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alarm02Another 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 »

Acts 28 Part 4

We were considering Acts 28:26-27, which passage quotes the important prophecy of Isaiah 6:9-10. This passage is not just quoted here, however, but is quoted in many other places in the New Testament. We will now consider the other quotations of this passage, in order to help us understand why it is quotes here in Acts 28, and what its quotation here is all about.

This passage is the last time chronologically that this important prophecy of Isaiah 6:9-10 was quoted in the New Testament, but it has already been quoted multiple times before in the New Testament. First, we see the passage quoted by our Lord in Matthew 13, when the disciples asked Him the why He had started speaking to the people in parables.

10. And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

It seems that the disciples are confused. The Lord had previously been speaking plainly to the people, giving His teaching. Now, however, He is giving it in parables. They wonder why the change, and why He has started doing this. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following comment:

“…nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.”  (Galatians 1:17)

Not really a question, but possibly a cool thought— When Paul “went to Arabia”, maybe he spent his time at Mt. Sinai.  4:25 references Hagar being a partaker from Mt. Sinai in Arabia, so I thought that Paul may have taken it back to where the Lord spent a good amount of time with one of the other studs of the Bible, Moses.  I’m assuming it’s a possibility—have you ever thought of that—any thoughts?

That is a cool thought, and definitely seems like a possibility. It is very interesting that God would send him to Arabia, as you say. Cornelius Stam wrote a book comparing Paul and Moses. There are some obvious comparisons between the two. It would make sense if Paul met with Christ on Mount Sinai, just like Moses did. Ultimately, of course, it is just speculation, as we don’t know where Paul met with the Lord. Yet it does seem a tempting possibility, with him being in Arabia. David Hettema speculates that when Israel is gathered to meet the Lord in the wilderness at the start of the kingdom, that the place they will be called to is Mount Sinai. Again, there is no proof, but it does seem an interesting and likely possibility.

I received the following question:

So why do you think that the tribe of Benjamin holds a special bragging right to it. I’m referring to when Paul is boasting in Philippians 3 that the tribe of Benjamin was something to be highly regarded. It seemed like it was one of the smaller tribes and maybe there was something in that. However, this tribe was almost wiped out completely back in the Old Testament by God. Seems like that isn’t anything to brag about.

To start out with, let us examine the passage you refer to. Paul, in listing his pedigree in Philippians 3, says in verses 4b-6, “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Here, being a member of the tribe of Benjamin clearly is something that Paul (and the Holy Spirit) considers as prestigious or worthy of having confidence in the flesh about. What is it that makes Benjamin special? Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

In Romans 1:17 the Apostle Paul quotes Habakkuk. 2:4 and states that “the righteous will live by faith.” However, going back to Habakkuk the quote was “but the righteous will live by HIS faith.” Why is the quote from Paul different than the one used by Habakkuk?

A good question that I would be happy to answer. Romans 1:17 in Greek reads:

17. δικαιοσυνη γαρ θεου εν αυτω αποκαλυπτεται εκ πιστεως εις πιστιν καθως γεγραπται ο δε δικαιος εκ πιστεως ζησεται

Habakkuk 2:4 in the Septuagint (Greek) version reads:

4. εαν υποστειληται ουκ ευδοκει η ψυχη μου εν αυτω ο δε δικαιοσ εκ πιστεωσ μου ζησεται

You can see that that last six or seven words are basically the same (the slight difference seems to be caused by the Septuagint text I found online not dealing with the final “s” correctly,) but there is one difference: the little word mou that appears as the second-to-last word in the Septuagint version. That word means “of him,” and the phrase would be properly translation as “but the righteous out of the faith of him shall live.” In Romans, however, it reads, “but the righteous out of faith shall live.” So there is definitely a difference between the Septuagint and the New Testament. Read the rest of this entry »

silver coinI received the following question:

I’d be interested to hear your take on the controversy over Matt 27:9-10.

An interesting question. Happy to oblige.

Matthew 27:9-10 reads,

9. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10. and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me.”

This prophecy is found nowhere in the book of Jeremiah. There is a prophecy in Zechariah 11:12-13 that some suggest is the prophecy referred to.

12. Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13. And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.

This sounds very similar to the quote in Matthew 27. Notice, however, that Zechariah says that he threw the thirty pieces of silver into the house of the LORD for the potter, whereas in Matthew 27 it quotes Jeremiah as saying that “they” gave the thirty pieces of silver “for the potter’s field.” There is no mention of a field in Zechariah. Read the rest of this entry »