Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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Contradictions in the Bible? Part 1

There are those who either don’t believe in God or the Bible, are misled by those who are unlearned, those who purposely distort the Word of God and those who are naturally skeptical about everything. The Devil wants everyone to think that the Bible is not trustworthy. Not only does the Devil accuse man to God; he also accuses God’s existence of being a lie, to man. All my life I have heard that there are contradictions in the Bible, the Bible is just a bunch of stories made up by men, the Bible is allegorical, the Bible is not historical and that the Bible cannot be trusted. Until recently, I just thought that I would wait on God to explain everything, when I go to be with Him. Through study, research, personal experience, archeological findings and mathematical research by others (that prove the Bible couldn’t have been devised by man), I have come to have absolute faith in the Bible as God’s Word. I consider it somewhat ironic that those who don’t believe in the Bible are the ones who most adamantly try to use it to deny my faith. Truthfully speaking, if Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you will trust the Bible. If Jesus is not your Lord and Savior, it doesn’t matter that you don’t trust the Bible.

In order to answer some of the questions, of those who sincerely would like to know the answers, I submit this work. For those who are not sincere seekers, please just go stick your head back in the sand, along side of the ostrich. I will not attempt to answer all of the supposed contradictions because some of them are just too ridiculous, some are too trivial to waste time on and others may just be mistranslations. One of the common mistakes, made by Bible detractors, is that they assume a partial report is not an accurate report. I went to the internet sites of atheists and other Bible detractors to gather a list of their most popular objections.

In the Bible, the lineage of Jesus is given twice, and appears to be contradictory. The lineage given in Matthew 1:1-16 and the lineage given in Luke 3:23-38 seems to give credence to those who say there are mistakes in the Bible, and therefore the Bible is not trustworthy. Because of this, we must investigate the reasoning of God in supplying the two different lineages. In Matthew we see the line of ascension to be from Abraham, to David, to Nathan, to Mary, to Jesus. The Luke ascension is from Abraham, to David, to Solomon, to Heli, to Joseph, who was the husband of Mary. The division is based on which son of David is taken. Joseph’s line came through David’s son Solomon, while Mary’s line came through David’s son Nathan. This has been verified through the Geneva Bible and the King James Authorized Version. Jesus’ human bloodline was through Mary, while His Heavenly bloodline was from the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus, through the marriage of Mary and Joseph, was called the son of Joseph; in the same way that Ruth, by marriage, was called the daughter of Naomi, as explained in the book of Ruth 1:11-13. In the Jerusalem Talmud, Mary is called the daughter of Heli, by marriage, to Joseph. Jesus was both the Son of God and the Son of Man. Jesus was the ‘real’ Son of God (through the Holy Spirit), and the legal son of Joseph (through the law). The relationship of Jesus, through the ‘seed of the woman’, was first announced in Genesis 3:15, and fulfilled in the birth, through Mary, by the Holy Spirit, without the seed of a man being involved; thus we can see that the virgin Mary was not impregnated by mankind, but by God Himself.. Luke 3:23 states: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli”. The ‘as was supposed’ here means that everybody, in the neighborhood, thought Jesus’ father was Joseph.

Who was the husband of Mary, Joseph’s father? “Since Joseph cannot be both "begotten of Jacob", descended from Solomon (according to Matthew 1), and also "of Heli", descended from another of David's sons, Nathan (according to Luke 3) various explanations have been proposed for the Luke genealogy actually to be that of Mary. The view is relatively late; advocates of this view include John of Damascus (8th C), Annius (15th C), Luther, Bengel and Lightfoot. Harry A. Ironside (1930) considered that it was simply preference to drop women's names out of the genealogy; hence Joseph was son in law of Heli. Prior to the explanation above, the explanation of Sextus Julius Africanus that there had been a levirate marriage and that Joseph's grandfather Mattan (descendant of Solomon) had had a wife called "Esther" (not recorded in the Bible) with whom he fathered Jacob (Joseph's father), but Matthan died and Esther married Heli's father Melchi (descendant of Nathan). Then when Heli died childless (again not recorded in the Bible) Joseph's father Jacob took Heli's wife to raise up children for Heli and left Joseph adopted in Heli's widow's house. Another possibility is that since both Heli and Jacob have a similar name listed as their father (Matthan In Matthew, Matthat in Luke), a discrepancy that can easily be accounted for by error, that the names Heli and Jacob refer to the same person. Matthew relied heavily on fitting existing prophecy to the narrative; in the Old Testament, Jacob (the last of the biblical patriarchs) also had a son named Joseph. This explanation fits for Heli/Jacob himself, but not for the earlier genealogies.”(Wikipedia) Many times, in the Bible we see people called by different names: Bartholemew was Nathaniel, Peter was Simon, Paul was Saul, Didymus was Thomas, Lebbaeus surname was Thaddaeus, in Acts John whose surname was Mark, Simeon which was called Niger, Israel was Jacob and perhaps Jacob (Joseph’s daddy) was Heli, however, the proper translation gives Joseph as the son-in-law of Heli.

Why the differing deaths of Judas? The Bible, in one place says that Judas hung himself and in another place said he fell headlong, burst asunder and his bowels gushed out. How could this happen? There is an art to hanging a person in which the weight, the height of the victim and the distance of the drop have to be calculated. What can happen is that, if the calculations are wrong, the victim could drop so long and hard that it would snap the head off of the body. It is my opinion that this is what happened to Judas. He hung himself (Matthew 27:5), at the top of a hill or cliff, and because no calculations were considered, his head snapped off so he fell headlong , burst asunder and his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:8).

Which is the most trustworthy Gospel? Matthew and John were the eyewitnesses to every thing, but has been demonstrated over the years, eyewitness accounts can vary greatly from person to person. Out of a crowd of twenty people, who witness an event, you can get twenty different accounts of what was seen, even if ever so slightly. Mark may have been present for much of what he wrote and he was perhaps the disciple who, when Jesus was arrested, ran away naked as he had to leave his cloak behind. Luke, on the other hand, was able to look at what all the disciples had to say and gave a synopsis of all the information he was able to gather. Luke was also better educated than the others. We also must realize that since the Holy Spirit was the one who inspired the writing of the Gospels, He would have made sure they were given accurately. This may explain why although there seem to be some variances, by point of view, all are trustworthy. In our court system, when eye witnesses give similar but not exact accounts, it is considered evidence of lack of collusion. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”(2 Tim.3:16, KJV) “The doctrine of the inspiration of the sacred writings has been a subject of much discussion, and even controversy, among Christians. There are two principal opinions on the subject: 1. that every thought and word were inspired by God, and that the writer did nothing but merely write as the Spirit dictated. 2. “That God gave the whole matter, leaving the inspired writers to their own language; and hence the great variety of style and different modes of expression. But as I have treated this subject at large in my Introduction to the Four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, I must refer the reader to that work. Is profitable for doctrine - To teach the will of God and to point out Jesus Christ, till he should come. For reproof - To convince men of the truth; and to confound those who should deny it, particularly the Jews. For correction - Προς επανορθωσιν· for restoring things to their proper uses and places, correcting false notions and mistaken views.” (Clarke's Commentary on the Bible)

Why is the woman looked to for heritage of the Jews today? Notice that I said today. An orthodox Rabbi friend of mine and his shicksa (non Jewish) wife had a son. The Rabbi was a Born Again believer in Christ who wanted to have an orthodox briss for his son. He argued with the high priests in the Baltimore/Washington area over what was right. The Council said the wife was the deciding factor for Jewish-ness of the offspring. My Rabbi friend argued that the male was the deciding factor. After my friend proved that the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David was the deciding factor – the council won the argument by saying it was TRADITION. They did, however, authorize the orthodox briss with an orthodox Moil. We went throughout my friend’s home hiding everything we could find about Jesus. We didn’t want the Moil to be upset. Although the briss went well, we did have a slight problem – we missed the coffee cups that said “Jesus is Lord”. The Moil was using one when we noticed it. The writing was on the side away from him and he hadn’t noticed. It took a while for my friend and I to get the cup exchanged for another and the moil never found out. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive.

Since the time of Jesus, it has been the line of the woman that’s decided the lineage of the baby. Before that it was the male who decided lineage. Furthermore, we find that in Judges 21 the Bible records the taking of the women of Jabeshgilead – daughters of Shiloh, as wives for the tribe of Benjamin. Ruth 1:4 lets us know the great grandmother of King David was a woman of Moab (Ruth 4:21-22) and not a Jew. When a baby is born today, you can see the baby being born, whereas the father’s lineage might be in doubt. In Luke we can see that lineage all the way back from Jesus to Adam. In Matthew we can see the lineage of Mary back to Abraham. All of these lineages used the male. Because of the ability to see the baby being born the Rabbi’s now say the lineage is from the female.

Do the Gospels agree? There are some who say that since the four Gospels do not tell the exact same story, they are contradictory. What we have in the four Gospels is the view of a historical period of time from the point of view of four different men, all with free will given by God, with four different personalities. One, for instance was a fisherman, another was a tax collector and yet another was a physician. If you and three friends lived through a period of time, and some years later were asked to write down what you remember had happened, would the four accounts be exactly alike? We all view things through the mirror of our own prejudices, our personalities and our life experiences. Some may give more importance to one event than another. There are many verifiable historical events throughout the Gospels that can be verified by other, non biblical, sources. I have often said that the essence of what God wants us to know is contained in the Bible, even if every jot and tittle may not be the same as was originally written. We can see today that the history books used in our schools are quite different than those that were used earlier in our nation’s history. Apparently it is not important that the religious foundations and biblical basis of those foundations be part of the historical education of our children today. In the same way, we can see that in some modern translations and paraphrases of the Bible, there are differences that change the original intent and factual renderings of the original writers. There are even those who espouse the Gnostic teachings that were refuted by the apostles in their own time. Research has shown that the King James Version, of the Bible, proves to be the truest and most accurate interpretation of the original writings. God used men to record the information He wanted us to have and He knew that these men would have differing points of view; by design. In 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter verified Paul’s writings. God doesn’t want us all to be the same; if He did, there would have been no reason for there to have been more than one man. God wants us to be His by choice, not by coercion.

What is Good Friday? The last supper was on Wednesday evening. Jesus was crucified on Thursday. Jesus’ body spent Thursday afternoon (1st. day) in the grave, Thursday night (1st. night) in the grave, Friday all day (2nd. Day) in the grave, Friday night (2nd. Night) in the grave, Saturday all day (3rd. day) in the grave, Saturday night (3rd. night) in the grave. Early Sunday (first day of the week) morning, the grave was found to be empty. Thus, sometime during Saturday night to Sunday morning, Jesus was resurrected. My theory is that on Sunday morning when the sun came up, the Son came up. The light of the world rose again. Good Friday would be the first day when the suffering of Jesus was over.

Was Jesus resurrected or was His body stolen? It is stated in the Bible that the Pharacies gave bribes to the Roman guards to say that the disciples stole the body (Matthew 28:13). They knew the truth, but didn’t want the people to know it.

How long was Jesus in the tomb? Matthew 12:40 gives Jesus prophesying that he will spend "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth," and Mark 10:34 has "after three days he will rise again.” The prophecies have "after three days," but the post-Resurrection narratives have "on the third day." After three days means after the crucifixion, three days later, Jesus rose out of the tomb. The three days would be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sunday was the third day, after the crucifixion and death of Jesus. As was explained in the Good Friday explanation, Jesus’ body spent Thursday afternoon (1st. day) in the grave, Thursday night (1st. night) in the grave, Friday all day (2nd. Day) in the grave, Friday night (2nd. Night) in the grave, Saturday all day (3rd. day) in the grave, Saturday night (3rd. night) in the grave. Early Sunday (first day of the week) morning, the grave was found to be empty. Thus, sometime during Saturday night to Sunday (the beginning of the new week) morning, Jesus was resurrected.

Is God good to everyone, or just a few? “Some readers have raised an objection to this alleged contradiction. They point out that PSA 145:20 states that The Lord keeps all who love Him, but that He will destroy the wicked. In other words, some see no contradiction between "The Lord is good to all" and JER 13:14. Others contend, however, that even if the Lord destroys the wicked he could do so with compassion, pity, and mercy. Further, there are biblical examples that indicate that the Lord is not necessarily "good" or merciful--even to those who are not wicked. One such example is Job. As one reader points out, "If Psalm 145:9 was not a contradiction of Psalm 145:20 or Jeremiah 13:14, it would read something like this: "The LORD is good to all, except the wicked: and his tender mercies are over all his works, except when He is punishing the wicked." In any case, the idea that the Lord is good and merciful is contradicted by countless examples in the Bible where God orders the destruction of infants, personally kills David's infant child, etc.”(Jim Merritt, infidels.org) The Torah says that when men are judged by God, and condemned, they will realize that God judged justly. God is perfect and therefore cannot condone that which is not perfect (sin). We have been given the ‘free will’ to decide which we will choose. Children, who die before the age of accountability, are not held to the same judgment.

How many ways are there to God? Many people will get mad at you if you tell them there is only one way to God. Sorry, I can’t change the facts just to suit your opinions and/or your wishes. The truth is that there is One God and One way to God. Jesus said He was the light, the truth and the life. He said there was no way to the Father except through Him. There are many prophesies in the Old Testament which essentially say “I will come” and many statements in the New Testaments which say “here I Am” These are facts that may mean nothing to you, until the day you die.

What day is the Sabbath? There is some contention over which day should be considered the Sabbath. First, let me say that God’s word says that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. I recently read a book by the Seventh Day Adventists. They are adamant that the Sabbath is Saturday and not Sunday as most Christians celebrate. They, and the non believers, claim that we Christians can’t get our act together: the Old Testament states that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week which is Saturday. I was in conflict with myself over how I felt about which day to consider the Sabbath. Father David Peoples, in a sermon, told about the Sabbath day in a way I had not heard previously. He said that we celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday because it was the first day of the New Covenant that began on the Sunday when Jesus was resurrected from the dead. The first day of the week was the first day of the New Covenant; therefore Sunday is the day we celebrate the Salvation that Jesus made available through His being resurrected from the dead; which falls in line with the fact that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus said He did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill the law. The fulfillment of the law is who we celebrate on Sunday because we are no longer subject to the law, if we are in Jesus. Mark2:27-28 states that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. What is the Sabbath but the peace and rest of the Lord? Since the resurrection, Jesus is our peace and our rest. He that has ears let him hear and he that has eyes let him see that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.

I have chosen to present this work in several parts, as the abundance of questions about the Bible are so many and varied I didn’t want to make it so lengthy that no one would want to read it.

As with all of my writings, everything must be compared to the Bible, for verification.


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