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Biblical Interpretation XI

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Question #1:

Dear Bob,

These are all side questions, but questions I've had for a long time. Put this at the bottom of your list.

Should I see a connection between a caduceus, staff of Asclepius and Moses' Rod of God?

Response #1:

The staff of Hermes the herald of the gods was a staff. The staff of Asclepius was a staff. The serpent was associated with Asclepius, but I don't know of any classical representations of the staff with a serpent or serpents. The caduceus has a staff, serpents and wings. The rod Moses was told to set up had serpents. The staff had no wings. The caduceus has wings (possibly representing a reference to Mercury who is represented with wings). Short answer: the only connection is between an actual biblical event and symbol on the one hand, and a later amalgamation of symbols for other purposes later on. Shorter answer: not really.

Question #2:

Can I understand that all the snakes are later glosses? – presumably to enhance the deity
of the medical profession and Asclepius?

Response #2:

I wouldn't want to represent myself as being an expert in regard to the iconography of Mercury and Asclepius (especially as things come to light all the time); also, "later" is always an interesting qualification. When it comes to mythology, there is syncretic development all the way from Homer onward and even into modern times. So it's always a question of "whose Mercury/Hermes", e.g., is being discussed (Homer's? Hesiod's? Euripides? Vergil's? Libanius? Some medieval or modern author's?). Unlike the Bible, this other stuff is notoriously difficult to nail down as it was always in flux to some degree. We know what the biblical staff looked like because the Bible tells us. How others interpreted it, modified it, combined it with pagan ideas is a historical question, not a biblical one.

Question #3:

Thinking of Asclepius and "pharmakon", did the sorcery of the Bible have anything to do with drugs and poisons?

Response #3:

No doubt it did, based upon classical sorcery; but there is nothing specific about this in the Old Testament. In the New Testament the words from the pharma- root refer to witchcraft which assumes such a connection.

Question #4:

Was the "pulse" of Daniel's day (Dan. 1:12) the same as we understand it today? (Beans, peas, legumes in general.)

Response #4:

The word in Daniel is a hapax legomenon, meaning it occurs only here in the Bible (actually twice but in the same context); the root has to do with sowing seeds so it does seem that this means "non-meat", but that is about all we can say.

Question #5:

Daniel was a concern. My belief is that these analogies/examples are included in the Bible for a reason and it's our challenge to understand. Daniel was adamant and convinced the eunuch (in which I believe our Lord had a part.) I assume it was recorded for a reason. Otherwise, it seems out of context with the rest of the book except maybe for the fiery furnace episode. If the root is "seeds" I assume that includes grains and nuts – all high in protein. I'll have to think on this more.

Response #5:

On Daniel, I think its clear from the wording and the context that we are taking about a vegetarian diet requested so as to avoid eating anything non-Kosher.

Question #6:

I didn't consider the kosher aspect of Daniel. That rather changes the emphasis. Can I extrapolate kosher conventions back then with what I've experienced today? That would suggest that cookery in Babylon was much, much different then.

Response #6:

When I say "Kosher", I mean in the biblical sense rather than the developed sense. There are many animals that are not to be eaten according to the Law, but how would Daniel and company be able to tell if a Babylonian "Mulligan stew" was fit for them to eat or not? A purely vegetarian diet, however, would avoid the possibility of going against what the Law said to do.

Question #7:

Does "wine," as used in the Bible, always refer to fermented grapes or is it a general term applying to all fermented beverages?

Response #7:

Yes, but I would have to look up thousands of references to be definitive. Wine is generally wine, however. There are other words for "strong drink" and "new wine" (both of which are also fermented and contain alcohol).

Question #8:

Do we know how it was drunk? Was it watered down as some have suggested? Or was it used in place of water at meals? Paul's instruction to Timothy to "take wine for your oft infirmities" always left me curious as to the nature of the wine. As late as the 1930s, medicinal herbs were extracted with wine. I wonder if there's a connection.

Response #8:

I don't know about 1930's practices. The practice in the ancient world was always to water down wine; drinking "pure wine" (a separate word in Greek) was considered degenerate – even though it is not as if they didn't get drunk on watered wine in the ancient world; even a "50/50" was considered extreme. Most common mixtures: 1 part wine to 3 or 4 parts water.

Question #9:

The wine question was mostly curiosity, though the watering down was significant. Particularly in light of Paul's instructions to Timothy which I assume meant real grape wine. That one, I suspect, will haunt me for awhile. In later times, herbs were extracted in wine and watered down to control the dose.

I wouldn't expect you to chase down thousands of references -- I'd go blind doing that and ultimately, it's irrelevant to anything critical. I thought if anyone knew, you would.

Response #9:

On Paul's instructions to Timothy, one reason why wine was used in the ancient world was the poor quality of drinking water, especially in urban areas. Wine acted as a sort of substitute for chlorination in the modern world. Timothy was being abstemious to a fault in not taking advantage of the natural antibacterial properties of a little alcohol mixed in his water and was suffering the consequences. Paul is certainly not commending drinking to anything like excess.

To clarify, wine is wine. I don't know of any case where it isn't. The only potential exception would be when wine is actually wine-vinegar. The vinegar in John 19:29 is wine-vinegar (but there is a separate word for that: oxos); no alcoholic content left in oxos. I'd have to carefully run down every occurrence to make sure that this is not what is being talked about, but 99% of the time wine means wine.

Question #10:

Do we know what the hyssop of the crucifixion was? Modern hyssop certainly couldn't be used as described in John 19:29.

Response #10:

The correlation of modern scientific words (colors, minerals, gems, animal and plant names) with biblical words (and ancient world terms generally) is a difficult subject. The Bible words are what they are and mean what they mean and refer to what they refer to. KJV translators and later translators have done their best to match things up but there is often no assurance that they have done so correctly. I have done work on this with gemstones in particular and it is true in that case that words with clearly mean X in English and sound exactly like X in Greek or Hebrew may actually mean Y. I'm not a botanist, but I can tell you that the English word "hyssop" (Heb. אֵזוֹב , 'ezowb) ; Gr. ὕσσωπος, hyssōpos) is clearly a transliteration of the Greek word which is itself a transliteration of the Hebrew word. How modern botanists (or whoever) came to identify the plant now known as "hyssop" with the biblical plant I cannot say. But it does seem fair to call the biblical plant from which the modern name for the now-known-as plant derives "real hyssop", as opposed to the new "name only hyssop".

Question #11:

As far as hyssop, the modern hyssop, a low growing herby plant, has nothing to do with the real hyssop recorded in the Bible. I've never found any credible identification of what was used to give vinegar to Christ. As near as I can tell, it was lost in history. I was hoping you knew! I consider it important. Particularly in light of Psalm 51. Tulsi/Holy Basil, perhaps?

Response #11:

On hyssop, John 12:29 is the passage that bothers people. We should understand "[stalk of] hyssop" as the ready-to-hand stick which happened to be used to elevate the sponge to our Lord. In this way there is a symbolism that those who proffered the vinegar did not realize, recalling the ritual cleansing through sprinkling with blood.

Question #12:

Interesting take on hyssop. I didn't think about the ritual cleansing which isn't obvious, at least to me, from the translations I've read. Still, it's an open question; the plant today known as hyssop couldn't have served in the Biblical account unless the cross was very short and low to the ground. And then, probably not. (Why hyssop? If just a stick, why not say so? Why specify?)

Psalms 51:7.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

The purging aspect has my attention. What is it about the original hyssop that could purge? The modern version couldn't have done that. In light of your comments on purification, and our Lord's crucifixion it's even more curious. There's something to be learned here, and I still don't know what.

Response #12:

Why not just say "stick" or "stalk" as opposed to telling us that it was of hyssop? No doubt precisely to show the connection to redemptive cleansing (that is the sense in Ps.51 as well). The title over our Lord's head was also said to be easily legible, so from that too we can discern that He was not crucified many feet up.

It's also important to remember that we are talking about the blood of Christ here, not literal blood but the actual death of Christ in the darkness in having our sins poured out into His body and Him being judged for them in our place (see the link). Hyssop was used to sprinkle the literal blood of the Law which was a symbol and a type of the actual work of Christ (cf. Heb.9:15-25).

Question #13:

I did some research on Hyssopus officinalis, our contemporary hyssop, and learned it is native to Europe and the Mediterranean Middle East. It can grow to 24" or so in the right environment and assuming Christ was rather low to the ground it would have made the proffer of vinegar reasonable. Hyssop, today, is used for congestion of the lungs, colds, mucus, etc. The symbolism is astonishing as a shadow of our Lord's death.

Response #13:

Very interesting! Thanks for this, my friend.

Question #14:

I was once again a victim of long held beliefs. Depictions of the crucifixion had our Lord high on a literal cross. If I understand the mechanics of crucifixion, the height would be irrelevant to the excruciating physical pain He endured. Whether a cross or stake as some believe, would have made no difference. If what I read is true, death would come by lung compression and suffocation.

I haven't overlooked the true nature of His sacrifice at least as far as I can understand it. I don't know that I could survive the pain of nails through my feet and wrists let alone the darkness He
suffered. The best I can do is follow Him. And today, that can sometimes be a challenge. I shudder to think of what it may be in the future. Our greatest challenges are yet to come.

Response #14:

Indeed, we can't know how we will bear up under what is ahead until it is actually upon us. What we can do is prepare spiritually, and it is certain that the more we prepare spiritually the better we shall do (and vice versa). This will be about spiritual courage empowered by the Holy Spirit, not about physical courage, something which many unbelievers have as a natural part of their makeup.

Question #15:

I rarely pray for myself, but I do pray for the strength, mental, physical and spiritual, to endure the coming ordeal. I think of Stephen and the incredible strength it took to to endure what he did and wonder. I believe, that if I'm written in the book, I'll be given the strength required. And, I hate to admit, I sometimes hope I don't live that long. But, as the Lord wills.

Response #15:

We have to remember that the plan is perfect and that the foreknowledge of God is perfect. Just as He is working all out for good for us now, the same thing will be true in the future. The Tribulation is not going to change the nature of God or the intensity and perfection of His love for us. Those who don't know Him are the ones who are going to be in trouble – just as was the case in the exodus.

Question #16:

Could you comment on the thoughts below? A lady in our home group Wednesday asked T & me to research ' Jonah's 3 days and 3 nights'. This is what we came up with.

What do you think?

Jonah's 3 days and 3 nights

Jesus clearly stated that he would be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights. This conflicts with the current ‘Good Friday’ Passover, which simply assumes that Jesus was in the grave for two nights only, i.e. Friday and Saturday night. As we believe in the inerrancy of God’s word, this would mean that man has somehow contrived to get Good Friday wrong. How badly will soon become apparent.

In order for Jesus to be in the grave for 3 nights would mean that He was crucified on the Thursday (around the 6th hour, 12:00 noon), not the Friday. There is no other way to interpret it.

Matt 12:40 “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

We all agree Jesus was resurrected early on the Sunday, the first day of the week (Luke 24:1). Counting backwards it means that Saturday, Friday and Thursday nights were the three nights that He was in the grave. Clearly Thursday must have been the day of the crucifixion. But why does it seem that the bible implies that he was crucified before the sabbath? There is a simple explanation for this, and that is because there were two back to back ‘holy days’. This situation arises because the first (and last) day of the feast of unleavened bread are considered ‘holy days’ during which no servile work was to be done’. In this case the Friday, being the first day of unleavened bread, or the ‘day of preparation’, was a religious holiday, a ceremonial holy day. This day could be any day of the week depending on what particular year is being considered. In this case the ‘unleavened sabbath’ was immediately before the ‘regular sabbath’.

Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: …. {12:16} And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.

Numbers 28:16 “And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD. {28:17} And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. {28:18} In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein… i.e. like a sabbath.

Clearly in Numbers 28 the Passover is eaten the day before the start of the feast of unleavened bread, which is much like a sabbath. Also see post '3.8..The Jewish ceremonial Calendar'. This now ties up with Luke’s account as follows:

Wednesday (ends at 6pm)

Luke 22:8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.

Thursday: (starts at 6pm on the previous day)

And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. Luke 22:14 (Jesus eats the passover with His disciples)
{22:39} And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives;……..
{22:54} Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house
“And as soon as it was day (i.e. Thursday a.m.), the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together,(Luke 22:66)
(Herod) … sent him again to Pilate. {23:12} And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together…
{23:21} But they cried, saying, Crucify…{23:25} And he released unto them him (Barabbas) that for sedition and murder was cast into prison,
{23:44} And it was about the sixth hour (Thursday 12.00 noon), and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. {23:45} And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
{23:53} And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.”

Friday: Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. {23:55} And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. {23:56} And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; (i.e. on the ‘unleavened sabbath’)……..

Saturday {23:56} ……; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Sunday {24:1} Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre,

Is it clear already? Lets try the same with Mark and Matthew. Mark is essential because it clearly states that the day of preparation is the day before the sabbath, a separate day which obviously was the Friday, the day after the crucifixion.

Thursday Mark 15:37 “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. {15:38} And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom…………”
Friday {Mark 15:42} And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, {15:43} Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus…..and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. {15:47} And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.
Saturday – the Sabbath – no work of any sort done by the Pharisees or the women
Sunday {Mark 16:1} And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

It also ties up with Matthew’s account as follows:

Thursday (Passover and day of the Crucifixion) Matt 27:45: Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
Friday: (starts 6pm on the Thursday, first day of the feast of unleavened bread): Matt 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: {27:58} He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. {27:59} And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, {27:60} And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. {27:61} And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
Saturday: {Matt 27:62} Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, ……{27:65} Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. {27:66} So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Sunday: {Matt 28:1} In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. {28:2} And, behold, there was a great earthquake:

How did they get away with the ‘Good Friday’ deception?

Jesus did not institute the Easter celebrations, the Catholic church probably did. There is no reason for Christians to consider Easter as a ‘holy day’. We are only required to remember Jesus sacrifice on the cross regularly during communion. That’s it. Christmas and Easter are feasts instituted by man, and are purely traditional. But to change, institutionalize and promote a false interpretation of scripture in order to fit their doctrines is evil. There seems to be a coordinated attempt to change bible references as well.

It will be seen that all ‘new’ translations (originating from Westcott and Hort's Greek text/Vaticanus/Sinaiticus) change the KJV’s ‘the third day‘ to ‘on the third day’. In this way its easier to say that Jesus was in the grave on Friday and Saturday night, and resurrected ‘on’ the third day. (Adding the word 'on' succeeds to deceive us …the sabbath was 6pm Friday, to 6pm Saturday, i.e. one day. Jesus rose approx. 12 hours later , early on the Sunday. By that (wrong) reckoning, if one counts Friday as the first day, He rose ‘on the third day’.)

However, the KJV clearly doesn’t teach this:

Matthew 16:21 “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
Matthew 17:23 “And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”
Matthew 20:19 “And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.”
Matthew 27:64 “Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.”
Mark 9:31 “For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.”
Mark 10:34 “And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.”
Luke 9:22 “Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.”
Luke 13:32 “And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”
Luke 18:32-33 “For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.”
Luke 24:6-7 “He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
Luke 24:21 “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.”
Luke 24:46 “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:”
Acts 10:39-40 “And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

So we may ask "is the 'Good Friday' deception a human error, or deliberate attempt to mislead?" If so, what is achieved by this deception?

Nevertheless, this is a good illustration of how easily we can get deceived by 'the majority opinion'. It could be dead wrong.


Response #16:

There are a great many individuals out there in the ether who want to make a great deal out of whether the cross occurred on a Friday, Thursday or Wednesday. Personally, I'm not into organized religion. We know that the Lord's fulfillment of the purpose of the Law obviated the need for festivals (among other things in the Law), and so there is absolutely no scriptural basis for celebrating Easter, let alone "Good Friday" (even if a person thinks it was a Thursday or a Wednesday).

Certainly, every principle of biblical truth is important, but some are very important, some moderately important, some only important in principle. That's still "important" (as all truth is), but it ought to set off any believer's spiritual warning radar when a principle that clearly belongs to category three is elevated by someone to category one. I call this phenomenon "hobby-horsing", and I have seen it a lot; that is, when a small point becomes, seemingly, the whole purpose and focus of some putative believer's "spiritual" life, "fighting for the truth" of this small point when to others the importance seems tertiary rather than primary (as is the case here).

This is not the only "hobby-horse" cause I've heard of by any means, but I've had to spill ink and time on it before. Bottom line: our Lord was crucified on Friday and rose on Sunday. "How can that be three days and three nights?" Short answer: in the ancient world they count inclusively, and having any part in one day causes it to be counted as a full day. We see an example of this in the supposed disparity between Luke 9:28 on the one hand and Matthew 17:1 and Mark 9:2 on the other. "Why is the count different?" Short answer: Luke was counting inclusively after the Greek system but Matthew and Mark were not.

It is also a characteristic of such hobby-horse flights of fancy that they include all manner of seemingly impressive detail, often from extra-biblical sources, often rabbinic, and the net effect of all the "data" is that a person feels "carpet-bombed" into submission. It's all very odd – and that is a sure sign that it's not correct. I've given you the gist here. If you are interested in the details, they can be found at the links (warning: it's a lot of hard slogging to get the same place indicated above):

The Three Days (in BB 4A: Christology)

Aspects of the Crucifixion II: Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?

Three Days in the Grave

Friday versus Thursday Crucifixion.

Wednesday Crucifixion?

Wednesday Crucifixion 2?

Happy to answer any specific questions not covered above or in the links.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Thanks Robert,

Totally agree that Easter is a side issue and need not be observed. But the inerrancy of the Word is not a side issue. I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you on this one. To me Mark's chronology is clear: Passover, the preparation, and the sabbath were 3 separate days.

Thursday Mark 15:37 “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. {15:38} And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom…………”
Friday {Mark 15:42} And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, {15:43} Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus…..and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. {15:47} And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid"


Response #17:

I'm confused by your response.

You quote Mark 15:42 which states that the evening of the day on which our Lord was crucified was "the day before the Sabbath". The Sabbath is Saturday, the day before, the "day of preparation", is Friday, not Thursday. Even in Greece today, Friday bears this same name, paraskeue, that is "the day of preparation".

As mentioned, all the ins and outs of this are described in the links.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Robert,

I believe you have a very high view of the inerrancy of scripture. In your own words: "Suffice it to say, that such theories inevitably stem from a low view of the doctrine of inspiration, that is, a failure to appreciate and accept the truth of the fact that in the book of Revelation we have the very words of God to the same exact and perfect degree as is the case with all the other inspired books of the canon."

If Jesus himself in Matthew 12:40 distinctly says that He will be in the grave for three nights, who are we to say that He was wrong? {12:40} For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Claiming a Friday crucifixion (i.e. 2 nights) we are either saying Jesus' statement was wrong, or scripture is in error.

Three nights is what we have in scripture. Talking about 3 'days' is not the issue. It's simple, no amount of verbiage is going to cloud the issue, try as you may. Are we going to believe God or man?


Response #18:

Indeed, the Bible is the truth – and I believe that you believe that too.

In my last email, I demonstrated that the Bible says that the crucifixion took place on the day before the Sabbath (Friday), and we know that our Lord rose on Sunday morning. He was therefore "in the grave" on Friday, Saturday and Sunday: three days. A day consists of a night and a day in biblical reckoning, and part of one is reckoned as a whole. So what actually is recorded as happening fulfills the prophecy.

Let me point out that you are finding fault with what is recorded as happening on account of the prophecy you quote here; but in fact you are failing to understand the prophecy and allowing that misinterpretation to cause you to disregard what the scriptures say actually happened at the crucifixion and resurrection.

Also, the fault you find is that – according to your reckoning (which is not the biblical reckoning) – if what the scriptures say happened actually happened as they say it did (and it did), then our Lord would not have spent three FULL days and nights in the grave. So you see a problem because the time was not fully spent. But that insistence on demanding relative MORE fullness to count for only a whole (and not more even though it is more) rather than relatively LESS fullness to count for a whole (even though in our thinking it falls short), while a cultural prejudice we have today, was not shared in antiquity (see the link: "the Hebrew word for 'all' ").

Let me point out that our Lord says in the prophecy you quote "three days and three nights". You are taking this to mean "three days and three nights EXACTLY". But if we were to adopt your alternative and substitute modern western time calculation (instead of interpreting scripture according to the times in which it was written), we would still find that our Lord was placed in the tomb very late on Thursday but rose very early on Sunday. That would mean that He would have, by our modern reckoning, spent only two and a half days and nights in the tomb, not precisely three. Moving the day of crucifixion back another day to Wednesday (as some have also proposed) creates a new problem. If that had been the case, then our Lord would have spent three AND A HALF days and nights in the grave. That is also NOT what the prophecy states, and given that three days is the maximum time limit before, according to the way things were judged at the time, corruption occurs (cf. Jn.11:39), that would violate the prophecy that He would "never see corruption" (Ps.16:10).

As it actually happened, however, our Lord spent a part of all three day-and-nights in the grave and thus fulfilled the prophecy. It happened just as the gospels say it happened. Imposing our cultural norms and modern calculations upon the Bible without regard for the proper manner of interpreting scripture and especially prophecy not only doesn't work (as demonstrated) but is also a very slippery slope which always leads downward. Consider: on the one hand the day of the crucifixion is not a major issue for Christian faith and practice as long as we accept the testimony of scripture completely and further accept that all prophecy about the Lord was perfectly fulfilled (even if we have some questions about it); on the other hand, becoming a partisan for an alternative position of little account and becoming agitated about it and allowing this small issue to assume out-sized proportions to the point of undermining spiritual growth is a very poor bargain to make, especially since the position is incorrect. And the spiritual disruption which allegiance to this position is causing is a sure sign that it is wrong as well.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Thanks Robert, for taking the time to explain your position.

I agree with your summary that we're not dealing with a major issue here ' as long as we accept the testimony of scripture completely and further accept that all prophecy about the Lord was perfectly fulfilled' about Him being 'in the heart of the earth' for 3 days and 3 nights. I admit I did think at one stage that principle was being threatened by your position. I do now understand your reasoning, although I still find it a bit of a stretch.

It is our incomplete picture of events or mis-understanding thereof which gives rise to difficulties, however in this case that was positive for me in leading me to have a closer look at scripture.

I have enjoyed digging into the passover/unleavened bread feast as well and some of the seeming discrepancies between the 4 gospels. To find a plausible solution was an enlightening journey with a number of other delightful truths clarified. (Steve Anderson's Luke 22 sermon was also helpful)


Response #19:

My pleasure.

Feel free to write any time, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

I read an article where a theological student said that he can prove using precise grammar and exegesis in the NT that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday. Is this true? Those who argue for a Friday crucifixion argue that a part of a day can be considered an entire day according to the Jews. They argue that Jesus was in the grave part of Friday, all of Saturday, and all of Sunday. Those who say Friday say so because Jesus was crucified the day before the sabbath. Another argument is that Jesus was to rise on the third day, therefore, He could not be in the grave for a FULL three days and nights. Some translations use "on the third day", while others use "after" three days. There is so much confusion regarding this. What day was Jesus crucified according to the accuracy of the grammar in the bible?

God Bless,

Response #20:

Many people do seem confused, although there is nothing confusing about it if a person is really reading the Bible:

Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Mark 15:42-43 NKJV

Note that the day of the crucifixion is clearly said to be the day before the Sabbath. The Sabbath is Saturday. So the day of the crucifixion was Friday. Even today in Greece, Friday is called Paraskeue, the same word translated above "Preparation Day".

So this issue is only "confusing" because certain groups have made it what I call a "hobby-horse issue", that is, something usually not very important which is nevertheless invested with tons of "research" and reams of paper to "prove" that everyone else is "wrong". These sorts of things don't even pass the "sniff test" however – not with any Christian who is growing spiritually and has some spiritual common sense. The fact that someone is making such a big deal out of proving something not so important as different from what is generally thought to be the case is a sure give away that the person is not really that interested in the truth of scripture but only with their own egos.

Incidentally, "three days" counted according to western methods won't work for Thursday either because if Christ were crucified and put in the grave late on Thursday, since He rose very early Sunday morning, the clock would still lack about half a day. Wednesday (yes, some say it was Wednesday) doesn't work either because in that case the clock would have run over by half a day and now we are into the fourth day wherein there is "corruption" (Jn.11:39), but our Lord is prophesied to "never see corruption" (Ps.16:10; cf. Acts 2:27; 2:31; 13:35). So we are left to accept that . . . what the Bible says is true.

You are correct in your understanding of how this actually works. In the standard inclusive counting of the ancient world, a part counts for a whole. Their concept of "all" is different from our "modern" concept. We are not "more correct"; we just have a different point of view. We might say, "the whole city was destroyed" and be OK with that description even if a few building were left partially standing and there were a few survivors; the Hebrew way of looking at things might use "whole" for somewhat less destruction . . . with which we might quibble. But neither description is total or absolutely exact, and both express "significant destruction". So likewise on this point, they are a little "under", whereas we might find it OK if things were a little "over" on the time line. But if a person wants to be slavishly literal, an exact microsecond count from the time the Lord's body entered the tomb till the moment He walked out would be required. That is the Procrustean logic people who want to dispute Friday crucifixion call down on themselves – and it is not biblical (see the link: "the Hebrew word for 'all' ").

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob,

The part in the bible where the poor widow gave her last two mites in the offering, does this text have anything to do with tithing? I don't always agree with John MacArthur, but he said that it has NOTHING to do with tithing and Pastors have abused that passage for their gain. He said the context has to do with the widow trying to "earn" her way to God or Heaven. And then cited the passage after that regarding the Pharisees "devouring" WIDOW's houses and making false converts. Is he correct about that?

God Bless,

Response #21:

I don't find anything in the passage about tithing. Please also note that the Lord was not commending the widow for doing what she did. He was merely pointing out that because she had nothing, this gift represented a sacrifice far greater than the Pharisees who were literally trumpeting donations of far less proportional value.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:


I've never visited your site before but it was a pleasure and very interesting. I don't know if you have or have not been asked the question whether or not the bible is in chronological order. I'm not a bible scholar, I have no collage degree, I have a high school diploma from 1972, I was born again in 1991 and the next 27 years me and my family were planted in 3 different churches under 3 different Pastors. The fist church that we were all born again closed, 2nd church closed 3rd church the pastor died a few months ago. I'm now in my sixties with more neurological and physical challenges, it's would be easier to tell you what I don't have then do. I'm now looking at dementia with Alzheimer's disease possibly with 11 new neurological symptoms. 3 of them is sleep disorders/insomnia, roaming and short term memory loss. So all hours of the night and all hours after midnight I roam around our apartment complex grounds with my red walker, i park my walker at 3 different locations and sit. I have no agenda, no expectations and my mind is clear no memory so I sit and stare. Doing that for 4+ months and I have learned more about my Heavenly Father and His written, breathing living word in 4+ months then I have in 27 years, I learned more about me, the REAL ME HOW MY FATHER SEES ME as well and during those night hours the Father speaks. He has a lot to say and I have a lot I need to hear. One of many things the Father said to me was this, "My son Jon, the Pastors who taught you were all good men but like many of My people they read and interrupt My word through their natural eyes instead of allowing My Spirit to bring illumination to them through My eyes." So the Father has shown me some mistakes that I assumed to be true for many years because of the pastors I was under. One of them was, "We have today, yesterday is in the past and tomorrow is not promised." So one night the Father says, "you have been saying this for quite some time correct? Yes I said, He replied, show Me in My word where it says that. So I take about a half hour I search the bible, now understand I've never read the bible from cover to cover and I never memorized scripture, so now I am on my phone on Google searching. Yes there are some forms of it but not the exact way I have been saying it. A half-hour goes by and the Father asks me, "Jon were you able to find it?" He knows it's not there, I said no. He says, "it's not there. Now, allow Me to show you something. Because of all your Neurological hurdles, you came up with something to help you adapt, but it was Me that dropped the word NOW into your spirit. Some of My children believe that their yesterdays, today's and tomorrows are all based on man's calendar days, it's not your todays are "NOW" your yesterdays are one second behind NOW and your Tomorrows are one second in front of your "NOW'S." why? Because every second in front of your NOWS you do not know what's going to happen so live for Me NOW, Love Me NOW, Surrender to Me NOW, minister NOW, do everything NOW, don't procrastinate, do it NOW. The Father has shown me taught me loved me healed my heart. I could go on and on and on, I apologize. The Fathers been recently showing me things about His word and one thing He told me was that His word was written in chronological order. When He said that to me I had no idea what that even meant and I still don't to a point. The Father said the reason it was written in chronological order was to provide mankind a word to picture view of the beginning to the end. don't know what chronological truly means and especially with all my neurological hurdles, but as I was led to search I found your site and to let you know that the Father says His word was written in chronological order, never to be divided, the law was given and we live under grace. The Father keeps on saying Manipulation. It was man's manipulation that did the following:
1) people to believe His word was not written in chronological order.
2) the law given
3) His word divided; never meant to be divided


Response #22:

Thank you for your email.

You are most welcome to use any and all of the materials at Ichthys any time.

I also answer Bible questions for those interested.

You did ask: "if you have or have not been asked the question whether or not the bible is in chronological order (?)".

Answer: Yes. I've also responded. Here are two of the main links for that:

Chronological Order of the Books of the Bible I

Chronological Order of the Books of the Bible II

It's important to understand what a person means by "chronological". Usually what I am being asked on this subject is "which book was written first, second, third, etc." This is not an easy question to answer, but one cannot assume that the order of our English Bible is the only one. Not at all. The most common Hebrew text order, for example, places Chronicles last (there are other differences from our English order too). In the Greek text order, what we have in the English Bible is the same as most Greek manuscripts, but the oldest and best has a number of differences from our English order, with Hebrews between Thessalonians and the epistles to Timothy, and with Acts coming between Philemon and James.

For people who want to read the books in "chronological order" in regard not to when the book was written but when the events in the book, we face the further problem of historical books. The book of Acts covers a long time period within which Paul (and others) wrote a number of the epistles, so one would have to stop reading Acts at some point and begin reading 1st and 2nd Corinthians and so on with all the other epistles – even if the dates were surely known.

This is not as unusual as it might seem to us. In the ancient world a "book" was a scroll (usually of papyrus). "Books" as we know them were not invented until the second century A.D. (after the closing of the canon of scripture). Until that point, a congregation would have a scroll for each of the four gospels, most likely, and with other books on individual scrolls or perhaps combined with other books (such as the pastorals going together). It was only later (2nd or 3rd century) that these "books" were combined into THE book.

The Bible we have today is indeed God's complete and undivided Word. He superintended the process of writing it, distributing it, and we can be sure that He saw to it what we have is correct (even in terms of textual issues, these are a relatively small proportion of the Bible and all solvable for those who are trained in the original languages AND the truth of scripture).

This is just a snippet of some of the issues addressed in the links above and elsewhere at Ichthys. I'm happy to correspond with you about any of these issues.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2nd Timothy 2:15 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #23:

Mr. Luginbill,

Thank you for being gracious and taking the time for responding to my email. Up until a short time ago, as was shared, I had no idea what the definition was for the term, "Chronological Order" or that the written Word of God was or wasn't in chronological order, or to be even more transparent, I had zero interest what books of my bible were written in which year, none of that had any interest for me. I had enough on my plate having to deal with all the Neurological hurdles I had, have or will face in my life. "BUT GOD." He has that way and timing to come and lift us out of the pit when our heart cries out, "Father Help Me, in our spirit, even before our natural mind knows or understands what's happening. That's exactly what took place in me because you "read" the transformation from my eyes on ME to HIM, my will in submission to the Father's.

It was the Father that inspired the conversation about His word being written in chronological order. The Father says it's not about which book was written first but about time - chronological order, without chronological order (perfect time) you cannot have cause & effect. He says every second behind becomes history. He wanted to show us the "Big Picture" Beginning. If it's all in chronological order, as one reads/sees through the Fathers Eyes, the revelation becomes quite clear, from the beginning to the end "cause & effect is continuous, an unbroken circle.

Mr Luginbill, please understand, I am not attempting to be argumentative or disruptive. But as much Fathers I will always have two choices, obedience or disobedience. I deal in facts. The facts for me are this, I know I'm Born Again, I know the "Call" on my life, the word says my call is irrevocable, the Father revealed to me why, because it's who I am, it was written in my DNA before the foundations of the earth was created, He's God and can do anything but taking back my call, to Him, would be like changing my gender, He can do that but He won't. I chose for 27- years to be disobedient and I will not make that same choice again, why? The cause & effect in my and those I love paid a high price. So Mr. Luginbill if I'm wrong then the Father will deal with me. Those are the FACTS.

Be Blessed,

Response #23:

With all due respect, I'm still unclear as to what you mean by "chronological order"; as explained, this is a phrase which depends on how people define it and there is more than one way to look at the issue.

Also, I'm unclear about what you feel should be done (or not done) in response.

Also as explained, the order of the books in the English Bible is not identical to the Greek and Hebrew orders which predate them; and it's not really possible to say with exact certainty which books were written in which order. We do know that Revelation was written last and occurs last in all orders and that the Pentateuch was written first and occurs first in all orders.

As long as Christians are actually reading their Bibles, the order in which they read them doesn't matter. I do encourage people, however, to spend rather more time on the New Testament. Many Bible reading plans want to "start at the beginning", but that will leave weeks or months (depending upon how much one is reading every day) before the New Testament – where so much truth specific for our present Church Age is concentrated – is even touched. For some suggestions please see the following link: Read your Bible

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

It seems that I'm on a roll with asking good questions. Here are some more. When Paul wrote Hebrews 13:3 he says

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

What is the correct interpretation? Is it:

(A) Have compassion on those in prison because you are also in a prison: I'm talking about your body!
(B) Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body of Christ and should care for one another.
(C) Something else.

Also, it seems that Paul was reading the Book of Wisdom when he was writing Romans 1. Some of the phraseology is near identical.

(1.A.) "For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby." (Wisdom 13:5)

(1.B) "Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable." (Romans 1:19-20)

(2.A) "For the beginning of fornication is the devising of idols: and the invention of them is the corruption of life." (Wisdom 14:12)

(2.B.) "And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." (Romans 1:23-24)

Response #24:

For your first question, (B) is correct. (A) is Platonic, soma sema, as it was said, "the body is a tomb"; but we know that "the Lord is for the body" (1Cor.6:13), and means for us to use our time while in it as the bountiful opportunity it is.

On the other issue, it could well be the other way around. As far as I know, there are no indications of the existence of this book until after Paul had written Romans.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

I was listening to a sermon where the Pastor said that the bible contains the trinity in the very first verse, but in a different way.

(Genesis 1:1) "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

He said that the in the Bible contains a "trinity of trinities consisting of time, space and matter.

1. "In the beginning" = Time (Past, Present, Future)

2. "God created the heaven" = Space (Height, Length, Width)

3. "and the Earth" = Matter (Solid, Liquid, and Gas)

What are your thoughts on this? Is this going out of what should be taught about the Trinity or Creation?

My second question is about signs on Churches that seem vulgar. For instance, there is a Baptist church and the sign out front read, "Love the Lord your God. Is God your personal lover?" They argue that people are taking it the wrong way and it simply means that we should love God with all our hearts. For some reason, it doesn't sit well with me. Do you think that churches should put signs up like that?

This just came to my mind which is why I did not ask it in the other email. I've been thinking in my mind a lot of how terrible this world is with all the hate, crime, murder, etc., and it deeply disturbs me. I find myself praying to the Lord to please take me home and out of this world, but at the same time I want to fulfill God's will in my life. I believe with ALL MY HEART that God's will is for me to witness to my loved ones and have them come to Christ as their Savior. One of my brothers is now with God because I had witnessed to him, and he believed the Gospel with every fiber of his being, and his change of life proved it. The last time I saw him was on his birthday, and I never hung out with him as much as I did that day; it was truly a blessing from God. And now my sister who was living with him reached out to me about Salvation. I don't take all dreams to come from God but this was a bit different. She said that she had a dream where she saw my departed brother who was very happy and gentle in the dream, and he told her that the ONLY way to get to God is through Jesus Christ. She also said that she had another dream where she was headed toward a cliff through a narrow passageway, and that Jesus stood at the edge of the cliff blocking her. She said she reached out to me because of these dreams. But in spite of the dreams, I can see God's will coming to pass in my life; that my entire family will come to the knowledge of the Savior and be saved. So I guess what I'm asking is...is it wrong to pray to the Lord to go home now? Sometimes I feel that it is selfish and that I would only cause grief to my parents and loved ones, and that God wants His will to be completely fulfilled in my life. What are your thoughts on this? My number one prayer is to die glorifying God with all my heart, unless He decides to return to Earth before that occurs.

God Bless,

Response #25:

Paul said this:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Philippians 1:21-24 NIV

So I think your desire – to be with Christ on the one hand but to carry out the mission you have been given on the other – is right on the money. We don't know what is best for us because of the same reasoning you've espoused and what Paul says above. That is why we pray to our Father in heaven every day, "Thy will be done!"

On the supposed Trinity example, I don't see it. I have used physical analogies as illustrations to help explain the Trinity, but I would never claim that they prove the Trinity. Since this person is linking the physical analogy to the scripture, while I would advise against it, I would caution that if done anyway the person should go out of his way to make it clear that 1) this is not proof of the Trinity; 2) this passage is not actually teaching the Trinity by saying these things; 3) this is merely an illustration of the Trinity – anything beyond that would be incorrect in terms of this passage (see the link: in BB 1: "Definition (and illustration) of the Trinity").

As to contemporary churches, I wouldn't worry about them. It's not much use rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, as they say:

"Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit."
Matthew 15:14 NIV

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Good day sir,

Hope my message meet you well? I thank God for you.

Quite a time, am fine and still in the Lord. PLS CAN YOU HELP ME ON THIS. Luke 12:34. The question is AS WE SPEND MONEY IN THE WORLD WHAT ARE WE GOING TO SPEND IN HEAVEN. Thanks.

Response #26:

I'm very pleased to hear from you, my friend, and delighted to know that you are still fighting the good fight for Jesus Christ!

As to your question, the "treasure" we are to store up in heaven (as in Lk.12:34) is not money nor is it material. We know that there are great rewards coming to believers who do what the Lord would have us to do here on this earth with the time and the free will we are given (e.g., Heb.11:6). And I am sure that the smallest reward given by the Lord when He evaluates the Church will be better than possessing the entire world in this life – because, for one thing, this world is passing away, but what we will have will last forever.

But as it is written:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
1st Corinthians 2:9 NKJV

As this verse makes clear, we don't yet know the wonders the Lord has for us in eternity.  That is doubly true when we consider that we don't know how wonderful the resurrection body will be.  Or how wonderful New Jerusalem will be.  The Bible gives us some information on both (see the links), but these are both things of such transcendent blessing that we cannot even begin to fathom their wonders down here on this earth in these temporary bodies.  We also know that there will be crowns of reward given for those who excel in the service of Jesus Christ (see the link). And we know that we who win the victory will rule with Christ during His millennial kingdom (e.g., Rev.2:26-27). So the rewards ahead will be great, greater than any amount of mere money in this world. We can't appreciate them yet – and that is no doubt also deliberate so that the motivation we deploy in love of Jesus Christ will be genuine.

(25) "Only hold fast to what you possess until I come. (26) And to the one who wins the victory and gives heed to My works until the end, I will give to him authority over the nations. (27) And he will shepherd them with an iron rod and crush them like vessels of clay, (28) just as I have received [the authority] from My Father. And I will give him the Morning Star. (29) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Revelation 2:25-29

In Jesus Christ our Lord, the One who will evaluate us all for our deeds in this life on that great day to come.

Bob L.

Question #27:

Hi Bob,

"But Moses searched carefully for the goat of the sin offering, and behold, it had been burned up! So he was angry with Aaron’s surviving sons Eleazar and Ithamar, saying, 'Why did you not eat the sin offering at the holy place? For it is most holy, and He gave it to you to bear away the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord. Behold, since its blood had not been brought inside, into the sanctuary, you should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, just as I commanded.' But Aaron spoke to Moses, 'Behold, this very day they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord. When things like these happened to me, if I had eaten a sin offering today, would it have been good in the sight of the Lord?' When Moses heard that, it seemed good in his sight."
(Leviticus 10:16-20)

Nothing of this event makes sense to me. Explain it as you would to a millennial teenager. And why would the priests eating the meat "bear away the guilt of the congregation"? Is that even what Aaron was saying?


Response #27:

Two questions here, it seems to me. Aaron rightly concluded that for him to engage in this sacred ritual meant to be rejoiced over (since it represents salvation) was inappropriate when he could not do it justice in his heart because of his recent loss.

The high priest (and priests generally) represented Christ. So all of the rituals which represent the cross have the symbolism of the priest bearing the guilt as a type of Christ (in resurrection), just as the animals slaughtered and burned represent Christ (going to the cross):

"You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD."
Exodus 28:36-38 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I am interested to know whether you have any studies on just "Types & Shadows", both Old and New Testaments? If you do, would you please send me the links. If not, can you recommend a good book and author that I might purchase one? Thanks so much for your great help and guidance as always.

Moving on the Upward Way.

Your friend

Response #28:

I do treat these subjects when they come up in the course of doing other things. For example, please see these links:

Typology and Sequence in Old Testament Prophecy

Old Testament Typology

Hermeneutics, Typology, Christophany, Theophany and Anthropopathism

Biblical Metaphors and Symbolism

The Heavenly and Earthly Tabernacle (for the symbolism of the altar et al.)

However, I've not engaged this area as an extensive special topic. Here is one famous work, available online:

Christology of the Old Testament by Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg

Also, M.F. Unger's  Commentary on the Old Testament (Moody: Chicago 1981) treats these matters in a orthodox way when they come up.

I don't know of anything recent which is of much use. The problem is that for a subject like this to be treated well, the author has to have an in-depth understanding of doctrinal issues generally – and that is in very short supply these days as you know. Generally speaking, if a work on these topics was done since WWII, I'd be suspect; if was done before, it's probably available on line.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Hi Bob,

I went to a club meeting rather recently regarding so-called "technical interviews" for various and sundry computer science jobs. The gist is that unlike most interviews where there is some chit-chat about one's resume and experience and a very hand-wavy evaluation process, we CS graduates are blessed with solving problems under time pressure in the presence of people taking notes when we want to get hired. It's probably just about as fun as it sounds.

At any rate, this got me to start thinking about what career avenue I should pursue. As we've talked about already, the current plan is to graduate ASAP (that day cannot come soon enough...), then support myself doing computer science things while teaching the Bible in some capacity on the side. (Or rather teach the Bible while doing computer science things on the side). The tricky bit is that there is a whole awful lot of variation in this particular field.

The three initial paths that have jumped out at me:

1) Work for a big tech company like Google, Amazon, or Microsoft. This is definitely the best from a career perspective (doing so would be "prestigious," whatever exactly that means), and would open doors down the road in terms of what I could do after that. For example, I'd probably have an easier time freelancing down the road with Google on my resume.

2) Work for a boring-but-stable company. Designing bank software, writing database software to catalog clothing inventory for department stores, and what have you.

3) Work for a company designing Bible Study software (the two big names are Logos and Accordance).

The are pros and cons to all three of these approaches. The big prestigious company route would probably be more mentally taxing during the work day, and said work day might get stretched more into evenings and weekends (although I haven't been able to confirm 100% that one has to become a workaholic to work at such companies. I'm sure it helps in winning the rat race though – getting promoted to middle management). The boring company route would be, well, boring. It would pay the bills though, and probably give me more mental energy to dedicate to study and ministry. The Bible study software route would hypothetically let me work in a Christian environment (as much as a company can be, at any rate), while combining my computer science skills and studies in Greek and Hebrew. However, while I do personally use software from both of these companies, I find most of the marketing distasteful, and think they focus on extra-biblical things (such as commentaries and expensive books from famous poobahs) over scripture and practical but demanding works (like lexicons and grammars). So this would not necessarily be a panacea either.

Do you think it's worth trying to find a job near a church you know is actually teaching the truth? In the long shot that you had a seminary colleague, for example, who you knew had a local church in X city that would be receptive towards my endeavors (and provide a good environment for me to grow in until I fully reach a point of production), and I got an offer in X city – would it be proper for me to rate that offer higher? (Do you have any such colleagues or connections to make this relevant in any respect)?

Yours in Christ,

P.S. -- I find myself chuckling to myself wryly most every week when I read the email postings. Usually I find some observation of yours somewhat amusing -- not because it's not serious, but just because life is sometimes genuinely funny in how things work (or so it seems to me). For example, this week it was your response to the reader inquiring about how to interpret scripture better:

In any case, the method is really very simple to describe if difficult to carry through: 1) be given the gift of pastor-teacher; 2) learn Greek and Hebrew very well; 3) grow up to spiritual maturity under a solid teaching ministry that digs into the Word of God the right way; 4) learn the doctrines of scripture; 5) learn the Bible inside out; 6) work very hard at figuring things out and teaching for many years; 7) give yourself over to the Spirit for Him to guide you and to honor you hard work and solid preparation by leading you to the truth.

This is dead-serious stuff, but it still made me laugh. It's so simple – yet so very, very hard to do things the right way. One must "work very hard," as you say.

Do you think one can have a sanctified chuckle at the pomposity of life every once in a while? Or gross understatement about difficult things, or looney cult behavior, or any of the other baffling and inexplicable things that humans get up to? I think so – but humor is always a fine line for Christians, as much of what people call humor is definitely not appropriate.

Response #29:

On the "p.s.", I think humor is fine if it is not 1) obscene, and 2) not at the expense of someone else. Of course, well over 90% of what passes for humor these days falls into either category 1 or 2 and often both.

On the job front, some people have a tendency to do very little in preparation for such things – less than they should. You seem to me to be the type of person who is overly diligent. The thing is, despite hyper-analysis, there are so many unknowns that the end result is likely to be a complete surprise on the other side in any case. Which means that to a large degree we are probably better off leaving many of these details to the Lord. Of course you have to have some direction. He will honor the godly thinking and intentions behind your analysis without you having to discern before the fact things that are at present indiscernible.

For example, you can't know ahead of time whether or not your immediate boss will be an angel or a devil or in between. Even if you pick the perfect option and do the perfect interview and get hired to the perfect-seeming job in the perfect place with the perfect conditions, one little thing like a bad boss can ruin the whole omelet.

I think possibly setting conditions based on what you think you need to have in order to do what the Lord wants you to do is a better approach: such as, enough money to get by and enough time to work on your ministry (and a family life) without a tremendous amount of pressure that will make this impossible and in a place where pursuing the ministry you have in mind looks reasonably possible. If there are multiple possibilities which seem to fill those requirements (along with whatever else I've left off the list), then I suppose that's all to the good. But the Lord blessed me with this job when I probably wouldn't have picked it if I'd had the opportunity to get on at, e.g., Harvard (which would have been a disaster for many reasons).

I don't have a strong opinion about practice interviews. The real danger there is that you get an offer for a job that's too good to pass up and find yourself in a situation where you not only have to snap into a whole new life but also finish your degree on the side fairly quick or else get the heave-ho (akin to taking a tenure-track job when still ABD – a mistake I almost made).

I'm also not too sure how much practicing interviews helps. It does to some degree, I'm sure. If I had done that, perhaps I would have gotten on at, e.g., Harvard. I was TERRIBLE . . . looking back now from thirty years or so of additional life-experience. But it did work out. I would say that the personal chemistry between the interviewers and the interviewee seem to me to have been the decisive factor. Other than that, they are looking for very specific qualifications and those aren't going to change because of interview practice. Also, interviewing is hard on the soul, the wallet, and one's limited time and energy. Note: you're spending time on this subject instead of other things; committing to the process will increase that expenditure by orders of magnitude.

If you had a favorite church or the like where there were many like-minded people, getting a job nearby would be a positive. I'm not sure it's a reason to move to, e.g., Denver or Houston, unless you want to try out living there in any case. My friend Mark Perkin's church in Denver is not terribly large, I don't believe, and whether or not you'd want to commit to it once you'd been a few times is unknowable from twenty thousand feet; same goes for Berachah in Houston (in spades, actually, in terms of it likely not being your cup of tea). Dallas has DTS and the LA basin has The Master's Seminary, but getting involved in places such as that really requires full-time enrollment and that's another path entirely.

I do know that the Lord has got this in hand and that the plan which actually exists and is in the process of playing out is perfect. So this is another test – of genuine motives, desires and level of commitment.

I will certainly be keeping this in my prayers for you (already have been).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hi Bob,

I often hear Christians saying that God and Jesus doesn't laugh at all. I tend to disagree as I find some passages in the bible where I truly believe that God has a great sense of humor, even in the midst of His anger. I see this on the OT when the idol Dagon was found fallen on its face as in the position of worship (1 Sam.5:3). I also thought that when Jonah was vomited out of the mouth of a big fish to preach to those in Nineveh was somewhat funny. I could be wrong though, and it could most likely be just me having a terrible sense of humor. Is there a reason why Jesus laughing isn't mentioned in the gospels? Is it because His mission was very serious, or that the main point was to focus on Jesus' ministry?

God Bless,

Response #30:

It is true that there aren't any "jokes" in the Bible, but that doesn't mean there isn't natural humor or irony – there is plenty (as in your examples). Nothing was more serious than our Lord's coming into the world, and for that reason He gave up all manner of things that are part of a normal human life. For anyone in ministry, humor, while not forbidden, has to be carefully measured, because the dignity of the Word of God must not be compromised (Tit.2:7). But then we already know – or should – that all Christians need to be careful with their words. Humor is just one example of this. Here are some links on the topic:

Did Jesus use humor?

Using humor at the expense of others

Humor and the Bible

What does the Bible say about humor?

Absence of humor in the Bible

Sanctified humor

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #31:

Greetings Dr Luginbill,

I hope you are well!

So often, topics or themes come to mind that I'd love to sit and talk through and fellowship with you on, that to check in on such a minor point at this moment seems so lackluster! In any case, as I've been studying I have been referencing several sections of yours, one of which is the Gap Interpretation in your SR study. I'm in complete concurrence by the way. The semantical point I'd like for you to clarify for me is when you wrote about Satans identification with the sea creatures such as Leviathan and Rahab. Are you meaning to say that Leviathan, for example, is a literal creature contemporary to man, and that it is ALSO used symbolically to represent Satan? Or rather that it is indeed a mythical creature that would have bore some actual characteristics to a creature that existed for instance when the book of Job was penned; while also potentially assimilating some characteristics of creatures that were the result of perversion in the pre-Adamic post-rebellion angelic history? For some reason, not completely known to me yet, the need to be able to articulate the proper interpretation of this part of Job, and how to apply it spiritually, may be called upon in me in the future, so I wanted to consult with you as I'm fleshing some of this out.

Have a great rest of the day friend.

Response #31:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

As to your question, in my opinion in the book of Job, e.g., Behemoth is the hippopotamus and Leviathan is the crocodile (see the link: Explaining Job 40-41). However, in ancient times, knowledge of the world's aquatic life was not as far advanced as it is today (not that it is yet complete today). Part of the upshot of that is that these creatures were more mysterious to them than to us, and as a result of that they used certain words representing large and dangerous aquatic creatures more flexibly than we do today. So on the one hand, there was some knowledge of what a crocodile was when Job penned these words about Leviathan, but on the other hand there was enough mystery surrounding that creature for the word to be used metaphorically and symbolically for giant sea creatures of unknown proportions (cf. also Job 3:8, 41:1-34; Ps.74:12-14; Is.27:1). So while Leviathan the crocodile is real and was known to be real, the idea that there were "other Leviathans", generally called tanniyn ("sea monsters" or or "dragons" in KJV; see the link), was also clearly in view in the culture (as the citations just listed make clear). Mostly, the Bible makes use of this to present an allegory for the devil, and the same in all these matters is true of Rahab (that is, the monster, not the woman who saved the spies – they are spelled differently in Hebrew though not in English).

So, 1) Job refers to actual, known creatures; 2) the Bible does not endorse mythology but it also does not pretend that myths are not in common currency in the culture in which is it written; so 3) the Bible, in order to communicate the truth, makes us of such mythical terminology about monsters to explain things about the true monster, the devil.

Put it this way: I don't believe in the Loch Ness monster, but I would not feel that I was doing anything wrong by using "Nessie" as an example if I were trying to make a point: "mysterious as the Loch Ness monster" or something like that; figuring that on the one hand any Christian would understand that I was not saying I believed the thing existed, and on the other hand that this made the point pretty well.

In addition to the links given in the first paragraph, the main reference at Ichthys is in SR 2 "The Sea as the Home of Symbolic Monsters Representing Satan" (but I think you've already found this one).

Do feel free to write back about any of the above if you have further questions or in case I've missed the point here.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Just have a few questions:

1. Matthew 8:12 it says: "but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the other darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew13:38 says: "and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;"

It appears to me like these "sons of the kingdom" are two different groups.
Can you explain?

2. In Matthew 8:17 it says: "This was fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases".
Jesus indeed do these things, so my question is Why are we having them when it says "He Himself took them and carried them away?

Studying the Gospel of Matthew again and as always find new things that I never saw before.
To God be the Glory great things He has done.

Thanks for your excellent help as always.

p.s., As I began to pray, suddenly a thought came to me about my first question I stated in my email. The "sons of the Kingdom" must be referring to two different kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of satan.

Am I correct in my thought?


Your friend,

Response #32:

All Jewish people are "sons of Abraham" and so "sons of the kingdom", the Hebrew construction "sons of" describing a connection to something but without specifying the nature of the connection. Here, in Matthew 8:12, we see those who are by nature "cultivated olive branches" cast off while "wild olive branches" have been grafted in, into their place (Rom.11:16ff.). So by birthright, these who end up gnashing their teeth do have a special right to the kingdom, but they are cast out because they have rejected (or failed to accept) the King. Abraham, by descent from whom they have this right, was "justified by faith", after all, not by birth or works; so also all of his descendants must likewise be justified by faith – in confirmation of their birthright – or else they have no part in the kingdom.

As to Matthew 8:17, here we have a case of diseases and infirmities representing sin symbolically. And, indeed, without sin, there would be no death and no disease. Were we still in Eden, there would be no need of any doctors (or undertakers). So our Lord did die for all the sins of the entire world, without which sins there would be no disease. The healing our Lord provides in His first advent therefore represents the redemption from sin He has the power to provide (and has provided by His death for all of our sins on the cross):

“For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
Matthew 9:5-6 NKJV

As the incident above makes clear, people then (and now) often get this backward. We prize and value physical healing, but that is insignificant compared to the deliverance from sin which our Lord's sacrifice provided. When He told the cripple "Your sins are forgiven", that was the amazing thing, far more amazing than the miracle of healing him from the condition which represents sin and, directly or indirectly, is a result of sin – that is, we all have a sin nature so our bodies malfunction and we eventually die regardless of how "good" we may try to be.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #33:

Dear Teacher

I have a question: When Paul said in the beginning of almost all his letters "Grace to you and Peace from God and the Lord Jesus" or some variation on that, it seems to me like he may have meant that in the same way that we would say "so-and-so sends their love" rather than as a prayer for God to grant his readers Grace and Peace. I presented it in a debate as an example of how some books of the Bible claim to be God's very Word.

I don't believe that it is necessary at all for the Bible to claim to be God's Word in any part for it to be so. The proof is in reading it. So, my argument did not depend on whether or not Paul indeed meant that. But, for some reason, that part of the Bible recommended itself to me as an example of such a claim. I also think that every book of the Bible makes that claim in one form or another, especially by presenting authoritative information that can only be given by one if one claims to be speaking for God. Is that correct, Sir?

Your student in the precious Lord Jesus Christ

Response #33:

On your question, I don't follow as to how the superscripts of address show that "this is the Word". But saying it's from "Paul", e.g., does give the stamp of apostolic authority however (if that is what you mean).

On "grace and peace" or "grace, mercy and peace", I think these are very significant words. They are prayers for the recipients – and important reminders that these things do belong to us as believers in Jesus Christ; but of course they have to be seized and held through faith and aggressive application of the truth. So these initial greetings are wonderful reorientation devices – for those who are taking them to heart and paying attention to what they truly mean.

Keeping you in my prayers and waiting on developments, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #34:


You’re right about the “other pressures which produce distraction and result in accidents” with regard to my mom. My mom has been working 55-60 hour weeks because of all of this, and she’s been exhausted. I think all of this contributed to her fall, and, in some ways, I think it was good thing she was forced to take a few days off and now has to take it easy for a few weeks (though I wish the concussion and headaches weren’t a necessary part of that).

I also wanted to mention that my mom has been attending a “life group” run by my dad’s friend
(the pastor I’ve told you about). It’s a group of people from his church who meet at his house every Wednesday night. We went to their church one Sunday back in May and unfortunately it checked off pretty much everything on the list of what’s wrong with churches nowadays. The building felt more like a concert venue than a church, the music was vapid, the “sermon” was more like a 30 minute motivational speech that started with a bible verse and then never touched on the bible again, etc. However, this life group seems to do much more to fulfill Hebrews 10:24-25 than the church does on Sundays. It’s a group of about 20 people who meet for the purpose of fellowship and encouraging and edifying each other, and each week the pastor picks a scripture (or several) and teaches about what it means and discusses ways to apply it to their lives. She seems to enjoy it, and I look forward to attending with her once I move back there.

I have a few questions that I hope will be fairly quick to answer.

In John 3, where should the quote end? The NIV ends Jesus’ words after verse 15, but the NASB and ESV continue the quotation through verse 21.

Response #34:

Thanks for the further update. From what you've shared, I think being back home is bound to be very good for both of you. I'll be keeping your mom's recovery in my prayers – your new job also! I sure hope you can convince her to take some time off. Not sure it's healthy to be working too hard when still not 100% from something like this.

I'm glad to hear that's she's got some positive Christian fellowship. I think the older generation finds these sorts of traditional "forms" comforting and reassuring. I used to go to church with my mom too, even though it did nothing for me (I it seemed to do something for her).

As to your first question, the quote goes all the way to the end of verse 21. But I'm surprised at your report. My 1984 NIV has this longer section all in red and ends the quote after v.21 (they do have a footnote that some don't agree). This a very weird attempt to make a critical part of our Lord's words seem less because "He didn't actually say this" if we believe this sly attack. Confirms my conclusion that the "new" NIV is worse every place they changed the 1984 NIV with their "secret change".

Question #35:

In John 8:56, when/how did Abraham see Jesus’ day?

Response #35:

As with all departed believers, Abraham is viewing events on this earth with great interest.

Question #36:

What’s your opinion of paleographical dating of manuscripts? In the case of the Great Isaiah Scroll from Qumran, why would the paleographical dating place it at the end of the 2nd century B.C. when the carbon dating allows for dates in the 4th century B.C.?

Response #36:

Paleography is an inexact science – but much more reliable that carbon dating. The Qumran mss. in any case generally represent an inferior textual tradition influenced by the cult that reproduced them. In the case you mention, I would go with the more recent (paleographical) dating.

Question #37:

Do you know anything about the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis by Willem A. VanGemeren? Is it worth getting if I already have TWOT by Harris, et. al.?

Response #37:

I haven't used it. But many years ago I purchased the NT counterpart and it was one of the most disappointing things I've every bought: very costly and of absolutely no help. TWOT is actually somewhat helpful occasionally.

Question #38:

More of a comment than a question, but I found a couple of websites that I’m not sure if you’re aware of that seem to be good to use to read the original languages of the Bible when you have the internet but not access to paper copies. It also seems to be useful for those without extensive experience in the languages to figure out the root of conjugated words. In each case, hovering the mouse over a word brings up a short definition and then clicking on the word brings up a more expansive one (this feature seems to work better for the Hebrew site than the Greek). For the Hebrew OT: http://qbible.com/hebrew-old-testament/genesis/1.html (other chapters/books found on the right side of the screen), and for the Greek NT: http://greekbible.com/ .

I’m still hoping to write to you soon with ministry questions to at least get it on the back burner instead of just sitting on the counter next to the stove where it’s been since I’ve been dealing with all this personal upheaval this year. Anyway, I hope you’re doing well.

In Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,

Response #38:

Thanks – these are both useful. I've uploaded links to both my Greek and Hebrew language resources pages.

Let me know about your new job! And also your planning for ministry.

Your friend in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #39:

Hi dr,

I hope all is well. Can you please give me the difference between these words in Hebrew found in Psalms, law, statutes, testimonies, precepts and commandments. Are they mostly interchangeable?

Thank you

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #39:

First of all, what we have here is an English list, and it's rare for any English version to be 100% consistent in rendering the same Hebrew word with the same English word every time. For one thing, different translators work on different pieces of the OT and NT (this explains "Holy Spirit" vs. "Holy Ghost", both of which are to be found in the KJV for the exact same Greek phrase). For another, there are times when the "normal" rendering will give a misleading translation in English so that a good translator will not feel bound by complete inflexibility in such cases.

For example, the word "statute" is often representing the Hebrew word choq, from the root chaqaq meaning "cut" or "inscribe" – and the idea clearly is of a mandate which has been "set in stone". "Statute" isn't bad, but I find the following statistics from Strong's on KJV usage for that particular Hebrew word: "statute (87x), ordinance (9x), decree (7x), due (4x), law (4x), portion (3x), bounds (2x), custom (2x), appointed (1x), commandments (1x), miscellaneous (7x." – even many folk's beloved KJV isn't completely consistent.

So yes, these are all synonyms for the words, commands, and requirements of the Lord, but of course they all do have different roots and different etymologies so as to have slightly different emphases, and that can be seen from the English list as well. But when reading Psalm 119, for example, the idea of God's expressed Will is so prevalent that we can be sure that the variation of vocabulary has a lot to do with making the Hebrew text poetically powerful. That is not to say that the difference of word choice is not important in each and every case. It certainly is. But it is often the case of a very subtle distinction that would take a great deal of consideration of each individual passage to discern, and in such cases there is a real danger in overstating the difference as well. I have seen the latter mistake just as often as the former one.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #40:

Hi Bob and family,

Hoping you are well and not beset with too many problems, both on the work front and the health front. Just a quick question and hoping it won’t take up too much of your limited time and please, no hurry for your reply. Just remembering some verses in Revelation which seem to be conflicting – firstly in 3: 5, it says in part: and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I understand that is a promise if we remain true. And over in 13: 8 it says in part: And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. I’m understanding that to mean those who will worship the beast will not have his name in the book of life from the foundation of the world. In verse 3, my previous thinking was that all our names are there from the very beginning – both believers and unbelievers, a believers name will remain there, even in death, an unbelievers name is there also until, either by the wilful act of accepting the mark or remaining an unbeliever until death. Reading this again, it appears I never saw or properly understood 13: 8 before now and I hope you can clear up my misunderstanding if that has been the case.

Again as always dear Bob, with brotherly love,

Response #40:

You were right all along, my friend – you just needed to find a better translation of the verse:

[where they were written] from the beginning of the world, [even the book] which belongs to the Lamb who was slain.
Revelation 13:8

Here's a link where I comment on this: "slain from the beginning of the world?!"

I hope you and your wife are doing well. I keep you in my prayers every day and have been thinking about you lately. So it's nice to hear that you are still motoring along!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #41:

Hello--Could you please tell me the best translation for Isaiah 29:4? The KJV has this:

KJV Isa 29:4
And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.

So, is "familiar spirit" correct? Because a familiar spirit is a spirit, sometimes in animal form, that helps a witch. Other translations say "ghost" or just "spirit" or "spirit conjured by a medium." This came up on the CARM boards. We were wondering what the best translation is. One guy, a Mormon, just says it means the same thing as having a "familiar face". In other words, a spiritual truth uttered by someone long ago, that one is familiar with. I think that sounds a bit...whacky.

Thanks. No hurry; I know you are busy.

Response #41:

The verse is very clearly using necromancy as a point of comparison. All the vocabulary in the verse describes that situation . . . "brought down", "out of the ground", "out of the dust", "out of the ground", "out of the dust", which is meant to recall the low and haunting "inhuman" sounds of necromancers . . . as well as to remind us that their power and the spirits they try to contact come from below, not above.

The key word that is exceptional here is 'obh (אוֹב), and it literally means here, in conjunction with the comparative particle, "like a water bottle" or "hollow skin for carrying water"; but the word is used for necromancy even more often that it is for bottles, precisely because of the sound these may be made to make when empty (think of bagpipes). So the KJV translation is right on the money. Compare 1Sam.28:7: "Then Saul said to his servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium (בַּעֲלַת־אֹוב)". In this passage "who is mistress of an 'obh " shows that the word can also mean what the 'obh is, namely, "a familiar spirit". I'm not sure where correspondent thinks "face" might come from – certainly it's nowhere here in the Hebrew text or suggested by this particular word.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #42:

Hi--Okay, I see what is going on now. The LDS church has tried to make this Isaiah verse be a "prophecy" about the Book of Mormon, that the "familiar spirit" out of the ground refers to the golden plates buried and long forgotten for hundreds of years. This is what that church has to say about this:

"Point out the phrase “thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust” (verse 4). Explain that this prophecy refers to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, which was translated from plates hidden in the ground by Moroni. (“Lesson 125: Isaiah 29,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Material (2018)."

So, this verse supposedly points to the golden plates that Joseph Smith supposedly found buried in the ground, forgotten after 1400 years...

Ever see a worse case of eisegesis in your life??

This is what a Mormon wrote on the boards, who took exception to what you wrote to me about this verse:

"Your Dr. Luginbill has fed you a load of nonsense. The verses are addressed to and are about the inhabitants of the city of Ariel, David’s home town.

Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel. And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.

Isaiah wasn’t calling those people necromancers or prophesying that they would become necromancers. He prophesied their destruction and said that their collective voices would be like the voices of any long-dead but not quite forgotten peoples, whispering to us from the dust."

I told him to write to you and tell you it is a "load of nonsense" and also include where he learned Biblical Hebrew. So you two could debate. Hah!

It never ceases to amaze me, what some of these Mormons come up with...

The Mormon did not mean face is in the text, just that the familiar spirit is an expression similar in meaning to a familiar face. Which I think is dumb. The Book of Mormon mentions a familiar spirit, but tries to make it s good thing. Thanks again.

Response #42:

I don't see how correspondent's characterization of the actual passage is in conflict with my explanation of the language. I do fault the logic; it seems to go something like this:

1) Isaiah 14:3 speaks about "someone" taking their seat in the far north.

2) Santa Claus has his workshop at the north pole.

3) Therefore Isaiah 14:3 is a prophecy about Santa Claus.

At least the above is in the holiday spirit.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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