|Lay it to Heart
Proverbs 30:5 proclaims, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him" and warns us, "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." To guess about what happened in the past and tell people it is so or highly suggest we know what was done is to speak presumptuously or to lie about history. If we do not know we should not say. If the Bible does tell us something we should handle the truth accurately. Teachers, scholars, pastors and preachers need to stick with the facts and leave out guess work.
Bible teachers tell us that on the sixth day of creation God made the animals and then he made Adam and Eve. This is not true. Genesis 1 tells us:
|And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
|And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
|And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
|So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
|And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Genesis 1 is a list of things God did the sixth day but it does not give an order of how he did it. Genesis chapter 2 gives the details:
|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; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
|And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
|the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Adam was made first. There was not a help meet, a helper or an ideal companion for man so God made the land animals in verse 19. These were wonderful but God knew that man was still alone, so God created women who was perfect for man. God man Adam, the land animals and woman in that order.
Genesis 2:21 says, "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; " God took one of Adam's ribs to make woman. Now I often hear something at weddings along these lines. "God did not take a bone out of Adam's head, because woman was not to rule over him. God did not take a bone from Adam's foot because man was not to rule over woman. God took a bone from Adam's side because God created man and woman as equals." This is not true. The exact reason is not given as to why God took a rib. A reason is given for why God made woman. The Bible says God created women as a help meet for man. Preachers are reading their own precepts into the passage and teaching it as the doctrine of God. Anyone who preaches a reason for which there is no evidence is putting words in God's mouth. They are speaking presumptuously.
How Long Were Adam and Eve in the Garden? The Bible does not specifically tell us how long Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden but we should know the approximate time. Some claim they could have been there hundreds of years or even a thousand. Genesis 3:23-24 accounts for the time when Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden. Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel afterwards in Genesis 4:1-2. Cain murdered Abel in Genesis 4:8. Later in Genesis 5:3 we see Seth born when Adam was 130 years old. Clearly Adam had sinned before he was 130 and before Cain and Abel grew up. What limits the time substantially more is God's commandment to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28, "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." God told Adam and Eve to had children. There was not a valid reason in those in those days for waiting to bear children. Sin and death had not entered the world. Adam did not need to worry about getting a better job first to pay for the bills. Adam did not have concerns about insurance. They didn't need to save for a college education for the kids or get a bigger house. Eve was perfect and not barren. Eve did not need to go see a fertility doctor. They could have had a baby the very first year they were in the garden and been more prepared to care for them than anyone alive in the world today. Delayed obedience is disobedience. If they waited to build a family it would have been wrong. It would have been a sin. Genesis 3:6 records the first sin of man in history; eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which they were commanded by God not to eat. If they had sinned by delaying to have kids, they would have been sent out for that sin and not the sin of eating the forbidden fruit. The time it took for them to eat the fruit was less than the reasonably allowable time to have kids. A pregnancy lasts about nine months. It takes some time to get pregnant. We cannot judge how much time was reasonable for Eve to conceive but if Adam and Eve were obeying God it would not have taken long. It would be reasonable to expect conception in days, weeks or months but to say it was years does not take into consideration the commandment of the Lord. They could have very easily had child within the first year and certainly within two years. It is not reasonable to say they were in the garden for any period longer than that.
What was the Behemoth mentioned in Job 40:15? Was it an elephant or hippopotamus as some think? Such a theory is not consistent with the Bible. Check out the Answers in Genesis web site Could Behemoth have been a dinosaur?. They handle the subject well. When preachers provide pathetic explanations for scriptures it's no wonder the world laughs at Christians. Answers in Genesis, however, has some of the answers you need.
What was the Leviathan mentioned in Job 41:1? Was it an crocodile? Again, such a theory is not consistent with the Bible. Crocodiles do not have breath which kindles coals per Job 41:21. Unlike leviathan, men are able to fight crocodiles. Read the whole passage of Job 41 and you will find the crocodile explanation is ridiculous. For more information see the Answers in Genesis web site More on Dinosaurs.
The unicorn is mentioned in Numbers 23:22, Numbers 24:8, Job 39:9-10, Psalm 29:6 and Psalm 92:10. God told Job, "Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?" Modern versions such as the New International Version translate this as a wild ox. The world thinks of the unicorn as a myth and these versions reinforce that treating the Bible as being in error. If it meant wild ox then God could have simply said that. An ox can be bound. A unicorn has to be something different. The old stories of unicorns were not based on the fairy tale versions of today with a horse having a completely straight conical horn sharp as a tack in the middle of its forehead, sparkling dust, a princess riding on its back and rainbows in the sky. The old stories spoke of a large horse with a horn in its forehead that would charge at someone and then forget. How is that different that a rhinoceros? The word hippopotamus means river horse. The rhinoceros is a large animal with four legs and a torso similar to the hippopotamus. So why not consider that as a horse as well? The International Rhino Foundation shows the classification of the Indian Rhinoceros as rhinoceros unicornis. It fits the description yet people are still shying away from the Biblical truth. On a side note, it is appropriate to say we need to save the unicorns.
I have heard pastors say Joseph was a type of Christ. What does the Bible say? Genesis 46:28-34 tells us:
|And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.
|And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
|And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.
|And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father's house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father's house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me;
|And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.
|And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?
|That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
In Genesis 47:3 his brothers refused to do what Joseph asked and told Pharaoh they were shepherds. Exodus 20:16 tells us not to lie. Jesus would not have feared Pharaoh and encouraged people to lie.
Genesis 41:34 tells us Joseph proposed a that a fifth of the crops be gathered during the seven years of plenty in Egypt. What happened when the drought came during the seven years of famine? In Genesis 41:56 Joseph sold the corn he had previously taken from Egyptians back to them. Was that right? What happened when they ran out of money?
|And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.
|And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house.
|And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.
|And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
|And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the [donkeys]: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.
|When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:
|Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.
|And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's.
|And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.
|Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.
|Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.
|And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.
|And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.
|And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.
There was not any love there. He used the corn he took from them to take everything they had including their freedom. He practiced discrimination favoring the priests. That is not Christ like. The Bible never uses the phrase "type of Christ". Why should you?
In Genesis 15:13 God promised Abraham, "Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;" What does this really mean? God told Abraham that his descendants would be strangers in a land that is not theirs for 400 years (Genesis 15:13). In this land they would also be enslaved and oppressed. They were strangers in the land for 400 years but they were not oppressed for 400 years. In Acts 7:6 Stephen said, "And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years." They were treated evilly 400 years but they were not enslaved 400 years.
Jacob served Laban seven years for Leah and seven years for Rachel (Genesis 29:15-30). All of his sons up to Joseph were born while Jacob served Laban for the second set of seven years. Levi, the third born, was less than seven years older than Joseph. Joseph was 30 years when he stood before Pharaoh (Genesis 41:46). In the second year of the famine, the Jews went to stay in Egypt (Genesis 47:18). Joseph was now about 39. Levi, the third born son during the second set of seven years, would then be no more than four and a half years older than Joseph and therefore a maximum of 44 years old when the 430 year period started. Exodus 6:16 tells us Levi lived to 137 of age or 93 years after the Jews went to Egypt. Exodus 1:6-8 tells us, "And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land." The start of the oppression did not come until after Joseph and all of his brothers, including Levi, died. Since Levi lived very close to 93 years after they went into Egypt then the oppression did not start before then. 430-93 = 337. If the Jews were slaves 400 years then they would have only lived in Egypt 30 years when this happened.
Genesis chapter 50:26 says, "So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." If the Jews were slaves at that time the Egyptians would not bother to embalm him. Would his relatives as slaves have the time and money to bury him this way? It does not make sense.
Verse 5 says, " And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. If the population could double every ten years there would be 140 people after 10 years, 280 after 20 years and 560 after 30 years. Verse 7 says the land was filled with them. It is ridiculous to say the land was filled with 500 or 600 people. In verse 8 the king said the Jews were more and mightier than Egyptians. How could anyone believe that 600 or so Hebrews were more and mightier than Egypt at this time? It does not makes sense. Reviewing more scripture we find is that the Jews were not strangers for the first thirty years, they were strangers for another 63 years or so and then the oppression started some time after that. Following this time, Jews were enslaved for a period less than 400 years.
Moses has been called a murderer because he killed an Egyptian. Exodus 2:10-12 says, "And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. In Acts 7:22-24 Stephen said, "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:" In Acts Stephen used the word avenged not murdered. What does the Bible say? Exodus 21:16 says, "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death." The Hebrews were slaves to the Egyptians. Slavery was, and is, a capital offence. There was nothing wrong with killing a slave owner.
Exodus 4:10 says, "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." The word in this passage translated as slow is keved. The primary meaning is heavy but it can also mean massive, abundant, numerous, heavy, dull, hard, difficult, burdensome, very oppressive, numerous or rich. This could mean he stuttered but it also mean he had a speech impediment, couldn't pronounce some words, could only talk slowly or maybe could speak well but after a long pause. We don't the exact details. The problems is that when some preachers don't know the details they make them up and that's wrong. We should be content that we know only Moses had difficulty speaking without knowing what his problem was.
Movies such as the "The Ten Commandments" show the Pharaoh of Egypt at the time of the Exodus surviving while the armies of Egypt drowned in the Red Sea. This is incorrect. Bible study teachers try to point out that the Bible does say he drowned in Exodus. They are taking only select portions of the Bible and not studying the whole thing. Pharaoh did drown. Psalm 136 starts, "O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." Verses 14-15 say, "And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever: But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever." Psalms 106:7-11 says, "Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea. Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known. He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left." If Pharaoh was overthrown and not one of the enemies of Israel was left there can be no doubt that Pharaoh drowned.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." This commandment has been twisted to say that people were required to wear phylacteries or a boxes containing scripture strapped to their forehead. This is promoted by those who do not know God, by those who wish to mock it and those who have simply been taught wrong. They were merely required to wear the word of God on their foreheads. If you a hat, bandana, motorcycle helmet or hard hat you can write scripture on it and do the same. It does not require a box. Ignore tradition and focus on the Bible.
Do scholars really know where all of the tribal boundaries of the nation of Israel were? Look at the tribe of Zebulun. Jacob said of Zebulun in Genesis 49:13, "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon." If this were not a valid blessing or prophecy, why would God have it written in the Bible? None of the maps I find of the tribes of Israel show Zebulun with a haven or port on the Mediterranean Sea. Moses, inspired by God, said in Deuteronomy 33:18-19 says, "And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand." I would guess, and let me emphasize, guess, that as far as the abundance of the seas or the treasure hid in the sand, the people looking for oil would do better to find where Zebulun would have a port on the Mediterranean and look there. The treasures hid in the sand have not been found so far so this must refer to a time in the future. Are there any ports in northern Israel today other than Haifa? Matthew 4:12-13 says, "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:" Zabulon is the same as Zebulun. Here we see Zebulun, along with Naphtali, having a border on the Sea of Galilee. Modern maps show neither Zebulun nor Issachar with border by the Mediterranean Sea. Modern maps do not show Zebulun with a border by the Sea of Galilee. These maps must be wrong.
Sure, most pastors know better but it keeps slipping out and a lot people do not know better. David wrote some of the Psalms but he did not write all of them. Do not forget that ultimately God was the author. Some of the Psalms, such as chapters 1 and 2 do not tell who wrote them. Asaph wrote chapters 50 and 73 through 83. Moses wrote Psalm 90. Ethan the Ezrahite is given as the psalmist for chapters 88 and 89. The name is not given for 62 of the Psalms. As it turns out, King David wrote about half of the Psalms.
1 Kings 11:3 says, "And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart." Notice that the number is that of wives and princesses not just wives. Song of Solomon 6:8 helps with, "There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number." The exact ratio and relationships of these women is not known but there appears to be far more princesses than queens.
How old was Jehoiachin when he began to reign over Judah? 2 Kings 24:8 is translated, "Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem." 2 Chronicles 36:9 is rendered, "Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD." There is a clear conflict here. Teachers avoid explaining this because they can't. The New American Standard Bible, Revised Standard Version, Young's Literal Translation and the New KJV are some of the versions which have this conflict. The problem is that the text in Chronicles does not actually say eight. The Hebrew word for eight is shemoneh spelled shin, mem, nun, heh. The word found in the actual Hebrew of 2 Chronicles 36 is spelled shin, mem, vav, nun, heh. It is similar but not the same. It is a different word and should not be translated as eight. Confusion is caused by the translation.
Scholars teach that the ninth day of the fifth month in the Jewish calendar is the day when the first and second temples were destroyed. They also mention that many other tragedies have occurred on this day to the Jewish people. It is called Tisha B'Av. 2 Kings 25:8-10 says, "And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire. And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about." Jeremiah 52:12-14 reads, "Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, And burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire: And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about." At first it may appear there is a conflict but notice the difference in the text. On the seventh day Nebuzaradan came to Jerusalem but he did not go in to it. On the tenth day he went into it. That is the day the destruction of the temple started. Jewish scholars teach that on the seventh the heathens entered the Temple and ate therein and desecrated it throughout the seventh and eighth and towards dusk of the ninth they set fire to it and it continued to burn the whole of that day. What the Bible says is different. It says the Babylonians did not enter until the tenth day. The temple was looted. That had to be done before it was burnt. Psalm 74:6-7 says, "But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers. They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground." Men would not take an axe to carved work that had been burnt. The temple was in the midst of the city. Casting fire into the sanctuary was something that was done after looting and defacing it. Jeremiah 52:17-23 lists things taken from the temple on the tenth day before it was burned. Jeremiah 20:5 lists more, "Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon."
Jeremiah 37:8 warned, "And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire." Notice the order. Flames would consume many of the precious treasures of the kings of Judah. Nebuchadrezzar's army would have to invade and take the city first. Lamentations 5:11 provides more insight, "They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah." Again, this had to be done before the city is burnt. Conquerors follow the rule, "Loot, then burn." Nebuzaradan did not enter the city until the tenth day. The temple was not burnt, looted or destroyed until the tenth day.
Almost all scholars say King Cyrus of Persia did not order the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem prophesied in Daniel 9:25. Instead they look to Artaxerxes to fulfill God's word. They rework history based on a faulty view of scripture. Actually, Cyrus did give an order to rebuild Jerusalem. Isaiah 44:28-45:1 says, "That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;" If God prophesied it, we can trust that it was done. As the temple was being rebuilt the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin wrote a letter to King Artaxerxes to try and stop the construction. Ezra 4:12-13 reads, "Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings." In verse 12 it is noted that Jerusalem was already being built. In verse 13 they used logic to try to convince the king not to let the Jews continue. Had there not been an order previously given to rebuild Jerusalem they would have only had to mention that the Jews were performing unauthorized work, that they exceeding their direction or going against the king's orders. Scholars need to understand Cyrus gave an order to rebuild Jerusalem and restore the temple. Those who do not believe it either don't know scripture or are not trusting God.
Giving fiction an upgraded title does not justify presenting it in a believable context and mixing it with the truth. If people will associate it with the Bible, believe it and then get confused it should not be done. Movies about Bible stories do this very well and as a result pollute God's word. What did God say? Deuteronomy 4:2 commands us, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." Revelation 22:18-19 has a similar warning,"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." This particular passage may apply to the book of Revelation itself but it reinforces the need to treat the Bible as holy. A fictional story recognized as such in one thing. Presenting fact and fiction yoked together is a lie.
When Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem they found no room in the inn. Luke 2:7 says, "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Preachers assume the innkeeper was a man without mercy, an evil man or a greedy man. This is ridiculous. They weren't there and the Bible does not say why this happened. So why slander the innkeeper? How do they know the inn wasn't full of other women giving birth or elderly people or sick people? We do not even know the innkeeper was a man. Why were Joseph and Mary there? They were traveling for the same reason that others may have been traveling for; to go and pay taxes per the order of Caesar Augustus as mentioned in Luke 2:1. If they innkeeper had already taken people in, why should he break his agreement and ask them to leave? Would that be right? Why was the inn Bethlehem full? It could have been from the feast of tabernacles. Once a year, the Jews were to live in temporary shelters, tents or sukkas. Leviticus 23:42-43 says, "Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." It may have been that Jesus was born in a stable so he would celebrate the feast of tabernacles even from the beginning. John 1:14 says that he dwelt among us. The Greek word skhnow (skenoo pronounced skay-no'-o) means to fix, have, abide or live in a tabernacle. The Bible really says he tabernacled among us. This would suggest that Jesus was born in a stable so as to celebrate the feast of tabernacles and that there was nothing wrong with the innkeeper.
Many maps for Bible studies today show the the land of Israel as Palestine instead of calling it by its true name Israel. A typical map would be titled "Palestine at the time of Christ" There are 73 references to Israel in the New Testament but not to Palestine. Jesus referred to it as Israel in Matthew 8:10, 10:6, 10:23, 15:24, 19:28, Mark 12:29, Luke 4:25, 4:27, 7:9, 22:30, John 3:10 and Revelation 2:14. The word Palestine comes from the word for Philistines. In Numbers 34:1-12 God gave Israel the land shown on maps today as Palestine. We should call it by the name God uses and the name Jesus uses instead of the false name the world uses.
I have heard Bible teachers mention that the Apostles were big burly fisherman. Does big mean tall, fat or muscular in this case? Burly means what? Check the dictionary. I use the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. How do they know they were big and burly? Did God only call the strong? Were they there? Did they find reliable historical accounts about the Apostles? What did the digital photos show? Oh, that's right we don't have pictures from back then do we? The historians of the day, such as Josephus, are not reliable. Actually, they don't know.
Preachers have referred to Mary Magdalene as being impure on a professional level. Mark 16:9 tells us , "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene out of whom he had cast seven devils." Having demons does not mean the person was committing any particular act of sin. To teach it as such is a sin. Please note the commas in this verse have been placed there by man not God. For more see The Resurrection.
Teachers often talk about Jesus be whipped thirty nine times with a cat and nine tails or cat-o-nine tails; a whip with nine leather straps having pieces of broken bone or rock at the end. Deuteronomy 25:3 limited the number of lashes a person could be given for punishment to forty. The Apostle Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:24, "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one." Not everything done to Jesus, however, followed the law nor was typical of how prisoners were treated. To finish the crucifixion of Jesus and the two criminals with him, the Romans sought to break their legs. John 19:32-33 tells us, "Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:" Jesus was different than rest. We cannot assume that everything we think happened to those crucified also happened to Jesus or that it happened the exact same way. In Matthew 20:19, Mark 10:34, Luke 18:33 Jesus foretold that he would be scourged. Matthew 27:26 records, "Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified." Mark 15:15 writes, "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified." In John 19:1 we find, "Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him." We know Jesus scourged and just that. We do not know how many lashes he was given nor what type of whip was used.
The verses in the Book of Acts are historical accounts of what was done and what was said. Keep in mind, that just because somebody said something that is repeated in the Bible, it does not mean what they said was correct. Comments made by the Pharisees are in the Bible but the Pharisees' comments are not correct. 2 Peter 3:3 tells what the scoffers will say in the last days but what the scoffers will say, and are saying today, is not right. Paul made a mistake. I do not believe it was for the same reasons as the Pharisees or scoffers, but he did make a mistake. Here are the passages about Paul's conversion:
|And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
|And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
|And as he 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?
|And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
|And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
|And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
|And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
|And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
|And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
|And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
Chapter 9 says the men heard a voice but saw no man. Chapter 22 says they saw a light but heard nothing. When Paul gave his testimony to king Agrippa in Acts 26 he did not address the details of what the other people saw or heard. Acts chapter 9 is the account of what actually happened. Acts 22 and 26 were what Paul gave as his testimony. We should get the details of Paul's conversion right and teach people ahead of time to know the difference between the accounts. If Paul could make a mistake then anyone else could as well.
When Paul got his testimony wrong it was not the only time the apostles made mistakes after the resurrection of Jesus. Not everything they said was correct. Now the Bible is true, and the holy scriptures are inspired by God, but that does not make these people infallible. For example, Peter's discourse on Pentecost was not completely accurate.
|But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
|For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
|But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
|And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
|And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
|And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
|The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
|And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
No wonders were noted in heaven that day. Nothing was changed into blood that day. No fires were reported. Vapour of smokes did not make the list, either. The sun was not turned into darkness. The moon was not turned into blood nor is there a record of it appearing as blood. Why did he say these things? It does not matter. The fact is, he was wrong. Referring to a later incident, God, through Paul writes,
|But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
|For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
|And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
|But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Paul told Peter he was wrong. If Peter could make mistakes, if he was wrong, if he was fallible then why should anyone believe that his successors were perfect? There is not a Biblical basis to claim that preachers, scholars or the rest of the lot are perfect either. Rely on the authority of the Bible and not man.
Some good scholars think Israel was reestablished as a nation in 1948.
|And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
|And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
|The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
|But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
|And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
|And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
It's a good thing these guys aren't bankers. If bankers were happy getting paid back 50 per cent of the money they were owed they would go out of business. A debt is not paid off until it is completely paid off. Unless something is fully redeemed, it is not redeemed. Israel did not get the land back that God gave them until they got it all back. Jews lived in Israel before 1917 but that did not mean that Israel was restored. There were several waves of immigration or Aliyah prior to 1948. The Balfour Declaration was issued in November 2, 1917 establishing a Jewish homeland. The League of Nations unanimously recognized the British Mandate on July 24, 1922. This appears to be the last day of fourth lunar month in that year. The Jewish people were not in complete control. The country was not fully reinstated. The United Nations recognized Israel in a 1948. They did not, however give all the land to the Jewish people that had been theirs, either.
|And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
|Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:)
|Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward:
|And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea, and shall go on to Hazaraddar, and pass on to Azmon:
|And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.
|And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.
|And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor:
|From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad:
|the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazarenan: this shall be your north border.
|And ye shall point out your east border from Hazarenan to Shepham:
|And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward:
|the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about.
God also described the coasts or borders of Israel in Genesis 15 and Joshua 15. The land of Israel includes Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Israel really did not have complete control until June 7 or 10, 1967. During the Six Day War Israel recaptured all of the land. It was then they were fully recovered. Look at the verses in Isaiah 11 where it mentions God's people being recovered. In verse 14 they fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west. This happened in 1967. They spoiled them of the east together: they laid their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon obeyed them. The West Bank was recaptured in 1967. Were they recovered when they had control or when the war stopped? I do not know the day or hour but it did happen in 1967. Unfortunately, Israel didn't put their faith in God but for fear of its enemies gave control of the temple mount to Jordan. It has sold its birthright to Gaza for less than a pot of red stew. Israel was fully restored in 1967 and partially restored prior to 1948. The year 1948 was neither the beginning nor the end.
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