The Apple Of God's Eye

February 22, 2011

Did Old Testament Disobedience Result In Great Slaughter From God?

all-history.org

The King James Version states that at the time the ark of the covenant was returned to Israel by the Philistines, God slew 50,070 men because they had looked inside the ark. Many Bible translations and commentaries reject the number 50,070 as inaccurate and unreasonable. They argue that this verse should read that only 70 men were actually killed.

This conclusion, however, is inconsistent with the second part of this verse. The Bible plainly states that “the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a “great slaughter.”

The term “great slaughter” is used many times in the Old Testament to describe military engagements where tens of thousands of soldiers were killed. Notice I Samuel 4, verses 10 and 17, where 30,000 Israelite soldiers died at the hands of the Philistines in a “great slaughter.” Compare also Joshua 10:10, Judges 11:33, and II Samuel 18:7.

Nevertheless, Bible students still find the account of I Samuel 6:19 difficult to accept. The original Hebrew clearly reads “seventy men, fifty thousand men.” Scholars point to the unusual arrangement of the numbers in that the 70 stands before the 50,000. The smaller number appearing first, however, is not an unprecedented arrangement in the Hebrew language. Even the omission of a conjunction between the two numbers does not change the meaning of the original text.

The Bible very precisely states that 50,070 men died in a great slaughter because of the irreverence and presumption of the men of Bethshemesh. The critical arguments of Bible scholars to dismiss the number 50,000 as a scribal error or a deliberate corruption of the text are a misguided attempt to diminish this dramatic account.

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February 3, 2011

Have The Original Bible Languages Been Accurately Preserved?

thebiblicalworld.blogspot.com

God works through human instruments. He worked through a human, physical nation in preserving the Old Testament. That nation was the House of Judah, the people we call Jews today.

At Mt. Sinai, God gave the lively oracles to the “church [the physical national Israel] in the wilderness” through Moses (Acts 7:37-38, Authorized Version). Out of the 12 tribes of Israel, God chose and commissioned one tribe, the Jews, to preserve His Word. In Romans 3:1-2, Paul wrote: “What advantage then has the Jew? … Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.”

The Jews have carefully preserved the original, inspired Hebrew Old Testament for us to this day. The basic reason, of course, is that only the Jews have kept an understanding of Hebrew. All the other tribes lost their language and do not speak Hebrew today.

But the Jews as a nation rejected both Jesus and the record of His message and life. Since the Jews would not preserve the story and message of God’s own Son, God led the apostles to use Greek, the most widespread language of their day, for the New Testament record. Greek was a highly developed, precise, accurate language, and was known throughout the Roman Empire. For centuries, the inspired original New Testament was copied and preserved in the Greek world for us today.

God has made it His responsibility to see that both Jews and Greeks have carefully copied the Scriptures from generation to generation. God has not left it to men to decide what is His Word.

Now, in this 20th century, God has raised up a work in the House of Israel — in the English-speaking world — to carry the. Gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations. Neither the Jews nor the Greeks were willing or able to fulfill that commission.

To carry out His work through His true Church today, God has had His Word translated into the leading modern languages from the original Hebrew and Greek. Now all may hear and, if God is calling them and they are willing, understand!

Source: The Good News, April 1985

July 3, 2010

Coveting! The Last…But Not The Least Comandment

Why is it that coveting is not a sin easily recognized? Could it be because, humanly, it is easy to think of the Ten Commandments as descending in order of importance, and to not take the Tenth Commandment as seriously as the nine before it?

The last of God’s Ten Commandments, “You shall not covet” (Ex. 20:17), is just as encompassing and significant as any of the others.

The English word covet in the Bible is translated from seven different words that illustrate the different forms coveting may take. Let’s look at the meanings of these words.

1) That which is not ours. The word usually translated “covet” means to desire in a negative way, to want what is not rightfully ours. This is the Hebrew word used in Exodus 20:17; the verse speaks of our neighbor’s property.

An interesting example of the use of this word is in Exodus 34:24, where God promises ancient Israel: “I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.”

God promised to protect His people’s property from the greed of their neighbors if Israel would obey Him and keep His festivals. When Israel didn’t keep God’s Holy Days, God did not protect them from this basic form of human covetousness (Judg. 2:11-23). (more…)

May 17, 2010

The Plain Truth About Sacred Names

thy-weapon-of-war.blogspot.com

The “Hebrew Names” teaching began in February, 1937 with Dr. John B. Briggs. He started the “Names Evangelization Program”  and “ Kadesh Name Society”  in Detroit. This group first obtained a charter as “Assembly of Y.H.V.H.” and later as “Yahveh Beth Israel.”

Dr. Briggs acted as executive, but apparently there was little growth or fruit borne, and he died in 1961, having ordained ministers to continue his work. This group believes Christ (whom they call “Yahshua”) was kept in prison a couple of days, and not crucified until the preparation for the weekly Sabbath, 28 A.D., and that He was raised three days later on the last day of Unleavened Bread. They dip three times to baptize (The Faith magazine, March 1969, page 4, and literature and correspondence from “Yahveh Beth Israel”). (more…)

January 16, 2010

Hebrew Inscription Confirms Biblical Record

Filed under: Bible — melchia @ 5:16 am
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Once again, the Bible is right, and the critics are wrong. A pottery shard from the remains of a town dating from the 10th century b.c. has been proven to be written in ancient Hebrew—making it the oldest known Hebrew inscription. Prof. Gershon Galil of the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa translated the text, proving that the Israel of that time was a major nation—not the backwoods tribe that some biblical scholars say it was.

“It can now be maintained that it was highly reasonable that during the 10th century bce, during the reign of King David, there were scribes in Israel who were able to write literary texts and complex historiographies such as the books of Judges and Samuel,” said Galil.

The shard was discovered in an excavation led by Prof. Yosef Garfinkel inside a fortified town on a hilltop near the valley of Elah, where David battled Goliath. The town has a 30-foot-wide gate, a central fortress, and a wall running 2,300 feet in circumference. These fortifications are too elaborate to have been constructed by
the city’s inhabitants, Garfinkel says. They would have required the resources of an organized kingdom, like that of King David. … (more…)

July 26, 2009

Was Abraham A Jew?

Filed under: Jews,Patriarchs — melchia @ 11:26 pm
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Was Abraham a Jew? The answer is that he was not. Notice who the Jews were and where they originated.

The word JEW is a nickname for the Israelite tribe of Judah. It was first used in the Bible in II Kings 16:6 (King James Version), a time long after that of Abraham.

The tribe of Judah descended, as the name indicates, from the man named Judah. This man was one of the twelve sons of the patriarch Jacob (Gen. 35:23). Jacob, as you know, was a son of Isaac (Gen. 25:26). Isaac, in turn, was a son of Abraham (Gen. 21:3). We can see, then, that Judah, the progenitor of the Jews, was a great-grandson of Abraham. Thus, Abraham was not a Jew, but an ancestor of the Jews. Abraham is properly referred to as a HEBREW.

June 16, 2009

Ezekiel’s Vision: God’s Spaceship Identified!

Of the many fascinating scriptural descriptions of heavenly things, chapters 1 and 10 of Ezekiel is by far the most stunning and complex. Ezekiel had to describe in the Hebrew language something he saw – something so incredible and foreign as to defy description. Yet describe it he did, though the account leaves modern commentaries equally confused, with some indulging in various allusions on the subject.

If we really want to understand what Ezekiel experienced, we need to allow the Bible to be our guide. Ezekiel begins by describing an incredibly fiery spectacle. “And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself [a fire inside a fire], and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire” (verse 4).

This was some of the most intense brightness you can imagine — a mass of fire concentrated in a vast cloud, so that the flames might be more distinctly observable. Yet the fire never escaped from the cloud (Adam Clarke’s Commentary). The fire “infolding” forms a circle of light, with flames moving round and round and following each other in rapid succession (Barnes’ Commentary). The color of amber in the center of the cloud is from the word ηλεκτρον, translated as very bright, and  made of gold and brass. (John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible).

The living creatures – Cherubims

UFO enthusiasts describe the vision as a perennial example of ancient contact with extraterrestrial beings — supposed alien astronauts who visited the Earth in antiquity. However, they gloss over some important facts in trying to tie down this vision into the physical sphere. Let’s consider the living creatures within the flaming cloud. Though having the form of men, they have two sets of wings, four faces, and feet like calves’ hooves. Our aficionados believe that the four faces are the faces of different alien beings looking out of different windows of the spacecraft. This however is a somewhat crude and simplistic description, especially in light of Ezekiel being very precise and particular in describing what he saw.

“Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle” (verses 5-10).

By comparing the description of the living creatures in Ezekiel to that of the living creatures that surround the throne of God in Revelation 4, one quickly realizes that the scenes witnessed by Ezekiel were visions of God and His spiritual host of heaven..

“As with the cherubim flanking the Holy of Holies, the wings of the living creatures in Ezekiel’s vision touch each other. Solomon overlays the cherubim with gold, while the living creatures sparkle like burnished bronze. The four faces of the creatures in Ezekiel’s vision too hearken back to the cherubim and to Solomon’s temple. Lions and bulls are frequently mentioned as part of the imagery of the temple interior (1 Kings 7:25, 29, 36). Cherubim were often depicted as having men’s heads, the bodies of either lions or bulls — sometimes a lion’s fore parts and a bull’s hindquarters (hence the calf’s feet of living creatures of Ezekiel 1:7) — and the wings of eagles sprouting from their lion or bull shoulders.” (engforum)

The ordinary angels apparently resemble men. But cherubim (Michael or Gabriel) are not ordinary angels—“every one has four faces.” So the living creatures of Ezekiel’s vision were not bizarre four-faced space aliens. Nor were they a depiction of different alien species looking out of the portholes of a spaceship. They were cherubims.

If those who want to see the living creatures as space aliens would read more of Ezekiel they would find an almost identical vision in Ezekiel 10:20. There the prophet clearly identifies the beings as cherubim, and says in verse 15 that they were the living beings he saw in his first vision.

“This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubim.”  All four were intertwined as one for “their wings were joined one to another” (Ezek 1:9).

The appearance of these living creatures (cherubim), was apparently highly impressive—they were lit up like fire, with lightning coming out of the fire! Not an ordinary sight.

“….their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning” (verse 13).

Now, these cherubim had a job to perform, which meant they transported this vehicle, evidently at the speed of light.

“And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning” (verse 14). “And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings” (verses 14, 24).

Ezekiel saw this great, luminous vehicle with wings and revolving wheels moving at lightning speed. It never had to turn; it would move instantly in any direction—like lightning darting around. This vehicle was so awesome Ezekiel had trouble even explaining it.

Vision contained throne and appearance of God

Now focus on the next couple of points, because they are truly breathtaking!

Ezekiel’s vision included a view of God’s throne. “Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne” (Ezekiel 10:1).

Look closely at what was on top of God’s amazing transportation system.

“…. and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it” (Ezek. 1:25-26).

Imagine – the great God of Ezekiel1- sitting on His throne on top of this amazing transportation system, looks like a man. Study Genesis 1, and you know that mortal man was made in the image and likeness of God. Is there a connection?

Do you want to know what God really looks like? Read on closely.

“And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain [a rainbow], so was the appearance of the brightness round about.

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.

And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (Ezekiel 1:27‑28).

Compare this description with Revelation 1 to get an idea of how impressive God is to behold! This is the God of the Bible. This is not some nebulous cloud, or little Lord Jesus in a manger. This is the God of the Bible! This is what He looks like and how He travels. Do you know this God?

Wheel within a wheel

Beside each Cherub a wheel was set with another ” wheel in the middle of a wheel”.

So what is the significance of the wheels?It may be that it is unusual for a wheel to be associated with our modern view of a throne. The Commentaries make it to be one traversing inside of the other. They determined four directions to which the Spirit beings were darting to whatever direction they were commanded (Ezek. 1:16, 17), without turning. As for the “engineering” aspect of the wheels, our human understanding can’t help much since we are dealing with supernaturally-composed matter.

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary gives this description:

” . . . each wheel was composed of two circles cutting one another at right angles, ‘one’ only of which appeared to touch the ground (“upon the earth” ) “.

The biblical description, “a wheel in the middle of a wheel”, however, would indicate the one inside to be smaller than the other.

Two more important facets are depicted. The first facet is that the “rings were full of eyes” (verse 18).

The other facet of the wheel was their rings (rims) were high and dreadful (verse 18). As far as the geometrical shape is concerned it is not clear whether it means a fantastic size of spokes (wheel diametrically large) or the depth of the ring.

Conclusion

It’s easy to speculate on the subject of this vision because we really don’t have all the answers. It is only when the vision is rendered in translation, rather than in the original Hebrew, that makes it possible for us today to mistake angels for spaceships. What we do know is that God gave the vision so that we could visualize somewhat in our minds eye the glory associated with this great Being, His appearance and His mode of travel.

If anyone has doubts that Ezekiel’s vision is of God enthroned upon the cherubim, consider what Ezekiel says in the final description in this passage (verse 28): “Such was the appearance of the glory of the LORD.”

Then, a few verses later in chapter 2, it was said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me” (2:3). It is ironic that Ezekiel recognized this vision to be a message from God, yet over 2,500 years after this vision, modern-day UFO hunters want to “reinterpret” Ezekiel’s original understanding of what he saw. Ezekiel’s description of the vision ties in perfectly with other apocalyptic writings such as Daniel and Revelation.

The entire vision is not something taught in modern denominational religions. It should be though, because it would make God distinctively more real than the fuzzy image portrayed by most pastors and ministers, as well as UFO enthusiasts. Meditate on the description of the spectacular vehicle God rides in. This is God’s spaceship, and this vision should make the God of the Bible come alive to you.

April 13, 2009

Was Jonah In The Belly Of A Whale, Or A Great Fish?

Editor’s Note: In this article I introduce two scriptures (Jonah 1:17 and Matthew 12:40) to answer “apparent incongruities” (seemingly impossible scenarios) and to apply apologetics (a reasoned defense of the faith) in affirming the trustworthiness of the Bible.

imagesbible.jexiste.fr/.../Ang_Jonah.htm

imagesbible.jexiste.fr/.../Ang_Jonah.htm

The “apparent incongruity” is the account of a reluctant prophet named Jonah who was swallowed by a fish and yet remained alive in its belly for three days.

 The Book of Jonah has been described as a parable, an allegory, and a satire. However, this is an extremely faithless approach to the scriptures. A large proportion of all modern criticism of the Bible comes from the assumption that miracles do not occur. Skeptical theologians explain every miracle in Scripture away by either tacit rejection or naturalistic explanation. This leads to such ludicrous, varied, and contradictory explanations that the biblical scholar finds ever further justification in the miraculous over the ridiculous!

There are plausible explanations for questions, but we must look at this event with knowledge of God’s miraculous power. Could He have prepared a great fish to be in the vicinity of the floundering ship, to swallow Jonah in the raging sea, then in the time appointed transport him to shore and vomit him up? Absolutely! As the all-powerful Creator God, He is in no way limited by what He created. 

But now what about the type of creature used to swallow Jonah? The original Hebrew wording of Jonah 1:17 is accurately translated in the King James Version as “a great fish.” The Old Testament translation produced by the Jewish Publication Society also refers to this creature as “a great fish.” 

We read that “The LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17, King James Version).

Some controversy arises over the King James translation of Matthew 12:40. This verse says

“He (Jesus Christ) will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, just as Jonah was “three days and three nights in the whale’s belly.” (Matthew 12:40.)

But the fact that Jonah was in the WHALE’S belly was only an assumption on the part of the translators. The New King James Version correctly renders this phrase as “in the belly of the GREAT FISH.” 

A whale is not a fish

Since a whale is a mammal rather than a fish, does this point to a contradiction between Jonah 1:17 and Matt. 12:40? No, and here’s why.

Realize that the Old Testament is written in Hebrew except for small portion in Aramaic (book of Daniel). The New Testament is written in Greek, not English. Neither the KJV or any other translation determines the meaning in English above the original language. Both “whale” and “great fish” are English translations of the original words.

Strong’s Dictionary says the Greek word translated “whale” is ketos (pronounced kay-tos), and means “a huge fish (as gaping for prey).” 

Smith’s Bible Dictionary” makes the following comments about the word WHALE: “Probably the fish which swallowed Jonah was some large kind of shark, or fish especially provided.”

“There are at least two species of Mediterranean marine life that are known to be able to swallow a man whole. These are the cachalot and the white shark. Both creatures are known to prowl the Mediterranean and have been known to Mediterranean sailors since antiquity. Aristotle described both species in his 4th Century B.C.” Historia Animalium (gotquestions.org).

 

The Easton Bible Dictionary says the “white shark is sometimes found 30 feet in length.” [Robinson, Lexicon  (from Barnes’ Notes)] states: “This event took place in the Mediterranean Sea, somewhere between Joppa and Tarshish, when he was fleeing FROM Nineveh. It is said that the “whale” seldom passes into that sea, and that its throat is too small to admit a man. It is probable, therefore, that a fish of the “shark kind” is intended. Sharks have been known often to swallow a man entire. The fish in the book of Jonah is described merely as a “great fish,” without specifying the kind . – Letusreason.org

The evidence supports the conclusion — that it was some kind of large fish, and not a whale, which swallowed Jonah. In any case, the Bible says God  God specifically “prepared” (mahnah—appointed, constituted, made ready) a great fish (Gesenius, 1847, p. 486). So another argument is that Jonah being swallowed was a divine miracle and thus the type of creature  God used could have been whatever sea life was available or He created a special (massive) creature to serve his purpose of causing Jonah to repent and to carry out His command of preaching.

“The same term (“prepared”) is employed to refer to additional direct manipulations initiated by God. He prepared a plant (4:6), a worm (4:7), and a vehement wind (4:8) [Wigram, 1890, p. 733]. George Cansdale was correct in concluding: “[T]here is no point in speculating about the full physical explanation of an incident that primarily is metaphysical, i.e., miraculous” (1975, 5:925, emp. added). McClintock and Strong agree: “[T]he transaction is plainly miraculous, and no longer within the sphere of zoological discussion” (1881, 10:972). Jonah’s survival after being inside a sea creature is no more remarkable than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego surviving the “burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:27).” (apologeticspress.org)

A similar instance can also be found in Book of Numbers, chapter 22, versus 28 through 30 where God gives Balaam’s donkey the power of human speech in order to have a conversation with Balaam.

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