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Question #1:

Hi Bob,

You wrote: "Part of that knowledge is indeed the fact that the precise moment of Christ's return is not known (i.e., no one knows "the day or the hour")... my point is that this does not mean that approximate calculations of the end times are either impossible or being rejected by scripture."

This kind of exegesis gives to me the impression of reading the Bible like a legal contract, with the purpose of showing to the court that the terminology of "day" or "hour" technically does not rule out making calculations in the units of fortnights, lunar cycles, galactic years, or gigaseconds. And technically speaking, we have no basis from the Greek to decisively rule out the choice of units being fortnights, lunar cycles, galactic years, or gigaseconds, while we do have a basis from the Greek to decisively rule out the choice of units being days or hours.

But tell me: when Jesus spoke these words, was He really speaking against people who chose the wrong units to do their predictions? If you believe that the answer is "yes, Jesus wants us to calculate His return, but not by the day or hour," then why didn't He tell us what choice of units to use for calculating His return?

Response #1:

This is an objection I get a lot. However, we have to consider that either these words mean precisely what they say or they don't. If they don't mean precisely what they say, they have to means something else. What would that be? The most common reason for voicing this objection you advance is the position that we cannot know either anything or anything of much importance about eschatology (so that everything I have done in the CT series, for example is a complete waste of time) – even though the Bible devotes an entire book, the very last book, to this subject, and much other material in many other books as well. But do we really want to draw that conclusion? I think not.

Following the initial command at Matthew 24:36 our Lord gives the analogy of the days of Noah when disaster struck suddenly and without warning. When He is finished, He says, interestingly enough, "therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming" (Matt.24:42 NASB). Jesus follows this with the example of the thief who would have been stopped if the head of the household had known of the attack ahead of time and says "for this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will" (Matt.24:42 NASB). Finally, after giving the further analogy of the lazy steward who gets lulled into a false sense of security and begins to abuse his charge our Lord comments "the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know" (Matt.24:50 NASB). In addition to our passage and its next-chapter companion, this is a lot of very specific emphasis on "a day" and "an hour" – hard to explain if these words were not meant to be taken literally.

If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened (i.e., in tally).
Matthew 24:22 NIV

The above passage is from the middle of our context, and given that the days are reduced in number in the context of the day and the hour not being known is significant: this is in fact the reason why one should not try to compute the exact day – because we are not given the exact number of days taken out of what the otherwise predictable tally would indicate. Just as scripture does not give allow to predict "the day" (Matt.24:22), predicting "the hour" would likewise be impossible given the nature of the second advent:

It will be a unique day—a day known only to the LORD—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.
Zechariah 14:7 NIV

Specific days and hours, it would seem, are in fact very important, and that is precisely the impression given whenever eschatology is in view (e.g., Dan.7:25; 9:24; 9:27; 12:7; 12:11-12; Rev.11:2; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5).

In fact, the overall point behind our Lord's statement that "no one knows the day or the hour" in Matthew 24:36 is not that we should "forget about it" but quite the opposite; the point is watchfulness. The command to be alert is repeated in substance in the next chapter at Matthew 25:13, where the purpose is also, as the prior portion of the verse makes clear, to encourage us to be alert and watchful. This is a very important command, so much so that it is oft-repeated in the New Testament (Matt.24:42-43; 25:1-13; 26:41; Mk.13:33-37; 14:38; Lk.12:35-37; 21:36; 22:40; 22:46; Acts 20:31; 1Cor.16:13; Eph.5:14; 6:18; Col.4:2; 1Thes.5:6; 1Pet.1:13; 4:7; 5:8; Rev.3:2; 16:15). In chapter twenty-five the command is given in the context of the trials of the Tribulation, and it is our Lord's conclusion to the preceding parable of the ten virgins, five of whom fall asleep and are lost – lost to the Great Apostasy which will claim one third of the true Church. Scripture is replete with examples of believers who give up at the last minute. Job was doing fine, until the last minute; Moses almost made it into the promised land; Elijah had all but accomplished his mission when he stumbled. These great men did not lose faith, but the issue in the Great Tribulation will be, for many in the true Church, just that: "when the Son of Man comes [back], will He find faith on the earth?" (Lk.18:8 NASB). How terrible to survive the Tribulation . . . almost . . . only to give up at the last minute "just because" the whole world seems to be coming apart at the seams. Under these circumstances, helping us before the fact to take the long view, to hang in there just a little long, not 100 years but maybe only a day or so or a few hours, to remember that it is always darkest just before the dawn, and not to rely on any overly precise calculation of the times but to hang until the Lord returns regardless is very needful. How might our Lord have made it any clearer that the end of trouble will be very near at that point, even while making it equally clear that the precise timing of the end is something we cannot know?

So in fact, I think the shoe is actually on the other foot. I don't use this verse to build doctrine. My task is to defuse the erroneous view that "no one knows" means "no one should try to make sense of the eschatological information in scripture". Rather than being an overly legalistic interpretation which misleads, taking our Lord's words literally here is not only correct but avoids the most common misinterpretation of them: these verses have been used repeatedly by those who are enthralled by the false doctrine of the pre-Tribulation rapture to "prove" that we can know nothing about the chronology of eschatological events so we shouldn't worry about them and that just shows that we won't be involved anyway – in spite of the fact that the Bible is filled to overflowing with information on the subject of the end times (as I hope the Coming Tribulation series at least makes clear, even if its interpretations are not entirely accepted), a very strange situation indeed if there really were no possibility of the Church taking part in those events. Our Lord's use of "day and hour" (making it clear in the context as demonstrated above that the terms are specific and not haphazardly chosen) is thus not only technically correct but, rightly applied, it heads off such confused thinking before the fact: these are very short time periods and cannot be extrapolated into months and year – about which the scripture has much to say in regard to the chronology of the end. And yet of course these misguided interpreters legalistically conclude that since no one can know the day or the hour then no one can know anything at all. But what does our Lord tell us to do in this very chapter?

"Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door."
Matthew 24:32-33 NASB

Even in the context of "not knowing the day or the hour", we are told by our Lord Jesus from this very parable in the very same context that we should not only be alert but that we should be able to tell by the signs we see around us that the end is getting very close – this is not a method that can predict the precise day or hour but it can get us close enough to "recognize that He is near, right at the door". In other words, instead of dissuading us from paying attention to the signs of the Bible gives us and the chronological information therein, the parable of the fig tree commands us to take special note of these things, even in the context of not knowing the precise day or hour.

Alertness and information go hand in hand. God helps us to be alert by telling us things. We maintain alertness by learning and believing these things and then also by applying them. Making a virtue of "not knowing" is so wrong-headed spiritually and biblically that it would seem superfluous even to mention the fact – if this interpretation had not gained so much currency of late.

The Bible means what it means. Our job is to figure out through the Spirit "what it means", and help others by sharing that truth.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 16:13 NIV

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.
2nd Timothy 3:16 NASB

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

Yours in the One who is the truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hello Doc !

Darius seems to have made a clear decree for the temple 's rebuilding (Ezra 6:1-12), Artaxerxes made another decree encouraging the willing Israelites to go with Ezra to make offerings in the finished temple 7:11-26, and later he grants Nehemia's request (2:1-10), both kings seem historically to have Lived before 450BC. How can any of these be used to calculate for Daniel 9:24-26 to arrive at 33 A.D.? In fact, Artaxerxes doesn't seem to have made a decree for rebuilding anything .

Second, what is the clear translation of Dan 9:27?

Yours in the Lord Jesus .

Response #2:

To take the questions in reverse order:

Here is my translation of Daniel 9:27 (in CT 3B):

Then he (i.e., antichrist) will confirm an agreement (or "covenant"; Hebrew, ברית, beriyth) with the powerful [in Israel] during [that] one [remaining] week (i.e., the 70th week, the Tribulation), but in the middle of the week (i.e., just prior to the Tribulation's mid-point) he will put a halt to sacrifice and offering (i.e., eliminating Moses and Elijah and interrupting the temple rites). And on account of the extreme [nature] of [his] abominations, he [will] be causing desolations (i.e., desertion and estrangement from God), even until the end when what has been determined will be poured out upon the one characterized by [this] desolation (i.e., the beast as archetype and cause of the alienation and rebellion from God which he fosters).
Daniel 9:27

As to the decrees you mention, the picture is not so simple as it is sometimes made to seem or as may appear from a quick perusal of an English translation. Here is an overview from CT 1:

Commentary on Isaiah 14:2a: "Nations will take them and bring them to their own place": This was fulfilled in the near term by Cyrus the Great's proclamation and support both of the original return of the exiles to the land under Sheshbazzar (Zerubbabel) as well as of the rebuilding of the temple (2Chron.36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-11; cf. Is.44:28; 45:1-7), by Darius' confirmation of the policy (Ezra 6:1-12), and by the support rendered to Nehemiah by Artaxerxes (Neh.2:1-9; cf. Ezra 6:13), Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, all kings of the Persian empire which was a great collection of "nations" (Ezra 1:2). However the passage finds its ultimate fulfillment in the regathering of the Jews following the Second Advent, when the nations will enthusiastically assist Israel's return to the land (Is.43:6; 49:22; 60:4; 60:8-9; 66:20).

The dates of Artaxerxes I reign are ca. 465–424 B.C. (so no conflict with the 443 B.C. provision to Nehemiah). As to your other questions, the "rebuilding" in Daniel 9:25 speaks about the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah the permission and authority to rebuild the city of Jerusalem (as opposed to the temple), which he did, starting with the wall (cf. Neh. chapters 1-6). The word translated "decree" is fine, but in Hebrew it is simply dhabhar, "word", and technically only occurs with the "halting" (not "returning" as many versions translate it). Here is a link to where I discuss the "ins and outs" of this matter in some detail. Please have a look and let me know if you have any further questions:

What are the 69 weeks?

On misunderstandings regarding "Darius", please see the link: "Chronicles (Q/A #2)".

Hope you are doing well, my friend! I keep you in my prayers day by day.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hello Doc!

Is there a purpose of splitting a sixty-two sevens period in two in v.25, or it was just an intact period of years?

Is that period coming to finish at His birth in BC 2 or at His crucifixion in AD 33? If you can see this graph attached.

The list in v.24 which Israel must finish until the seventieth seven, did it happen or these will come to show after the last seven ?

Are Israelites still keeping Moses tablets or they were destroyed in their captivities, and the ark.

Summary of world History in Daniel: Gold-Babylon, silver-medo-Persia, Bronze-Greece, and fourth Iron -(Rome?) which can later divide into 10, then a stone-Christ comes.

Clearly ,the three kingdoms on earth are past ,and there's no Roman Emperor today in the fourth last kingdom which means it's already divided . My question is, what are these divisions today and are they the ones which will agree to war against Israel from which he will delivered by the Lord?

Yours in our Lord Jesus – thank you for your prayers.

Response #3:

Good to hear back from you. As to your questions, the purpose for splitting the weeks is to delineate the smaller periods. The 70th week is the Tribulation. As to 7 / 62, here is how I explain this parenthetically in my translation of the key verse: ". . . until Messiah the prince there will be seven weeks (i.e., between the decree and the rebuilding) and sixty-two weeks (i.e., between the rebuilding and the birth of Christ in ca. 2 B.C.). So as you can see the end point is the birth of Christ. The period of His earthly life, being "the conjunction of the ages" (Heb.9:26), is not counted against any of the millennial days. The Tribulation, the last or 70th week, will not occur until the end of the Church Age, being its last seven years in conjunction with Israel's last seven years, a joint period wherein the Church is purified (by the Great Apostasy and the Great Persecution) and Israel comes back into her role of primacy in God's plan. The ark seems to have been lost forever. It will not be remade nor "come to mind" once the Messiah takes up His rule at the end of the Tribulation (Jer.3:16). Finally, yes, "iron" is Rome, both historical Rome (long since passed into history) but also revived Rome, the empire of antichrist, which will be reestablished in the early days of the Tribulation (please see the link for discussion).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Good day Dr. Luginbill,

There are many references in the book of Daniel and Revelation about the reign of the antichrist to be around 1260 days or 42 months or 3.5 years and I recently came across a documentary which states that the word day in Biblical prophecy is symbolic for a year of actual time. The Bible references used are:

Numbers 14:34. The Israelites will wander for 40 years in the wilderness, one year for every day spent by the spies in Canaan.

Ezekiel 4:5-6. The prophet Ezekiel is commanded to lie on his left side for 390 days, followed by his right side for 40 days, to symbolize the equivalent number of years of punishment on Israel and Judah respectively.

Would you be able to clarify if the Bible actually means it as 1260 years or 1260 days?

Thank you.

Response #4:

Good to make your acquaintance. It is true that sometimes a "day" in prophecy is meant to symbolize other periods of time, sometimes a year, sometimes a thousand years (2Pet.3:8). The most important and most clear case of this in terms of the Tribulation is Daniel's seventy weeks wherein every day symbolizes a year.

(24) Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to complete the rebellion and consummate sins (i.e., to bring apostasy to the full), to atone for iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness (i.e., the saving work of Christ), and to seal up vision and prophecy and anoint the holy of holies (i.e., the coming of the Kingdom). (25) So know and understand that from the issuing of a decree to desist [from rebuilding Jerusalem] (in ca. 485 B.C.: Ezra 4:6-23), and for the rebuilding of Jerusalem (decreed forty-two years later in ca. 443 B.C.: cf. Ezra 7:11-28; Neh. chap.1-6; taking a further seven years to fulfill) until Messiah the prince there will be seven weeks (i.e., between the decree and the rebuilding) and sixty-two weeks (i.e., between the rebuilding and the birth of Christ in ca. 2 B.C.). [Jerusalem] will be repopulated and rebuilt with streets (i.e., residential reconstruction) and fortifications (i.e., military reconstruction) [and will remain so] even during difficult times (e.g., the occupation of Antiochus Epiphanes). (26) And after the sixty two weeks, Messiah will be cut off and have nothing (cf. Is.53:8), and the people of the prince who is coming (i.e., antichrist) will destroy both the city and the holy place. And his end will come with a flood (i.e., the "flooding away" of his armies at Armageddon; cf. the same Hebrew word, שטף, sheteph, , in Dan.11:22; Nah.1:8), and until that end there will be wars – [appalling] devastation has been decreed. (27) Then he (i.e., antichrist) will confirm an agreement (or "covenant"; Hebrew, ברית, beriyth) with the powerful [in Israel] during [that] one [remaining] week (i.e., the 70th week, the Tribulation), but in the middle of the week (i.e., just prior to the Tribulation's mid-point) he will put a halt to sacrifice and offering (i.e., eliminating Moses and Elijah and interrupting the temple rites). And on account of the extreme [nature] of [his] abominations, he [will] be causing desolations (i.e., desertion and estrangement from God), even until the end when what has been determined will be poured out upon the one characterized by [this] desolation (i.e., the beast as archetype and cause of the alienation and rebellion from God which he fosters).
Daniel 9:24-27

The "week" which constitutes the putative length of the treaty between antichrist and Israel is abrogated by the beast "in the middle of the week", and that event begins the Great Tribulation or second half of the seven year tribulational period. The length of this period is described in various places:

In Daniel 7:25, the saints of the Most High (i.e., believers) are said to be handed over into the power of the little horn (i.e., antichrist and the Great Persecution) for "a time, times, and half a time", a biblical way of expressing the three and one half years of the Great Tribulation.

In Daniel 9:26, "the people of the prince which is to come" (i.e., antichrist as the ruler of revived Rome) will make a treaty during the last "seven" and break it in the middle of the "seven", that is, during middle of the seven years at the outset of the Great Tribulation.

In Daniel 12:7, the angel speaking with Daniel declares that it will be "a time, times, and half a time" before the persecutions stop and everything comes to an end, that is, the Great Tribulation will last three and one half years.

In Revelation 11:2, the gentiles (i.e., the army of antichrist) will afflict Jerusalem for 42 months, that is, during the entire three and a half year period of the Great Tribulation (albeit under varying circumstances).

In Revelation 12:6, the woman Israel is said to be protected for 1,260 days, that is, during the whole 42 months of the Great Tribulation (expressed in standard 30 day months).

In Revelation 12:14, the woman Israel is said to be protected for a time, times, and half a time, that is, during this same period of the Great Tribulation's three and a half years.

In Revelation 13:5, the unbridled reign of antichrist is said to last for 42 months, that is, for the duration of the Great Tribulation.

In all of these examples it is clear that we are dealing with a much shorter period than an entire millennium plus. So I think from the standpoint of the most straightforward understanding of scripture on these matters the 1,260 days should be taken as literal days; from the other point of view, I can't think of anything in scripture which would suggest that the Tribulation lasts longer than a few years, much longer in this case than the lifetimes of the all the participants who would initially enter into it. Here are some other links that may be helpful in this respect:

The Reign of Antichrist: 7 years or 3 and 1/2 years?

The Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord II

The Day of the Lord Paradigm (in CT 1)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #5:

Dear Mr. Luginbill,

I am very grateful for your prompt and detailed reply. My question arises after viewing the documentary available in the link below. I may have misunderstood it but if you have the time, I would appreciate it if you could take a look at it as well. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Please do let me know should you have any further explanations on the same.

Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to explain it to me and I look forward to your reply should you get the time to view the video.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCcwb1iUZI0

Many thanks and regards,

Response #5:

I didn't have time to view the entire video, but from what I did see, I can tell you that it is very common for exegetes, good and bad, to see everything in the book of Revelation as already having been historically fulfilled (see the link). However, for those actually intersecting with the text, that is a problem. That is because Revelation chapters two and three give the overview of the Church Age eras (we are in Laodicea which is fairly obvious in my opinion), but Revelation 4:1 immediately following the historical overview has this: "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this". And what is shown to John as prophesied to happen "after this" (i.e., after the Church Age) are the events of the Tribulation culminating in the second advent (chapter 19), followed by the millennium and the eternal state (chapters 20-21). This makes it impossible to put chapters five and following into the Church Age since Revelation is essentially a chronological account of the Tribulation. I would add what I said before that while Daniel does talk about empires, the Rome of the Tribulation is the revived Roman state (as Revelation tells us), Babylon is the super-state which dominates her, and this revival / domination does not take place until the Tribulation begins.

Seventh Day Adventists (the source of this video) have all manner of incorrect teachings. They have a particular antipathy to Rome / Roman Catholicism, and in this instance that bias has colored their eschatological view, basing it on wishing to see Rome as Babylon and the medieval Roman church as fulfilling much of the book of Revelation (they are not alone in this; Lutheranism and many of its off-shoots hold similar views, among others). One thing that clearly obviates this as possible is that in Revelation Rome and Babylon are clearly not the same entity: Babylon rides the beast (Rome), after all.

I am certainly no apologist for the Roman Catholic church (as anyone who reads Ichthys regularly knows), and no adherent of the papacy; however, Rome is not Babylon and the pope is not the antichrist. There is really nothing in scripture to suggest these false conclusions (which are wishful thinking at best) and they are very dangerous false conclusions too at this point in history – because they may lead to spiritual myopia so as to cause those who believe them to miss the real Babylon and the real antichrist.

As I often remark, in my opinion the Coming Tribulation series presents an interpretation which is greater than the sum of its parts; that is because any comprehensive interpretation which really does hold together and explain all major prophecy about the end times in a manner wherein the data all "fit" should be given serious consideration on that basis alone. Still and all, I am also happy to defend individual parts of the whole inasmuch as believers are well-served by a skeptical attitude – at least until they have verified sufficiently that the information they are being given is solid, orthodox and reliable.

Best wishes for your spiritual growth in the truth of Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Many thanks for your reply. You have indeed shed a lot of light on this matter and I am also inclined to study your study on the Coming Tribulation. I am currently reading the Satanic Rebellion and I am in awe of the effort you have put in to come up with this study. I can positively say that I am thoroughly blessed by it. I believe that God is working through you, to give insight on untouched matters, to the world. May The Lord continue to bless you with more revelations so that we too could benefit from it.

Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to send me a detailed reply. Such help is seldom found these days. I am convinced that I can come back to you with more questions and that you would generously answer.

Yours in Jesus Christ.

Response #6:

You are most welcome.

Do feel free to write back with questions.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Happy Belated 238th

http://emethbiblestudies.org/Guestbook.php

I did this article in the Archive In The Defense of the Biblical Chronology about a week ago. I would love to hear if you believe it is creditable and makes sense.

Response #7:

Good to hear from you as always, my friend. This is nice work and seems reasonable to me. Chronology may be the "eye of history" but it always gives me a bit of a headache. In Classics I have learned that there are always ins and outs that are not readily apparent to those who do not deal with the issues involved on a regular basis (and chronology also involves numbers, not my strong point).

On the significance of the 483 years (i.e., the 62 "sevens" plus the 7 "sevens"), I take this to refer to the time between the order to desist of Ezra 4:6ff (ca. 485) and the birth of Christ (ca. 2 B.C.), as I think I have shared with you before (here's the link to the discussion: "What are the 69 weeks?").

Happy B-Day, Marine!

Bob L.

Question #8:

Here is your quote: "from the issuing of a decree to desist, and [THE separate DECREE] for the rebuilding"). As I say, this is not at all necessary and the interpretation does not in any way hang on doing so. The language can be taken either way, but the traditional way does not make any sense, whereas the solution suggested above is the only way I know of to explain how this phrase could reflect and mirror the split between 7 and 62"

Something to chew on: Hiphil can mean to hold back, true enough; but if I can loosely plagiarize a biblical chronologist: the true point for the departure point for the 70 weeks is indubitably Year One of Cyrus and His decree for the return [which is most ordinarily the way to take that hiphil, wouldn't you agree] and the rebuilding of Jerusalem; and no other epoch decree would even have been suggested except for the fact of the count of years was lost, and attempted to be restored from Ptolemy's conjectural lunar calculations [which by the way is the basis for the "strange lunar mechanics of the sort often employed to make these number seem meaningful"]

by Sir Robert or John Whathisface...wouldn't you agree?

Response #8:

I don't even understand this (perhaps because it is only a partial suggestion). On the other hand, I understand my own (comprehensive) interpretation just fine and it makes entire sense to me. It also has the advantage of squaring perfectly with all matters in eschatology. Worrying about lunar calendars and lost data and forced meanings for verbs otherwise not paralleled in scripture would be problematic enough . . . even if it didn't run afoul of the biblical eschatological scheme (which it does). Daniel splits the weeks into two sections . . . for some reason or another. Pretending he doesn't or it doesn't matter is a mistake. Likewise, the passage splits up the two actions . . . for some reason or another. Pretending it doesn't or it doesn't matter is a mistake. It could be a coincidence that the two dove-tail. But unless an alternative is advanced that also would match the biblical eschatological map, I'm not likely to change my interpretation (which, for what it's worth, is one of which I am firmly convinced).

Here's a few more links where these matters are discussed:

Daniel 9:24-27 (in CT 3B)

The Jewish Rebellion

62 versus 7

Daniel's 70th week

Bob L.

Question #9:

My friend, I'm with you on the eschatology. The 69 are split with the 70th week to come because that's the simple plain ordinary meaning of the words of the passage. So, why would you need to do a contortion out of context on that hiphil and make it "desist" when in the context of a decree for the Jewish people to "return" with all the overwhelming related passages pointing to the "return" at the decree of Cyrus including the exact wording and hiphil in Jere. 29:10: "For thus saith Jehovah, After seventy years [605-536 BC] are accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, to cause the return of you to this place" ?

Response #9:

I don't see any problem with the verb or its interpretation as presented since "return" means come back or go back from something; the only question is from what. I take it to mean return (i.e., "desist") from the original decree to rebuild the temple.

The Jeremiah parallel is a good one, but not a perfect one. The Lord is the subject of that the verbal action there, whereas it is the decree (or better, in my view, decrees) which are the subjects of the infinitives at Daniel 9:25. Also, there is no rebuilding in Jeremiah 29:10. So why "to rebuild"? There is a split, namely, two verbal actions, and these parallel the split between the seven and the sixty-two weeks (and explain why they are split). Also, in the decree of Cyrus in Ezra chapter one we do not find the language "to return", no doubt since from the Persian perspective it is a departure from Persia. The decree actually says "let him go up to Jerusalem", which is standard lingo for going to Jerusalem under any circumstances.

I think I understand your objections and I will mull this over. However, if the traditional interpretation is accepted, I'm not sure what you would do with the application. Subtracting sixty-nine weeks of years from ca. 536 we get ca. 53 B.C.; whereas "the Anointed One" does not come on the scene until approximately fifty years later (2 B.C. in my view). That's part of what I mean about the eschatology. Also, how would you then explain 1) the two infinitives, and, more importantly 2) the split between 7 and 62 weeks?

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Two things

1. Discussing with pastor from where Cephas is derived, he said, Arabic...I thought, what? He explains..."Arabic of today is a descendent of Aramaic in the days of Jesus"

Bob, where does that come from? Anyway, I can't find Kepa in any of the Aramaic passages of the Bible. Without spending anytime at all on it, do you know of any extant Chaldean writings that use kepa for stone or rock?

2. The pastor also said, "Eusebius says Matthew originally written in Hebrew and then translated to Greek"...have you ever heard of that....I reject that as heresy out of hand. Anyway, not happy with Eusebius anyway for handing down Ptolemy's chronology, but that's just me.

What thinkest thou...amongst the other thousand things you have to do today, my good friend?

Response #10:

Good to hear from you.

Arabic does not come from Aramaic. They are both Semitic languages and Arabic has borrowings of vocabulary et al. from Aramaic (it was the lingua franca of its day), but they are separate languages. Comparing vocabulary between Semitic languages is a dicey business, as for example when people postulate meanings of Biblical Hebrew words from Arabic parallels. In my experience, it may be enjoyable to do but it is of little analytical value and very dangerous to rely on too – at best it can be used to illustrate (but one context is worth a thousand inter-lingual parallels).

The Targums (i.e., Prov.17:8; Is.32:2) and Rabbinic literature do use ceypha' (כיפא) for rock/stone (= petros), but not for "massive rocky crag" (= petra, as in "on this petra I shall build My church").

As for Eusebius, he was a historian, and this statement about Matthew's gospel is not his. Rather he reports what he has read in Papias – a man who also did not even meet any of the apostles personally but apparently collected traditions about them from various and sundry oral sources (here is a link to the key passage in an English translation: Documenta Catholica Omnia. What little Eusebius has to say about Papias would be more than enough to take these fourth hand reports with at least a grain of salt. Also, it is not actually all that clear that this is what he meant (whether Eusebius has garbled him in transmission or misunderstood or whatever; please see this link for a place where I discuss this all in some detail: "Did Matthew Write his Gospel in Hebrew?"). Finally, since Papias is reported to have learned from others that "Matthew wrote the oracles in Hebrew and each translated them as he was able", it is worth asking why if this were so we only have one version of Matthew? Surely, if there were multiple attempts to translate his "oracles" into a Greek format, we would have shreds of these various attempts in the papyri et al. (cf. the LXX and the trifaria varietas of its major ancient alternatives). For even if two like-minded people sit down to translate the same text into another language, their results will be radically different. Simply put, there is no evidence whatsoever that any such thing happened, whereas we actually do have the gospel of Matthew in an uncontested text found in the earliest mss. and papyrological discoveries.

Hope you and the family are doing well!

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

Can you shed some insight on this, topic?

What language did Adam & Eve speak in the garden? What language did 'the serpent' speak to Eve? What language did Adam & Even speak, after being cast out of the garden? What language or predominate 'tongue' was spoken on the earth before the flood of Noah?

Not withstanding 'all the power' Adam had in the garden, one might consider telekinesis 'pure thought' but what are your thoughts on this:

The word psychokinesis is from the Greek language ψυχή, "psyche", meaning mind, soul, spirit, heart, or breath; and κίνησις, "kinesis", meaning motion, movement.[1][2] The term telekinesis was coined in 1890 by Russian psychical researcher Alexander N. Aksakof.[19][20] The term psychokinesis was coined in 1914[21] by American author Henry Holt in his book On the Cosmic Relations[22][23] and was adopted by American parapsychologist J. B. Rhine in 1934 in connection with experiments that were conducted to determine if a person could influence the outcome of falling dice.[7][24] Both concepts have also been described as "distant influencing",[25] "distant mental influence",[26] "anomalous perturbation",[27] "mind over matter",[28] and "recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis".[29][30] Originally, telekinesis was coined to refer to the movement of objects thought to be caused by ghosts of deceased persons, mischievous spirits, angels, demons, or other supernatural forces

Response #11:

We say with authority that Adam and Eve spoke a human language as we all do (there is no such thing as mental communication, by whatever fancy name, even Greek derived), that the serpent spoke to Eve in this same language, and that Adam and Eve spoke that same language – along with all their progeny – after being expelled from Eden. Further, we can also say that everyone in the world continued to speak that same language until God supernaturally "confused" human speech by causing it to mutate at the tower of Babel (Gen.11:1-9). This He did to prevent another "Nimrod-Babel" incident by making any "one world" government impossible (through nationalism brought on by linguistic divergence), so that human freedom and the right to choose for the Lord would not be undermined (see the link) – until the Tribulation when antichrist will enslave the entire world (no doubt with the help of technological means hitherto unavailable).

As to what language this was that everyone spoke before the tower of Babel, no one can say with certainty because the Bible does not tell us. My old Hebrew professor was certain that it was Hebrew, and that is the only credible guess if we are to pick from languages known today. That is not only because of the prominence of the line of Shem and later of Abraham, but also because the language of the Old Testament is Hebrew, and because the official language of the Millennium will be Hebrew. Further, the Lord says at Zephaniah 3:9 that He will give the Jewish people of that time a "purified lip", meaning that all those who are restored to the land will speak Hebrew (as will other locales as well: Is.19:18).

Please see the link: "The Official Language of the Millennium".

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior – in whatever language.

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob,

Why does Jeremiah 10:11 use אֱלָהַיָּא instead of אלהים?

Sincerely,

Response #12:

This verse, Jeremiah 10:11, a quote from the Lord, is in Aramaic (the only such entire verse to be in Aramaic in the OT outside of Ezra and Daniel – there is a place name in Aramaic in Genesis). Why is the verse in Aramaic? Our Lord had said beginning in v.2 "Do not learn the way of the Gentiles . . .". But since Israel was adopting gentile ways, pagan ways, the Lord addresses them here in a gentile language, a sure indication of their low spiritual state (cf. Is.28:11ff.), but gracious nonetheless. This use of Aramaic should have been a warning to the people that they were becoming gentiles in the Lord's eyes (because of lack of faith; cf. Rom.4:16; 9:6). And not only that: they were soon to be removed to Babylon for their idolatrous infidelity to the Lord where they would indeed be reduced to speaking this very "language of the gentiles" instead of their native Hebrew (Ezra and Daniel are mixed in language to produce the same essential symbolism).

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hello Bob,

Bob, these verses (2 Samuel 1:9 and 1 Chronicles 10:5) seem to contradict on another. Can you explain?

How is everything going, my friend, since I last talked to you? You have been and always are in my prayers, that the Lord God would meet your needs in the name of our precious Lord Jesus.

Your friend

Response #13:

The 1st Chronicles passage gives the facts. The 2nd Samuel passage is a verbal report coming not from the armor-bearer but from an Amalekite who must have happened on the scene shortly after Saul and his man had killed themselves, then absconded with the emblems of kingship. He sought David out and told this lie because he thought he would be highly rewarded by David (for bringing him good news and for having killed his mortal enemy). Little did this godless person know that David was a righteous man – how little that unbeliever understood about grace, mercy, and goodness. Instead of reward, he only brought on his own death through this "harmless" lie.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

The ESV has footnotes for "that they may flee to it from the bow" with the alternative reading "that it may be displayed because of truth." Can you give an explanation for this alleged discontinuity?

Also, for what reason is Psalm 108 so similar to Psalm 60 and Psalm 57? A pastor friend pointed this out for me, whom I also told about you later in the day. He said he would like to meet you. Would you be open to this?

Sincerely,

Response #14:

In Psalm 60:4, the word קֹשְׁטְ greatly resembles the word קֹשֶׁט of Proverbs 22:21. KJV (followed by NKJV) wishes to see the former as an Aramaic version of the word for truth (based upon Prov.22:21). Most, however, understand this as an Aramaic synonym of the Hebrew word for "bow" (קֶשֶׁת). That fits the context in my view, so I do not see a need to assimilate to the alternative word here ("truth") based on the Proverbs parallel.

As to similarities in the Psalms, as with parallels in the Prophets, and the historical books, and, of course, the gospels, all such repetitions are for our benefit.

As to your last question, anything can happen in this life. I'm not long on time, however, and there is also this: "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing" (2Cor.10:10 NIV).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Dr. Robert Luginbill

I find your interpretation of Acts 20:28 persuasive, that the correct reading is church of God which he [Jesus] purchased with his own blood. Some scholars (e.g. Abbot, Ehrman) prefer church of the Lord, but this smooths out the harder reading and does not explain the other readings. Other scholars (e.g. Metzger) prefer church of God but add Son after his own for amplification. I do not find the supporting verses outside Acts persuasive, and if we perform a lexical analysis of idiou on Luke-Acts alone we will find that dia tou haimatous tou idiou should be translated as with his own blood and not with the blood of his own [Son].

Other scholars (e.g. Lamsa) prefer church of Christ. This is the reading that is supported by the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ in English, a religious group founded by Felix Manalo in the Philippines in 1914). Their basis is the George Lamsa translation which is based on Syriac manuscripts. The Lamsa Bible is based on the assumption that the original language of Jesus and his apostles is Aramaic therefore the NT must be originally written in Aramaic. I disagree on this because Paul wrote in Greek to the churches in Greece and Asia and the Gospels were written in Greek in their canonical form (only some of its sources were in Aramaic). Also, not all Syriac manuscripts read church of Christ, some of them, of the same age and quality, read church of God. Finally, Syriac is based on Greek manuscripts, not the other way around.

In my opinion the blood pertains to Jesus because he is the subject of v.24-28 and not God. God is always in genitive (e.g. grace of God, kingdom of God [KJV], counsel of God, church of God). This is consistent with Paul's letters. Therefore this is not a textual nor a translation issue after all but an interpretative one. I would like to ask if you can provide me a list of scholars who support your interpretation as I struggle of finding one. I will greatly appreciate it as I am currently writing a thesis on the fallacies of Iglesia ni Cristo. This is just one of the verses that they have distorted.

Yours sincerely

South Africa

Response #15:

Good to make your acquaintance. Thanks much for your good words and also for your good and solid work for the Lord. I certainly agree with your correct analysis of Greek being the original language of the New Testament and the Syriac being based on the Greek – there is no serious scholarly question about it.

As to your question about a list, this is a teaching ministry and not so much concerned with scholarly consensus. Having seen the foibles of that approach ever since seminary (and dealing with it every day in my own secular scholarly work), when it comes to the truth of the Word of God, my own preference is to determine the truth through the Spirit and the tools/skills given to me to develop, then let the chips fall where they may. That is certainly not to say that I never consult the work of others; only that the tendency to allow scholarly consensus (which tends to have a heavy secular coloring even in New and Old Testament studies) to have the last word is often a mistaken one. On this issue in particular, I note that my tack is the one also taken by Nestle-Aland and also most English versions (KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV, RSV). So while there are some exceptions (e.g., ASV), it is not to much to notice that any translation which prefers "church of the Lord" is outside of the mainstream and must be defended (rather than the other way around). This (i.e., tou theou) is the reading of Sinaiticus too (for which ms. I have the greatest respect). You might find the critical note in the English edition to Meyer's critical commentary on Acts helpful (page 396; see the link).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #16:

Lambdin says that Masoretes are wrong in their view to take what he calls Qal Passive forms as Pual or Hophal – he speaks of asymmetry. What is your take on this? Wouldn't they have a good enough understanding of their native speech to come up with the right grammatical concepts?

Response #16:

The Masoretes were opining about Hebrew long after it had ceased to be a living language (with some few exceptions); they mostly wrote and spoke in Aramaic which, while similar to Biblical Hebrew, is a different language. By "asymmetry", I believe what Lamdin means is that one would expect pual to be passive intensive (corresponding to piel) and hophal to be passive causative (corresponding to hiphil) but for these two verbs (laqach and nathan), the passives are merely passives of the base meaning in the qal – this in my view is the strongest argument. Not that it matters. Grammar is descriptive of language, not determinative. We know what these forms mean, and they mean what they mean regardless of what kind of grammatical tag we wish to place upon them. How we wish to classify them does not change their meaning since all grammatical categories are to some extent arbitrary and merely helps to understand what is actually taking place in a language.

Question #17:

On 1 Samuel 3:13, Lambdin says that RSV's "were blaspheming God" accepts lahem as a pious correction for an original Elohim – what does he mean by this?

Response #17:

RSV is not alone in reading elohiym in place of lahem in this passage on the basis of a special note in the masorah (the "footnotes", so to speak, to the Hebrew text) called a Tiqqune sopherim, or "correction of the scribes". The word "God" appears in the margin with the tiq soph label. There are eighteen or so of these in the OT, but the theory that they all represent "emendations of modesty" is not supported by any particular evidence. I would prefer to see all of these as alternative readings of some antiquity. As it is, the lahem with the piel of qalal yields a good sense: "were making themselves vile" or "bringing a curse on themselves"; whereas we should also expect ‘eth the direct object marker if elohiym were correct. So I would not take the tiq soph as necessarily the correct original reading in every (or any) case necessarily, nor would I ascribe to traditional theory behind the notation.

Question #18:

Hello,

I was told that 1st and 2nd Chronicles were the last 2 books to be written in the old testament.

Can you explain?

Thank you!

Response #18:

Good to make your acquaintance. Chronicles (one book only in the Hebrew; only divided into two parts in the Latin tradition which influenced the English Bible), is definitely pre-exilic. So it is much earlier in terms of time of composition than the last three books of the English Old Testament, and also later than Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, all of which were written after the Babylonian captivity, unlike Chronicles which preceded it.

What you probably heard (or what the person who said this probably heard) is that Chronicles is the last book of the Bible in the original Hebrew by position, not by chronology (i.e., it comes last in the order in the organization of the Hebrew Bible but was not written last). The Hebrew Bible is organized somewhat differently than our English Bible, with all of the "prophets" (including Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi which come at the end of our Bible) in one place after the Torah (the first five books); the last set of books is called "the writings" (kethubhim), and Chronicles is the last book in that set (again, by position, not time of writing). Here is a link to a posting where I organize the Bible's books by their likely time of writing:

Chronological Order of the Books of the Bible: Part 2

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #19:

Hi Bob,

I have a few questions regarding the compilation of the Old Testament. While I could go to third-party sources, I don't trust them, so I've decided to ask you.

(1) Who wrote the pre-kingdom post-Moses history books of the Old Testament? (That is, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth)

(2) What role did Ezra play in the compilation of the books of the Old Testament after the Babylonian exile?

Sincerely,

Response #19:

Scripture doesn't say, so we can only speculate about what prophet God chose to write otherwise anonymous books (but those stipulations in and of themselves limit the field significantly).

Best guess for Joshua and Judges: Samuel. For Ruth: Solomon. On the historical books of and after the exile, it is probable that Ezra was the prophet God chose to write and arrange them (based in part upon the prominence given him in scripture as a "scribe" et al.).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Job is not in early part of your chronological list. The two lists (time frames) one after the other is sort of confusing. I need to go to BLB, select NASB, and have fun there (A spiral-bound Bible be such a joy to read.)

Thank you for your time.

Response #20:

Good to make your acquaintance.

The book of Job is indeed listed in the chronological layout to which you refer. It's listed in the third group:

1000 - 586 B.C. (pre-exile - mid-exile):

Period of David and Solomon (ca. 1000 - 931)

Psalms #19
Ruth #8
1st Samuel #9
2nd Samuel #10
Job #18
Proverbs #20
Ecclesiastes #21
Song of Solomon #22

The numbers given are the order in the traditional English Bible; the order in the list represents the order in which the books were actually written in terms of date of composition (see the intro at Chronological Order I link, and also the discussion in Chronological Order II).

I'm sorry that you find this layout confusing. Really, there is no way to avoid some confusion when attempting to organize the books of the Bible in this way (which is no doubt why they have come down to us in the traditional way instead). Having a general idea of when the books were written is helpful, but as the list and discussion make clear, some of this is guess work (the book of Job is a good example of that). See the links for further discussion:

The book of Job and biblical Interpretation

The Book of Job and Christian Suffering

Best wishes for your continued spiritual advance in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob Luginbill

Question #21:

Robert,

Can you provide me a good resource for additional studies on the major prophets? After reading your CT, which I am not thru yet, I would like some individual studies on these books of the bible:

1) Daniel

2) Ezekeial

3) Isaiah

4) Jeremiah

5) Zechariah

I really appreciate your help.

God bless.

Response #21:

The best places to look for information about Old Testament books generally are: 1) Bible Dictionaries / Handbooks; 2) Bible Encyclopedias; 3) Old (New) Testament introductions. On point one, Smith's and also Unger's are very good. On point two, the ISBE is very good (available online for free). Finally, on point three, here is a link to the best introductions: Recommended Surveys of the Old and New Testaments.

In my experience, most commentaries will also say what needs to be said about such issues; however, one has to be even more careful with commentaries on individual books because personal bias against the inerrant nature of scripture comes out more clearly in these more focused works by single authors. In any case, the materials referenced above are good, scholarly works – but I certainly cannot endorse everything they may say (far from it).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob

I hope this finds you well. This might well be an odd question but perhaps you can give an opinion. On the assumption that the Old Testament looks forward to the New and the promise of Christ which it reveals for us, why do you think that God chose to go through the many stages or periods of dealing with the chosen people and the agony it represents? Why do we need the Old Testament? Why not simply have sent His Son early on and have it done with? I have a sneaking suspicion that Satan’s overall defense and his continued attack on the human race concerning Gods righteous judgment on him and his kind may have made the long history of Gods dealings with man necessary.

What do you think?

Response #22:

Praise God we do have the Old Testament!

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NKJV

The Old Testament (along with the period in which it took place) gives us, among other things, wonderful narratives of great believers and how they negotiated this world to the glory of God, a great cloud of witnesses, as Hebrews chapter eleven tells us, whereby we are inspired to do likewise in honor of our Lord Jesus Christ. We wouldn't have these without the Old Testament and it times, and we wouldn't have the information about the context of their lives of faith without the rest of the text either; and we wouldn't have a clue about the historical and religious context into which our Savior came without the OT either. In short, there are dozens of ways right off-hand I can see where our understanding of the New Testament and our entire faith would be complicated by the lack of the Old. The New explains the Old but only is completely understandable itself in the context of the Old.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33 NIV

The wisdom of God has done everything in the exact, perfect way; we behold imperfection in this world, and that is the result of sin, but without allowing imperfection, there would be no genuine free will and we could not be who we are – which is exactly who we wanted to be in God's perfect plan. In that perfect respect even the imperfections and things hard to understand are in fact reflections of the plan of God, absolutely perfect in every single respect.

He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."
Matthew 13:52 NIV

On the reasons behind the different eras and chronological periods of the Plan of God as a whole, please see the link in SR 5, "The Plan of God in Human History".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Dear Professor,

I have finished Lambdin's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew today. Let me know what is the next step I should take with the Hebrew.

In our Lord,

Response #23:

That's wonderful! There are a variety of approaches, but the "classical" model is to read the Bible in Hebrew systematically once the basics have been mastered. This is the time to get comfortable with reading and in using lexicons, grammars and commentaries. Brown, Driver, Briggs (BDB) is the best of the former (the online version does not have the additional notes done when the book was reprinted in the '50's, but that amounts to only five pages of often not overly helpful pages of addenda added to the rear and marked for entries in the text). In terms of grammars, I get the most help from Gesenius Hebrew Grammar (see the link). I would recommend doing this reading in conjunction with a good exegetical commentary for each book tackled. In addition to Keil and Delitzsch which covers that whole Bible, though not in equal quality (see the link), Dr. Samuel Rolles Driver's works are excellent insofar as language issues are concerned (although theologically and in terms of respect for the text one would need to take his suggestions with a grain of salt; for that reason the intros are also not always worth the extensive time it would take to get through them); here is a link to a page at the Internet Archive where most of his major commentaries may be found in PDF format: Driver. Beyond these, book-specific commentaries (as well as other lexicons and grammars) may offer help for individual questions. Now is the time to immerse yourself in the daily verse by verse read-through that will build your Hebrew abilities.

Nice going, my friend. There aren't many people in this world who could have pulled it off all on their own as you did.

Your friend in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Dear Professor,

Thank you for your encouragement and guidance. Your ministry inspired me to undertake the study and your continuous support is invaluable. I looked at these books online and they look serious. I'm looking forward to starting. It seems that only the Pentateuch is available under the Keil and Delitzsch link you provided - do you know if it's possible to access all of it online?

I'm thinking about purchasing hard copies, as making notes is then easier, but I wanted to find out what works best for you - do you use the documents from links or is a hard copy more usable?

In our Lord,

Response #24:

In my own experience, lexicons, grammars, and related "hard reference" books have been very valuable to have in print form. However, most of the commentaries and related materials I bought years ago are just taking up space on the shelves. I would recommend getting a hard-copy of the BDB lexicon and also of the Gesenius' grammar. K&D and other commentaries are things likely to be only sporadically consulted. It's nice to have them on the desk but not necessary with the advent of the internet. Plenty of newer stuff still under copyright is not available that way, but then, as I have remarked in the past, very little has been produced since WWII that is worth the money or the effort to procure. The Internet Archive does have all the K&D volumes (I believe), but they are a little hard to find and a bit difficult to access and use (even though they can be downloaded in PDF format). Here are two places where that set of commentaries has been handily broken down into books and chapters for easy reference:

K&D at Studylight

K&D at Sacred Texts

Looking forward to following your career in service to the Lord.

Your friend in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #25:

I am seeking a chronological explanation of old testament by the events that occur. Not by dates the books were written, but by when each event occurred. By example the books of Nehemiah and Ezra and the prophet Haggai occur together in time.

Is there such a listing?

Thank you for your help

Response #25:

Good to make your acquaintance. If seems what you are looking for is either an Old Testament history or what is generally called an "Old Testament Introduction" (these are usually technical works which discuss matters of dating and provenance). Here are a couple of links that give bibliography for the best such conservative (theologically speaking) works of which I know:

Recommended Surveys of the Old and New Testaments

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations (*see Q and A #6)

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #26:

Hello Dr Luginbill

Just had a few questions. I read on your site that you read the Bible in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Where would I be able to get such Bibles and would you be able to recommend any for me? Also, what are your thoughts on the Geneva Bible and their notes?

Thanks as always

Response #26:

Hello Friend,

All scholarly editions of the Hebrew Old Testament will have Aramaic in the Aramaic portions of the OT (mostly in Ezra and Daniel), so you would need only two books to cover the original languages in terms of text: a Hebrew OT and a Greek NT.

Here is a link to the online store maintained by the American Bible society, specifically to the page where the best of these Bibles are for sale (though you may find more reasonable prices elsewhere):

Bibles.com Academic Resources (http://www.bibles.com/academic.html)

My personal recommendation for the Hebrew is the Biblica Hebraica Stugartensia.

For the Greek, I would recommend the UBS GNT with glossary.

Pretty much any Hebrew Bible you find will be indistinguishable from any other. There are minor differences in Greek NT's, but anyone using these for scholarship will be aware of differences in the text through use of the critical apparatus.

As to the Geneva Bible, the KJV used it heavily just as it used Tyndale heavily. All translations have their strengths and weaknesses. KJV "modernized" the language of its predecessors, so Geneva is an even harder read than the KJV (though less so than Tyndale) – merely because of the date of the translations. That is certainly true in terms of spelling if nothing else. I can't speak to the notes in general (but would be happy to comment on any particular note you had in mind).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Sirs,

I was looking for a chronological bible reading order order & found this in your web site:

1440 - 1400 B.C.

Genesis #1

Exodus #2

Leviticus #3

Numbers #4

Deuteronomy #5

Genesis the book of beginnings starts about 4000BC with God's creation! The 1st 5 books of the bible, the Torah, certainly lasted for more than 40 years!

Please explain the chronology.

In Jesus,

Response #27:

Good to make your acquaintance. You are right . . . about Genesis. In fact, the first book of the Bible goes back well before 4,000 years, since the first verse details original creation which took place eons before the re-creation of the earth during the seven days or renewal (on this side of the Genesis gap; see the link).

However, you seem to have misunderstood the list and the reason for it. This list to which you refer is a listing of the books of the Bible in the order in which they were written, along with the approximate dates of when of that writing (i.e., of the books themselves) under the inspiration of the Spirit – as best as these can be discovered from the evidence (irrespective of when the events they describe took place). Moses wrote in Genesis about the entire pre-history of the world, but that all took place long before Moses was even born (obviously). So "1440 to 1400 B.C." refers to the time frame within which Moses, as a prophet, penned the actual first five books of the Bible, not to when the events that preceded him and his generation took place.

For reasons discussed in this and related articles found at the site, it would be a matter of some guesswork either to 1) construct a Bible where the books are arranged in the order in which they were written by their human authors under divine inspiration, or 2), something even more difficult, to arrange passages in the Bible according to the time they discuss. With regard to the latter, it's not too difficult to put Genesis first, of course, but what about the genealogical information in Chronicles which relates to events in Genesis but also all the way down to the kings of Israel? Where should that go? The books of Chronicles and Samuel overlap in their treatment of the same time periods (to a good degree), so how would we divide them up? And what about the gospels? These four books cover the same ministry of Jesus, although John begins at the beginning of the creation. Putting the epistles in order of their time of writing is a difficult enough and well-known problem, but what about the book of Acts? It covers much of the period during which many of the epistles were written. Should it come before or after or in the middle, and if so where in the middle? There are many other problems besides with such an approach. Merely trying to figure out how the life of the apostle Paul correlates between the narrative in Acts and the information in the epistles would be a lifelong effort (to do it right). There are "Harmonies" of the Gospels (Thomas' Harmony is particularly good), which do rearrange the material of all four books in a chronological way (not without making errors and guesses, however). For later developments, Conybeare's The life and epistles of St. Paul is a good offering, but it also doesn't understand everything correctly and leaves some problems unresolved (e.g.).

So I personally would not attempt to slice up the Bible in this way (what about prophecies? where would these go?), nor is that what is going on the posting to which you refer. In that piece I am merely attempting to give the benefit of what I have discerned about the times when the books were actually written (regardless of when the events treated in the material they include took place).

I hope that answers you question and your concern. Admittedly, the term "chronological Bible" could be taken either way (depending upon what a person thinks is being arranged chronologically, the books or their contents). Please do feel free to write back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #28:

I would like to thank you for posting the books of the Bible in chronological order! I am reading the Bible through and I immediately saw that they were out of order, especially after the books of Moses. I was wondering why you didn’t number them in order of your listing. In other words, have a third numbering system that lists them in your order, or chronological order.

Sincerely,

Response #28:

You're most welcome. One reason for not generating another list is that for a number of the books the dates are only approximate, and there is no real way in other cases to differentiate between groups of books known to be written at around the same time.

Thanks for your interest in Ichthys!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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