Can you explain Exodus 4: 24-26? It does not make sense why God would kill Moses after seeking him out to use him.
Good to make your acquaintance. The language here is pretty unequivocal. I do understand your point, however, and the situation does call for an explanation. All believers are "called" by the Lord for special use by Him, but that does not mean that all obey or live their lives the way they ought to. Moses was an exemplary believer the most humble man on earth, according to Numbers 12:3 and yet he was not perfect. His anger got the better of him during the Meribah incident (Num.20:10; 20:24; 27:14; Deut.32:51; Ps.106:32), and that cost him entrance into the land of promise. This is another instance of less than perfect conduct on his behalf. As a Jew, he certainly knew all about the absolute nature of the covenant with Abraham:
"For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised."
Genesis 17:12 NIV
And . . .
"Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."
Genesis 17:14 NIV
For the new leader of his people to show up in Egypt with his two sons not circumcised would have been completely unacceptable. In this context we also see the reason why he had not done so "on time", namely Zipporah's resistance: her feelings were so strong on this point that she insulted her husband in the strongest possible fashion and separated from him as a result of the last minute circumcision (Ex.4:25-26; cf. Ex.18:6). Apparently, this ritual was not customary in Midian, and Zipporah had a deep prejudice against the practice (for whatever reason). Moses had gone along with his wife instead of going along with God's requirement, and it caught up with him on the border of Egypt.
And of course God did not kill Moses, but did make use of him in precisely the capacity in which He had planned to use him. What God did do was to work things out together for good so that Moses' obligation was fulfilled. Judging from the circumstances, making Zipporah choose between her husband's life and her boys' circumcision was probably the only way this was going to happen.
In a way, this is similar to the experience of Jonah who was unwilling to do things God's way at first, but ended up doing precisely what God wanted him to do in the end albeit "the hard way". Just as Moses no doubt finally told Zipporah to circumcise the boys, explaining the situation to her, so in a similar fashion Jonah repented and prayed to the Lord for deliverance from the belly of the fish, likewise having taken the hard rather than the easy way of following God's mandates from the start.
This is all really a demonstration of God's immense grace. Instead of killing Moses and instead of killing Jonah, the Lord made His point very dramatically in both cases, brought about genuine obedience in doing so, and did all this in a way which preserved the free will of both men. For me, both of these incidents show that if a believer is even 1% willing to do what God requires, God will often bring it about that His requirements are fulfilled even in this 1% way, the "hard way". For those of us who are willing to be instructed through scripture, however, both episodes are very dramatic proof of the fact that doing things exactly as God requires and doing so right away is very much preferable to the "hard way" of resistance and delay. Considering that as genuine believers like Moses and Jonah we are going to end up doing just what the Lord wants eventually anyway, it certainly makes good sense to stop resisting and to stop delaying and to give into the Lord completely now before He needs to do to us what He had to do to those two in order to bring about their acceptance of His will.
Please also see the links:
Moses and Zipporah
Moses or Gershom?
In the One who did everything the right way the first time so that we might be saved through His sacrifice for, Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Could you please explain 1 Chronicles 21? Why does Satan incite David to take a census of Israel? The act of counting the troops doesn't seem evil in itself.
In the nation of Israel, God's chosen people, and under the Mosaic Law, such head-counting was a holy process and required ransoming to avoid such judgment:
"When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them.
Exodus 30:11 NASB
The Lord had said that the children of Abraham would be "too numerous to count" (Gen.15:5), so taking a census, especially one which did not come at God's command as in the Exodus case and was not accompanied by a ransom as in the Exodus case was certainly tempting God to bring on just such a plague as occurred. Not only does such an action implicitly suggest that God is mistaken about the impossibility of numbering Abraham's seed, but it also occasions divine inspection. The "numbering" is an anticipation of God's judgment of us all in eternity. As Christians, we know that our sins have been forgiven in Jesus Christ, and that when we stand before His judgment seat we will do so in a sanctified, resurrected body, and that all the worthless things we have produced (not our sins as these have been forgiven) will be burned up but we ourselves delivered and rewarded. But which of us can stand such an inspection by the Almighty now, sinners that we are? This is the sort of scrutiny that a census for Israel under the Law invoked. This is implied by the word miphqadh (מִפְקַד) in 1st Chronicles 21:5 since the root, paqadh contains the idea of oversight and scrutiny. Without a redemption price being paid, therefore, the symbolism was of standing before the Lord empty handed (cf. Ex.23:15), and severe judgment was the inevitable result. This is also why David realizes after the fact that what he had ordered was not only "greatly sinful", but also "a very foolish thing." (1Chron.21:8).
Thank you for your prayers and thoughts, and while I haven't found a definitive-100% answer to this situation I wrote you about, I think I'll do what just comes naturally/makes the most sense to me. Also, an update: I'm on 1 Corinthians 10 and Numbers 32 now (I have been keeping up with the 'read 2 OT 2 NT' daily bible reading you suggested, and it seems to be a perfect fit for me. Some days, I even find myself reading beyond the 2 chapters, and hence this is where all of the questions to you come from (I save our emails to reference too). Like today after reading Numbers 31, I have to admit I am a little bit confused again by God's character. I think we spoke about this before, but it almost seems like there are two sides to him. After reading Numbers 31, I need to ask: why would he (well, Moses said it, but he was representing God, right?) have all of the Midianite woman (non-virgins) and male children killed? Then again, I don't know much about the Midianites, either, but I had to ask. The women who were fully grown and set in their ways, I could understand, but the children would still have a chance to grow up under the Lord, right? Similarly, back in Numbers 21, God (or if I recall correctly, God through Moses) had ordered the Israelites to wipe out all of the Amorites: men, women, and children, every one.
I continue to pray for your growth and for your guidance. I am confident that as you grow spiritually the Lord will guide you into every righteous path "for the sake of His Name" (Ps.23:3).
On the destruction of various "peoples of the land" ordered by the Lord, it is important to remember that 1) since God knows everything, we can be sure that none of these destructions resulted in the loss of salvation of anyone who would otherwise have been saved (and that is the "big issue", after all); 2) given the problems the Israelites had being influenced into idolatry by the Canaanites et al. who did survive, it is a certainty that without this special divine provision of the clearing out many of these groups ahead of time the situation would have been much worse. Here is a link which addresses the problem: "How could a loving God order the destruction of the Canaanites?". God is love, but He is also righteousness. If out of "love" He had allowed evil people to influence godly people into becoming evil, that would have been patently unjust (and not truly "loving", seen from the divine point of view).
Please do feel free to write back about this.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello again Dr Luginbill, once again after studying and reflecting I had a few questions I was wondering if you could help me with.
Are the Canaanites Satan's people? Why all the hostility over the years between them and the Israelites?
Good to hear from you again. As to your questions:
The Canaanites as a group were some of the most idolatrous and evil people the world has ever seen (cf. Deut.9:4-5). Knowing that the people of God had been promised the land of Canaan, there is little doubt that the devil must have devoted tremendous resources to seducing and corrupting the population living there precisely so that they might all the more vehemently oppose Israel. Still and all, there were individuals who were believers among this group (e.g., Uriah "the Hittite"). And that is certainly a testimony to the grace of God and to the principle that every human being is here on earth to make up his/her own mind about God and the eternal future each prefers: one with Him or one without Him.
Why are we often tested by God before he blesses us? I.e. Abraham and his Isaac offering and Job and his double portion blessing.
Abraham was blessed with Isaac before he was tested (and blessed in very many other exceptional ways as well), and so was Job. The exceptional testing both received came after they had been believers for quite some time and had grown to the point of being able to handle such difficult tests. Testing is an essential part of spiritual growth just as exercise is an essential part of healthy physical growth. The Christian life involves believing in Jesus, growing spiritually, progressing in passing the tests that come our way, and helping others do the same through ministry according to whatever gifts we have been given at salvation. We can all expect to be tested at least all of us who are really walking with Jesus the way we should be doing. The New Jerusalem has four sides and each represents these four aspects of the Christian life. Believers who pass their tests achieve at least the next to the highest quadrant and in accomplishing the ministries which they come into thereafter can achieve the highest as well (see the link: The Judgment and Reward of the Church). That is not to say that all four things do not occur to some degree at the beginning of our Christian life or that they should not continue to the end of it indeed they should. But this is the essential progression despite continued and continuing overlap. Abraham and Job received special testing and special blessing and will no doubt belong to a special cadre of believers "close the Lord" in eternity, that is, a group which is higher in rank than the twelve divisions of New Jerusalem analogous to the Levites (whose tribe is, significantly, not named in terms of the twelve gates). It would be remarkable if any of us attained to that level, but you may rest assured that this sort of special testing will precede it (and the Lord will not place this sort of special testing upon you unless you are ready for it and able to receive it).
Why were children so important in the old testament? I.e. David not eating for 3 days when God took his son and the promise to Abraham that he would be a father of many? If Abraham would not be around for most of his offspring, why was it considered such a blessing to have so many children if he would not be around to be with them and interact with them?
From the perspective of an ancient historian, I think that it is only here in the West and only in the last century or so that the idea of the incredible importance of progeny has lost some of its luster. This only shows the degeneration of modern society from the biblical point of view. Even today in the third world despite grinding poverty having as many children as possible is a high priority. I would say that this is the natural and the historical perspective. It is our "modern" western one which has to be explained. The fact that many of the people who have or have had multiple children are bad parents is neither here nor there. I would say that just as many who have only a few or even only one have turned out to be very bad parents as well. "Building something" in this life is a normal human drive (at least for those who have not descended so far into the pursuit of personal self-indulgence so as to lose it), and for the majority of the human race for the vast bulk of human history that "something" has been a family and a family name which can only be expanded and perpetuated through physical progeny. As believers in Jesus Christ, however, we understand that the real "thing" worth building in this life is an eternal reward based upon a good report before the Lord on that great day of days: pleasing Him results in building a "name" that will last beyond this temporary world unto all eternity.
Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, "The LORD will surely exclude me from his people." And let not any eunuch complain, "I am only a dry tree." For this is what the LORD says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.
Isaiah 56:3-5 NIV
Micah the prophet seems to be an interesting person and the message he carried seemed short but powerful. Could you sum up more of who Micah was, the way God used him and purposes and highlights of his prophecy? Also, the name Micah seems very similar to the name Michael. In Hebrew what is the meaning of the name Micah and how close is the relation to the name Michael?
Also, just a side note, a lot of your material has been great and educational to read over the years. I'm not sure what you are working on next, but I had a few request that I think would be beneficial to many. At some point would you be willing to do a series on the book of Job and Hebrews? Your series on the Peter epistles, satanic rebellion and bible basics have been helpful. Hebrews and Job are both very interesting books in their own respects. Just an idea I thought I'd offer. Once again thanks for your time.
As is usually the case with biblical personalities, we know very little about Micah apart from what we find in the Bible, and specifically in the book of Micah. His name probably is a contraction of Micaiah, "who is like the Lord" otherwise the name in Hebrew would mean simply "who is like . . ." (i.e., without describing what or whom he is like), and yah (short fo Yahweh) is one of the most common name-elements in scripture. Micah came from Moresheth, a place in Judah near modern day Gaza. As to his prophecies, I would be hesitant to do a detailed summation. What I would say is that in common with most of the prophets he makes use of the "Day of the Lord paradigm" (see the link) to compare contemporary sinfulness in his day and the judgment it will bring if not altered to the judgments of the Tribulation (chap. 1-3; 6); he also encourages the righteous to endure by referencing the divine deliverance on the other side of judgment by comparing it to the coming of the Messiah and the Millennium (chap.4-5; 7).
Finally, I appreciate your encouragement. I would like to do as you say and many more things besides however, given the load of a full-time job, the obligations of life, and the current project list I already have, circumstances would have to take some dramatic turns for me to get to everything as it is. All any of us can do is to keep hitting it day by day as long as it is "today" and leave it to the Lord to guide us into the best use of our time and energy.
Keep fighting that good fight of faith!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I wonder if you could let me have your considered opinion on the subject of 'prophetic' scriptures.?
My Hebrew (Jewish) friends tell me that -for example- Psalm 45 describes the wedding of the Israelite King to the Princess of Tyre.
My Christian friends seems to be divided into two 'camps':
(i) The first would argue that the words "O god" refer directly and literally to Christ..
They would argue that this is picked up in Hebrews 1 v8.
(ii) The other group would say that Christ is NOT referred to in Psalm 45 - but that the words used in the Psalm are the 'type' of words which were used when the newly-resurrected Christ came before God's throne.
The people I talk to disagree sometimes violently. Perhaps your team could address this one in a less 'confrontational' forum!
(ii) Makes more sense to me, because verse 10 states "Daughters of Kings are your lovely wives" (NAB) and the KJV uses the words "Kings daughters are among your honourable women"
Best Wishes and Blessings
The interpretation of Old Testament prophecy is often a somewhat complicated affair precisely because it is prophetic, looking forward sometimes not only to a near-term fulfillment but also to an ultimate fulfillment during the end times (i.e., the Tribulation, Second Advent, and Millennium). So, for example, Joel's description of locusts refers to locusts but also to the invasion of Israel prior to the battle of Armageddon. This is just one of many relatively common features of the interpretation of Old Testament prophecy which makes it not "beginner stuff". I have some of these issues explained at the following link: "Hermeneutic Issues" (in CT 1).
As to Psalm 45, I am surprised that anyone is arguing that the Psalm is not Messianic. In my understanding of things, that is the standard position among all exegetes, Christian and Jewish, secular and believing. Of course Jewish scholars do not see Jesus as the Messiah but they still see the Messiah in Psalm 45 (most of them who believe in a Messiah, anyway). The Bride in verse 9 is taken to be the Church by most conservative Christian exegetes, myself included (please see the link: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride"). The "virgin companions" in verse 14 are clearly, in view, the counterpart of the Bride, i.e., the "friends of the Bride" (Rev.19:9); that is to say, they are the millennial believers who will form an equal number with the Church when the family of God takes its final form at the end of human history (see the link: "The Judgment of the Sheep").
Certainly, the fact that Hebrews 1:8-9 quotes Psalm 45:6-7 means indisputably that this Psalm is not only Messianic but refers to the coronation of the Messiah Jesus Christ at the Second Advent at least for Christians who accept the authority of the New Testament.
So I think that group (i) has it right. As to the idea that this passage could apply to the ascension, I find that to be contrary to scripture. These verses in Psalm 45 refer to our Lord's taking up of His own earthly throne in Jerusalem when He returns to rule the world "with a rod of iron", whereas Jesus shares the Father's heavenly throne at present:
The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."
Psalm 110:1 NIV
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
Revelation 5:6-7 NIV
As to the phrase used by group (ii), "type words", I have never it before and do not see how any such thing as biblical typology would apply here certainly not to invalidate the clear interpretation of Psalm 45 provided by the first chapter of Hebrews.
Finally, as to the "daughters of kings" in verse ten (KJV is better than NAB which advances an interpretation that the Hebrew text does support), my preference is to understand the "daughter of Tyre" (i.e., mystery Babylon) and these other royal daughters as exemplars of the homage paid to Messiah in His role as the King of all the world by the nations during His millennial reign. It was customary in the ancient empires of the near east for subject kingdoms to send gifts of homage to the ruler in his capital and we have a number of representations of this phenomenon in ancient art (Assyria and Egypt in particular). And this principle, namely, of demonstrating allegiance and obeisance to the King of Kings by presenting gifts to Him before His throne in Jerusalem during the Millennium and afterwards in the New Jerusalem, is also very common in scripture:
(29) Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring you gifts. (30) Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations. Humbled, may it bring bars of silver.
Psalm 68:29-30a NIV (cf. Ps.72:15)
(10) For the wrath of man shall praise You; With a remnant of wrath You will gird Yourself (i.e., those "left over" Messiah will take to Himself). (11) Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them; let all who are around Him bring gifts to Him who is to be feared. (12) He will cut off the spirit of princes; He is feared by the kings of the earth.
Psalm 76:10-12 NASB
(5) Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. (6) Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord. (7) All Kedar's flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple.
Isaiah 60:5-7 NIV
Your gates will be open always, day and night they will not be closed, so that the wealth of the nations may be brought to you, and their kings led before you.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
Revelation 21:23-24 NIV
My favorite Old Testament exegete, M.F. Unger takes the passage in a similar way in vol. one of his Commentary on the Old Testament:
"Kings daughters (Song Sol.6:8) represent redeemed nations of the kingdom."
I hope this is of some help to you. Please feel free to write me back about any of the above.
In Jesus our dear Lord and King whose coming Kingdom we eagerly await.
Hello, and I want to thank you again for your online studies. I finished the Peter Series this week and have begun Satan's Revolt. I think it's important to furnish good material on Satan, and it's not easy to do, however, your depth of study and reasoning ability are a blessing to your readers, and so I wanted to thank you.
The only question I have right now does not relate to your studies, since they are clear. I was responsible to teach a chapter from a book on 1 Samuel (for ladies' group) and as I prepared, I tried to figure out the chronology of David and Saul, and never could put it together.
I appreciate all your encouragement.
Good to hear from you again. Thank you for your encouraging words too you are certainly moving through these materials at a good clip!
There is a good deal of debate about the chronology of the Jewish kingdom. Here is what I have written about that in SR 5:
- The Jewish Age (2065 - 2 B.C.(78)) -
1. to 1444 B.C. (the Exodus): retrogressing 1442 years (from 2 B.C.) to the Exodus in 1444 B.C., based upon 1st Kings 6:1 which states that the 4th year of King Solomon's reign (ca. 964 B.C.) occurred 480 years after the Exodus (ca. 1444 B.C.: i.e., 964 + 480 = 1444).(note 79)
(note 79) Although the year given here for the 4th year of Solomon's reign is, admittedly derivative, based upon the supposition of a 2,000 year period for the Jewish Age (subtracting 70 years for the Babylonian captivity and adding seven for the Tribulation), it certainly falls well within the window of probability. The most commonly given conservative date for this milestone (966/967 B.C.) is also only an approximation. See Roland K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids 1969) 184-185.
And . . .
2) Days 3 and 4: Although the chronology is difficult to establish with precision, 1065 B.C., the chronological half-way point for the Age of Israel, marks roughly the beginning of the monarchy.(note 81) Saul, the Lord's original anointed, proved himself less than satisfactory in God's eyes (1Sam.13:14; 15:28), and it was left to David, a man after God's own heart (1Sam.16:7; Acts.13:22), to become the model for the theocracy that will one day be headed up by his greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (Ps.110). Politically and prophetically, the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel is an event of the utmost significance. Therefore, while it too is not a hard and fast break-point, it seems appropriate to find in the establishment of the monarchy a general point of demarcation between the two millennial days of the Jewish Age.
(note 81) Comparing the information in 1Kng.2:11 and Acts 13:21 (and, depending upon emendation, 1Sam.13:1, if we read "42"), we can deduce that Saul was anointed king in ca. 1050 B.C. (adding David's 40 year rule and Saul's 42 year rule to the ascension of Solomon, 968 B.C.). Saul would have been approximately 15 years of age at the exact halfway point.
Since what biblical information we do have as summarized above leads, however analyzed, to approximately the same conclusion, that is, that according to what the Bible does say the kingdom began in the mid 11th cent. B.C. with David reigning until ca. the middle of the 10th cent. B.C., that is what in broad outlines you will find in most conservative treatments of these matters. Liberal treatments tend to put the kingdom as much as two centuries later, but on pure speculation rather than evidence (i.e., archaeological relics of this era are virtually non-existent). It is also a difficult prospect to "work the date backward" based upon the information in Kings and Chronicles about the reigns of the kings of Judah and their lengths because of certain anomalies not obvious at first glance. Here is something I have written about that (see the link: "Ahimelech and Abiathar"):
We also know that in the kingship of Judah, very often the "king", who was in one sense king for life, would "retire" and allow a son to reign in his stead (that is the only way to make the chronologies of the Kings and Chronicles "work"; see Thiele's The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings).
Best wishes with your Bible study! Feel free to write me anytime.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
This definitely helps. My dilemma was that David became king at 30 years old. (2 Sam 5:4). I enjoyed reading your full answer and linked info too. In my mind, if Saul was 20 when he began to rule, and if he hired David to play harp for him when he was 30 and David was maybe 12, then, if Solomon died at 60 years old, David would be 42 not 30 when he began to reign. But if Saul was 15 when he became king, and he called on David at age 35 (speculation) when David was 10, then David could be 30 when he became king?
Thank you again for your website.
Good to hear from you and happy to hear that you are enjoying the site.
In the inserted material where I say that Saul was "approximately 15 years of age at the exact halfway point", this is not referring to the year in which he became king (1050) but to a point 15 years earlier (1065). Also, I say "approximately" because no one really knows how old he was when he was anointed to lead Israel. 1st Samuel 13:1 says "thirty" so I go with that figure as an approximation, but it only says "thirty" under very questionable textual circumstances. The text of the book(s) of Samuel is notoriously problematic more so than any other Old Testament book. The Hebrew actually says "Saul was a year old when he became king", and that is clearly a mistake (although the Greek and Jewish traditions apologized for it by saying essentially that it means he was as innocent as a newborn). S.R. Driver, perhaps the most cogent commentator on the text of the book(s), makes a persuasive case that the verse which is absent from the Septuagint tradition, being present in only a few late mss. was inserted out of a desire to match what is said about other kings when they begin to reign. It is also true as has been previously noticed that Jonathan seems to be an adult immediately after Saul's ascension, so 30, if it was a later guess, is perhaps too low (likewise his daughters are very grown up in what seems to be the early going). Since we don't really know how old Saul was at the time he became king, that would seem to solve the problem you have noticed here with the traditional dating. Good eye!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for that further insight. Yes, that was confusing. I now find myself, as I read, wishing I had your libraries of knowledge about ancient history! It seems that David would have been older than 70 at his death, from the description of his physical condition. However, they say that people who work hard outdoors for most of their lives do age more severely. But did he continue to war throughout his life? (would need to read)
Could "30" be used to associate his reign with the start of Christ's public ministry? Would the Spirit move in that way as a "preview," or were some dates in the Bible never meant to be taken literally? (if you have time to reply)
If you have time, please see the video:
It's unbelievable!! It was also sad to see children in the "audience."
Yes, that is precisely what scripture says: David was 30 when he became king and reigned for 40 years. It is true that David is a "type of Christ" and it is also true that the age for beginning serious service for the Lord was 30. As I say in BB 4A on this point:
Since Luke states that Jesus was "about thirty" at the commencement of His public ministry (Lk.3:23), an event that post-dates the time when John began baptizing, there can be little doubt that the birth of Christ is to be fixed ca. 1-2 B.C. To place Christ's birthday any earlier would make Him "twenty-something", not "about thirty". Moreover, this phrase is best taken (and arguably can only be properly taken, especially given Luke's penchant for precision: cf. the precise dating of John's ministry at Lk.3:23) to mean that while Christ had not yet reached His thirtieth birthday, He was very close to doing so, that is, He was 29 and set to turn thirty that same calendar year.(note 29)
(note 29) This is important, because thirty was the age generally associated with the maturity necessary for service to God (cf. Num.4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43, 47; 1Chron.23:3). Incidentally, as is clear from Luke 1:26, John was six months older than Jesus, and therefore also "about [but not yet] thirty" when he began his ministry.
However, I think I would prefer to put it this way: David is a type of Christ and his commencement of his reign at the age of thirty is symbolic of the Messiah's commencement of His ministry at the age of thirty wherein He offered the kingdom to Israel.
David's failure to accompany the army to besiege Rabah in Ammon (2Sam.11:1) contributed to his spectacular failure with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. After that, it seems that David went on all the campaigns as long as he was able even past the point of prudence:
Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of bronze in weight, was girded with a new sword, and he intended to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, "You shall not go out again with us to battle, so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel."
2nd Samuel 21:16-17
As to the video (http://gairneybridge.wordpress.com/), well, it certainly reinforces what I have been observing and decrying for many years this is the kind of thing we can expect to inevitably happen when teaching the Bible is replaced from being the purpose for church and numbers and money take center stage. Under such conditions, the group with the best entertainment wins.
In Jesus, the Word of God, through whom we have gained the true victory through our faith.
Those are wonderful insights and I thank you again. I don't know anyone and never have known anyone with the deep background, passion and mission to share Bible truth that you have.
I love you in the Lord, and I trust you will take that as it is meant.
I wish I could send you an insight or bit of knowledge to lift you but I think the best I can do is to encourage you. (We should share all good things with our teachers. I believe that is in the Bible, but I don't know where.)
I hope you will enjoy a good week in the Lord.
Thanks for all your good words! Please feel free to write back any time.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
I had a feeling I would hear from you. I am praying for your deliverance every now and then. I will be very happy to hear the good news from you later this week. I am still waiting for my deliverance. I am waiting for it from before I met the Lord. I myself do not completely understand it. May be I will get my answers after I am delivered. Thanks for writing and for the prayers.
One quick question.
(2) "Son of man, prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord, "Wail! Woe for the day! (3) For a day [of judgment] is close, [yes], the day of the Lord is close. It will be a day of clouds and time [of judgment] for the nations. (4) For a sword will come against Egypt, and writhing will come upon Cush. When the slain fall in Egypt, they will take away her treasures and her foundations will be trampled. (5) Cush, and Put, and Lydia, and all Arabia, Lybia and all the peoples of the covenant land (i.e., all the allies of the king of the south) along with them will fall by the sword.'"
Why are all the allies of the king of south called "the people of the covenant land" ?
I am distressed to hear that you are still straining under the yoke of oppression, and I continue to do battle in prayer for you day by day that you may be delivered. I am very hopeful of hearing such good news from you in the very near future. But whether the time ends up being short or long, our Lord loves us more than we know and is working things out for us for the good whether we can see that now or not. I have learned, through pressures, that we have to allow the Lord to continue with the refining of our faith even when we are confused about the method and worn down by the length of the test. For this refining brings about a faith whose worth exceeds the most precious gold if only we are willing to accept the pressure so as to pass the test.
In this [hope of eternal reward] you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1st Peter 1:6-7 NIV
As to your question, the phrase "the peoples of the covenant land" could have been better translated (by me) as "the peoples who are in alliance with her, [namely, Egypt]". A "covenant" is an agreement or, when nations are involved, an "alliance", and that is the meaning here: Egypt is the "land of the alliance/covenant" with whom these other nations named and unnamed have cast their lot with her (prophetically during the conflict with antichrist's revived Rome during the Tribulation's first half).
Based upon your question/observation, I am changing this to the less confusing "and all the peoples in league with the land [of Egypt]".
Thanks for your careful eye!
In Jesus our hope of deliverance, both now and especially on that great day to come.
Could you tell me what this means in this verse, Isaiah 45:11, where the Lord says "command ye me"?
Thank you in advance,
Most take this as an imperative (command), but NIV and some scholars (e.g., M.F. Unger in Commentary on the Old Testament) take it as a question (the forms are ambiguous in Hebrew and could be either): "Do you actually have the nerve to ask ME!?" After all, this "question" follows the reproof to the pot complaining to its Maker. Here is something I wrote about this previously (see the link): Isaiah 45:11
Hope this helps! Please feel free to write back about the above.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
This is a 6min short video, please if you can watch it and give me your opinion. Not that it's affecting belief, just interested to see if this is correct.
The speaker is commenting on a difference between the English "JPS" (Jewish Publications Society) version (based on the Hebrew) and the English KJV version (also based on the Hebrew). The Hebrew text itself is consistent with the KJV. Here is how I render the verse:
And I will pour out on the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem a Spirit of grace and repentance. For they will look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they will grieve for Him like the grieving for an only son, and they will [weep] bitterly for Him like the bitter [weeping] for a firstborn son.
While I cannot say for sure, it seems likely to me that the JPS version reflects a desire to "defang" the passage by removing any obvious reference to Jesus. The incorrect JPS rendering, "Look upon ME because they have pierced him through" disconnects the subject from the object, and so makes the whole thing gibberish. Whereas "look upon Me whom they have pierced" makes it clear that Jesus is God, because HE is the one who "poured out the Spirit" earlier in the verse. In any case, the JPS rendering is not what the Hebrew text says; it requires an emendation of the text (not legitimate here) to come up with that meaning.
Hope this helps!
In Jesus who was pierced for us that we might not die but have eternal life.
Is the Masoretic Text as ambiguous as Jews claim it is in Psalm 110:4? According to the Jews, "You are a priest forever, a rightful king by My decree," is a better translation. A more literal reading would be "You are a priest forever on my decree, Melchizedek," based on my (rather limited) knowledge of Hebrew. Is the LXX correct, and are the Jews trying to rationalize away visions of Christ in the MT? Lastly, the LXX seems to be far better than the MT. Besides Genesis 5, is there any other reason why the LXX shouldn't be the standard text for understanding?
I'm not sure who is doing the claiming. Psalm 110:4 is very straightforward in my view in the Hebrew, and the LXX translation of this particular verse is quite good hard for me to see how anyone could have rendered it any more faithfully than has been done.
Reading between the lines, it seems "rightful king" is this person/group's translation for Melchizedek (melech meaning king, and tsedek meaning righteousness, just as Paul affirms in Hebrews 7). It's not a likely translation, however, and not how the MT takes it since the two words are "hyphenated". As to "by my decree", that is their rendering for al-dibrathi, where the final "i" is taken as a 1st person possessive suffix. In fact, what we have here is an archaic genitive form as all serious commentators and lexicographers agree. Additional problems with this concocted translation you report are 1) the placement of Melchizedek after al-dibrathi which argues for it to be a genitive (aka "construct") phrase, and 2) the fact the melech likewise has an "i" which by the terms of this (mis)-interpretation would then also have to be possessive, leading to the result: "My king righteousness". Since there would be no genitive construction in this case, I see no grammatical way in this rendering to make what would then be the noun tsedek attributive to "My king". In other words, this person/group has cherry-picked one element to slant and ignored the grammatical implications on the rest of the sentence (multiple "flies" in this ointment here). This would be a C- effort in seminary.
Finally, the LXX is sometimes OK, but usually it is flawed and often it bears no relationship to the actual text. Erasmus loved Latin and preferred the Latin version to the Greek, but of course going with the original is always highly preferable. I love Greek, but would never take the LXX's word over the Hebrew MT.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
I send you another set of questions. Let me again express my appreciation for your patience. Like you said - the quest is to submit oneself to 'pruning' and this is my goal. I continue my readings studies and I have commenced the study of Hebrew and Greek. Although I have no tutor for the time being, I will do my best to go as far as I can and look for an opportunity to find a teacher. I know that initial excitement may pass and we need to persevere, but I will not hide before you the fact that I'm very happy to start the study of biblical languages, which complements the readings at Ichthys. I pray that God allows me to arrange my life in a way that will allow me to bear fruit for Him, but let me at this stage again thank you for support, encouragement and all the answers to my questions - through better knowledge of God's Word my life has really changed in the last year and I want to 'run with endurance the race set before me' and keep getting rid of all the weeds.
Both Is.14:12-19 and Ez.28:12-19 start by referring to human beings (kings of Babylon and Tyre respectively) rather than directly to Satan. Why is that the case?
Great to hear from you! I continue to be amazed at (and to admire) your persistence in seeking out God's truth. It does my heart good. I think there is a real advantage to getting started with Greek and Hebrew as soon as possible. It takes quite a while to get comfortable with these two languages (much longer than with modern spoken languages in my experience). As to your questions:
Introducing eschatological information via contemporary lead-ins and conversely explaining contemporary situations by comparing them to eschatological happenings are very common in Old Testament prophecy (see the link: in CT 1: "Hermeneutic Issues"). That is one reason why Old Testament prophecy is often difficult to interpret and that is absolutely deliberate:
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, "'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'
Mark 4:10-12 NIV
The Bible is not written in the manner of a text-book or "how-to" manual precisely so that those who truly seek the truth may be separated from those who are not really interested in it. In the same way that God "hides Himself" (Is.45:15) so as to allow everyone's free will to operate in a genuine and uncoerced way (for anyone actually seeing God face to face could not help but submit to Him; see the link: in BB 4B "Natural Revelation and Accountability"), so also "the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you", but "to those outside" it is given only to see scripture in a form that allows them to block out the truth (if that is truly what they prefer to do). Finally, it is also true that the Body of Christ is deliberately designed to make us inter-dependent. We have need of each others gifts, but if the Bible didn't require interpretation, there would be no need of teachers (just as there would be no need of givers if we were all rich, no need of administrators if we were all gifted in that way, etc., etc.).
What is the correct translation of Psalm 106:7: When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; hey did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
Is it 'the Red Sea' or 'the Sea of Reeds', as others translate? I've heard this argument used also in relation to the Israelites going through 'the Sea of Reeds'.
The Hebrew says yam suph, because the Israelites knew what we call the Red Sea by its characteristically large banks of reeds. Red Sea is the Greek name for the sea south of Sinai. But that this term, yam suph, refers to the body of water which we now call the Red Sea and not to some other place or marshy area is clear from the usage of yam suph throughout the Old Testament. The key point for Christians is that the actual Red Sea is the sea parted by the Lord through which the Israelites escaped but which then returned to its place, drowning the Egyptian army. So I translate "Red Sea" because "Reed Sea" would lead some people not to realize that the Red Sea itself, by whatever name, is the body of water referred to in the Bible. The details are rather involved. I have a short series on this which explains all these matters: Exodus 14: Hardening Pharaoh's Heart.
You wrote: David, for example, was severely chastened for his murder of Uriah and adultery with Bathsheba, the discipline apparently lasting nigh on twice seven years until the punishment proclaimed to him by Nathan was completed (2Sam.13:23, 13:38; 14:28; 15:7; 19:9 - 20:22; and compare Gen.16:16 with 17:1; cf. Num.14:34). Could you please briefly explain how these passages link to the point you're making?
They give the chronology of the discipline David endured for fourteen years:
2Sam.13:23: beginning of Absalom's conspiracy following the rape of his sister two years earlier
2Sam.13:38: three years of exile
2Sam.14:28: two years in Jerusalem without audience with David
2Sam.15:7: four further years before launching the revolt
2Sam.19:9 - 20:22: the final period of three years of discipline that elapsed before Absalom was defeated, David completely restored to his kingdom, and all residual rebellion in the kingdom quashed.
Gen.16:16 compared with 17:1: shows the delay in blessing Abraham with the birth of Isaac because of his "interlude" with Hagar which resulted in the birth of a son who was not to be his heir.
Num.14:34: gives the parallel of the 40 years of wandering apportioned in accordance with the 40 days of observation of how good the land was and yet rejecting it (on the part of all but Caleb and Joshua).
All this demonstrates that God has a definite "time-table" for our discipline and in all of the above cases it is a long process where serious offenses are involved: all the more reason to motivate ourselves to stay far away from sin, and all the more so to the degree that the sin (and likely consequences) are more serious.
You wrote: 'We have it from Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived (apart from our Lord) that no avenue of human activity, no amount of success or accumulation of wealth can ever bring true happiness, for all such "chasing after the wind" is ultimately pointless (Eccl. chap.1-2)'
Does that mean that you attribute the authorship of Ecclesiastes to Solomon? In my Bible it says that the words 'son of David' at the start of the book are an element of fiction the author used on purpose.
Yes, Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes. The attribution "son of David" must mean that it was written by an actual son of David, and Solomon is the clear and obvious choice, especially given the claims within the book (i.e., all of the building done could only have been done by the king). Nothing in the Bible is fictional. Some things are allegorical, but 1) there is far less allegory than many people suppose, and 2) it is always made very clear in scripture itself when allegory is being employed (e.g., as in Revelation where John says "I saw a sign" and then describes things which are obviously not literal). The only way "son of David" could be a fictional conceit is if the book of Ecclesiastes were not canonical. It is (as a mere reading of it is sufficient to show to all with the Spirit).
You write of the book of Ecclesiastes as a set of recommendations for the unbeliever (The Bible counsels the unbeliever to enjoy his work and daily bread as necessities which are also legitimate pleasures (Eccl.2:24-25; 3:12-13; 3:22; 9:7-10)). Could you very briefly explain the meaning of the whole book and the recommendations for a believer?
What I can do is explain my meaning here. The book of Ecclesiastes in many parts gives the correct view of the world from the point of view of the unbeliever: for those without God, for those without hope of eternal life, for those whose portion is only in this world, then, indeed, "all things are meaningless". For believers, everything is meaning-ful, but that is because we have turned our backs on this world of pain and pointlessness and are looking instead for that "city whose architect and builder is God" (Heb.11:10 NASB). That is one reason why I find this book so beautiful and so true. It is one of my favorite portions of scripture because it reaffirms so emphatically how utterly pointless turning back to the world would be and so by definition how good a decision following Christ is by contrast.
Could you please clarify the meaning of Proverbs 13:8: 'A persons riches may ransom their life, but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes'.
Here is how the NIV translates Proverbs 13:8: "A man's riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat". While this translation is a bit interpretive, I believe it to be the correct force of what is meant, i.e., many people want to be rich, and if they achieve riches they may have the means for ransoming themselves if kidnapped, but a poor man would never be kidnapped in the first place.
What is the 'Festival of Tabernacles' from Zechariah 14:16?
The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as The Feast of Booths (see the link). It occurs three and a half days after the Day of Atonement in the fall cycle of Jewish holy days. In its symbolism, it represents the regathering of the Israelites into the land after the coming of the Messiah (i.e., temporary shelters for those just come), following the Day of Lord wherein "they will look upon Him whom they have pierced and mourn . . ." (Zech.12:10; Rev.1:7).
Could you please clarify Job 11:6?
And show you the secrets of wisdom! For sound wisdom has two sides. Know then that God forgets a part of your iniquity.
What does 'two sides' mean here? Does it mean that our conscience can accept or condemn our deeds?
The Hebrew word here translated "sound wisdom" is the noun tushi'ah (תוּשִׁיָּה). It is not the normal word for wisdom (chochmah, חָכְמָה), which is used just before in the same verse. Tushi'ah seems to be more like "good judgment", wisdom carefully considered and successfully applied. Given that is often parallels "counsel/advice" ('etsha), I take it to be a Hebrew equivalent of the Greek epignosis, that is, truth which is believed so as to become usable in informing our judgment correctly thus bringing success to our actions. In that respect, the "two sides" or "double-nature" of tushi'ah would be pure wisdom (or divine truth) on the abstract side and our accepting and metabolizing it (by faith) so as to become usable on the practical side. So perhaps Zophar's point was that (in his opinion) Job had a good theoretical knowledge of the truth but was lax in actually believing it and applying it to his walk with God. It's not the case, of course, and that is why the phrase "Job's comforters" has become proverbial for those who wrongly attribute sin, wrong-doing, or other culpable actions to those who have experienced tragedy.
What does Solomon mean in Ecclesiastes 7:16-17 by 'excessively righteous'? Your explanation in the Hamartiology study is very helpful, I was just wondering if this expression could have something to do with hypocrisy as well?
Ecclesiastes 7:16-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 16 Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?
An interesting point. Being self-righteous (and also being a "know it all") may well fit into the meaning here. In both instances, it would be a case of assuming that one has found the perfect solution and hewing to a standard that is really off the mark when it comes to applied truth because of the impossibility of judging complex circumstances to match that flawed interpretation to perfection. That is also why it says in Proverbs 3:5 (NIV): "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding".
You wrote: '(particularly in respect to the tabernacle whose proscribed holy of holies represents the third heaven: Heb.8:5)'. Could you please briefly explain how and why the tabernacle represents the third heaven?
The link to where this is covered in detail is in CT 2B "The Earthly Tabernacle and Temple as a Type of the Heavenly Temple". Strictly speaking, it is the holy of holies which represents the third heaven (as the quote says) while the outer part of the tabernacle/temple or holy place represents mankind in fellowship with God in paradise. We pass through into this paradise of being with Him by passing by the brazen altar where Christ is represented as dying for all of our sins, and then enter into the holy place we have fellowship with Him: the bread of presence representing the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, the altar of incense representing the delights of being with Him (the sweet savor of His sacrifice which bought us out of sin and death), and the lampstand representing the illumination of now "knowing as we are known (1Cor.13:12; Jesus is the Light of the world). Beyond the veil (covered with cherubim who actually do guard the holiness of God's inner sanctum) we find the ark of the covenant which is both a battle chariot in its symbolic representation and a throne. It is there "I will meet with you" (Ex.25:22), says the Lord, as blood is poured out on the mercy-seat or throne cover, and thus expiates the sins in the body of Jesus Christ (which the body of the ark represents, holding within it the charges for all sins as contained in the two tables of the Law). As I say, there is much more to this which can be found both at the link above and also here: in SR 1 "The Illustration of the Tabernacle".
Could you explain what Holy of Holies is?
The "holy of holies" is the inner sanctum of the tabernacle/temple, that is, the place behind the inner-veil where the ark of the covenant was found. It is also sometimes called "the most holy place", although "holy of holies" is a more literal translation of the Hebrew qodesh haqodeshiyim (קֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִֽׁים).
Could you explain the relationship between:
Psalm 66:10: (NASB) 10 For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.
Isaiah 48:10 (NASB) 10 "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
The Hebrew of the second passage does not actually say "like" (Hebrew ce) but has the Hebrew word be which ought to mean "with silver" (not "like silver"). M.F. Unger says this means something like "I refined you but I did not find any silver in you [because you did respond to Me as you should have]" which I think is a fair interpretation of the literal "I refined you but not with silver [i.e., coming out of the process]". And, as an aside, have "diced up" many commentaries in my previous correspondences with you, I am reminded of my shortcomings here. On the Old Testament, I do love M.F. Unger's two volume Commentary on the Old Testament. Unger is right much more than he is wrong and that is a statement I cannot make about any other commentary.
And again, relationship between Numbers 14:18: The Lord is slow to anger, great in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression. Yet He will not leave [the guilty] unpunished. He visits the iniquity of fathers upon their sons to the third and fourth [generation].
Ezekiel 18, for example: 1 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the childrens teeth are set on edge? 3 As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore.4 Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.
In my view, the distinction between the two passages is that in the first the "four generation curse" applies to unbelievers who hate Him and not to believers who love Him for that is precisely the distinction which one of the companion passages, Deuteronomy 5:10, draws: "but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments" (NIV).
You wrote: Rahab was saved (and is in the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ). The Gibeonites did go to great lengths to avoid the righteous destruction decreed against them, and, like Nineveh of later times, found compassion and deliverance. I just wanted to ask how a righteous destruction can be avoided? For example, how and why did it occur with Gibeonites? Did they repent? If not, why did they escape the destruction, and if yes, why were they by God considered subject to destruction in the first place?
The Gibeonites, like all of the Canaanite peoples, were idolatrous and evil:
After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, "The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness." No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Deuteronomy 9:4-5 NIV
Yet in contrast to the other peoples inhabiting Canaan, the Gibeonites took drastic action to save themselves a sure sign of humility in the face of the fear of God. God often pardons the wicked when they repent, just as the righteous who sin will not escape punishment:
"Therefore, son of man, say to your countrymen, 'The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him when he disobeys, and the wickedness of the wicked man will not cause him to fall when he turns from it. The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness.' "
Ezekiel 33:12 NIV
You wrote: 'It includes considering the teachings of others, reading the critical passages over and over again not only in English but also Hebrew and Greek as appropriate, development of theological hypotheses which are tested against pertinent scriptures and other associated doctrines both deliberately and also heuristically (as I go through day by day reading of scriptures and studying / researching the truth of the Word), and, finally, the painstaking work of putting these things together in an accessible study'.
Here I just wanted to show my appreciation for what you do. What struck me straight away about your studies is the depth of knowledge and analysis. I can only imagine how long certain things take be understood or discovered, but I recognized straight away that these things took time, and a lot of it.
May I just repeat that your ministry has been truly inspirational and gave me the much needed direction in my growth - the direction being getting to know God's Word and His Truth.
Also, regarding the 'painstaking work of putting these things together in an accessible study', let me just say that I have just completed the Biblical Anthropology study and I believe this 'painstaking work' really bore fruit. Having completed academic degrees I'm not unfamiliar with academic writing and although my knowledge and skill in this area is very limited compared to yours, it is big enough to appreciate the 'flow' of your writing and the logical order in which you present the arguments, guiding the reader. I pray every day that you continue with your work that helps others grow and that the Holy Spirit guides you in your quest for the Truth.
In constant prayer for you and your ministry,
Thanks! I appreciate your encouragement and support!
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,