Another mysterious instance of time reckoning not seeming to align in different parts of Scripture is in the tally of the years of the children of Israel in the land as they are added up by Paul in the New Testament and as they are added up by the author of Kings in the Old Testament. Paul, in his address in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, speaks of the length of time the Israelites spent in the land. First, he starts off in Acts 13:18.

18. Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness.

Paul speaks of “about” forty years as it was a round number. Two years were spent in coming out of Egypt, coming to the Mount Sinai, making the covenant, etc. The wandering after that took thirty-eight years. Thus a number of forty is achieved. Forty years passed from the exodus from Egypt to the entrance into the land.

Paul then speaks of their entrance into the land.

19. And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment.
20. “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.

So we now have a total of 40 years in the wilderness plus 450 years in the land until Samuel, for a total of 490 years. Next, he speaks of the time of King Saul. Read the rest of this entry »

The way time is reckoned in the Scriptures can sometimes be confusing and even seem contradictory. Time intervals do not seem to fit, dates do not add up, and altogether it can seem confusing. Do the Scriptures contradict when it comes to time? How can we explain these seeming “contradictions in Scripture”?

In our first message, we examined the idea of inclusive and exclusive time reckoning, whereby one can either include parts of days as full days (inclusive reckoning), or one can exclude parts of days as not being days (exclusive reckoning). We also examined the reigns of kings, and saw that sometimes, from comparing the kings of Israel to the kings of Judah, that we can see that there were gaps between or overlaps between kings, and considered the causes of these things. In our last message, we considered whether Christ was in the grave “three days and three nights” or whether He rose “on the third day.” We discovered that the “third day” was a figure of speech meaning when death was complete, and the Lord truly was a full three twenty-four hour days in the tomb. In this message, we will consider how the Hebrews marked time regarding their hours and days, and then consider the puzzle of Anno Dei versus Anno Mundi time. Read the rest of this entry »

Of the problems that trouble the student of Scripture, one of the more puzzling is the discrepancies sometimes seen in the way time is reckoned in the Scriptures. Dates do not seem to add up, time intervals do not seem to fit, and confusion is the result. Does the Bible contradict Itself when it comes to time? How can we explain these seeming “contradictions in Scripture”?

In our last message, we examined the idea of inclusive and exclusive time reckoning, whereby one can either include parts of days as full days (inclusive reckoning), or one can exclude parts of days as not being days (exclusive reckoning). We also examined the reigns of kings, and saw that sometimes, from comparing the kings of Israel to the kings of Judah, that we can see that there were gaps between kings (caused, perhaps, by a disagreement over succession, or by a child being too young to take the throne when his father died). We also saw that there are overlaps sometimes, and suggested this was from co-regency, when a father would allow his son to take the throne and reign alongside him. In this issue, we will examine the topic of how long exactly Christ was in the grave. Did He rise from the dead on the third day, or was He in the tomb three days and three nights?

How long exactly was the Lord Jesus to be dead and in the tomb? The Lord Himself says so most plainly in Matthew 12:40. Read the rest of this entry »

A startling puzzle when we consider the reigns of the various kings of Israel and Judah is that sometimes the numbers in the years of their reigns simply does not work out. One who is familiar with the book(s) of Kings knows that the reigns of the kings of the one kingdom are dated by comparison to the reigns of the kings of the other kingdom. This should make everything plain and easily confirmable, and yet what often happens is that the numbers do not seem to add up. Are there historical errors in this record? Is the Biblical author simply guilty of bad math skills? Or is there another reason?

Let us consider an example of some of these badly overlapping reigns. One example is in the reigns of Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab. This period is well marked out, since King Asa of Judah reigned for forty-one years, so his reign spanned that of Elah and Omri. In I Kings 16:8, we learn that Elah began to reign in the twenty-sixth year of Asa.

8. In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah the son of Baasha became king over Israel, and reigned two years in Tirzah.

So if Elah reigned two years, he would have reigned from Asa’s twenty-sixth year to his twenty-eighth year. The next king after him is Zimri, who kills him and takes his place. We read when his reign started in I Kings 16:15. Read the rest of this entry »

Of the problems that trouble the student of Scripture, one of the more puzzling is the discrepancies sometimes seen in the way time is reckoned in the Scriptures. Dates do not seem to add up, time intervals do not seem to fit, and confusion is the result. Does the Bible contradict Itself when it comes to time? How can we explain these seeming “contradictions in Scripture”?

The first problem with time reckoning we will consider is that of the time that passed between certain statements of the Lord and the transfiguration. We see this time interval first in Matthew 16:28-17:1.

28. “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
17:1. Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;

The same time gap is clear in Mark 9:1-2. Read the rest of this entry »

When we examine things that seem to contradict in Scripture, few are so difficult to consider as those that are connected to issues about which many will have deep theological convictions. When contradictions are noticed between the Bible’s statements regarding these things, contradictory passages will be quickly explained away, and passages supporting the beliefs of those setting them forth will be the ones that are emphasized. However, when it comes to the most important of issues, passages that offer a different view should not be swept under the rug. If an issue is important, then understanding all the Bible passages related to it must be equally important. Therefore, all passages involved should be examined and have their proper place. Nothing should be shoved under the rug. An issue like this may be the issue of “Clean and Unclean Meats.”

In the book of Acts chapter 15, an argument arose between Paul and Barnabas and certain men who came from Judea. They were disputing as to whether the new believers had to be circumcised after the manner of Moses and keep the law in order to be saved. Paul and Barnabas, along with certain of the other party, went up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders to determine the answer to this question. The decision of the resulting Jerusalem council is summarized in Acts 15:29. Read the rest of this entry »

In examining those things which some claim are contradictions in Scripture, we have stuck mostly with seeming contradictions between the gospels. This is because in the gospels, we have cases of the same story or similar stories repeated from multiple authors, so discrepancies between the stories seem obvious. In examining these discrepancies, we have found answers to many of them. However, the gospels are not the only source for seeming contradictions in the New Testament. Some differences seem plain in other parts, such as in the books of Paul. Let us examine some of these, and see what we can discover about contradictions between things that Paul wrote. First of all, we will consider “The Marriage of Widows.”

In I Corinthians 7:8, Paul declares, “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am.” We know that Paul was unmarried, whether that means he was single or a widower, so the clear implication here is that the unmarried and widows should remain single. However, this is in stark contrast to what we read in I Timothy 5:11-14. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I greatly enjoy your studies.
Thank you for the time you spend writing them.
Had a question.
 
I’m very intrigued by the emphasis the Bible and NT specifically puts on being poor.
Jesus mentions the poor often.
You read things like “hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith” in Hebrews
I plan to study this topic myself.
Have you ever looked into this?
Why would you be special because you have little money?
Or does “poor” really carry a different meaning than just having little wealth?
 
Thanks for any thoughts you might have

Glad you are enjoying the studies. You are very welcome for the time spent writing them.

You have hit on something with the idea that the “poor” carries a deeper meaning than just those with little money. Israel was set up with a very strict class system at the time of Christ. How exactly this got started is hard to say, but it may have had something to do with Antiochus Epiphanes and his attempt to restructure Israel into a typical, Greek-style nation with Jerusalem as a Greek city-state. When he was defeated and his ideas purged, somehow this one may have remained. At any rate, there was a very small, elite minority of people in Israel who made up the rich class. This was not so much about having wealth, though they certainly did have that. It was much more about having power. This rich class would take care of its own, however, and it is doubtful that anyone in the rich class could ever have become truly destitute. The vast majority of Israel belonged to the poor class. Most of the people of this kind were impoverished, but they also had very little power or influence. They were largely dominated by the rich, and had little say in their own government or how their nation was run. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

1 Cor 9
19. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

Hi Nathan,

Would you please explain this passage?  When Mid-Acts is presented with evidence that Paul was still operating under the Kingdom program during the Acts period, they use this passage to explain away things such as Paul preaching to the Jews, Paul performing signs and wonders, and Paul taking a Nazirite vow.

Thank You for your help,
Of course. This passage is a favorite of those who want to justify all kinds of things. Some will say that they should drink with the drinkers, party with the partiers, gamble with the gamblers, and do every sort of out-of-control or worldly thing just to get in good with people in order to win them to Christ. I even read one girl who promoted “missionary dating” and suggested believers should be willing to sleep with their unsaved boyfriends or girlfriends, all for the purpose of winning them to Christ. She said it hadn’t really worked yet, but the boyfriend she was sleeping with at the time said it was interesting and he was thinking about it. (!) Yet this is not the point of what Paul is saying. Paul was not a Jesuit, and he did not believe that the ends justify the means. We cannot do God’s work using wicked methods. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I enjoyed reading your article on the Canaanite woman.  I am an Acts 9 Pauline dispensationalist.  What you seem to say is that for a while Paul was preaching the same Gospel as the 12 but only gradually began teaching something different.

My question is, why did God call out Paul if he were not specifically to preach a different Gospel?  Was God positioning Paul as a contingency, and why couldn’t He have just used one of the twelve to transition into something new?

What you ask is a good question, and I will be happy to give you my answer.

Before we get too far into an explanation, we had better make clear what a gospel is. The Greek word is euangelion, and comes from eu, which means “good,” and angelion, which means a message (as you can see, it is related to “angel” or messenger). However, it is important to point out that a gospel is good because it is right, not because it is necessarily “good news” to the one hearing it, as I have often heard it said of the gospel. If you were to wake up in the middle of the night to hear someone shouting, “Fire! Get out!” that would not be good news, but if it was true, it would be the right news, and the news you needed to hear. I believe an examination of the word “gospel” will also reveal that a gospel is always spoken in view of a need. In the case of a house on fire, the need would be to stop sleeping and to realize the house is on fire so you can escape. A gospel must also contain an element of promise. In the case of the fire, the promise implied would be that if you do get out you will be saved from dying in the fire. Read the rest of this entry »

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