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Old Testament Interpretation IV:

Gehazi's Leprosy, Tyre's Destruction, and Immanuel

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Question #1:

Good evening,

I had a question I hoped you could answer. Exodus 20:25-26 is in regards to laws about alters. It says "25 If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it. 26 And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’ I am probably completely off on vs 25. I was thinking that maybe since blood is being spilt on the rocks of an alter, the rocks may represent our hearts, and it is not by our own devices that we make them pure, but blood alone. Then vs 26 threw me off completely what could nakedness have to do with an alter? Any Ideas?

As always, thank you and God bless!

Response #1:

Good to hear from you again.

I like your comparison of "unhewn rocks" to pure hearts very much. It's a wonderful application of the verse in any case. As to your question, my understanding is that in the dress-like garments which were the norm in the ancient world, going up to the top of a high altar on steps might result in a man exposing himself unawares, and that would be the height of disrespect.

Hope this helps!

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus with whom we long to be,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi--I am sorry to bother you again, but you probably know that the Book of Mormon is riddled with "and it came to pass"--sometimes as much as three times in three very short paragraphs. A Mormon wrote this on CARM--

"The Hebrew form of the English phrase "and it came to pass" is "wayehi." It appears in the Hebrew Bible 1,201 times. The English phrase "and it came to pass" or variable forms of the phrase appear 727 times in the KJV. There was a translation process between the Hebrew and KJV. They are not the same. I know this sounds simple, but you can never assume anything on this site. In that process, the phrase "and it came to pass" or "came to pass" or "it came to pass," etc. was removed many times. Hebrew had no punctuation. And it had no indentations at the beginning of ideas or what we would identify as paragraphs. This Hebrew phrase was very often used to identify a change in flow or beginning of a new idea or information."

Is any of this true? I don't know one way or another--but if the phrase did appear many more times in Hebrew than in the English translations, I think that it is good that modern translations take a lot of them out.

Also, another Mormon looked at your website and said you are into astrology! I asked him to point out where you are into it, on your website, but so far he hasn't answered me, but he may not have seen my response yet. You do have numerology on your website, but that is just about the symbolism behind some numbers in the Bible, like 40, 12, 7, etc. Do you talk about astrology anywhere on your website? I didn't see it listed under the listing of subjects.

Anyway, I would just appreciate info about the "and it came to pass." Hope you have a nice weekend. God bless!

Response #2:

As to the stats, they seem about right – though as you say it's not a very important point. Even if the same person had translated the entire KJV OT (which of course was not the case), it would still be virtually impossible for any single human being to absolutely 100% "consistent" in the way we render things over that much territory. And since Hebrew is not English, there are a lot of places where anyone with any sense of style and an interest in readability would want to vary this translation formula. So not a surprising revelation when it comes to the KJV. After all, this is the same version that varies between "Holy Spirit" and "Holy Ghost" (where consistency would have been better and entirely possible).

On the Book of Mormon, yes, if I were wishing to forge something and claim it was by Shakespeare I would throw in a whole lot of thees and thous and I prithee's. But it would take more than that for any Shakespeare fan to believe it was genuine. Same goes for the content of the Book of Mormon and any genuine believer.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

p.s., no astrology to be found here!

Question #3:

Reading through one response (I can't remember the specific one), I recall seeing you describe a subset of books in the bible as the "prophets." I assume this is referring to the books that deal with prophecy like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc. Is this correct? Is there some comprehensively defined "list" of these?

Response #3:

Yes. "Prophets" can be used both technically and semi-technically. In the Jewish tradition, the Nebiim (prophets) is one of the three subdivisions of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible (the other two being the Law, or Pentateuch, and the "writings":  Torah and Kethubim respectively). In the Hebrew Bible, however, Daniel, a book which is mostly about future prophecy, is in the "writings" (as is Psalms) – the order of books in the Hebrew Bible being a bit different from English Bibles. Organization notwithstanding, the entire Old Testament is of course inspired, and is thus "prophetic".

Question #4:

While going through almost all of the verses related to life at birth/abortion (seeing as that was what my most recent post was on), there was a passage that I came across that I do not understand particularly well: Numbers 5:11-31. I was hesitant to make any mention of it because I fear I do not grasp exactly what it is trying to convey, so I have as of yet left it out. I understand it to be related to a "test" of faithfulness that relates to jealous husbands and possibly unfaithful wives. I saw some people herald it as a case of "abortion in the Bible," yet this particular claim set of my warning bells. Clarification would be again appreciated. Honestly, time permitting, I would be grateful if you skimmed my entire post to make sure I don't get anything wrong, but I understand that you have an awful lot to do, so that is simply a somewhat selfish request. Of particular note is the fact that I quote four paragraphs from one of your email responses verbatim (and say such); is this OK? It was in deference to my lack of Greek that I incorporated your exegesis instead of my own, and I tried to make that clear from the "N.B. statement" (this is roughly halfway through the post if that helps).

Response #4:

I'm happy to be quoted as long as the citation is full enough to get the gist (as it certainly is here). As to the "waters of bitterness" in Numbers 5, I have heard this odd interpretation before (covered at the link), but I find nothing in the passage itself to suggest that inducement of premature birth was any sort of a consideration. The passage is about suspected adultery – so I think your "spiritual common sense" has gotten it exactly right.

Question #5:

Is the book of Song of songs about Christ, marriage love, fiancés or just an intrusion in scripture?

Response #5:

I take the Song of Songs as an allegory which anticipates the relationship between the Messiah and His Bride, the Church (as others have also done, going back at least to Martin Luther). That does not mean that it is also not what it purports to be on its face, namely, a song in praise of (divinely sanctioned) love and marriage. Here is a link on this: Song of Solomon

Question #6:

Hello Sir,

Thank you for the reply. Confirmation from you is always soothing. Even when I think something is correct I still want to ask you.

Sir, the reference you quoted: "H.P. Smith, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Books of Samuel (ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1912), 155" is that available online for free? I really need to understand 1Samuel.17 David's faith in the Lord is something wonderful.

Sir, its been little over 4 years since I have been reading your work. I have read twice the major portion of it except Hamartiology. I want to go through it once again, since there is a lot I have forgotten. But before I do that I have question about confession. I want to remember my Lord before each meal, and I do confess my sins whenever I commit one and also on daily basis. Now, do we have to separately confess before communion or each meal? And also how do we exactly proclaim our Lord by taking communion meal or by remembering Him and His work at each meal?

Thank you for everything Sir. You are in My prayers.

In Jesus who is our everything,

Response #6:

Hello my friend,

Good to hear back from you. I certainly agree – David is a model of faith to us all, and the whole biblical story about him is blessed (of course, so is all the rest of scripture). As far as understanding this chapter and the other chapters about David, yes, this book is available for free on-line (at Google books; as is: Smith's Commentary on Samuel; also available through Internet Archive; see the link). However, critical commentaries are usually more concerned with language issues and historical arcana (so as not to be very uplifting), whereas homiletic commentaries focus on "spiritual issues" but tend to be so far divorced from any in-depth consideration of the actual text as to make them of little use to serious Christians (i.e., usually pablum instead of real meat). This is a longish way of saying that commentaries come in all sorts and sizes, but they do usually have one important feature in common: they all tend to be of little serious use with the result that they also tend to be very disappointing for those Christians who are looking to grow spiritually. Even for those of us who are in teaching ministries, after reaching a certain point in one's progress in the original languages, the theology of the Bible, and its historical background, the practical utility of all commentaries tends to drop off precipitously. I very rarely get much out of any of them which I find to be of much use. The previous quote is an exception (it's a very good observation), but I do note that it is a good comment for apologetics if someone, such as yourself, asks about a variant reading which may occur or be given credence in an English version. Personally, were I reading or exegeting the books of Samuel, I wouldn't pay any particular attention to such rabbit trails in the first place (I've been down plenty in my time and have learned how to spot them). However, this is the sort of thing which a good commentary can help with – and truly good commentaries, even for these sorts of issues, are few and far between. I haven't used this particular one much at all, so I can't give you any sense of its utility generally, but the T & T Clark series tends to be just as advertised, namely, "critical and exegetical", being mostly concerned with the text and with linguistic issues. Unger's two volume set is one I respect (not much on language issues, but good doctrinally and often getting right to the correct interpretation of a passage); cited at the link: Recommended Surveys of the Old Testament.

Finally, on confession before communion, I like your application, but should point out that this is a personal judgment call. Your practice of immediately confessing any and all sin, however seemingly "small", is absolutely the correct one. Also, since we often sin in many ways we don't even realize, confessing sin at critical junctures, even when we are not convicted in our hearts of a particular transgression, seems to me to be a prudent thing to do (and I would draw a parallel of the sacrifices for "sins of ignorance" which are so prevalent in the Mosaic economy). So while I have known Christians who have gotten hyper-sensitive about confession (and many more who were not concerned about doing it at all), as with all such matters the "sweet spot" is in the middle between these two extremes, and making confession before communion a personal rule (especially in light of what Paul says at 1st Corinthians 11:27-32), seems to me to be a fine idea (for what it's worth):

(27) Therefore whoever eats the [communion] bread or drinks the [communion] cup of the Lord in an unworthy way is guilty [of offense against] the body and the blood of the Lord. (28) So let [each] person evaluate himself and in this manner (i.e., following confession of all sins remembered in such reflection) let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. (29) For the person who eats and drinks eats and drinks judgment for himself if he does not evaluate his body [aright] (i.e., refusing first to repent and confess). (30) It is for this [very] reason that many among you are sick and infirm – and not a few have passed away (i.e., have suffered the sin unto death). (31) But if we were evaluating ourselves [so as to repent and confess], we would not be falling under judgment. (32) And when we are being judged [for this offense], it is by the Lord that we are being disciplined, to the end that we might not be condemned (lit., "terminally judged") along with the world.
1st Corinthians 11:27-32

Here are some links you've probably already seen, but I'll list them for you for convenience sake:

The Communion Ceremony outside of the Local Church

The Meaning of the Communion Ceremony: To Remember Christ

Communal Worship in Acts

Communion and the Blood of Christ

The Last Supper

The Leftover Baskets of Bread and Fish in John 6

The Lord's Supper and Confession of Sin

Communion and the Spiritual Death of Christ

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Thanks for the opportunity to ask a question. Adam and Eve were the first humans who gave birth to Cain, Abel and Seth. My question is, where did the first women come from who bore children to the sons of Adam and Eve?

Thanks again for considering my question. I hope you can help me gain some understanding.

By the grace of God,

Response #7:

Good to make your acquaintance.

The short answer to your question is that everyone came from Adam and Eve or from their offspring. Scripture does not record all the progeny of Adam and Eve nor of their offspring. Given the (relatively) benign conditions of the planet before the great flood (even if far less so than in Eden), it would not have been long before the human race exploded geometrically, so that Cain is able to build a city, e.g. Here is a response previously given to a similar question which you may find useful:

As to Adam and Eve, I remember during a similar discussion an unbeliever remarked to me that he'd sure like to see the chromosomes of these two if the whole human race really came from them alone. Of course evolution claims that the human race came from one single mutation, not two people, and that this mutation somehow "bred true" with the previous non-human stock to produce more human beings. I'll not belabor the problems with that "scientific" fairy tale, but as to Adam and Eve, we should not assume that the Bible is telling us everything. We know from the gospels and the book of Acts that there is no expectation when a narrative is given that the narrative includes absolutely everything (although it gives us enough). John remarks that the whole world would be insufficient to hold the books that would have to be written to give the entire story of Jesus Christ (Jn.21:25). The book of Acts gives three accounts of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1-18; 22:3-16; 26:9-18); all are true, but each has a different purpose, a different focus, and adds different information. So we should not assume that Genesis is telling us everything, especially given the incredibly wide swath of human history it has to cover. In Genesis 4:17, for example, we are told that Cain not only married, but founded a city. Up to this point, we didn't have any indication of anyone else around besides the four in question. But it is clear from Genesis 5:4 that Adam and Eve were in fact extremely productive, as were the rest of the pre-flood generation. The conditions that obtained outside of Eden were not paradaisical by any means, but were far more conducive to rapid population expansion than what we know today. The environment was much friendlier (no winter or seasons but continual growth), and people were much more physically vigorous, with the life span lasting to nigh on a thousand years. Even if we assume only normal procreation, according to the calculations of C.F. Keil, in Keil and Deilitzsch's Commentary on the Old Testament v.1, 176-178, by the time of Peleg's death, the earth could well have held over ten million people, and we are right in considering the possibility that, given the vigor of the pre-flood generation, this a very conservative figure. So it seems clear to me based upon everything Genesis says that Adam and Eve had a very large number of children, more than enough to establish a basic core from which the human race rapidly expanded (especially considering that most of these also began having very large families long before Adam and Eve ceased to procreate).

Please do feel free to write back about this.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #8:

Dear Robert,

I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to my unsolicited enquiry. I could only assume that Adam and Eve were the first and only humans directly created by God and that is what left me to wonder about the wives of their sons. I have been reluctant to believe that the sons of Adam and Eve married or otherwise had children with their sisters, but what else could I reasonably conclude? While it's easy to imagine that Adam and Eve had many children, the idea of brother/sister unions is rather unsettling for me. Maybe my reluctance is unfounded in terms of antiquity and maybe I need to accept differences from my own cultural norms as being acceptable to God ... given the post-Eden circumstance.

Thanks again for your response; it's dearly appreciated. And, even more so, your ministry is a tremendous blessing. May God continue to enable you.

By the grace of God and in the love of Christ Jesus,

Response #8:

I do know what you mean. But as with many things in scripture, we often have to place our personal sensibilities in second place – and kudos to you for being able to do so. It is amazing to me how many Christians allow some minor point which they have trouble accepting color their whole appreciation of the truth of the Word of God.

On this question, there is, after all, a similar situation after the great flood where the number of surviving human beings is only eight. Not on the same scale but in line with the precedent are the rebuilding of the tribe of Benjamin from a handful of men and also the rebuilding of the entire nation of Israel from a relatively small number taken into captivity into Babylon. God is able to do anything with almost nothing – and of course with nothing as well, if that be His will.

"and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones."
Matthew 3:9 NKJV

Yours in Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Robert,

Thanks for taking time to address my perspective and for keeping your encouragement in line with God's Word. I greatly appreciate your help and I'll be praying for God's continual blessing on your submission to Him.

By the grace of God and in the love of Christ Jesus,

Response #9:

Thanks!

Question #10:

What could it mean to function in the body of Christ, as a footstool? As if to say : My function is to be a footstool unto/for my people, to be a form of service to the body of Christ.

Please respond personally, Thank You,

Response #10:

Good to make your acquaintance.

In scripture, the main references of this sort to "footstools" are to the effect that the world is the Lord's footstool (meaning that He is in control of everything; e.g., Is.66:1), and the famous reference in Psalm 110:1, which explains that our Lord is now waiting at the Father's right hand "until His enemies be made His footstool", is speaking of their subjugation.

In short, I know of nothing in scripture that suggests any believer would ever be a footstool or should ever seek such a role (whatever that role might be). We are to "worship at His footstool" (e.g., Ps.99:5; 132:7), meaning to come into His presence in humility when we worship Him, but we are not be "footstools". That humiliation is reserved for the enemies of Christ at Armageddon.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

How is it that Gehazi is talking to the king, when in chapter 5:27 of 2 Kings, he was afflicted with leprosy?

Hope all is well old friend,

Response #11:

Good to hear from you my friend. Hope you are doing well!

It's a good question. Chapter 8 of 2nd Kings opens with a disjunctive clause in the Hebrew (rather than a consecutive construction which would signal a continuation of the narrative); this is well translated by the ESV (NIV similar): "Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life . . . ". In other words, the story which begins chapter eight is what we would call today a "flash-back", meant to insert at this point an important addition to the narrative (cf. the similar flashback at 2Ki.13:14ff. about Joash after he is buried in the previous verse). Since the story covers more than seven years, it could not be dealt with in a strictly chronological way without conflicting with the main chronicle of events, wherever the writer had chosen to put it. Under divine inspiration, the writer puts the story of the protection of the Shunnamite woman and her family here, after the siege of Samaria, to show how the Lord did take care of godly believers during this time of trouble and famine so that they did not have to suffer through the events recorded in the previous chapters. And it is more effective to read after the fact rather than before (i.e., that is no doubt the reason why it is not placed in chapter four after verse 37, which would seem the other logical place).

Your friend in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Good day to you. I’m not sure why I got your email, but do you help with biblical questions? Could you please help with this question? It’s clear that Cain is Adam’s son but why is a full stop separating him from his brother Abel? Why did God say that Satan’s "seed/child" would be bruised by Eve’s child? Can Angels reproduce?

Kind regards

Response #12:

Good to make your acquaintance. Apologies for the delay in response (I've been getting quite a lot of mail lately). You probably got the email link from the website: Ichthys: Bible Study for Spiritual Growth

As to your questions, I'm not sure which verse you are referring to when you mention a "full stop" separating the two brothers (I have checked all the instances in the KJV and see no such situation; what version are you using?).

As to Genesis 3:15, this is a prophecy of both the first and the second advents: Satan would harass Christ during the first advent; but Christ will destroy Satan's son, antichrist, at the second advent. The Coming Tribulation series covers the latter; part 4A of Bible Basics: Christology, the former (see the links).

As to angels, there is no scriptural evidence that angels can produce other angels; from everything we know from scripture, it seems that God created them in their full number at one point in time and there never have been nor ever shall be any more or any less (although the fallen angels will be shut out of eternity along with unbelieving humanity). For more on all this please see the link, Bible Basics 2A: Angelology. That does not mean, however, that fallen angels have not engaged in some unauthorized activities in the past – they have. Here is a link where that is discussed (it will lead you to other links as well): Nephilim, Fallen Angels, and Genesis 6.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Bob Luginbill

Question #13:

Good day to you. Thank you so very much for your reply. I’m referring to this verse and this is basically my views: {Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, "With the Lord’s help, I have produced a man!"2Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. Gen4:1 (NLT) Now what’s wrong here? Eve never conceived twice, so this was a Twin, but even the verse is separating one from the other with a FULL STOP! Why not say:"Adam made Eve pregnant and she bore Cain and Abel?" Nobody can miss that Adam impregnated (bonded with) Eve but why the distinguishing between the two sons? It’s almost like Eve is proud about Cain and even Seth and acknowledges God with both those boys, but kind of like "oops" about Abel. Then their jobs mentioned in the same verse? The ground was cursed for Adam and same with Cain. {so the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity (hatred) between you and the woman, and between your offspring (child) and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:14-15.}

And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; Abel was tending to animals. God told Satan that He (God) would put "hatred" between him and the woman, and her child and his, so it’s clear that Eve was in lust with him, but God got her attention redirected to "desiring her husband". Both Adam and Eve created in God’s image were in spirit when God told them to reproduce. Perhaps the "skins" he covered them in are the skin/flesh we have today where we can see the dying process?

Most people tell me the "forbidden fruit" was that Adam and Eve did not keep the Sabbath, but that doesn’t make sense. Nowhere do I see any command like that in Genesis and the law only came with Moses not so? God’s focus was on reproduce and increase, obviously each after their own, keeping each species pedigree – so to speak. Somehow Satan wanting to be bigger and better than God was messing around with reproduction and perhaps with all his experiments that is where the Giants came from.

My belief is that Satan knew Eve conceived so had to act fast so that there would be no "pedigree" nation. I feel that Cain’s arrogance was thinking because he should have been the "pedigree" that it was unfair of God to favor Abel’s sacrifice. Today, much like Cain, people are still killing thinking it’s a service to God and feel self righteous by keeping the law, but the whole Gospel is based on FAITH and "Chose this day whom you will serve".

Nevertheless, we all here to learn, so do you have any proof that the forbidden fruit was in fact not keeping the law?

What is your religious background?

Can you perhaps help with understanding this?

[ To the Church in Philadelphia ] "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. Revelation 3:6-8

"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." Revelation 22:15-17

How is it that David is not in heaven? What keys did he hold?

Thanks again so very much for your much appreciated help.

Shalom

Response #13:

Good to hear back from you. As to your questions:

1) While it is not impossible that Cain and Abel were twins, it is very unlikely, and there is nothing in the text which demands that we understand things that way. The way scripture describes the sequential births here is very typical of genealogies throughout the Bible where we know for certain that it is not a case of bearing twins. In fact, usually when twins are born there is some indication that this is the case. Two things make it unlikely: a) the fact that Eve is said to have conceived Cain but not Abel in verse one (whereas had she conceived both, both would have been mentioned judging from scripture elsewhere: e.g., Gen.25:21-22); b) the fact that Eve makes a pronouncement about Cain but none about Abel (whereas if she had born twins she likely would not have had the leisure to expound on the one before bearing the other and would not have commented only on the one; or she would have said "gotten men" not "a man").

2) The tree of knowing good and evil and Satan's temptation of Eve through the serpent has nothing to do with sex or with lust. It took place precisely as scripture described it (see the link).

3) The tree of knowing good and evil has nothing to do with the Mosaic Law or keeping the Mosaic Law or failing to do so (or anything to do with the Sabbath).

4) David is most assuredly in heaven. The "key" mentioned in Revelation 3:7 refers to the authority given to the Messiah, David's greater Son, to open up salvation to all (and so is an indication of the opportunity given to the church of the era of Philadelphia for evangelizing – as did actually happen during that historical period; please see the links: "Philadelphia: the Era of Revival" and "Keys to the Kingdom").

As to my background, you can find out all you want at the following links (and they will lead you to many other links):

About the Ichthys Ministry

About the Author

A bit of biography

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

It's me again. I have a couple of questions for you. On what day was Adam created? In Genesis 1 it say's that Adam as well as Eve was created on the sixth day. They were the last of his creations. In Genesis 2 though, it says that God created Adam before any plants had sprung up. Vegetation was produced on the third day though. Also, I originally thought that Eve was created a short while after Adam. Genesis 1 makes me think they were created on the same day, but Genesis 2 makes me think differently. Also, why did God form Eve from Adam's rib? Why didn't he just form her from the dust and breathe life into her, like he did Adam? I've been puzzling over these things and can't come up with a satisfactory answer.

Why did people live so long in those times? When the Lord said that man's days would be 120 years, what did he mean by that? Was he shortening the life span?

I think I'm going to join a Bible Study fellowship. So, let me know what you think of the church please. If you think it sounds good, I can give you the address. If anyone asks about a church in the area, you can refer them.

Response #14:

Good to hear from you. I hope your studies/classes are going well. I'm keeping you in my prayers. As to your questions:

1) Yes, Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day. Most of Genesis chapter two is a "flash-back" to bring in more detail. That would be more clear if translators understood the issues involved and rendered the key verses properly. Here is how I translate the critical verse, Genesis 2:4, which is a summary of all that goes before, and which thus leads into Genesis 2:5 and all that follows:

[Summary of 1:1 through 2:3]: These (i.e., all of Genesis to this point) are the generations of the heavens and the earth in their creation, throughout the entire period that the Lord God fashioned earth and heavens (i.e., both initial creation and the seven days of re-creation).
Genesis 2:4

[Introduction of the more detailed narrative]: Now this (i.e., disjunctive clause going back to the point before Adam's creation) was before any wild foliage existed on the earth and before any wild herbage had sprouted, for the Lord had not yet caused rain to fall upon the earth, and Man did not exist to till the soil.
Genesis 2:5

2) As the translation above makes clear, the foliage not yet having appeared is the wild foliage outside of Eden which will cover the earth after the judgment of Genesis chapter three (so this helps the reader understand that we have gone back to the sixth day).

3) On Adam's rib, God did it this way in order to make the relationship between husband and wife as intimately close as possible. Here is what I have written about this in BB 3A under "Status Quo in Paradise":

I will make for him a helper compatible with him.
Genesis 2:18b

This verse is crucial to our understanding of the point we are now discussing, namely that things were different in the garden. Eve is not to be a servant, but, literally, "a help" (Hebrew: עזר, 'ezer). Secondly and critically, she is to be "someone who corresponds to him" (Hebrew: כנגדו, ceneghdo), that is, someone who complements and fulfills him in all compatibility. The closeness and intimacy of the relationship between our first parents foreshadowed in this verse is underscored by Eve's creation. The Lord's formation of Eve's body from one of Adam's ribs adds the physical dimension to the spiritual one outlined in Genesis 2:18b above. In short, it would have been impossible for Adam and Eve to have been any closer, body and spirit, and still have been two distinct people. When the Lord presents to Adam this wife who was in every way an answer to his search for companionship, his words bespeak not only gratitude, but an appreciation for this God-given relationship of exceptional intimacy and closeness:

And Adam said, "This now is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She shall be called woman, because from man she was taken".
Genesis 2:23

See also the link: "Helpmeet?"

4) The reason for the shortening of human life-spans after the flood has to do with the complete change of environment on earth which that tremendous geologically altering event occasioned. See the link: "The Origin of the Four Seasons" and "The Issue of Life-Spans and Longevity before the Great Flood".

As to your church, I am very happy that you have found a place where you are experiencing genuine Christian fellowship and also the teaching of the Word of God.

You are also most welcome at Ichthys any time!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Thanks again for the help.

Furthermore, in the creation story of Genesis 1, God did not declare anything on that day good. On all the other 5 days of the creation he did state what he saw was good. Is there a reason his separation of the waters from below and above (when he created the expanse he called sky) was not declared good?

Response #15:

You're very welcome.

As to your latest question, this is a very interesting observation. Of course, in verse 31 it says "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (NIV), and this all-inclusive statement would seem to encompass "day two" as well. Still, what you say is true. If I had to venture an opinion, I would imagine that it has something to do with the fact that day two is concerned with separation only, and specifically with the separation into two parts of the means of judgment upon the original earth (the waters), splitting them into two new barriers which veil the holiness of God on the one hand (the waters above) and confine the nether regions on the other (the waters below). This was a necessary step for making the earth (and the universe) capable of sustaining human life and setting in motion the next phase of the plan of God (see the link for a chart about this: "Summary of the Seven Days"); in that sense it was certainly "good", but perhaps because it is a step made necessary because of prior judgment on evil whose present effects are all about the restraint of evil that God deemed it improper to call it "good" outright.

Yours in Him who is working all things out together for the absolute "good" for all of us who love Him.

Bob L.

Question #16:

I have another unrelated question. You know how in Isaiah it says that a virgin will conceive and bear a son and call him "Immanuel"? Well, Mary didn't--she called Him Jesus (Yeshua), instead, at Gabriel's behest, if I remember right. Why the discrepancy? A Mormon is saying that the prophesy failed because of that. Thanks.

Response #16:

First, let me say that within biblical usage one person naming someone something does not prevent others doing so or vice versa, so that this is really a silly sort of argument to make, calling for a slavery to perceived meanings that violates all natural usage of language (which is particularly ironic coming from those who are accustomed to play "fast and loose" with the text and have no real respect for it whatsoever) – and that is of doubly true in the case of our Lord who has many names (e.g., Rev.19:11-16; and see the link: in BB 4A "The Names of Jesus Christ"). That said, I do not believe that there is even a technicality of a problem here.

Here is what I read in Matthew's gospel:

"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."
Matthew 1:21-23 NKJV

According to Matthew, the naming of our Lord "Jesus" is the essential fulfillment of the prophecy (relating the substance of the meaning of the names rather than the names themselves).

To the point at issue, the verb in Greek in Matthew, kalousin, is a third person plural form, indicating that the verb "call" is generic (i.e., "they" or "everyone will call"), and is not addressed specifically to the Messiah's mother (i.e., the "she will call" of the versions in the Isaiah passage). This is also how the Septuagint reads the Hebrew of Isaiah 7:14, rendering the verb there kaleis, "you will call" (with the "you" being the collective generic "you" which we often employ in English, "ya' know?"). This verse also occurs in the famous Qumran scroll of Isaiah ("Qa"). In that text, instead of "she will call" we find "one will call". So Matthew's gospel, the LXX, and the Qumran scroll all agree in seeing this verb as a generic "everyone" construction rather than being specific to one person (the mother only).

Why, then, do all the versions attribute this naming only to the "virgin" and not take it as a "one" construction (i.e., "one will call Him . . ."), meaning that everyone will call Him by that name? The answer, I believe, lies in the incorrect vocalization of the Masoretic text. As you know, most of the vowel signs are late, possibly as late as the 8th or 9th cent. A.D., and while they should command a good deal of respect, they are not inspired by any means. As it so happens, the consonantal text for "she will call" and "you will call" in Hebrew are exactly the same (קראת). The question is whether or not a long "A" vowel is to be placed (vocalized) under the final consonant (thus making it "you" instead of "she"). That vowel is not there in the MT, but there are plenty of examples of disagreement in vocalization even with the Masoretic tradition (i.e., kethibh vs. qere' – written form vs. pronounced forms).

Ordinarily, the lectio difficilior principle would prefer the translation one finds in most Bibles, but the fact that Matthew is inspired invites us to consider that there may have been a reason for the Masoretes to deliberately alter the vocalization of Isaiah 7:14. With the long "A", this virgin-born child is the Messiah universally proclaimed; without the long "A", "Immanuel" is simply a name this child is given by his mother (and we know of other instances where passages which support seeing Jesus as the Messiah were similarly "doctored"). Given that the ancient witnesses to the text agree with Matthew, that the Hebrew without vocalization can be read in the same way, and that there was a motive for those vocalizing the text to make a slight alteration without at the same time actually doing any damage to the text itself (which, after all, consists only of the consonants, the vowels being merely an interpretative device), my judgment would be that there is no contradiction whatsoever. And even if we do not wish to impugn the motives of the Masoretes here, given that the virgin is the subject of the two preceding verbs, it would be a natural mistake (if it is a question of an honest mistake) to see her as the subject of the third verb as well, and to fail to take into account that a generic "you" is the true subject.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus, our Immanuel.

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Could you explain why the MT garbles Psalm 22:16-17, and does the LXX have it right?

Sincerely,

Response #17:

Yes, this is one place where the LXX is correct. But the difference in the MT is not so great as might be supposed from the English. If we read the letter waw instead of yodh at the end of the phrase "like a lion" we get instead "they pierced" (כָּאֲרוּ versus כָּאֲרִי). This is not an unprecedented "mistake", since the two letters are sometimes confused in situations like this where either reading makes sense (especially without the vowel points which are, after all, late developments). However, I have seen before in Messianic passages instance wherein it has seemed to me that the Masoretes of the middle ages were deliberately trying to steer the text away from any obvious references to Christ's crucifixion, and I am suspicious that such is the case here. I praise the Lord that their careful attention to preserving the text did not allow that bias to result in any change that was so great that reconstruction of the actual text (backed up as you note by the Septuagint) is easy enough. P.s., there are a handful of mss. which do read here ("they pierced", the more common form of the verb sans aleph).

Yours in the One crucified for us to bear our sins and give us life eternal,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

I don't think the Masoretes were trying to steer the text, because the Dead Sea Scrolls have it as "like a lion" as well (at least according to the NIV).

Sincerely,

Response #18:

I find this new NIV note (it's a recent addition, at least the part about referencing the scrolls) inexplicable. There are a number of photographs of the scroll in question available on the internet (5/6Hev Col. XI, frag. 9; aka: DJD 38, Plate XXVII Fragment #9). Dr. Peter Flint who published the photograph in the official version, read the letter in question as a waw and not a yodh. There are others who dispute his reading. Personally, it looks like a waw to me, and I can tell you from my own dealings with papyri (and also epigraphy) that autopsy of the original often leads to a different conclusion even if the photographs are of very high quality. In this case, while there may not be enough to go by to say with 100% confidence that Flint was right, there really is not much basis for saying that the scrolls support the Masoretic Text in this case. The best those who disagree can say is that the fragment may not support the LXX reading.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello Brother Robert

I was wondering if you can help me on something about Sodom and Gomorrah. I wondering about these 2 cities how long where they where around before they where destroyed. And where they always like that? Have you ever done research on these 2 cities. And what was the cry they where talking about in Genesis 19:20. what did Jude mean when he mentions strange flesh.

thank you God Bless

Response #19:

From what may be gleaned from scripture, the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were in what the Old Testament calls the cicar (Gen.13:10), that is, the basin-like plain of the Jordan river south of Jericho. Today, this area is covered by the Dead Sea. As a result, there is little archaeology may do to investigate (and, after all, the Genesis account relates their complete destruction in any case).

The "cry" refers to the report of all the evil done there which reached the Lord and occasioned the destruction of these towns. As to "strange flesh" in Jude 1:7, this refers to unnatural sexual relations.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi,

I am "working" with a friend that is Jewish and knows less about it than I do. I am trying to examine the 12 tribes. I am trying to get an understanding of Israelites, part of witnessing to a Jewish friend.

Please help.

Response #20:

It's a rather large topic! While I don't pretend to be conversant with all the ins and outs of extra-biblical Jewish tradition, I think I am correct in saying that contemporary Jews generally have no certain knowledge of their own "tribe" (even in cases of someone named "Levy", e.g.). If the objective is evangelism, it is good to remember that everyone is saved the same way, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. When it comes to the Jewish people, gentile Christians should, in my opinion and experience, proceed cautiously, because there is so much to the tradition (not to mention spiritual heritage; see the link: "The Uniqueness of Israel") of which the average gentile Christian will be completely unaware. I remember one Jewish Christian explain his complete befuddlement when on being brought to communion for the first time, his hosts told him not to worry, that it was "just like Passover" (!?).

So in purely "tactical terms", trying to approach things on Jewish terms for someone not steeped in the Jewish cultural tradition is a minefield that takes years of study to be able to negotiate adeptly (to get a feel for this, please read the link: "Characteristics of the 144,000 and their Ministry"). On the other hand, God knows what is in each individual heart, and if a person, any person, is really open to accepting the Gift of Gifts, salvation through the Person and work of Christ, then no special knowledge is necessary, merely the simple truth of the good news for anyone willing "not to say no".

That said, if you have some specific question, I would certainly be willing to entertain them. The only specific things I have about the tribes per se at Ichthys are refutations of the false "lost tribes" hypothesis, and also the association of the tribal names with the gates of New Jerusalem (see the links).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hello, Here is what this Mormon says but I don't know what he is talking about; do you?

Ezekiel foretold the destruction of Tyre by king Nebuchadnezzar... but that didn't come true. Now, this might not be much of an issue... except you claimed. And it also says that a prophet of God had to be 100% accurate in prophecies, or the Lord God didn't send him. Which makes Ezekiel a false prophet, since Tyre wasn't destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. But Ezekiel then turned around and claimed that Nebuchadnezzar would be given Egypt instead, but that never happened either! Nebuchadnezzar never conquered Egypt. Oops, right? Stop jumping the gun. I wasn't referring to Balaam, I was referring to Ezekiel, since he's a false prophet by your own standard... which means he is a prophet of Satan. But it gets better! Jeremia his a prophet of Satan too! His prophecy that Jehoiakim would be "buried with the burial of an ***, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem" never happened. 2 Kings 24 says that Jehoiakim "slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead". Oops again, huh? But there's more! Isaiah is a false prophet by your standards too! This gets better and better, doesn't it? Isaiah claimed that the Medes (ancient Iranian people) would slay men, women and children and that Babylon would "be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation" (Isaiah 13:17-20). Cyrus (who was king of the Medes & the Persians) took Babylon without killing everyone. Babylon remained inhabited for centuries afterward. Oops again, right?

I know enough to know that these cult types take things our of context, but I don't know where the other stuff is in the bible; he doesn't give the bible verses. But I thought you would know. Thanks.

Response #21:

Ezekiel chapter 26 prophesies the plundering of Tyre (and chapter 27-28 has a lament for Tyre). Historically it seems that Nebuchadnezzar did not actually manage to take the island of Tyre, and scripture seems to confirm that fact immediately following this section:

"Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon drove his army in a hard campaign against Tyre; every head was rubbed bare and every shoulder made raw. Yet he and his army got no reward from the campaign he led against Tyre. Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD."
Ezekiel 29:18-20

There is no doubt, however, that in the fifteen year siege Nebuchadnezzar and his army did much damage to Tyre. While the citadel of the city itself was an island, still much of its infrastructure was on the coast opposite in a sprawling metropolis (so that Ezek.26:12 did come true at that time). And the total destruction of Tyre which is related in Ezekiel 26:13ff. was accomplished later by Alexander the Great (332 B.C.). Also, Tyre is a type of the antitype mystery Babylon which has yet to be destroyed. So in my view of this "problem", 1) it was literally fulfilled at the time (the passage being fairly considered), 2) completely fulfilled later, and 3) will be prophetically fulfilled in the not too distant future (see the link: in CT 3A, "Babylon: the home country of antichrist").

It is also wise to consider that there is much about these events we do not know, so that it would not be prudent to reproach the Lord for His actions in this regard, especially considering the following:

If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
Jeremiah 18:7-8

The other two "problems" don't rise to the same level. Jeremiah 22:19 says that Jehoiakim "shall be buried with the burial of an ass" whereas 2nd Kings 24:6 says "he slept with his fathers". But that is not inconsistent even on the face of it as "slept with his fathers" only means "he died" and does not necessitate that he had an appropriate funeral or even that he was buried in the tombs of the kings – or even buried at all. As to Babylon, it is currently uninhabited, after all, and mystery Babylon, to which all of these prophesies likewise also refer, is similarly marked out for total destruction (e.g., Rev.18). The latter "problem" also has to do with the emphatic way the Bible often puts things which offends the "modern" sense of "accuracy" about what is total and what is not. In reality, we just have a different standard, not a better one (would it be wrong to say that Berlin was "totally destroyed" in WWII, just because today it has been rebuilt?). To use another example, in the Bible "he drank it all" could mean "most of it", leaving a quarter of the cup. We don't find that accurate, but even today if Johnny drinks "all" of a glass of milk, there will still be some milk adhering to the sides of the glass and a few drops in the bottom – so isn't our "all" technically wrong too? Our "all" is more than their "all" very often, but it is neither better than their "all" or even absolutely accurate.

It is easy to find such "problems" in scripture if that is one's purpose. Harder is finding the answers that demonstrate the absolute integrity of the Word of God. But for all who "knock" in sincerity and out of a desire for the truth, God provides those answers. On the other hand, imposing one's own false standards on the Word without regard for its prophetic purpose only results in hardening one's heart against the truth rather than receiving an answer – and rightly so, since an answer was not really desired in the first place.

In Jesus Christ who is the Word of God.

Bob L.

Question #22:

Thanks for your help. This guy just wants to justify the fact that Joseph Smith hardly ever got any prophecies correct, which makes him a false prophet, but he said that these guys in the bible had prophecies that didn't come true, either. I knew that was false, but he is talking about how they are false in the strictest sense of the word. I know the bible uses allegory sometimes, in its predictions and the trick is to discern which is literal and which is allegorical. But you are right about Babylon; it's ruins now; I saw some photos of the ruins on Wikipedia. I think a commentary we have said that Alexander the Great took 10,000 men to clean up the rubble of Babylon and it took them two months to clean it up, and I don't think it was totally cleaned up, either. I can't remember if he destroyed it or not; not that up on this kind of history.

So "slept with his fathers" just means he died. Got that! What about the part about Babylon getting Egypt? Did Babylon get Egypt?

Thanks again!

Response #22:

Yes, Egypt became part of the Babylonian empire shortly after the campaign against Tyre

Compare:

In Tahpanhes the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: "While the Jews are watching, take some large stones with you and bury them in clay in the brick pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh's palace in Tahpanhes. Then say to them, 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them. He will come and attack Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword. He will set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt; he will burn their temples and take their gods captive. As a shepherd wraps his garment around him, so will he wrap Egypt around himself and depart from there unscathed. There in the temple of the sun in Egypt he will demolish the sacred pillars and will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt.'"
Jeremiah 48:8-13 NIV

Saddam Hussein tried to turn Babylon into a sort of tourist attraction, but the war put an end to that.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Okay, thanks. Just one more question: is there any archaeological evidence for Neb's conquering of Egypt, such as destroying its temples and sacred pillars, that can be traced to ol' Neb?

Response #23:

Not that I know of, but that is not at all unusual when it comes to ancient ruins. In archaeology even with the latest methods it is not really possible to determine if a wall fell down from an earthquake, was torn down in a reconstruction, collapsed from age, or was destroyed in a siege. This sort of thing assumes, moreover, that there even is any evidence of a fallen wall (or something similar) and that the archeologists have dated the structure correctly. Since only a tiny percentage of potential sites have been identified and only small areas of those excavated on top of all this, archeology certainly cannot be used to prove the negative. I am always very skeptical when it comes to archeological evidence in any case for a whole variety of reasons. Ancient literary evidence (such as the Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles which supplement the biblical record on this point) is in my view a thousand times more useful (even when it is highly problematic). See: in the article "A new fragment of the history of Nebuchadnezzar III" by T.G. Pinches in Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 7 (1882) 210-225:

"In consequence of the fragmentary state of the inscription, the meaning of many of the words is very doubtful, and the probable contents can only be inferred from what is left, but this much is certain, that in the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon an expedition was made to Misir [Egypt], in order to check the king of that country who was evidently harrying a part of Babylonia".

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.
 

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