If God Doesn’t Need Anything, Then Why Does He Command Us to Serve Him?

God doesn’t need our work.

He doesn’t need our money, either. God can get everything done without a heavenly Kickstarter campaign. He didn’t ask for any help when he created the galaxies. He can get along just fine without our peewee contributions to the universe.

He doesn’t need our worship either. He doesn’t need our praises to bolster his self-esteem.

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

(Acts 17:24‭-‬25 KJV)

God doesn’t need anything. He doesn’t need our worship, our work or our money. So why does God command us to worship, serve, and give our money to him?

First of all, for his glory. Wait a second. If He doesn’t need our work or worship, how does it glorify Him? It certainly doesn’t add anything to His glory. Yet it does display His glory. When we sing His praises together, we display to one another God’s greatness, kindness, and love. When I hear you give thanks to God, I’m reminded afresh of His goodness. You display God’s glory to me. And it builds my faith and helps me love and trust Him more. And when we do works of love, we display the character of Christ God is forming in us.

Another reason God commands us to worship, serve, give and obey is for our joy.

When God tells us to sing and raise our hands to Him, it’s not because He needs our praise to feel good about Himself. It’s for our pleasure in Him. When we express our appreciation of God it enhances our enjoyment of Him. Like when we express appreciation for a great painting, or a great steak. It enhances and completes our enjoyment of it. When God commands us to give, it’s not because He needs the money. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. It’s for our benefit and good. When we give, God pours blessings back on us. When we sow, we reap. All God’s commands are for our benefit and joy. That’s why we should serve Him cheerfully:

Serve the Lord with gladness! (Psalms 100:2)

It doesn’t glorify God to serve Him cheerlessly. It’s not enough to serve the Lord, we must serve Him with gladness. Parents, ever ask your child to do something for you and he responds with as much enthusiasm as if you’d asked him to have a root canal? How does that make you feel? He may do the chore, but if he does it with grumbling or ingratitude, it doesn’t please you. You almost feel like saying ‘don’t bother.’

God loves a cheerful giver. Do you think it glorifies God when we grudgingly say ‘Alright, here’s my buck’? He loves a cheerful giver because glad giving displays the value of Christ. That He is more valuable than all our money. It shows we believe he’s generous and good and will bless and provide for us.

God doesn’t need our work or our praises or our money. He gives them to us as gifts to display His glory and enhance our enjoyment of Him. So let’s serve the Lord with gladness today.

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Jesus Through the Bible

Christians believe in a Christ-centered Bible. The salvation that was expected in the Old Testament is exhibited in the Gospels and then explained in the rest of the New Testament.

From Genesis we learn that Jesus is the seed of the woman who will crush Satan’s head, and the son of Abraham who will bless all the nations of the earth. From Exodus we learn that Jesus is the Passover Lamb whose blood saves us from the angel of death, and the wilderness tabernacle where God dwells in glory. From Leviticus we learn that He is the atoning sacrifice that takes away our sin. From Numbers we learn that He is the bronze serpent lifted up for everyone who looks to Him in faith. From Deuteronomy we learn that He is the prophet greater than Moses who comes to teach us God’s will.

So much for the Pentateuch.

What do we learn from the historical books?

From Joshua we learn that Jesus is our great captain in the fight. From Judges we learn that He is the king who helps us do what is right in God’s eyes, and not our own. From Ruth we learn that Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. From 1 and 2 Samuel we learn that He is our anointed king. From 1 and 2 Kings we learn that He is the glory in the temple. From 1 and 2 Chronicles we learn that He is the Son of David — the rightful king of Judah. From Ezra and Nehemiah we learn that He will restore the city of God. From Esther we learn that He will deliver us from all our enemies.

Then we come to the poetic writings. From Job we learn that Jesus is our living redeemer, who will stand on the earth at the last day. From the Psalms we learn that He is the sweet singer of Israel — the Savior forsaken by God and left to die, yet restored by God to rule the nations. From Proverbs we learn that Jesus is our wisdom. From Ecclesiastes we learn that He alone can give us meaning and purpose. From the Song of Solomon we learn that He is the lover of our souls.

This brings us to the prophets, whose special mission it was to prophesy about the coming of Christ. Isaiah tells that He is the child born of the Virgin, the son given to rule, the shoot from the stump of Jesse, and the servant stricken and afflicted, upon whom God has laid all our iniquity. Jeremiah and Lamentations tell us that Jesus is our comforter in sorrow, the mediator of a new covenant who turns our weeping into songs of joy. Ezekiel tells us that the Spirit of Jesus can breathe life into dry bones and make a heart of stone beat again. Daniel tells us that Jesus is the Son of Man coming in clouds of glory to render justice on the earth.

These are the Major Prophets, but the Minor Prophets also bore witness to Jesus Christ. Hosea prophesied that He would be a faithful husband to His wayward people. Joel prophesied that before He came to judge the nations, Jesus would pour out His Spirit on men and women, Jews and Gentiles, young and old. Amos and Obadiah prophesied that He would restore God’s kingdom. Jonah prophesied that for the sake of the nations, He would be raised on the third day. Micah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Nahum prophesied that He would judge the world. Habakkuk prophesied that He would justify those who live by faith. Zephaniah prophesied He would rejoice over His people with singing. Haggai prophesied that He would rebuild God’s temple. Zechariah prophesied that He would come in royal gentleness, riding on a donkey, and that when He did, all God’s people would be holy. Malachi prophesied that before He came, a prophet would turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children.

From Genesis to Malachi, the Old Testament is all about Jesus. But of course it is in the New Testament that Jesus actually comes to save His people. Whereas the Old Testament gives us His background, the New Testament presents His biography.

The gospels give us the good news of salvation through His crucifixion and resurrection. The Gospel of Matthew is that Jesus is the Messiah God promised to Israel. The Gospel of Mark is that He is the suffering servant. The Gospel of Luke is that He is a Savior for everyone, including the poor and the weak. The Gospel of John is that He is the incarnate Word, the Son of God, the Light of the world, the Bread of life, and the only Way of salvation. But all the gospels end with the same good news: Jesus died on the cross for sinners and was raised again to give eternal life; anyone who believes in Him will be saved.

Then the New Testament turns its attention to the church, which is still about Jesus because the church is His body. The book of Acts shows how Jesus is working in the church today, through the gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then come all the letters that were written to the church — letters that tell about Jesus and how to live for Him. In Romans Jesus is righteousness from God for Jews and Gentiles; in 1 and 2 Corinthians He is the one who unifies the church and gives us spiritual gifts for ministry. In Galatians Jesus liberates us from legalism; in Ephesians He is the head of the church; in Philippians He is the joy of our salvation; in Colossians He is the firstborn over all creation. In 1 and 2 Thessalonians Jesus is coming soon to deliver us from this evil age; in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus He shepherds His people; and in Philemon He reconciles brothers who are separated by sin. This is the gospel according to Paul.

Hebrews is an easy one: Jesus is the great high priest who died for sin once and for all on the cross and who sympathizes with us in all our weakness. In the epistle of James, Jesus helps us to prove our faith by doing good works. In the epistles of Peter He is our example in suffering. In the letters of John He is the Lord of love. In Jude He is our Master and Teacher. Last, but not least, comes the book of Revelation, in which Jesus Christ is revealed as the Lamb of God slain for sinners, Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the great Judge over all the earth, and the glorious God of heaven.

The Bible says that in Jesus “all things consist” (Colossians 1:17) and this is as true of the Bible as it is of anything else. Jesus holds the whole Bible together. From Genesis to Revelation, the Word of God is all about Jesus, and therefore it has the power to bring salvation through faith in Him. It is by reading the Bible that we come to know Jesus, and it is by coming to know Jesus that we are saved. This is why we are so committed to God’s Word, why it is the foundation for everything we do, both as a church and as individual Christians.

We love the Word because it brings us to Christ.

The Father Testifies of the Son

“Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:28)

This is the last of three remarkable occasions during the earthly ministry of Christ when God the Father spoke directly from heaven concerning His only begotten Son. The first was at His baptism. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; also,Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). This thrice-recorded testimony was given primarily to the forerunner, John the Baptist, who said, “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33).

The second was to three chosen disciples at the transfiguration. “Behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5). Years later Peter recalled, “This voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount” (2 Peter 1:18).

Finally, the Father spoke the words of the opening text, in direct response to the prayer of His Son at the beginning of the final week before His crucifixion. The message was to His Son but for the people. Jesus said, “This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes” (John 12:30) as He spoke of His imminent death on the cross.

When God spoke from heaven, the message was to assure and encourage His own dear ones: John, the disciples, and Jesus Himself. But it has also become an exhortation to all people for all time. Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and God is glorified in Him. Hear Him!

How is God eternal?

The word “eternal” means without beginning or end. In reference to God, therefore, to be eternal is to exist as the one Being without beginning or end, uncreated and never able to die. As such, He serves as the power behind all created things (Genesis 1:1).

Many passages of Scripture affirm this biblical concept of God as eternal. For example, Psalm 90:2 notes, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.Deuteronomy 33:27 refers to the Lord as the “eternal God.Romans 1:20 speaks of God’s “eternal power.” Ephesians 3:11 speaks of God’s “eternal purpose.” First Timothy 6:16 notes God’s “power everlasting” or rule. Isaiah 9:6 refers to God as an “Everlasting Father.” Isaiah 26:4 calls Him an “everlasting strength

As part of the Triune God, Jesus Christ is also revealed as eternal in nature. He existed in the beginning with God (John 1:1). Jesus taught that He was the “I AM,” a reference to the Lord in Exodus 3:14 (John 8:58). Colossians 1:16 teaches, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

The Holy Spirit is also noted as eternal in Scripture. God’s Spirit was involved in the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:3). Hebrews 9:14 refers to the Holy Spirit as God’s “eternal Spirit.”

Scripture also speaks frequently about both eternal life (John 3:16) and eternal destruction (Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9). There is an eternal dwelling for God’s people with the Lord, revealing the Bible’s clear teaching regarding eternity future (Luke 16:9; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

In Genesis 21:33, we are also told that one of God’s names is the Everlasting God: “And Abraham planted a grove in Beer–sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.” Psalm 145:13 affirms that God’s kingdom is likewise everlasting: “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.”

It is clear that the One who created all things existed before all space, time, matter, and energy. Scripture also notes God has everlasting love for His people, has an eternal purpose, and an eternal destination that includes eternity in His presence for those who believe in Him.

Blessed by the Lord

I’d been having problems with my android phone.

As I was coming from the phone technician, who tried to repair my phone, after he told me that my phone was dead, I complained to the Lord. As I walked to our local library to go and use their computers I have to walk through a passage-like area in-between a couple of businesses before getting to the library, and as I walked through I happened to look on the ground and there was a pamphlet or some paper lying there and three clear words were visible to me, ‘Don’t Give Up”! I knew it was the Lord speaking to me and I thanked Him and told Him that I wouldn’t give up.

This past

Sunday, while getting a lift home with our pastor’s daughter’s fiancé I spoke about my “dead” phone and how I was planning on buying a new one through a retailer and to pay it off. I am semi employed at the moment and only get paid when I work.

At about 2 on Sunday afternoon Lindsay my daughter ran to me with my wife’s phone telling me that Matthew (the fiancé) was on the phone. I answered and he asked me if could come downstairs quickly – we live in an apartment. Well I went down and he stood there with a package in his hand. He said that the Lord laid it on his heart to buy me a phone and there he was.

Its smaller than my old one but it’s an android 6.0, much better than the old which was 4.4. So; I did not give up and was rewarded. God is just great!!

If he can do it for me as a follower of Jesus Christ, a born again person He can do it for you and more IF you believe the Gospel and repent of your sins.

Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified, died and was risen from the dead three days later; believe that and turn your back on your sin and you will be saved.

Fake Bible Versions DO teach false doctrines

Fake Bible Versions DO teach and pervert several biblical doctrines, and the infallibility of the Bible (any bible in any language) is a huge doctrine that most Christians do not believe anymore.

For ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.”  Jeremiah 23:36

I have often heard from those who do not believe that ANY Bible in any language IS the complete and 100% true words of God that No Doctrines have been changed in the various, contradictory bible versions on the market today, so what’s the big deal?  The purpose of the articles linked here is to point out some critical areas of Christian doctrine that most definitely have been changed and even perverted.
The majority of examples of where the phony or inferior bible versions corrupt or distort sound doctrines are not the result of TEXTUAL differences.  Most of them are the result of TRANSLATIONAL errors.

The links provided will lead you to a much more developed article that goes into more depth showing how each particular doctrine has been affected.

# 1. Can God be deceived? The NASB says that the children of Israel deceived God. Not just “tried to deceive” or “thought they had deceived” but deceived Him.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/eze149ps7836deceive.htm

# 2. Did the Son of God have an “origin from ancient times” or “his goings forth are from everlasting”? Did He have a beginning or is He eternal?

Micah 5:2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; WHOSE GOINGS FORTH have been of old, FROM EVERLASTING.

“from everlasting” – Coverdale, Bishops’ bible, Geneva

Micah 5:2 – “The NIV – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose ORIGINS are from of old, FROM ANCIENT TIMES.

Origin from ancient times” – NIV, RSV, ESV, NET, Holman, Jehovah Witness version, more recent Catholic versions

http://brandplucked.webs.com/micah52heb211origin.htmhtm

# 3. Who controls the world, God or Satan?

Several modern fake bibles teach it is Satan –

1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world LIETH IN WICKEDNESS.”  Wycliffe, Coverdale, Bishops’ Bible, Geneva Bible, Youngs

The NIV says: “The whole world is UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE EVIL ONE.” NASB, ESV, ISV, Holman, Catholic St. Joseph, NET

http://brandplucked.webs.com/satanorgodcontrols.htm

# 4. Is your righteousness before God the fine linen of the righteousness of Christ, or your “righteous deeds” as several fake bibles and the modern Catholic versions teach?

Revelation 19:8 – “And to her (the Bride of Christ) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; FOR THE FINE LINEN IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF SAINTS.

The fine linen is the righteousness of saints” – Tyndale, Coverdale, Bishops’ Bible, Geneva Bible

Revelation 19:8 NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV, NET, Catholic versions – “for the fine linen is THE RIGHTEOUS ACTS of the saints.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/rev198finelinen.htm

# 5. Can man “speed up” the coming of the day of God’s judgment, or is it already marked by God on the calendar to the day and month?

2 Peter 3:12 KJB – “Looking for and HASTING UNTO the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.

ESV – “Waiting for and HASTENING the coming of the day of God

NIV – “as you look forward to the day of God and SPEED ITS COMING.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/2peter312hastingunto.htm

# 6. Do ghosts, or the departed spirits of the human dead exist?  Modern Versions say they do.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/ghosts.htm

# 7.   Lucifer or morning star?

Isaiah 14:12 KJB – “How art thou fallen from heaven, O LUCIFER, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…

LUCIFER – Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale’s 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, Bishop’s Bible 1568, Douay-Rheims 1582, Geneva Bible 1599

Revelation 22:16 KJB– “I Jesus…am the bright and MORNING STAR.

Isaiah 14:12 – “How you have fallen from heaven, O MORNING STAR.

MORNING STAR – NIV, NASB, Holman Standard, RSV, ESV, NET, Catholic St. Joseph NAB, New Jerusalem bible.

ESV – “How you are fallen from heaven, O DAY STAR, son of Dawn!
NIV – “How you have fallen from heaven, MORNING STAR, son of the dawn!

http://brandplucked.webs.com/luciferormorningstar.htm

# 8. Fornication or Immorality?

1 Corinthians  6:18 KJB – “Flee FORNICATION. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth FORNICATION sinneth against his own body.

FORNICATION = ”Sexual intercourse between unmarried people” Wycliffe, Tyndale, Bishops Bible, Geneva Bible

1 Corinthians 6:18 NASBFlee from SEXUAL IMMORALITY. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the SEXUALLY IMMORAL PERSON sins against his own body.

IMMORALITY = However you want to define it. What’s immoral for you may not be immoral for me. NIV, NASB, ESV, RSV, NET, Catholic New Jerusalem bible

http://brandplucked.webs.com/fornicationimmoral.htm

# 9.  Rejoice or Be Proud?  Are Pride and Boasting Christian virtues?

Philippians 2:16 KJBHolding forth the word of life; that I MAY REJOICE in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

REJOICE – Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587

Philippians 2:16 NIV – “in order that I MAY BOAST in the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

ESVTHAT I MAY BE PROUD that I did not run in vain

BE PROUD, BOAST, GLORY – NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, NET, Holman

On the day of Christ, when we finally see the full glory of God Almighty, we will not be standing around boasting of our accomplishments and patting one another on the back and telling them how proud we are of them. Nobody will be boasting of his personal accomplishments in the day of the Lord Jesus. Instead we will all be flat on our faces worshipping the Lamb who alone is worthy to receive praise, honour and glory!

http://brandplucked.webs.com/mvsprideasvirtue.htm

# 10. Heretic or A Divisive Person?

According to the Modern Versions even Jesus Himself should be avoided because He was divisive; but He was not a heretic.

Titus 3:10 KJB – “A man that is an HERETIC after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Heretic – Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva Bible, Revised Version

Titus 3:10 NKJV 1982 – “Reject A DIVISIVE MAN after the first and second admonition.

A Divisive Person – MEV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV, NET

http://brandplucked.webs.com/hereticordivisive.htm

# 11. Who was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, “the Son of God” or “a son of the gods”?

Daniel 3:25 – “and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

The Son of God”  Wycliffe, Bishops’ bible, Geneva Bible, Lamsa’s Syriac Peshitta

Daniel 3:25 NIV – “and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.

a son of the gods” – NIV, NASB, RSV, ESV, Holman,  Catholic Jerusalem bible, Jehovah Witness New World Version

http://brandplucked.webs.com/dan325thesonofgod.htm

image

# 12.  2 Samuel 14:14 KJB– “Neither doth God respect any person” or
NKJV, MEV, NIV, NASB, ESV – “God does not take away life“?

2 Samuel 14:14
KJB – “NEITHER DOTH GOD RESPECT ANY PERSON
ESV, MEV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NET – “BUT GOD WILL NOT TAKE AWAY LIFE

2 Samuel 14:14 – Does God take away life or not? A Theological error in the NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV, NET, Holman Christian Standard Bible.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/2sam1414respectpersons.htm

# 13. “the just shall live by FAITH” or “the just shall live by his FAITHFULNESS“?
Habukkuk. 2:4 KJB – “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live BY HIS FAITH.

NIV 1978 and 1982 editions – “See, HE is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous will live BY HIS FAITH.
NIV 2011 edition – “See, THE ENEMY is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous PERSON will live by HIS FAITHFULNESS.

There is a world of difference between the just living by faith and the just living by his faithfulness. The first is the principle of living by the faith God has given us to believe the gospel of the grace of God in redeeming us through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The second – “the just shall live by his FAITHFULNESS” – is to remove the entire focus away from what Christ has done for us and to place it on ourselves, our performance and our own works.
The big theological question to ask is this – Does the just live by FAITH, meaning by what he believes about what God has done for us in Christ, or by his FAITHFULNESS, meaning how he lives?
The whole Reformation began with God opening the eyes of Martin Luther when he read the passage “The just shall live by his FAITH.” He was finally freed from the heavy yoke of trying to obtain his own righteousness through the works and self merit system of the Roman Catholic Church.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/habakkuk24.htm

# 14. John 7:8-10 Did Jesus lie or tell the truth?  If He lied, then He sinned, and He can’t be our Saviour.

KJB – “Go ye up unto this feast: I  go not YET unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.  When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.  But when his brethren were gone up, THEN went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.” 
ESV, NIV 2011 edition, NASB – “You go to the feast. I AM NOT GOING up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come. After saying this he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, THEN HE ALSO WENT UP, not publicly but in private.” (ESV)

http://brandplucked.webs.com/john78didjesuslie.htm

# 15.  KJBActs 13:33 and Psalms 2:7Thou art my Son, THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE.
NIV, NET, MEV – “You are my son; TODAY I HAVE BECOME YOUR FATHER.

In the true Bible Acts 13:33 speaks of the day the Son of God was raised from the dead and became the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18) and the first begotten of the dead (Rev. 1:5).

The fake bibles teach that there was a time when God became the Father of the Son, and thus the Son is not from everlasting to everlasting.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/acts1333thisdaybegotte.htm

16. Are there different “races” among men? The King James Bible does NOT teach this, but many modern versions do, and that there are some that are a pure race and others are a mongrel race.  Which is true?

http://brandplucked.webs.com/mvsandracism.htm

# 17. Daniel 9:26 What Did Christ Accomplish With His Death?
KJB –  “Messiah cut off, but NOT FOR HIMSELF” 
ESV (NIV, NASB, NET) – “an anointed one shall be cut off AND SHALL HAVE NOTHING.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/dan926messiahcutoff.htm

# 18. Psalm 8:5Thou madest him a little lower than the angels“, or “a little less than God“?

RSV, Holman Standard, NASBYou made him LITTLE LESS THAN GOD.
There is a huge difference between the King James Bible’s translation of Psalm 8:5 and those of many modern versions. The KJB tells us that God made us a little lower than angels.
 
The KJB reading is also the one found in the Greek Septuagint and Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac Peshitta.
Psalm 8:5For thou hast made him a little lower than THE ANGELS, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

The verse is even quoted in the New Testament in the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 2:7 – “Thou madest him a little lower than THE ANGELS; thou crownedst him with glory and honour
However, in Psalm 8:5 many modern versions tell us that we were made a little lower than God himself.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/ps85lowerthanangels.htm

# 19. “to KEEP His words” versus “to OBEY His words

John 14:23If a man love me, he will KEEP MY WORDS” Versus “Anyone who loves me will OBEY MY TEACHING”

King James Bible – “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we KEEP his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and KEEPETH NOT his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but WHOSO KEEPETH HIS WORD, in him verily is the love of God perfected.1 John 2:3-5

NIV 1984 edition – “We know that we have come to know him if we OBEY his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does NOT DO what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone OBEYS his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.

There is a big difference between “to KEEP God’s words” and “to OBEY God’s words”.

See what it is here –
http://brandplucked.webs.com/tokeepvstoobey.htm

# 20. How to Destroy Messianic Prophecies – Three examples
Number 1 – Haggai 2:7 The Desire of all nations shall come
Number Two – Isaiah 66:5 But He shall appear to your joy
Number Three – Daniel 9:26Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself

http://brandplucked.webs.com/dan926messiahcutoff.htm

Three Messianic Prophesies that are messed up in many modern versions –

http://brandplucked.webs.com/messianicprophecies.htm

Dan Wallace and his NET version, the ESV and the Modern English Version are wrong on all three. The NKJV is wrong on two of them.

# 21. THE GRACE OF GOD DESTROYED – Four Examples –
http://brandplucked.webs.com/graceofgoddestroyed.htm

# 1. Numbers 23:21
In Numbers 23:19-21 we read these beautiful truths: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

The next verse, 21, expresses a great truth in the KJB, but this is where the error of the new versions occurs. Verse 21: “He hath NOT BEHELD INIQUITY in Jacob, NEITHER HATH HE SEEN PERVERSENESS in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them”.
The  ESV, NIV, NASB, NET all get this wrong.

#2.  Deuteronomy 32:5 Are they God’s Children or Not His children?
The NKJV, MEV, ESV, NIV, NASB, NET all get this wrong.

See http://brandplucked.webs.com/graceofgoddestroyed.htm

#3. 2 Samuel 23:5Although my house BE NOT SO WITH GOD; YET he hath made with me an everlasting covenant

The MEV, NKJV, ESV, NIV, NASB all get this wrong.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/graceofgoddestroyed.htm

#4. Isaiah 35:8THE WAYFARING MEN, THOUGH FOOLS, SHALL NOT ERR THEREIN.
The MEV, NIV, NASB, NET all get this wrong. The ESV, NKJV got it right.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/graceofgoddestroyed.htm

# 22.  Jeremiah 8:8the pen of the scribes is in vain

Were the Old Testament Scriptures corrupted or not?
KJB – “How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? LO, CERTAINLY IN VAIN MADE HE IT; THE PEN OF THE SCRIBES IS IN VAIN.

NKJV (ESV, MEV, NIV, NASB) – “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the Lord is with us’? LOOK, THE FALSE PEN OF THE SCRIBE CERTAINLY WORKS FALSEHOOD.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/jeremiah88penscribes.htm

# 23. Did men “WORSHIP” the Lord Jesus Christ or just “BOW BEFORE” or “KNELT BEFORE” Him?
Matthew 8:2 KJB – “And, behold, there came a leper and WORSHIPPED him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

ESV, NIV, (NASB) – “And behold, a leper came to him and KNELT BEFORE him, saying, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/worshiporbowdown.htm

# 24. Acts 17:22Too Superstitious, Worship Demons or Very Religious“?

Acts 17:22 KJB – “Then Paul stood in the midst of MARS’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things YE ARE TOO SUPERSTITIOUS…whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

NKJV (ESV, NIV, MEV, NASB) – “Then Paul stood in the midst of THE AREOPAGUS and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are VERY RELIGIOUS.
The Living Oracles of 1835 has “you are ADDICTED TO THE WORSHIP OF DEMONS.
Darby’s translation says: “I see YOU ARE GIVEN UP TO DEMON WORSHIP

http://brandplucked.webs.com/acts1722superstitious.htm

#25  – 2 Corinthians 2:17Corrupt” or “Peddle” the word of God?
KJB – ”For we are not as many, which CORRUPT the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV, MEVFor we are not, as so many, PEDDLING the word of God…” 
The Geneva Bible 1587 was deficient here (as in other places) and read: “We are not as many which MAKE MERCHANDISE OF the word of God”.

http://brandplucked.webs.com/2cor217corruptpeddle.htm

# 26  – Luke 2:14 KJB – “on earth peace, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.

NASB, RSV, ESV, NET – “on earth peace AMONG THOSE WITH WHOM HE IS PLEASED.

NIV, Catholic St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 – “peace on earth TO THOSE ON WHOM HIS FAVOR RESTS.

Catholic Douay Version – “peace among MEN OF GOOD WILL.
http://brandplucked.webs.com/luke214goodwill.htm

666 or 616? – The Number of the Beast

666 or 616

Some modern versions of the bible as well as recent news articles call the accepted reading of Revelation 13:18 into question. Do these claims have merit?

Pick up almost any English version of the Bible, and turn to Revelation 3:18. It will read something like, “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” While this Biblical verse may not be the best known, the number six hundred and sixty six contained within it is recognized by most. This number’s association with the last days’ character known as the antichrist has caused it to be popularized, sometimes glamorized, and often feared by religious and non-religious people alike. However, some have cast doubt on the authenticity of this reading, and asked the question, “Is 666 really the number of the beast?” For example, the margin of the New Revised Standard Version (a corrupted translation) reads, “Other ancient authorities read six hundred sixteen.” The notes in the New American Standard Bible say, “One early manuscript reads 616.” Furthermore, news articles have appeared with such ominous titles as, “Beast’s Real Mark Devalued to ‘616’” and “666 Wrong Number of Prophetic Beast?” All of these things raise the question, “What is the real number of the beast as recorded in Revelation 13:18?
Answering this question accurately is of great importance for two reasons. First, this verse was not penned in a casual work of literature. Its origin is the King James Holy Bible, God’s Word. How important is the Bible? Deuteronomy 8:3 states clearly that, “Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD.
The Book of Revelation gives clear warning that its words are precious, and are not to be tampered with. In Revelation’s closing verses, we find Jesus saying,

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” – Revelation 22:18-19.

Knowing the number of the beast as given to John by God and not changing it is essential, if we are to please the Lord. The second reason for seeking an answer to this question is found in Revelation 13:18, the verse under discussion. It begins, “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast.” It is God’s will that mankind gain wisdom and understanding from His Word with respect to end time Bible prophecy and the signs given therein – including the number of the beast. Only by having an accurate understanding of the number of the beast can mankind successfully interpret Bible prophecy as it relates to the person of the antichrist. Given that we live in the last days, where many of these prophecies are now being fulfilled, this understanding is essential. Because Revelation 13:18 is found in God’s unchanged Word (KJV), and because we know that God wants us to understand Bible prophecy, let’s look at the evidence and answer the question, “The number of the beast – 666 or 616?

NEW TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS

Understanding why some question the reading “666” in Revelation 13:18 as well as determining the correct reading of this verse requires an investigation into the area of New Testament studies known as textual criticism. Textual criticism is a branch of philology that studies manuscripts or printings to determine the original form of a text. New Testament textual criticism seeks to study the large body of manuscripts, early quotations, lectionaries (readings used for church services), and translations in an effort to ascertain the accurate reading of the New Testament. Some would ask, “Why is this necessary? Don’t we have the original manuscripts, as penned by their authors?” The answer unfortunately is no. No original New Testament writings exist today. However, we do have an abundance of New Testament manuscripts written in the original Greek language. In addition we have many citations of the New Testament contained in quotations from early church writers and lectionaries, as well as numerous ancient translations into other languages such as Latin, Coptic, and Syriac. With such a large number of documents spanning such a long period of time, it is no surprise that some differences have emerged between manuscripts, including those of the book of Revelation. New Testament textual criticism seeks to understand and resolve these differences. Textual criticism is an area of study that is very deep and very wide. In fact, some scholars are dedicated to nothing but the study of New Testament textual criticism. In light of that, it is impossible to present a complete treatment of the textual factors that go into determining the number of the beast in this article. In addition, research in this field continues and new discoveries are continually made. However, what follows is an overview of key factors that help to explain the questions and seek to provide reasonable answers.

TEXTUAL WITNESSES

The Text of the New Testament”, a well known text on New Testament textual criticism, over 2300 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament exist today [“Text of NT” 83]. Of these manuscripts, more than 280 contain some or all of the Book of Revelation. Examining Revelation 13:18 in these manuscripts reveals that here are differences between them. Some manuscripts spell out the number using Greek words, some use letters to represent numbers (similar to Roman numerals). Although the vast majority of manuscripts give the number of the beast as six hundred sixty six, four (two pre-sixth century and two no longer existent post-eighth century) are known to state 616 as the number and one 11th century manuscript gives 665. This explains why the question about 666 vs. 616 has been raised. Although one could argue that the fact that the majority of manuscripts contain 666 closes the question, textual criticism acknowledges that not all manuscripts are created equal. Some are more reliable than others, based on numerous factors, including age, condition, and history. So, let’s look at some of the oldest and most respected Greek manuscripts that contain this passage.
Much of the recent stir about 616 has arisen due to renewed studies of a group of very old manuscripts originally discovered in 1895 by archaeologists at the site of an ancient garbage dump in Oxyrhynchus in Egypt (today’s false “bibles” are derived from this manuscript). Many of the Oxyrhynchus manuscripts consist of New Testament papyri, and are very old when compared to other manuscripts. One of them named P115 (also called P. Oxy. 4499), dates from around 300 AD and contains some or all of 12 chapters from the Book of Revelation, including Revelation 13:18. It records 616 as the number of the beast using Greek letters. Because of this manuscript’s age, some have jumped to the conclusion that this must be the original reading. However, this conclusion cannot be made. Other evidence must be considered. For example, three manuscripts from the Chester Beatty Papyri include portions of the New Testament. One of these named P47, dates from the 3rd century and contains chapters 9-17 of Revelation. In its reading of Revelation 13:18, it states that the number of the beast is 666, using Greek letters. So, two equally old papyri have both readings – 666 and 616.
Other ancient manuscripts contain similar differences. The uncial manuscripts consist of those written with Greek capital letters. Around 100 of these date from before the 7th century. Six uncials are known to contain Revelation 13 [“Text of NT” Chart 6K] and are noteworthy in this discussion. Codex a(Aleph – the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet), also known as Sinaiticus, was discovered by Constantin von Tischendorf in St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai in 1859 (today’s false “bibles” are also derived from this manuscript). It dates from the fourth century and is one of the most revered (falsely so) NT manuscripts, due to its age as well as the fact that it contains all of the New Testament. Its reading of Revelation 13:18 denotes 666 as the number of the beast, spelled out with Greek words. Codex Alexandrinus (A/02), a fifth century uncial as well as Codex P/025 of the ninth century, and codices 046 and Codex 051 of the 10th century all agree with Codex in their reading of 666 (with slight spelling differences). However, Codex C/04 of the fifth century has 616 spelled out with Greek letters as the number of the beast. So, it agrees with P115 as the only other ancient witness of this alternate text.
In summary, of the almost 300 Greek manuscripts containing Revelation, almost all of them state 666 as the number of the beast. The two oldest papyri are evenly divided in their reading, and over 80%of uncial manuscripts hold the reading of 666.

EARLY CHURCH WRITINGS AND TRANSLATIONS

In addition to the evidence of Greek manuscripts, we can also look to Biblical quotations found in early church writings, as well as ancient translations of the New Testament. One early church writer by the name of Tyconius recognized 616 as the number of the beast in his 4th century Latin version. In contrast, the writings of Origen and Hippolytus (both of the 3rd century) attest strongly to the value of 666 as the correct reading [Burgon 136]. Most noteworthy however are the statements of Irenaeus, the 2nd century bishop of Lyon, known to be a disciple of Polycarp. Polycarp is believed to have been a disciple of John, the author of Revelation. In his treatise, “Against Heresies”, Irenaeus deals with the subject of Revelation 13 and the number of the beast. In Book 5, Chapter 28 of this work, he states that the number of the beast is 666. In addition, Chapter 30 of the same work makes the following statement regarding the number 666:

“Such, then, being the state of the case, and this number being found in all the most approved and ancient copies [of the Apocalypse], and those men who saw John face to face bearing their testimony [to it]; while reason also leads us to conclude that the number of the name of the beast, [if reckoned] according to the Greek mode of calculation by the [value of] the letters contained in it, will amount to six hundred and sixty and six…(portion elided)…I do not know how it is that some have erred following the ordinary mode of speech, and have vitiated the middle number in the name, deducting the amount of fifty from it, so that instead of six decads (author’s note: a decad is 10) they will have it that there is but one. [I am inclined to think that this occurred through the fault of the copyists, as is wont to happen, since numbers also are expressed by letters; so that the Greek letter which expresses the number sixty was easily expanded into the letter Iota of the Greeks.] Others then received this reading without examination; some in their simplicity, and upon their own responsibility, making use of this number expressing one decad; while some, in their inexperience, have ventured to seek out a name which should contain the erroneous and spurious number.” [Roberts 558]

In this illuminating passage, Irenaeus states that 666 is the reading found in the most reliable copies of Revelation, including those copied by men who saw John. In addition, he acknowledges the existence of the 616 reading, but considers it erroneous, attributing it to copying errors and the failure of some to properly examine the authenticity of the alternate reading.
As the knowledge of Greek decreased in the ancient world, many translations of the Greek New Testament into the common languages of the people were created. These early translations agree in their readings of Revelation 13:18. The 5th century Armenian, the Syriac of the 6th century, the Old Latin of the 13th century, the Coptic, and the Latin Vulgate all agree that the number of the beast is 666.

PROVIDENCE OF GOD

While New Testament textual criticism seeks to understand and resolve differences among versions of the Greek New Testament, our confidence in the text of the Bible is not reliant upon the intellect of men or the tools of science. Most importantly, we have a promise from God that He will always preserve the integrity of His Word. Psalm 100:5 states that, “His truth endureth to all generations.” With this promise, we can rest, knowing that God has carefully watched over the transmission of the New Testament from its original writing to the present day. Whereas 666 has always been the dominant reading of Revelation 13:18, it is clear through faith in God’s promises that this is the original reading of the verse as penned by John on Patmos.

CONCLUSION

And his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” This statement from the last days’ prophecy of Revelation 13 gives a clue to the identity of the antichrist. God’s stated purpose in this verse is that we understand it correctly. This is especially true for those of us who live in the days immediately preceding the coming of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, some have questioned the accuracy of 666 as the number of the beast. Some have suggested that 616 is the real number. However, the majority of almost 300 Greek manuscripts, including the oldest and most valued (and corrupted), along with the evidence of early church writings and translations, all stand together as a great witness to the authenticity of 666 against a rather small set of four manuscripts and one early writer that make their claim for 616.
By Dave Novick

Endtime Magazine – Nov/Dec 2007

Why sound doctrine is so crucial

Most churches have doctrinal statements, written creeds filled with absolutes. Such documents pose a problem for people who view absolute statements with suspicion. Modern culture downplays the importance of doctrine or rejects it as divisive and insensitive, but does that mean that churches should adapt their theology or jettison creeds altogether? Does it make a difference what the church teaches?


Biblically, yes, what the church teaches does matter. Sound doctrine is crucially important. Perhaps we should define sound. In this blog, we’ll take it to mean “solidly orthodox, conforming to biblical truth.” Sound doctrine is teaching that agrees with the Bible.

Paul tells Titus “speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:” (Titus 2:1). Titus’ teaching had to correspond with God’s Word. The apostles were the pitch pipe, so to speak, through which God sounded the note to harmonize His church.

So, the main reason sound doctrine is important is that God directed us to teach it. There are other, secondary, reasons such as the fact that our faith is centered on a specific message. The Bible defines this message explicitly: “Christ died for our sins according to the dcriptures … he was buried …  he rose the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is the clear-cut news we are to share. Paul said he “….delivered unto you first of all ” Change the original message, which is done in modern “bibles”, and the basis of faith crumbles. JESUS WARNED US TO BUILD OUR LIVES ON THE IMMOVABLE ROCK OF HIS TEACHING, NOT ON THE SHIFTING SANDS OF MAN’S PHILOSOPHY (Matthew 7:24-27).

Another reason sound doctrine is important is that the gospel is a sacred trust. WE DARE NOT tamper with God’s communiqué. We are the couriers of the message, not its editors. Jude was insistent that the church defend sound doctrine: “…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3; see also Philippians 1:27). To “contend” means to strenuously fight for something and to hold nothing back in the struggle. We should neither add to nor subtract from God’s Word as modern “bibles” do (Revelation 22:18-19). We receive what has been entrusted to us and we must “Hold fast the form of sound words, …..  in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:13).

Also, sound doctrine is important because what we believe has an impact on what we do. There is a direct correlation between belief and behavior. Maya Angelou put it this way: “When you know better, you do better.” A belief that one is invincible can easily lead to foolhardy behaviour. In the same way, a man who rejects the idea of God and judgment will make very different choices than a man who fears God. First Timothy 1:9-10 mentions a list of sins and concludes with “whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.” In other words, bad behavior is out of sync with true belief. Sound doctrine curbs corrupt conduct.

Sound doctrine is also important because we must be able to distinguish truth from falsehood. “...because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Jesus said there are tares among the wheat and wolves among the flock (Matthew 13:25Acts 20:29 . The best way to spot a counterfeit is to be familiar with the real thing; to identify the lie, we must know the truth.

Sound doctrine is important because of its end. Sound doctrine leads to life. “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:16). On the other hand, unsound doctrine leads to ruin. Jesus spoke of the “great … fall” awaiting the one who builds his house on the sand (Matthew 7:27). Jude wrote of false teachers whose condemnation was sealed. Their crime? Teaching unsound doctrine, specifically, “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness,” and rejecting Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4). Preaching another gospel (“which is really no gospel at all”) brings down an anathema: “let him be accursed.” (see Galatians 1:6-9).

Finally, sound doctrine is important because it encourages believers. A pastor “holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:9). Believers naturally “desire the sincere milk of the word,…” because they want to grow (1 Peter 2:2). Sound doctrine is that “sincere milk“, wholesome, unadulterated, and vital.

Did Jesus Sweat Blood?

HEMATIDROSIS

Luke, the author of the New Testament books of Luke and Acts, who himself, by profession, was a physician. His writings manifest an intimate acquaintance with the technical language of the Greek medical schools of Asia Minor.

Of the four gospel writers, only Luke referred to Jesus’ ordeal as “agony” (agonia). It is because of this agony over things to come that we learn during His prayer “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44). Only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat (idros)—a much used term in medical language. Only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat as consisting of great drops of blood (thromboi haimatos)—a medical condition alluded to by both Aristotle and Theophrastus.1 The Greek term thromboi (from which we get thrombus, thrombin, et al.) refers to clots of blood. 2Bible scholar Richard Lenski commented on the use of this term: “‘As clots’, thromboi, means that the blood mingled with the sweat and thickened the globules so that they fell to the ground in little clots and did not merely stain the skin.”3

The Greek word ώσεί (osei {in context, “as it were”}) refers to condition, not comparison, as Greek scholar Henry Alford observed:

The intention of the Evangelist seems clearly to be, to convey the idea that the sweat was (not fell like, but was) like drops of blood;—i.e., coloured with blood,—for so I understand the ώσεί, as just distinguishing the drops highly coloured with blood, from pure blood…. To suppose that it only fell like drops of blood (why not drops of anything else? and drops of blood from what, and where?) is to nullify the force of the sentence, and make the insertion of ίματος (aimatos {blood}) not only superfluous but absurd.4 We can conclude quite justifiably that the terminology used by the gospel writer to refer to the severe mental distress experienced by Jesus was intended to be taken literally, i.e., that the sweat of Jesus became bloody.5

A thorough search of the medical literature demonstrates that such a condition, while admittedly rare, does occur in humans. Commonly referred to as hematidrosis or hemohidrosis 6, this condition reults in the excretion of blood or blood pigment in the sweat. Under conditions of great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can rupture7, thus mixing blood with perspiration. This condition has been reported in extreme instances of stress8. During the waning years of the 20th century, 76 cases of hematidrosis were studied and classified into categories according to causative factors. The most frequent causes of the phenomenon were found to be “acute fear” and “intense mental contemplation9. While the extent of blood loss generally is minimal, hematidrosis also results in the skin becoming extremely tender and fragile10, which would have made Christ’s pending physical insults even more painful.

From these factors, it is evident that even before Jesus endured the torture of the cross, He suffered far beyond what most of us will ever suffer. His penetrating awareness of the heinous nature of sin, its destructive and deadly effects, the sorrow and heartache that it inflicts, and the extreme measure necessary to deal with it, make the passion of Christ beyond comprehension.

ENDNOTES

1 William K. Hobart (1882), The Medical Language of St. Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1954 reprint), pp. 80-84.

2 W. Robertson Nicoll, ed. (no date), The Expositor’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 1:631; M.R. Vincent (1887), Word Studies in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946 reprint), 1:425.

3 R.C.H. Lenski (1961), The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg), p. 1077.

4 Henry Alford (1874), Alford’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980 reprint), 1:648, italics in orig.; cf. A.T. Robertson (1934), A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press), p. 1140.

5 Cf. A.T. Robertson (1930), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 2:272.

6 A.C. Allen (1967), The Skin: A Clinicopathological Treatise (New York: Grune and Stratton), second edition, pp. 745-747; “Hematidrosis” (2002), Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, p. 832, https://goo.gl/U192fY.

7 R. Lumpkin (1978), “The Physical Suffering of Christ,” Journal of Medical Association of Alabama, 47:8-10.

8 See R.L Sutton, Jr. (1956), Diseases of the Skin (St. Louis, MO: Mosby College Publishing), eleventh edition, pp. 1393-1394.

9 J.E. Holoubek and A.B. Holoubek (1996), “Blood, Sweat, and Fear. ‘A Classification of Hematidrosis,’” Journal of Medicine, 27[3-4]:115-33. See also J. Manonukul, W. Wisuthsarewong, et al. (2008), “Hematidrosis: A Pathologic Process orStigmata. A Case Report with Comprehensive Histopathologic and Immunoperoxidase Studies,” American Journal of Dermatopathology, 30[2]:135-139, April; E. Mora and J. Lucas (2013),“Hematidrosis: Blood Sweat,” Blood, 121[9]:1493, February 28.

10 P. Barbet (1953), A Doctor at Calvary: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ as Described by a Surgeon (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image Books), pp. 74-75; cf. Lumpkin, 1978.

Was the Darkness of the Crucifixion Merely an Eclipse?

For those who have experienced a total solar eclipse, the event is awe inspiring. Solar eclipses are incredible because they are a multi-sensory experience, from the amazing environmental changes of temperature and weather, to the sounds of nocturnal animal life, to the visual changes of the slowly dimming daylight and the brief darkness of totality. Lunar eclipses are similarly compelling as the Moon gradually changes from its usual bright white appearance to a more dim reddish hue. Yet, when we compare these physical events that have happened throughout history with the history changing event of Jesus’ crucifixion, can we understand the element of darkness on that day as an eclipse event?

While this question has been posed by many people from many different contexts, we want to confront the reasoning of some who deny any supernatural descriptions for biblical events. This type of blatant denial of any supernatural elements is a ploy toward an ultimate denial of God. Rather, when we consider the historical reality and the blending of both God’s supernatural power with God’s establishment of physical laws, we find a full account that has both investigative and descriptive power to understand the unique events depicted in Scripture.

A MATTER OF TIMING

As we discuss the timing of the crucifixion, we need to note the particulars necessary for solar and lunar eclipses to occur. First, a solar eclipse supposedly involves the Moon passing between Earth and the Sun, casting its shadow on Earth. This means that the Moon’s phase is always a New Moon during solar eclipses. In contrast, a lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth supposedly passes between the Sun and Moon, casting its shadow across the Moon. During a lunar eclipse the Moon’s phase is always a Full Moon.

As an overview, here is the timeline for the relevant events of the crucifixion. According to Mark 15:25, Jesus was crucified at the third hour of the Jewish day or 9 a.m. which, from the context, we can understand as the initial placement of Jesus on the cross. Then at the sixth hour (12 p.m. noon) there came darkness over all the land for a duration of three hours until the ninth hour or 3 p.m. (Matthew 27:45Mark 15:33Luke 23:44). At this point, Jesus cried out three of His recorded sayings on the cross: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34); “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” (Luke 23:46); and “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished:…” (John 19:30). At the point of Jesus’ death, the darkness appears to have ended, as each account describes the darkness lasting for three hours, then Jesus giving His life.

With the particulars of both the crucifixion timeline and the necessary timings of eclipses established, we can address whether a solar or lunar eclipse could be a possible explanation for the darkness that occurred. We can quickly rule out a lunar eclipse as the cause, since lunar eclipses do not affect the appearance of the Sun and would not have any impact during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

When we consider solar eclipses, there is a definite affect on the Sun and the daylight levels as they occur. Solar eclipses, especially in the narrow path of total solar eclipses, have dramatic periods of darkness. However, we can confidently say that the darkness during Jesus’ crucifixion was not the result of a solar eclipse event. This statement can be made based on the timing particulars that the Bible defines: first, the time of the month that the Jewish Passover occurs and, second, the duration of darkness outlined by the text.

Jesus’ trial and crucifixion happened near the feast of the Passover, which occurs every year in the same month and the same day of the month. According to Leviticus 23:5, the Passover began on the evening of the 14th day of the first month. Important is the fact that the accounting of Jewish time is based on a lunar calendar, where each month follows the lunar cycle beginning on the New Moon. This connection can be seen by the Hebrew word often translated as month, chodesh, which originates from a root meaning “new.” In context, this word is either translated as “month” in regards to time, or as “New Moon” in regards to a physical description. We can see a use of the physical “New Moon” translation in the account found in 1 Samuel 20 involving David and Jonathan: “And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.” (20:5). Here we have the New Moon (chodesh) used in conjunction with a time period of waiting till the “third day” of the month.

Thus since Jesus’ crucifixion happened near the middle of the month at Passover, the phase of the Moon was near a Full Moon instead of a New Moon, which is the complete opposite for a solar eclipse in apparent and physical orientation.

While the time of month for the crucifixion completely dispels the possibility of a solar eclipse, reasoning based on the darkness duration provides additional evidence for a supernatural origination. The Bible describes a three hour timeframe for the darkness (Mark 15:33). As we consider a solar eclipse, it is true that the entire event can be approximately three hours. However, this period includes the entire process from the point when the Moon begins to cover the Sun until the Moon finally completes its recession off the Sun. The partial eclipse phase of a total solar eclipse is a gradual process of slowly dimming to a point of maximum eclipse, then slowly brightening after maximum. This gradual variation does not match the succinct description of darkness over all the land that the Bible defines. Those who have witnessed a total solar eclipse would agree that “darkness” does not characterize the Earth until the brief maximum darkness phase of the eclipse. The duration for the maximum darkness of a total eclipse, however, is only a matter of minutes, not hours. The 2017 total solar eclipse that crossed the United States only had a maximum duration of two minutes and 40.2 seconds.1 In fact, the maximum duration possible for any total solar eclipse is less than seven minutes.2

CONCLUSION

When we reach the climax of God’s plan at the cross, we see God using all elements of the event to highlight the incredible uniqueness of Jesus’ innocence, sacrifice, and love. One of these elements was God causing a great, supernatural darkness to cover the land and extend to the point of Jesus’ death. This darkness was not a simple coincidence, nor was it simply some usual event. Rather, it played a part in showing those at the cross then, and those who come to the cross today, the crucial message of salvation that Jesus brought to the world.

ENDNOTES

1 https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html

2 Jean Meeus(2003), “The Maximum Possible Duration of a Total Solar Eclipse“, Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 113[6]:343–348, December.