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The Purpose of Chronicles, Cyrus the Persian, the Chronology of the Exodus Plagues, Qumran and Isaiah, Nebuchadnezzar's Madness, and Jeremiah 31:22, "A Woman will Embrace a Man"

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Question #1: 

Dr. Lugenbill,

I was wondering how Chronicles serves a different function theologically than Kings does?

Thank you,

Response #1: 

Good to make your acquaintance. That is a very interesting question. There are many people and many references works that will put things that way (i.e., differentiating themes overall). The NIV Study Bible for example finds Chronicles giving a more "idealized" portrait of David and Solomon than does Kings.

However, I would answer in the following way. We are blessed to have the Word of God as it is, and every part of it has a distinctive purpose that may not be easily labeled. For example, we have four gospels, and three of them, the so-called synoptics, are very similar in some respects. People have often attempted to put some spin on one or the other, but generally speaking I have found that trying to find an overarching distinction in theme usually gets us nowhere – except occasionally causing us to find a "special emphasis" that is either so vague that it means nothing, or so specific that it warps our view of what the gospel actually says. My essential view is that we know that everything in the gospels is the Word of God, and we are blessed to be able to have such a rich accounting of the life and works and teachings and sacrifice of our Lord. The fact that some things are repeated in scripture is clearly also not a mistake. If it's there once, it's important. If it's there more than once, we probably need that reinforcement, and are very blessed to have it.

That is how I see the duplication of materials and parallel coverage between Chronicles and elsewhere in scripture – notably Kings, but of course Chronicles covers material from Genesis forward, and particularly also material found in 2nd Samuel. As in the case of the gospels, in each such "repetition", there is often some additional information provided as well, even if in very small ways as in the emphasis in each of the sections. It seems to me very helpful that we have a book(s) such as Chronicles which connects the restoration of the world (Adam, 1Chron.1:1) with the beginning of the restoration of the nation of Israel (in Cyrus' decree at 2Chron.36:23). I don't know that I'd call that theological purpose (since to me the communication of all of the truth of all of the Bible is God's theological purpose), but it is interesting and it is blessed. The blessing comes in understanding the actual words of God and the genuine truth they convey. That's a matter of careful study and exegesis of the individual passages, of course. And in all this we can be sure that whatever the personal foibles of any and all of the men who were called on to write the scriptures, in each and every case God worked things out so that without waving their personalities, nonetheless His perfect and complete message was preserved for us.

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NASB

For I did not follow concocted tales in making known to you the power and the coming return of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but was an eyewitness to His majesty. For when He had received honor and glory from God the Father, these words sounded forth to Him from God's majestic glory: "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased." And these words I myself heard as they were delivered from heaven, for I was with Him on the holy mountain (cf. Matt.17:1-8). Yet I consider the prophetically inspired Word (i.e. the Bible) even more reliable (i.e. than what I saw with my own eyes). You too would do well to pay the closest attention to this [prophetically inspired Word], just as to a lamp shining in a dark place (cf. Ps.119:105), until the day dawns, and the Morning Star rises (i.e. the Living Word, Jesus Christ, returns), pondering in your hearts this principle of prime importance: no single verse of prophetically inspired scripture has ever come into being as a result of personal reflection. For true prophecy has never occurred by human will, but only when holy men of God have spoken under the direction and agency of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Peter 1:16-21

You may want to have a look at these links (if you have not already done so):

The Relationship between the Books of Kings and Chronicles.

The so-called Documentary Hypothesis.

More on the Documentary Hypothesis.

David's Disastrous Census of Israel.

Please feel free to write back about any of this.

In Him who is the Word of God, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

Question #2: 

Bob, what can you tell me about this guy (Cyrus the Persian in Daniel 6:28)?

Response #2: 

This is Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian empire. He is mentioned by this title, "Cyrus the Persian", only here in Daniel 6:28. Usually he is "Cyrus the king of Persia" (e.g., 2Chron.36:22-23) or "Cyrus the king" (e.g., Ezra 1:1-8) or simply "Cyrus" (e.g., Is.44:28; 55:1). The reason for Daniel's word choice in this verse (contrast Dan.1:21 and 10:1) is to distinguish him in terms of his ethnicity from "Darius the Mede", the governor who threw Daniel into the lion's den after being tricked into doing so. Cyrus was the founded the great Persian empire, combining Persia with the kingdom of the Medes after he conquered Media, the bear in Daniel's prophecy of the great future empires (Dan.7:5: i.e., the bear is "raised up on one side" = Persia dominant over Media). His empire lasted until Alexander the Great destroyed it some two hundred years later (the goat crushing the ram in Daniel chapter eight). Cyrus is the subject of the first novel in western history, Xenophon's The Education of Cyrus which gives that fifth-fourth century Greek general and writer's view of what makes for a great ruler. Cyrus is the one who was responsible for the original return of a remnant of Jews to the land of Israel following the Babylonian captivity (see the book of Ezra).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Mr. Luginbill,

Thank you once again for your assistance. Do you know the time span between when Moses first entered Egypt and when the children of Israel were finally allowed to leave? I'm wondering if we can narrow down the time span from when Moses first spoke to Pharaoh and when the children of Israel finally left Egypt.

Thank you my Brother

Response #3: 

If we have a look at the biblical evidence, I think we shall have to conclude that all these events in Egypt concerning the plagues and the exodus of the people of Israel happened within a relatively short period of time. First of all, there seem to be solid indications that Moses' return and the departure of the Israelites happened within the span of less than one calendar year.

"When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites."
Acts 7:23 NIV

"After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai."
Acts 7:30 NIV

Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Exodus 7:7 NIV

The LORD's anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.
Numbers 32:13 NIV

Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.
Deuteronomy 34:7 NIV

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites."
Joshua 1:1 NIV

Moses was 80 when he returned and 120 when he died at the end of the 40 years the Israelites spent in the desert. Thus, if the plagues had lasted, say, two years, there is no way that Moses, having returned at 80, would only be 120 at the end of the 40 years (he would be at least 122 in that hypothetical case, depending on his birthday). On top of this, we have the events of the return itself, the intervals between the plagues, the march out of Egypt, and the instances of testing before the sending of the 12 on the reconnaissance mission to the land which produced the subsequent rejection of the Lord's will resulting in the 40 year "sentence" of wandering in the desert. It would seem that we would have to include not just the plagues but all of these events too into the year of exodus for the above chronology to work.

The above seems to argue for a very compact set of events in terms of the plagues themselves. That is indeed how the narrative reads after all: after the first audience with Pharaoh, plague #1 (blood) seems to be commanded immediately; plague #2 (frogs) happens "seven days later" (Ex.7:25); after some short time, Pharaoh asks for relief "tomorrow" (Ex.8:10); there is no indication that the interval until the plague of gnats (#3) is substantial; and that of the flies (#4) is added without indication that #3 has even come to end yet; Pharaoh seems to react to this plague swiftly (Ex. 8:24-25); and after Pharaoh refuses to do as he has promised, the plague on livestock (#5) seems to follow immediately (cf. Ex.9:5-6); no further audience is required for the adding on (with no indication of delay) the plague of boils (#6); the plague of hail (# 7) then follows after a further audience before Pharaoh. At this point, having consumed possibly a month at bare minimum since Moses' return, Exodus 9:31-32 tells us that the flax and barely were in bloom, but that the wheat and spelt had not yet flowered. According to Keil and Deilitzsch's commentary in loc., this would give us a January-February time frame. Therefore the time between plague #7 and the final plague #10 (the plague of the firstborn) can no more than two to three months (flax-flowering to Passover), for the first Passover which is contemporaneous with the final plague takes place in March-April. Thus it seems clear from the specifics of Exodus chapters 7-12 that we are talking about a period overall for the plagues in toto of less than a year (ca. 4-6 months). For it would seem logical (especially in the absence of any indications to the contrary) that the first six plagues were not spaced any farther apart than the last four. Indeed, since they are less severe, it seems reasonable to suppose that if anything they were spaced more compactly (and, as I say, to me this is the way the narrative seems to read; cf. "seven days", "tomorrow", "the next day").

Since, then, these two sets of biblical evidence are in agreement (at least in my view), I would stick with a short time-frame of less than a year from Moses' return to the departure from Egypt (and probably less than half a year). This conclusion also fits well with what we know about the seven tribulational bowl judgments which precede and include Armageddon: they are likewise very compactly spaced considering their much larger scale and wider geographical impact, occurring in a period of just over a year (see the link: in CT 5: The Bowl Judgments: Revelation 16:1-21). After all, Pharaoh is a "type" of the beast (see the link), and the utter destruction of Pharaoh's armies by the Angel of the Lord just in time to rescue the people is clearly symbolic of Armageddon and the Second advent.

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Hi--I have a question....do you think the Masorites corrupted the text at Is.53 to make it reflect what they wanted it to say (i.e., to make the obvious parallels to Jesus' sufferings less clear)? I saw someone recently on the Internet who averred this, and put this URL to show why:

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/33-esaias-nets.pdf

I don't know what translation this is, unless it is the NET Bible which is mentioned, but can't tell if that is the actual translation that is used in this version of Isaiah. When you have a time, could you look at this translation of Isaiah 53, esp. verse 10? And compare it with the standard versions in most bibles?

Also, do you know what the Dead Sea Scrolls have, in Is. 53:10? I don't know how to find that out, not being able to read Hebrew and all...though I could try to google it. I wish I could cut and paste from this website, but it won't allow me. Please let me know what you think about the "corruption" part and which translation--the standard ones or the one on this website--you think is closer to the original Hebrew.

Thanks. God bless you.

Response #4: 

I have found some examples of this sort of thing in the Masoretic version of the OT text, mostly accomplished by repointing the text rather than changing any of the consonants, however (so to that extent it could be called misinterpretation as opposed to deliberate corruption). Isaiah 53 is poetic, and has some difficult language which is hard to translate in any case (a fact reflected in the wide variety of renderings in this chapter as compared with other parts of Isaiah, for example). I would have to consider some specific examples. The brief look I took at the translation in the PDF linked to here I find not particularly good. For example, in Isaiah 53:10, I think I see where this person "gets" what he/she has produced, but I think the analysis behind the new translation is all wrong. The Qumran texts of Isaiah are, generally speaking, very close to the Masoretic text most people use. BHS, the most common scholarly version of the Hebrew Bible, lists one textual variant at Isaiah 53:10 based upon "A" scroll found at Qumram where we might render "and so they pierced him" instead of "he hath put him to grief" (KJV) or my own "to subject Him to torment". For all the hype, however, the Qumran texts represent an inferior strain of "popular text" which were more rapidly and cheaply produced than the ones employed in synagogues. Therefore the main practical function of the Qumran finds is to assure us that the Masoretic text most of use is very good indeed. In the example cited, I think either reading causes problems for those who would rather not find a suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53.

The Masoretes added (most of) the vowel points to the Hebrew text ; these are not inspired, and in many cases are open to interpretation. This can generate alternative readings (most commonly in verbal formations), and occasionally the change can be quite significant. Clearly, these individuals had a theological perspective which influenced how they read the text. But I don't know of any instances where it can be shown decisively that the consonantal text has been altered to promote a theological agenda. Indeed, if that had been their process, we would have a real mess on our hands today. As I say, the Qumran Isaiah scrolls demonstrate that in fact the text we have is very sound.

I would be happy to consider any particular examples you have questions about.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Hello Dr luginbill

I hope you are fine sir? Sir is bowing to the idols or folding hands( with no intention of worshiping it) a sin? Dr, my parents are still following hindu rituals but they know I have accepted Christ so they don't ask me to join them in their rituals. The problem arises when we go to a friend's or a relative's house and if by chance there is any ceremony going on, they might expect you to fold hands to their idols (there are so many gods in India). What should I do then? I have been avoiding such a situation. People ask you these questions " why don't you respect our god (or gods)? Sir I just want to do what is right.

I am learning a lot from your website. Ichthys.com is a blessing

Thank you so much. God bless you

Response #5: 

Dear Friend,

I highly recommend you read these links which addresses biblical situations which are similar though not identical to your situation:

"Naaman the Syrian"

The Challenge for Christians Living in a Pagan State

I very much appreciate your conclusion here, namely, that you want "to do what is right". That is certainly what God wants of you and for you. As Paul says in Romans 14:23 in the context of whether or not it is acceptable to eat meat that had been offered to idols, "Everything that is not of faith is sin". When it comes do difficult issues such as this, one has to be completely convinced in one's heart of the rightness of what one does or does not do.

I apologize for having put off this response to you. It is a difficult one for me to write, and I came to the realization today that the reason for this difficultly is that I am not convinced that in a similar circumstance I would have the courage and consistency to do what I felt right regardless of consequences. I hope and I wish that I would, but since I have never been confronted with this sort of situation – going against my family and culture and risking all my relationships (not to mention whatever else might happen) – I am reluctant to tell you not to do what in a comparable case I might just do under pressure or out of rationalization. Your question provides me and others who will read this with an excellent "gut check", as we say, a test through self-examination if we are honest with ourselves of just how committed to the Lord we really are. Would we do, as you say, "what is right" if it might potentially cost us our friends, our family, our jobs and livelihoods, our freedom . . . our lives? The time is swiftly coming when almost all true believers in the world will indeed be confronted with this very question in a most dramatic and unequivocal way, when the beast will demand that all who would not suffer the dire consequences take his mark upon their bodies. During that most difficult future time of the Great Tribulation, what we must do is already clear, but probably few of us appreciate now the psychological and physical cost that "doing what is right" will exact (see the link: "The Mark of the Beast").

I promise to keep you in my prayers about this situation in particular as well as for you general spiritual welfare – and I urge all readers of this post to do the same. I can tell you for certain that if you seek God's guidance in prayer and in faith, He will give you peace and confidence about "what is right". In His great mercy, may He also grant you deliverance in every way.

In the One in whom alone is our salvation and our eternal reward, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #6: 

 Thank you for taking questions and sharing your work with the world! Is there any significance in End Time events to Nebuchadnezzar’s 7 year period of insanity? Nebuchadnezzar is described as a prototypical "antichrist." The seven year period of insanity seems to "coincidental" to not be of relevance. Thank you for your time and any answer.

Response #6: 

Very good to make your acquaintance. I think you are correct that the seven year period of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity is intriguing. However, there are some issues which prevent it from being pushed too far into service for end times interpretation. For one thing, Nebuchadnezzar was installed by God and eventually came to be a believer. Antichrist, on the other hand, is installed by the devil and will oppose Jesus Christ more vehemently than any other person ever has. Further, I don't think anything in scripture excuses the beast's conduct in any way through a sort of "insanity defense". Nebuchadnezzar was rendered mad as a punishment, but recovered. Antichrist will know what he is doing and so will be fully and completely culpable. The beast is in power during the seven years; Nebuchadnezzar was temporarily removed from power for that time, then restored.

Scripture provides a number of "types" for the beast which are more explicit (e.g., Nimrod, Pharaoh, the king of Assyria, the king of Babylon [generic], and Antiochus Epiphanes; please see the link). There are certainly some actions of Nebuchadnezzar which I do find as typical of antichrist (such as his invasion of Israel in Jeremiah chapters 4 and 7) and his setting up the idol and commanding the world to worship it (Daniel chapter 3). Overall, however, I do not find him to be a complete "type" of the sort the others mentioned above are, so that we should be cautious of using every detail of his life as typical of antichrist beyond a general application, and that would includes the seven years of madness.

I do think that in the description of a world-ruler acting insanely for seven years it is fair to draw an application to the seven year world-rule of the beast whose fury against God is, from a spiritual perspective, "mad" in the extreme.

Thanks for an excellent observation!

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Dear Robert,

Could you please send me the link to your website, alas, my power supply on my computer went out, taking the motherboard with it, second time this has happened. However, I believe I will be getting a new computer for Christmas. No sense in spending 200 dollars on a 5 year old computer. For now, I have a life boat, an old computer from work that barely works online due to its age, only an 18GB hard drive! Well, I took it from work only to find out that the computer was infected with every virus, Trojan and worm known to man! I cleaned it up, but lost all my information in the process, thanks!

As always, I do have a few questions regarding the Bible. Satan came to Eve in the form of a snake, and tempted her with fruit from the tree of knowledge. However, I have heard people say that what he really did was to have sex with her; hence the forbidden fruit was human sexuality. I do believe Satan uses that powerful tool as a weapon against men and women, I don't think any Christian would argue that. However, this would have meant that Satan had/has the ability to take the form of a man and in this case, most probably an attractive man. I don't believe this myself as I simply interpret the Bible as it is written, but there are still questions that I have regarding what exactly went on between Satan and Eve. I have heard this theory often and have dismissed it every time, but I want your opinion. Clearly there are some parts of the Bible that can be interpreted differently (or are) by many people; this is one that I've heard come up, time and time again. Now Eve, of course, shared this knowledge with Adam. What is your take on this? If we read Revelations for the first time, it's very frightening but clearly it could not have been written had John not received the information from Jesus. So, how are we supposed to interpret those parts of the Bible that do not bring fourth a clear picture of what occurred, or what is to occur? Most often I find myself reading the words of Jesus himself, in Matthew 5:28, Jesus stated that any man, who looks at a woman with lust, has already committed adultery in his heart. As a single man, this is something I find myself doing much too often. I believe Jesus was referring to all men, not just married men. However, part of marriage is finding that special someone, and part of that is physical attraction. So I often wonder, how should we view women as Christian men? I'm guessing you are a married man, perhaps it's different in some ways, but lust is a powerful tool, is there any difference between lust and physical attraction, if so, there must be a very fine line.

Thanks so much for your prayers and for giving me a better understanding of God's words.

Response #7: 

Always good to hear from you. The link is Ichthys.com. If you type in ichthys on Google or Bing, the site is the usually the second one up (right after Wikipedia's article).

As to your question, the language in Genesis is pretty straightforward throughout, if you ask me. Later on, in Genesis chapter six, where fallen angels do have relations with human woman (polluting the human line and necessitating the great flood), scripture does not mince words: "they took them as wives/women" (v.2), and "came in unto the daughters of men" (v.4; for the details on the Nephilim, see the link: "Satan's Antediluvian Attack on the Human Line"). Antichrist is also Satan's physical seed (cf. Gen.3:15). But in Genesis chapter 3, nothing in the language suggests anything resembling sex. Indeed, Eve's conversation is with a serpent, not with a fallen angel who has taken visible or human form (and the serpent in this context is an actual snake, not a metaphor; see the link: the Genesis Serpent). Moreover, the text says that Eve "took of the fruit thereof (i.e., of the tree), and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Gen.3:6). Short of reducing texts to be able to mean anything at all we may want them to mean, this description cannot refer to sexual relations in regard to Eve – far less in regard to Adam. Finally, if it were otherwise, this would mean that Adam was guiltless, because if eating refers to sex here, his only "sin" would have been to have sex with his wife after the Lord Himself had specifically told them to "be fruitful and multiply". But we know that Adam's sin was actually greater than Eve's, because he was not deceived in committing the transgression but did so in full cognizance of the issue of disobedience (1Tim.2:13; cf. 2Cor.11:3). Detailed exegesis and explanation of the Fall is to be found in part 3 of the Satanic Rebellion series, "The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man".

Sexual lust is indeed a difficult problem for most if not all Christians. Everyone of course has a sin nature, but all sin natures are slightly different. Just as eye and hair color, height and weight, and all other physical characteristics vary, so it is with our predispositions toward sin. What tempts me greatly may not be as much of an issue for you and vice-versa. It is unquestionably true that there is a range of intensity in sexual temptation and a range of particular sexual desires. It is also true that human beings get into patterns, good and bad, which make succumbing to weaknesses more or less likely. If I am in a pattern of indulging myself with cookies, candy, and ice cream, then keeping off the pounds will be much more difficult than if I am in the habit of restraining myself when it comes to these types of "foods". As Christians, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us, and if we honestly give ourselves over to His leadership in all areas where we are tempted He will give us victory, meaning not that temptation will cease or that we will become perfect, but that if we respond to the truth, to the memory of divine discipline, and to the hope of reward against which our sin nature is waging battle, then we will be much less likely to give in, and, over time, will develop the patterns discussed above which will make catastrophic relapse much less likely. As with all things in the Christian way of life, if we are going forward, we are much less likely to be tripped up, but if we are going nowhere, then we are just waiting for trouble to show up.

Physical attraction is natural. Responding to it by indulging it in any inappropriate way, even mentally, is something that is a function of our free will (and a sinful function of it at that). The sin nature tempts us to do things we should not (out of anger, lust, desire, etc.) and refrain from things we ought to do (out of fear, selfishness, laziness, etc.). When we give into our "old man" from our free will, that is sin, not the temptation itself. For a full work-up on this and all related issues, please see the link: part 3B of the Basics Series: "Hamartiology: the Biblical Study of Sin".

And, p.s., when and if we do fall into sin, a critically important part of our spiritual recovery is our confessing of that sin to the Lord (see the link: Confession of Sin in 1st John 1:9).

Keep on fighting the good fight of faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #8: 

I was reading Questions and Response regarding your posting on Jeremiah 31:22 The New Thing and notice that the information is not accurate. Have you read The New Thing -And A Woman Shall Compass A Man? I was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this book and bring this revelation to the body of Christ. Keil is on the right tracking with his summation about the order of things changing as relating to male/female. But Thucydides is so far off base with this scripture. Please visit my website:

www.anointednkpublishing.com and view author and book.

I'm called to the office of Prophetess and this book is a right now rhema word to his people. Get the book and really get the Good News of the gospel as told by the Holy Spirit as He unlocks the mystery of this verse. You may purchase a copy a Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Thank you for having this format where we can pose questions and if you have some after reading my book, please email me and I will be more than happy to be of service. Remember, we are many members and one body, and it takes all of us doing our parts to function properly and effectively. I look forward to Questions and Answers.

In His Service

Response #8: 

You might be interested to know that your link at your website to Barnes and Noble is not working. In any case, I am not in a position to buy (let alone read) all of the titles recommended to me. That said, I would certainly be happy to have a discussion on the essential points. Let me say first that by no means do I offer up Thucydides as a representative of scripture. My only point in using the quote to which you refer was to demonstrate that the trouble and evil in the world caused by the total depravity of Man (as Calvin calls it) is a matter of natural rather than special revelation. Everyone can see that they are sinful (and that the world is too). In such an environment, the need for protection of the weak by the strong is universally understood. The reversal of that naturally obvious observation is what the Jeremiah 31:32 passage is all about, however interpreted. That would be my first question to you. For in your email you seem to suggest that this "new principle" is somehow operative now, whereas Jeremiah is clearly speaking of the Millennium. Only when Christ returns will there be such a reversal, a collective "beating of swords into plough-shares" of which this passage is suggestive on the individual level. We only have to consult the morning paper to see that such a restraining of the human proclivity for violence is far from being a present reality.

Feel free to write me back about this at any time.

Yours in the one and only Savior of the world, through whom alone we have eternal life, our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

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