assume the women were unaware of the guard, and then go on to use that assumption to “prove” an error, especially since the assumption itself is illogical.

The Order of Resurrection Appearances 

Christ appeared first to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as recorded in Matt 28:9.  We know that this was Christ’s first appearance because we read in Mark 16:9, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He cast seven devils”.

The second appearance was to Mary Magdalene alone, after she had returned to the sepulchre from seeing Peter. Let us consider the passage from Jn. 20:1-11 in order to prove from Scripture that this passage speaks of both the first and second appearance Christ made to Mary Magdalene. Verse one records Mary coming to the sepulchre “early when it was yet dark”.  In verse two we read, “Then she runneth and cometh to Simon….. and saith unto them (the disciples), ‘They have taken away the Lord…’”.  Verses 3-9 record Peter coming to the sepulchre and in verse 10 we read, “Then the disciples went away again unto their own home”. And in verse 11 we read, “But Mary stood without at the sepulchre….”. And verse 14 records Christ’s second appearance to her, “….she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing…..”.

In other words, Christ’s first appearance was to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matt. 28:9 and Mark 16:9).   When discovering that Christ was not in the sepulchre Mary ran to tell Peter who, naturally, came to see for himself (Jn. 20:1-9). When Peter returned home Mary stayed at the sepulcre and that is when Christ appeared to her the second  time (Jn. 20:10).

The third appearance was to Peter. We read in Luke 24:33-34, “And they (the two from Emmaus) ) rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, ’The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon”. We do not read of that appearance to Peter, only that the two told the disciples that Christ had appeared to Simon. Given that the two told the eleven that Christ had (past tense) appeared to Peter, we may conclude that this was the third appearance of the risen Christ.

The fourth appearance was to two  men at Emmaus “that same day” (Luke 24:13).  Given that this appearance was the same day as the resurrection, I believe we may conclude that this was the fourth appearance.

The fifth was the first appearance to the disciples as told in Luke 24:36, “And as they (the two from Emmaus) spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them” (the eleven, vs.33).  We learn in verse 33 that this appearance was in Jerusalem therefore must have been after Christ appeared to the two at Emmaus.  Mark 16:14 records the same event. “ Afterward He appeared (Gr. “phaneroo”) unto the eleven as they sat at meat”. It is important to note that when John recorded this meeting in Jn. 20:19-24, he recorded the fact that “Thomas….. was not with them” (Jn. 20:24).

In the interest of thoroughness we should consider the fact that both Mark and Luke wrote that Christ had appeared to the eleven but that John wrote that Thomas was not present. That means that there were actually ten disciples at that meeting. Let us also consider Jn. 20:24 which reads, “But Thomas, one of the twelve…”.  But again, there were not twelve disciples present at that meeting there were only ten. John, being a disciple was at that meeting.  Are we to assume that John could not count?  Of course not!  The term “the twelve” defined the group as the disciples of Christ. That is to say, the term “the twelve”  was in a manner of speaking the name of the group who were the disciples of Christ.  Even today when one speaks of “the twelve” the term defines the group as the disciples of Christ.  So too, the term “eleven” used by Mark and Luke is used of the entire group of disciples by way of defining who they were.  But John was speaking of  the original group of twelve  to which Thomas belonged, and Mark and Luke wrote of the group that remained after the death of Judas.

I believe a comment on Luke 24:50-51 is in order.  That passage reads, “And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them, and it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven”. Many misunderstand this passage to refer to the same event as is recorded in Acts 1, i.e. the ascension of Christ. But that cannot be the case because Christ appeared several more times to the disciples and others. We must therefore, consider this passage more carefully.

In the New Testament the Greek word translated “heaven” is “ouranus” and is used both in the singular and in the plural and as students of God’s Word we must consider the difference. For example where we read in Col. 4:1, “ye also have a Master in heaven” (Gr. “ouranus”) the Greek word is plural, i.e. “heavens” and obviously refers to where Christ now sits. On the other hand, we read in Matt. 24:29, “and the stars shall fall from heaven (Gr. “ouranus”) singular. The stars are in the heaven that can be seen with the naked eye, certainly not in the heaven where Christ now sits. And indeed Mark 4:14 refers to the “fowls of the air” (Gr. “ouranus”) singular. My point is that when the Greek “ouranus” is used in the plural it refers to the highest heaven, wherein Christ sits, but when it is used in the singular it refers to the heaven wherein the stars shine or the heaven wherein the birds fly.

With that said let us come back to Luke 24:51, where we read that Christ was “carried up into heaven”. In this verse “(ouranus”) is in the singular. Therefore, this verse does not refer to the same event as recorded in Acts 1, i.e. the ascension of Christ, it refers to Him being carried up into a lower heaven most likely because it took the disciples several days to walk the 70 miles to Galilee where they would meet Him as recorded in Matt. 28 (please see paragraph below).

The sixth appearance is recorded in Matt. 28:16.  This appearance took place in accordance with the instructions Christ gave to Mary Magdalene to take to the disciples as recorded in Matt. 28:10. Verse 16 reads, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And they saw Him….”. How do we know to which appearance this refers? We know from the fact that we read in the next verse (vs. 17), “but some doubted”. This is an obvious reference to Thomas and therefore this appearance in Galilee must refer to a time before Thomas accepted that Christ had indeed risen.

So Christ appeared to His disciples in Galilee and His next appearance as recorded in Jn. 20:28 (see the paragraph below), was “after eight days” in Jerusalem. In other words, the disciples went to Galilee as instructed, and returned to Jerusalem where Christ appeared to them again at which time Thomas was convinced of Christ’s resurrection. Galilee is 70 miles from Jerusalem and would have taken about eight days to walk the 140 mile round trip. 

The seventh appearance was the third time Christ appeared to His disciples, and is recorded in Jn. 20:26 where we read, “And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them; then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace be unto you’”. It was at this meeting that Christ told Thomas (who had not been at the first meeting) to touch Him. “And Thomas answered and said unto Him, ‘My Lord, and my God’”(Jn. 20:28).

The eighth time Christ appeared was the fourth time He appeared to His disciples.  This is recorded only in Jn. 21:1-23.  We read in Jn. 21:1, “After these things, (i.e. after Thomas worshiped Christ as God) Jesus shewed (Gr. “phaneroo”) Himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias”.

The reader will note that Jn. 21:14 speaks of this appearance as being the “third time” Christ appeared to the disciples, but it was actually the fourth. There is no contradiction, but one must correctly understand the Greek verb “phaneroo” translated “shewed” in the phrase, “Jesus shewed Himself”. The word means much more than to be seen, it means “to make manifest”. So for example, as we shall see below, there were times when Christ was seen by His disciples that He did not make Himself manifest as their Messiah, but was simply seen by them.  (A complete list of the 49 occurrences of the Greek word “phaneroo” is given in the Appendix to the paper on the resurrection of the church).

With that said let us consider why John wrote that Christ had manifested Himself to His disciples three times, when He had been seen by them four times. Note that in the first appearance to His disciples we read in Mark 16:14, “Afterward He appeared (Gr. “phaneroo”) unto the eleven as they sat at meat”.  And Luke wrote about this same meeting in Luke 24:45,  “..opened He their understanding that they might understand the scriptures”.  The context will show that He opened their understanding of the  scriptures concerning His death and resurrection. In other words, He manifested Himself to them as the One about Whom the scriptures spoke.

The second appearance to His disciples is recorded in Matt. 28:16-17.  Note verse 17b, “but some doubted”.  Obviously, Christ did not manifest Himself to the disciples at that time or none would have “doubted”.

The third time Christ appeared to His disciples is recorded in Jn. 20:26.  It was at this meeting that Christ told Thomas (who had not been at the first meeting) to touch Him. “And Thomas answered and said unto Him, ‘My Lord, and my God’”(Jn. 20:28). Here, we can tell by the context that Christ had indeed manifested Himself to Thomas as his Lord and his God.

The fourth time Christ appeared to His disciples is recorded in Jn. 21:1 and we are specifically told that He had “shewed (Gr. “phaneroo”) Himself. But let us also consider the context of this meeting as it will help to underscore the importance of the word “phaneroo”.

Verses 2-6 describe Christ’s telling the disciples where to cast their nets and having done as they were told, brought up a large number of fish. We read in verse 6, “…..They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore the disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, ‘It is the Lord’”. Note the word “therefore”. It tells us that once they had brought up their nets with the large number of fish, then they knew it was the Lord.

So when John wrote in verse 1 that Christ showed (phaneroo) Himself to the disciples “on this wise”, i.e. in this manner, John was telling us that it was when the disciples had filled their nets that Christ had been manifested to them as their Lord. In short, in this context, the Lord was made manifest to His disciples as their Lord.

In short, Christ was seen by His disciples four times, but was made manifest to them three times.

I believe that the appearances of Christ as recorded in I Corinthians occurred during the weeks between His  appearance to the disciples as the Sea of Tiberius and Pentecost.

The ninth appearance of the risen Christ is recorded in I Cor. 15:6 which reads, “And after that (after having seen the 12, vs. 5) He was seen of above 500 brethren at once….”.  Let us consider Mr. Gordon’s comments on this verse.  He wrote, “It was Cephas (Peter?) then the twelve (which twelve.  Judas was dead?) then 500+ brethren (although Acts 1:15 says there were only 120) then James, then all the apostles then Paul”.

Let us consider the “twelve” which is mentioned in I Cor. 15:5-8. I am indebted to Dr. Clarke for the following commentary. “Then of the twelve – Instead of δωδεκα, twelve, ενδεκα, eleven, is the reading of D*EFG, Syriac in the margin, some of the Slavonic, Armenian, Vulgate, Itala, and several of the fathers; and this reading is supported by Mark 16:14. Perhaps the term twelve is used here merely to point out the society of the apostles, who, though at this time they were only eleven, were still called the twelve, because this was their original number, and a number which was afterward filled up. See John 20:24”.

The tenth appearance of Christ is recorded in I Cor. 15:6-8 which reads, “After that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles, and last of all He was seen of me also….”. We do not read of the risen Christ being seen by James or by “above five hundred brethren”.  Does that mean that this account is in error? Of course, not, this is an added revelation. Paul did not say that it was recorded in the Gospels, if he had, that would have been an error. We cannot assume that in order for Paul’s account to be true it must have been recorded in the Gospels and because it was not, it is not true.

The eleventh appearance of the risen Christ was to James and the other apostles.  We read in I Cor. 15:7, “After that He was seen of James then of all the apostles”.

Christ’s twelfth appearance after His resurrection was to Saul of Tarsus as recorded in Acts 9:3-5 and mentioned by Paul in I Cor. 15:8..

A Consideration of Mr. Gordon’s Comments on the Gospel Account of Christ’s Last Week

 Now let us consider Mr. Gordon’s comments. Mr. Gordon has once again failed to recognize that each Gospel was not written to stand alone and therefore he did not take into consideration all the accounts before coming to his conclusions.  For example, his comment on Matt. 28:1-18 as to the first appearance of the risen Christ was that it was to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (which is correct), then the eleven. Matthew does not record the second, third and fourth appearances, but that does not mean they did not occur.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Mark’s account reads, “It was Mary Magdalene (which is correct), then two others , then the eleven”. Mr. Gordon does not consider John’s account of Mary Magdalene coming back to the sepulchre alone after she had run to Peter. Nor does he take into account the appearance to Peter as told in Luke 24:33-34.

 Mr. Gordon’s comment on Luke’s account reads, “It was two, then Simon Peter then the eleven”. Luke did not record Christ’s appearance to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, but that does not mean that Christ had not appeared to them, it means only that Luke did not record it. Neither did he record Christ’s appearance in John’s account of Mary Magdalene returning to the sepuchre after she ran to Peter. Nor did he record the account of Christ appearing to Peter alone as told in Luke’s Gospel.  But they were recorded in other Gospels. It is only the failure to include all accounts of an event that lead one to the conclusion of supposed errors.

We read in Matt. 28:8, “And they (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary) departed quickly from the speulchre with fear and great joy: and did run to bring His disciples word”.

 In Mark 16:8 we read, “And they (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary) went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre: for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man, for they were afraid”. If one were to stop there it would indeed contradict Matthew’s account of the women telling the disciples of Christ not being in the sepulchre.  But we read in verse 10 (two verses later), “And she (Mary Magdalene) went and told them that had been with Him, as they mourned and wept”. Even the sloppiest of writers would not contradict himself in the space of two sentences.  Obviously, when Mark wrote that Mary had not said anything to any man, he meant that she did not say anything to anyone but the disciples.

 Before we consider the verse in Luke it is imperative that we understand that Luke did not write about Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, he wrote about an entirely different group of women.  Let us consider the Scriptural evidence of that statement. We read in Luke 24:1, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre bringing the spices which they had prepared and certain others with them”.  Who are the “they” mentioned in this verse? For the answer to that question we must go back a few verses to Luke 23:55-56, “And the women also which came with Him from Galilee followed after, and beheld the sepulchre and how His body was laid.  And returned and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment”.  The women we read of in Luke’s Gospel are not Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, they are an entirely different group of women.

 Mark recorded in 16:9 that Mary Magdalene was the first that Christ saw after His resurrection. We may conclude therefore that the women about whom Luke wrote came after Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and had come to the sepulchre and left.

Matthew 28:2, Mark 16:5, Luke 24:2-4 and John 20:12

Matt. 28:2 reads, “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it”

In Mark 16:5 we read, “And entered into the sepulchre, they (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary) saw a young man sitting on the right side clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted”.

We read in Luke 24:2-4, “And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.  And they entered in and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold two men stood by them in shining garments”.

John 20:12 reads, “And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain”.

Now let us consider Mr. Morgan’s comments on these passages.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Matthew’s account is quite correct.  He wrote, “An angel arrived during an earthquake, rolled back the stone, then sat on it (outside the tomb”).

Let us continue then with the comment on Marks account. Mr. Gordon wrote, “No earthquake, only one young man sitting inside the tomb”. The fact that Mark did not record the earthquake does not constitute an error. Once again, all four accounts must be considered in order to have the entire picture because no one Gospel writer gives all the details of any event, unless that is the only Gospel that recorded the event.

Let me comment also on the fact that Matthew recorded an angel being seen, while Mark recorded a man having been seen. Angels are spirit beings (see Ps. 104:4) and as such have no physical form unless they assume one in order to be seen.  All throughout the Bible when angels appear to anyone, they appear with some physical form in order to be seen. Usually, they appear in the form of a man, but not always. So there is no error, only a different description of the same being, i.e. an angel who had taken on the form of men.

But let us consider the fact that in Matthew’s account the women saw the angel/young man outside the tomb and in Mark’s account they saw him inside. There is no contradiction here.  Note the verse in Mark begins, “and entered into”.  That is to say, Matthew wrote about the women seeing the angel outside when they first came to the tomb and Mark wrote about when they had entered the tomb. Obviously, the young man had sat outside on the stone and when the women entered he then went inside the tomb with them. Far from being an error, this makes perfect sense.  There would be no reason for the young man to continue sitting outside once the women had entered the tomb, or sepulchre.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Luke’s account reads, “Two men suddenly appear inside the tomb”.  To begin, there is no indication in Luke’s account that the two men “suddenly” appeared, as Mr. Gordon claims.  But let us continue.

We read in Luke 24:1, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre bringing the spices which they had prepared and certain others with them”.  Who are the “they” mentioned in this verse? For the answer to that question we must go back a few verses to Luke 23:55-56, “And the women also which came with Him from Galilee followed after, and beheld the sepulchre and how His body was laid.  And returned and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment”.  The women we read of in Luke’s Gospel are not Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, they are an entirely different group of women. Mark recorded in 16:9 that Mary Magdalene was the first that Christ saw after His resurrection. We may conclude therefore that the women about whom Luke wrote came after Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and had come to and left the sepulchre.

In short, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the sepulchre before the women of whom Luke wrote. When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary got to the sepulchre there was a young man/angel sitting on the stone outside.  Then Mark tells us that when the women went inside the sepulchre, the young man/angel also went inside. The two women then left and a short time after that the women of whom Luke wrote came to the sepulchre at which time there were two young men.

But we must consider John’s account of Mary’s seeing the two angels because in Matthew’s account we read that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had seen one angel. (Luke recorded the women who came later having seen two men, but that group did not include Mary Magdalene). The answer is really quite simple. We read in Jn. 20:2 that Mary Magdalene “…runneth , and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple……” So when we read in verse 11 that “Mary stood without” we see that Mary had returned to the sepulchre after she had run to Peter to tell him about the Lord not being in the sepulchre. When she had returned, she then saw the same two angels/men about whom Luke had written.

“Touch Me Not”: Matthew 28:9, John 20:17 and John 20:27 

We read in John 20 of the conversation between Christ and Mary Magdalene wherein Christ told Mary to not touch Him. It is important to consider Matt. 28:1-8 which records the events before the events recorded in John 20. That is to say, the events of Matt. 28:1-8 occurred shortly after Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the sepulchre the first time. But they left to tell the disciples of Christ’s resurrection.  It was while they were on their way to inform the disciples of what they had seen  that we read of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary worshiping and holding Jesus by His feet. Christ’s discussion with Mary Magdalene as recorded in John 20 occurred after Mary had returned to the sepulchre, i.e.  the second time Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene.

With that time line established we are ready to consider two most widely held views of why Jesus told Mary Magdalene to not touch Him.1) One view is that the reason Jesus told Mary Magdalene to not touch Him was because He had not ascended. While it is true that Jesus had told Mary that He had not yet ascended, the problem with that view is that Mary had already touched Jesus (“held Him by the feet”, Matt. 28:9) when Jesus told her later to not touch Him as recorded in John 20.

2) Another widely held view is that Jesus told Mary Magdalene to not hold on to Him because He had not yet ascended. Let us consider this view.

To begin, as mentioned above, Mary had already held on to Him as we read in Matt. 28:9. Let us consider the Greek word translated “held” in the phrase “held Him by the feet” in Matt.28. That Greek word is, “krateo”. We read in Matt. 14:3, “For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison…”.  The phrase “laid hold on” is the translation of the Greek “krateo”. So “krateo” means “to hold on to”.  Let us consider a few more occurrences of the Greek word “krateo”.

We read in Mark 12:12, “They (the Pharisees) sought to lay hold on Him, but they feared the people…”. Here too the meaning of “krateo” “is to hold on to”. Rev. 20:2 reads, And he laid hold on the dragon……. and bound him a thousand years”.

My point is that Mary Magdalene had indeed already held on to Christ hours before He told her to not touch Him.

Further, the Greek word translated “touch” in the phrase “touch Me not” in John 20 is “haptomai”.  The word is defined in Strong’s Dictionary as, “to attach oneself to, i.e. to touch (in many implied relations):-touch”. But words are always defined by usage.  In this case, it is defined by how it is used by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. It is used 36 times and is translated “touch” every time. May I suggest we consider the contexts of several of these occurrences to see if any must mean “touch” and if any must mean “to attach oneself to”.

The first occurrence is in Matt. 8:3, “And Jesus put forth His hand and touched him saying, ‘I will, be thou clean, and immediately his leprosy was cleansed”.  Because the leprosy was cleansed “immediately”, it is clear that Jesus touched him, He did not attach Himself to the man. (See also Mark 1:41 and Luke 5:13.)

Matt. 8:15, “He touched her hand and the fever left her….”. There is nothing in this verse to imply that Christ did anything more than touch the woman’s hand.

Matt. 9:20-21, “Behold a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him and touched the hem of His garment. For she said within herself, ‘If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole’”. Note the phrase, “if I may but touch”. This tells us that the woman did not seek to attach herself in any way, but to just touch His garment. (See also Mark 5:27-31, Luke 8:43-48.)

Matt. 9:29, “Then touched He their eyes saying, ‘According to your faith be it unto you’… ”. In this occurrence, the word obviously means “to touch”, not to “attach oneself to”.

Matt. 14:36, “And besought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment; and as many as touched were made perfectly whole”. Note the phrase, “that they might only touch”.  The word “only” tells us that it was indeed just a touch that was sought.

We have considered several occurrences of the Greek word “haptomai”, translated “touch” in Jn. 20:17.  We are now ready to consider John. 20:17. “Touch Me not, for I have not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren and say unto them, ‘I ascend unto My Father, and to My God and to your God’”.  I believe we must conclude that Christ did not tell Mary Magdalene to not hold on to Him, but to not touch Him. 

How then can we answer the question posed, i.e. why did Christ tell Mary Magdalene to not touch Him after she had touched Him earlier? I suggest we consider the two occasions when one did touch Jesus after His resurrection.

As mentioned above, Matt. 28:9 tells of Mary Magdalene touching Jesus’ feet, “And as they (Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary”) went to tell the disciples, behold, Jesus met them saying, ‘All hail’. And they came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him”.  I believe we may conclude from that worship that they accepted their risen Messiah as God, Who alone is worthy to be worshipped.

Now let us consider another occasion where one was allowed to touch the risen Christ. John 20:26-29 records Thomas’s doubt.  We read in verse 27, “Then saith He to Thomas, ‘reach hither thy finger and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand and thrust into My side; and be not faithless, but believing’. And Thomas answered unto Him and said, ‘My Lord and my God’”. The result of Thomas touching Christ was that he too accepted that Christ is God.

It is true that at the time that Thomas had touched Christ, he had not yet accepted Him as God,   but I believe that our Lord knew Thomas’ heart, i.e. that he would believe, which is evidenced by the fact that Christ told Thomas to touch Him.

Now let us compare these two events with Mary’s conversation with the risen Christ when He told her to not touch Him. We read in John 20:16-17,  “Jesus saith unto her, ‘Mary’. She turned herself and saith unto Him, ‘Rabboni” which is to say, ‘Master’. Jesus saith unto her, ‘Touch Me not, for I have not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren and say unto them, ‘I ascend unto My Father, and to My God and to your God’”. It is important to note how Mary addressed Christ, i.e. “Master”. “Master” is not one of the titles of Christ as God, but as Man. Let us also bear in mind that John’s Gospel presented Christ as God (see Jn.1:1). In my opinion, the fact that Mary addressed the risen Christ by a title used of Him as Man, rather than as God, was the reason Christ would not allow her to touch Him at that point.

In short, I believe that because, in Christ’s second appearance to Mary Magdalene she did not worship Him as God, her touch would have defiled Him in such a way that would have been unacceptable before He had returned to the Father.

But some might object that  surely Christ knew Mary’s heart as He had known Thomas’s,  and given that Mary had earlier worshiped Him would that not have been sufficient? There is merit in that objection.  My suggestion has difficulties, but it is based on the only difference I see between Mary’s comments and Thomas’s.

Matthew 28:10 and 16 and Mark 16:11

We read in Matt. 28:10. “Then said Jesus unto them (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary), ‘Be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me’”.  And in verses 16-17 we read, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them and when they saw Him, they worshiped Him: but some doubted”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on the passage in Matthew’s Gospel reads, “Although some doubted, the initial reaction of those that heard the story was one of belief since they followed the revealed instructions”. Mr. Gordon concluded that because the disciples did what they were instructed to do, i.e. they went to Galilee, they had believed that Christ had risen from the dead” which, according to him, reveals an error in Mark 16:11 for example, which says that some doubted.

Let us consider Mark 16:10-11 which reads, “And she (Mary Magdalene) went and told them that had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not”.  The question is: why did the disciples go to Galilee if they did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead?  The answer is quite simple, they did not believe Mary’s report, but when Christ appeared to some later that daythen they believed. How do we know that? We read in John 20:19, “Then the same day (the Sunday that Christ appeared to Mary) at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst…”.  (“Thomas….. was not with them” Jn. 20:24). Obviously, when Jesus stood in their midst, those who were there believed that He had indeed risen from the dead.  That is to say, we read in Jn. 20:20, “And when He had so said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord”. We know from this account that the disciples, except for Thomas who was not at this meeting, saw the Lord so there was no unbelief on their parts after this meeting.

We know that the disciples could not have gone to Galilee that first day because Christ appeared to the disciples in Jerusalem and the distance between Galilee and Jerusalem (an estimated three days journey) would not allow for a round trip in one day.

We are now prepared to discuss Mr.  Gordon’s assumption that the disciples “initial reaction” was “one of belief since they followed the “revealed instructions”.  As we learned in the Gospels of Mark and Luke, the initial reaction was one of disbelief. The reason the disciples went to Galilee as instructed was because they had later that day seen for themselves the risen Christ and had spoken with Him. So, except for Thomas, there was no more unbelief as they went to Galilee.

Once again it is clear that the Gospels were not written to stand alone.  That is to say, each one records different aspects of an event, and one can understand the event only if all accounts are taken into consideration. 

Now let us determine from Scripture at what point the disciples went to Galilee. We know that the disciples could not have gone to Galilee that first day they heard from the women that He had risen because they were in Jerusalem that night and the distance between Galilee and Jerusalem (an estimated three days journey) would not have allowed them to get to Galilee and back the same day.

I believe that it was after the second time that Christ appeared to His disciples, that they went to Galilee because we read that when they did go “some doubted”, in reference to Thomas. That is to say, Thomas, who was not at the first meeting was still doubting when the disciples went to Galilee. When the disciples went to Galilee it was after the second time He had met with His disciples. It was not until Christ’s third meeting with the disciples that Thomas became a believer.

Let us continue with Mr. Gordon’s comment on Matt. 28:9, “On His first appearance to them, Jesus lets Mary Magdalene and the other Mary hold Him by His feet”.  This is quite accurate.

But of Jn. 20:17 Mr. Gordon wrote, “On His first appearance to Mary, Jesus forbids her to touch him since he has not yet ascended to the Father”. This, as is shown in the paragraphs above, is quite inaccurate, i.e. false. It was Christ’s second appearance to Mary, not the first, where Christ told her to not touch Him. And, as shown in the paragraphs above, the reason was more complex than that He had not yet ascended to the Father.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Jn. 20:27 reads, “A week later, although He has not yet ascended to the Father, Jesus tells Thomas to touch Him”. Mr. Gordon has assumed the only reason Christ did not allow Mary to touch Him and then based on that false assumption sees an error.

The Stone: Matthew 28:1-2, Mark 16:4, Luke 24:2 and John 20:1

In Matt. 28:1-2 we read,”In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it”.

I believe Mr. Gordon is quite correct in his statement concerning this passage that, “The stone was still in place when they arrived. It was rolled away later”. But  two things should be noted: 1) The note by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible on the  phrase “rolled back the stone” should read, “Had rolled back the stone”. And 2) Matthew did not write that the women saw the angel rolling the stone away, only that they saw the angel who had rolled it away. In other words, Matthew wrote that the stone had been moved away before the women had arrived at the sepulchre.

In Mark 16:3-4 we read, “And they (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary) said among themselves, ‘Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?’” And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away…”.  The Greek word translated “looked” in the phrase “when they looked” is “anablepo”, it means “look up”. And the Greek does not read, “the stone was rolled away, but rather, “the stone had been rolled away”. So verse 4 should read, “And when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away”.  Let us try to reconstruct this scene.

If we do not read into Matthew’s account something that is not there (i.e. the women had seen the angel roll the stone away) then it is clear that there is no discrepancy in these two passages. That is to say, Both Matthew and Mark recorded the fact that by the time the two women had arrived at the sepulchre, the angel had already rolled away the stone.

Now let us consider Luke’s account. We read in Luke 24:1-2, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre bringing the spices which they had prepared and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre”.

In point of fact, there are several differences between Luke’s account of the women at the sepulchre because Luke did not write about Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, he wrote about an entirely different group of women. Note in verse 1 we read, “they came”.  Let us not assume it was Mary Magdalene and the other  Mary. Who are the “they” mentioned in this verse? For the answer to that question we must go back a few verses to Luke 23:55-56, “And the women also which came with Him from Galilee followed after, and beheld the sepulchre and how His body was laid.  And returned and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment”.  The women we read of in Luke’s Gospel are not Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, they are an entirely different group of women.

The fact that Luke wrote of a different group of women than did the other Gospel writers accounts for the fact that the women about whom Luke wrote came after Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and therefore saw that the stone had already been moved. (“And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre”).

In short, Mary Magdalene and other Mary arrived first at the sepulchre and saw that the angel had moved the stone away from the tomb. Then the other women came after and saw that the stone had already been moved.

We read in Jn. 20:1, “….Mary Magdalene …..seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre”. The note in the Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger on the phrase, “taken away” reads, “taken away = having been taken away. Gr. airo”. In short, John’s record of the stone having been taken away is the same as Matthew’s and Mark’s.

Matthew 28:19 and I Corinthians 1:17

 We read in Matt. 28:19 of Christ’s commandment to His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”. In I Cor. 1:17 we read, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…”.

There is no contradiction here because Paul, who became a believer years after Christ gave the commandment recorded in Matt. 28 was obviously not included in that commandment. That is to say, it is not an error because the commandment given in Matt. 28 was not given to Paul. I believe Mr. Gordon probably knows that but sees an error in that Paul did not do that which Christ had commanded others to do. In short, Mr. Gordon believes that Paul should have baptized but did not, and therefore he sees an error in the Bible.

The error is in Mr. Gordon’s assumption that Paul should have baptized.  In other words, because Paul did not do what Mr. Gordon thinks he should have done, he sees an error.  But let us consider why Paul did not baptize, but just a few.

As the paper on baptism will show, baptism was a part of the Hebrew history and custom. But not part of the Mosaic Law. Paul was the “apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13), and it was perfectly reasonable that he would not take part in Hebrew customs.

The Ascension:  Acts 1:19

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Acts 1:9-12 reads, “It (the ascension) took place 40 + days at Mt. Olivet. This is quite true and needs no further comment.

Now let us consider Mr. Gordon’s comment on Matt. 28:16-20 which reads, “No mention is made of an ascension but if it took place at all, it must have been from a mountain in Galilee since Mt. ends there”. I find this comment quite remarkable.  That is to say, Mr. Gordon sees that Matthew did not record the ascension of Christ and yet he assumes that if Matthew had recorded it, he would have recorded it taking place “from a mountain in Galilee since Mt. ends there’. Matthew did not record the ascension of Christ and therefore, we cannot learn from Matthew’s Gospel anything about the ascension, including from where Christ ascended. In short, Mr. Gordon has added to what Matthew wrote and found an error in what was not even written.

Let us move on to Mark’s account of the ascension.  We read in Mark 16:14 that Christ appeared unto the eleven disciples as they were eating. And in 16:19 we read, “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them (the eleven) He was received up into heaven”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this passage reads, “The ascension took place (presumably from a room) while the disciples were together seated at a table, probably near or around Jerusalem”.

Once again, Mr. Gordon sees error here because he does not consider the other accounts of the event. That is to say, once one takes into consideration all accounts of an event, one sees that far from contradictory, they offer a complete record. For example, given that we read in Acts one that Christ ascended from mount Olivet, I believe it more logical that Mark simply did not explain the rather obvious fact that Christ left the room before He ascended.  Neither was it necessary to record that this took place after they had eaten.  As for Mr. Gordon’s comment that the ascension took place “in or around Jerusalem”, this is in keeping with Luke’s account as recorded in Acts one and with Luke’s account of the ascension in his Gospel (see comments below).

Luke 24:50-51 reads, “And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Luke 24:50-51 reads, “It (the ascension) took place outdoors, after supper, at Bethany (near Jerusalem)”. This is in perfect harmony with the other accounts of the ascension of Christ. Bethany was two miles from Jerusalem and therefore could certainly be said to be within walking distance to Jerusalem.

In short, once again, when all the accounts of an event are considered it is clear that there is no error here because each account adds something that the others had not recorded.

  SUPPOSED ERRORS IN THE  BOOK OF ACTS 

Should One Obey God or Man? 

There are any number of scriptures which say, and I believe it is universally believed, that the Bible tells us that we should obey God so I will not belabor that point.

Mr. Gordon suggests two scriptures which, he believes says that we should obey man and then suggests that Peter’s statement of Acts 5:29 contradicts that truth when he said that we should “obey God rather than man”.  Let us first determine if Peter did indeed say that we should “obey” God rather than man, and then consider the passages suggested by Mr. Gordon that say that we must “obey” man.

Acts chapter 5 records the incident wherein the chief priests instructed Peter and others that they should not preach Christ.  But in verse 29 of that chapter we read, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than man’”.

As always, we must consider this statement in context.  Peter had been confronted with a choice between God’s authority and man’s and chose God’s. Note that he used the phrase, “rather than”, (i.e. “obey God rather than man”). That phrase is very important in that it tells us that when confronted with a choice, as in his case, one should obey God rather than man. In other words, Peter was not making a blanket statement about obedience to God or man, he was saying that when confronted with a choice one should choose obedience to God.

 Again, it is clear that the Bible says that man should obey God, and Peter’s statement recorded in Acts 5:29 does not change that one bit.  What that statement does do is add to that truth that when confronted with a choice, God should be obeyed rather than man.

But again, it is important to note that Peter’s comment had nothing to do with whether God should be obeyed, but rather, it had to do with whether God should be obeyed rather than man when one is confronted with a choice.

With that in mind, let us now consider the passages suggested by Mr. Gordon that, in his opinion, contradicts Peter’s statement as recorded in Acts 5.

One of the two references Mr. Gordon suggests is I Peter 2:13 which reads, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…”. Note that it is for the Lord’s sake that we should submit ourselves to the ordinances of man.  Obviously, if the ordinances of man go against the teachings or the will of God, to submit to those ordinances would not be for the Lord’s sake, and therefore should not be submitted unto. Let me re-state that for the sake of clarity.

As mentioned above, Peter’s point in Acts 5 was that when confronted with a choice, God rather than man should be obeyed. So Peter is saying in this verse in I Peter that man’s ordinances should be obeyed for the Lord’s sake. If a choice had to be made and one chose man’s ordinances above God’s, he would not be doing it for the Lord’s sake. It therefore, behoves man to obey God’s ordinance when a choice must be made. Peter is certainly not contradicting his statement in Acts 5 that when confronted with a choice, God’s ordinances should be obeyed above man’s.

Another scripture that Mr. Gordon suggests says that we must obey man is in Rom. 13:1-4 where Paul’s exhorts the Romans to be “subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”. The powers to which we should be subject are “ordained of God”. That means that if one is confronted with a choice whether to be subject to God or man, one should be subject to God because if there was a choice, man’s authority would not, in that instance, come from God.

Let us put these things together. It is clear that the Bible teaches that man must obey God.  Acts 5 however does not teach that particular truth, rather it teaches that when confronted with a choice between man and God, God rather than man should be obeyed.

As for one’s being obedient or subject to man, because man’s authority comes from God, when confronted with a choice, God should be obeyed because if there is a confrontation, man is obviously in the wrong.

Acts 9:7 and 22:9: Did The Men With Paul at His Conversion Hear the Voice?

We read in Acts 9:7, “And the men which journeyed with him (Paul) stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man”. And in Acts 22:9 we read, “And they that were with me (Paul) saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of Him That spake to me”. Is this a contradiction?  It is absolutely not. I will quote the note in the Companion Bible on Acts 9:7 by Dr. E. W. Bullinger.  That note reads, “The companions of Paul hear the sound of the voice, but did not distinguish the words spoken. This is expressed by the word ‘voice’ (Gr. phone) being in the genitive case here, and in the accusative case in vs. 4…”. Let us consider verse 4, “ And he (Paul) fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, ‘Saul, Saul…..’”.

In short, Paul heard what the voice was saying the men with him heard only a voice. So in Acts 22:9 Paul was saying that the men who were with him did not hear what God was saying to Paul.

Acts 9:7 and Acts 26:14: Did The Men With Paul at His Conversion Stand or Fall?

 We read in Acts 9:7, “And the men which journeyed with him (Paul) stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “Those present at Paul’s conversion stood”.  We read in Acts 26:14, “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me and saying in the Hebrew tongue, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?’…”..  To which Mr. Gordon commented, “They fell to the ground”.

Consider Acts 9:3-4, “And as he (Paul) journeyed, he came near Damascus; and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?”. Note that the parallel verse to Acts 26:14 is not, as Mr. Gordon has implied, Acts 9:7, but rather Acts 9:4. That is to say, it is verse 4 which records Christ speaking to Paul which is parallel to 26:14.  By implying, as Mr. Gordon does, that the parallel verse of Acts 26:14 is Acts 9:7, rather than 9:4 he leads one to the erroneous conclusion that as Paul fell to the earth the men “stood”.  But once we see that the parallel verse is verse 9:4 we see that Luke’s account as recorded in chapter 9 gives no indication as to whether the men stood or fell. So, as we put together this scene from both Luke’s record in Acts 9 and Paul’s account of it in Acts 26 we have the following: when Paul heard Christ speaking he fell to the earth. That coincides with Acts 26:14.

With the correct parallel verse in hand let us reconsider Paul’s account as recorded in Acts 26. We read in Acts 26:14, “And when we were all fallen to the earth…”.  In other words, whereas Luke does not speak of the men falling or standing, Paul adds the detail that they all fell to the earth. That is to say, as the men were “speechless” they all fell as a result of their astonishment at hearing a voice when no one was present?  But Luke did not include that detail whereas Paul did include it.

Let us also include a short study of the Greek word translated “stood” in the phrase “stood speechless”. That word is “histeeme”. The basic meaning of the word is established by its usage which is “to stand”. But it is also used in the sense of “establish” as in Rom. 3:31, “we establish (Gr. “histeeme the law” (see also II Cor. 13:1 etc.). To establish something is to have it remain. I am suggesting therefore, that Luke used the word in the sense of the men remaining speechless.

In short, when Luke wrote that the men “stood speechless” he was not saying that they stood and were speechless, rather that the men remained speechless. I believe that to be a much more plausible scenario.  Once again, as seekers of what the Bible really says, we must take into account all the recorded details of an event so that we may understand it in full. As we do that, we see that there is no contradiction between Luke’s account of the event and Paul’s, but where Luke wrote nothing as to whether the men stood or fell at hearing the voice, Paul included the detail that they all fell to the earth.

Acts 9:19-28 and Galatians 1:15-20

Mr. Gordon’s comment on Acts 9:19-28 reads, “Shortly after his conversion, Paul went to Damascus, then Jerusalem where he was introduced to the apostles by Barnabus, and there spent some time with them….”.  About Gal. 1:15-20 he wrote, “He made the trip three years later then saw only Peter and James”.  I will not quote the passages suggested because they say exactly what Mr. Gordon believes they say.

Does that mean that there is a contradiction between these two passages?  It does not. Paul went to Jerusalem right after his conversion and met with the apostles.  Then three years later he went again to Jerusalem where he saw only Peter and James.

If Mr. Gordon was more familiar with the travels of Paul he would know that Paul went to Jerusalem at least three times during the Acts period. If one were to read in a secular history book that a person went to a city and met with several of his disciples and went three years later and met with only two there would be no question about its correctness.  That is to say, it would be logically assumed that the person went to that city on more than one occasion.  Why then, is there a question when we read of the same thing in the Word of God?

Acts 9:23 and II Corinthians 11:32 

We read in Acts 9:23, “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him (Paul)”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “The governor attempted to seize Paul”.  And in II Cor. 11:32 we read, “In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me”. To which Mr. Gordon comments, “It was the Jews who tried to seize Paul”.  (Obviously Mr. Gordon reversed the meanings of these verses, but I believe his intention is clear).

Mr. Gordon seems to have assumed that  the Jews tried to seize Paul but that the governor did not. But let us not make any assumptions.  We read in Acts 12:3, “And because he (Herod) saw it pleased the Jews he proceeded further to take Peter…”. And in Acts 25:9 we read, “But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure….”.  Here we have two scriptures which tell us that the rulers were, at times, anxious to please the Jews.   Therefore, we have the Scriptural evidence that there is no contradiction, but that the governor seized Paul in order to please the Jews. That makes him in effect an instrument of the Jews so that it might be said that both the governor and the Jews seized Paul, i.e. both scriptures are absolutely correct.

Acts 10:34 and Romans 9:18 

We read in Acts 10:34, “….Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons”.  And in Rom. 9:17-18  we read, “For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh ‘Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth’.  Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy and whom He will he hardeneth”.

What does it mean that God is no respecter of persons? The context makes it clear that God does not consider Jews more important than Gentiles in relation to salvation. It is clear that God did and will again, have a favored nation, Israel, but that favor had nothing to do with Jews being saved more readily or differently than Gentiles.  It had to do with God’s dispensational plans for the earth in which He chose Abraham to be the father of a nation which would show forth God’s glory to the rest of the world. (Please see the paper on dispensational truth for the Scriptural evidence of that statement).

“Respect” in the way Peter used the word has to do with favoritism. That is to say, that Peter was saying that he learned from the experience recorded in this context that God does not favor Jews over Gentiles in relation to salvation.

The passage in Romans 9 from verse 11 through verse 18 has nothing to do with who will be saved, it has to do with God’s sovereignty, i.e. God is sovereign. Verse 18 for example, is not whether God had less respect for Pharaoh than for other individuals, it is about the fact that God may and has used individuals to further His eternal plans.

In short, God does not have favorites in terms of salvation, but as God He may, and has, used some individuals to show forth His glory and/or further His own dispensational plans and purposes.

Acts 16:6 Paul “Forbidden” By the Holy Spirit

We read in Acts 16:6 that Paul was “forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia”. And in Acts 19:8 we read that Paul preached in Asia.

In one sense this seeming difficulty has no place in a study of the supposed errors in the Bible because both the forbidding by the Holy Spirit and Paul’s preaching are accurate accounts of what occurred. Therefore, there is no problem with either verse.  But for the sake of thoroughness I will address the seeming difficulty.

While the KJV and the NKJV have “were forbidden”, the following translations have “having been….”, NIV, ESV, NASB, and the NRSV. In other words, most translations (as well as most commentaries I have seen) put the Holy Spirit forbidding Paul in the past to not preach in Asia. In short, Acts 16:6 (as well as 16:7) speaks of the Holy Spirit working in Paul in the past to not go to Asia.

Did something happen to cause Paul to believe that the Holy Spirit no longer forbade Paul to preach in Asia? The answer to that question is found in Acts 16:9 where we read, “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help me’”. Once we see that according to ancient maps first century Macedonia was indeed in Asia, the seeming difficulty of Paul going to Asia is totally clear.

In other words, some time before the events of Acts 16:6 the Holy Spirit had forbidden Paul to preach in Asia. But Paul obviously understood the vision recorded in verse 9 telling him to go to Asia, (i.e. Macedonia) as having come from God and obeyed.

Acts 20:35: Did Christ Say It?

We read in Acts 20:35, “….Remember the words of the Lord Jesus how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this reads, “No such statement of Jesus is found elsewhere in the Bible”. This comment assumes that everything that Jesus uttered in his three year  earthly ministry was recorded in the Bible. Such an assumption is unwarranted and illogical.

SUPPOSED ERRORS IN THE EPISTLES

Romans 2:13 and Galatians 2:15

God’s plan of salvation includes faith and works.  As the paper on that subject will show, one is saved by grace through faith, but, in the words of James, “faith if it hath not works is dead being alone” (James 2:17).  As James also wrote, “by works was faith made perfect”( Gr. complete, see James 2:22).  In other words, there are two sides of the coin, so to speak, in terms of faith and works in salvation.

Consider Galatians 2:15 where Paul wrote, “We who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners know that a man is not justified by observing the law……”  But in Romans 2:13 he wrote, “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”  Is this a contradiction?  Of course not, it is simply two sides of truth that give us a perfect whole. That is to say, it is faith in Christ that makes one righteous, but the law was given to Israel to obey, and their obedience showed their faith in the One Who gave them that law. By obeying the law the individual Israelite showed his faith in Christ and that faith brought him justification.

Let us consider another example of “two sides of truth that give us a perfect whole”.  Eph. 2:8-9 reads, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast”.  But Paul wrote in Phil. 2:12, “……Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.  Did he mean that we are not saved by grace but by works?  Of course not; he meant good works must accompany true faith.  Again, “two sides of a truth that give us a perfect whole”.

Therefore, Rom. 2:13 does not contradict Galatians 2:15, both are two sides of a coin which make a perfect truth.

Romans 2:15 and I John 2:27

Romans 2:15 reads, “Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “The law is written on the heart.  Conscience teaches right from wrong”.  And in I Jn. 2:27 we read, “But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him”.  To which Mr. Gordon commented, “Anointing by Jesus teaches right from wrong”.

This is yet another case in which Mr. Gordon has simply made up what is not written.  Let us carefully compare the two verses.

It is true, as Mr. Gordon suggests that, in a moral sense, the ”conscience teaches right from wrong”. But I John 2:27 has nothing to do with doing right and wrong in the moral sense, it is about being taught the truth as opposed to a lie.  What specific truth is it about which John refers in this context?  That question is answered in the near context, i.e. verses 22-27.  Let us consider verses 22-24 in particular. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning……”.

I am sure the reader will agree that I Jn. 2:27 has nothing to do with one’s conscience in regard to doing right or wrong, but rather with being anointed by Christ to continue in the truth that He is the Christ.

There is no contradiction in these two verses because one has to do with the conscience in doing right and/or wrong, and the other has to do with the anointing (not one’s conscience) by Christ in order to remain in the truth that He is the Christ. In short, the two passages have nothing in common and therefore cannot contradict each other.

Romans 8:28-30 and I Timothy 2:3-4 

Romans 8:28-30 reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. For whom He did predestinate them He also called; and whom He called them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.  And we read in I Tim. 2:4, “Who (God) will have all men to be saved…”.

I would like to begin this discussion by saying that as the paper on predestination proves from Scripture, God does call some, but not primarily for salvation, but rather to fulfill a particular task.  For example, we know that Israel is the chosen nation of God, but they were not chosen to be saved (not all of the natural seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were or are believers, and therefore saved), Israel was called to be a witness to the nations as to Who God is as He perform His miracles for them.  And the Levites were called to serve in the temple, but again, not all Levites were saved. 

With that in mind let us consider Rom. 8:28-30. We must not read into this passage that which is not there. That is to say, Rom. 8 does not say that some were called to be saved. We read that some were called “according to His purpose”. Those that were called to fulfill His purpose were to be conformed to the image of His Son, to be justified and glorified. But the primary purpose of His calling is not for salvation, but for a particular service.  Paul, for example needed to be a believer in order to fulfill that purpose for which God called him. But again, the primary purpose was not for salvation, but for service. 

Now let us consider I Tim. 2:4, , “Who (God) will have all men to be saved…”. The Greek word translated “will” in the phrase “Who will have all men saved” does not mean “determines”, but rather, “desires”.  So God desires all me to be saved.

There is, therefore, no contradiction in these two passages because God allows anyone who will accept His gift of salvation to be saved, whether they are called by Him for a particular service or not.

Romans 10:11

Romans 10:11 reads, “For the Scripture saith, ‘Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed’”. To which Mr. Gordon commented, “An alleged OT quote.  No such statement in the OT”.

Let us consider Is. 26:18 which reads, “….he that believeth shall not make haste”. I will quote the note by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible. That note reads, “Not make haste = be constant, steady not fleeing away.  Note the figure metonymy (of subject)…; by which the hastening, of flight is put for the confusion and shame which is the cause of it.  Sept. reads ‘ashamed”.  Dr. Bullingr defined the figure of speech metonymy of subject in the Appendix 6 of the Companion Bible as, “When the subject is put for something pertaining to it”. In this case, “haste” is put by use of the figure of speech metonymy of the subject for shame.

In other words, Isaiah used the figure of speech metonymy of subject in his use of the word “haste”, but Paul translated the figure of speech literally i.e. “ashamed”.

So  Rom. 10:11 does quote the Old Testament, it is a literal interpretation of Is. 26:18 which uses a figure of speech.

Drinking Wine: Romans 14:21 

Mr. Gordon referenced many scriptures to show that drinking wine was not something to be shunned and then referenced Rom.14:21 which he assumed contradicted the other passages.  Let us consider Rom. 14:21 in context.

We read in verse 2 of this chapter, “For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs”. Paul’s point in this entire chapter is that it is not a sin to eat or drink anything, but if something we eat or drink causes a weaker brother harm, then we should not do it.  And in that context we may now consider verse 14:21, “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother  stumbleth, or is offended or is made weak”.

Paul is not suggesting that it is wrong to drink wine any more than he is suggesting that it is wrong to eat meat.  He is saying only that we should not do so if it causes a brother to stumble. 

I Corinthians 7:8-9 and I Timothy 5:14: Should Widows Marry?

We read in I Cor. 7:8-9, “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them, if they abide even as I.  But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn”. And in I Tim. 5:14 we read, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children guide the house….”.

Mr. Gordon’s comment on the passage in I Corinthians reads, “Widows should not marry (although it is better to marry than burn)”.  And his comment on I Tim. 5:14 reads, “Young widows should marry, bear children, rule the household etc. “.

This seeming contradiction is a very important example of the need to “rightly divide the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). That is to say, I Corinthians was written during the Acts period while I Timothy was written after the end of the Acts period.  In other words the two epistles were written in two different dispensations. The literal meaning of the Greek word translated “dispensation” is “house law”.  It refers to the fact that God deals differently with the world in different dispensations.  (Please see the paper on this subject for the Scriptural evidence of this statement). The present dispensation began after the end of the Acts period which means that God began dealing with His household, i.e. the world, differently after the end of the Acts period than He did during the Acts period. With that in mind we are prepared to consider the seeming difficulty in the two passages quoted in this section.

Let us begin by considering why Paul would suggest in the Acts period that it is better to be unmarried and childless. In answer to that question let us consider Matt. 24:23 which comes in the context of Christ’s discourse about the end times. “But woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days, for there shall be great distress in the land…..”. Paul wrote I Corinthians during the Acts period. During the Acts period he was still looking for the return of Christ in his lifetime, which meant that he was still expecting to see the tribulation.

During the tribulation it was better, according to Matt. 24:23, quoted above, for a woman not to be with child. But in the dispensation of the mystery Paul knew that the return of Christ was no longer imminent and that the great tribulation would not occur soon. That being the case, in the dispensation of the mystery it was better for the unmarried to marry and have children.

We can see therefore, that there is no contradiction in these two passages. But one must look beyond the surface in order to discover the truth.

I Corinthians 8:4 and II Corinthians 4:4: Is There More than One God?

 We read in I Cor. 8:4, “….we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but One”.   And in II Cor. 4:4 we read of “the god of this world who hath blinded the minds of them that believe not…”. Mr. Gordon’s comment on I Cor. 8:4 reads, “There is only one God”, and his comment on II Cor. 8:4 reads, “Satan is God of this world (therefore there are at least two gods)”.

The error in Mr. Gordon’s comments comes from the fact that he does not take into account the original languages of the Bible, i.e. Hebrew and Greek. The Greek word translated “world” in I Cor. 8:4 is “kosmos” and is used of the universe.  But the Greek word translated “world” in II Cor. 4:4 is “aion” and is used of an age, i.e. a period of time.  In other words, Satan is the god of this age, but only God is the God of the world.

 I Corinthians 10:26 and John 12:31: Who Is The Ruler of the Earth?

We read in I Cor. 10:26, “For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”. And in Jn. 12:31 we read, “….now shall the prince of this world be cast out”. Mr. Gordon’s comments suggest that there is a contradiction in these two verses in that I Corinthians says that the earth is the Lord’s and in Jn. 12 we read of Satan as the “prince of this world”.

The Greek word translated “prince” in Jn. 12:31 is “archon”.  It is used of Satan and it is also used of Christ in Rev. 1:5 in the phrase, “Prince of the kings of the earth”.  But the Greek “archon” is also used of the rulers of the synagogue, the “ruler’s house”, “princes of the Gentiles”, “chief of the Pharisees”, etc. .

But more importantly we learn that the Greek word “archon” does not indicate that Satan is the supreme owner of the earth. Rather, the word indicates, certainly a degree of importance, but again, does not indicate ownership.

Mr. Gordon, once again, failing to understand how the word in the original Greek should be understood, has come to the erroneous conclusion that there is a contradiction here. The earth is the Lord’s, there is no contradiction in the two verses quoted above. 

 I Corinthians 10:33 and Galatians 1:10: Did Paul Seek to Serve Men?

We read in I Cor. 10:33, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved”. And in Gal. 1:10 we read, “for do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men: for if I yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment on I Cor. 10:33 reads, “Paul says that he tries to please men (so they might be saved).”  And his comment on Gal. 1:10 reads, “Paul says he would not be a servant of Christ if he tried to please men”.

Mr. Gordon makes the very common error of taking these two verses out of context which results  in a seeming contradiction that is not there. Let us consider the contexts.

What is the subject of I Cor. 10? Verses 30-33 give an excellent summary of the passage from verse 27-33.  That passage reads, “For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks. Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do,  do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things….”. In short, the context centers on Paul’s argument that whatever they do it should not be an offence to others, i.e. even as he tries to please all men. So in this context Paul pleases men by not being an offence to them in what he eats or drinks.

Now let us consider the context of Gal. 1:10. Note verse 6, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you….”. And verse 7, “…but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ”. And in verse 9 Paul speaks of “any man” who preaches “any other gospel”.  Obviously, there were some in the Galatian church who were preaching a false gospel of salvation (they were preaching that observance of the Mosaic Law was required for salvation). So in this context Paul was separating himself (he was not interested in pleasing them) from even the elders of the Galatian church in order to make the point that they were teaching a false doctrine.

In short, the subject of II Cor. 10 had to do with not being an offence to men and the subject of Gal. had to do with standing against the false teachers of the Galatian church.  There is no contradiction in these two passages in that they have to do with two entirely different subjects. In my opinion, an honest approach to a study of the Bible does not allow for taking statements out of context in order to create contradictions.

II Corinthians 12:16 and I Thessalonians 2:3

In I Thess. 2:3 we read, “For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment reads, “Paul says that he does not use trickery”. We read in  II Cor. 12:16, “…. being crafty I caught you with guile”.  Mr. Gordon’s comment on this verse reads, “Paul says that he does use trickery”.

Is Paul saying that he tricked the Corinthian believers?  If so, what did he trick them into? What is the point of the context?  It is of great importance that we consider these questions which will be answered from the context.

Let us first consider the point of the context. We read in verses 11-12, “I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds”.  In this passage Paul is reminding the Corinthian believers of all the “signs of an apostle” which he showed them. That was necessary because the Corinthian church was doubting Paul’s apostleship.

With that in mind I suggest we consider other translations than the KJV. We read in the NRSV, “…..Nevertheless, (you say) since I was crafty, I took you by deceit”. Given that this verse comes in the context of Paul arguing that he was indeed an apostle of Jesus Christ, I believe that, according to the NRSV, Paul is saying that they, i.e. the Corinthian church, believed that he was not an apostle, but rather had deceived them into thinking that he was an apostle.

Let us also consider the English Standard Version which reads, “…..I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit”. And the NASB reads, “….crafty fellow that I am I took you in by deceit”.  Was Paul saying that they were right and that he was not an apostle of Jesus Christ, but had deceived them into thinking he was?  Of course not! This is an obvious example of the figure of speech irony, which is defined by Dr. E. W. Bullinger in the Companion Bible as, “The expression of thought that naturally conveys its opposite”. In short, the NASB chose to translate the verse as a figure of speech        emphasizing Paul’s point that he is indeed an apostle of Christ and that he did not use any deceit with them in saying that he was.

My point is that Paul did not say that he was deceitful with them, but rather that they, i.e. the church at Corinth, were accusing him of deceit when they questioned his apostleship.

Therefore, there is no difficulty between the two verses quoted in this section. II Cor. 12:16 refers to the deceit that the Corinthian church was accusing Paul of using when he said that he was an apostle, while in II Thess. Paul made clear that he had not deceived them in his preaching of the gospel. 

The Twelve Tribes in Rev. 7:4-8

The list of the twelve tribes of Israel in Rev. 7:4-8 leaves out the tribe of Dan and adds Manasseh. The reason that Dan is left out is found in Judges 18:30, :And the children of Dan set up the graven image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom…..were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land”.  The note in the Companion Bible tells us that Dan was the first to do this and was therefore not named in Rev. 4.

Revelation 8:7 and 9:4

We read in Rev. 8:7, “….and a third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up”.  And in Rev. 9:4 we read, “And it was commanded them (the locusts from the “bottomless pit”) that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree….”.

Revelation, in large part, does not seem to be written in a sequence of events that makes sense. Let me site a few examples. In Rev. 6:12-13 we read, “…The sun turned black, ….the moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth”. But we read two chapters later in 8:12, “..a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark”. First the sun and moon are turned black and the stars fall from the sky then later a third of the sun and moon are turned dark. This defies logic. I suggest therefore, that we not expect the book of Revelation to be written  in chronological order. This suggestion clears up the problems mentioned above concerning the sun and moon and stars and sky.

This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond please e-mail me at: janjoyce@aol.com

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