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Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading V

The City of David, the Star of David,

Solomon's Wisdom, and the Song of Solomon

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Question #1: 

Hello Bob,

I try to read your emails from time to time, and it is almost a foregone conclusion that I'll see someone extolling your website and how it has helped them in their search to better understand the Bible. I also see emails where the writer mention how you always responded to emails in a very timely manner. For what you have done and continue to do, I can't even conceive the rewards that God has in store for you. With that being said, my question to you regards the "city of David" - is it Bethlehem or Jerusalem? The numerous reference in the Old Testament point to Jerusalem; however, the birth of Christ in the New Testament specifically names Bethlehem as "David's city".

I wish to thank you ahead of time and wish you and your family the very best of the Christmas season where we remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

Response #1: 

I feel sheepish about this delayed response, given your praise for my timeliness! Apologies. I was out of town visiting family for Christmas (no email).

You make a very good point. Without exception (if my quick perusal is correct), the exact phrase "the City of David" in scripture always refers to Jerusalem, and sometimes specifically, to the old city, that is, the southern slope of the hill of Ophel south of the temple mount on the ridge bounded by the Kidron valley and the Tyropoean valley (southeast of the present day "Old City"). Luke 2:4 in regard to Bethlehem speaks of "David's city" or, more literally, "[a] city of David" (there is no definite article present in the Greek), while John 7:42 mentions "Bethlehem, the town where David lived". It seems to me that both gospel writers understood and actually reflect in the Greek that Jerusalem is "the City of David" proper, but that Bethlehem was most certainly the town of his lineage and inheritance (cf. 1Sam.20:6 NIV: "David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown").

Contemporary versions of the Christmas story which highlight a misleading emphasis on Bethlehem as the "City of David" thus detract, as you seem to suspect, from the proper focus of our future hope which is centered on Christ's rule in Jerusalem. But that, of course, is the problem with the overblown emphasis on Christmas in the first place. The Bible focuses on Jesus' death for us at the cross and subsequent resurrection, on His ministry and sacrifice for our sins as an adult rather than on "the birth of the baby Jesus". That is probably one reason why the date of "Christmas" is not given in scripture. We should be looking forward to our resurrection based on our faith in Him and His death for us on the cross, not backward in maudlin sentimentality to "peace on earth good will to men" (another horrendous translation; new NIV much better: "on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests" and cf. Lk.12:51).

As always, your encouragement in the Lord is greatly appreciated.

Wishing you and your family a blessed 2011.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Hello Bob,

It is now my turn to apologize for the delayed reply. I know that you usually go away for the Christmas holidays; I just didn't know when. So no apology was needed.

I agree totally with your sentiments on Christmas and the focus on Christ's birth instead of his death. And the churches (including my own) speak about the death briefly while putting the most emphasis on the "birth of the Christ child". It takes only a little thought to understand why this is so.

Thank you for clarifying the "city of David" question. While knowing the answer, I just desired to have your thoughts.

I just finished reading your most recent email posts and find that they are a continual source of knowledge. No matter the question posted, your answer(s) will have something that inspires me on to further study of His word or clarifies something that I had thought about. Your knowledge of God's word as well as the great work you continually perform to share it with the world (via the internet) is a continual source of wonder to me.

May our Lord continue to bless and keep you (and all who are his) until He comes to take us home.

Response #2: 

Thanks much for all your good words and encouragement. They mean a lot, especially coming from you.

I hope the Lord is opening up a good opportunity for your Christian service: you clearly have a lot to share.

Yours in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

I was working on a collection of Bible verses to understand the star of David and where it came from I came across these verses and a few commentary's on the matter. You should read this, although it is in an unedited form; it may be easier to just read the raw data here. Let me know what you think when you have time. Just to know I am a believer and also attend a Messianic Church several times a year. I think the star of david is in fact the star of rephan, God did not incite us to use geometric symbols. The snake on the staff is the best example of a symbol from which God gave us to look upon. But it has spiritual significance. Any way thank for the insight. The Bible verses that pertain to this :

1 Kings 11:5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites 1 Kings 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as [did] David his father 1 Kings 11:7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites

Acts 7:43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan ,"Chiun", the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile' beyond Babylon.

Leviticus 18:21 "'Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.

Leviticus 20:2 "Say to the Israelites: 'Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him.

Deuteronomy 12:31 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.

21"I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. 22Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! 25"Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 26You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god— which you made for yourselves. 27Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus," says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty
Amos 5:21-27

Jeremiah 32:35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.

2 Kings 23:10 He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech

2 Chronicles 28:2 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and also made cast idols for worshiping the Baals 2 Chronicles 28:3 He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his sons in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites

Jeremiah 7:30 "'The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the LORD. They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it.

Jeremiah 7:31 They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire--something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.

Jeremiah 19:2 and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you,

Jeremiah 19:5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal--something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.

Jeremiah 44:4 Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, 'Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!'

(Six-Pointed Star: Mark of the Beast - Part 2"Chiun is sometimes called Kaiwan, or spelled Khiun, and means star. The star of Saturn was a god... Sakkuth and Kaiwan or Chiun are objects of idolatrous)

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Mesh,.... Of this idol see Gill on Jeremiah 48:7, an high place for which he ordered to be built, or at least suffered it to be built, at the instigation of his Moabitish woman or women, 1 Kings 11:1, this was built in the hill that is before Jerusalem; on the mount of Olives, as Jarchi, called from hence afterwards the mount of corruption, 2 Kings 23:15 and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon, 1 Kings 11:5.

Commentary's: and interesting insight

The Star of Remphen Blessings to all, from our Heavenly New Jerusalem, First let me say I love Israel and only want to seek the truth. I was the head of a Christian yellow pages in Houston and was visiting Christian businesses when I came upon an occult book store and thought I'd go in and see what the other side was doing. I was surprised to see crosses and stars of David. The owner said the cross is an occult symbol from Rome (it goes back to Egypt and Babylon). Then he said the Star of David is the most powerful occult symbol, but as really called the Star of Solomon, Solomon went into the occult. 1 Kings 11:1-11 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, [and] Hittites; Of the nations [concerning] which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: [for] surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, [that] his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as [was] the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as [did] David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that [is] before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. But the story that the Bible tells about this abomination is such: Amos 5:26-27 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name [is] The God of hosts. Then Stephen quotes it, Act 7:42-43 Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices [by the space of] forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. This "thing" is 2 pyramids, which are Egyptian, one on top of the other. It reminds me of the book of Revelation describing Jerusalem; Rev 11:8 And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Like pyramids, one on top of the other, is the Sodom part. I've studied the Egyptian meaning of this star and it means that you should so elevate your earthly walk till it is united with heaven, symbolized by the lower pyramid joining with the upper. I believe the giants before the flood, mentioned in Genesis; built the Pyramids of Giza; Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown. I spoke with and Egyptologist on national radio about a report I heard that the 3 Pyramids and the sphinx were covered with underwater sea creatures. He confirmed this and said one side of the pyramids were worn down as by an underwater sea current. These giants are where evil spirits come from; as was written in the book of Enoch, which is quoted and endorsed in the book of Jude, the half-brother of our God Joshua, Jude. Jud 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Enoch says at this web site http://www.heaven.net.nz/writings/enoch.htm Enoch 15:Wherefore have ye left the high, holy, and eternal heaven, and lain with women, and defiled yourselves with the daughters of men and taken to yourselves wives, and done like the children 4of earth, and begotten giants (as your) sons? And though ye were holy, spiritual, living the eternal life, you have defiled yourselves with the blood of women, and have begotten (children) with the blood of flesh, and, as the children of men, have lusted after flesh and blood as those also do who die 5 and perish. Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget 6 children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. But you were formerly 7 spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling. 8 And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon 9 the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; 10 they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.] And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless 12 hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them. I believe the giants wanted to build a memorial that would last through the flood that Enoch and Noah prophesied about. Pyramids are evil.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary 11:1-8 There is not a more melancholy and astonishing instance of human depravity in the sacred Scriptures, than that here recorded. Solomon became a public worshipper of abominable idols! Probably he by degrees gave way to pride and luxury, and thus lost his relish for true wisdom. Nothing forms in itself a security against the deceitfulness and depravity of the human heart. Nor will old age cure the heart of any evil propensity. If our sinful passions are not crucified and mortified by the grace of God, they never will die of themselves, but will last even when opportunities to gratify them are taken away. Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall. We see how weak we are of ourselves, without the grace of God; let us therefore live in constant dependence on that grace. Let us watch and be sober: ours is a dangerous warfare, and in an enemy's country, while our worst foes are the traitors in our own hearts.

Response #3: 

Good to make your acquaintance. As to your comment "The snake on the staff is the best example of a symbol from which God gave us to look upon", you might want to consider the following:

[Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.
2nd Kings 18:4 NASB

I realize that it is very popular today among many Christian groups to want to identify the star of David with the "star of Rephan/Rompha" mentioned by Stephen at Acts 7:43 in his quotation of Amos 5:26. What is very important to note here, however, is that while a "star" is mentioned in that passage, no description of that star is given – and it most certainly not called a "star of David". As I have said elsewhere (please see the links at the bottom of this response), there is no guarantee that this "star" mentioned in Amos (and referred to by way of quotation in Acts) was even a two-dimensional drawing (as the star of David is). More likely, it was some sort of idol (i.e., a three-dimensional statue of the god or gods in question of the type with which all pagan religion is replete).

The verses you include mention Moloch/Molech and Chemosh, false gods of the Canaanites and Moabites respectively, but there is no mention of a "Rephan/Romphe" anywhere in these other passages (and I know of no scholarly attempt to connect them – there certainly is no obvious linguistic connection). The number of false gods, demi-gods, demons and other supernatural entities in the pantheons of the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Moabites, Edomites, Ammonites, Canaanites and etc. is virtually innumerable, and the chronic problem of the Israelites being unfaithful to the Lord in worshiping them is well known. What the actual artistic representations of these idols and their specific iconography was is in most cases unknown or little known (no great loss, in my view).

The essential point here is that there is no mention of any six-pointed star in scripture, no mention of the star of David in scripture, and – a point often overlooked – nothing whatsoever in any ancient text or monument or other such hard evidence to connect a six-pointed star to this "star of Rephan" (or to David or to anything else pertinent). The fact that clerks in an occult bookstore make that fantastic and incredible connection should not impress us overly, especially as Christians. The supposition that the "star of David" is "two pyramids" would not, even if true, mean anything, since that would not in any way preclude it from being a relatively modern invention (as all the hard evidence suggests). After all, were I artistically inclined, I might work up a design based on three or four or more such shapes – that wouldn't make the design itself ancient just because it was based on ancient forms. In fact, of course, a pyramid is a three dimensional shape. The star of David is two-dimensional composed of two interlocked triangles (not pyramids at all).

Finally, it is also important to remember that the indictment of Israel being put forward at Amos 5:26 is based on the similar idolatrous conduct of the Exodus generation in the desert in the days of Moses before entering the land of Canaan. That is to say, this carrying of the "star of Rephan", or, as it is better translated directly from the Hebrew of Amos, "the star of your gods which you made for yourselves"(i.e., no pagan deity is even named in the actual Hebrew text), was a phenomenon which took place some 600 years or so before king David was even born. Since David was a loyal worshiper of the Lord alone and was never involved in any sort of idolatry whatsoever, the early date of this "Rephan" (which as I say in the links below is actually a misunderstanding based upon the Septuagint version) coupled with the late date evidence for the actual "star of David" is certainly strong evidence against any such connection. Since there is absolutely no actual evidence for the connection (outside of the speculation reported from occult bookstores), we really have no basis for making such a claim. Since there is no evidence for it, why in the world would anyone want to put this idea forward? That has always struck me as strange.

Here are those other links I mentioned where the subject is also discussed in some detail:

Is the star of Acts 7:43 the star of David?

More on the star of Rephan.

Israel, 'Lost Tribes' and the Star of David

I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to write me back about any of this.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #4: 

Dr. Luginbill,

Please forgive me, but I was beyond shocked to read in your article about the star of Rephan not being the star of David because the star of David is a relatively new creation. You state, "One thing I can say with dogmatism about Acts 7:43 is that the star is not the star of David. For one thing, the star of David as a Jewish national symbol is a fairly recent invention (not much older than the USA), and there is, as far as I know, nothing in the archaeological artifacts or texts from the days of ancient Israel to suggest that the six-pointed star symbol was even in existence prior to the modern era (let alone being an important ancient symbol)."

My shock comes from you dogmatic stance when in fact, your education, is called into question in my only having my bachelors. I have seen with my own eyes synagogue ruins that date back to before the days Jesus walked the earth. These ruins have star's of David all over them. The star of David is much older, maybe 10 times older than the USA.

With this information, I would not be so quick to dismiss the origins of this star as we know, just like Christianity, Judaism has many pagan influences. Heck, Christianity worships the birth of the sun and tries to make it "holy" by saying it is the Son's birthday. This dates back to ancient Rome.

I apologize now if I sound disrespectful as that is not my intent, but you are a highly educated man per your resume, I would expect more research from a Phd.

Response #4: 

Thank you for your email. I know that there are claims to the effect that the six-point star is to be found in late Roman era synagogues, but I have never personally seen any evidence for them being found on "synagogue ruins that date back to before the days Jesus walked the earth". I would be most grateful for any specific references you can provide.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

I have some pictures from a trip from back in 2001. If I can find them I will try to scan them and send them for your review. One question. Did I misread you then? I thought I understood you to state the star was about as old as the US.

In Him,

Response #5: 

As I state in the posted email response "the star of David as a Jewish national symbol is a fairly recent invention (not much older than the USA)". That is an important qualification. People assume that because expatriate Jewish communities started to use the star as the equivalent of a national flag around the time of the French revolution, give or take a century (when all groups and nationalities in Europe were beginning to awaken to such nationalism), that therefore "the star meant the same thing earlier". That is not at all necessarily the case. So we really have two issues here. First, where and when do we have any indication of the symbol becoming prominent in Jewish communities at all, and, secondly, where and when did it become a nationalistic symbol (as opposed, say, to a mere geometric design). The swastika, for example, has a long and ancient history as a geometric symbol (Greek geometric pottery adorned with it is very common), but the use to which it was put in the 20th century cannot be inferred backwards to ancient occurrences (as the Nazis tried to do). That said, other than the remains of some synagogues which have been excavated by archaeologists, I believe I am correct in stating that no such structure standing and in use today dates back anywhere close to New Testament times. And if it is a question of archaeological remains, here too there is an issue of dating that may be open to question. The most ancient ones I know of in Israel are generally dated in a range, almost always later than the New Testament, and I do not know of any six-pointed star decorations associated with such ruins.

As I say, I would be grateful for any references to the contrary. It's not necessary for you to go to the trouble of scanning your pictures. If you have the name and locations of the structures it should be easy enough to track them down. Any references to secondary literature on this would also be most appreciated (because, as the above suggests, I believe my representations here represent the standard scholarly view of the issue).

Not that it much matters, of course. Even if the existence in antiquity of a six-cornered star used as a geometrical design could be proved (and as I say I know of no evidence of this), it is still a long jump of logic to assume its meaning without, say, an accompanying inscription, and another long jump of logic to assume that there would in that hypothetical case be any direct connection between said symbol duly interpreted by ancient writing and the 'star of David', and a further enormous jump of logic to impute all this to the star mentioned at Amos 5:26 (which refers to a period predating the entrance of Israel into the land under Joshua). In other words, the connection is beyond impossible. It is interesting, however, how easily anti-Semitic conspiracy theories "make the jumps" – at least in their representations of such things. It seems that investing such theories with an aura of biblical authority is always an attractive possibility, even for people who in actuality care very little about the Bible.

Thanks again for your interest in this ministry.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Very well put. You did qualify it with regard to the national flag. In that regard it has only been used in that capacity for 62 years.

Response #6: 

Thanks. Feel free to write back.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #7: 


Couldn't help but notice your response to a question on the "star of David". I believe you need to revisit your answer. I have been researching the Seal of Solomon along with Kabala, pentagram, hexagram, Rothschild, jinn, genies and Islam. The connection to the star of Amos 5:26 should not at all be quickly discounted. I am strongly convinced it is one and the same. Regardless, a fair mind could not easily discount the theory after evaluation of the available information.

In Christ,

Response #7: 

Good to make your acquaintance. I am happy to consider any and all biblical evidence (or serious archeological evidence) on this topic.

One thing that is very clear is that neither Amos 5:26 nor Acts 7:43 (where the Amos passage is quoted) say anything at all about David or suggest in any way that the pagan star mentioned has six points. In other words, there is nothing in the actual biblical texts that would suggest any connection.

Indeed, the passages both reference the time of the Exodus, centuries before David and Solomon. Consider, for a moment, what that means. Since the name "star of David" has to have come into use hundreds of years after the biblical references (at the very least – most of the evidence I have seen places the origin of this device and definitely its identification much later), the only possible connection between the two would be an anachronistic application backwards of the more recent device/appellation to the scriptural reference. In other words, it seems pretty clear to me that it was logically impossible for Amos 5:26 (which Acts 7:43 quotes) to be making reference to what we understand today to be "the star of David" when the passage was written.

There are two responses to different aspects of this question at the site, and I would ask you to have a look at both before replying:

Is the star of Acts 7:43 the star of David?

The Star of David and the Star of Rephan.

As I say, I am happy to respond to specific questions about what I have written. You may be convinced, but I would need evidence, especially considering that the Exodus generation had no idea there would be a David (let alone a "star of David").

In Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #8: 

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your prompt response. Briefly, we can forget the NT reference to the star. Amos is in view both times. I believe Amos is writing to the people of his time in the 9th C, BC. well after the time of David and Solomon. And yes, the term Star of David is, so far as we know, more recent. As far as we know. Precisely why can we discount the use of this star, especially when traditions seem to indicate it first in reference to Solomon and pagan worship? Check out references in the Koran to Solomon utilizing power over demons to build the Second Temple.

Response #8: 

I suppose it all depends upon one's hermeneutics. My job is interpreting and teaching the Bible, and part of this ministry is to answer all manner of questions about scripture. For my purposes, historical questions are another matter entirely – except when they directly affect the interpretation of scripture. Your initial question assumed, as is often the case, that the star in Amos 5:26 is "the star of David". That is impossible since the Exodus occurred many centuries before there even was a king David. I look to the Bible, not to external traditions or documents like the Koran – but if were to put any value at all in external sources I would be forced to take into consideration that the Koran is some seventeen or eighteen centuries later than the book of Amos. Further, unlike the Koran or other traditions you cite, Amos is the inspired Word of God, so what Amos says about the pagan star is correct and not anachronistic.

Really, this is all very much an apples and oranges argument. Today there is a two-dimensional geometric symbol known as "the star of David". During the Exodus, there was an almost certainly three-dimensional pagan image of a star. Even if the two were to look identical (and that is not possible to prove since there are no representations of the Amos 5:26 star), it would still be simply impossible for what the unfaithful pagan-influenced Israelites of the Exodus generation meant by their use of the "star of Rephan" (which, by the way, they never called it: the Hebrew text says only "the star of your gods which you made for yourselves") to be what people today understand to be represented by "the star of David". The former was a three-dimensional pagan idol of some now completely unknown form; the latter is a well-known, two-dimensional, nationalistic symbol.

And, after all, it is first and foremost the meaning people invest in these things that makes all the difference. Some people see the images on the US dollar bill as containing pagan symbolism; but however that may be, I can assure you that when I put one in the coke machine that is the furthest thing from my mind (and I would guess that is true of everyone else as well, outside of a small handful of conspiracy theorists).

Since there is no discernible identity of form between the two stars, and since there can be no genuine connection between them (either of their names or of the meaning of their symbolism as the one was and the other now is understood), the question which comes to my mind is what is the purpose in trying to associate the two? The only thing I can see in such attempts is a desire to connect the Jewish people and the nation of Israel with some sort of dark, satanic, paganistic conspiracy of "Saturn worship = Satan worship" or the like. That would be absolutely laughable – if it weren't for the fact that antisemitism is a virulent, satanic conspiracy. Please see the link:

Some Jewish Issues

My advice to all Christians is to seek their truth from the Bible alone, and give all such questionable, politically motivated theorizing a very wide berth indeed.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Dr. Luginbill,

Please forgive my last rushed query. It is not my intent to absorb so much of your time and cause you (upon your judgement) to be chasing rabbit trails. I attempted to view the link you provided, but the result was a PAGE ERROR notice on your site. I did check your credentials/background as well before engaging a second venture on my question. My background is Roman Catholic, then Methodist. My academic background, History and Theology. I followed more traditional mainline interpretation of matters by and large, until I had a somewhat 'para-normal' experience. Not everything I have come to believe is purely academic. And yes, I am not a stranger to conspiracy theories.

I ascertain you lean more to the conservative approach in interpretation when you say you look to the Bible more than to external sources. (And you must confess, there is ONE great conspiracy theory in the Bible.) I rely on both, though giving deference to the Bible. If a work such as the 1st Book of Enoch tends not to disagree on any point with recognized scripture, I move on to note that it has been accepted as Holy Writ by the Eastern Orthodox Church from its inception. I also note that the Early Church Fathers held it in extremely high repute, though MAY not have viewed it as scripture. I note that reference to it is made in scripture on a few occasions, etc.

I cannot fully explain my concern in regard to the 'Star of David', but it is in regard to striking similarities with other symbols in masonic, kabalic, and Islamic traditions. Similarly, I cannot help but note such similarities as pyramids, Mayan temples, ziggaruts, etc. as more than coincidence. Perhaps sacrifices in ancient China, Aztec civilization and Mid-east pagan worship to snake gods are all coincidental, but I can't help but notice similarities and at least have some degree of wonder. Should a pentagram ever be adopted as the new symbol for belief in Christ, I shall not accept it.

The Koran, as you noted, is much later, but I note that whereas the Bible speaks of Solomon's decisions harming and dividing the nation of Israel, the Koran elevates him and speaks of his using a special seal to control jinn/genies/demons. "A rose is a rose is a rose..." The Islamic traditon and the masonic tradition speak of a secret name of God which was upon Solomon's ring. It appears to the novice student to be nothing more than the combination of a shortened form Jahweh with the name of Baal. As a student of history, I absolutely note the significance of primacy in sources, but I also note there are at times spiritual links which if discerned properly bear out the truth common at some level within them all.

Thank you for your patience, and I will again check your site reference.

Kindest Regards,

Response #9: 

I'm not at all sure what "one great conspiracy theory in the Bible" you could be referring to. Be that as it may, as I mentioned in previous emails, I put little to no stock in extra-biblical materials (as in "little" in the case of the church fathers; "none" in the case of apocryphal or pseudepigraphical works like Enoch). I am a believer in the truth of scripture and little concerned with rituals, traditions or non-biblical symbols of any sort (though I do understand that these make up the bulk of many people's faiths and religions). I am not a defender of the star of David as a symbol nor interested in its meaning, actual or potential, nor much given to politics of any kind whether general or particular. I am interested in Jesus Christ and His true Church, those who are His by faith.

I doubt that I would ever have had anything to say about the star of David on the website but for the fact that I receive emails with some regularity asking whether or asserting that the star is the same as the star in Amos 5:26 – it is not. Demonstrating that it is not is my main interest, motivated not out of any partisanship but out a desire to set the biblical record straight. People use the Bible for all sorts of political purposes and personal agendas. That is their sad business. My job is to alert those who access the site for spiritual growth to false claims about scripture which, if believed, would compromise their understanding of the truth.

Solomon's apostasy is well-documented in the Bible (i.e., 1Ki.11:2ff.). The specifics of his idolatrous paraphernalia are not necessary to know in order to appreciate the compromise of heart he made and how that negatively affected his relationship with the Lord. Archeologically speaking, most of the things one sees "claimed" to go back to that era are forgeries or deceptions. The number of inscriptions that are to be genuinely dated to the era of the kings of Judah at all (as in Hezekiah's tunnel) can be counted on two hands, and there is nothing as early as Solomon or David. So inferring connections from much later symbolism, while it may have its place for some, does not generally form part of my own investigation of scripture.

I'm certainly not accusing you of this, but it seems to me that most people who want to make this connection (and similar connections) between a scripture and a pet theory are motivated out of a desire to invest said pet theory with a mantle of biblical authority (rather than out of a desire to find out what the Bible means and teaches).

Thank you for your interest and for your considerate comments.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Dr. Lugenbill,

I'll keep this one short. The one great conspiracy I alluded to is referenced in Rev. 12:9 "..the serpent of old, who goes out to deceive the world". The snake in Genesis 3, but later mentioned as the King of Tyre or the Prince of Persia, or elsewhere the prince of the powers of the air/ this world. The Great Deceiver, whose best deception perhaps is to convince this world that he does not truly exist.

There are links to the past which may not be well documented, but nevertheless are true. A pentagram for example has a certain innate power. If this were not so, Satanists, wiccans, etc. might begin using the letter X in place of this ancient symbol. If the supposition that symbols/traditions are embued with power is correct, Harry Potter, Warcraft, body piercings, Ouija boards might actually be used in our day to corrupt the minds and hearts of an entire generation, without their advance knowledge. Farfetched, some may say... There is a particular hand sign used by a vast number of people today, some of which say means "I love you." but for much longer has been used as to signify "Hail Satan." Regardless of its evolved usage, I'll not be adopting it.

Let me assure you I pray for the peace of Israel as for all who truly seek our Lord and Svior as the day fast approaches.

God's Blessings,

P.S. Though I was a collector of antiquarian books and papers, this past year I burned 2 leaves of a religious document supposedly near 1,000 years old.

Response #10: 

Well said.

The devil is the father of the lie and the origin of it. His antichrist will pretend to be Christ and many will believe it – all those whose names have been wiped out of the book of life. With that time fast approaching, this is indeed important material for all Christians to know (and that is the reason so much of this ministry focuses on eschatology; cf. the "Satanic Rebellion" series and the "Coming Tribulation" series).

I would most certainly agree with your wise admonition for Christians to stay clear of all pagan symbolism, and I would certainly counsel any and all to stay away from adopting the star of David for any reason (or any other political or religious symbol for that matter), and stick instead with one symbol written in their heart: the cross of Jesus Christ.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

The bible says that Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived apart from Jesus. How can someone endowed with a supernatural gift of wisdom from God Himself and discernment fall for other gods? I would think that he would have known the foolishness of falling for other gods. Thank you in advance!

Response #11: 

It says at 1st Kings 11:4, "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, [that] his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as [was] the heart of David his father" (KJV). Naturally, Solomon was completely responsible for his own actions, both in taking unbelievers into close fellowship (cf. 2Cor.6:14), and also for paying attention to them in these critical matters. The example of Solomon is the best one I know of to explode the Platonic myth that says if people only knew the truth they would accept it and follow it. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Believing and acting in accordance with that belief are choices of the heart that flow directly from the freedom of our will. Everyone comes to the realization of the existence of God as well as to the realization of their own mortality and imperfection. Armed with that truth which is hot-wired into every human spirit (cf. Eccl.3:11) and bruited abroad to all mankind from the very heavens (Ps.19:1-6), one would think that everyone would therefore jump at the opportunity to be reconciled to God and have eternal life in place of condemnation. That, however, would require coming to God and submitting to His will through faith in Jesus Christ, something the vast majority of human beings who have ever lived have proven unwilling to do. Some people like to say, "If they only knew the gospel, they would believe"; not true. Or, "If they only realized the fate that awaited them, they would believe"; not true. Just by virtue of being human everyone knows enough to make an informed decision about their eternal status. The gospel is reserved for those who genuinely want to come to the Lord; the fact that some who are unwilling are given to hear it anyway (and then reject it) is just another indication of the amazing grace of God.

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day."
John 6:44 NASB

God has designed the universe, the human spirit, and the process of history in such a way so that no one will be able to say "I never had any idea of You or my mortality or my need for salvation". However, it is pointless to "draw" to Jesus those who are unwilling to accept Him if so drawn (one of our Lord's main points here in chapter six as He remonstrates with those who saw the miracle of the bread and fish but still will not accept Him as the Bread of Life). As the very next verse which follows shows, only those who are willing are benefitted by having been "drawn", that is, by having been led to a hearing of the truth, that is, the gospel:

"It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."
John 6:45 NASB

As verse 45 reveals, "coming to Me" in verse 44 is accepting Jesus for salvation through faith. The individuals in question have "heard" but they have not "learned". "Learned" is not a bad translation here for the aorist participle of manthano, and I suppose that any published translation would be forced to render it in a similar fashion. However, I translate "everyone who has heard and accepted", for that is really what the Greek means in this context. It means having assimilated the information so as to make it one's own in the manner of a 'disciple' (a mathetes; from the same root). That is to say, this phrase indicates more than mere intellectual understanding; it indicates an acceptance of the truth heard as true and a willingness to respond to it. Jesus is speaking here of the faith that follows perception of the gospel and leads to salvation (i.e., "coming to Me" = "[having] learned" = responding to the gospel in faith). Hearing is not enough; in order to be saved, a person has to submit, yield, believe, accept, trust . . . use his/her free will in response to the Lord and to the truth that Jesus is the One who died for our sins and that we are delivered from death through the work of the Son of God.

Solomon had intellectual wisdom, but that does not profit anyone if it is not combined with a proper response of the heart. I may know that touching a hot stove is not advisable – what good is that knowledge if I choose to touch it anyway? There is not much temptation to touching a hot stove, but many things in life which are much worse for us are also much more tempting. In many ways and in many things, we are tempted to do what we should not do and not to do what we should do, and it is the whole point of our continued existence in life after salvation to demonstrate for all eternity what we are really made of. Given the God-like power of choice, what we would choose? This is, for us human beings, not a hypothetical question but a very real one which we answer every day in all things great or small. Choice defines who we are and we are in turn defined by the choices we make. The great choice is whether we want an eternity with the Lord or not, of course, but for believers life after salvation is all about 1) perseverance (maintaining that choice of faith in spite of the pressures of the world), and 2) whether or not we will continue to opt for spiritual growth, progress and production (for which the crowns of righteousness, life, and glory are given respectively).

Solomon had great wisdom, yes, but he chose to apply it to things that were ultimately unimportant and even self-destructive. Solomon made poor choices, not from a lack of information but from his own heart which was not as dedicated to the Lord as his father David's had been. Like so many human beings before and after him, Solomon took the short view instead of the long view. He traded a large measure of eternal reward for short term personal satisfaction, not through an out and out bargain to do so, but by focusing on his own pleasures instead of on his personal spiritual growth, progress and production, he eventually put his spirituality into a tail-spin.

Knowing what we ought to do and doing it are two very different things. It may take time and effort to get to all the truth of the former, but it takes will-power, self-discipline, and truly putting our love for Jesus Christ in first place in our lives to consistently do the latter. If we do not, we will learn to our great loss as Solomon did that laziness, sloth and self-indulgence breed arrogance and hardening of heart. When a person reduces the truth in their heart to something to be ignored or even ridiculed, the point will eventually be reached where the right path will never be chosen again, so that such "knowledge of the truth", no matter how extensive, will have then become merely a memorial to the folly of chasing after one's own desires instead of what the Lord desires.

In Jesus our dear Lord who is the only way.

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Hi Doc!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am extremely grateful for all the help you have provided that has helped me grow in the Word. You have been a blessing to me.

I have some Baptist friends who are on both side of the fence regarding the Song of Solomon and whether it has sexual connotations. There are those who claim that is a parallel of our spiritual walk with God, and on the other hand there are those who think that it is a highly sexual book and the celebration of marriage. Those who believe that it is sexual will say that those who do not pass it off as sexual in nature are doing hermeneutical injustice. A well known bible teacher stated that Song of Solomon 4:9-11 is indeed speaking of love, but not sex and that verse 11 is speaking about her speech. And he further states in chapter 1 describes a meeting which is drawn by Solomon/Christ, and that it describes being close to Jesus' heart. Verse 2 describes fellowship, trials, seeking where the Word can be preached, and the King in His glory referring to their engagement. Verse 4 describes the bride to be (perfect in Christ) and her soul like a garden with living waters. Verse 5 describes her backslidden state and doesn't answer His call. There are more, but he ends in verse 8 by stating the permanency of true love, His servants, and awaiting His return to take His bride (cf. Revelation 22:20). Is this accurate? or is he spiritualizing it too much?

Response #12: 

Thanks for your kind words, and I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful as well. As to your question, I don't think the two premises are mutually exclusive. I have read the Song of Songs (as it is called in the Torah) a number of times in Hebrew. Hebrew poetry is sometimes difficult to interpret, and I think that it would be correct to say that the Song of Solomon is one of the most difficult books to translate accurately and also to interpret in the whole Old Testament. The vocabulary is unusual, the grammar is poetic, and the language is highly metaphorical, regardless of where one comes down on the overall interpretation. Additionally and importantly, in my view part of the key to correctly interpreting the book is to recognize precisely where the speaking parts and the choral parts begin and end (nearly every version and every commentary has differences on this score). The song is most definitely a love song, and I do think that it would be very misleading to fail to recognize or acknowledge that fact. However, it is an inspired love song, and I do indeed subscribe to the view that it is in its essence an allegory representing Jesus' love for His Church (of which of course the believers in ancient Israel are an important part). Here is what I have briefly said elsewhere:

The Song of Solomon, [which] is largely a simile describing the Church's relationship with Jesus (Song passim, as is Ps.45:8-17; cf. Is.62:5; Jn.3:29).

Personally, I find the deep expressions of love in this passage positively thrilling as an application of just how much our Lord loves us. We know that He loves us, of course, but sometimes we get a bit intellectual, theoretical, and blasι about it. It is so very good to remind ourselves of what sort of deep, passionate love it took for Him to be willing to be baptized in the fire of divine judgment to save us from that second death.

I would prefer to suspend judgment on the particular interpretation advanced by your pastor although it sounds promising. Suffice it to say that the book should definitely lead us to an impassioned love for Jesus Christ as it assures us of His total and self-sacrificing love for us.

(25) Husbands, love your wives as also Christ loved His Church and gave Himself over [to death] on her behalf, (26) so that He might sanctify her, having purified her by the washing of the water [of truth] in [His] Word. (27), so that He might Himself [and] for Himself present His Church in glory, without spot or blemish, but so that she might [instead] be holy and without blame.
Ephesians 5:25-27

In the One who loved us more than His own life and gave up everything to save us and win us for Himself, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

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