Augustine1 Conservative Christian Worldview Blog

September 29, 2014

Daniel Chapter 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — augustinehippo1 @ 6:10 am

1  King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixtycubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

1. What prompted the king to set up such an image and where did he go wrong?

There is a discernible link between Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 and the image he made in Daniel 3. It seems that Nebuchadnezzar deliberately made an entire statue of gold, saying that the day of his reign and authority would never end – in contradiction to God’s declared plan.GC

There is a logical connection between the image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream (ch. 2) and the image that he had built on the plain of Dura (ch. 3). Perhaps he got the idea for the statue he built from the statue he saw in his dream. He forgot, however, the lesson that he had learned about Yahweh’s sovereignty (2:47). Evidently thoughts of his position as the head of gold made him proud. CN

The image of gold reflects the enormous statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, except it is made entirely of gold, as if Nebuchadnezzar were asserting that there would be no other kingdoms after his. It was sixty cubits (90 feet/27 m) high and six cubits (9 feet/2.7 m) wide.

Its location on a plain in Babylon recalls the location of the Tower of Babel (also on a plain, Gen. 11:2), as does its purpose to provide a unifying center for all the peoples of the earth. ESVN

Daniel 2:47 (NKJV) The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”

 King Nebuchadnezzar, still an unbeliever, has been given divine revelation through a dream and told its interpretation in chapter 2. He grasps this revelation as an unbeliever and his understanding and response are impaired (see 1 Corinthians chapter 2). Viewing the revelation of Daniel 2 through the eyes of unbelieving king Nebuchadnezzar provides a better understanding of the king’s goals and methods described in chapter 3.

 While there seems to be a connection between the statue of chapter 2 and the image of chapter 3, there are striking contrasts between these two representations. Consider these contrasts: Images of Chapter 2: (a) divine origin; (b) a vision only; (c) made of different metals; (d) not an object of worship; (e) privately revealed to Nebuchadnezzar; (f) fairly well described; (g) prompted king to bow down. (h) Ended with the King acknowledging God as the God of gods and Lord of kings.Images of Chapter 3: (a) human origin; (b) a reality; (c) made only of gold; (d) an object of worship; (e) revealed to all; (f) described only generally; (g) men commanded to bow down. (h) Ended with the King acknowledging God as the Most High God Who Alone is able to deliver…

What should Nebuchadnezzar have learned from his dream and the interpretation of Daniel, as recorded in Daniel 2? From that dream, he learned that the entire statue (the Gentile kingdoms) disintegrated because a stone struck the feet which were weak. The weakness, he was told, was due to a racial mixture in the last kingdom. Seeking to “fix the feet” by making an idol of solid gold and creating one religion, Nebuchadnezzar constructed the gold image and required every race and culture to worship it. Nebuchadnezzar may have hoped to change the course of history and prolong the glory of his kingdom.

Nebuchadnezzar was still a pagan though he had acknowledged the God of Daniel and his three friends as a God of wisdom and revelation. In chapter 3, he learned that the God of Israel was also the Deliverer of His people. What the king did not take seriously enough was the Stone, the real cause of the statue’s destruction and the Creator of the new, eternal, kingdom which replaced Gentile rule. Rather than “fix the feet,” he needed to fall at the feet of the “Stone,” Jesus Christ. Nebuchadnezzar did not yet grasp the sovereignty of God over history. Although he was told the dream and its interpretation were trustworthy (2:45), he still believed he could change the course of history.  (Faith and the Furnace)RD

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)   But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

2  Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

2. Why the big crowd?

Leaders attending the “summit conference” for Nebuchadnezzar’s display are: satraps, or leaders over regions; prefects, or military chiefs; governors, or civil administrators; counselors, or lawyers; treasurers; judges, or government arbiters; magistrates, or judges in our sense today; rulers, or other civil leaders. MSBN

Nebuchadnezzar summoned his officials to the image for what he probably intended to be a demonstration of loyalty to him.“The fairly recent date of the establishment of the Babylonian Empire as the successor to Assyria (at least in its southern half) made it appropriate for Nebuchadnezzar to assemble all the local and provincial leaders from every part of his domain and, in essence, exact from them a solemn oath of loyalty .”The religious connotations of the gathering are unclear, but it was probably not a summons to worship one idol as God. The Babylonians were a polytheistic people and worshiped many gods.“A refusal to yield homage to the gods of the kingdom, they regarded as an act of hostility against the kingdom and its monarch, while every one might at the same time honour his own national god. This acknowledgment, that the gods of the kingdom were the more powerful, every heathen could grant; and thus, Nebuchadnezzar demanded nothing in a religious point of view which every one of his subjects could not yield. To him, therefore, the refusal of the Jews could not but appear as opposition to the greatness of his kingdom.”Some of the titles of the officials named in the text are Persian and some are Babylonian. Daniel may have updated some of these Babylonian titles with modern Persian equivalents when he wrote the book in its final form. Or perhaps they were already common when the events of this chapter happened.

The satraps were the highest political officials in each province. The prefects (princes) were military chiefs. The governors (captains) were heads of sections of the provinces. The counselors (advisers, judges) were high-ranking judges. The treasurers were superintendents of the treasury. The judges (counselors) were secondary judges, and the magistrates (sheriffs) were lower level legal officials. The rulers (officials) were subordinates of the satraps. These groups represented all the administrative government officials of the wide-ranging empire, and they spoke many different languages (v. 7). CN

3  Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5  that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6  And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.”

3. So why would the Hebrews care if the Babylonians want to worship their king?

The requirement was that they all worship Nebuchadnezzar’s god. The worship of a suzerain’s god was an essential part of the oath of loyalty, a factor that had proved disastrous time and again in Israel’s history. But for most nations and peoples it was not a difficulty, unless they were thinking of rebelling. After all such gods had proved their superiority and it did not mean denying their own gods. It was different for worshippers of the one God, Yahweh, the God of heaven (as Rome would concede later). PC

7  Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8  Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. 9  They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10  You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11  And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace.

4. Who were these Chaldeans?

The Chaldeans who brought charges against Daniel’s three friends were nobles, not just astrologers. The Aramaic term gubrin kasda’in makes this clear. They were in a position to profit personally from the execution of the three Jews, perhaps even to step into the government positions they occupied. CN

The Chaldeans’ opposition is not difficult to understand, given the goal of Nebuchadnezzar to use foreigners as a part of his administration.The Chaldeans were the “natives” of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar himself was a Chaldean. Daniel and his three friends were outsiders, yet they had higher positions in Nebuchadnezzar’s administration than the Chaldeans.

The attack on the three Hebrews was an attack “against the Jews” (3:8).

While the Chaldeans did not devise a scheme to bring about the demise of the three Hebrews (as others would later do with Daniel in chapter 6), they certainly took advantage of the situation. They apparently interrupted the ceremony, reporting to Nebuchadnezzar that these three Jews refused to bow down. When the king stopped the ceremony, everyone must have looked on with great interest to see how the matter would be handled and to see if the three Hebrews would buckle under to the king’s orders. RD

5. Maybe the king could make an exception for these exceptional young men who did such good work for the king?

 It was a presupposition of the Babylonian monarchical system that once the king, who was viewed as “god”, made a proclamation it could not be revoked.

“so let it be written, so let it be done”

Even if the king wanted to change his edict, and it is not clear that he wants to, he could not. A change would seriously weaken his position and seriously threaten the entire empire.

There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 13  Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. 14  Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15  Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.

6. Where was Daniel during this time?

The absence of reference to Daniel here raises questions. Had he worshiped the image? Was he away on government business, was he occupied with pressing matters, or was he ill and unable to attend the ceremony? Did he enjoy such an exalted position or such favor with the king that these Chaldeans dared not accuse him? The writer did not explain this mystery. It was the response of Daniel’s three Hebrew friends that he wanted to  stress. It seems safe to assume that if Daniel had been present he would have responded as his three friends did.

“Those who had proven themselves loyal at the royal court in Babylon would have been exempt from the ceremony. Thus Daniel did not have to appear at the gathering because he had been with Nebuchadnezzar at the royal court.” CN

Daniel himself is curiously absent; perhaps he is away on a mission, or perhaps above the administrative rulers mentioned in 3:3 and thus immune from such displays of Nebuchadnezzar’s pride, or perhaps the Chaldeans did not feel safe accusing Daniel. ESVN

Daniel was Rab-mag, the Chief of the Magi. It was Daniel who had interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Maybe that had established him as “bullet proof”. 

7. Why is it so important to the king that these guys fall down and worship his image?

Obviously, Nebuchadnezzar was seeking a unifying principle to weld together the tribes and tongues and peoples of his kingdom into one great totalitarian government. In other words, he was attempting to institute a world religion. This was nothing in the world but a repetition of the tower of Babel—a forming of one religion for the world. JVM

The command is empowered by a naked threat. Nebuchadnezzar regarded refusing to worship the image as treason, not only as a religious offense. In this, Nebuchadnezzar is just like most politicians, who often seem willing to use religion to strengthen their grip on political power. Politicians are happy to blend together spiritual allegiance and national allegiance. An example of this was displayed in 1936 when Herr Baldur von Schirach, head of the youth program in Nazi Germany, said: “If we act as true Germans we act according to the laws of God. Whoever serves Adolph Hitler, the fuehrer, serves Germany, and whoever serves Germany serves God.” GC

And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

8. I thought Nebuchadnezzar already recognized the power of the Hebrew God. Did he forget?

Daniel 2:46-47 (MSG)

46  When Daniel finished, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face in awe before Daniel. He ordered the offering of sacrifices and burning of incense in Daniel’s honor. 47  He said to Daniel, “Your God is beyond question the God of all gods, the Master of all kings. And he solves all mysteries, I know, because you’ve solved this mystery.”

Even though Nebuchadnezzar had witnessed and testified to the sovereignty of Yahweh previously (2:47), he clearly did not believe that even He could save the accused (v. 15). Perhaps he figured that giving information was one thing, but saving people from a fiery death was something requiring greater supernatural power. Similarly many people today believe that God inspired the Bible, but they do not believe that He can deliver them from their serious personal problems much less world problems. The king set himself above all gods; none of these gods could deliver the three Hebrews from him. He claimed absolute authority in political and religious realms. CN

Short memory?

what god … ?  The king’s challenge would return to embarrass him. The true God was able to deliver, just as He was able to reveal a dream and its meaning. Nebuchadnezzar had earlier called him “a God of gods” (2:47), but having let that fade from his attention, he soon would be shocked and humiliated when God took up his challenge. MSBN

16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

9. Where did these kids get the courage to stand up to the most powerful man on earth.

There was no doubt in the three men’s minds as to God’s power to save them (see 2:20–23). Yet the way in which God would work out his plan for them in this situation was less clear. God’s power is sometimes extended in dramatic ways to deliver his people, as when he parted the Red Sea for Israel on the way out of Egypt (Exodus 14); at other times, that same power is withheld, and his people are allowed to suffer. Either way, they would not bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image. ESVN

Daniel 2:20-23 (ESV) 20  Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. 21  He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise andknowledge to those who have understanding; 22  he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23  To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

People who are willing to stake their lives on their theology are pretty serious about it. That was the case for the three young Hebrew men in Daniel 3. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made a courageous, principled stand against King Nebuchadnezzar’s order to bow to his golden statue. At the heart of their commitment was their view of God. These young men, taken as captives from Israel to Babylon, took with them their knowledge of God’s commands. From their very first days of captivity in this pagan country, these three and their pal Daniel decided that the most important thing they could do was obey God.

The Word for Today

They said they believed the Lord could deliver them from any fiery furnace and that He would deliver them. However, they also acknowledged the possibility that it might be God’s will not to deliver them. God does not always save the lives of His children when they face martyrdom. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego knew this, but they had no question about God’s ability to save them (cf. Matt. 10:28). Whether God would deliver them or not, they refused to serve idols or to bow before the king’s image (Exod. 20:3-5).

Matthew 10:28 (ESV) 28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Exodus 20:3-5 (ESV) 3  “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

“The quiet, modest, yet withal very positive attitude of faith that these three men display is one of the noblest examples in the Scriptures of faith fully resigned to the will of God. These men ask for no miracle; they expect none. Theirs is the faith that says: ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,’ Job 13:15.”

“. . . Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego loved Yahweh more than life itself. Not only had they learned to recite the Shema—’Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’ (Deut 6:4-5)—but they made it the center of their lives. For them the will and glory of Yahweh meant more than fame, position, or security.”.

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20  And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21  Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

10. The death of the guards tells us what?

Ironically, Nebuchadnezzar’s order resulted in the death of his own soldiers, demonstrating the fact that the Lord is able to protect his servants better than Nebuchadnezzar can protect his.

24  Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25  He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

11. Who was he fourth guy?

The king seemed only to have known that the fourth person was a heavenly being. He called him a “son of the gods” (a pagan reference to one who appeared supernatural) and an “angel” (v. 28). The fourth person could possibly have been the second person of the Godhead (Jesus Christ) in a pre-incarnate appearance. MSBN

This furnace apparently was an open furnace, and Nebuchadnezzar, who expected these men to expire at once, was amazed to see them alive and walking about in the fire.Another amazing fact was to see a fourth Man whom Nebuchadnezzar described as being in the form “like the Son of God.” That should be translated “like a son of gods.” Nebuchadnezzar had no knowledge of the living and true God at this time, although Daniel had spoken of Him. Having no spiritual perception, Nebuchadnezzar could only testify to His unusual appearance—He looked like one of the sons of the gods. However, I do believe that the fourth Man was the Son of God, the preincarnate Christ. JVM

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were joined in the fire by a fourth individual, who had the appearance of a divine being like a son of the gods, who was either a Christophany (a physical appearance of Christ before his incarnation) or an angel (see v. 28). In either case, this is a physical demonstration of God’s presence with believers in their distress, a graphic fulfillment of the Lord’s promise in Isa. 43:2. The Lord promised his presence with his people, ensuring that their trials and difficulties would not utterly overwhelm them. ESVN

The fourth person in the furnace was Jesus Christ in one of His preincarnate appearances in the Old Testament.  Wiersbe.

John 8:58-59 (ESV) 58  Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59  So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

Luke 24:27 (ESV) 27  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Was it an angel, or was it the second person of the Trinity, “the” Son of God? That this was the Son of God – the second person of the Trinity, who afterward became incarnate, has been quite a common opinion of expositors. So it was held by Tertullian, by Augustine, and by Hilary, among the fathers; and so it has been held by Gill, Clarius, and others, among the moderns. Of those who have maintained that it was Christ, some have supposed that Nebuchadnezzar had been made acquainted with the belief of the Hebrews in regard to the Messiah; others, that he spoke under the influence of the Holy Spirit, without being fully aware of what his words imported, as Caiaphas, Saul, Pilate, and others have done. BN

26  Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27  And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28  Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29  Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.  

12. I guess old Nebuchadnezzar just can’t help it.“Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins?

He just keeps reverting back to his Conan the Barbarian Mode.

Conan! What is best in life?

Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

 I think old Neb is a work in progress.

          ESVN………….ESV Study Bible Notes

·         MSBN…….MacArthur NASB Study Notes

·         NIVSN…..NIV Study Notes.

·        JVM ……………..J Vernon McGee,

·        ACC ……………. Adam Clarke’s Commentary

          BN ……………..Barnes Notes

·        WBC…………….   Wycliffe Bible Commentary

·         CN …… …………..Constables Notes

·         IC………………….Ironside Commentary

·         NET……………….Net Bible Study Notes.

·         JFB…………..Jamieson  Fausset  Brown Commentary

·         VWS……………..Vincent Word Studies

·         CMM………….Commentary on Matthew and Mark

·         BDB………….. Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)

·         Darby………..John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT

·         Johnson………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament.

·         NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.

·         EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures

·         CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary

·         SBC…………………Sermon Bible Commentary

·         K&D……………….Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT

·         EBC…………………Expositors Bible Commentary

·         CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College

·         GC……………………Guzik Commentary

·         RD……………………. Robert  Deffinbaugh

          NNIBC ………………Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary.

         KJVBC……………….KJV Bible Commentary.

         JBC.…………………..Joseph Benson’s Commentary

         PC….………………….Pett’s Commentary


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September 23, 2014

“A Genuine Faith That Navigates Through Suffering” Pastor Rusty Lyon

Filed under: Uncategorized — augustinehippo1 @ 6:42 pm


James 5:7-11 (NIV)
7  Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rustyrains. 8  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9  Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10  Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11  As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.


 How to navigate through inevitable suffering:

A. Be patient: v. 7

7  Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming….

* James 1:12    Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Take it is stride, let God teach you something

B. Look for the Lord’s coming : v. 7 b-8

 See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

Be patient – the harvest is coming

2 Thessalonians 1:5-10  All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6  God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7  and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10  on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

Romans 8:18  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Do not lose heart, revel in the glory of the 2nd coming of Jesus

Revelation 22:20  He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

C. Don’t grumble against each other, don’t turn against each other v. 9

9  Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

In what ways do Christians tend to grumble about each other? Why do we do it?

- Personality differences

- Socioeconomic differences

- We misread each other

- We psychoanalyze the motives of each other

- Pick at each other because others don’t carry their own weight

- Musical tastes and styles

-Take frustration out on the pastor

D. Follow the example of the Lord’s servants who have gone on before you: vs 10-11

10  Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

* Moses:  Exodus 17:4  Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

                   Numbers 16:3-4  They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the                                                        LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?” 4  When Moses heard this, he fell facedown.


* Elijah:  1 Kings 18-19  So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of  one of them.” 3  Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there…………. 9  There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10  He replied, “I have been very zealous for the  LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”



* Jeremiah: the weeping prophet, enduring mistreatment with patience. He was put in stocks (Jer. 20:2); thrown into prison (32:20), lowered into a miry dungeon (38:6).

                        Jeremiah 20:2  he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the LORD’s temple.

                        Jeremiah 32:2  The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was confined in the courtyard of the guard in the

                                                       royal palace of Judah.

                        Jeremiah 38:6  So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered

                                                       Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud. 

* Amos:        Amos 7:12  Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there.

* Matthew   Matthew 5:11-12  “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

When we follow God’s will, sometimes things get messy and complicated

E. Understanding the timing of the Lord’s blessing: vs 11

11  As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. 

*Job:                Job 2:9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” 

                          Job 13:15  Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.

                         Job 42:10-11 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11  All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

F. Consider the Lord’s character: v.11

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.


* A true-to-life practical illustration to drive it home!



September 26, 2014 ………”Augustine: young earth creationist”

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—theistic evolutionists take Church Father out of context


Augustine, a church father who believed in a young earth, (painting: Botticelli, c. 1480).

As his theology matured, Augustine abandoned his earlier allegorizations of Genesis that old-earth creationists and theistic evolutionists have latched onto in an attempt to justify adding deep time to the Bible. Furthermore, he always believed in a young earth (painting by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1480).

1) How did St. Augustine read the first chapters of Genesis and why?

Augustine read the first eleven chapters of Genesis as God’s revelation. For that reason he took what is described there quite literally.

2) Was he ambiguous, to such extent that both sides in the evolution debate might refer to him for support?

Augustine was not vague about the age of the earth, the historicity of Adam and Eve as our first ancestors, or the events in the Garden of Eden and the worldwide flood later in Genesis. However, his doctrine of creation was complex. All matter, according to him, was created on the first day. Subsequently God created pregnant ideas that Augustine called rationes seminales, which were imbedded in creation. Some only came to fruition afterwards, even, it might be argued, after the Fall. Augustine thought that God could even have catered for the eventuality of the Fall of man into sin and the subsequent curse. But, all speculations set aside, Augustine did not teach a process of one kind changing into another. As a result of his rather philosophic view of creation he took the word “day” in Genesis as symbolic. “Hooray”, cry those who hold the day-age view of Genesis one. This optimism is unwarranted. Augustine’s symbolic use did the very opposite. He wanted a period that was actually shorter than six earth days. In Augustine’s mind, God would have created all matter as well as the seminal ideas in the blink of an eye. The material expression of those ideas followed later. We have to combine his instant creation theory with his literal reading of other events in Genesis. Adding his belief that the world is about 8000 years old makes it extremely hard to call on him to support Darwinian evolution of any kind or deep time.

3) Isn’t it obvious from his City of God (De Civitate Dei) that Augustine believed that God created Man 6000 years ago?

 His belief that the world is about 8000 years old makes it extremely hard to call on him to support Darwinian evolution of any kind or deep time
 Not quite, but a young earth definitely. Augustine wrote in De Civitate Dei that his view of the chronology of the world and the Bible led him to believe that Creation took place around 5600 BC [Ed. note: he used the somewhat inflated Septuagint chronology—see Biblical chronogenealogies for more information.]. One of the chapters in his City of God bears the title “On the mistaken view of history that ascribes many thousands of years to the age of the earth.” Would you like it clearer? Several pagan philosophers at the time believed that the earth was more or less eternal. Countless ages had preceded us, with many more to come. Augustine said they were wrong. This goes to show that theistic evolutionists who call in Augustine’s support do so totally out of context. All they allow themselves to see is his symbolic use of “day” in Genesis, and a very difficult philosophical doctrine of creation with ideas that develop. “Wonderful!” they think, “Augustine really supports our post-Darwinian theories!” It takes a superficial view of Genesis and Augustine to arrive at such conclusions. His instant creation, his young earth and immediate formation of Adam and Eve rule out Augustine’s application for this purpose.

4) Is there a development in Augustine’s view of the days of creation?

 In this later work of his [On the necessity of taking Genesis literally], Augustine says farewell to his earlier allegorical and typological exegesis of parts of Genesis and calls his readers back to the Bible.
As Augustine became older, he gave greater emphasis to the underlying historicity and necessity of a literal interpretation of Scripture. His most important work is De Genesi ad litteram. The title says it: On the necessity of taking Genesis literally. In this later work of his, Augustine says farewell to his earlier allegorical and typological exegesis of parts of Genesis and calls his readers back to the Bible. He even rejected allegory when he deals with the historicity and geographic locality of Paradise on earth.

5) Some say that one of the reasons for Augustine taking the days of creation less literally is that he did not have a great command of the Hebrew language. They also question his knowledge of Greek. He would have been misled by a bad Latin translation of Genesis 2:4 that suggested that Creation took place instantly, giving rise to his particular theory. Is this correct?

Augustine was not a Hebrew scholar, nor exactly an expert in Greek. I would be inclined to say the basis for his theory was in one of the deutero-canonical books. He used an old Latin version when he quoted from Jesus Sirach 18:1 (“He who lives eternally has made omnia simul”). Augustine interpreted the Latin wordsomnia simul as “everything at the same time”. He consequently thought that God would have created everything instantaneously. That is why he came up with the theory that Creation should have been shorter than six earth days. He was comparing Scripture with what he saw as Scripture, not editing the Bible with Darwinism. There is a profound difference. His conclusion, however, was based on a wrong interpretation of the Latin, which doesn’t do justice to the Greek original. The Greek says that God made all things together (panta koinee), or “the whole world”. The New Revised Standard Version translates it that way, for instance. This history contains a warning for today’s theologians: know your Greek! It might help you to avoid speculative theories that people take seriously because you are a well known church leader.

6) What was Augustine’s view on the relation of faith and science? Is there a conflict?

There is no conflict between faith and science on the data, or the facts. Sometimes faith and science clash on the level of interpretation and theorizing. We see this particularly in our time, now science in the post-Christian West has embraced worldview presuppositions that are incompatible with Christianity. Augustine’s main aim in writing his Commentary on Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram) was to show that there needn’t be any conflict between the Genesis account, even if this was to be taken literally, and science and philosophy. If one cannot come up with a scientific explanation that supports the Scriptures, one should still accept that God’s Word is true and trust that we will find out later. Augustine takes this attitude, for instance, when he writes on the waters above the earth (Gen 1:7).

7) Would you give a short overview of the doctrine of Creation over the last two thousand years?

Days of CreationEarly Church leaders like Origen, Augustine and Basil were young earth creationists. This view was commonly held within the Church until the 19th century (including Aquinas, Bede, the fourth Lateran council in AD 1215 and Pius X). The Catholic2 Church of all times and places embraced the traditional doctrine of Creation from the day of Pentecost until the Enlightenment. In the Roman Catholic Church this even continued until the Great War. But after the Enlightenment, darkness reigned. Miracles disappeared. Divinity became part of the humanities. Divine revelation was doubted or outright denied. Human religiosity was the new object. Theology became a science that explained the Bible as if there never was Divine intervention in history. Mythology, comparative religion and egalitarianism were the new keys of interpretation. There was no revelation, but a democratic process where earliest Christianity produced ideas about Jesus and decided what to think about God, creating a god after our likeness. The seeds were sown in 17th century philosophy and the political changes of the French revolution. The implications become fully visible in the 19th century. Especially from the early part of that century onward the natural sciences started to filter out God as a relevant factor. We observe a similar move in continental theology around the same time.


Related Articles

Further Reading


  1. The full text of an interview of which a summary in Dutch appeared in Reformatorisch Dagblad (Reformed Daily), 15 April 2009. Return to text.
  2. “Catholic” in the sense of universal, not Roman Catholic. Return to text.

Creation Ministries International  Dear Augustine: You are welcome to post CMI articles on the mentioned website, as long as you agree not to change any of the content and reference and the relevant authors, as you have indicated.

Kind regards,  Annalouise Bekker  Administration
Creation Ministries International


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Got Questions Answers “Is the Bible truly God’s Word?”

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Question: “Is the Bible truly God’s Word?”

Answer: Our answer to this question will not only determine how we view the Bible and its importance to our lives, but also it will ultimately have an eternal impact on us. If the Bible is truly God’s Word, then we should cherish it, study it, obey it, and fully trust it. If the Bible is the Word of God, then to dismiss it is to dismiss God Himself.

The fact that God gave us the Bible is an evidence and illustration of His love for us. The term “revelation” simply means that God communicated to mankind what He is like and how we can have a right relationship with Him. These are things that we could not have known had God not divinely revealed them to us in the Bible. Although God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible was given progressively over approximately 1500 years, it has always contained everything man needs to know about God in bible-185372_640order to have a right relationship with Him. If the Bible is truly the Word of God, then it is the final authority for all matters of faith, religious practice, and morals.

The question we must ask ourselves is how can we know that the Bible is the Word of God and not just a good book? What is unique about the Bible that sets it apart from all other religious books ever written? Is there any evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word? These types of questions must be seriously examined if we are to determine the validity of the Bible’s claim to be the very Word of God, divinely inspired, and totally sufficient for all matters of faith and practice. There can be no doubt that the Bible does claim to be the very Word of God. This is clearly seen in Paul’s commendation to Timothy: “… from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

There are both internal and external evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word. The internal evidences are those things within the Bible that testify of its divine origin. One of the first internal evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word is seen in its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction. This unity is unique from all other books and is evidence of the divine origin of the words which God moved men to record.

prophetAnother of the internal evidences that indicates the Bible is truly God’s Word is the prophecies contained within its pages. The Bible contains hundreds of detailed prophecies relating to the future of individual nations including Israel, certain cities, and mankind. Other prophecies concern the coming of One who would be the Messiah, the Savior of all who would believe in Him. Unlike the prophecies found in other religious books or those by men such as Nostradamus, biblical prophecies are extremely detailed. There are over three hundred prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Not only was it foretold where He would be born and His lineage, but also how He would die and that He would rise again. There simply is no logical way to explain the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible other than by divine origin. There is no other religious book with the extent or type of predictive prophecy that the Bible contains.

A third internal evidence of the divine origin of the Bible is its unique authority and power. While this evidence is more subjective than the first two, it is no less a powerful testimony of the divine origin of the Bible. The Bible’s authority is unlike any other book ever written. This authority and power are best seen in the way countless lives have been transformed by the supernatural power of God’s Word. Drug addicts have been cured by it, homosexuals set free by it, derelicts and deadbeats transformed by it, hardened criminals reformed by it, sinners rebuked by it, and hate turned to love by it. The Bible does possess a dynamic and transforming power that is only possible because it is truly God’s Word.

There are also external evidences that indicate the Bible is truly the Word of God. One is the historicity of the Bible. Because the Bible details historical events, its truthfulness and accuracy are subject to verification like any other historical document. Through both archaeological evidences and other writings, the historical accounts of the Bible have been proven time and time again to be accurate and true. In fact, all the archaeological and manuscript evidence supporting the Bible makes it the best-documented book from the ancient world. The fact that the Bible accurately and truthfully records historically verifiable events is a great indication of its truthfulness when dealing with religious subjects and doctrines and helps substantiate its claim to be the very Word of God.

Another external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the integrity of its human authors. As mentioned earlier, God used men from many walks of life to record His words. In studying the lives of these men, we find them to be honest and sincere. The fact that they were willing to die often excruciating deaths for what they believed testifies that these ordinary yet honest men truly believed God had spoken to them. The men who wrote the New Testament and many hundreds of other believers (1 Corinthians 15:6) Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. knew the truth of their message because they had seen and spent time with Jesus Christ after He had risen from the dead. Seeing the risen Christ had a tremendous impact on them. They went from hiding in fear to being willing to die for the message God had revealed to them. Their lives and deaths testify to the fact that the Bible truly is God’s Word.

A final external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the indestructibility of the Bible. Because of its importance and its claim to be the very Word of God, the Bible has suffered more vicious attacks and attempts to destroy it than any other book in history. From early Roman Emperors like Diocletian, through communist dictators and on to dioclecianmodern-day atheists and agnostics, the Bible has withstood and outlasted all of its attackers and is still today the most widely published book in the world.

Throughout time, skeptics have regarded the Bible as mythological, but archaeology has confirmed it as historical. Opponents have attacked its teaching as primitive and outdated, but its moral and legal concepts and teachings have had a positive influence on societies and cultures throughout the world. It continues to be attacked by pseudo-science, psychology, and political movements, yet it remains just as true and relevant today as it was when it was first written. It is a book that has transformed countless lives and cultures throughout the last 2000 years. No matter how its opponents try to attack, destroy, or discredit it, the Bible remains; its veracity and impact on lives is unmistakable. The accuracy which has been preserved despite every attempt to corrupt, attack, or destroy it is clear testimony to the fact that the Bible is truly God’s Word and is supernaturally protected by Him. It should not surprise us that, no matter how the Bible is attacked, it always comes out unchanged and unscathed. After all, Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31). After looking at the evidence, one can say without a doubt that, yes, the Bible is truly God’s Word. Copyright Policy: While all of the material on the website is under copyright protection, the only purpose of our copyright is to make sure people copy it right. As long as you always clearly reference and/or link to as the source of the material, you have our permission to copy, print, and distribute our material.


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September 23, 2014

Creation ex nihilo – intro | Conservative News and Views

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Creation ex nihilo – intro | Conservative News and Views.

September 22, 2014

Why Will God Hold America More Accountable Than Other Nations?

Why Would God Punish America Before He Would Punish Hindu or Islamic Nations?

Essentially, this question was asked by the ancient Hebrew prophet Habakkuk. When he complained to God regarding the corruption of his nation and inquired how long God would tolerate it, God informed him that He was bringing the Chaldeans against the nation to punish them. But this divine response perplexed the prophet, causing him to make a second inquiry: “Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?” (1:3). In other words, yes, Israel deserved punishment, but why inflict that punishment using a nation even more wicked than Israel—a polytheistic, pagan nation? God’s answer was that, in His own good time, He would ultimately deal with the more wicked nation as well.

What is unique about America is the fact that it was borne amid an almost unanimous desire to possess the favor of the God of the Bible in the establishment of the Republic. The Founders repeatedly expressed their concern that Christianity (what they repeatedly styled “true religion”) be maintained among the citizenry in order to retain divine assistance (Miller, 2010). This basic orientation was sustained as a national attitude for over 150 years. After World War II, sinister efforts were well underway to strip God and Christianity from civil, judicial, and educational institutions (Miller, 2008).

Unlike Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and polytheistic, pagan countries—which do not claim to be “Christian”—America has been recognized the world over as a “Christian nation.” We have been blessed accordingly—beyond all other nations in human history. America’s origins so positioned her among the nations of the Earth that, in effect, many would see God’s reputation as “on the line.” Do we think He would allow America to jettison Christian values, flaunt moral degradation, and defiantly boast to the world that America is “tolerant” of perversion and immorality—without calling her to account before the world? As prominent Founder George Mason, often called “The Father of the Bill of Rights,” stated at the Constitutional Convention: “As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities” (as quoted in Madison, 1840, 3:1391, emp. added; of course, God’s timetable varies from human expectation, so any future retribution is unpredictable as to timing).

The Founders understood this principle emphatically. Take, for example, prominent Founding Father John Witherspoon. Serving as President of Princeton from 1768 to 1776, Witherspoon served on both the Provincial Congress of New Jersey as well as the Continental Congress (1776-1782) where he signed theDeclaration of Independence. After the Revolutionary War, he was a member of the New Jersey State Assembly as well as a member of the State ratification convention for the federal Constitution. In a treatise titled “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men,” written the same year the Founders declared their independence, this quintessential Founder insightfully observed:

It is the prerogative of God to do what he will with his own; but he often displays his justice itself, by throwing into the furnace those, who, though they may not be visibly worse than others, may yet have more to answer for, as having been favoured with more distinguished privileges, both civil and sacred (1776, emp. added).

America has been blessed with so many more privileges and blessings than other nations. But our moral decline seems to be proportional to those blessings. America has a lot to answer for. It’s only a question of time—unless a massive, nationwide, spiritual awakening is forthcoming. That is precisely what America most desperately needs—not a stronger economy, not more handouts, and not more concern for the environment. She needs to repent and fall before the God of Heaven and beg His forgiveness.

Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you (2 Chronicles 30:8).

Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him (Psalm 2:12).

But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to endure His indignation (Jeremiah 10:10).


Madison, James (1840), The Papers of James Madison, ed. Henry Gilpin (Washington, DC: Langtree & O’Sullivan).

Miller, Dave (2008), The Silencing of God: The Dismantling of America’s Christian Heritage(Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Miller, Dave (2010), Christ and the Continental Congress (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Witherspoon, John (1776), “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men” (Philadelphia, PA: Town & Country),

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September 21, 2014

Daniel Chapter 2

Filed under: Book of Daniel — augustinehippo1 @ 4:00 pm
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1  Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzardan21
had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. 2  Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams

1. So, what’s the big deal about a dream?
Having subdued all his enemies, and firmly established his throne, it is probable he was thinking upon his bed what should come to pass hereafter: what should be the future success of his family and kingdom, and whether any, or what, families and kingdoms might arise after his own: and as our waking thoughts usually give some tincture to our dreams, he dreamed of something to the same purpose, which astonished him, but which he could not rightly understand. The dream affected him strongly at the time; but awaking in confusion, he had but an imperfect remembrance of it; he could not recollect the particulars. It is said he dreamed dreams, because though it was but one continued dream, it contained divers scenes of affairs, being a description of the succession of the four monarchies which were to continue, under different forms, unto the end of the world. Wherewith his spirit was troubled — The Hebrew expression, ותתפעם רוחו, denotes that his spirit was violently agitated, or in such consternation as to affect his body, and disturb his rest. JBC
The dreams were clearly vivid ones. Nebuchadnezzar was greatly disturbed and could no longer sleep. And the sense of unease continued on in the morning. He knew that the dreams had something very important to say to him, and he was desperate to know what it was. But as we shall see, he was not going to be satisfied with suave answers. He had had too much experience of interpreters of dreams to trust them. He wanted the truth, and these dreams were very important to him. The importance of dreams in the eyes of the ancient world cannot be over-exaggerated.The plural ‘dreams’ probably means that he saw what followed as a succession of dreams, into which he slipped in and out, rather than as just one dream. Alternately it may mean that he dreamed the same dream two or three times over (the singular is used later). PC

2. Who were these guys?

Nebuchadnezzar assembled his wise men  to interpret the meaning of what he had dreamed. Daniel identified four distinct groups of them here. The king wanted to make sure someone could help him. The magicians (Heb.hartummim) were evidently scholars who could divine the future by using various means. The conjurers or enchanters (assapim) could evidently communicate with the dead. The sorcerers (mekassepim) practiced sorcery and cast spells. The Chaldeans or astrologers (kasdim) here refer to the priestly caste that studied the heavens to determine the future. The Chaldean astronomers were remarkably accurate. Daniel prepared the reader for the failure of all the king’s counselors that follows by pointing out that there were many different groups of them. Evidently it was customary for the Babylonian kings to tell their dreams to their advisers who would then provide a politically correct interpretation that would satisfy the monarch. However, Nebuchadnezzar wanted his wise men not only to give him an interpretation but also to tell him what he had dreamed. CN


So they came in and stood before the king. The king said to them, “I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the dream.” Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic: “O king, live forever! Tell the dream to your servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” 5  The king replied to the Chaldeans, “The command from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your houses will be made a rubbish heap. 6  But if you declare the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts and a reward and great honor; therefore declare to me the dream and its interpretation.”  They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell the dream to his servants, and we will declare the interpretation.”  The king replied, “I know for certain that you are bargaining for time, inasmuch as you have seen that the command from me is firm,  that if you do not make the dream known to me, there is only one decree for you. For you have agreed together to speak lying and corrupt words before me until the situation is changed; therefore tell me the dream, that I may know that you can declare to me its interpretation.”

3. Had the king really forgotten the dream?


It is possible, as some have suggested, that the king actually forgot the dreams, and that is why he demanded that his wise men tell the dream and then its interpretation. I think the king remembered his dream, but wanted to be certain of a genuine interpretation, not a fabrication. Anyone can “interpret” a dream; few indeed can tell you what your dream was. The king required both.

King Nebuchadnezzar was in a bad mood when he called his wise men. His dream troubled him so greatly he could not sleep afterward (2:1). Two things caused the king such distress over his dream. First, he believed his dream was very important. In his culture and religion, dreams were a means of revelation from the gods. He wanted to know what the gods were trying to tell him. Secondly, like the Pharaoh of Joseph’s day who did not understand his dream, there was an ominous sense that something was wrong. Because he lacked the interpretation of his dream, he did not know what was wrong, or what he should do about it. RD

“The king was a young man who had been extraordinarily successful in his military conquests. He undoubtedly had developed a great deal of confidence in himself. It is entirely possible that the wise men were much older than the king, having served Nebuchadnezzar’s father. It would be understandable that the king might have previously been somewhat frustrated by these older counselors and may have had a real desire to be rid of them in favor of younger men whom he had chosen himself. Nebuchadnezzar might well have doubted their honesty, sincerity, and capability, and may even have wondered whether they were loyal to him. He may also have questioned some of their superstitious practices.”Regardless of what Nebuchadnezzar may or may not have remembered, his desire to validate the interpretation that his advisers would propose is beyond doubt. They claimed to offer infallible supernatural guidance. If they failed, they would suffer excruciating dismemberment and humiliation. If they succeeded, gifts, a special reward, and great honor would  be theirs. 

10  The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king, in as much as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any magician, conjurer or Chaldean. 11 Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.” 12  Because of this the king became indignant and very furious and gave orders to destroy all the wise men of
13  So the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they looked for Daniel and his friends to kill them. 14 
4. Wasn’t the King being unfair to his “advisers”?
The complaint that the king was unjust in his demand has a sound of justice. But when it is recalled what a gigantic hoax the whole hocus-pocus of ancient astrology, divining, soothsaying, etc., really was, the king’s decree, while excessively harsh, in that it included their “houses” (families? v. 5), was not

unjust as regards the “wise men” themselves. They claimed occult powers and were frauds, granting a good bit of sincere self-deception. God holds men responsible for willful ignorance (cf. Rom 1:28). 11. The gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. The comma after gods makes the following clause non-restrictive, that is applicable to all gods. If the comma is omitted, the clause is read as restrictive, i.e., applying only to a certain class of gods. Perhaps it is best to omit the comma and understand the wise men as claiming to have communication in their “flesh” with certain gods of the pantheon but none with the greatest ones (Marduk), who were able to control or reveal the future.

The Chaldeans proceeded to explain with profuse courtesy and flattery that what the king requested was humanly impossible. No one could tell what the king had dreamed. Furthermore no king had ever asked his counselors to do such a thing before. Only the immortal gods could provide this information, and the implication was that even these men could not get information from the gods. Yet that is precisely what they claimed to be able to provide: supernatural information.  CN

What they are saying is that they have no communication with heaven. They even confessed that their gods were not giving them very much information. They conclude their argument by saying that no human being could meet the king’s demands. JVM


5. What did all this have to do with Daniel?

Their confession sets the stage for Daniel’s ability to do precisely what they said no person could do. Their confession of inability and their complaint that the king was being unfair with them made Nebuchadnezzar very angry (cf. Gen. 40:241:10Dan. 3:1319). He gave orders to execute all the wise men in Babylon, specifically, those who were his counselors. Probably the city of Babylon is in view here rather than the province or the whole empire (cf. v. 493:1) since the king’s counselors were the targets of his wrath. Daniel and his three friends fell under the edict because they were advisers to the king (1:20), not because they practiced divination, which, it is safe to say, they did not. CN

God providentially orchestrated the events of Babylon so that the “gods,” along with all those who called on them, were shown to be worthless and powerless. At the same time, God created a situation in which His four servants would be in danger, and for whom He would prove to be their deliverer. Furthermore, in the midst of these circumstances, God would demonstrate that He could do

what no other god could do—foretell history. All things are possible for God; there is no impossible situation. In situations which appear insurmountable, the faith of His saints grows strong, and His power and majesty is demonstrated to all. The crisis here is by divine design, as is every crisis involving the people and purposes of God. RD

 Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to Arioch, the captain of the king’s bodyguard, who had gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon; 15  he said to Arioch, the king’s commander, “For what reason is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch informed Daniel about the matter. 16  So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him time, in order that he might declare the interpretation to the king. 17  Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, 18  so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

6. How did Daniel know that God would give him the interpretation to the dream?


He didn’t.  
No evidence indicates Daniel wanted to be a hero. Daniel acted as he did because he was put “between a rock and a hard place.” He was forced to act. If he did not act, not only he, but his three Hebrew friends would die, along with all the other wise men of Babylon.

Daniel acted on faith. Once he understood the problem, he knew the solution. What was impossible for the wise men of Babylon was possible for the God of heaven, the God of Israel. God knew the future. More than this, God planned the future, in eternity past. Daniel had every confidence that the king’s dream not only came from God but would be revealed and interpreted to the king by God, if he and his friends but petitioned Him to do so.

Daniel hastened to his house, where he found his three friends. He told them what had happened in order that they might pray with him for God to have mercy on them and deliver them by revealing the dream and its message to Daniel. RD

Daniel asked in faith………..Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)   Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 
Daniel and his friends hoped that God would again grant them favor as he had done in the past. 


19  Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; 20  Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him.  “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding. 22  “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. 23  “To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, For You have made known to us the king’s matter.” 24  Therefore, Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointe to destroy the wise men of Babylon; he went and spoke to him as follows: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon! Take me into the king’s presence, and I will declare the interpretation to the king.”
7. What can we learn from Daniel’s prayer?
As the dream came to Nebuchadnezzar in the night, so the dream and its meaning came to Daniel in a night vision (verse 19). Daniel’s response seems immediate. His prayer of praise reveals Daniel’s gratitude for receiving the answer to their prayers. It reveals more as well. Let us focus briefly on three dimensions of this prayer:(1) What the king’s dream reveals about the superiority of God to the “gods” of Babylon;(2) What the king’s dream reveals about God; and(3) What the revelation of the dream and its meaning reveals about God’s love and care for His people.
First, Daniel’s praise focuses on the superiority of God to the “gods” of Babylon. Neither the wise men nor their gods could satisfy the king’s demands. They were too difficult for them. God revealed the dream and its meaning for the king. The God who answered the prayers of Daniel and his friends was the “God of heaven” (verse 19), the God about whom the wise men spoke but did not know. As opposed to the Babylonian gods, whose purposes and plans were determined by the stars and seasons, the God of heaven changes the times and epochs.
Second, Daniel’s prayer gives insight into the message which God was giving to Nebuchadnezzar through his dream. As the king pondered the future, God informed him through his dream that the future is in God’s hands and is not determined by kings. Indeed, even the rise and fall of kings is the work of God and not men. Wisdom and power belong to God; and thus the king, who was looking to men, should have been looking to the God of Israel for wisdom.
Third, the dream demonstrated God’s care for His people Israel. The four young Hebrew captives, about to be put to death, prayed for mercy and deliverance. Their request was answered with the revelation of the king’s dream and its interpretation to Daniel. Even in captivity, God continues to care for His own. RD
25  Then Arioch hurriedly brought Daniel into the king’s presence and spoke to him as follows: “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can make the interpretation known to the king!” 26  The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?” 27  Daniel answered before the king and said, “As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. 28  However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. 
8. Why would the God of the Jews communicate with a pagan king?
“there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries”This praise to God sums up the theme of the whole book, namely that God is the One who controls all things and grants all wisdom and might. MSBN
God is God of the entire universe and all nations and peoples, whether they acknowledge Him or not.     Psalm 2:1-4 (NKJV)  Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,  “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”  He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision.    

Daniel immediately makes a distinction between the wisdom of Babylon and the wisdom of God. The apostle Paul wrote, “… hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” and also, “… the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:20, 25).
Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV)  remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
Daniel now has the unique privilege of introducing to the darkened mind of this pagan king the living and true God. He says, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.” This is very important because it is going to be the emphasis in the Book of Daniel; this dream refers to the end of the times of the Gentiles. JVM


34  This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed. 29  As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 30  But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind. 31  “You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. 32  The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33  its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them.  
34  While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.
 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. 36
 “This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. 37  You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 38  and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold. 39  After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth. 40  Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and bstatuereak all these in pieces. 47 In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 42  As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 43  And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery. 44  In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 45  Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.” 46

9. What is the dream?

Daniel next pictured clearly and concisely what Nebuchadnezzar had seen in his dream. The king had been viewing a large statue that was standing before him. There is no basisin the text for concluding that this was an idol. The statue was extremely splendid and awe-inspiring because of its appearance. Daniel did not say if it was a statue of a man or a woman, though it was presumably a man, or if it represented the king or someone whom the king knew. The important things about this statue were the materials that composed it and what happened to it.

The figure of a man was employed here because God wished to make known “The figure of a man was employed here because God wished to make known “The figure of a man was employed here because God wished to make known what would transpire during man’s day, the age in which mortal man ruled the earth. Here, in one panoramic sweep, the whole of human civilization is spread before us, from the days of Nebuchadnezzer to the end of time.


The head was of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver. Its abdomen and thighs were bronze. Its lower legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and clay. Archaeologists have discovered similar images made of several types of precious metals in Babylonia.Several features are noteworthy. First, the head is the only member of the body made of only one metal. All the other parts had more than one substance with the exception of the arms. For example, the upper torso was silver but bronze lower down. The same was true of the legs and feet. Second, there is a consistently decreasing value to the substances beginning at the top and proceeding to the bottom of the image. Third, the image was top-heavy. The specific gravity of gold is about 19, silver about 11, brass about 8.5, and iron 7.8. Fourth, the substances progress from the softest to the hardest, top to bottom. The feet are a non-adhering combination of very hard and hard but fragile materials. The clay in view may have been baked clay that the Babylonians used as tiles in construction projects. CN


10. What did the dream mean?

we will tell its interpretation. Five empires in succession would rule over Israel, here pictured by parts of a statue (body). In Da 7, the same empires are represented by 4 great beasts. These empires are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the later revived Rome, each one differentiated from the previous as indicated by the declining quality of the metal. A stone picturing Christ (Lk 20:18) at His second coming (as the Son of Man also does in Da 7:13, 14) will destroy the fourth empire in its final phase with catastrophic suddenness (2:34, 35, 44, 45). Christ’s total shattering of Gentile power will result in the establishment of His millennial kingdom, the ultimate empire, and then continuing on eternally (2:44; 7:27).
inferior. This probably means “lower” (lit. “earthward”) on the image of a man as Daniel guides Nebuchadnezzar’s thoughts downward on the body from his own empire (the head) to the one that would succeed it. Medo-Persia, though lacking the glory of Babylon (silver as compared to gold), was not inferior in strength to Babylon when its day of power came; it actually conquered Babylon (7:5). Also in the case of Greece, bronze is less glorious (valuable) than silver, but stronger. rule over all the earth. Alexander the Great became the ruler of the world, including Israel, from Europe to Egypt to India.
 strong as iron.This metal fittingly represents the Roman Empire which would be characterized by the description predicted. It did have armies in iron armor known as the Iron Legions of Rome, and it had strength and invincibility.
 toes. Ten toes represent the same kings as the 10 horns in 7:24. They will rule in the final time of the Gentile empire, which Christ destroys in violent abruptness at His second coming.
clay and … iron.The iron in the 10 toes (kings) represents the Roman Empire in its revived form, prior to the second coming of Christ, as having iron-like strength for conquest (cf. Rev 13:4, 5). But the clay mixed in depicts that the union (federation) of kings and nations would have fatal flaws of human weakness, so that it is inherently vulnerable.
endure forever. God’s kingdom ruled by Messiah is the final rule, never to be replaced. It has a millennial phase and an eternal future, but it is the same king who rules both.
 stone … mountain. The stone is Messiah (cf. Ps 118:22, 23; Is 28:16; Ro 9:33; 1Pe 2:6; esp. Lk 20:18). The mountain pictures God’s all-transcending government that looms over weak earthly powers (4:17, 25; Pss 47:8; 103:19; 145:13; Rev 17:9). Messiah is “cut out” of this sovereign realm by God, which accords with the Son of Man coming (7:13, 14); “without hands” denotes that the Messiah comes from God and is not of human origin or power (cf. the same idea in 8:25). The virgin birth and the resurrection, as well as the second coming, could be encompassed in this reference to supernatural origin. MSBN

The one statue was a composite, so to speak, of the kingdoms of the Gentiles, beginning with that of Nebuchadnezzar, and continuing through history. Nebuchadnezzar was the head of fine gold, an indication of the superiority of his kingdom to those which followed. Nebuchadnezzar was indeed a great king, but his power, strength, and glory were all from God. The extent of his rule (2:38) sounds much like the rule which God gave to Adam and Eve, in the beginning (Genesis 1:26).

After Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, three others would follow. Almost nothing is said of the second and third kingdoms, except for one thing: they will become progressively inferior to the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. A great deal is said of the fourth (and last) kingdom; more attention is given it than all the rest, which is most interesting because it was the farthest removed from the days of Nebuchadnezzar. Why should this kingdom receive such attention in the interpretation?

I think it is because this is the kingdom struck by the stone; it is the kingdom whose fall topples the entire statue, rendering it virtually non-existent in the end. This kingdom, while it receives much attention from Daniel, is not named, nor are all the details pertaining to it explained. The only detail is that the mixture of iron and clay, which weakens the statue, is that of a racial intermingling (Daniel 2:43).

When this final kingdom comes to power, the end is near. The final days will fulfill the details of this prophecy. The end of this kingdom is brought about by the mysterious “stone made without hands” —the stone which brings about a new, eternal kingdom.

Daniel ends the interpretation by informing Nebuchadnezzar that the vision was from God, indicating to him what would take place in the future. The matter was certain, and the interpretation reliable.

Before we consider the response of Nebuchadnezzar to Daniel’s words, let us summarize some important observations concerning the statue:

(1) There is a unity, a dan212bond between the four kingdoms, as indicated by the vision. There is one statue, but four distinct kingdoms. Somehow these four kingdoms are related or share something in common. The common element seems to be that these were all Gentile kingdoms, kingdoms which subjugated and dominated the nation Israel.

(2) There is a downward progression, a deterioration of the kingdoms. The head of gold is glorious, the breast of silver of a lesser greatness. The belly of brass deteriorates to legs of iron and feet which are a mixture of iron and clay. Things don’t get better, only worse.

(3) There is, in the end, a disintegration of the entire statue. Granted Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was great, but when the stone strikes the feet of the statue, the entire statue collapses, disintegrates, and blows away.

In the end,

(4) There is an unknown, mysterious “king,” who destroys the entire statue, who nullifies all of these kingdoms, bringing them to nothing while establishing his own kingdom.

(5) The kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar and those who follow him pass away, and a greater, eternal kingdom does not.

(6) Greater emphasis is on the first and fourth kingdoms than on the rest. The first kingdom is given attention because Nebuchadnezzar is the king. The fourth kingdom receives more emphasis than the other three, I believe, because it is the final kingdom which will be struck down by Messiah at His appearance.

(7) Much in this vision is not interpreted or explained, which neither Daniel nor Nebuchadnezzar seem to have understood. In this vision, none of the kingdoms or kings are identified, except the first kingdom (Babylon) and its king (Nebuchadnezzar). What was not interpreted did not need to be known by Daniel or the king. The meaning and interpretation of these mysterious details will be evident when they are fulfilled. RD
 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. 47  The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” 48  Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49  And Daniel made request of the king,
and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king’s court.  
11. Did Nebuchadnezzar become a believer at this point?

Nebuchadnezzar Promotes Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar recognized and honored Daniel’s God and promoted Daniel and his friends within the Babylonian court, giving them further opportunity to promote the peace and welfare of the city where the Lord had exiled them, as Jeremiah had counseled (cf. Jer. 29:5–7). ESVN

The response of Nebuchadnezzar is truly amazing. Imagine Sadam Hussein, falling before a Jewish Christian, acknowledging the God of Israel as the only true God, and falling prostrate before one of His servants. Nebuchadnezzar was a much greater man, in power and in reputation.

In chapter 1, the king thought of the God of Israel as a lesser “god,” as one defeated by his “gods” (see 1:1-2). He seems to have cared little about Daniel’s God, or about Daniel’s convictions. He is impressed only by Daniel’s superior performance (1:18-20). But now, in light of the events of chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar falls prostrate, acknowledging the superiority of the God of Israel as the “God of gods,” “Lord of kings,” and a “revealer of mysteries.” Nebuchadnezzar has not yet come far enough to be called a saint, but he has come a long way in his understanding of the God of Israel.

Nebuchadnezzar was a man of his word. He gave Daniel many gifts, just as he promised the wise men, if they would but tell him his dream and its meaning (see 2:6). Along with the gifts, Daniel received a promotion. He was made ruler of the entire province of Babylon and placed in charge of all the wise men of Babylon. Here was something for the wise men of Babylon to ponder. Their gods had nearly gotten them killed. Daniel’s God had saved their lives.RD

The effect of Daniel’s interpretation upon Nebuchadnezzar is so profound that he actually worships Daniel and commands others to do likewise. He doesn’t know any better; he only knows the worship of physical objects, and he intends thus to worship the living and true God. This was his introduction to the God of heaven. In this book we can watch the growth of faith in the heart of this idolatrous king. It will break through the darkness of paganism, and he is going to come into the marvelous light of the knowledge of God. JVM

ESVN………….ESV Study Bible Notes
 MSBN…….MacArthur NASB Study Notes                     
NIVSN…..NIV Study Notes. 
JVM ……………..J Vernon McGee,
ACC ……………. Adam Clarke’s Commentary
BN ……………..Barnes Notes
WBC…………….   Wycliffe Bible Commentary
CN …… …………..Constables Notes 
IC………………….Ironside Commentary
 NET……………….Net Bible Study Notes.
 JFB…………..Jamieson  Fausset  Brown Commentary
VWS……………..Vincent Word Studies
CMM………….Commentary on Matthew and Mark
BDB………….. Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)
Darby……..John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT
Johnson………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament.
NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.
 EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures
 CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary
 SBC…………………Sermon Bible Commentary
 K&D……………….Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT
 EBC…………………Expositors Bible Commentary
 CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College
 GC……………………Guzik Commentary
RD……………………. Robert  Deffinbaugh      
NNIBC ………………Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary.
KJVBC……………….KJV Bible Commentary.
JBC……………………Joseph Benson’s Commentary
PC……………………..Pett’s Commentary

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September 20, 2014

How Early Were the Eyewitness Gospel Accounts Written?

Filed under: Uncategorized — augustinehippo1 @ 3:14 pm
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Question: “When were the Gospels written?”

Answer:It is important to understand that the dating of the Gospels and other New Testament books is at best an educated guess and gospelat worst foolish speculation. For example, suggested dates for the writing of the Gospel of Matthew range from as early as A.D. 40 to as late as A.D. 140. This wide range of dates from scholars indicates the subjective nature of the dating process. Generally, one will find that the presuppositions of the scholars greatly influence their dating of the Gospels.

For example, in the past many liberal theologians have argued for a later dating of many of the New Testament books than is probably warranted or valid, in an attempt to discredit or cast doubts upon the content and authenticity of the Gospel accounts. On the other hand, there are many scholars who look to a much earlier dating of the New Testament books. There are some that believe there is good evidence to support the view that the whole New Testament, including Revelation, was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. It is our contention that the evidence supports the earlier dating more than it does the later dating.

There are scholars who believe the Gospel of Matthew was written as early as ten to twelve years after the death of Christ. Those who hold to this earlier dating of Matthew believe he first wrote his Gospel in Aramaic, and then it was later translated into Greek. One of the evidences of this earlier dating of Matthew’s Gospel is that early church leaders such as Irenaeus, Origen, and Eusebius recorded that Matthew first wrote his gospel for Jewish believers while he was still in Palestine. In fact Eusebius (a bishop of Caesarea and known as the father of church history) reported that Matthew wrote his Gospel before he left Palestine to preach in other lands, which Eusebius says happened about 12 years after the death of Christ. Some scholars believe that this would place the writing of Matthew as early as A.D. 40-45 and as late as A.D. 55.

Even if the Gospels were not written until 30 years after Christ’s death, that would still place the writing of them prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. This presents no major problem with their authority or accuracy. Passing on oral traditions and teachings was commonplace in the Jewish culture of that day, and memorization was highly cultivated and practiced. Also, the fact that even at that time there would have been a considerable number of eyewitnesses around to dispute and discredit any false claims, and the fact that none of the “hard sayings” of Jesus were taken from the Gospel accounts, further supports their accuracy. Had the Gospels been edited before being written down, as some liberal scholars contend, then it was a very poor job. The writers left far too many “hard sayings,” and culturally unacceptable and politically incorrect accounts that would need explaining. An example of this is that the first witnesses of the resurrection were women, who were not considered reliable witnesses in the culture of that day.

The bottom line for Christians is this—whether the Gospels were written soon after the death of Christ, or not until 30 years after his death, does not really matter, because their accuracy and authority does not rest on when they were written but on what they are: the divinely inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). We should also remember that one of the promises Jesus gave His disciples was that He would send them “another helper,” the Holy Spirit, who would teach them all things and “bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26). So, whether it was few years or many after Jesus’ death that the Gospels were written, we can have total confidence and faith in their completeness and accuracy, knowing that they were written by “men moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21), who accurately recorded the very words of God.

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Dating the gospels is very important.  If it can be established that the gospels were written early, say before the year A.D. 70, then we would have good reason for believing that they were written by the disciples of Jesus himself.  If they were written by the disciples, then their reliability, authenticity, and accuracy are better substantiated.  Also, if they were written early, this would mean that there would not have been enough time for myth to creep into the gospel accounts since it was the eyewitnesses to Christ’s life that wrote them.  Furthermore, those who were alive at the time of the events could have countered the gospel accounts; ajcnd since we have no contradictory writings to the gospels, their early authorship as well as apostolic authorship becomes even more critical.

It is generally believed that Matthew was written before A.D. 70 and as early as A.D. 50.

Generally, Mark is said to be the earliest gospel with an authorship of between A.D. 55 to A.D. 70.

As far as dating the gospel goes, Luke was written before the book of Acts and Acts does not mention “Nero’s persecution of the Christians in A.D. 64 or the deaths of James (A.D. 62), Paul (A.D. 64), and Peter (A.D. 65).”Therefore, we can conclude that Luke was written before A.D. 62.   “Luke’s Gospel comes before the Acts.  The date of Acts is still in dispute, but the early date (about A.D. 63) is gaining support constantly.

The writer of the gospel of John was obviously an eyewitness of the events of Christ’s life since he speaks from a perspective of having been there during many of the events of Jesus’ ministry and displays a good knowledge of Israeli geography and customs. It is the last of the gospels and appears to have been written in the 80’s to 90’s.


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September 17, 2014

“A Genuine Faith Among the Affluent”

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 4:08 pm
Tags: , , , ,
James 5:1-6 (NIV) 1  Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2  Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.  Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last
days. 4  Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5  You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.
6  You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

I. Taking a closer look at James 5:1-6 v. 1: Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 

*  “Who is James speaking to in this passage?” (James 2:1-7)

James 2:1-7 (NIV) 

1  My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2  Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine

clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a
good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4  have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5  Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
6  But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7  Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? 

James is speaking to both believers and non-believers.

* “weep and wail”?  Luke 6:24-25

Luke 6:24-25 (NIV)
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25  Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh
for you will mourn and weep.

v. 2: Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.

* “rotted”. rotten wood, decayed flesh, rotten fruit. 

* “moths have eaten your clothes”

v. 3: Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire.

You have hoarded wealth in the last days

* “hoarded wealth” Proverbs 21:20

Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)

20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.


Greedily taking as much as I can for myself.  

* “in the last days”

Between the Ascension and the 2nd coming of Jesus.

v. 4:  Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

* the means of acquisition: by not paying the workers.

* Isaiah 3:13-17; Deuteronomy 24:14-15; Amos 4:1-3

Isaiah 3:13-17 (NIV2011)

1The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. 14  The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: “It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. 15  What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. 16  The LORD says, “The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. 17  Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the LORD will make their scalps bald.”

Deuteronomy 24:14-15 (NIV)  14  Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. 15  Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin. 

Amos 4:1-3 (NIV)  1  Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!” 2  The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: “The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks. 3

You will each go straight out through breaches in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon,” declares the LORD.

v. 5:  You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

* “lived on earth in luxury” It’s all about luxury and self indulgence.

* “and self-indulgence”

v. 6:  You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

  1 Kings 21: the story of King Ahab & Naboth’s vineyard

  Luke 20:45-47: the Pharisees of Jesus’ day

II. The practices of a genuine faith among affluent believers:

A. Acquire your wealth with integrity:

B. Save you wealth wisely:

Proverbs 13:22 (NIV)  22  A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

Is it wrong for Christians to save and put money away?

C. Spend your wealth shrewdly:

Proverbs 10:22 (NIV)  2The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it.


D. Spread you wealth justly:

Proverbs 22:16 (NIV)  16One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.  

E. Share your wealth generously:

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)  1Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 

Proverbs 11:24-25 (NIV) 24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25  A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Concluding Thoughts and Applications:


September 16, 2014

The Global Flood Explains the Ice Age

Filed under: Bible,Creationism,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 1:21 pm


Few can deny that an ice age really happened only thousands of years ago. Secular scientists have presented over 40 failed attempts to provide an adequate natural cause for an ice age. Could Noah’s Flood hold the answer?

Two key climate factors are required for an ice age. First, warm oceans are needed to increase evaporation, which ultimately generates extra rain near the equator and snowfall in northern latitudes that builds ice sheets atop the continents. Second, Earth’s atmosphere must contain enough tiny airborne particles called aerosols to reflect sunlight and keep the ice from melting during warm summer months.
Genesis 7:11 says that deep fountains burst forth to start the Flood, and we know that the earth’s depths are quite hot. When those hot fountains burst, they warmed global waters—just what’s needed to increase rain and snowfall. Continued volcanic eruptions from deep fountains would have ejected a supply of airborne aerosols that lingered long after the Flood. As time passed, Earth gradually settled from the Flood’s devastating effects and the Ice Age faded, leaving behind clear evidence of extensive glacial activity in northern areas and of a formerly tropical environment in places that are now desert.
The catastrophic global Flood supplies both Ice Age requirements—hot oceans and aerosols—and stands as the best Ice Age explanation.

Institute for Creation Research  Hello Augustine,  We do invite you to use our material in your online discussions with a link back to the original articles on our website. Regards,Christine Dao Assistant Editor Institute for Creation Research Proclaiming Scientific Truth in Creation
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Jesus? What is the evidence?

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 6:16 am

jesus thinks biebers gay

 See Why We choose Him

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! ………..
35 Again the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and noticed them following Him, He asked them, “What are you looking for?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are You staying?”39 “Come and you’ll see,” He replied. So they went and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day. It was about 10 in the morning. John 1:29,35-39
1. Who is Jesus?

a. He was a man who lived in Israel about 2000 years ago. 95 to 99% of sceptical and non-sceptical scholars do not doubt Jesus walked the earth. If you are going to deny the life of Jesus then you will have to throw out everyone in history, because Jesus is the most documented person in antiquity.

In “The Historical Jesus – Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (1996) by Gary R. Habermas, the leading scholar on the resurrection, we can summarize what the earliest sources have said (pages 225, 250-253). Tiberius Caesar who died four years after Jesus only has 9 sources of him whereas Jesus has 45 sources within 150 years of their deaths.
“We have examined 45 ancient sources for the life of Jesus, which includes 19 early creedal, four archaeological, 17 non-Christian, and five non-New Testament Christian sources. From this data we have enumerated 129 reported facts concerning the life, person, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus, plus the disciples’ earliest message.”
b. We have biblical as well as secular references to his existence.
Reporting on Emperor Nero’s decision to blame the Christians for the fire that had destroyed Rome in A.D. 64, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote:
Nero fastened the guilt . . . on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome. . . .
““Now around this time lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was a worker of amazing deeds and was a teacher of people who gladly accept the truth. He won over both many Jews and many Greeks. Pilate, when he heard him accused by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, (but) those who had first loved him did not cease (doing so). To this day the tribe of Christians named after him has not disappeared” Josephus (37-101AD)
c. He was a religious leader.
He was called Rabbi. He taught in the synagogue and the temple. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. John 8:2 (KJV)
d. He did not come to bring peace.  
Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; Luke 12:51 (NASB)
Do not expect to advocate for Christ and not evoke opposition.
e. He claimed to be a King
And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it. Mark 15:2 (KJV)

f. He claimed to be the messiah.  The woman *said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming ( He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus *said to her, ” I who speak to you am He.“ John 4:25-26 (NASB)g. He is the 2nd person of the trinity.  I and my Father are one. John 10:30 (KJV)h. He claimed to have existed before His birth in Judea.

 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58 (NKJV)
 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. Ex 3:14 (KJV)

i. He claimed to have been in Heaven with the Father

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. John 17:5 (KJV)

j. He performed miracles.
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: John 11:43-44 (KJV)k. He claimed to be God.

Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. 71 And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth. Luke 22:70-71 (KJV)

l. He was crucified on a Roman Cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world and rose from the dead on the third day.

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 1 Cor 15:3-8 (NASB)

k. His followers believed, at the cost of their lives, that He was who He said He was.
  • Matthew – killed by stabbing as ordered by King Hircanus
  • James, son of Alphaeous – crucified
  • James, brother of Jesus – thrown down from a height, stoned and then beaten to death at the hands of Ananias (circa AD 66)
  • John – tortured by boiling oil, exiled to Patmos in AD 95
  • Mark – burned during Roman emperor Trajan’s reign
  • Peter – crucified upside-down by the gardens of Nero on the Vatican hill circa AD 64
  • Andrew – crucified on an “X” shaped cross by Aegeas, governor of the Edessenes, around AD 80
  • Philip – stoned and crucified in Hierapolis, Phrygia
  • Simon – crucified in Egypt under Trajan’s reign
  • Thomas – death by spear thrust in Calamina, India
  • Thaddaeous – killed by arrows
  • James, son of Zebedee – killed by sword in AD 44 by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea
  • Bartholomew – beaten, flayed alive, crucified upside down, then beheaded 


2. How do we know the bible is reliable?
Manuscript Evidence for the New Testament:
          More than 24,000 partial and complete manuscript copies of the New Testament  exist, the oldest of which date to within 25 years of the writing of the last Book of the Bible. Those copies have an enviable record of agreement among themselves, having 40 disputed lines, as compared to 764 disputed lines in the 643 copies of the Iliad of Homer.
There are also some 86,000 quotations from the early church fathers and several thousand Lectionaries (church-service books containing Scripture quotations used in the early centuries of Christianity). Bottom line: the New Testament has an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting its reliability.
Statistically, the New Testament is 99.5% textually pure. That means that there is only 1/2 of 1% of of all the copies that do not agree with each other perfectly.  But, if you take that 1/2 of 1% and examine it, you find that the majority of the “problems” are nothing more than spelling errors and very minor word alterations. For example, instead of saying Jesus, a variation might be “Jesus Christ.”  So the actual amount of textual variation of any concern is extremely low. Therefore, we can say that we have a remarkably accurate compilation of the original documents.
 By far the most remarkable attestation for both the prophetic power and the accuracy of transmission of the Bible occurred in 1947, with the finding in Qumran of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those documents, which actually date as far back as 600 BC in some cases, agree word-for-word with modern Hebrew manuscripts with very few exceptions.
The writings of Plato, the earliest copies were written 1200 years after he lived and we have 7 copies. Yet nobody doubts that he existed.


3. The Jews understood the concept of “The Lamb of God”, but what does that mean in our culture.
 The head of the largest psychiatric hospital in the UK stated that 70% of all mental illness is caused from repressed guilt.
Sigmund Freud can blame my mental dysfunction on my mother not showing me enough affection or how I hoarded my poops when I was a baby. Maybe it’s the fault of society that I become an axe murderer or video games or global warming or too much sugar. When you get right down to it, it’s me and we all know it. I am responsible for the evil that I do.
Every person has a conscience and we all know we stand guilty.
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Romans 2:14-16 (NASB)
Movie star, billionaires, the rich the poor the famous and the unknown all are looking for a way of escaping their sin, whether they admit it or not.
Jesus declares us innocent; He can give us a “get out of jail free card”.  The few that find him get the greatest gift that can be imagined, a way to live a guilt free life and more.
4. What are you looking for? Isn’t that the big question?

People in our society are looking for the same things they did 2000 yrs. ago.
Purpose and meaning.
Security and safety.
Happiness and contentment.
World peace.

“Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simpler.”Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 

Things are entirely what they appear to be and behind them… there is nothing.  ~Jean Paul Sartre,   Basically he is saying “this is all there is, there ain’t no more.

”Richard Dawkins, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

Darwinist George Gaylord Simpson: “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.

At some future period, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. Maybe if we murder everybody but the master race, we will be happy. Oh wait we already tried that. Never mind.Alice came to a fork in the road.  “Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.” The world doesn’t know where they want to go. They need to be pointed in the correct direction by those who know where they are going.


Converse; Don’t Boss
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Him. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah!” (which means “Anointed One”), 42 and he brought Simon to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which means “Rock”).
43 The next day He decided to leave for Galilee. Jesus found Philip and told him, “Follow Me!” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law (and so did the prophets ): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth!” 46 “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael asked him. “Come and see,” Philip answered. John 1:40-46
5. What causes people to follow Jesus?
 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44 (NASB)
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30 (NIV)
6. So if people reject the gospel, have you wasted your time?
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

Stamp rejected. 3d Stock Photo - 5972748

a. Sometimes what appears to be a rejection may not actually be so. Some people who initially reject the gospel begin to think about what they have heard and may eventually at a certain time will realize their need.
b. Sometimes it may take several different exposures to the truth before one can understand. How many times have we read the instructions and then have to re read them two more times before we get how that project is supposed to go together and what it is supposed to look like?
 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 1 Cor 3:6-7 (NLT)
c. In order for the justice of God to be manifested, and the guilty have no excuse, God has allowed all people to become exposed to the evidence of His existence and his revelation.
 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20 (NIV)
The gospel is a two edged sword. It offers life to those who accept it, and it also gives judgment and death to those who reject it.
God sent prophet after prophet to the nation of Israel with warnings.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! Deut 30:19 (NLT)
Answer Questions
49 “Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus responded to him, “Do you believe ⌊only⌋ because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then He said, “I assure you: You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
7. One of the rules in salesmanship is “never spend the customer’s money for them”, never assume a customer will or will not buy your product. How would this apply to evangelism?
 Everyone is a potential sale. Never assume somebody cannot turn to God.
antony flew yesterday
Anthony Flew, one of the world’s most outspoken advocates of atheism, who had written many books attacking the belief in God. Shocks the world of atheism by writing his new book: “There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind,” published in 2007, at the age of 81.  After studying new advances in DNA he realized that Darwinian evolution could never account for the complexity and information in the DNA code. It must come from an intelligent mind, it could not happen by random chance.
8. What is our responsibility in this presenting the truth of God to others?
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15 (KJV)
Have you done your homework? Have you made the time to come to bible studies? Have you memorized enough scriptures to be able to show a person who wants to know Christ, how to get there?
and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)

Are you in a position to give a coherent explanation as to what you believe and why you believe it? The unbelieving world is intelligent and prepared to make you look foolish if you expect to depend on the old standard witnessing techniques of the past.
The post modern worldview of this present generation has no Christian context, everything is relative, there are no moral absolutes and 2+2 can equal 5 if they feel like it should.
This worldview is logically bankrupt and provides no answers to life’s 3 great questions. Where did I come from, what is my purpose for being here, and what is going to happen to me? They are desperately searching and the hunger for spirituality is increasing. We just have to be ready to lead them to the truth.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 (KJV)

 “Fair Use “ Notice – Title 17 U.S.C. section 107

The above post may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, social justice, for the purpose of historical debate, and to advance the understanding of Christian conservative issues.  It is believed that this constitutes a ”fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the Copyright Law. In accordance with the title 17 U.S. C. section 107, the material in this post is shown without profit to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


September 14, 2014

Daniel Chapter 1

Filed under: Bible,Book of Daniel,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 4:45 pm

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.

1. Who were Jehoiakim and Nebuchadnezzar?

Jehoiakim ( His name means “Yahweh raises up,” but the LORD did not raise him up at all – Pharaoh did.) was Josiah’s second son and the first king installed by an external world power, Egypt’s Pharaoh Necho. Josiah’s son, Jehoahaz, was selected by the people to reign after Josiah, but Necho had imposed a tax on Judah of nearly four tons of silver and 75 pounds of gold, which Jehoahaz refused to pay. Pharaoh Necho came up and took Jehoahaz from Jerusalem to Egypt and put him in prison, immediately ending his three-month reign. He died in prison.
Necho then put Josiah’s son, Eliakim, in power. As king over Judah, his name was changed to Jehoiakim, which means ‘he whom Jehovah has set up.’ Jehoiakim reigned over Judah 11 years, but his leadership was seriously flawed and fraught with difficulties because of his unbelief and unfaithfulness to the Lord. Jehoiakim was 25 years old and his first act as king of Judah was to lay the financial burden on his people to pay the Pharaoh.
Jehoiakim did much evil in the sight of the Lord, like so many others who had preceded him. God sent the prophets Urijah and Jeremiah to confront Jehoiakim for his sins and to warn him. Both prophets prophesied against Jerusalem and Judah, but when Jehoiakim and his leadership heard Urijah’s words, the king planned to have him executed. Urijah heard about it, and escaped to Egypt. Jehoiakim sent men to Egypt, and they brought Urijah back from Egypt to face Jehoiakim, who killed him with the sword and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people. (Jeremiah 26:20-23)
Nebuchadnezzar II, (His name means “O (god) Nabu, protect my son!”) sometimes alternately spelled Nebuchadrezzar, was king of Babylonia from approximately 605 B.C. until approximately 562 B.C. He is considered the greatest king of the Babylonian empire and is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned by name around 90 times in the Bible, in both the historical and prophetic literature of the Hebrew Scriptures. Nebuchadnezzar receives the most attention in the book of Daniel, appearing as the main character, beside Daniel, in chapters 1-4.
In biblical history, Nebuchadnezzar is most famous for the conquering of Judah and the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Judah had become a tribute state to Babylon in 605 B.C., but rebelled in 597 B.C. during the reign of Jehoiachin and then again in 588 B.C. during the reign of Zedekiah. Tired of the rebellions, and seeing that Judah had not learned its lesson when he invaded, conquered, and deported Judah in 597, Nebuchadnezzar and his general, Nebuzaradan, proceeded to completely destroy the temple and most of Jerusalem, deporting most of the remaining residents to Babylon. In this, Nebuchadnezzar served as God’s instrument of judgment on Judah for its idolatry, unfaithfulness, and disobedience (Jeremiah 25:9).
In 605 B.C. Prince Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonian army of his father Nabopolassar against the allied forces of Assyria and Egypt. He defeated them at Carchemish near the top of the Fertile Crescent. This victory gave Babylon supremacy in the ancient Near East. With Babylon’s victory, Egypt’s vassals, including Judah, passed under Babylonian control. Shortly thereafter that same year Nabopolassar died, and Nebuchadnezzar succeeded him as king. Nebuchadnezzar then moved south and invaded Judah, also in 605 B.C.Nebuchadnezzar returned Jehoiakim to Jerusalem and his throne, but treated him as a subordinate. Not long after, Jeremiah had Baruch read his prophecies in the court of the temple. Hearing of this, Jeroiakim had them also read in the royal palace in his presence. He took the scroll from Baruch, cut it in pieces and threw it into the fire. When Jeremiah heard about this, God told him to write another scroll, with some additional words, foretelling Jehoiakim’s grisly death.

After three years of subjection to Babylon, Jehoiakim attempted to make Judah independent. Nebuchadnezzar sent raiding bands of Chaldeans, Syrians and Ammonites to punish this rebellion. Jehoiakim’s own people apparently killed him, and threw his body over the wall to satisfy Babylon, fulfilling the words that Jeremiah had prophesied. Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah:“He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. I will punish him, his family, and his servants for their iniquity. He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”
Jehoiakim’s 18-year-old son took the position of king in Judah, and time was quickly running out for what little was remaining of what once was the stronghold of Zion, God’s dwelling place. (2 Kings 23:34-37; 24:1-6; 2 Chronicles 36:4-8; Jeremiah 19:4-5; 22:13, 14, 18, 19; Daniel 1:1, 2) .
2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.
2. Why does it say God gave Jehoiakim into Nebuchdnezzar’s hand?
Daniel wrote that the Lord was responsible for Nebuchadnezzar’s success in defeating Jehoiakim. He viewed God as sovereignly controlling the past affairs of His chosen people (cf. Eph. 1:4). As the book unfolds, this appreciation for God’s sovereignty continues as Daniel described God’s future dealings with the Jews and the Gentiles. CN
God’s control of history is a recurrent theme in Daniel. In the ancient world every army fought under the banner/name of their god. Success in battle showed the supremacy of one god over another. However, the Bible clearly asserts that it was because of Israel’s and Judah’s sins and rebellion against YHWH that YHWH allowed, yes even engineered, the invasion of the promised land. Dr. Bob Utley
Ephesians 1:4 (NASB)  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

Psalm 2:1-4 (ESV)   Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORDand against his Anointed, saying, 3  “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4  He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.

Isaiah 10:5-6 (ESV)  Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! 6 Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

The Book of Daniel emphasizes the sovereignty of God in the affairs of nations. Jerusalem did not fall merely because Nebuchadnezzar was strong, but because God had judged the people of Judah for their disobedience and idolatry. NNIBC
Nebuchadnezzar may have thought he was solely responsible for his conquest (Hab 1:11); but, in reality, God’s providential dealings with His wayward children, the Jews, was simply being carried out by this great leader. God had already promised judgment to come for Judah through Huldah the prophetess (II Chr 34:22–28) and many others. Micah remarkably predicted Judah’s captivity in Babylon while Babylon was still a small power (Mic 4:10) over one hundred years before the event took place. Jeremiah had also predicted this calamity (Jer 25:11), as had his contemporary, Habakkuk (Hab 1:5–11) KJVBC
Here we find the fulfillment of what God had previously declared (through Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other prophets) would soon take place. For years Jehovah had been sending prophets to the backsliding kings of Judah, warning them that the day of His patience had almost run out. Even though Israel had been His chosen people, because of their sin He was going to give them over to the power of their enemies, and the land of Palestine was to lie desolate. Singularly enough, God connects this with their failure to keep the sabbatical year.
He had told them when they came into the land that every seventh year must be His. For 490 years they had not kept one sabbatical year. They doubtless thought they would do better by tilling the land annually and that they would be richer as a result of following their own way. God had told them that if they gave every seventh year to Him they would have abundance in the sixth year to last them until harvest in the eighth year (Leviticus 25). They evidently did not believe Him and thought to better themselves by their own efforts. Thus, through covetousness-a sin that is eating away at many of God’s professed people today-the word of the Lord was ignored and His commandment broken.
For 490 years God seemed to be indifferent to this disobedience on their part. He appeared to wink at their sin, but He had taken account of it all. When they thought His law was dead, He sent Jeremiah to tell them that now they must go down to Babylon as captives for seventy years, while the land kept sabbath! They imagined they had cheated God out of seventy years, but He squared the account by giving them into the power of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Chaldeans, who carried them away to the land of Shinar. They remained there until the seventy years had expired, while the lost sabbaths were being made up.
But there was a second and greater reason why God chose to give His heritage over to the power of the Chaldeans. For centuries idolatry had been gaining ground among the Israelites. They had turned away from the living and true God to serve the false gods of the heathen. Babylon was the home of idolatry, so the Jews were sent there so they might learn to loathe the idols they had loved. And we find the lesson was well impressed. Ever since the captivity the Jewish nation, whatever its other sins, has been free from this great evil. Unhappily they are like an empty, swept house, from which the evil spirit of idolatry has been driven. But they refused Messiah when He came in lowly grace, so in the near future a host of wicked spirits will enter the empty house, and the Jews, except a preserved and delivered remnant, will own and worship the “man of sin.” IC
Like so many conquerors the Babylonian King thinks the victory over Judah is due to his superior forces and military skill. Not realizing that he is just pawn in the hand of God Almighty. As a result of the rebellion and evil of God’s own chosen people The LORD is going to use the Babylonians to “spank” them.
3. What is ironic about these temple vessels?
He took some royal and noble captives to Babylon, including Daniel, plus some of the vessels from Solomon’s temple. This was the first of Judah’s three deportations in which the Babylonians took groups of Judahites to Babylon. The king of Judah at that time was Jehoiakim. CN
This all goes back to the pride and arrogance of the Hezekiah who ruled as king of Judah over 100 years before, as he showed off his treasures and the temple vessels to the Babylonians. Not a wise move which came back to bite the Jews.
Isaiah 39:1-8 (NKJV)   At that time Merodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2  And Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them the house of his treasures–the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory–all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them. 3  Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” So Hezekiah said, “They came to me from a far country, from Babylon.” 4  And he said, “What have they seen in your house?” So Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.” 5  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of theLORD of hosts: 6  ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the LORD.   ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ” 8  So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “At least there will be peace and truth in my days.”
Carrying off the vessels from a conquered people’s temple was a way that ancient Near Eastern kings expressed their victorious sovereignty over that nation, particularly its gods. Therefore Daniel began this book by reminding his readers that it was not only Israel’s king who suffered defeat at Nebuchadnezzar’s hands, but also Yahweh had experienced humiliation. He then proceeded to vindicate Yahweh with all that follows. CN
3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.
4. Who were these people and why would the king waste time with a bunch of captives?
He took some royal and noble captives to Babylon, including Daniel, plus some of the vessels from Solomon’s temple. This was the first of Judah’s three deportations in which the Babylonians took groups of Judahites to Babylon. The king of Judah at that time was Jehoiakim. CN
Nebuchadnezzar always took for himself the cream of crop of the captives from any nation. I think they were given tests to determine their IQ’s, and those selected were trained to be wise men to advise the king of Babylon. JVM
Nebuchadnezzar brought captives from many conquered lands to train them for service in his government. He was accustomed to selecting the best for such training, as the text indicates. These young men were the best sons of the Hebrew nation. They would be taught the voluminous learning of the Chaldeans, as well as their language. To stand in the king’s palace has to do with service, not just an easy life at court. KJVBC
Qualifications for Jews to be trained in affairs of state included being: 1) physically free from bodily defects or handicap and handsome, i.e., a pleasing appearance in the public eye; 2)mentally sharp; and 3) socially poised and polished for representing the leadership. The ages of the trainees was most likely 14–17. MSBN
Nebuchadnezzar’s enlightened policy was to employ the best minds in his kingdom in government service regardless of their national or ethnic origin. We do not know how many other Jews and Gentiles were the classmates of Daniel and his three friends. However, they were evidently the only ones who expressed a desire to observe the Jewish dietary laws (Exod. 34:15; Lev. 11; Deut. 14; cf. Deut. 8:3; Prov. 20:1).
“In selecting these youths for education in the king’s court in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar was accomplishing several objectives. Those carried away captive could well serve as hostages to help keep the royal family of the kingdom of Judah in line. Their presence in the king’s court also would be a pleasant reminder to the Babylonian king of his conquest and success in battle. Further, their careful training and preparation to be his servants might serve Nebuchadnezzar well in later administration of Jewish affairs.” CN

Nebuchadnezzar’s empire was rapidly expanding. He needed men of great ability to fill positions of power and responsibility in his administration. He instituted a plan which would identify the most gifted and skillful Hebrew captives available and prepare them for positions of responsibility. Daniel and his Hebrew peers were the “cream of the crop” in Judea. Nebuchadnezzar knew this well. This, in fact, is why these young men were taken captive to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar set about a carefully planned course of education.
Ashpenaz, placed in charge of this training project, was to select the finest and most qualified candidates from among the Hebrew captives. Those selected had to be physically and mentally flawless, as well as highly trained and proficient in a broad range of knowledge and skills. They were to be the most promising candidates for court service that could be found.
These men would require further education, for which the king made provision. I do not understand from our text that the king was attempting to brainwash the Hebrew captives. Those selected were already highly trained and knowledgeable. Their schooling had already been virtually completed before their captivity. What they did need, in order to serve in the court of the king of Babylon, was to speak, to read and to write in Aramaic, the language of that land. They needed language school. As I perceive verse 4, this is precisely of what their education was to consist. No doubt the study of Chaldean literature would involve the religion and culture of Babylon, but the principle purpose of their schooling was not to tempt these youths to forsake their culture or religion as much as it was to equip them to serve in the administration of a Babylonian king.
Those who find brainwashing seem to read too much into the text and do not take the text’s words literally enough. They also fail to understand the mindset of the polytheist, the person who believes in many gods. The polytheist is not troubled or offended that someone may believe in gods other than his own. In fact, the polytheist is often more than willing to consider adding the gods of others to his own gods. The only thing which greatly offends the polytheist is exclusionism, believing their God is the only God. We should not be surprised that the sailors on board that sinking ship with Jonah, urged him to call out to his own gods, even though not their own:
“Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish”(Jonah 1:6).
The Assyrians sought to strip the Israelites of the northern kingdom (and the others whom they captured) of their religion and culture. The Babylonians were content to allow their captives to worship their gods and practice their religion, so long as it did not challenge the religion at Babylon. Later on, the Persian king Cyrus would go so far as to assist the Jews in reestablishing their religion, even to rebuilding the temple.
I believe that Nebuchadnezzar operated his empire on the premise that the broadest possible representation of skills, cultures, and religions strengthened his rule rather than weakened it. Diversity was not a liability to him, but an asset. This may be why there are so many types of wise men (magicians, conjurers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans—see Daniel 2:2) in the service of Nebuchadnezzar. RD
5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.
5. Why should they get to eat like kings?
Food and dietary laws very very important to the Hebrews. If the captives could be persuaded to break these food stipulations it would be one step in the process of deprogramming  and assimilating them into Babylonian thinking and culture. This “training” was well thought out and orchestrated.
Tablets listing the provisions allotted to the exiled King Jehoiachin (2 Kg 25:30; Jr 52:34) have been uncovered in Babylon and corroborate Daniel’s testimony that captives were assigned royal rations. The Babylonian training period of three years was apparently similar to that of the Persians. Plato wrote that Persian youths began their education when 14 (Alcibiades 1. 121), and Xenophon testified that they finished when 16 or 17 (Cyropaedia 1. 2. 8). According to the Persian Avesta, a Zoroastrian scripture, a student trained with a religious teacher for three years. ASB
Only one thing is understood as defiling in Daniel 1—the eating of the food from the king’s table. We are not told exactly why Daniel considered this food defiling only that he did consider it defiling, with no doubt in his mind. If a Babylonian job, a Babylonian name, and a Babylonian education were not defiling, a Babylonian beefsteak was.
Two reasons seem most likely for Daniel’s sensitivity to defilement. First, this king would not hesitate to serve foods identified as “unclean” by the Law of Moses (see Leviticus 11). Secondly, the food and wine served at Nebuchadnezzar’s table may have been associated with the worship of heathen gods, similar to the problem described in 1 Corinthians 8-10. In either instance, or perhaps in both, Daniel saw defilement as a danger to be actively avoided.
A less sensitive Hebrew might have acknowledged the defilement of the food from the king’s table but excused its consumption as inevitable. Indeed, he might have cited scripture to prove that defilement was a part of God’s plan. Ezekiel, a contemporary of Daniel, spoke of the defilement which the Jews would experience in Babylon due to eating unclean foods:
“And your food which you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; you shall eat it from time to time … And you shall eat it as a barley cake, having baked it in their sight over human dung.” Then the Lord said, “Thus shall the sons of Israel eat their bread unclean among the nations where I shall banish them.” But I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I have never been defiled; for from my youth until now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has any unclean meat ever entered my mouth.” Then He said to me, “See, I shall give you cow’s dung in place of human dung over which you will prepare your bread” (Ezekiel 4:10, 12-15).
No doubt Daniel understood that eating unclean food was a part of the divine judgment of Judah. Nevertheless, he purposed in his heart that, if at all possible, he would not defile himself by eating such food.
6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.
6. Why change their names?
Nebuchadnezzar sought to assimilate the exiles into Babylonian culture by obliterating their religious and cultural identity and creating dependence upon the royal court. For this reason, the exiles were given names linked with Babylonian deities in place of Israelite names linked with their God. Daniel (“God is my Judge”),Hananiah (“Yahweh is gracious”), Mishael (“Who is what God is?”), and Azariah (“Yahweh is a helper”) became names that invoked the help of the Babylonian gods Marduk, Bel, and Nebo: Belteshazzar(“O Lady [wife of the god Bel], protect the king!”), Shadrach (“I am very fearful [of God]” or “command of Aku [the moon god]”),Meshach (“I am of little account” or “Who is like Aku?”), andAbednego (“servant of the shining one [Nebo]”). They were schooled in the language and mythological literature of the Babylonians, and their food was assigned from the king’s table, reminding them constantly of the source of their daily bread. ESVN
The practice of changing names was a way to express sovereign control over others. These new names would have also encouraged these youths to think of themselves as part of the culture in which they were living rather than the culture from which they had come. CN
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
7. It seems that the young Hebrew boys were resigned to the idea of assimilation into Babylonian culture, why make a big deal about food?
Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)  For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you,But his heart is not with you.
Daniel purposed in his heart” (v. 8)—it all began in the heart of Daniel. He was not a papier–mâche; he had a heart, and his convictions came from his heart. That should be our experience also. We are captives in this world in which we live; gravitation holds all of us by the seat of our pants, and we cannot jump off this earth. The Lord Jesus said that we are in the world, but not of the world. And He said, “… Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). However, we cannot serve God by following a set of rules; we must have a purpose in our hearts. Jesus said that it was out of the heart that the issues of life proceed; the things which we put into our bodies are not the most important. Daniel purposed in his heart that he would obey God’s law given to God’s people Israel—this was to be his testimony. JVM
Daniel and his friends drew a line in the sand.  Being smart as well as practical they knew they would have to give the Babylonians a certain amount of cooperation, but they would not allow themselves to lose the essence  of their Jewish identity.
Daniel and his friends avoided the luxurious diet of the king’s table as a way of protecting themselves from being ensnared by the temptations of the Babylonian culture. They used their distinctive diet as a way of retaining their distinctive identity as Jewish exiles and avoiding complete assimilation into Babylonian culture (which was the king’s goal with these conquered subjects). With this restricted diet they continually reminded themselves, in this time of testing, that they were the people of God in a foreign land and that they were dependent for their food, indeed for their very lives, upon God, their Creator, not King Nebuchadnezzar. ESVN
9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.” 11 So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.
8. How was God working in this incident?
Now, you see, Daniel is already a favorite, and that is no accident. God was working on Daniel’s behalf, even as He worked in the life of Joseph down in the land of Egypt.
The prince of the eunuchs did not want to force the diet upon them, but he was really on a hot seat. He was caught between a rock and a hard place. He liked Daniel, but what was he to do? JVM
God honored Daniel’s trust and allegiance by sovereignly working favorably for him among the heathen leaders. In this instance, it prevented persecution and led to respect, whereas later on God permitted opposition against Daniel which also elevated him. One way or another, God honors those who honor Him. MSBN
Under normal circumstances a 10 day change in diet would not make a huge noticeable difference in the appearance of these kids, but it would appear that God supernaturally intervened to cause a dramatic transformation.
16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. 17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. 21 Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.
9. What lesson can we take away from this story?
At the end of their three-year curriculum, the four faithful friends received a final examination that included an oral testing by the king himself. They passed at the head of their class. They were probably close to 20 years old at this time. Nebuchadnezzar proceeded to give them positions of significant government responsibility, which their education had equipped them for. In these positions they proved far superior to any of the other officials. CN
God was faithful in a seemingly impossible situation and caused a blessed the faithfulness of those who were faithful to him.
Matthew 25:20-21 (NKJV)  So he who had received five talents came
and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
           ESVN………….ESV Study Bible Notes
·         MSBN…….MacArthur NASB Study Notes                  
·         NIVSN…..NIV Study Notes. 
·         JVM ……………..J Vernon McGee,
·         ACC ……………. Adam Clarke’s Commentary
·         BN ……………..Barnes Notes
·         WBC…………….   Wycliffe Bible Commentary
·         CN …… …………..Constables Notes 
·         IC………………….Ironside Commentary
·         NET……………….Net Bible Study Notes.
·         JFB…………..Jamieson  Fausset  Brown Commentary
·         VWS……………..Vincent Word Studies
·         CMM………….Commentary on Matthew and Mark
·         BDB………….. Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)
·         Darby………..John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT
·         Johnson………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament.
·         NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.
·         EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures
·         CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary
·         SBC…………………Sermon Bible Commentary
·         K&D……………….Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT
·         EBC…………………Expositors Bible Commentary
·         CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College
·         GC……………………Guzik Commentary
·         RD……………………. Robert  Deffinbaugh 
          ASB………………………….Apologetics Study Bible
          BSBN…………………Blackaby Study Bible Notes. 


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September 11, 2014

Book of Daniel: Introduction.

Filed under: Bible,Book of Daniel,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 8:00 am
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1.  What is the book of Daniel?

  The book of Daniel, according to its own testimony, is the record of the life and prophetic revelations given to Daniel, a captive Jew carried off to Babylon after the first conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 b.c. The record of events extends to the third year of Cyrus, 536 B.C., and, accordingly, covers a span of about seventy years. Daniel himself may well have lived on to about 530 b.c, and the book of Daniel was probably completed in the last decade of his life. John F. Walvoord 


Jeremiah 25:11-14  And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12  ‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation. 13  So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations. 14  (For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the works of their own hands.)’

  “Daniel” means “God is my judge” and aptly characterizes the prophet’s beliefs and practices. Daniel and Ezekiel were the only prophets to conduct their entire ministries while in captivity. Daniel was deported to Babylon as a teenager, selected to serve in the king’s court, and appointed by God to be His spokesman for the seventy year period of Judah’s exile. Daniel communicated God’s message in a form distinct from that of other Old Testament writers. He used apocalyptic writing which involved elaborate visions and images describing future events among God’s people and in the supernatural world. Other books such as Isaiah, Zechariah, and Ezekiel make some use of this genre, but not to the same extent as Daniel. The Book of Revelation is an example of apocalyptic writing in the New Testament. BSBN
 2. Who wrote Daniel?
There is little doubt among conservative scholars that Daniel himself wrote this book under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Probably he did so late in his life, which could have been about 530 B.C. or a few years later. Several Persian-derived governmental terms appear in the book. The presence of these words suggests that the book received its final polishing after Persian had become the official language of government. This would have been late in Daniel’s life. What makes Daniel’s authorship quite clear is both internal and external evidence.
 Internally the book claims in several places that Daniel was its writer (8:1; 9:2, 20; 10:2). References to Daniel in the third person do not indicate that someone else wrote about him because it was customary for ancient authors of historical memoirs to write about themselves this way (cf. Exod. 20:2, 7). Gleason L. Archer Jr., “Daniel,” inDaniel-Minor Prophets, vol. 7 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 4.
 “As in several other books of prophecy (e.g., Jeremiah and Hosea), the author is also the chief actor in the events recorded.” Robert D. Culver, “Daniel,” in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 769.
 Externally the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of this book as the writing of Daniel (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14). The Jews believed that Daniel was its writer from its earliest appearance. The early church father Jerome argued for Daniel’s authorship against a contemporary critic of his, Porphyry, who contended that someone composed it about 165 B.C. and claimed that he was Daniel. CN
 Matthew 24:15-16 (NKJV) “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
 Mark 13:14 (NKJV) “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 
  In several passages (such as 9:2 ; 10:2 ) the book implies that Daniel was its author. With this, Jesus appears to have concurred, as evidenced by his reference to “‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel” NIVSN
 Daniel, according to the testimony of this book and of various historical references, cp. Matthew 24:15-21; Mark 13:19; 1 Peter 1:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, its author, was a member of one of the foremost Jewish families, possibly even of kingly descent. Having been led away into captivity at one of the conquests of Jerusalem, about in the year 606 B. C., he was taken to Babylon and there, under the name Belteshazzar, trained for special service at the court of Nebuchadnezzar. Popular Commentary of the Bible, The – – Old Testament, Volume 2.
 1 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV) Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11  searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 
 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NKJV)   Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4  who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 
 Traditionally, Christians and Jews have maintained that Daniel wrote the prophecy that bears his name in the sixth century b. c. and that his predictions are supernatural and accurate. ASB
 Both Jewish and Christian tradition have held that the author of this book is Daniel, a Jew who lived during the sixth-century b.c. Babylonian exile. ESVN
 3. When was Daniel written?
 The record of events extends to the third year of Cyrus, 536 B.C., and,

accordingly, covers a span of about seventy years. Daniel himself may well have lived on to about 530 b.c, and the book of Daniel was probably completed in the last decade of his life. John F. Walvoord 

 Daniel, the main character from whom this book gets its name, was probably only a teenager when he arrived in Babylon in 605 B.C. The Hebrew words used to describe him, the internal evidence of chapter 1, and the length of his ministry, seem to make this clear. He continued in office as a public servant at least until 538 B.C. (1:21) and as a prophet at least until 536 B.C. (10:1). Thus the record of his ministry spans 70 years, the entire duration of the Babylonian Captivity. He probably lived to be at least 85 years old and perhaps older.
 4.  Why has Daniel come under such criticism and attack?
Because of the prophetic nature of this book and the very precise description of future events, some hundreds of years in advance, either the skeptic must attempt to destroy the credibility of the the book or admit supernatural inspiration. An apriori stance against miracles and divine foreknowledge makes Daniel a very real threat to the liberal theologian which has infested the modern church.
 However because the book contains prophecies that Antiochus Epiphanies fulfilled in the second century B.C. many rationalistic critics who deny that the Bible contains predictive prophecy have said that Daniel could not have written it.  Bruce K. Waltke, “The Date of the Book of Daniel,” Bibliotheca Sacra 133:532 (October-December 1976):319-29.
 “Human inventiveness in things spiritual or unspiritual is very limited. It would be difficult probably to invent a new heresy. Objectors of old were as acute or more acute than those now; so that the ground was well-nigh exhausted.”Edward B. Pusey, Daniel the Prophet, p. iii.
 No significant writer espoused a late date for the book after Jerome refuted Porphyry until the eighteenth century A.D. J. D. Michaelis revived Porphyry’s theory in 1771, and it took root in the rationalistic intellectual soil of the Enlightenment. Since then many scholars who disbelieve in predictive prophecy have insisted that this book must have been the product of the Maccabean revolt (168-165 B.C.). Liberal critics still consider the late dating of Daniel to be one of the most assured results of modern scholarship. Nevertheless there is ample evidence in the book itself that Daniel wrote it and that it dates from the sixth century B.C. R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 1110-26;
 “One who claims that the book of Daniel is a product of the Maccabean age thereby denies that it is a work of true predictive prophecy as it purports to be. Furthermore, if the book of Daniel comes from the age of the Maccabees, I do not see how it is possible to escape the conclusion that the book is also a forgery, for it claims to be a revelation from God to the Daniel who lived in Babylon during the exile.” Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel: A Commentary, p. 5. 
 “In NT prophecy Daniel is referred to more than any other OT book. Moreover, it contains more fulfilled prophecies than any other book in the Bible.” Archer, “Daniel,” p. 3.
 “The book of Daniel is unquestionably the key to all biblical prophecy. It is the great apocalyptic book of the Old Testament, whereas Revelation is that of the New Testament. Passages such as Matthew 24—25, Mark 13,Luke 21, and the book of Revelation are unintelligible without a knowledge of the book of Daniel.” Charles L. Feinberg, Daniel: The Kingdom of the Lord, p. 13.
 “No one who has reverently studied the book of Daniel in the context of the completed Scriptures can deny the crucial contribution of this book to God’s complete prophetic revelation. Our Lord spoke often of ‘the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 5:3; Dan. 2:44) and of Himself as ‘the son of man’ (Matt. 26:64; Dan. 7:13-14). Looking toward His second coming to the earth, He referred to ‘a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now’ (Matt. 24:21; cf. Dan. 12:1), and to ‘the abomination of desolation’ that will stand in the Temple (Matt. 24:15; Dan. 9:27; 12:11). The apostle Paul also referred to this work of ‘the man of lawlessness’ (2 Thess. 2:3-4; cf. Dan. 7:25; 11:36-39) but rejoiced that someday ‘the saints will judge the world’ (1 Cor. 6:2; Dan. 7:18, 22, 27).” Whitcomb, p. 16  CN
 This is a major problem for the modern advocate of “higher criticism” which denies the supernatural.
 5. What are some of the major controversies with regard to this book and what are the rebuttals.
 a. Attacks on the Dating and Authorship:
 The dating of this book is one of the most controversial subjects in the field of

Old Testament Introduction. The controversy is not due to the obscurity of evidence but to the presuppositions of critics. Some of this has been discussed previously in a general way. 


 The skeptic must at all cost push the dating of Daniel to the from the 6th to the 2nd century b.c.
 Eight manuscripts of the text of Daniel have survived two millennia in the caves of Qumran. They were produced sometime between the second century b. c. and the first century a. d. These fragments demonstrate the Qumran community’s high regard for the book of Daniel and the faithfulness with which the biblical text was preserved over the centuries. ASB
 The Dead Sea Scroll versions of Daniel attest to the early form of the Hebrew text of Daniel which closely matches that of the Masoretic Text which is the basis of our modern translations.  “[With the advent of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments] we are able to compare for the first time in history the Hebrew and Aramaic of the book of Daniel with manuscripts of the same book that are about 1,000 years older. A comparison between the MT and the earlier manuscripts contained in 1QDana, 1QDanb, and 6QDan, based upon a careful study of the variants and relationships with the MT, reveals that ‘the Daniel fragments from Caves 1 and 6 reveal, on the whole, that the later Masoretic text is preserved in a good, hardly changed form. They are thus a valuable witness to the great faithfulness with which the sacred text has been transmitted’ (Mertens 1971:31). These textual witnesses demonstrate that the MT was faithfully  preserved and confirm that the Hebrew and Aramaic text of Daniel is reliable.”– Gerhard Hasel, “New Light On The Book Of Daniel From The Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Bible and Spade, vol. 5 no. 2 (Associates for Biblical Research, Wi
 Ezekiel, the sixth- century prophet, mentioned Daniel three times in his book (Ezk 14:14, 20; 28:3) —seemingly clear verification of the traditional view. Critical scholars, however, insist Ezekiel was speaking of a mythological hero named Danel who appears in the ancient Ugaritic epic “The Tale of Aqhat.” A decisive argument against such a theory is that the epic Danel was an idolater, hardly a model of faithfulness to Israel’s God. Ezekiel must have been referring to the author of the book of Daniel. If so, the historicity of Daniel and his book would seem to be established.
 Ezekiel 14:14 (NKJV)  Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord GOD. 
 Ezekiel 14:20 (NKJV) even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,” says the Lord GOD, “they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.” 
 Ezekiel 28:3 (NKJV) (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! 
 Isaiah has been called the prince of the prophets, and I would like to say that Daniel, then, is the king of the prophets. Both of these prophecies are very important in Scripture and have been especially attacked by unbelievers.The Book of Daniel has been a battlefield between conservative and liberal scholars for years, and much of the controversy has had to do with the dating of the writing of the book. Porphyry, a heretic in the third century a.d. declared that the Book of Daniel was a forgery written during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees. That would place its writing around 170 b.c., almost four hundred years after Daniel lived. The German critics seized upon this hypothesis and, along with Dr. S. R. Driver, developed this type of criticism of the book. These critics, as well as present–day unbelievers, assume the premise that the supernatural does not exist. Since foreknowledge is supernatural, there can, therefore, be no foretelling, no prophesying. JVM
 The very interesting thing is that the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, was translated before the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and it contains the Book of Daniel! The liberal scholars have ignored similar very clear testimony from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those scrolls confirm the fact that there was only one author of the Book of Isaiah. The liberal has wanted to argue that there was a duet or even a trio of “Isaiahs” who wrote that book. The Dead Sea Scrolls are very much alive, and they refute the liberal critic on that point.It is interesting how these questions which are raised concerning the Bible are always answered in time. The heretic, the critic, and the cultist always move in an area of the Bible where we do not have full knowledge at the time. Everyone can speculate, and you can speculate any way you want to—generally the speculation goes the wrong way. However, in time, the Word of God is proven accurate.
Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Vol. 1, p. 388) also records an incident during the time of Alexander the Great which supports the early authorship of Daniel. When Alexander’s invasion reached the Near East, Jaddua, the high priest, went out to meet him and showed him a copy of the Book of Daniel in which Alexander was clearly mentioned. Alexander was so impressed by this that, instead of destroying Jerusalem, he entered the city peaceably and worshiped at the temple.These arguments clearly contradict the liberal critics; yet there are those who blindly ignore them. JVM

Sir Isaac Newton was a true genius upon whose work nearly all of classical physics is built, was a deeply religious Christian, who saw the hand of God in all things. To him, all of the great laws of physics which he discovered, the laws of motion and gravity, optics, light, calculus, chemistry, astronomy, were the laws of God that testify of his design.newton (1)

He was once given a problem in physics which all the greatest scientist of Europe had been struggling with for 6 months. He got the problem at lunch and had it solved by bed time. Newton was also a Bible scholar, fluent in many ancient languages, including , Latin, Greek, Aramaic, Persian, Arabic, Hindu dialects, and who translated directly from the Hebrew.

He was unusually drawn to the prophet Daniel, which he began studying at age 12 and continued until he died at age 85.

  Sir Isaac Newton declared, “To reject Daniel is to reject the Christian religion.”
 Except for the attack of the pagan Porphyry (third century a.d.), no question was raised concerning the traditional sixth century b.c. date, the authorship of Daniel the prophet, or the genuineness of the book until the rise of higher criticism in the seventeenth century, more than two thousand years after the book was written. Important confirmation of the historicity of Daniel himself is found in three passages in Ezekiel (Eze 14:14, 20; 28:3), written after Daniel had assumed an important post in the king’s court at Babylon.2 Convincing also to conservative scholars is the reference to “Daniel the prophet” by Christ in the Olivet Discourse (Mt 24:15; Mk 13:14).
 Higher critics normally question the traditional authorship and dates of books in both the Old and New Testaments, and therefore disallow the testimony of the book of Daniel itself, dispute the mention of Daniel by Ezekiel, and discount the support by Christ in the New Testament. But conservative scholars have given almost universal recognition to the book of Daniel as an authentic sixth century b.c. composition of Daniel, the captive of Nebuchadnezzar. Consideration of the arguments of higher critics is given in the later discussion of the genuineness of the book of Daniel, upon which the conservative opinion rests. Walvoord John F.  
 The Septuagint was the Greek translation  of the OT produced in Alexandria, Egypt, that came to be used widely by the Jews of the Diaspora. Scholars generally agree that at least the Pentateuch (first five books) was translated in the middle of the third century b. c., but it is likely that all the Bible books were translated into Greek about the same time. If so, a second century date for Daniel is impossible. According to the critical view, only 30 years after it was written, the book of Daniel was received into the canon and carried to Alexandria, approximately 300 miles away, and there translated into Greek. Such a proposal seems unlikely. 
 The book of Daniel was accepted as canonical by the community of Qumran (who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls). This is telling because this group emerged as a separate party in Judaism between 171 and 167 b.c., before the proposed late date. They would not have accepted the book if it had appeared after the split. ESVN
 The denial that the book was in existence in the sixth century B.C. disregards the three citations referring to Daniel in Ezekiel (Eze 14:14, 20; 28:3), as well as all the evidence in the book of Daniel itself. Liberal critics tend to disregard the references to Daniel in Ezekiel. James Montgomery, for instance, states, “There is then no reference to our Daniel as an historic person in the Heb. O.T…” Montgomery holds that Ezekiel’s reference is to another character, whom he describes as “the name of an evidently traditional saint.”
 The “traditional saint” mentioned by Montgomery refers to a “Daniel” who apparently lived about 1400 b.c. In 1930, several years after Montgomery wrote his commentary, archeologists digging at ancient Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra) found some clay tablets detailing a legend of a Canaanite by name of Aqhat who was the father of a man called Daniel. In the tablet Daniel is portrayed as being a friend of widows and orphans, and as a man who was unusually wise and righteous in his judgments. This is the one who Montgomery asserts is referred to in Ezekiel 14:14, 20 as a worthy ancient character on the same plane as Noah and Job. Daniel, the son of Aqhat, however, was a Baal worshiper who prayed to Baal and partook of food in the house of Baal. He is pictured as worshiping his ancestral gods and offering oblations to idols. He was also guilty of cursing his enemies and living without a real hope in God. It is hard to imagine that Ezekiel, writing by inspiration, would hold up such a character as an example of a godly man. Such a judgment is hardly in keeping with the facts.
 If the Ezekiel references were insufficient, certainly the clear attestation of Christ to the genuineness of Daniel in Matthew 24:15 should be admitted as valid. As Boutnower expresses it, Now, what is the witness of Christ respecting this Book of Daniel, for it is evident from His position as a teacher, His tastes, and the time at which He lived, that He must know the truth of the matter; whilst from His lofty morality we are sure that He will tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? How does Christ treat this Book, of which the critics form so low an estimate, regarding it as a religious romance with a pseudonymous title, and its prophetic portion as a Jewish apocalypse, a vaticinium post eventum?The answer is that this is the Book which Christ specially delights to honour. To Him its title is no pseudonym, but the name of a real person, “Daniel the prophet”— “the prophet” in the sense of one inspired of God to foretell the future, “what shall come to pass hereafter.” Our Saviour in His own great Advent prophecy—Matt. 24—uttered on the eve of His death, quotes this Book of Daniel no less than three times [Matt. 24:15, 21; cp. Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:30; cp. Dan 7:13].
 The recent discoveries at Qumran have given impetus to the trend to

reconsider late dating of such books as the Psalms and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Brownlee on the basis of recent discoveries indicates that the Maccabean authorship of the Psalms can no longer be held. He states, “If this is true, it would seem that we should abandon the idea of any of the canonical Psalms being of Maccabean date.” Myers gives ample evidence that the Maccabean dating of 1 and 2 Chronicles (after 333 b.c. ) is no longer tenable since the publication of the Elephantine materials. He concludes that 1 and 2 Chronicles now must be considered written in the Persian period (538-333 b.c.).

 This trend toward recognition of earlier authorship of these portions of the Old Testament point also to the inconsistency of maintaining a late date for Daniel. If, on the basis of the scrolls recently discovered, Psalms and Chronicles can no longer be held to be Maccabean, then Daniel, on the same kind of evidence, also demands recognition as a production of the Persian period and earlier. Raymond K. Harrison has come to this conclusion when he states, “While, at the time of writing, the Daniel manuscripts from Qumran have yet to be published and evaluated, it appears presumptuous, even in the light of present knowledge, for scholars to abandon the Maccabean dating of certain allegedly late Psalms and yet maintain it with undiminished fervor in the case of Daniel when the grounds for such modification are the same.” Harrison points out that the Qumran manuscripts of Daniel are all copies; and if the Qumran sect was actually Maccabean in origin itself, it would necessarily imply that the original copy of Daniel must have been at least a half century earlier, which would place it before the time of the alleged Maccabean authorship of Daniel. The principles adopted by critics in evaluating other manuscripts and assigning them to a much earlier period than had been formerly accepted, if applied to Daniel, would make impossible the liberal critical position that Daniel is a second century B.C. work. Strangely, liberal critics have been slow to publish and comment upon the Qumran fragments of Daniel which seem to indicate a pre-Maccabean authorship. The facts as they are now before the investigator tend to destroy the arguments of the liberals for a late date for Daniel. The evidence against the canonicity of Daniel is without support. Besides, it is highly questionable whether the Jews living in the Maccabean period would have accepted Daniel if it had not had a previous history of canonicity.
 Rejection of detailed prophecy. In the original objection of Porphyry to Daniel, the premise was taken that prophecy is impossible. This, of course, is based on a rejection of theism in general, a denial of the doctrine of supernatural revelation as is ordinarily assumed in the Scriptures by conservative scholars, and a disregard of the omniscience of God which includes foreknowledge of all future events. The defense of the possibility of prophecy should be unnecessary in treating the Scriptures inasmuch as it is related to the total apology for the Christian faith.  John F. Walvoord  
 b. Attack of the placement within the Hebrew canon of scripture.
 The Book was not placed with the Prophets the section of the other major prophets and therefore was added later.
 Daniel was not placed in the Writings because the book was written later or the author’s prophetic credentials were in doubt. At Qumran, the religious center from which came the Dead Sea Scrolls, the prophecy enjoyed unusual prominence and both the Septuagint and Josephus (Against Apion 1. 8) classified Daniel with the Prophets. Apparently those responsible for fixing the order of the Hebrew Bible did not include the book in the prophetic section because Daniel was mainly a statesman, not a preacher to the nation of Israel in the manner of Isaiah or Jeremiah. ASB
 The book of Daniel, written last of all the major prophets, appears in this order among the major prophets in the English Bible. In the Hebrew Old Testament—divided into three divisions consisting of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, which is also called Kethubim (Hebrew) or Hagiographa (Greek)—Daniel is included in the third section, the Writings. In the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Luther, however, it is placed with the major prophets. Josephus also includes it in the second division of the Jewish canon, the Prophets, rather than in the Hagiographa. There is, therefore, general recognition of the prophetic character of the book.
 Although the ministry of Daniel was prophetic, it was of different character than the other major prophets; and apparently for this reason, the Jews included Daniel in the Writings. As Robert Dick Wilson has pointed out, the reason for this was not that the Jews regarded Daniel as inferior nor because the prophetic section of the canon had already been closed, but as Wilson states, “It is more probable, that the book was placed in this part of the Heb Canon, because Daniel is not called a na„bhi„á (‘prophet’), but was rather a ho„zeh (‘seer’) and a ha„kha„m(‘wise man’). None but the works of the nebhi„áim were put in the second part of the Jewish Canon, the third being reserved for the heterogeneous works of seers, wisemen, and priests, or for those that do not mention the name or work of a prophet, or that are poetical in form.”
J. B. Payne observes, “For though Christ spoke of Daniel’s function as prophetic (Matt. 24:15), his position was that of governmental official and inspired writer, rather than ministering prophet (cf. Acts 2:29-30).”4
In any case, the Jews did not regard the third division as less inspired, but only different in character. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that they included in it such venerable writings as Job, Psalms and Proverbs, the historical books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, along with others not considered either the Law or the Prophets. There is no hint anywhere in ancient literature that the Jews regarded Daniel as a pious forgery. John F. Walvoord  
 The Jews placed Daniel in the Writings section of their Bible. The first two divisions of the Hebrew Bible are the Law and the Prophets. The Writings in Hebrew are the Kethubim and in Greek the Hagiographa. Thomas J. Finley, “The Book of Daniel in the Canon of Scripture,”Bibliotheca Sacra 165:658 (April-June 2008):195-208.  
 They did this because Daniel was not a prophet in the sense in which the other Hebrew prophets were. He functioned as a prophet and wrote inspired Scripture, but he was a government official, an administrator in a Gentile land, rather than a preaching prophet (cf. Nehemiah).
 “. . . though Christ spoke of Daniel’s function as prophetic (Matt. 24:15), his position was that of governmental official and inspired writer, rather than ministering prophet (cf. Acts 2:29-30).”Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Book of Daniel,” by J. Barton Payne.
 In contrast to Ezekiel, his contemporary in Babylon, Daniel lived and worked among Gentiles primarily, whereas Ezekiel live and ministered among the Israelites. Only Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi follow Daniel chronologically among the prophetic books of the Old Testament, but Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Chronicles also do among the historical books.
 The Greek and Latin translators of Daniel placed this book among the other Major Prophets in the Septuagint and Vulgate versions because of its prophetic content. That tradition influenced the scholars who produced our English versions.
 Rejection of canonicity. As previously explained under consideration of the place of Daniel in the Scriptures, the book is included in the Writings, the third section of the Old Testament, not in the prophetic section. Merrill Unger has defined the erroneous critical view of this as follows: “Daniel’s prophecy was placed among writings in the third section of the Hebrew canon and not among the prophets in the second division because it was not in existence when the canon of the prophets was closed, allegedly between 300-200 B.C.”As previously explained, Daniel was not included because his work was of a different character from that of the other prophets. Daniel was primarily a government official, and he was not commissioned to preach to the people and deliver an oral message from God as was, for instance, Isaiah or Jeremiah. It is questionable whether his writings were distributed in his lifetime. Further, the Writings were not so classified because they were late in date, inasmuch as they included such works as Job and 1 and 2 Chronicles, but the division was on the classification of the material in the volumes. Most important, the Writings were considered just as inspired and just as much the Word of God as the Law and the Prophets. This is brought out by the fact that Daniel is included in the Septuagint along with other inspired works, which would indicate that it was regarded as a genuine work of inspiration. John F. Walvoord
In contrast to Ezekiel, his contemporary in Babylon, Daniel lived and worked among Gentiles primarily, whereas Ezekiel live and ministered among the Israelites. Only Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi follow Daniel chronologically among the prophetic books of the Old Testament, but Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Chronicles also do among the historical books.
The Greek and Latin translators of Daniel placed this book among the other Major Prophets in the Septuagint and Vulgate versions because of its prophetic content. That tradition influenced the scholars who produced our English versions. CN
c. The language was not appropriate for the time. It has sections written in Aramaic.
 Daniel is one of the few books in the Old Testament that was originally written in two different languages. One was Aramaic (also known as Chaldee or Syriac), the common language of the ancient Near East, and the other was Hebrew. The other Aramaic passages are Ezra 4:8—6:18; 7:12-26; and Jeremiah 10:11. The compound name Jegar-Sahadutha in Genesis 31:47 is also Aramaic. The Aramaic portions in Daniel deal with matters pertaining to all the citizens of the Babylonian and Persian empires whereas the Hebrew sections describe predominantly Jewish concerns and God’s plans for Israel. Probably Daniel wrote the Aramaic sections for the benefit of his Gentile neighbors, and he wrote the whole book for the Jews who could read both languages.
Daniel’s Hebrew is consistent with a sixth century date (it resembles the Hebrew of Ezekiel), and his Aramaic exhibits striking parallels with that of the Elephantine Papyri, also written in imperial Aramaic and dated to the fifth century b. c. By contrast, the Aramaic of the book does not conform to later samples of the language found at Qumran (e. g., Genesis Apocryphon).
 An non typical feature of the book is that it is written in two languages—Daniel 1:1 –2:4a and 8:1 –12:13 are in Hebrew and Daniel 2:4 b–7:28 is in Aramaic. Critics insist that the use of Aramaic reflects a late date (when Aramaic had replaced Hebrew) but offer no convincing explanation as to why only a portion of the book is written in Aramaic. Chapter 7 (Aramaic) seems particularly problematic for the critical position since it is the same literary genre (apocalyptic vision) as chapters 8–12 (Hebrew). The most satisfying proposal is that Daniel wrote in Aramaic (the common language of that region in that period) the parts of the book with universal appeal or special significance for the Gentile nations and employed Hebrew in sections more applicable to the Jewish people. ASB
 An unusual feature of the book of Daniel is the fact that the central portion (2:4-7:28) is written in biblical Aramaic also called Chaldee (AV, “Syriack”). A similar use of Aramaic is found in Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Jer 10:11; and the two words of the compound name Jegar-Sahadutha in Genesis 31:47.8 The use of the Aramaic, which was the lingua franca of the period, was related to the fact that the material concerned the Gentile world rather than Israel directly. The fact that there are similar portions elsewhere in the Bible should make clear that there is nothing unusual or questionable about the Aramaic section in Daniel. As pointed out by Brownlee,9 the shifts from Hebrew to Aramaic and back again in Daniel are found in the scrolls of Daniel at Qumran, supporting the legitimacy of this feature of the Massoretic text commonly used in English translations.
 The argument that the Aramaic of Daniel was western and not used in Babylon, as popularized by S. R. Driver,now has been clearly shown to be erroneous by later archeological evidence. As Martin observes, relative to Driver’s contention, “When he [Driver] wrote, the only material available was too late to be relevant. Subsequently, R. D. Wilson, making use of earlier materials that had come to light, was able to show that the distinction between Eastern and Western Aramaic did not exist in pre-Christian times. This has since been amply confirmed by H. H. Schaeder.”
 As Gleason L. Archer expresses the Aramaic problem, “The Jews apparently took no exception to the Aramaic sections in the book of Ezra, most of which consists in copies of correspondence carried on in Aramaic between the local governments of Palestine and the Persian imperial court from approximately 520 to 460 B.C. If Ezra can be accepted as an authentic document from the middle of the fifth century, when so many of its chapters were largely composed in Aramaic, it is hard to see why the six Aramaic chapters of Daniel must be dated two centuries later than that. It should be carefully observed that in the Babylon of the late sixth century, in which Daniel purportedly lived, the predominant language spoken by the heterogeneous population of this metropolis was Aramaic. It is therefore not surprising that an inhabitant of that city should have resorted to Aramaic in composing a portion of his memoirs.” CN
d. The book has Greek and Persian words used in later times.
 Critics have objected to the presence of various Greek and Persian words in the book of Daniel as if this proved a late date. As brought out in the exposition of Daniel 3 where a number of these Persian and Greek words are found, in the light of recent archeological discoveries this objection is no longer valid. It has now been proved that one hundred years before Daniel Greek mercenaries served in the Assyrian armies under the command of Esarhaddon (683 B.C.) as well as in the Babylonian army of Nebuchadnezzar. As Robert Dick Wilson has noted, if Daniel had been written in the second century, there would have been far more Greek words rather than the few that occur. Yamauchi has also demonstrated that the critical objections to Greek words in Daniel are without foundation. 
 The use of Persian words is certainly not strange in view of the fact that Daniel himself lived in the early years of the Persian empire and served as one of its principal officials. He naturally would use contemporary Persian description of various officials in chapter 3 in an effort to update the understanding of these offices for those living after the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 b.c. It must be concluded that objections to the book of Daniel as a sixth century writing on the basis of Greek and Persian words is without reasonable scholarly support and increasingly becomes an untenable position in the light of archeological evidence. John F. Walvoord
 The linguistic argument is that Daniel could not have been written in the sixth century because the book contains Persian and even Greek words, and the Aramaic is alleged to be a variety from a later date.
 Since, however, Daniel lived and served into the Medo-Persian period (530’s b.c.) the presence of Persian words indicates quite the opposite of the liberal contention. The chances of a second century forger in Palestine knowing Persian are dim.
 As to the Greek words, most Bible students are shocked when they find out that there are only three—and all names for musical instruments! It is a well-known fact that the names of objects from a culture often go into another language long before there is heavy intercultural involvement. While the Greek Empire was still in the future when Daniel wrote, Greek culture and inventiveness were already spreading in the ancient world.
MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur: Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995, S. Da 1:1
e. Historical and factual discrepancies.
 1.  What was the first year of  Jehoiakim
Daniel 1:1 (NASB) 1  In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 
  Jeremiah 46:2 (NKJV) Against Egypt. Concerning the army of Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt, which was by the River Euphrates in Carchemish, and which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: .
 It should first be noted that Daniel did not say Nebuchadnezzar defeated Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim, but only that he took certain people captive to Babylon. Secondly, the Palestinian method of reckoning the number of years of a king’s reign from the time of his accession differed from that of the Babylonian method. The Babylonian method did not count the year of a king’s accession; the Palestinian method did. Thus, Daniel (by the Babylonian method) spoke of the event as being in the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign, and Jeremiah (by the Palestinian method) as being in the fourth. RD
 2. Belshazzar is not recorded as the last king of Babylon.
 The difficulty of identifying Belshazzar (chap. 5), the source of much critical objection to the accuracy of Daniel on the ground that his name did not occur in ancient literature, has been remedied by precise information provided in the Nabonidus Chronicle. 
Some older critical scholars claimed that Belshazzar was never a king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. However modern discoveries have shown that Belshazzar acted as king during his father’s frequent and prolonged absences from Babylon.

“The last actual Chaldean king, Nabonidus, ‘entrusted the kingship’ in 539 B.C. to his son Bel-sar-usur during his ten-year absence from Babylon, returning as the threat from Cyrus grew.” Goldingay, p. 106. See also N. W. Porteous, Daniel: A Commentary, p. 76;
 Nebuchadnezzar was Belshazzar’s grandfather rather than his father, but the original language commonly used “father” in the sense of ancestor.
“Neither in Hebrew, nor in Chaldee, is there any word for ‘grandfather,’ ‘grandson.’ Forefathers are called ‘fathers’ or ‘fathers’ fathers.’ But a single grandfather, or forefather, is never called ‘father’s father’ but always ‘father’ only.”CN
  3. History records Cyrus as the Persian King, while Daniel speaks about Darius the Mede.
 While questions may continue to be raised concerning the identity of Darius

the Mede, the argument on the part of the critics is entirely from silence. Nothing in history has been found to contradict the conclusion that Darius is either another term for Cyrus himself or, preferably, an appointee of Cyrus who was of Median race and therefore called “the Mede.” As there are several plausible solutions to the identity of Darius the Mede, there is no legitimate ground for the objections to Daniel’s statements because of lack of support in ancient literature. Obviously, there are hundreds of facts in the Bible of historical nature which cannot be completely supported, and the Bible itself must be taken as a legitimate ancient manuscript whose testimony should stand until well-established facts raise questions.

 The identity of Darius the Mede is one of the most interesting problems in the Daniel controversy, and it is a problem which cannot be ignored. The critics do not dispose of it by declaring the Book of Daniel to be a “pseudepigraph” of Maccabean days. Accepting that hypothesis for the sake of argument, the  mention of Darius remains to be accounted for. Some writers reject it as “pure fiction”; others denounce  it as a “sheer blunder.” Though these are wholly inconsistent hypotheses, Dr. Farrar adopts both. Both, however, are alike untenable; and the “avowed fiction” theory may be dismissed as unworthy of notice. The writer would have had no possible motive for inventing a “Darius,” for the events of Daniel vi. might just as well have been assigned to some other reign, and a figment of the kind would have marred his  book. The suggestion is preposterous. And the author must have been a man of extraordinary genius and of great erudition. He would have had  before him historical records now lost, such as the history of Berosus. He would have had access to the  authorities upon which the book of the Antiquities is based; for the student of Josephus cannot fail to see  that his history is partly derived from sources other than the Book of Daniel. And besides all this, he would have had the Book of Ezra, which records how Darius the Persian issued an edict to give effect to the decree of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the Temple, and also the prophecies of Haggal and Zechariah, which bring this fact into still greater prominence. It may safely be averred, therefore, that no intelligent schoolboy, no devout peasant, in all Judah could have been guilty of a blunder so gross and stupid as that which is attributed to this “holy and gifted Jew,” the author of the most famous and successful literary fraud the world has ever seen! The “sheer blunder” theory may be rejected as sheer nonsense.Accepting, then, for the sake of argument, the pseudepigraph theory of Daniel, the book gives proof of a definite and well-established historical tradition that when Cyrus conquered Babylon, “Darius the Mede received the kingdom.” How, then, is that tradition to be accounted for? The question demands an answer, but the critics have none to offer. SIR ROBERT ANDERSON
  The Identity of Darius the Mede. Daniel provides us with a number of facts about Nabonidus’ successor to the throne of Babylon: i) His name was Darius; ii) He was the son of Xerxes; iii) he was a Mede (Dan. 9:1), and iv) he began to rule when he was 62 years old (6:1). Despite this no extrabiblical evidence that such a person existed. It is generally agreed that this remains the strongest evidence against a seventh century origin for the book of Daniel (Wiseman, 1970: 9). Two main solutions have been suggested by conservative scholars. Both argue that the name Darius was a honorific title just as “Caesar” and “Augustus” was in the Roman Empire (Hoerth, 1998: 384). a) The first of these explanations sees Darius is another name for Gorbryas (Gubaru), a man who played a significant part both in the capture of Babylon and later its new administration where he served as provincial governor. The use of double throne names is not without precedent (Tiglath-pileser of Assyria=Pul in 2 Kings 15:19-29; cf. 1 Chron. 5:26). Factors which make this identification doubtful are that facts that Gorbryas is never described elsewhere as the son of Xerxes, of 62 years of age or of Median descent. The use of a royal title by a governor of a city is also without precedent and there is no evidence than Gorbryas ever bore such a title at any time in his life. Most seriously of all this identification is contradicted by extant inscriptions which portray Gorbryas as a Persian (Wiseman, 1970: 10-12). b) A more likely theory is that of D.J. Wiseman that Darius was a “throne name” or honorific title for Cyrus. Cyrus was referred to by Nabonidas in 546 as “the king of the Medes”, only four years after Cyrus’ conquest of the Median Empire. There is also some evidence that Cyrus was descended from the Medes on his father’s side and was probably about 62 when he captured Babylon. The name Xerxes (Ahasuerus) may also be an ancient royal title, which would solve the remaining difficulty. While the theory is not without its weaknesses (e.g. Xerxes occurs in Ezra 4:6 and throughout the book of Esther as a real name) it remains the best explanation pending the discovery of further relevant archaeological evidence (Wiseman, 1970: 12-16).
 4. The listing of Greece as the last world kingdom precludes a future revived Roman Empire.
 The widely held view that the book of Daniel is largely fictional rests mainly on the modern philosophical assumption that long-range predictive prophecy is impossible. Therefore all fulfilled predictions in Daniel, it is claimed, had to have been composed no earlier than the Maccabean period (second century b.c. ), after the fulfillments had taken place. But objective evidence excludes this hypothesis on several counts: To avoid fulfillment of long-range predictive prophecy in the book, the adherents of the late-date view usually maintain that the four empires of chs. 2 and 7 are Babylonia, Media, Persia and Greece. But in the mind of the author, “the Medes and Persians” ( 5:28 ) together constituted the second in the series of four kingdoms ( 2:32-43 ). Thus it becomes clear that the four empires are the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman. NIVSN
6. What would be some major themes of Daniel?
The Covenant-Keeping God. 
The opening verses of the book make clear that Nebuchadnezzar was able to conquer Jerusalem because the Lord allowed him to (Dan. 1:2), recalling the covenant curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. In his prayer of repentance (directed toward the site of the Temple – Dan. 6:10) Daniel specifically refers to Israel’s sin and failure to live up to her covenant obligations (9:4-11a). The EXILE, he acknowledges, was God’s judgement on the people which they fully deserved (9:11b-15; cf. Lev. 26:37-39: Deut. 4:27-28; 28:63). However, Daniel knew that that was not the end of the story, for after judgement the Lord promised both forgiveness and restoration (Dan. 9:15-16; cf. Lev. 26:40-45; Deut. 4:29-31; 2 Chron. 7:14).
 Universal Rule of Yahweh.
Although the narrative of the book centres around a group of Hebrews in Babylon the book’s perspective is not simply concerned either with their fate, or even that of their people; it is universal in scope. God is shown to be working at the very heart of a pagan empire and its rulers are forced to acknowledge that he is Lord is King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he who raises up and puts down rulers and it is he alone who directs the course of history (as the visions and dreams demonstrate). Although they might have taken the sacred objects from the temple with impunity when they are used in a sacrilegious manner Yahweh proves himself more than capable of defending his honour (5:1-30).
 God’s Rule is Not Unopposed. 
God’s will is opposed both in the heavens and on earth. When Daniel prayed and fasted for 21 days for insight God’s answer was given on the first day he prayed. However, we are told that the Prince of Persia opposed God’s messenger until another angel (Michael) was sent to help. Throughout that time Daniel continued to fast, unaware why he had not had an answer to his request (10:1, 12-14). On earth God’s will is opposed by kings and rulers, some of whom can be turned to repentance (4:34-35), some of whom cannot (5:1-4, 30; 11:36-38).
Being a believer in Yahweh does not guarantee a life free from suffering. Israel suffered because of military conquest, but Daniel and his friends had to chose between their faith and an easy life (3:8-23; 6:3-12). Further defeats are foretold for Israel, but God will ultimately vindicate them (7:21-25; 8:23-25; 9:26; 11:36-45; 12:7b) and bring every deed to judgement (5:2-6, 22-30; 6:24; 7:9-10; 12:1-3)
 God is in Control of Human History.
 Behind the scenes of history the Lord is working out his purposes (2:44). The kings of the earth rule by his will (2:37-38, 47; 4:28-35; 5:18-21; 6:26) and their end is already known (2:31-35, 44-45)


7. How is Daniel Structured?

Historical    Chapters 1-6

-1. Deported as a teenager

-2. Nebuchadnezzars’s Dream

-3. Bow or Burn: the Furnace

-4. Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride                                         ARARMAIC

-5. Fall of Babylon

-6. The Lion’s Den (Revolt of the Maggi)

Visions        Chapters   7-12

-7. Four Beasts

-8. The Ram and the He-Goat

-9.  The Seventy Weeks                                                 HEBREW

-10. A Glimpse of the Dark Side

-11. The Silent Years  (in advance)

-12. The Consummation of All Things



·         ESVN………….ESV Study Bible Notes
·         MSBN…….MacArthur NASB Study Notes                  
·         NIVSN…..NIV Study Notes. 
·         JVM ……………..J Vernon McGee,
·         ACC ……………. Adam Clarke’s Commentary
·         BN ……………..Barnes Notes
·         WBC…………….   Wycliffe Bible Commentary
·         CN …… …………..Constables Notes 
·         IC………………….Ironside Commentary
·         NET……………….Net Bible Study Notes.
·         JFB…………..Jamieson  Fausset  Brown Commentary
·         VWS……………..Vincent Word Studies
·         CMM………….Commentary on Matthew and Mark
·         BDB………….. Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)
·         Darby………..John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT
·         Johnson………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament.
·         NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.
·         EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures
·         CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary
·         SBC…………………Sermon Bible Commentary
·         K&D……………….Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT
·         EBC…………………Expositors Bible Commentary
·         CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College
·         GC……………………Guzik Commentary
·         RD……………………. Robert  Deffinbaugh 
          ASB………………………….Apologetics Study Bible
          BSBN…………………Blackaby Study Bible Notes. 

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September 6, 2014

“Genuine Faith and Planning Your Future”

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 6:00 am


 Sermon by Reverend Rusty Lyon. August 31, 2014     “A Faith that Works Series”    Click for Audio
James 4:13-17 (NIV)
13  Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16  As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17  If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

 * The Truth about growing, authentic Christians:

We are humbly committed to doing the Lord’s will

                  Not just whatever we want. 


A.  The arrogance of ignoring God’s plan : v. 13

      13  Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”   denial

    We may have made our minds up already, but……

    Proverbs 16:1 (NIV)   To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.

    Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)   In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

    Proverbs 21:1 (NIV)    In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.


B.  The presumption of assuming our own plans: v. 14

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Proverbs 27:1 (NIV)    Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Job 14:5            (NIV)    A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.

Psalm 90:10    (NIV)   Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.


Powerful stories in scripture that can sober our perspective:

Isaiah 47:7-10 (NIV)   You said, ‘I am forever— the eternal queen!’ But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen. 8  “Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’ 9  Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells. 10  You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’

Acts 12:19-24 (NIV)   After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executwormsed. Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. 20  He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply. 21  On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22  They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23  Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. 24  But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.

Luke 12:16-21 (NIV)  And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17  He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18  “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19  And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ 20  “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21  “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”


C. The challenge of submitting to God’s plans: v.15-16

15  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16  As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.

  david prays 1. How “If it is the Lord’s will”  is carried out in our lives!  (a few examples)

    King David: 

    Psalm 40:8 (NIV)      I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

    Psalm 143:10 (NIV)  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.


The Apostle Paul made all of his plans in that kind of framework:

Romans 1:10 (NIV)   in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

Acts 18:21 (NIV)        But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.

1 Corinthians 16:5-7 (NIV)  After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia. 6  Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7  For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord apostle paulpermits.

2 Corinthians 1:15-17 (NIV)  Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16  I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17  Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?


2. God does have a “Plan A” for your life!

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)   Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ephesians 5:17 (NIV)  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Colossians 1:9 (NIV)   For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,


D. Our commitment to discover God’s plan: v. 17

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

                                                *  The principle: Do what you know !


Concluding thoughts and applications:

It’s OK for us to have plans, but….





September 2, 2014

Lining Egyptian Chronology with the Inerrant Word of God.

Filed under: Bible,Book of Exodus,Creationism,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 9:41 am

Egyptian chronology and the Bible—framing the issues

Do the dates ascribed to the Egyptian dynasties falsify the date of biblical creation?

Published: 2 September 2014 (GMT+10)
Egyptian chronology can be a challenging subject for biblical creationists. That’s because the secular, majority view about these chronologies extends further back than an objective reading of the biblical chronogenealogies allows for creation: a little over 6,000 years ago. These chronologies are hotly debated among Christians and secularists alike, with the consensus being increasingly challenged. Moreover, some of the incredible Egyptian monuments like the great pyramids on the Giza Plateau have dates ascribed to them that would have them being built before the earth-reshaping Flood of Noah’s time around 4,500 years ago. Following a strict biblical chronology, Egyptian civilization cannot predate creation, nor can the pyramids be pre-Flood constructions.
This article (although lengthy) does not attempt to solve any of the seeming problems in aligning Egyptian chronologies with the biblical text with any great detail. But for the average layperson trying to understand Egyptian history, it is often a case of ‘Where do I start?’ ‘How do we align such things?’ There are so many names, dynasties and dates bandied around with seeming authority that it is a confusing topic to investigate. Also, without some background or a framework to help the Christian gain some perspective on the issues, it is difficult to be discerning about any information that claims to solve the many mysteries that Egypt presents—and there are dozens of those from Christian researchers alone! Hopefully this article will help us realize that the issue is not as cut and dried as the secular community sometimes presents it. Nor does Egyptian civilization falsify biblical history as the skeptics would like us to think.


Egypt’s ancient culture is one of the most popular and well-preserved in the world, and it is one of the most visited tourist destinations due to the pyramids and the wealth of historical antiquities found there. In addition, there are thousands of Egyptian artifacts on display in museums across the world, which have been seen by millions. Among these displays, one can look at busts or statues (sometimes amazingly lifelike) of past pharaohs and their wives, as well as everyday objects used by these fascinating people. Combined with the wealth of writing (hieroglyphics) left behind, a vivid picture of ancient Egypt emerges to capture our imaginations.
The most popular and widely read book in human history, the Bible, also has a lot to say about Egypt. Most people are familiar with the accounts of Abraham’s sojourn, Joseph’s rise to influence and the formation of the nation of Israel via the Exodus. Egypt is mentioned 291 times in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) and 79 times in the book of Genesis alone.
Egypt’s culture was preoccupied with death and the afterlife, which motivated them to produce many artifacts, many of which were subsequently preserved due to the coincidence of an extraordinarily hot and dry climate. As part of this obsession, they worshipped multiple false deities who they believed could interact and intervene in miraculous ways in the physical realm (in the nature of magic arts), and who could also enable a person’s transition to heaven. Ancient Egyptians believed that one’s body, image, and name needed to be preserved in this world after death in order for them to enter and exist in the eternal realm. As such, Egypt developed a massive industry on dealing with death, and it became the pivotal part of their culture. Most would be familiar with iconic famous sites like the Great Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure on the Giza Plateau near Cairo and the Valley of the Kings near Luxor. These were, in reality, just magnificent tombs forming part of a massive necropolis complex. Pharaohs encouraged the idea that they were living incarnations of, or even born of, the deities that were worshipped in those days. However, preservation of the dead body was not only important for royalty; ordinary people had to be preserved after death also and were often buried in simpler ways. It’s just that royalty and those who held high positions (overseers and nobles) possessed greater wealth that enabled them to construct more elaborate and grandiose places of burial befitting their ‘god-like’ status.
Photo by Gary Bates
At the Hippodrome of Constantinople in what is now known as Istanbul, Turkey, one can see an ancient Egyptian obelisk from the reign of Thutmoses III. It was re-erected by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in the 4thcentury AD.

Why was Egypt so advanced for its time?

Some of the reasons that people have for being fascinated with Egypt are a little misplaced. A popular idea is that ancient people in the past were more primitive or less intelligent. And since the mainstream dates assigned to Egyptian history go back over 7,000 years (around 5,000 BC) to alleged ‘proto-dynastic’ and ‘pre-dynastic’ periods, many wonder how Egyptian culture became so advanced, so quickly. In some part, this seeming mystery is due to the overwhelming belief in evolution, and mankind’s slow rise from an alleged Stone Age culture. In contrast, the Bible implies that people were intelligent from the very beginning of creation. The mention of Tubal-Cain in Genesis 4:22 indicates that people were forging metals within several generations after Adam. It is a mistake to assume that because people in the past had less technology, they must have been less intelligent. Technology is developed by trial and error, and builds upon former discoveries. In short, time and innovation is the key. For example, personal computers were unheard of 40 years ago. Were we more ‘primitive’ or less intelligent then? No, we have just discovered and invented new things over time, and continue to do so.
The Bible reveals that after the Flood, people disobeyed God and built an enormous tower at Babel, probably a ziggurat. After God confused the languages “in the days of Peleg”, it has been suggested that the ancestors of the Egyptians brought this knowledge with them. However, Josephus, in hisAntiquities of the Jews, claims instead that Abraham brought knowledge from the same Mesopotamian region when he travelled to Egypt to escape the famine in his own land:

“For whereas the Egyptians were formerly addicted to different customs, and despised one another’s sacred and accustomed rites, and were very angry one with another on that account, Abram conferred with each of them, and, confuting the reasonings they made use of, every one for their own practices, demonstrated that such reasonings were vain and void of truth: whereupon he was admired by them in those conferences as a very wise man, and one of great sagacity, when he discoursed on any subject he undertook; and this not only in understanding it, but in persuading other men also to assent to him. He communicated to them arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy; for before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt, and from thence to the Greeks also.”1

Before Abraham went to Canaan (Genesis 11:31), he originally came from Ur of the Chaldeans. Ur was a Sumerian city-state in Mesopotamia, and the Sumerians have been credited with the invention of mathematic tables. For example, we still divide a circle in to 360° based upon the Sumerian innovation. Interestingly, the Sumerians built ziggurats that are strikingly similar to pyramids, and researchers still question today how the ability to build these arose contemporaneously as there are no Egyptian records mentioning the Sumerians. One could imagine exposure to mathematics for the first time would cause rapid advancements in many things, including architecture. It would certainly be a prerequisite for the construction of pyramid building. Admittedly, this is speculative and Josephus is not an indisputable authority. He certainly had an interest in advancing the Jewish cause, so we should be cautious about citing this as evidence. But Sumer was advanced, Abraham did visit Egypt, and secular historians are often baffled by the rapid rise of Egypt.
Abraham visited Egypt 215 years before Jacob and his family moved to Egypt. We can biblically derive the date of the Exodus (see later), and regardless of whether we ascribe to the short (215) or long sojourn (430 years) timeframe of the Hebrews in Egypt, it would have put Abraham’s visit well within the timeframes of the Old Kingdom pyramid builders of Egypt (if we do not ascribe to the secular dates though). Again, while this is interesting, it remains speculative as the Bible has no mention of any of this with regard to Abraham’s dealings with Pharaoh.
Wikimedia commons/Robster1983. CC-ZERO
Aerial view of the Giza Plateau.

Pyramid construction

It is true that mystery and debate still surround the methods employed for the construction of the great pyramids of Giza. They were built from massive limestone and sandstone blocks weighing c. 1.5 tons or more, and some granite blocks weighing a staggering 80 tons. The pyramids are still some of the largest manmade structures ever built. Also, Khufu’s pyramid is the only one of the seven ancient wonders of the world remaining today, although it is the oldest by far.2 Until the Lincoln Cathedral (England) was built in 1311, it was also the tallest man made structure in the world—meaning it held the record for well over 3,000 years (using a biblical timeframe).
There have been numerous ideas put forward for the construction of these pyramids, including a radically different, but seemingly viable, internal ramp theory put forward by the French architect Pierre Houdin.3 Most don’t know that there are over 130 pyramids (although smaller) in Egypt, and the construction of these is less mysterious. Many are made out of smaller blocks or mud bricks. Other grand constructions, like the cutting of the tombs into the sides of mountains for the Valley of the Kings or carving the massive granite obelisks seen in temples, are not so mysterious, but the effort needed to construct them is still staggering. Yet, when many want to rewrite conventional history, sometimes radical ideas are proposed.
Photo by Gary Bates
Note the people for scale, demonstrating its height and the massive size of the blocks used to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Some even suggest that since the great pyramids are beyond the capabilities of ancient people, advanced extraterrestrials must have constructed them. Or at least, they imparted sophisticated technological knowledge to the ‘primitive Egyptians’. With such theories there is often an overlay of misinformation coupled with a deliberate omission of facts (half truths). For example, it has often been argued that ancient Egyptians could not have possessed the technology to carve perfectly square blocks by using simple hand chisels made of copper—the most commonly used metal of the day (copper is relatively soft compared to forged metals of today). Such comments omit the fact, for example, that the Egyptians actually used toothed saws, and although made of copper (at the time), once a groove was established in the block they would add sand (something that is plentiful in Egypt) as a further abrasive cutting aid. Getting perfect squares was not a problem as tri-squares (like the ones used in geometry classes at schools) have been found, and we know they also used string and plumb bobs to obtain straight lines. Also, we now know that later Egyptian dynasties constructed bronze tools and weapons.
When the ancient Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484–425 BC) visited Egypt, he wrote about lifting machines that were used to raise large stone blocks being used for construction. But he was only recounting secondhand stories because his visit was many centuries after the completion of the pyramids. Although we might never actually know how the great pyramids were constructed, we can be sure that the Egyptians were innovative and clever, and they most certainly had the manpower. And later on, with other types of constructions, a massive slave base to assist them. The latter point, though, is being increasingly challenged by secular archaeologists (see later).

The problem with conventional Egyptian dates

Wikimedia commons (PD-old-100)
Front and back of the Narmer Palette. Courtesy Wikipedia.
One of the main areas used to strongly challenge the biblical dates for creation (c. 4000 BC) and the Great Flood (c. 2450 BC), is that of the conventional chronological dates assigned to Egyptian history. Aside from the mythical and highly questionable pre-dynastic period (c. 5000 BC), for which there is scant archaeological evidence, the first Egyptian dynasty is now conventionally believed to have begun under King Narmer (Menes in Greek) or Aha, or both contemporaneously, around 3400 BC. This was due to the discovery of the Narmer Palette in 1897 which contained the earliest depiction of an Egyptian king and some of the earliest hieroglyphic inscription ever found. It was described by popular Egyptologist Bob Brier as “the first historical document in the world” and mainstream thought says it depicts the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Narmer.4 It was subsequently dated to the 31st century BC. Whatever it does actually represent it was supposedly made some c. 900 years before the global Flood of Noah’s time, which would make its survival impossible.
It is presumed that because we supposedly have such a rich archive of Egyptian history and a seemingly accurate and well preserved lineage of the pharaohs, then the dates assigned to traditional Egyptian chronologies must be accurate. For Christians, many want to know where to place these famous pharaohs into biblical history, particularly during the time of Joseph (Genesis) and Moses (Exodus). This is because, although pharaohs are often mentioned in the accounts of Joseph and Moses, they are not mentioned by their names, unlike later writings in the Old Testament. Besides the country of Egypt, the word ‘Pharaoh’ is mentioned 209 times in Genesis and Exodus alone.

A Background of Chronologies and where the dates came from

Secular/Standard dating of Egyptian History

Note: These dates are in constant flux.


A dynasty usually refers to a sequence of rulers from the same family or group.

Pre 3200 BC Predynastic/Prehistory
3200–2686 BC Early dynastic Period 1st–2nd
2686–2181 BC Old Kingdom 3rd–6th
2181–2055 BC 1st Intermediate Period 7th–10th
2055–1650 BC Middle Kingdom 11th–12th
1650–1550 BC 2nd Intermediate Period/Hyksos 13th(?)–17th
1550–1069 BC New Kingdom 18th–20th
1069–664 BC 3rd Intermediate Period 21st–25th
664–525 BC Late Period 26th
525–332 BC Achaemenid/Persian Egypt 27th–31st
332–30 BC Ptolemaic/Greek Egypt
30 BC–641 AD Roman & Byzantine Egypt
When most people cite Ancient Egyptian history it conventionally covers the period up to the Persian occupation c. 525 BC, and is broken up into several distinct periods (see table). The major groupings are the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. Between these Kingdoms are placed ‘intermediate’ periods which are often hotly disputed by observers. At the End of the ‘Golden Age’ of Egypt which ceased with 20th Dynasty in the New Kingdom, Egypt suffered on and off periods of instability during the Third Intermediate Period (21–25th dynasties). Then came an alleged Late Period which spanned dynasties 26–31. From this time (c. 525 BC) up to the birth of Christ, Egypt was ruled by various foreign invaders and is divided between the Archaemenid (Persian), Ptolemaic (Greek), and Roman/Byzantine periods.

The Abydos King List

As mentioned earlier, there are a few detailed lists of the pharaohs that ruled Egypt. This gives the impression that there is an abundant and accurate record of Egypt’s history. One of the most well-known is the King List of Abydos, found in the temple of Seti I (19thDynasty). It contains a list of 76 kings, allegedly in order, from the Old Kingdom to Seti I in the New Kingdom (19th Dynasty). It is the only source we have regarding the names of some pharaohs that allegedly existed, which makes it disparate with other lists on that point alone. Secular scholars readily admit that this list is inaccurate and contains many errors. For example, there are no kings mentioned from what is called the Second Intermediate Period, which included the time of the Hyksos (a foreign rule of possibly four dynasties). The reason for this is that the Hyksos were regarded as invaders and thus enemies. Egyptians never dignified their enemies by mentioning their names—especially in temples! In addition, some of the most famous pharaohs in history have been omitted, such as the female pharaoh, Queen Hatshepsut of the powerful 18th Dynasty. And in the case of this queen, her face, images and cartouches were even chiseled off some of the monuments that she built. She was another who was regarded as an illegitimate ruler.
Also omitted was ‘the great heretic’ Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV—four generations after Hatshepsut) who rejected the worship of the most famous deity in Egypt, Amun, during what is known as the Armana period. Some scholars believe that he tried to institute a monotheistic religion when he elevated the status of the god Aten, the sun-disk (hence why he changed his name). Whatever is the case, both he and his son, the famous ‘boy-pharaoh’ Tutankhaten (later Tutankhamen), other pharaohs Smenkhkare and Ay have all been omitted from the Abydos list as they were viewed as illegitimate rulers stemming from, and related to, Akhenaten’s heretical reign. Also missing is Neferneferuaten, although some scholars even doubt his existence. The lack of mention of one’s enemies, or rewriting or erasing history about those you disregard (memory washing or damnatio memoriae) was a common Egyptian practice. Seti I’s arbitrary selectivity calls into question the validity of his list for providing an accurate history of Egyptian rulers.5
Wikimedia commons/Gerbil (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Akhenaten, his wife Nefertiti and their children basking in the rays of the sun god Aten. Akhenaten’s ‘heretical’ reign also heralded a departure in the style of artwork that had been used for many hundreds of years.
In an attempt to perpetuate the royal bloodline of their family, the pharaohs often married their sisters and daughters.6 But Tutankhamen died suddenly at 20 years of age (probably due to an accident) and left no heirs (although two mummified fetuses alleged to be born to Tutankhamen have been found). After the pharaohs Smenkhkare and Ay (who were probably advisors to Akhenaten and Tutankhamen respectively), Horemheb, a general in Tutankhamen’s army, assumed control over Egypt. Horemheb pretended that the unpopular Amarna period of Akhenaten to Ay never existed and he incorporated their regnal years into his own. Horemheb chose one of his viziers, Paramessu, as his successor. Paramessu’s praenomen or royal name became Ramses I, and he became the founder of the Ramesside era of the 19th and 20th dynasties. His son was Seti I who compiled the Abydos King List.
Due to the abandonment of the traditional deities by Akhenaten and the death of the young Tutankhaten/ Tutankhamen with no heirs, Egypt was religiously and politically destabilized. Like Horemheb before him, Seti I restored order by reinstating the former polytheistic religious practices and restored the temples to the worship of Amun and multiple deities. His selective omission of Akhenaten and his immediate family was an attempt to reinforce the idea that he had been ordained by the gods to return Egypt to its former glory days before Akhenaten. Not being born of noble blood, Seti I’s King List was probably a vain attempt to legitimize his right to the throne by including himself in the long line of Egyptian pharaohs who preceded him.
Wikimedia commons/PLstrom (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Drawing of the cartouches in the Abydos King List.

Dating the pharaohs

Although secular Egyptologists agree that Egyptian chronologies are in desperate need of revision, they generally believe that the dates assigned to the New Kingdom chronologies (18th–20th Dynasties) are reasonably reliable. Let’s consider a few reasons why this is believed to be so.
The New Kingdom period is generally the best attested to of all the Egyptian-born dynasties (‘Egyptian born’ as opposed to the occupied times of the Persian, Ptolemaic and Roman periods etc.), because they were the most recent and most lavish. For example, there is a wealth of information left behind by the pharaohs in their tombs at The Valley of the Kings, the ongoing expansion by pharaohs of the temples of Karnak and Luxor, as well as other sites that were constructed during this period. They reveal information that indicate sequential rules by individual pharaohs as opposed to overlapping dynasties prior to this period, and co-regencies during the the Third Intermediate and Late Periods that came after it. The Third Intermediate period is also a contentious area in chronology due to the complex issues that Egypt went through at this time. In the Late Period it is believed that there is evidence of Nubian expansion, foreign incursions and rule Persians and Assyrians, and various expulsions of same. Some researchers believe there are unwarranted inflations of dynasties and time during these Third and Late periods which also force revisions in Ancient Near East chronologies. It is also a hot button for another reason. It is generally believed that the Exodus took place sometime during the reign of the New Kingdom pharaohs. Of course this is the number one mystery most Christians want to solve (see later). But if the time ascribed to the Third Intermediate and Late Periods is dubious then it could have a backwards flow on effect on the dates ascribed to the New Kingdom dynasties also.
The New Kingdom was also a time of unprecedented expansion of Egyptian rule into neighbouring countries. As such, archaeologists have found many synchronisms via writings/letters and artifacts in these countries that were contemporaneous to what became commonly known as the Egyptian Empire. Some of these include the Amarna letters (cuneiform tablets), where correspondence between their vassal states is well documented. In this area most disputes over reigns and dates are usually in the range of decades, compared to the Old and Middle Kingdoms which have fewer records and synchronisms, meaning that these could be as many as hundreds of years off. In the case of the Valley of the Kings, tombs were cut into the hills on the west side of the river Nile opposite the city of ancient Thebes (now Luxor). Since they are underground, they have not weathered as much as the above ground temples. Although most of them were robbed of treasures, they were not desecrated as much by vandals and robbers probably due to the difficulty of access and hidden locations. The walls and ceilings of these tombs contain vast amounts of writing and pictures that are beautifully preserved in vivid colour (see more later). They have provided a wealth of information about this greatest time in Egyptian history.

Turin King List

Wikimedia commons/PLstrom (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Representation of the Turin Kings List.
The Turin King List is also known as the Turin Royal Canon and comprises pieces of papyrus written in hieratic script7 from the reign of Ramses II (or ‘Ramses the Great’/19th Dynasty, the son of Seti I). It is displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy. Ramses II also added his own list at Abydos, so if the Turin list was compiled at his request, it may well have been a continued attempt to legitimize both his and his father’s right to the throne. Much of the beginning and ending are lost, but what can be seen reveals reigns in years, months and even days for some kings. They are also often compiled into family groups—the same groups that seemed to form the basis of the dynasties compiled by the later Egyptian historian Manetho (see later).
Strangely, this list was written on the back of a tax roll. Given that it was a previously used papyrus, it seems to signify a distinct lack of importance if commissioned by a king. Another question about its historical reliability is that it contains a listing of the mystical or protodynastic king-gods, demi-gods, spirits and human beings who ruled Egypt from creation up to the time the document was presumably crafted. On the surface this may be a further attempt to perpetuate Ramses’ II inheritance to the throne by linking him to the commencement of Egyptian history itself. Ramses II was certainly no shrinking violet. He reigned longer than any other pharaoh (66 years), built temples and cities on an unprecedented scale, and many think that his ego was as big as the temples he built. Hence, his later ascribed nickname of ‘Ramses the Great’. He even appropriated many other temples built by former pharaohs by incorporating his own statues and even overlaying his own cartouches (a border used normally to surround the name of a king) in place of the original pharaohs’. This displayed a great deal of disregard for his royal ancestors given the very serious importance of preserving images and names for the afterlife. So, in one aspect he was keen to preserve their names on a list as it legitimized his right to rule, but then usurped what they had done to elevate his own status as being superior to them.
Ramses II wanted to be regarded as the living embodiment of the gods, and his aim was to be the most famous pharaoh of all. History records that his reporting of the battle of Kadesh with the Hittites (on display at his temple in Abu Simbel) was ‘fast and loose’ with the truth, where he turned a retreat and subsequent peace treaty into a ‘stunning victory’. This was common among pharaohs (and a general practice by the autocracies of the ancient world) who never admitted their defeats, embellished their victories and did not even dignify their enemy kings by mentioning their names when recording battles and conquests. With regard to the Turin List, Egyptologist Donald Redford studied the papyrus and noted that:

“… although many of the list’s names correspond to monuments and other documents, there are some discrepancies and not all of the names correspond, questioning the absolute reliability of the document for pre-Ramses II chronology.”8

Ramses II (the Great). Is he the pharaoh of the Exodus?

Hollywood and popular culture loves to display Ramses II as the pharaoh of the Exodus in Moses’ time. One main reason is becauseExodus 1:11 states that the Israelites built the store cities of Pithom and Raamses (Pi-Ramses). The latter usually gets associated with Ramses II (the Great), and thus, many liberal scholars use this to favour a ‘late Exodus’ date of c. 1267 BC. with deference to secular chronological dating of Egypt.
Most are not aware though that the designation of ‘pharaoh’ only started to be used as a title for Egyptian kings during the New Kingdom’s 18th Dynasty.9 Prior to this the word pharaoh literally meant ‘great house’ akin to the royal palace. The foreign Hyksos rulers of the 2nd Intermediate Period (13–17th dynasties) ruled and built a great city known as Avaris (near modern Tell El-Dab’a). But later, Ramses II (19th Dynasty) constructed Pi-Raamses on a nearby site, and expanded it to become the major occupied site in this area. Thus, when this area was originally built and occupied many years before by the Hebrews it was unlikely to have had the name of Pharaoh Ramses attached to the city. Christian archaeologist Dr Bryant Wood writes:

“Although the location of Rameses was in dispute for some years, that dispute has now been settled. Not only do we know where Rameses is located, but also we know much about the history and culture of the ancient site thanks to archaeological investigation. Extensive excavations have been carried out under the direction of Manfred Bietak of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, Cairo, since 1966.”10 [Note: Bietak also equates Avaris with the later city of Raamses—actually Raamses being part of the original Avaris site].

Four massive seated statues of Ramses II at Abu Simbel in Southern Egypt. Note the doorway where the light enters and illuminates the holy of holies twice a year. Photo by Gary Bates.
Interestingly, Bietak also believes that the former Avaris was abandoned (the Exodus?) somewhere in the middle of the 18th Dynasty, yet, Ramses II was a king of the 19th Dynasty. Interestingly, the Egyptian priest and historian Manetho (from whom most of modern chronologies are derived—see later), referred to two Exodus events in Egypt; one major and one minor one with the largest being well before the 19th Dynasty period.
Although we can determine the probable date of the Exodus from Scripture, the basic problem is aligning this with the dates ascribed to Egyptian chronologies (and pharaohs), particularly when there are massive inconsistencies in the Egyptian records themselves. A biblical text for the Exodus is 1 Kings 6:1 which says:

In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the Lord.

Most evangelical scholars generally believe the date for the commencement of the building of the Temple (the fourth year of Solomon’s reign) is in May 967 or 966 BC, this would place the Exodus at around 1446 or 1445 BC (some suggest a date earlier of around 1491BC. To prefer a late Exodus date of 1267 BC, the 480th year referred to in Scripture would have to be allegorized. The main reasons scholars do this is their deference to secular archaeological interpretations and the dates attached to them. Ramses II’s reign was c. 200 years after the biblical date for the Exodus (even by secular dating of his reign). Egyptologist and biblical scholar Doug Petrovich favours the early Exodus date. In addition to the biblical evidence, he writes:

“A compelling argument for choosing 1446 BC is that the Jubilee cycles agree with this date exactly, yet are completely independent of the 479+ years of 1 Kings 6:1. The Jubilee dates are precise only if the priests began counting years when they entered the land in 1406 BC (cf. Lev. 25:2–10).”11

Photo by Roland Unger via Wikimedia commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The ‘trinity’ of the temple at Abu Simbel that also includes Ramses II.
As mentioned, Ramses II built on a massive scale. Pharaohs not only built tombs and cities, they built temples for funeral preparation and for worship. Often temple functions were intertwined.
Many are not aware that at the very rear of many of the temples, statues of their gods were placed in a ‘divine’ room. Today, many people call this the ‘holy of holies’ (Djeser-Djeseru), which was the same name given to a major hall in Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple (Deir el-Bahri) on the west side of Thebes/Luxor). In the massive temple of Abu Simbel (south of Aswan) built by Ramses II and dedicated to himself, some 65 metres from the entrance, this room contains the usual ‘trinity of the temple’, but with a difference. The ‘trinity’ represented are the gods Re-Horakhty (Horus), Amun-Re, and Ptah. However, in this shrine Ramses II broke with tradition and added a fourth statue in this ‘holy’ place—that, of himself, thereby claiming he was also a god in the tradition of the ‘gods’ of Egypt.
An incredible testament to the building ingenuity of the Egyptians is that the whole temple was built and aligned in such a way that on February 22 and October 22 each year, the sun’s rays enter the temple through the front doorway and illuminate the statues inside the holy of holies that included Ramses II. And allegedly one of those dates coincides with Ramses II’s birthday. This is more evidence of the massive propaganda campaign that emanated with the 19th Dynasty in trying to legitimize their right to the throne.

Karnak King List

Wikimedia commons/PLstrom (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Karnak King List. The coloured bits contain cartouches. The white areas are reconstructions of missing pieces. Thus, most of the white cartouches are blank.
Although there are smaller temples within the major site of Karnak at Luxor, it is primarily dedicated to the god Amun (Amun-Re/Ra), whose influence in Egyptian religion seemed to increase during the New Kingdom period, even after Akhenaten tried to do away with him. He was increasingly being regarded as the king of gods and protector of Egypt during the expansive military campaigns of the New Kingdom.
Photo by Gary Bates
The massive façades at the entrance to the Temple of Karnak. Note the Avenue of the Sphinxes (ram’s heads) in the foreground that stretched all the way to the temple of Luxor some 3 km away. Interestingly, one of the obelisks of disgraced Queen Hatshepsut was incorporated into one of these façades to hide it.
Successive pharaohs kept making additions to the Karnak site so that it eventually became the most massive and arguably the most impressive temple complex, not only in all of Egypt, but in the world. It covers an area of 80 hectares (200 acres) and the main temple of Amun is so large it could contain ten average European cathedrals. As such, it was important for the pharaohs to have their legacies enshrined and perpetuated here.
In a small corner of the temple complex in the Festival hall of Thutmose III (18th Dynasty), an engraved list can be found of 61 kings (although only 39 are legible and one is not written in a cartouche). Thutmose III was the son of Thutmose II who had two royal wives. The aforementioned Hatshepsut was one of these. Thus, she was a stepmother to Thutmose III, and actually reigned as a coregent with him when he was a boy. This was until later when she decided to reign in her own right.” Thutmose III is often called the ‘Napoleon of Egypt’ as he conducted more foreign campaigns than any other pharaoh, thus expanding Egypt’s reign to unprecedented levels. The list mentions the names of some pharaohs that are omitted on other lists. Also, many of these ‘unique’ kings have been assigned to the dubious First and Second Intermediate Periods of Egyptian history, which causes one to question their validity, particularly if the Hyksos reigned for the majority of the 2nd IP. If they were legitimate, then why were they not mentioned anywhere else? Half the seated kings are featured facing one direction and the other half the other way, but mysteriously they are not listed in chronological order preceding Thutmoses III. The list is now on display in the Louvre museum in Paris, but its value as an historical record is dubious.

The Saqqara tablet

The Saqqara tablet is an engraved stone that is on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It was found in the tomb of an overseer/chief lector of Ramses II in the Saqqara necropolis near current Cairo. The inscription contains 58 pharaohs of which only 47 cartouches can be read. They range from Dynasty 1 to Ramses II (Dynasty 19) but are actually out of order. It is known to be very inaccurate and makes numerous omissions, similar to the Abydos List, and is not highly regarded.
Photo by Giovanni Dall’Orto via Wikimedia commons
The Palermo Stone, the fragment of the Egyptian Royal Annals housed in Palermo, Italy.

The Palermo stone

Currently housed in Palermo, Sicily, the Palermo Stone is made of black basalt and is one of seven pieces of a stele (a kind of rock slab) known as the Royal Annals of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. Other fragments are held in Cairo and London. The Palermo fragment is inscribed on both sides with hieroglyphic text and the original stele appears to be a year by year record of the kings and major events during their reigns from the 1st to the 5th Dynasties. It also records the names of some mythical pre-dynastic kings.
Although many view the Palermo Stone as a vital insight into the Old Kingdom, it remains controversial. Many Egyptologists are unsure as to whether it was constructed at the end of the period it describes, or whether it was assembled as late as the 25th Dynasty, or even added to over time. There are also doubts as to whether it is an original or even a copy of a copy. This brings into question whether there may have been copying mistakes and potential modifications (either accidental or deliberate) of the text based upon any possible agendas of the ruling pharaohs when any possible copies were made.

Lists summary

The reasoning for detailing these lists is to highlight the problems with using them to accurately define Egyptian chronologies and also in trying to assign dates to such chronologies. They are regularly inaccurate, disagree with each other, and some were compiled with political agendas in mind. And notably, all lists have gaps in their texts.

How were the dates for chronologies derived?

Just how are dates assigned to these kingdom periods and their rulers? In our modern age we can research the life of a relatively recent monarch (compared to Egyptian history). For example, we might say that the British Queen Victoria lived from 1819 to 1901 AD. When we see the name of an Egyptian pharaoh with a similar regnal date next to it, our natural inclination is to presume these are accurate and were recorded in the same way we do today. However, no such standardized calendar system existed in ancient times. Although they understood a year as a timeframe (mainly due to seasons and astronomical observations), they did not count dates like we do today. Instead, they counted the number of years a king reigned and if necessary, added a gap of a few years before the reign of the next monarch and so on. But when attempting to construct a proper backward order of those kings from a specific known time to develop a timeline, one has to presume that the king lists we have are accurate, and it is known that they are not. Even secular archaeologists admit it is all a mess. Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner wrote that:

“Even when full use has been made of the king lists and of such subsidiary sources as have survived, the indispensable dynastic framework of Egyptian history shows lamentable gaps and many a doubtful attribution …What is proudly advertised as Egyptian history is merely a collection of rags and tatters.”12

At the time of writing, even the opening sentence on populist Wikipedia’s Egyptian chronology page says:

“The creation of a reliable chronology of Ancient Egypt is a task fraught with problems. While the overwhelming majority of Egyptologists agree on the outline and many of the details of a common chronology, disagreements either individually or in groups have resulted in a variety of dates offered for rulers and events.”13

So, it is not as clear cut as is commonly perceived. Modern archaeologists determine regnal dates and kingdoms, as we shall see, in other ways. In recent years, once accepted regnal and kingdom dates have been mostly overridden and reassigned by later archaeologists, and the dates continue to be fluid and to change.
In the ancient world some listings of important pharaohs were devised by classical writers like Herodotus (484–425 BC), who visited Egypt. But there were no reliable dates or historical records for him to work from even in his day. And, for example, his list disagrees in some areas with modern devised chronologies, particularly with regard to the three pharaohs who built the three best known iconic pyramids at Giza—those of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure (father, son and grandson).14

Manetho’s dates

Without doubt, the major source for our current Egyptian chronologies are the works of an Egyptian priest called Manetho. They are still the most popular used today, mainly because they are viewed as the most complete and, thus, the best we have. This is despite the fact that both secular and Christian Egyptologists know that these ‘standard’ chronologies are in desperate need of revision.
Manetho lived in the 3rd century BC at the time when Egypt was ruled by the Ptolemies. The Greek conqueror Alexander the Great installed General Ptolemy to rule Egypt. After Alexander’s death, the Ptolemies reigned supreme, but instead of abolishing the culture of Egypt, they adopted it. Ptolemy’s children and subsequent descendants installed themselves as pharaohs, built temples to the Egyptian deities, and even adopted the practice of incestuous marriage in an attempt to keep their own royal bloodline ‘pure’. Many would be familiar with the most famous of the Ptolemaic pharaohs; Cleopatra VII (69–30 BC), whose lovers were the Roman generals Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. She was also the last pharaoh ever to rule Egypt.
There is little doubt that Manetho was trying to prove to the Greeks that the Egyptians were the world’s oldest civilization. This was a hot issue amongst the different cultures of the day. Berosus was attempting to claim the same about the Mesopotamians, as was Eratosthenes15(Greek), who was the chief librarian at the great library of Alexandria and, interestingly, the first person to calculate the circumference of the earth.16 In his work Aegyptiaca (History of Egypt), Manetho compiled Egyptian history into the thirty dynasties that are commonly used today. This does not include the Ptolemies, who were added later as a 31st Dynasty. As part of his agenda to extend Egyptian civilization as far back as he could, Manetho also included the names of many of the pre-Old Kingdom/pre-dynastic kings that are now thought to be mythical gods, with many of them also being related to creation events. For example, Ra (called Helios in the Greek by Manetho) was the sun god and Ptah (Greek: Hephaistos) was the craftsman creator god who was before all things. Even though Manetho’s chronologies are the most widely used, no original copies of his writings exist today. The earliest surviving reference to Aegyptiaca is in Josephus’s Against Apion.However:

“Josephus records him admitting to using ‘nameless oral tradition’… and ‘myths and legends’ for there is no reason to doubt this, as admissions of this type were common among historians of that era.”17

Other remnants include hotchpotch similes compiled by later Roman Christian historians Eusebius and Africanus. But even these copies are different from each other as they do not agree on names or the length of reigns ascribed to some of the kings and even the arrangement of dynasties. One commentator noted:

“Syncellus, who copied Africanus’ list, wrote, ‘The twenty-fourth dynasty, Bocchoris of Sais, for six years: in his reign a lamb spoke [a short gap in the manuscript] 990 years.’ Meanwhile Eusebius wrote, ‘Bocchoris of Sais for 44 years: in his reign a lamb spoke. Total, 44 years.’ We are left guessing whether the XXIV dynasty lasted for 6 years, 44, or 990.”18

Syncellus also thinks that Bocchoris and Manetho copied each other. Certainly both of them extended their chronologies into the mythical past. He wrote:

“If one carefully examines the underlying chronological lists of events, one will have full confidence that the design of both is false, as both Berossos and Manetho, as I have said before, want to glorify each his own nation, Berossos the Chaldean, Manetho the Egyptian. One can only stand in amazement that they were not ashamed to place the beginning of their incredible story in each in the same year.”19

Archbishop James Ussher, in his classic Annals of the World, seemed to rely upon Josephus, Eusebius and other ancient historians, but he rejected Manetho as unreliable up to the New Kingdom’s 18th Dynasty that began with Ahmose20 (which means most of Egyptian history prior to that).
Another large problem that continues to this day is the transliteration of names from one language to another. Let’s keep in mind that these basic chronologies were devised and used even before the Rosetta Stone was discovered. As such, we were not able to translate hieroglyphics until the 1800s. Before that all we had were modern translations of ancient writings that used unreliable Egyptian sources.
Photo by Hans Hillewaert via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The Rosetta Stone.

The Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone is a rather unremarkable looking stele from the time of the Greek/Ptolemy occupation of Egypt (c. 332 BC). Yet, it is unquestionably one of the most important finds in all archaeology because it finally enabled researchers to unravel the previously undecipherable hieroglyphic script of Egypt.
Hieroglyphs were traditionally used by Egyptian royalty for issuing decrees and were commonly used on a pharaoh’s or Egyptian god’s temples, monuments or tombs. In short, they were sacred characters used for special mandates and the important priests and royal scribes were the main ones who possessed the knowledge and ability to write them. The common script used in ancient Egypt was hieratic (see ref. 21). Language changed as Egypt succumbed to different foreign rulers over time, and so did the writing. The Rosetta Stone details a decree issued by King Ptolemy V in 196 BC in three different languages so it could be read by all Egyptian citizens. At the top was hieroglyphic script (because the Ptolemies took the place of pharaohs they were attempting to continue their royal traditions). In the middle was Demotic, which was a more simplified form of hieratic in common use at the time;21 and at the bottom was classical Greek, thelingua franca of most of the known world at that time. Because it was essentially the same text in three language forms, it provided the key to unlocking the hieroglyphic code.
The Ptolemies were the last ruling pharaohs in Egypt before the country succumbed to a succession of foreign rulers. After the Ptolemies, Egypt became part of the Roman/Byzantine Empire, and Christianity became the state religion by the 4th century AD. As hieroglyphics were associated strongly with the Egyptian cults of the past, they were abandoned. Demotic eventually morphed into Coptic which had its origins in the Greek alphabet. After the Islamic subjugation of Egypt in the 7th century AD, Arabic became the main spoken and written language. Thus, thousands of years of Egyptian history became ‘lost in translation’.
The Rosetta Stone was found in 1799 AD by a soldier in Napoleon’s army near el-Rashid (Rosetta). It was not until 1822 when the brilliant Frenchman Jean-François Champollion, who could read both Greek and Coptic, published a translation. Fascinatingly, hieroglyphics is a phonetic text. That is, its pictures and symbols correspond to sounds. As mentioned, sounding names was very important because to speak them was to give or grant life. With Napoleon’s defeat by the British under the Treaty of Alexandria in 1801, the Rosetta Stone became the property of the British. Although there have been many requests by the Egyptian government to return it, it remains housed in the British Museum.

Transliteration of pharaohs’ names

Thutmose III in hieroglyphs. Courtesy Wikipedia.
When later Egyptologists attempted to translate pharaohs’ names from hieroglyphs on monuments, they went to Manetho for comparisons. But this was an extremely difficult task because Manetho’s names were transliterated into Greek. As an example, let’s take the transliterated common names used today for the three great pyramid builders mentioned earlier, Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. In the Greek their names are Cheops, Chephren, and Mycerinos, respectively. Misidentification is still a major unknown factor today and a hot topic of debate particularly amongst those seeking to revise Egyptian chronology. David Rohl, in his book A Test of Time, advocates a new shortened chronology for Egyptian history. About Rohl it has been said that:

“He asserts that the identification of ‘Shishaq [Shishak], King of Egypt’ (1 Kings 14:25f;2 Chronicles 12:2–9) with Shoshenq I, first proposed by Jean-François Champollion, is based on incorrect conclusions. Rohl argues instead that Shishaq should be identified with Ramesses II (probably pronounced Riamashisha), which would move the date of Ramesses’ reign forward some 300 years.”22

This does not mean that Rohl is correct, but it serves to highlight the confusion and how much a single misidentification of a name might alter a chronology by hundreds of years. For example, some of the revised chronology schemes popular with Christians also have serious problems because they follow the Russian psychiatrist Immanuel Velikovsky in promoting misidentifications, such as that of Hatshepsut with the biblical Queen of Sheba. See Why Pharaoh Hatshepsut is not to be equated with the Queen of Sheba.
To complicate things further, by the time of the Middle Kingdom, the full titulary or royal protocol of a pharaoh consisted of five names; the ‘Horus’ name; the nebty or ‘Two Ladies’ name; the ‘Gold Horus’ name; the praenomen or ‘throne name’; and a nomen, the personal name given at birth.23 And some pharaohs even had multiple names within these names such as Ramses II who had six different Horus names. Manetho did not choose consistently from the five different types of names.

Inflation and overlapping of dynasties

As cited earlier, for the 18th and 19th Dynasties of the New Kingdom the pharaohs left very good records. Arguably we know more about them than any other period of Egyptian history, but Manetho even disagrees with these.
Wikimedia commons/Jeff Dahl (CC BY-SA 3.0)

“The names and ages Manetho gave for the kings of the two dynasties we know the most about, the eighteenth and nineteenth, were proven wrong in almost every instance when compared with the evidence left by the pharaohs themselves. This caused James H. Breasted to describe Manetho’s history as ‘a late, careless and uncritical compilation, which can be proven wrong from the contemporary monuments in the vast majority of cases, where such monuments have survived.’”24

Manetho also contributed to another problem now recognized by many Egyptologists: overlapping dynasties. One commentator also wrote:

“ … it looks like Manetho ‘cooked the books,’ stretching out the history of Egypt as long as he could get away with, by adding years which did not exist, listing kings who shared the throne (co-regencies) as ruling alone, and dynasties as proceeding one after another, when many may have overlapped, especially during the intermediate periods. Nevertheless, Manetho’s history is still considered the foundation of Egyptian chronology. For those dynasties which left us almost nothing, like VII–X and XIV, Manetho is considered the most reliable authority, even though the lack of evidence has caused some to ask if those dynasties really existed.”25

Wikimedia commons (GFDL, CC BY-SA 2.5). Left, centre: Käyttäjä:kompak; Right: Jeff Dahl.



The white crown signifies rule of upper (southern) Egypt. The red crown, lower (northern) and the double crown signifies a unified kingdom.
With regard to co-regencies, Egypt was often broken up into distinct kingdoms—mainly the Upper Kingdom (upper Nile, inland or southern/lower regions) and Lower Kingdom (lower Nile/Nile delta, northern land regions). So, on occasions, Egypt was a divided land with separate rulers. Evidence of this was in the crowns that the pharaohs wore. By looking at reliefs and statues we can often tell whether he ruled over a single/divided kingdom or a united upper and lower kingdom.
It is likely that most of Manetho’s overlaps and inflations occurred during some of the hotly disputed intermediate periods between the major Kingdom periods, where we have scant records left by the Egyptian ruling pharaohs, particularly in the king lists. For example, for the 7thDynasty he claims that it was composed of 70 kings who ruled for seventy days.26 Clearly this cannot be true.
Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen via Wikimedia commons (CC-BY 2.5)
An example of one of 60 Amarna letters that Rib-Hadda wrote to Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Other dating methods

Synchronism with other cultures

One should realize that chronological dates for Egypt are not fixed in stone (pardon the pun), although most laypeople would think otherwise. As we shall see, the dates ascribed to the reigns of pharaohs and even Kingdom periods are quite fluid and based upon a number of factors. This includes linking Egyptian history with records found in other cultures. In short, archaeologists try to find synchrony with other civilizations such as Assyrian, Babylonian, and Greek chronologies that might have been contemporaneous with Egypt’s. However, as mentioned earlier, this is also difficult because of the transliteration and translation of Egyptian names into the languages of those other cultures and also doubts over which titulary was used. For example, similar problems occur when trying to identify Israeli and Judean kings in other cultures’ records. Another factor is that the reliability of the chronologies of other cultures is often not agreed upon by archaeologists either.
One example of synchrony can be found from the 18th Dynasty Amarna period of Amenhotep III (three generations after Thutmose III) and Akhenhaten. Numerous correspondence (the Amarna Letters) has been found between the pharaohs and their contemporaries in other countries. One fascinating example of this is a letter from King Rib-Hadda of Byblos (an Egyptian vassal state) to Amenhotep III when he writes:

“…since your father’s return from Sidon, from that time the lands have been joined to the Habiru.”

This suggests that the land of Sidon (now part of modern Lebanon) was conquered by the Habiru. Many scholars think the Habiru/Apiru are the ‘Hebrews’ of Egyptian times27 (habiru was also a designation used to refer to a refugee or fugitive—something the Egyptians certainly would have applied to the Hebrews).28 This might be anecdotal evidence that the Hebrews had left Egypt before the reign of Amenhotep III, and most certainly earlier than the late Exodus date of Ramses II who ruled eight pharaohs later than Amenhotep III.
Petrie, WMF & Mace, A. (1901) Diospolis Parva: The Cemeteries of Abadiyeh and Hu, 1898–9. Memoir of The Egypt Exploration Fund, London.
Until recently scholars had relied on archaeological evidence alone, using the evolving styles of ceramics (pictured) excavated at human burial sites to try to piece together the timings of key chronological events in the Predynastic period and the First Dynasty.
Attempted synchronisms extend to Egyptian artifacts like pottery, scarabs, statues or jewelry found in other countries/cultures. These synchronizations of styles can indeed be useful. If artifacts from say ‘period X’ in Egypt were found with Caananite artifacts from the same period then one might be able to make some synchronizations.
But, using a single line of evidence to date another culture might be problematic. Over time, styles of ceramics and pottery etc. changed. So, if one could find Egyptian pottery or a scarab in another country where archaeologists are reasonably confident of the date (via the period/or dynasty that it came from), then they could then use that as a guide to dating the culture of the country that it was found in. One problem with this is it is not an exact science. No one can ever be sure that it was not already old before it made its way to another country and it relies upon accepted dates of the Egyptian culture. Also, it could be the same in reverse if such artifacts from another country were being found in Egypt, and so on.

Carbon-14 dating

To assist with dating artifacts from Egypt, carbon-14 dating is now extensively used but widely disputed due to he massive revisions in time can lead to. We have written much about the alleged absolute reliability of 14C dating. This method is revolutionizing Egyptian chronologies and it is one of the culprits for extending them back to pre-biblical history. But in one example of just how fluid Egyptian chronologies are based on 14C dating, a popular newspaper recently reported:

“that the transformation from a land of disparate farmers into a state ruled by a king was more rapid than previously thought … Previous records suggested the pre-Dynastic period, a time when early groups began to settle along the Nile and farm the land, began in 4000BC. But the new analysis revealed this process started later, between 3700 or 3600 BC.”29

This time it was a downward revision of nearly 400 years in one fell swoop from “radiocarbon dating of excavated hair, bones and plants.”30
But not everyone is convinced that this is the best way to revise chronologies. A 14C study released in 2010 had roughly confirmed the traditional Old and Middle Kingdom dates (whereas the new 14C has now reduced the Old Kingdom beginnings by c. 400 years). Famous Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who at the time of the 2010 report was secretary-general of the Egyptian Supreme Council for Antiquities, said:

“This technique shouldn’t be used at all in making changes to the chronology of the [sic] ancient Egypt, not even as a helpful addition … carbon dating is useless. This science will never develop. In archaeology, we consider carbon dating results imaginary.”31

Again, it shows how much disparity there is in trying to reconcile timelines for ancient Egypt as no one source seems to be consistent with any other and many preconceived ideologies and agendas rule. The further back in ancient Egypt one tries to use 14C dates the more disparate the figures are also likely to become. Also, because there are fewer artifacts from the more ancient dynasties the more likely it is that researchers will rely upon 14C alone as a single line of evidence. Hence, why an Old Kingdom revision can occur in the blink of an eye by c. 400 years. This is less likely with New Kingdom dates where we have a wealth of more recent evidence to confirm or reject a 14C date.

Astronomical cycles

Due to the enormous confusion caused by conflicting sources, Egyptologists were looking for a way to order and date, in particular, Manetho’s thirty dynasties. Many think that there are astronomical cycles that exactly match Egyptian records. One attempt to align them came via Richard Lepsius who noticed references in Egyptian documents to the heliacal rising32 of the ‘dog star’ Sirius (Egyptian sopdet, Greek sothis). From this, chronologists came up with the idea of using it as a frame of reference for fixing dates of some of the pharaohs based on a 1,461 year cycle of the Egyptian civil or administrative year of 365 days. Because the rising of Sirius occurs every 365.25 days—i.e. once per Julian year—it was believed that the Egyptians calculated their astronomical year by using this rising.33 This was subsequently seized upon and popularized by Eduard Meyer and famous Egyptologist James Breasted (whose chronologies have been a mainstay for many years).
However, there is widespread disagreement over the idea that the Egyptians built their calendar on the Sothic cycle and it is confusing for the layperson to navigate. Some swear by this method of fixing dates while others reject it completely (as it is with many things ‘Egypt’). For one thing, one would need to know the actual place of Egyptian observations of Sirius. For example, there is enough latitude difference between Upper and Lower Egypt to throw off cumulative dates.34 Although there are six mentions of the rising of Sothis in Egyptian texts, none of them mention the name of any pharaoh whose reign they supposedly occurred in, and one would have to presume the king lists were correct to correlate them. Given the wide disagreement it would be unwise to date chronologies by any Sothic cycle. (For more on this readFall of the Sothic theory: Egyptian chronology revisited). As with much in trying to determine all things ‘ancient Egypt’, often one fact, or one line of evidence is presumed to be correct (like an astronomical fixing—there were others besides Sothis, such as moon fixes). That is then used as a fixed point for determining all other dates. However, where there is contention of any fixed point, it is unwise to use it as one’s starting point.

Secular and religious revision of biblical history

No mention of Hebrews in Egyptian writings?

The Bible has been shown to be a valuable guide to locating and interpreting archeological discoveries. An Israeli archaeologist, Dr Eilat Mazar, granddaughter of pioneering Israeli archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, stated:

“I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other, and I try to consider everything.”35

But today, skepticism and anti-biblical sentiment is growing. Secular scientists claim the Bible’s history has been invalidated by the theory of evolution and it is not going too far in saying that an anti–judeo-christian/anti-biblical ideology drives much of the ‘science’ behind evolution. In the same way, modern archaeology has been infected by this modern ‘plague’. Firmly in their sights are Egyptian history and its chronologies, and the increasingly popular idea that they also invalidate the Bible’s claims about the past.

Pharaoh’s name omitted in the first five books of the Bible

One seeming area of strength to their arguments is that the pharaohs of Moses and Joseph’s time are not mentioned by name in the Bible, and that Egyptian records do not mention any Hebrew nation in their land, particularly as ‘slave’ builders.
Photo by HoremWeb via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Ramses II’s cartouches at Tanis.
It seems significant that the words ‘Egypt’ and ‘pharaoh’ are mentioned so many times in the Pentateuch, yet the author, Moses, who was a first hand witness to what he wrote, did not mention any names or the praenomens of the pharaohs. Later, other biblical authors had no problem in mentioning their names. We read about pharaohs Shishak (1 Kings 11:402 Chronicles 12:2), Tirhakah (2 Kings 19:9Isaiah 37:9), Hophra (Jeremiah 44.30) and Neco (2 Kings 23:292 Chronicles 35:20Jeremiah 46:2), and notably on almost every occasion they have the prefix of ‘pharaoh’ before their names (Pharaoh Neco, Pharaoh Shishak and so on). Given that he had more reason for mentioning them than any other biblical author, one might think that Moses deliberately excluded them. That is, he had a strong reason for doing so.
Let’s recall the importance of names for pharaohs. Most had a minimum of five, and to use the name of the pharaoh was to give him life in this world and the next. When Egyptians used a name it granted an individual status. The cartouches were of vital significance in Egyptian times and they needed to exist after a pharaoh was dead for him to continue life in the afterworld. To remove a pharaoh’s image and scratch out his cartouche was the worst thing that could be done. It would erase his memory, and thus, his existence post death. In short, the name or cartouche had a form of power and significance attached to it, particularly the latter as it was also a representative symbol or image of the pharaoh as it ‘spoke’ his name.
Culturally, the Egyptians truly despised and disrespected their enemies and anyone who stood against them. This can be seen from their dealings and battles with foreign kings recorded in the various temples around Egypt. In the many writings that remain, particularly in the later dynasties contemporaneous with Moses, you will rarely see the name of a foreign king mentioned. To do so would be to give him credit or status. Petrovich writes:

“The answer is found in the historical development of monarchial terms. The dynastic title, ‘pharaoh’, derives from the word that literally means, ‘great house’. During Egypt’s Old Kingdom (ca. 2715–2170 BC), the word was used of the royal palace. Not until sometime during the middle of the 18th Dynasty, slightly before the reign of Thutmose III (ca. 1506–1452 BC) … the standard practice of Thutmose III’s time was to leave enemy kings unnamed on official records.”

As an example, Petrovich writes about the battle of Megiddo and an Egyptian with the conspirator King of Kadesh, where Thutmoses III merely referred to him as:

“‘that wretched enemy of Kadesh’. Moreover, when Egyptian scribes listed the booty that was confiscated after the Battle of Megiddo, they did not name the opposing king whose possessions the Egyptians plundered, referring to him only as ‘the prince’, or ‘the Prince of Megiddo’. The Amada Stele of Amenhotep II, which boasts of the king’s successful battles against seven Syrian tribes of Takhsi, identifies these foreign rulers only as ‘seven chieftains’, whose names are all left unrecorded.36

He adds:

“Therefore, Moses’ practice of omitting pharaoh’s throne-name next to the dynastic title, ‘pharaoh’, followed the standard practice of the day in ancient Egypt, not coincidentally the site of his literary training … a skilled writer named Moses, born in Egypt and trained as a prince in all of the ways of the royal court of Egypt (Acts 7:22), followed the standard practice of his day by leaving unnamed the foreign monarch who assumed the role of a dreaded enemy of his own nation, in this case Israel.37

The lack of mention of any pharaohs’ names in Moses’ writings also adds to the obvious difficulty of synchrony, until later in the New Kingdom period where the pharaohs are named in Scripture. “Shishak”, for example, is the first pharaoh named when he had dealings with the Hebrew nation.

Hebrew slaves in Egypt?

The Bible’s statement that Hebrew slave labour was used in Egypt is of vital importance to the nation of Israel and to Christian theology. However, there is a modern movement often displayed in popular level books and documentaries that there were no Hebrew slaves in Egypt at all. The most common claim to support this is the lack of ancient Egyptian references, considering they were there for hundreds of years and numbered up to two million people. Keeping in mind the propagandist nature of pharaonic documentation and lack of mention of those they considered enemies, Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen wrote:

“…the lack of any explicit Egyptian mention of an Exodus is of no historical import, given its unfavorable role in Egypt, and the near total loss of all relevant records in any case.”38

The best preserved Egyptian records available appear on temple monuments dedicated to gods and kings, so one would not expect epic losses to be recorded there. In addition, after 40 years of excavating the Avaris/Ramses site, Austrian researchers under the guidance of Manfred Bietak, Director of the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Cairo 1973–2009, have not found any historical documents from any period at all. So, the argument that there should be records of such events is somewhat fallacious. Keep in mind that to mention or read out aloud a person or persons’ name in this world was to give them life in the next—speaking it caused it to happen because the Egyptians were great believers in magic. We’ve previously read about the practice of memory washing occurring between the rulers themselves. There would be little chance that the ancient Egyptians would bestow their Hebrew enemies with this honour in any written form. In short, once one better understands the nature of Egyptian culture, one would not expect to find records of an ‘underclass’ that defeated the gods of Egypt and the gods’ human incarnations, the pharaohs.
Another oft cited ‘evidence’ to discredit the Hebrew occupation is the claim that the great pyramids (Giza) and the tombs in The Valley of the Kings etc. were never built by Hebrew slaves, but instead, devoted subjects who loved their kings. I have seen firsthand how this has even filtered down to many of the tour guides, who make such statements to the millions of tourists who visit Egypt each year. I have also witnessed how this has become a politically sensitive issue with Egyptians in discussions with them. One should remember that once-Christian Egypt is now an Islamic country, and although currently moderate, anti-Semitic sentiment still runs high in many parts. In short, we should not be surprised that there is an outwardly manifested spiritual agenda to discredit the Bible’s history in this regard. Particularly, as the events in Egypt ultimately led to the formation of the nation of Israel and their settling of the Promised Land—an event and land that is hotly contested by Muslims today.
One high profile advocate of the ‘no slaves’ idea is the former Chief Minister of Antiquities in Egypt, Zahi Hawass (mentioned earlier), who served under the former president Mubarak before the revolution of 2011. Subsequently, he fell out of favour due to allegations of corruption and accusations of peddling antiquities out of Egypt for personal gain. Nonetheless, Hawass has appeared in literally dozens of Western made documentaries that are still being aired today. In short, he was ‘the go to man’ in Egypt for permission to excavate and film, and he made sure he appeared in most of them. As such, his influence upon popular Western thought with regard to Egypt should not be underestimated. Although, to date, none of the allegations has been proven (the Muslim government that dismissed him has since been dismissed itself), one thing is of no doubt; Hawass is a rabid anti-Semite who does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. I have seen documentaries where he openly claims to have found proof that slaves did not build Egypt—ergo there was no nation of Hebrews who came out of Egypt, and therefore the Christian Bible is not true. He is also a conspiracy theorist who is on record saying, for example:

“For 18 centuries they [the Jews] were dispersed throughout the world. They went to America and took control of its economy. They have a plan. Although they are few in number, they control the entire world.”39

Even the few documentaries that do not feature him (e.g. ref. 3) often now make passing comments that ‘modern research has shown that slaves did not build Egypt’, and almost always without qualifying such statements. The standard view being promoted is that willing citizens who loved their pharaohs built the archaeological wonders like the great pyramids, the incredible temples and the amazing underground necropolis known as the Valley of the Kings. But how realistic is this idea?

Hebrews did not build the great pyramids

Because the great pyramids at Giza are the most well known icons in Egypt, movies, books and even well-meaning Christian children’s cartoons have depicted Hebrew slaves building them. This cannot be so. It is an urban myth that has become popular culture. Large scale pyramid building ceased at the end of the Old Kingdom, although building smaller ones continued for hundreds of years. Joseph arrived in Egypt some 400 plus years before the Exodus of Moses’ time (see aforementioned date for this), so even by secular dating of the kingdoms’ dynasties, the building of the great pyramids had finished long before Joseph’s arrival.
In a bait-and-switch tactic, secular Egyptologists love to point to evidence of worker’s settlements and tombs that have been recently discovered on the Giza Plateau besides the great pyramids. There is evidence from skeletons of workers that surgery and broken bones were mended, meaning it appears these people were looked after. It seems strong evidence that these were willing workers. As there was no Hebrew settlement in Egypt at that time, the pharaohs needed to recruit locals to help build these great pyramids. Many have suggested these were farmers and other subsistence workers looking to supplement their income between seasons. Another interesting piece of anecdotal evidence is that after this period of pyramid building Egypt went into a long period of economic and political instability. Such building involved massive and expensive public works would have overtaxed the treasury, particularly, if labour had to be hired. It is believed that at the end of the 6th Dynasty, civil wars ravaged the country and central rule and power became diluted in favour of local governors who set up their own local pharaonic dynasties (creating some of the confusion described earlier) during the First Intermediate Period. Some scholars have even suggested that the 7th Dynasty (Manetho’s 70 kings in 70 days) is a metaphor for the chaos that engulfed Egypt at this time.
Besides the Hebrews being used as slaves in Egypt at a later time, the pharaohs subjugated their own people. In Genesis, Joseph foretold of a famine that would engulf Egypt. In Genesis 47:20–21 we read:

So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh’s. As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other.

This indicates that slavery was actually widespread throughout Egypt at least at one specific point in its history. It is interesting to consider what it means when it says the whole country served under Pharaoh. There are many types of servitude and even simple employment or willingness to serve was often referred to as slavery. During the New Kingdom period, Thutmoses III and Amenhotop II conquered foreign countries and brought back slaves. In 2013 the discovery of over 100 papyri documents from the Ptolemaic period presumed to be around 2,200 years old revealed that many Egyptians entered slave contracts voluntarily. Egyptologist Dr Kim Ryholt of the University of Copenhagen said:

“90 percent of the people who entered into these slave contracts were unable to name their fathers, although this was normally required. They were presumably children of prostitutes. This is a clear indication that they belonged to the lower classes which the king could subject to forced labor…”40

Photo by Gary Bates
Note the mud bricks in foreground of the facades at the Temple of Horus at Edfu (Ptolemaic).

What did they build?

The Bible indicates that the Hebrews were involved in menial hard work. In the book of Exodus it is clear that one of their main functions was to build bricks of mud and straw. Part of the punishment that the pharaoh of Moses’ time enacted upon the slaves was that they had to gather the straw component for themselves (Exodus 5:8). When one travels through Egypt today, such mud bricks can still be seen everywhere. They were often used in smaller pyramids and the massive walls that surrounded many of the temple buildings that began during the ‘Golden Age’ of the New Kingdom dynasties. Let’s remember that, although Joseph and his family had arrived in the land hundreds of years before this time, it also took a while before they grew in number. Exodus 1:8–12 describes this:

“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’ Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.”

Nubian (dark skin) and Asiatic (yellow skin/possibly Semitic) slaves pictured mixing water and mud to create bricks. It states they were prisoners of war from Nubia and Syro-Palestine. This relief comes from the tomb of Rekhmire; Vzier in the courts of Thutmoses III and Amenhotep II (15th century bc by secular dating).41
It took some time before they were treated as slaves. Shortly after the death of this pharaoh and under a reign of another, the Exodus took place. During this latter reign there is no timespan of hundreds of years, because it all took place within the lifetime of Moses. It is mainstream belief that the Exodus took place around 1445 BC.
Native Egyptian brothers Ahmose and Kamose ruled the middle Nile regions around what is now Luxor (Thebes in Greek). To their north the despised Hyksos (15–17th Dynasties/2nd Intermediate Period) occupied the Nile Delta region, and to the south the Nubian king reigned. After intercepting a message from the Hyksos trying to form an alliance with the Nubians, the brothers rebelled and fought against the Hyksos. Kamose allegedly said:
Photo by Gary Bates
A relief at Ramses III temple at Medinet Habu near Luxor. Note the incredible inscriptions and colours (even after many centuries of weathering).

“I should like to know what serves this strength of mine, when a chieftain in Avaris, and another in Kush42, and I sit united with an Asiatic and a Nubian, each in possession of his slice of Egypt, and I cannot pass by him as far as Memphis… No man can settle down, when despoiled by the taxes of the Asiatics [Hyksos]. I will grapple with him that I may rip open his belly! My wish is to save Egypt and to smite the Asiatic!”43

Kamose died and Ahmose finally expelled the Hyksos and ruled over a reunified and expanded Egypt, when he subsequently conquered the gold mines of Nubia. The Golden Age (New Kingdom) is synonymous with massive and opulent building of temples that began with Ahmose’s dynasty (18th) and also the construction of the tombs in The Valley of the Kings (KV = Kings Valley) on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor.44 Although Kamose was regarded as the last king of the 17th Dynasty, his brother Ahmose was regarded by Manetho as the first king of a new dynasty; such was the importance of expelling the Hyksos and returning the country to Egyptian rule.
The workers who carved the images of pharaohs, and the scribes and artisans who inscribed stories and the cartouches of names in these temples and tombs were highly respected. They were the ones who would be responsible for helping the pharaoh’s image to remain eternally. They would not be involved in much of the menial and backbreaking work of hauling blocks and pillars to construct the temples. Many of the important artisans were housed and well cared for in a village known as Deir El Medina, close to the Valley of the Kings, where one can still see the ruins today.
As mentioned, mud bricks were used for building much more mundane structures like walls and storehouses at Pi–Raamses in the land of Goshen. However, is it possible that a few Hebrews slaves were used for some work in the Valley of the Kings and or around constructions in the Luxor area where there are numerous temples and lots of mud brick constructions?

Why was The Valley of the Kings built?

The Valley of the Kings was built as a remedy to the desecration and theft that was occurring in the mastabas45 and pyramids in the deserts. Pharaohs were buried with their earthly possessions, including all their gold and jewellery, in the belief they would use them in the afterlife. A massive pyramid structure in the middle of the desert virtually said ‘rob me’, and even though a specific police force (the medjay) was assembled with the job of guarding such necropolises, they often became corrupt at the promise of riches. So, as a remedy to this, massive underground tomb complexes were carved into the sides of mountains in what is now known as the Valley of the Kings. Some of the tunnels are hundreds of feet long, with adjacent side rooms and usually a large burial chamber at the rear. The purpose of building into the side of mountains was to hide the tombs. After the burial of the pharaoh, the entrances were sealed and covered over with rubble to resemble the local surroundings.
Photo by Hajor via Wikimedia commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)


A tunnel in the tomb of Thutmose III (KV34) in the Valley of the Kings.
Wikimedia commons (PD-old-100)


Brilliant artwork from the tomb of Ramses I (KV16) depicting the Book of Gates. This is a funerary text that tells of the passage of the dead into the next world. It is supposed to be a paralell to the journey of the sun through the underworld into the darkness of the night.
Photo by Markh via Wikimedia commons
The peak of Al-Qurn that overlooks the Valley of the Kings. Note the pyramid type shape.
As these tombs were discovered by modern archaelogists, mostly in the 19thcentury, they revealed amazing craftsmanship. After a tunnel or room was cut, plasterers would then finish the walls and ceilings making them as smooth as modern houses today. Then the scribes would etch hieroglyphics and pictures in the walls and ceilings. Then the pharaoh’s life story and his proposed journey to the afterlife were often painted in vivid colour. Let’s consider how this was achieved.
Summer temperatures are extreme in Middle and Upper Egypt. The tunnels had to be carved out of solid rock with nothing more than hand tools, and the dust would have been appalling the farther they descended from the entrance. And this not just from the chiseling, but also from the many workers who would have been constantly walking backwards and forwards to remove the rubble. There was no natural light in these tunnels, so oil lamps, probably fueled by animal fat, were used. The thick acrid smoke that such lamps create, along with the dust, would have made the air barely breathable. With no natural ventilation or ways of extracting the dust and smoke from the air, it would have severely shortened the life expectancy of the workers. It would have been awful work; much worse than cutting large blocks or making mud bricks—at least one could get some fresh air! Some have suggested that water could be used to reduce the dust and smoke but how was that dispersed? They did not have spray cans to do this. More hand driven methods of dispersing water would have only compounded the problems in the tunnels and made conditions slippery. The solution to this problem could have been to use a disposable workforce—one that could not blab the locations after construction. In short, slaves. I confess that this is speculative as the Bible indicates that the majority of Hebrews were located in Goshen, but maybe some the Hebrews and possibly Nubians were also involved in this. I find it difficult to comprehend that the well cared for artisans of Deir el Medina were involved in the menial work of tunnel digging.
Photo by Piotr Matyja via Wikimedia commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Area in the Valley of the Kings showing entrances to excavated tombs.

Were all the builders loyal followers of Pharaoh?

Wikimedia commons/R.F.Morgan (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Diagrammatic representation of KV34—the tomb of Thutmoses III.
Working in the Valley of the Kings also meant a form of incarceration for the more valuable workers also. Even though living conditions for the artisans at Deir El Medina were good, once someone worked in the Valley of the Kings it became a life sentence. The reason for choosing underground tombs and the remote location was to avoid theft and desecration of tombs. Once they were finished the entrances were sealed and covered up to look like the surrounding countryside. So, anyone who worked in the Valley of the Kings could not return to ‘the world’ because they knew the locations of these tombs with their incredible wealth. This is probably another reason why the conditions at Deir El Medina were so good. Perhaps one could be encouraged to spend a life there in relative comfort with job security. The Valley of the Kings had its own elite police force known as the Medjay to guard the Valley of the Kings. The workers were escorted several miles every day as they walked from Deir El Medina to the Valley of the Kings and back.
It is noteworthy that records of some occupants and their names have been found at Deir El Medina. At this village an architect for Thutmose I’s tomb wrote:

“I supervised the excavation of the cliff tomb of his majesty alone, no one seeing and no one hearing.”46

It seems to imply he was the only ‘important’ person who knew the location of the tomb. And many such workers and nobles even had their own tombs. At the Egyptian Museum in Cairo one can see depictions, statues and other artifacts of these scribes and artisans. But why are there no such details left behind for the other workers—the ones who performed most of the backbreaking work? It could be because they were regarded as an underclass of the state. In the same way that the Egyptians never mentioned their enemies, they never mentioned their slaves, and Egypt is still in denial today.
Also, if the current popular story is true that workers volunteered because they loved their kings, then why is there such a horrific record of tomb robbing, obviously by the people who knew the location of such tombs, even when the penalty was execution? Despite the attempt at creating a secret location, theft was a real and evident problem after the construction of the Valley of the Kings, hence the need for such a police force. Many believe that the Medjay themselves were also involved. It was such a problem that in the latter part of the New Kingdom, priests were desperately concerned about the desecration of the pharaoh’s mummies. From any tombs that they knew about, they removed and rewrapped and moved them to at least two other locations. These were discovered in the late 1800s and the location became known as the ‘mummies’ caches’. Simply, if the people were in such awe and respect of their kings, why did the pharaohs go to such lengths to avoid theft? After all, this was one of the reasons for moving to the Valley of the Kings in the first place.
Photo by Steve F-E-Cameron via Wikimedia commons (GFDL, CC-BY 3.0)
Ruins of Deir El Medina, the workers village for the Valley of the Kings.

Tutankhamen’s tomb (KV 62)

Although it does appear to have been entered at least once, the relatively intact find of Tutankhamen’s tomb was a unique exception to the rampant theft in the Valley of the Kings. The original tomb, discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter, remains the most famous find in all of Egyptian archaeology due to the incredible caches of treasures it contained. One of the reasons it was not easily found by robbers was probably because the tomb was relatively small. Tomb building usually commenced immediately upon the installation of a new king. Manetho claimed that the ‘boy king’ only reigned for nine years, so, one theory is that there was little time to build Tutankhamen a larger tomb due to his premature death. In addition, the tomb was buried beneath the remains of workmen’s huts probably from later dynasties. The tomb was so small, relative to others in the Valley of the Kings, that many of the items stored in it were disassembled (chariots, beds etc.). Despite this, massive amounts of gold (his solid gold casket and funerary mask) and other treasures were found (also despite a belief that approximately 60% of the jewellery was previously removed).
There were so many belongings stored with Tutankhamen that it took Carter and his team eight years to meticulously record and remove its contents. This tomb is probably responsible more than any other single find for creating the huge modern popular interest in Egyptian archaeology.
Harry Burton


Original picture of King Tut’s tomb showing the unusual way items were placed.
Jon Bodsworth


One of Tutankhamen’s gold burial sarcophagi.


The need for a revision of traditional dates assigned to Egyptian chronologies is not some wishful need for a rewriting of history by creationists, as some popular blogs like to comment. The need has been noted by most secular scholars and this is due to the aforementioned disparity in such things as the king lists and the trail left by Manetho, but subsequently picked up by others. We should remember that these dates are actually fluid. They can be easily moved around by other factors such as 14C dating. Huber, in The Journal of Egyptian Historywrites:

“The currently accepted Egyptian chronology is a somewhat fragile consensus, based on persuasive arguments by various scholars (with discrepancies of only a few years), but it is confirmed by regrettably few hard facts. The chronologies of Egypt and the Near East are patched together from disparate sources: history (e.g., king lists, annals, synchronisms), archaeology (e.g., stratigraphy, pottery) and natural science (e.g., astronomy, radiocarbon, tree rings).”46

In short, archaeological discoveries in Egypt and the dates assigned to Egyptian chronologies have not falsified the biblical dates for creation and the Flood. Despite the incredible legacy of the Egyptian pharaohs, the interpretation of their relics and records are not an accurate record of history. Self-interest and agendas were endemic throughout Egyptian history and because of the disparity of the records that remain no one can be sure if we are reading the truth anyway. Despite the wealth of material from Egypt, we need to recognize that the pharaohs were also masters of ‘misinformation’.
My own view is that unless there are more major archaeological finds that can be harmonized with one another, we are all looking through a glass darkly. For example, I believe that at best, we can theorize about who we think were the pharaohs of Joseph’s and Moses’ time, but it does not seem likely that we will have a concrete conclusion (as opposed to best estimates) this side of eternity. I realize that this will not find agreement with many Christians who have spent years researching Egypt, and have made some detailed claims as to the identities of these pharaohs. However, when one looks there are a plethora of different views as to their identities and widespread disparity among Christian researchers on this issue. Obviously, they cannot all be correct, which only further highlights the incredible difficulty with synchronizing both Egyptian and biblical history. This is made all the more difficult by the internal disparity of Egyptian records themselves. Due to the huge amount of seeming information that focuses on details such as pharaohs’ names and dates etc., the dates ascribed to chronologies often seem convincing to lay observers. Thus, many think that the correct starting point should be Egyptian history itself and that the Bible’s history needs to be ‘fitted in there’ somewhere. However, we should never be concerned that the Bible will be falsified—we don’t need to rescue it so much that we ‘neuter it’. This has been done in so many areas, none more so than the creation vs. evolution debate, where many Christians have succumbed and deferred to the secular interpretations of scientific data. Studying Egyptian history is no different. The Bible should be our lens for determining what happened in the past, whether it is creation or the events in Egypt.
My hope is that, for the lay Christian trying to come to terms with the wide range of claims from the secular and Christian communities, this document will at least provide a filter and framework for viewing such claims, and dispel the need for deference to secular interpretations of Egyptian history.

A new collaboration for CMI

As this is such a difficult and contentious area, CMI is pleased to advise that a new research collaboration has been formed with our friends at The Associates for Biblical Research (ABR, our Creation magazine article by ABR’s Bryant Wood on The walls of Jericho: Archaeology confirms: they really DID come a-tumblin’ down. This new collaboration is aimed at using the respective strengths of each ministry to help each other through the difficult areas of science and archaeology, including all things Egypt. Although we might not agree on specific dates or timing of events, as young Earth creationist organizations our agreed aim is to preserve the integrity of Scripture at all times.

Statement by Associates for Biblical Research

Like CMI, the ministry of Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) is committed to the full authority, infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible. Historically, our area of specialization has been the science of archaeology and its relationship to the Bible, but our vision entails broader apologetic and Christian worldview issues. Since our founding in 1969, we have conducted two archaeological excavations in Israel. Presently, we are excavating Khirbet el-Maqatir, a site which we strongly believe to be the Ai of Joshua 7–8.
From its inception, ABR founder Dr. David Livingston established critical doctrinal distinctives including a recent creation, cosmic Fall and global Flood paradigm of early earth history. Additionally, ABR affirmed the historicity of the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. During those early years ABR staff members were committed to other important areas of investigation, and therefore, the Genesis chronologies were not the focus of targeted research. Thus, our general position has historically been that the genealogies probably had limited gaps, and that the Flood might be dated to 4000 or 5000 BC at the very earliest. Dr. Livingston, for example, dated the Flood at 3000BC, based on archaeological considerations.
In recent years, the work of CMI on the chronologies of Genesis 5 and 11 began to challenge ABR’s general view of these eras. As a result, the era from the Flood to Abraham has become an important area of research for our ministry, since archaeological evidence from this era can be excavated and evaluated. We are grateful that the CMI ministry has positively served to encourage ABR to improve our understanding of this era of history. While there are still issues that need resolution concerning archaeological dating of the Ancient Near East (including the history and chronology of ancient Egypt), the goal of the ABR ministry has been, and will continue to be, upholding the Bible as the final authority in all matters of earth and cosmic history. In conducting archaeological research, our goal is to unearth the truth while never compromising on what the Bible clearly states.
Thus, we hope that our archaeological and biblical expertise will bring a positive and supportive dimension to our relationship with CMI. Our staff and associates are well trained in their areas of specialization, and we believe our ministry serves the body of Christ in a unique and edifying way. We trust that our ongoing collaboration with the CMI staff will yield fruit for both ministries, and ultimately better serve the church at large by challenging rampant skepticism against the Bible. Our respective ministries seek your prayers in this regard.

Related Articles

Further Reading

References and notes

  1. Antiquities of the Jews 1:8,, 31 December 2013. Return to text.
  2. The seven ancient wonders are (oldest first) Great Pyramid of Giza; Hanging Gardens of Babylon; Temple of Artemis at Ephesus; Statue of Zeus at Olympia; Mausoleum at Halicarnassuss; Colossus of Rhodes; Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria (the latter was also in Egypt). Return to text.
  3. The Hidden Secret Of The Great Pyramid’s Construction Uncovered,, 30 December 2013. Return to text.
  4. Narmer Palette,, 29 May 2014. Return to text.
  5. The Royal Tradition in Upper Egypt from Menes to Sety 1,, 27 November 2013. Return to text.
  6. Many of the preserved royal mummies have now been DNA tested, which showed that many of the Pharaohs were found to suffering from a number of genetic diseases. For example, depictions of Akhenaten and his son showing unusual face and body features were thought to be as a result of a new artistic style that he ushered in wanting to depict the pharaohs more realistically. While this new artistic style was true it is now thought that they may have been also suffering from Marfan Syndrome. This is a genetic connective tissue disorder that tends to manifest in people by giving them long limbs, fingers and even faces. Return to text.
  7. Hieratic script was closely related to hieroglyphics—both words come from the Greek hierós, ‘sacred’). Hieratic script was mainly written on papyrus using an ink reed brush, and it allowed scribes to write more quickly than the more time consuming pictographic hieroglyphics, which was usually reserved for only kings and nobles. Return to text.
  8. Cited in Turin King List,, 1 November 2013. Return to text.
  9. Pharaoh,, 27 December 2013. Return to text.
  10. The Royal Precinct at Rameses,, 13 March 2014. Return to text.
  11. Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh,, 26 November 2013. Return to text.
  12. Gardiner, A., Egypt of the Pharaohs, p. 53, Oxford University Press, London, UK, 1964. Cited in, 3 December 2103. Return to text.
  13. Egyptian Chronology,, 27 November 2013. Return to text.
  14. Archaeologists have revealed that another great pyramid was built by Dejedfre, the son of Khufu, at nearby Abu Rawash (approx. 6 miles north of Giza). It appeared taller than his father’s due to the elevation of the site it was built upon. It may have been the grandest of all the pyramids containing a surface base of polished Aswan red granite. It is no longer standing as its blocks (and gold) were likely plundered and reused by later societies, including the Romans.Return to text.
  15. Problems with Egyptian Chronology, , 27 December, 2013. Return to text.
  16. Eratosthenes,, 18 March 2014. Return to text.
  17. Manetho,, 27 November 2013. Return to text.
  18. Problems with Egyptian Chronology,, 27 December 2013. Return to text.
  19. Verbrugghe, Gerald, P., Wickersham, John Moore, Berossos and Manetho, Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, University of Michigan Press, January 1 2001, p. 41. Return to text.
  20. Egyptian Chronology,, 27 November 2013. Return to text.
  21. From Greek dēmos, ‘people’. Note: Egyptian Demotic is usually capitalized to distinguish it from demotic Greek). Return to text.
  22. New Chronology (Rohl),, 27 December 2013. Return to text.
  23. Ancient Egyptian royal titulary,, 27 November 2013. Return to text.
  24. Breasted, J.H., A History of Egypt: From the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest, University of Toronto Libraries, 1912, p.23. Return to text.
  25. Problems with Egyptian Chronology,, 27 December 2013. Return to text.
  26. The first Intermediate period,, 30 December 2013. Return to text.
  27. Petrovich, D., Toward Pinpointing the Timing of the Egyptian Abandonment of Avaris during the Middle of the 18th Dynasty, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections5:2:9–28, 2013. Return to text.
  28. The Role of Shechem in the Conquest of Canaan,, 13 March 2014. Return to text.
  29. New timeline for origin of ancient Egypt,, 27 November 2013. Return to text.
  30. Ibid. Return to text.
  31. Egyptian archaeologists comment on carbon dating,, 27 November 2013. Return to text.
  32. The heliacal rising of an astronomical object is the day of the year first becomes visible over the eastern horizon just before sunrise, after being absent from the night sky for a time. Return to text.
  33. The 1,461 year cycle is the period it takes for the cycles of Sirius and the solar day to coincide. They differ by a ¼-day per year, so the cycles coincide every 4 × 365 years: 1460 Julian years or 1461 Egyptian years. Return to text.
  34. Sothic cycle,, 3 December 2013. Return to text.
  35. Mazar, L., Uncovering King David’s Palace, Moment Magazine, April 2006. Accessed via, 2008-07-29. Return to text.
  36. Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh,, 3 December 2013. Return to text.
  37. Ibid. Return to text.
  38. Cited in Wheeler, G., Ancient Egypt’s silence about the Exodus, Andrews University Seminar Studies 40(2):257–264, 2002. Return to text.
  39. Clip Transcript, The Middle East Media Research Institute,, 3 December 2013. Return to text.
  40. Papyri Point to Practice of Voluntary Temple Slavery in Ancient Egypt,, 12 March 2014. Return to text.
  41. Biblical Archeological Review, March/April 2014, p.60–63. Also, The Bible According to Karnak,, 8 August 2014. Return to text.
  42. Kingdom of Kush, 2014, 22 April. Return to text.
  43. Gardiner, A.H., Egypt of the Pharaohs: An Introduction, p. 166, Oxford University Press, 1964. Return to text.
  44. There are also tomb structures known as the The Valley of the Queens (QV), along with the Valley of the Nobles too. Return to text.
  45. A mastaba was a flat roofed and rectangular shaped tomb with underground chambers. It was used in the early dynastic periods of Egypt. They were forerunners of pyramids. Return to text.
  46. Edwards, I.E.S., The Pyramids of Egypt, p. 245, Penguin Books, Middlesex, England, 1965. Cited in Ashton. J., and Down, D., Unwrapping the Pharaohs, p. 115, Master Books, Greenforest, USA, 2006. Return to text.
  47. Huber, P.J., The Astronomical Basis of Egyptian Chronology of the Second Millennium BCJournal of Egyptian History 4(2): 172–227, 2011. Return to text.
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September 1, 2014

All Scripture……..

The Nature of Bible Inspiration

What does it mean to say: “The Bible is inspired”? Answers to this question are legion (cf. “Theories…,” 1864, 6:312-349). Some regard the Bible as “inspired” in the same way that great authors in history have risen above the average person in their literary pursuits, e.g., Homer, Shakespeare, Dickens, or Eliot. Others would say that the writers of the Bible were influenced by supernatural connections, but that their written records of those connections suffer from the same flaws that mere humans are prone to make. Many people fail to assess the Bible’s own claims regarding its inspiration. Before the Bible can be determined to be “inspired,” it is necessary to conceptualize the meaning and nature of that inspiration. The Bible literally is filled with descriptions of the essence of its own inspiration.

 Paul boldly claimed, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Greek term underlying the word “inspiration” means “God-breathed” (Vincent, 1900, 4:317). Paul was affirming that Scripture, referring primarily  to the Old Testament, is the product of the breath of God. God actually breathed out the Scriptures. The Bible is God’s Word—not man’s—though He used man to produce them. Three verses later (4:2), Paul declared, “Therefore…preach the word…” Why? Because it is God’s Word. Just as surely as God’s breath brought the Universe into existence (Psalm 33:6), so the Bible is the result of God’s out-breathing.

2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)  16  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 

Psalm 33:6 (NKJV)  6  By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

Peter alluded to the momentous occasion of Christ’s transfiguration when God literally spoke from heaven directly to Peter, James, and John (2 Peter 1:19-21). God orally boomed forth His insistence that Jesus is His beloved Son, and human beings are commanded to listen to Him (Matthew 17:5). Peter then declared, “We also have the prophetic word made more sure,…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” Peter was saying that the Scriptures provided to us by the prophets are just as certain, and just as authoritative, as the voice of God that spoke on the mount of transfiguration.

2 Peter 1:19-21 (NKJV)  19  And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20  knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21  for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 
Matthew 17:5 (NKJV)  5  While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a

voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 

Peter further explained that the prophetic word, meaning the whole of the Old Testament Scriptures, did not originate on its own, or in the minds of those who wrote them (the meaning of “private interpretation”). Scripture did not come from “the will of man.” Scripture was not the result of human research or human investigation into the nature of things. Scripture was not the product of its writers’ own thinking (Warfield, 1974, 3:1474). Where, then, did Scripture come from? Peter claimed, “but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The word “moved” in the original language is the usual word for being “carried” or “brought” (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, pp. 862-863), hence, to be moved or under a moving influence (Perschbacher, 1990, p. 427). Peter was stating that the Holy Spirit, in essence, picked up the writers, the prophets, and brought them to the goal of His choosing (Warfield, 3:1475). That means that the Scriptures, though written by means of human instrumentality, were so superintended by God that the resulting writings are truly God’s.
This same Peter, while awaiting the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2 on Pentecost, stood up among fellow disciples and declared, “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas,” and then he quoted from the Psalms (Acts 1:16ff.). Peter affirmed that the Holy Spirit governed what David wrote, and the results of David’s writing therefore are designated as “Scripture.”
This same Peter, in 1 Peter 1:10-12, explained: (1) that the inspired spokesmen of the Old Testament did not always understand all the information given by God through them; (2) it was the Spirit of Christ that was operating upon them; (3) this same inspired information was being presented in Peter’s day by the apostles; and (4) the same Holy Spirit was directing their utterances. It is very important to note that Peter was claiming that inspired men had their own minds engaged as they produced inspired material, but the product was God’s, since they did not always grasp all of the significance of their own productions.
1 Peter 1:10-12 (NKJV)  10  Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11  searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12  To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things which angels desire to look into. 

This same Peter, in 2 Peter 3:15-16, referred to “our beloved brother Paul” as having “written to you.” He then noted: “as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” Peter made clear three salient points: (1) Paul wrote epistles; (2) those epistles are classified with “the other Scriptures,” which means that Paul’s letters are Scripture every bit as much as the Old Testament and other New Testament writings; and (3) these writings are divinely authoritative, since to twist them is to invite “destruction”—an obvious reference to God’s disfavor and the spiritual/eternal harm that results from disobeying God’s words, not man’s words. Cornelius well-understood this principle, for when Peter came to his house, he stated: “Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God” (Acts 10:33, emp. added).

2 Peter 3:15-16 (NKJV)  15  and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16  as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 

 While on Earth, Jesus demonstrated a high regard for Scripture, i.e., the Old Testament. On one occasion, He involved Himself in an interchange with some Jews who accused Him of blasphemy (John 10:33). He repelled the charge by quoting Psalm 82:6, referring to the passage as “law” (vs. 34). But how could Jesus refer to a psalm as “law,” since the Psalms were poetic wisdom literature and not a part of the Torah (the Pentateuch)? He referred to a psalm as “law” in the sense that the Psalms are part of Scripture. Jesus was thus ascribing legal authority to the entire corpus of Scripture (Warfield, 3:1475). He did the same thing in John 15:25. Likewise, Paul quoted from the Psalms, Isaiah, and Genesis and referred to each as “the Law” (1 Corinthians 14:21; Romans 3:19; Galatians 4:21).

John 10:33-34 (NKJV)  33  The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” 34  Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ‘?


Psalm 82:6 (NKJV)  6  I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.


John 15:25 (NKJV)  25  But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

After Jesus quoted from a psalm and called it “law,” He added, “and the Scripture cannot be broken” (vs. 35). Notice that He was equating “law” with “Scripture”—using the terms as synonyms. When He declared that “law,” or “Scripture,” “cannot be broken,” He was making the point that it is impossible for Scripture to be annulled, for its authority to be denied, or its truth to be withstood (Warfield, 3:1475). Jesus considered every part of Scripture, even its most casual phrases, to be the authoritative Word of God (p. 1476).

This attitude toward Scripture as an authoritative document is intimated by the customary formula: “It is written.” For example, when facing Satan, Jesus repelled his attacks all three times with a simple, “It is written,” which was sufficient to establish authoritative credibility (Matthew 4:4,7,10)—so much so that Satan attempted to copy Jesus in this respect (Matthew 4:6). After His resurrection, Jesus equated the entire Old Testament (i.e., the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms) with “Scripture,” and again noted “it is written” (Luke 24:44-46). He insisted very emphatically that “all things” in the Scriptures concerning Himself “must be fulfilled.” Earlier in the chapter, He equated “Moses and all the prophets” with “the Scriptures” (vss. 25-27).

Luke 4:4-7 (NKJV)  4  But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ “ ……… 7  Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” …….10  For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’


Luke 4:6 (NKJV)  6  And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Luke 24:44-46 (NKJV)  44  Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which
were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
45  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46  Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

No wonder Jesus would rebuke His religious challengers with such phrases as, “Have you not read even this Scripture?” (Mark 12:10; cf. Matthew 21:42); or, “You do err, not knowing the Scriptures” (Matthew 22:29); or, “if you had known what this means…” (Matthew 12:7); or, “Go and learn what this means…” (Mark 9:13). The underlying thought in such pronouncements is that God’s truth is found in Scripture, and if you are ignorant of the Scriptures, you are susceptible to error. Jesus therefore was affirming that God is the Author of Scripture.

Even the words of Scripture that do not constitute direct quotes of deity are, in fact, the words of God. For example, Jesus assigned the words of Genesis 2:24 to God as the author (Matthew 19:4-6). Yet, in the original setting of Genesis 2:24, no indication is given that God was the speaker. Rather, the words are simply narratorial comment written

down by the human author—Moses. By Jesus attributing the words to God, He was making clear that the whole of Scripture was authored by God. That means that even the words of Satan, or the words of evil people, are the words of God—in the sense that God has given us an accurate report of what those people said. Paul treated the matter in the same way (1 Corinthians 6:16).

Over and over again, the apostles and writers of the New Testament did the same thing that Jesus did, i.e., they referred to Scripture in such a way that it was clear they considered it to be the authoritative, inspired words of God (e.g., Acts 8:35; 17:2; 18:28; 26:22; Romans 12:19; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Peter 1:16; James 2:8). Perhaps Luke well summarized the prevailing mindset of the Bible writers: “[T]hey received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). In other words, what Scripture says, God says.
Genesis 2:24 (NKJV)  24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 
Matthew 19:3-6 (NKJV)  3  The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
1 Corinthians 6:16 (NKJV)  16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”
 Acts 17:11 (NKJV)  11  These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 
Additional evidence of the Bible’s own view of itself is manifested in statements like, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh” (Romans 9:17), or “And the Scripture…preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand” (Galatians 3:8). But Scripture did not speak to Pharaoh, and Scripture did not preach the Gospel to Abraham. Rather, God did! So the word of Scripture is the word of God! The inspired writers of the New Testament considered “God” and “Scripture” to be so closely linked that they could naturally speak of “Scripture” doing what Scripture records God as doing (Warfield, 3:1477).
It works the other way as well. God is said to say certain things that are, in their original setting, merely words of Scripture. For example, Hebrews 3:7 reads, “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says…,” and Psalm 95:7 is then quoted. In Acts 4:25, God is said to have spoken, by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David, the words of Psalm 2:1. In Acts 13:34-35, God is represented as having stated the words of Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 16:10. Yet, in both of these cases, the words attributed to God are not, in their original setting, specifically His words, but merely the words of Scripture itself. So the writers of the New Testament sometimes referred to the Scriptures as if they were God, and they sometimes referred to God as if He were Scripture. The Bible thus presents itself as the very words of God.
In Hebrews 1:5-13, the writer quoted seven Old Testament passages: Psalm 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 104:4; Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 102:25-27; and Psalm 110:1. The Hebrews writer attributed each of these passages to God as the speaker. Yet in their original setting in the Old Testament, sometimes God is the speaker, while sometimes He is not the speaker, and is, in fact, being spoken to or spoken about. Why would the writer of Hebrews indiscriminately assign all of these passages to God? Because they all have in common the fact that they are the words of Scripture, and, as such, are the words of God.
The same is true with Romans 15:9-12 where Paul quoted from Psalm 18:49, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 117:1, and Isaiah 11:10. The first one he introduced with the formula “as it is written”; the second one is introduced by “again he says”; the third with simply “again”; and the fourth is prefaced with “Isaiah says.” Yet, in the Old Testament setting, only in the Isaiah passage is specifically God talking—and Paul assigns those words to Isaiah. So “it is written,” “he says,” and “Isaiah says,” are all different ways of saying the same thing, i.e., “God says”! Sometimes the New Testament writers assigned Scripture to its human authors. Yet it is clear that when the writers said, “Moses said,” or “David said,” such was simply another way to say, “Scripture says,” which, again, was the

same thing as saying “God says.”


Notice that the inspiration that the Bible claims for itself is “verbal” inspiration, i.e., God’s superintendence extends even to the words of the writer. Paul based his argument on a plural noun, and insisted that God intended the word to be understood in its singular sense (Galatians 3:16). As noted previously, Jesus based an argument on the precise verbal form of Scripture (John 10:34). He based His point on a particular word in Matthew 22:43, on a particular tense in Matthew 22:32, and even on the letters and their minute strokes in Matthew 5:17-18. In the latter passage, Jesus said that Exodus 3:6 was spoken to the Sadducees with whom He was conversing—even though the original context of Exodus 3:6 has God speaking to Moses. That proves that Jesus expects all people on Earth to understand that the Bible is written to every single accountable human being, and that Scripture is intended to be authoritative for human living.

Paul also affirmed verbal inspiration in 1 Corinthians 2. He claimed that his speech and his preaching were not “words of human wisdom” (vs. 4). Rather, his words were “in demonstration of the Spirit.” He claimed that he and his fellow apostles were speaking the wisdom of God (vs. 7). He claimed that the things which they had been speaking were revealed to them by God through the Holy Spirit (vs. 10). Then he affirmed very clearly: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (vs. 13). So inspiration involves the very words, and that makes itverbal inspiration.


Most of the passages examined thus far are New Testament references to the inspiration of the Old Testament. Liberal scholars have claimed that the New Testament does not make the claim of inspiration for itself. That claim is not true. As already noted, in 2 Peter 3:16, Peter classified Paul’s epistles as “Scripture,” and he affirmed that Paul’s writings carry such divine authority that those who twist them will be destroyed. It also was noted that Peter linked the apostles with the Old Testament prophets (1 Peter 1:10-12). And, as just seen, Paul made a comparable claim in 1 Corinthians 2.
As one reads the New Testament, it is clear that the writers made the extension of Old Testament inspiration to their own writings. They did not for a moment consider themselves—the ministers of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6)—to be less in possession of the Spirit of God than the ministers of the old covenant (Warfield, 3:1482). Jesus, without question, declared the impending inspiration of the authors of the New Testament. In Matthew 10:17-20, and the parallels in Mark 13:11 and Luke 12:12, Jesus explained to the apostles that the Holy Spirit would direct their verbal activities in terms of both how and what they spoke. He reiterated the same thing in Luke 21:12-15, urging them not to worry how to defend themselves when hauled before the authorities, since He would provide them with “a mouth and wisdom” that their adversaries would not be able to withstand. So Jesus pre-authenticated the teaching of the apostles, and insured respect for their authority.
Matthew 10:17-20 (NKJV)  17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18  You will be brought before
governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
19  But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20  for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
Luke 21:12-15 (NKJV)  12  But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13  But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14  Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15  for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

Jesus directed several promises to the apostles in John chapters 14, 15, and 16. Allusion to just one of these will suffice. Jesus promised the apostles: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:12-13). Just prior to His ascension, Jesus promised to the apostles the impending baptism of the Holy Spirit, which would enable them to be Christ’s witnesses throughout the world (Acts 1:5,8). This promise commenced its fulfillment in Acts 2 when the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit and empowered to preach the message God wanted preached.

John 16:12-13 (NKJV)  12  I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide
you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Acts 1:5,8 (NKJV)  5  for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” …… 8  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Numerous passages indicate the fulfillment of these promises to the apostles to the extent that the words which they spoke were God’s words (Acts 4:8,31; 5:32; 15:8,27-28; 16:6-8). As already noted, Paul claimed direct guidance of the Holy Spirit for the words that he spoke (1 Corinthians 2). He did the same thing in Galatians 1:12. In Ephesians 3:1-5, he claimed that his message was made known to him “by revelation” (vs. 3), along with the other apostles and prophets (vs. 5). Other passages reflect the same point (1 Timothy 4:1; Galatians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). A good summary of Paul’s claims to inspiration is seen in his firm declaration: “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). His inspiration extended to both his oral utterances as well as his writings(2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6,14; cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:2,15; Galatians 1:7-8). In 1 Timothy 5:8, Paul quoted Luke 10:7 and referred to it as “Scripture.” So Luke’s Gospel record was already available and classified with the inspired canon of Scripture.

1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV)  8  But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Luke 10:7 (NKJV)  7  And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. 


The unbiased individual can easily see that the Bible claims for itself the status of “inspiration,” having been breathed out by God Himself. That inspiration entailed such superintendence by God that even the words came under His influence. Thus the Bible is “verbally inspired.” This conclusion does not imply that the writers merely took “dictation.” Rather, the Bible indicates that God adapted His inspiring activity to the

individual temperament, vocabulary, educational level, and stylistic idiosyncrasies of each writer. The Bible is “infallible” in that it is incapable of deceiving or misleading, and is therefore completely trustworthy and reliable. “Plenary” inspiration means that inspiration extends to all of its parts. Thus the Bible is fully inspired.


The Bible is also “inerrant,” that is, it is free of error. God used human beings to write the Bible, and in so doing, allowed them to leave their mark upon it, but without making any of the mistakes that human writings are prone to make. God made certain that the words produced by the human writers were free from the errors and mistakes characteristic of uninspired writers. This influence even extended to matters of science, geography, and history. Proof for the inspiration of the Bible is a separate and necessary inquiry. However, it is important that a person understand what the Bible means when it claims for itself “inspiration.”


Arndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).

McGarvey, J. W. (1883), “Remarks on the Preceding Lectures,” The Missouri Christian Lectures(Rosemead, CA: Old Paths Book Club, 1955 reprint).

Perschbacher, Wesley J., ed. (1990), The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).

“Theories of the Inspiration of the Scriptures” (1864), American Presbyterian and Theological Review, 6:312-349, April.

Vincent, Marvin (1900), Word Studies in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946 reprint).

Warfield, Benjamin (1974 reprint), “Inspiration,” ISBE, ed. James Orr  (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).


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August 31, 2014

Moses Sings a Song

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 3:03 pm
Tags: , ,

Absorb God’s Teaching
Deuteronomy 32:1-4 (HCSB) 
1Pay attention, heavens, and I will speak; listen, earth, to the words of my mouth.  Let my teaching fall like rain and my word settle like dew, like gentle rain on new grass and showers on tender plants. 3  For I will proclaim Yahweh’s name. Declare the greatness of our God!  The Rock—His work is perfect; all His ways are
entirely just.
A faithful God, without prejudice, He is righteous and true.

1. What is the purpose of Moses’ song?

The Song of Moses acts as a witness against Israel.

This prophetic, poetic song has as its central theme Israel’s apostasy, which brings God’s certain judgment. The song begins with a short introduction emphasizing the steadfast God and the fickle nation.
The nation of Israel was to learn it. It was to be somewhat like their national anthem. It was a song given to them by God; every Israelite was to learn it and teach it to his children. JVM
The Hebrews have been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years until all those who rebelled and refused to enter the promised land have died. Now as the nation is about to finally enter the new land, and leadership is about to be transferred to Joshua, Moses now sums up God’s position and attitude toward His chosen people in a poetic “song” which they are supposed to remember and repeat.
In Deut. Chapter 6 we see the “Shema”, the prayer which all Hebrews were to teach their children and pray each day.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Deut 6:4-9 (KJV)
But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. Matt 23:5 (NASB)
2. Why does God continue to stress that His people remember, shouldn’t we be focused on the future?
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana
We continue to forget who we are, who God is, what He has done for us in the past.

“Half of being smart, is knowing what you’re dumb at” ……..
3. Other than the Hebrews, who else is called upon to witness what God has to say, and why?
Give ear, O ye heavens—Let angels and men hear, and let this testimony of God be registered both in heaven and earth. Heaven and earth are appealed to as permanent witnesses. ACC
Give ear, O heavens … and let the earth hear. All of creation was called to be an audience to hear the message to Israel as in (30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. because the truth Moses was about to proclaim concerned the whole universe. It did so because it involved the honor of God the Creator so disregarded by sinners, the justification of God so righteous in all His ways, and the manifestation in heaven and earth of God’s judgment and salvation. MSN
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope,21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.Romans 8:19-22 (NLT)
It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. 1 Peter 1:12 (NLT)

All of God’s creation fell when Adam fell. Animals, plants, the climate, the

geology. God calls His entire creation as witnesses against the Hebrew people and their inability to remember their part of the covenant they made with God.

Stop Your Senselessness
Deuteronomy 32:5-9 (HCSB)
His people have acted corruptly toward Him; this is their defect they are not His children but a devious and crooked generation. 6  Is this how you repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Isn’t He your Father and Creator? Didn’t He make you and sustain you?  Remember the days of old; consider the years long past. Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will teach you. 8
 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance and divided the human race, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number
of the people of Israel.
But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob, His own inheritance.
 4. Why is God so upset with His own special people?
In contrast to God’s righteousness stands the perversity of the Israelites, these “sons of God” who were actually his not-sons. This introduces the main burden of the song, namely, that Israel’s sin provided a completely adequate explanation of all the evil that would overtake them—WBC
(Isa 1:4 [ESV])
​​​​​​​​Ah, sinful nation, ​​​​​​​a people laden with iniquity, ​​​​​​​offspring of evildoers, ​​​​​​​children who deal corruptly! ​​​​​​​They have forsaken the LORD, ​​​​​​​they have despised the Holy One of Israel, ​​​​​​​they are utterly estranged. ​​​
(Matt 17:17 [ESV])
And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.”
It seems to be a common thread which runs through the entire history of the nation.
5. Who are the real “sons of God”?
God is the Father of Israel because of creation — In one sense God is the Father of all mankind because He created all mankind. When God created Adam he was called a son of God, but Adam sinned. After that, none of the offspring of Adam are called the sons of God unless they have become sons of God by faith in Jesus Christ. The whole human family may be pictured as a crooked generation, a foolish people. JVM
God’s children are identified by faith, not by genetics.
(Gen 1:26 [ESV]) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
(Gen 5:3 [ESV]) When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
By this time Adam and all creation had fallen, Adam had died spiritually and his children were spiritually defective. Therefore man must be spiritually regenerated.
(John 3:3 [ESV]) Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
6.Remember the days of old;consider the years long past.” Remember what? Should we remember our days of old?
 The entire Passover celebration and dinner was a reminder of the miracle and deliverance out of Egyptian bondage. All the 7 feasts that the Hebrews took part in were all centered around reminding them of where they had come from and who was providing their very existence. Our Thanksgiving celebration is a reminder of our past and a reminder of who we need to be thankful too. It’s always fun ask the atheist why they celebrate Thanksgiving and who are they thankful too.
Adopt True Perspective
Deuteronomy 32:36-43 (HCSB)
36 The LORD will indeed vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants when He sees that their strength is gone and no one is left—slave or free.
37  He will say: “Where are their gods, the ‘rock’ they found refuge in? 38  Who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up
and help you;
let it be a shelter for you. See now 
that I alone am He; there is no God but Me. I bring death and I give life; I wound and I heal. No one can rescue anyone from My hand. 40  I raise My hand to heaven and declare: As surely as I live forever, 41  when I sharpen My flashing sword, and My hand Sword-of-the-spirittakes hold of judgment, I will take vengeance on My adversaries and repay those who hate Me. 42  I will make My arrows drunk with blood while My sword devours flesh— the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.” 43 Rejoice, you nations, concerning His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants. He will take vengeance on His adversaries; He will purify His land and His people.
 7. Why does God allow His people to fall so far before he rescues them?
(Exod 32:9 [ESV]) And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.
As with the Hebrews we are just as stiff necked. We don’t turn to God until we run out of all other resources. The Sunday before Sept. 11 2001 the church we were attending was half full. The Sunday after it was standing room only.
8. “when He sees that their strength is gone and no one is left — slave or free. How was this manifested?
Multiple times God allowed the Jews to be persecuted and defeated by their enemies. He allowed the Babylonian captivity of 70 years, he allowed the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD and the dispersion to the 4 corners of the globe and He allowed the holocaust. Now He is in the process of allowing Israel to become surrounded by enemies sworn to destroy them and isolated. Even our government seems to be abandoning them.
Iran is being allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. The Muslim fanatics are pushing to have this bomb dropped on Tel Aviv, they feel this will usher in the return of the 12 Imam, their version of the Muslim messiah.
(Zech 12:2-5 [ESV])
“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. 3 On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. 4 On that day, declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5 Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.’
9. So is there any good news here?

Rejoice, you nations, concerning His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants. He will take vengeance on His adversaries, He will purify His land and His people.

Zech. 12:10-12“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land shall mourn, each familyby itself

The Jewish people will come back to the Lord, there will be peace in the Middle East, and throughout the world and the Jews will join the Christians as witnesses for Jesus Christ.

ESVN……………..….ESV Study Bible Notes

MSBN……………….MacArthur NASB Study   Notes

NIVSN……………….NIV Study Notes.

JVM ………………….J Vernon McGee’s Commentary

BN ……………………Barnes Notes

WBC………….…….Wycliffe Bible Commentary

CN ……….…………..Constables Notes

IC……………….…….Ironside Commentary

NET…………….…….Net Bible Study Notes.

JFB……………………Jamieson Fausset  Brown Commentary

VWS………………….Vincent Word Studies

CMM………………..Commentary on Matthew and Mark

BDB……………..….Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)

Darby……………….John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT

Johnson……………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament

NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.

EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures

CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary

SBC…………………..Sermon Bible Commentary

K&D…………………Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT

EBC……………….…Expositors Bible Commentary

CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College

GC……………………Guzik Commentary

RD…………………..Robert  Deffinbaugh

NSB …………………The Nelson Study Bible

MHC…………………Matthew Henry Commentary

CSTTB………Chuck Smith Through The Bible

LESB…………….Life Essentials Study Bible.



 “Fair Use “ Notice – Title 17 U.S.C. section 107

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August 30, 2014

G.K. Chesterton: Darwinism is ‘An attack upon thought itself’



Image from
G.K. Chesterton
G.K. Chesterton
G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton (1874–1936) was a prolific British writer, whose poetry, fiction, books and essays argued for a Christian1 worldview in the early 20thcentury, long before the term ‘worldview’ was coined. He did this not only in traditional apologetics works (though some, like Heretics and Orthodoxy, may be categorized as such), but in everything, as he saw the potential for everything to be for or against Christ (cf. Matthew 12:30). Many of his works addressing social and moral issues are still relevant today, as he was able to foresee the effects of many of the destructive influences of his day. His works were very influential on the thought of Christian apologist and author C.S. Lewis (1898–1963).

The worship of science

As early as 1920, G.K. Chesterton argued against what he saw to be the worship of science (now sometimes called ‘scientism’), which already was being invoked in education and ethics.2 He also observed nearly a century ago that Darwinist scientists were more and more turning their science into a philosophy.3 These scientists were forbidden by their own belief system from believing in miracles,regardless of where the evidence led. This led inevitably to scientists making bizarre claims as to what natural processes alone could accomplish. ‘Things that the old science at least would frankly have rejected as miracles are hourly being asserted by the new science.’4
Chesterton conceded that these materialists were completely logical and reasonable in their belief system, but that it was a very small internal consistency which denied even the possibility of miracles; their belief system explained everything by natural events, which can be logical enough (bearing in mind that there is a difference between logical consistency and truth), but because that was the central tenet of their ideology, they could not admit even one miracle. He argued that the orthodox Christian was freer than the materialist because Christians could believe in both natural and supernatural causes for events; Christianity can explain both physical laws and miracles. As Chesterton wrote:
As an explanation of the world, materialism has a sort of insane simplicity. It has just the quality of the madman’s argument; we have at once the sense of it covering everything and the sense of it leaving everything out.—Chesterton

‘The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.’5

This, he argues, makes for ‘a sort of insane simplicity’ to the materialist worldview:

‘As an explanation of the world, materialism has a sort of insane simplicity. It has just the quality of the madman’s argument; we have at once the sense of it covering everything and the sense of it leaving everything out. … He understands everything, and everything does not seem worth understanding. His cosmos may be complete in every rivet and cog-wheel, but still his cosmos is smaller than our world.’6

‘That modern intelligence which destroys itself’

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G.K. Chesterton
G.K. Chesterton
Chesterton’s statements about evolution as a scientific theory are sometimes ambiguous and might even be taken as supportive of atheistic evolutionary stance; for instance, he states that even if biological evolution were true, it would not mean that Christianity was false, because God is outside of time and could do things any way He wanted7 (obviously, not a view that CMI would endorse; e.g. see 10 dangers of theistic evolution). However, other writings contain quite clear anti-evolution statements, especially when the implications of Darwinism are applied to philosophy. (One might also note that Chesterton’s anti-evolutionary statements are much more consistent with the rest of his thought and writing; and one can hardly expect such a large body of non-inspired writing to be entirely consistent or accurate!) He said of evolution so applied that it ‘is a good example of that modern intelligence which, if it destroys anything, destroys itself.’7
One of Chesterton’s main complaints against Darwinism is that it was advanced as a fact long before it was even a well-established hypothesis (which some of Darwin’s eminent scientific contemporaries also pointed out, e.g. German museum director, Dr Johann Blasius). Chesterton argued that it would have been more productive to discover ‘what is actually known about the variation of species and what can only plausibly be guessed and what is quite random guesswork’, but ‘the Darwinians advanced it with so sweeping and hasty an intolerance that it is no longer a question of one scientific theory being advanced against another scientific theory. … It is treated as an answer; and a final and infallible answer.’8
He noted that even the most ardent evolutionists seemed hesitant in defending Darwinism in his day:
‘Huxley said, in his later years, that Darwin’s suggestion had never been shown to be inconsistent with any new discovery; and anybody acquainted with the atmosphere will be struck by the singular note of negation in that. When Huxley began to write, he certainly expected that, by the end of his life, Darwin’s suggestion would have been confirmed by a crowd of positive discoveries. Now nobody talks of it at present as a settled scientific law. Even the critic who complained of my own remark called Darwinism a “hypothesis”, and admitted that it had been “profoundly modified”. And he added the very singular and significant phrase: that the Darwinian hypotheses was still “that most sound at bottom.” If anyone does not hear the negative note in that, I think he does not know the sound of human voice.’9
‘If an ignorant man went about saying that the earth was flat, the scientific man would promptly and confidently answer, “Oh, nonsense; of course it’s round.” He might even condescend to give the real reasons, which I believe are quite different from the current ones. But when the private citizen rushes wild-eyed down the streets of Heliopolis, Neb., calling out “Have you heard the news? Darwin’s wrong!” the scientific man does not say, “Oh, nonsense, of course he’s right.” He says tremulously, “Not entirely wrong; surely not entirely wrong”; and we can draw our conclusions.’10

Anti-evolution arguments

Image from
G.K. Chesterton
G.K. Chesterton
Chesterton argued that ‘nobody need know any more than the mere rudiments of the biological controversy in order to know that, touching twenty incidental problems, [evolution] is in some ways a very unsatisfactory answer.’8 Several of Chesterton’s arguments against evolution sound very much like modern creationist arguments:

‘I do not know the true reason for a bat not having feathers; I only know that Darwin gave a false reason for its having wings. And the more the Darwinians explain, the more certain I become that Darwinism was wrong. All their explanations ignore the fact that Darwinism supposes an animal feature to appear first, not merely in an incomplete stage, but in an almost imperceptible stage. The member of a sort of mouse family, destined to found the bat family, could only have differed from his brother mice by some minute trace of membrane; and why should that enable him to escape out of a natural massacre of mice? Or even if we suppose it did serve some other purpose, it could only be by a coincidence; and this is to imagine a million coincidences accounting for every creature. A special providence watching over a bat would be a far more realistic notion than such a run of luck as that.’11,12

Chesterton also questioned the usefulness of partially formed structures in animals; a wing that enables flight is undoubtedly an advantage to a creature, but a half-formed wing is of no use. ‘Yet Darwinism pre-supposes that numberless generations could survive before one generation could fly.’13
He also accuses the evolutionists of not having enough evidence in the fossil record for their claims:
‘I do not demand anything, in the sense of complaining anything [sic] or the absence of anything. I am quite comfortable in a completely mysterious cosmos. I am not reviling the rocks or cursing the eternal hills for not containing these things. I am only saying that these are the things they would have to contain to make me believe something that somebody else wants me to believe. These traces are not things that the Anti-Darwinian demands. They are things that the Darwinian requires. The Darwinian requires them in order to convince his opponent of Darwinism; his opponent may be right or wrong, but he cannot be expected to accept the mere absence of them as proof of Darwinism. If the evidences in support of the theory are unfortunately hidden, why then, we do not know whether they were in support of the theory. If the proofs of natural selection are lost,14 why then, there are no proofs of natural selection; and there is an end of it.
And I would respectfully ask these critics what would be thought of a theological or miraculous argument which thus based itself on the very gaps in its own evidence.’13
If the evidences in support of the theory [of Darwinism] are unfortunately hidden, why then, we do not know whether they were in support of the theory.—Chesterton on the ‘missing links’.

Chesterton on evolutionary philosophy

As dubious as the scientific claims of evolution seemed to Chesterton, the philosophic implications of Darwinism were to him the more dangerous threat. The first problem evolutionists have is that of how to relate to other creatures. Evolutionists may be very cruel to other animals; after all, under the doctrine of ‘survival of the fittest’, even the most gratuitous and painful actions can justified as helping natural selection along. Or on the opposite end of the spectrum (which is vastly more common today), an evolutionist may elevate animals to the status of humans, like those who wish to give human rights to apes, on the basis that we are all related, so humans are not entitled to any special status.
Chesterton ably pointed out the follies of such Darwinian reality compared to the sane morality revealed in Scripture:
‘Darwinism can be used to back up two mad moralities, but it cannot be used to back up a single sane one. The kinship and competition of all living creatures can be used as a reason for being insanely cruel or insanely sentimental; but not for a healthy love of animals … That you and a tiger are one may be a reason for being tender to a tiger. Or it may be a reason for being cruel as the tiger. It is one way to train the tiger to imitate you, it is a shorter way to imitate the tiger. But in neither case does evolution tell you how to treat a tiger reasonably, that is, to admire his stripes while avoiding his claws.
‘If you want to treat a tiger reasonably, you must go back to the garden of Eden. For the obstinate reminder continues to recur: only the supernaturalist has taken a sane view of Nature. The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition: that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a stepmother. The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.’15
Not only have evolutionists failed to answer the relatively simple questions that Chesterton put forward, creationists have more arguments than ever against the increasingly contrived pro-evolutionary stance.
The more dangerous implication of evolutionism is how it permits us to treat our fellow man. Chesterton saw the possibility that the more powerful could use evolutionary arguments to exploit the disadvantaged—we have not seen his fanciful predictions of people bred exactly for their intended professions,16 but the evolutionary philosophy did produce eugenics in America and to an even more extreme degree in Germany. There, ‘unfit’ individuals were forcibly sterilized, and in the case of the Nazi death camps, exterminated for the sake of what was seen to be the ideal for the human race. While few today would advocate such tactics, evolutionary philosophy has substantially devalued the human life, as can be witnessed by the millions of abortions which take place every year in America alone, especially if the baby has Down’s Syndrome or some deformity—most of these handicapped children never had a chance to take their first breath. And there are evolutionists like Eric Pianka and John Reid who wouldn’t mind a drastic reduction in the human population to ‘save the planet’.
Chesterton was able to see how the ideas in his day might affect thought in the future, and argued against what he saw the consequences of such flawed ideas to be. It is revealing that in nearly a century since he penned his arguments against evolution and Darwinism, those same arguments are as relevant today as they were in the early 20th century. Darwinism was open to serious attack then, and with the vast gain in scientific information, not only have evolutionists failed to answer the relatively simple questions that Chesterton put forward, creationists have more arguments than ever against the increasingly contrived pro-evolutionary stance, which has resorted to teaching falsehoods to gain converts.

Staunch defender

Chesterton also successfully debated some of the leading anti-Christians of his day, such as George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell and Clarence Darrow.17 Against Darrow, he was much more successful than William Jennings Bryan, winning the audience vote about 2–1. One report stated:
‘At the conclusion of the debate everybody was asked to express his opinion as to the victor and slips of paper were passed around for that purpose. The award went directly to Chesterton. Darrow in comparison, seemed heavy, uninspired, slow of mind, while G.K.C. was joyous, sparkling and witty …. quite the Chesterton one had come to expect from his books. The affair was like a race between a lumbering sailing vessel and a modern steamer. Mrs. Frances Taylor Patterson also heard the Chesterton–Darrow debate, but went to the meeting with some misgivings because she was a trifle afraid that Chesterton’s “gifts might seem somewhat literary in comparison with the trained scientific mind and rapier tongue of the famous trial lawyer. Instead, the trained scientific mind, the clear thinking, the lightning quickness in getting a point and hurling back an answer, turned out to belong to Chesterton. I have never heard Mr. Darrow alone, but taken relatively, when that relativity is to Chesterton, he appears positively muddle-headed.”
I was favorably impressed by, warmly attached to, G.K. Chesterton. I enjoyed my debates with him, and found him a man of culture and fine sensibilities.—Famous atheistic lawyer Clarence Darrow, who decisively lost a debate with him.
‘ … As Chesterton summed it up, he felt as if Darrow had been arguing all afternoon with his fundamentalist aunt, and the latter kept sparring with a dummy of his own mental making. When something went wrong with the microphone, Darrow sat back until it could be fixed. Whereupon G.K.C. jumped up and carried on in his natural voice, “Science you see is not infallible!” Whatever brilliance Darrow had in his own right, it was completely eclipsed. For all the luster that he shed, he might have been a remote star at high noon drowned by the bright incandescent light of the sun. Chesterton had the audience with him from the start, and when it was over, everyone just sat there, not wishing to leave.
Ostensibly the defender of science against Mr. Chesterton, [Darrow] obviously knew much less about science than Mr. Chesterton did; when he essayed to answer his opponent on the views of Eddington and Jeans, it was patent that he did not have the remotest conception of what the new physics was all about.’18
Yet these opponents greatly respected him and considered him a friend. This would be like Richard Dawkins expressing warm friendship towards Henry Morris at a much later time. For example, Shaw said:

‘The world is not thankful enough for Chesterton.’

And Darrow wrote:

‘I was favorably impressed by, warmly attached to, G.K. Chesterton. I enjoyed my debates with him, and found him a man of culture and fine sensibilities.’



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  1. Chesterton was a Roman Catholic, but most of his works defend generic Christianity as defined by the ancient Apostle’s Creed, accepted by most Christian denominations. Return to text.
  2. Ahlquist, D., Common Sense 101: Lessons from G.K. Chesterton, p. 117, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2006. Return to text.
  3. Chesterton, G.K. ‘The religious aim of education’ in The Spice of Life, and Other Essays, 1965. Online text: Return to text.
  4. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 8, ‘The romance of orthodoxy’, 1908. Return to text.
  5. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 9, ‘Authority and the Adventurer’. Return to text.
  6. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 2, ‘The maniac’. Return to text.
  7. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 3, ‘The suicide of thought’. Return to text.
  8. Chesterton, As I was saying, chapter 32 ‘About Darwinism’, 1936. Return to text.
  9. Chesterton, ‘Doubts about Darwinism’, The Illustrated London News, 17 July 1920. Return to text.
  10. Chesterton, ‘The evolution of slaves’, in Fancies Versus Fads, 1923. Return to text.
  11. Chesterton, ‘On Darwinism and mystery’, Illustrated London News, 21 August 1920. Return to text.
  12. Indeed, the recent book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome by Dr John Sanford, inventor of the gene gun, provides quantitative support for this. Sanford demonstrates that most mutations are too small to be affected by natural selection (i.e. are neutral), so most selective effects would be swamped by genetic drift and chance happenings, just as Chesterton realized intuitively. Return to text.
  13. Chesterton, ‘Is Darwinism dead?’, in Fancies versus fads, 1923. Return to text.
  14. Chesterton’s context here appears to refer to missing fossil evidence, i.e. proof that natural selection has changed one type of creature into a completely different one. He does not appear to be saying that there is no proof of natural selection itself, which creationists generally agree is a commonsense proposition but a culling, rather than a creative mechanism. Return to text.
  15. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 7, ‘The eternal revolution’. Return to text.
  16. See Chesterton, ‘The empire of the insect’ in What’s wrong with the world, 1910. Return to text.
  17. Dale Ahlquist, Who is this guy and why haven’t I heard of him? American Chesterton to text.
  18. Cited in ‘Chesterton v Darrow debate’, American Chesterton Society, 2000. Return to text.

Creation Ministries International  Dear Augustine: You are welcome to post CMI articles on the mentioned website, as long as you agree not to change any of the content and reference and the relevant authors, as you have indicated. Kind regards,  Annalouise Bekker  Administration   Creation Ministries International (Australia)

“Fair Use “ Notice – Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 The above post may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, social justice, for the purpose of historical debate, and to advance the understanding of Christian conservative issues.  It is believed that this constitutes a ”fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the Copyright Law. In accordance with the title 17 U.S. C. section 107, the material in this post is shown without profit to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

August 28, 2014

Worldviews in Conflict

Filed under: Bible,Creationism,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 8:07 am
Tags: ,

Two worldviews in conflict

Evolution is absolutely opposed to the Bible

The chart below shows the direct conflict between evolution and the Bible in all these relevant areas. Only one system can be correct. When people try to harmonize these two worldviews, usually the Bible’s teaching is modified to fit evolution/long ages.
Whichever worldview foundation a people or nation chooses will have a dramatic influence on the future direction of that people.
The educational system in the West has progressively replaced the biblical foundation with belief in evolution as ‘truth’. This system trains the leaders—teachers, judges, media operators, politicians, etc. These leaders then set the social agenda, which gradually becomes written into law (e.g. the Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, legalising abortion on demand).

It is not difficult to see the results. God is being removed from public life. Man

now determines what is right and wrong, and laws are written by whoever possesses the most political power. No longer do we look to the Bible as the basis for establishing law—instead, we now base our laws on man’s desires and opinions.

Sadly, many mainline churches, parachurch organizations, seminaries, and Bible schools have also accepted the evolutionary foundation and teach it as ‘truth’.
The November 1997 Barna Report states that ‘Christianity seems to be losing influence in people’s lives rather than gaining impact. In fact, Christians have had an alarming lack of impact on the national culture as a direct outgrowth of their faith.’
If Christians use the same foundation as the world, can they expect to produce godly results?
Think of the implications of the contradictions in the chart.
Our Christian leaders who would have us accept evolution, or the equally unbiblical ‘long ages’ story, are really also telling us that God didn’t quite get the order of creation right in Genesis either.
As a matter of fact, if those leaders are right, God got the whole thing backwards. He didn’t just miss one point, He messed up on every point.
When God says He created the earth before the sun, birds before reptiles, whales before land animals, man before death, and that He destroyed the whole earth with a flood, did He really mean what He said or are we dependent on the wisdom of Christian leaders who trust the word of men (scientists/teachers) to tell us what God really meant?
Once we take that first step of rationalising/manipulating God’s Word, where do we stop?
Since God is perfect, as He states in His Word, He knows exactly how He created the earth and He is capable of communicating that to us. If we cannot trust God to tell us how He created the world, or if He cannot tell us in such a way that we will understand, how can we trust Him to communicate other important principles?

If God said one should labour for six days (Exodus 20:9–11), does that mean one should work for billions of years? Yet in the very same passage He says He made everything in six days, with evening and morning, just as ordinary days have. If God didn’t get that right, what else can we trust? Clearly, in Exodus 20:11, God says that He created the universe and all that is in it in six days. Then, in verse 13, God says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ The Hebrew word ratsach means murder, not killing in general. Murder is intentionally taking an innocent human life, and so covers abortion, suicide, infanticide and so-called ‘mercy killing’.

If the six days of Exodus 20 can be stretched into billions of years, then the precedent has been set to allow the moral absolutes of the Bible to be stretched in any direction man desires.
For instance, one could reason that since God is merciful, then assisting a person to kill themselves to end unbearable pain could be claimed not to be murder, but fulfilling God’s command to be merciful. Not to assist such a person could be argued to be very uncaring (sin). In this case, ‘Dr Death’ (the well-known suicide facilitator, Jack Kevorkian) would be a godly man.
Pro-abortionists could also justify their claim that abortion is acceptable because the child is unwanted, and so the mother is saving the child from the future pain of rejection.
Infanticide would also be perfectly acceptable if the child caused the parents too much pain. Spouses can cause each other unbearable pain, as can judges and police officers who limit people’s freedom. After all, we are just trying to eliminate pain and be merciful. So the next step might be to eliminate anyone who gets in one’s way. For example, the Jewish people caused Hitler pain because they were not politically correct.
This progression is not fiction. Other societies have already carried it out (Russia, China, Rwanda, etc.). Our Western society has already traveled a long way down this road. The major roadblock slowing this progress in America is the fact that it was founded on biblical absolutes, which still linger in the back of most people’s thinking.
Once you begin rationalizing away the literal meaning of God’s Word, the options are limitless. If we say the Bible is not ‘scientific’, and that it deals only with ‘why’ and not ‘how’ God did things, can we be sure Christ was born of a virgin? Or that He literally rose from the dead? After all, these are also ‘scientifically impossible’ events.
If we can’t trust any of these crucial matters in Genesis, how can we trust God to get it right about salvation?
But, in fact, the God of the Bible is very articulate and precise. He says exactly what He means and means exactly what He says. Throughout the Bible, God is very specific. He tells us exactly what to do to be saved. He told Israel exactly what they needed to do to receive His blessings. He told Moses exactly how to build the tabernacle. He told Noah exactly how to build the Ark. And in Genesis 1, He tells us exactly what He means as well. As a society or as individuals, we ignore or modify God’s Word at our peril.

Evolution vs the Bible


  1. There is no God (atheism); or, if a god exists, he/she/it left no trace of any creative activity
  2. The present is the key to the past
  3. We are here by chance


  1. Random mutation with natural selection
  2. Life appeared and gradually diversified
  3. No global flood covered the earth

Order of Appearance:
(also for ‘progressive creation’)

  1. Matter always existed or just appeared
  2. Sun/stars existed before Earth
  3. Sun is Earth’s first light
  4. First life = marine organisms
  5. Reptiles pre-date birds
  6. Land mammals predate whales
  7. Disease/death precede man


  1. No life after death
  2. Our present life is all there is
  3. Man is the highest authority
  4. Self-fulfillment is the highest priority of man

Logical Consequence:

  1. God is reduced to a creation of man
  2. God is removed from public life
  3. Man determines right and wrong
  4. Civil laws written by the group with most (political) power


  1. In the beginning, God created
  2. Revelation (God’s Word) is the key to the past
  3. We were created by God


  1. Intelligent design
  2. Universe/life created in six ordinary days approximately 6,000 years ago
  3. Noah’s flood covered the entire earth

Order of Appearance:

  1. God created matter
  2. Earth created before sun/stars
  3. Light created before sun
  4. First life = land plants
  5. Birds pre-date land reptiles
  6. Whales pre-date land mammals
  7. Disease/death result from man’s sin

Bible Teaches:

  1. Man’s spirit will live forever
  2. God wants us to live with Him forever
  3. God is the highest authority
  4. Love of God, and obedience to His Word is the highest priority of man

Logical Consequence:

  1. God is the all-powerful Creator
  2. God is honoured in public life
  3. God determines right and wrong
  4. Civil laws based on God’s law

Dan Manthei, B.S. works in his own family business. His personal mission—to direct as much energy as possible to fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).
Creation Ministries International  Dear Augustine: You are welcome to post CMI articles
on the mentioned website, as long as you agree not to change any of the content
and reference and the relevant authors, as you have indicated.Kind regards,  Annalouise Bekker  Administration

Creation Ministries International (Australia)


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August 26, 2014

What is a Pastor?

Filed under: Bible,Church History,Church News,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 9:02 pm

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.
When most religious people think of the word “pastor” they have in mind the primary leader of a congregation, or of a certain section of a congregation. They may think about the “youth pastor” who organizes trips, devotionals, and encourages involvement among the teenage youth group. Or they may bring to mind the “senior pastor” who is responsible for most of the preaching that is done at the congregation, or the associate pastor who does much of the hospital visiting. Whatever your idea of a pastor is, there is an excellent question to ask yourself: “Is the Bible’s description of a pastor the same as my idea of what a pastor is?” Let’s explore what the Bible has to say about pastors.  


 The term “pastor” is found in Ephesians 4:11: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” It is translated from the Greek word poimen, which means “a shepherd” or a person who herds sheep (Danker, et. al., 2000 p. 684). It is used to describe actual shepherds in the birth story of Jesus in Luke 2:8. But it has an expanded meaning that includes the idea of spiritual shepherds who oversee a flock of “sheep” or Christians, as it is used in Ephesians 4:11. The apostle Peter elaborated on this idea of spiritual shepherding when he wrote: “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder…. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you serving as overseers…and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” In Acts 20, we read that Paul “sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church” (20:17). While giving them instructions, he said, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, toshepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (20:28). From these references we understand that the term shepherd is used to describe a spiritual overseer of the Lord’s Church. The word “pastor” is simply the Latin translation of the word “shepherd.” Thus, we can see that the term “pastor” originated from the biblical discussion of spiritual leaders in the early Christian church.
It is interesting to note, however, that there is a specific group of leaders that are instructed to “shepherd” or “pastor” the flock of God. From 1 Peter 5 and Acts 20, we learn that the “elders” of the church were the ones instructed to “shepherd” or “oversee” the flock. If that is the case, what does the Bible say about elders? Thankfully, we have been given some very clear references to the spiritual office of “elders.” In Titus 1:3, the apostle Paul explained to Titus, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.” The word translated “elders” comes from the Greek word presbuteros. While it is true that this word sometimes is used simply to describe those who are older as compared to those who are younger, it is also the case that it is often used to describe a spiritual office held by those who shepherded the church. This is established by the fact that Titus was instructed to “appoint elders in every city,” and Paul provided a detailed list of qualifications for those “elders” that included much more than one’s age. Thus we can know that a pastor (shepherd) was the same as an “elder” and this office was that of a spiritual overseer of a local church (in every city).
What might come as a surprise to some is that the term “bishop” is also linked to the terms “elder” and “shepherd” (or pastor). In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul gives a list of qualifications similar to the one found in Titus, but he begins the list by stating, “A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife…” (3:2). The term “bishop” comes from the Greek word episkopos which means “overseer” (Danker, et. al., p. 299). Recall that in Acts 20:28, Paul called the elders from the church in Ephesus and explained that they were to take heed “to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” The term translated “overseers” is from the Greek word episkopos. When we refer back to Titus, we see that Paul instructed Titus to appoint elders, and then after giving some of the qualifications, stated, “For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God” (Titus 1:7). Here again the Bible uses the terms to speak of the same office. Thus, the elders, or shepherds (or pastors) were the bishops (or overseers) of the church. We do not find that these are separate offices in the church, but words that all describe the same leaders, simply giving subtle descriptions of what they do as the spiritual leaders, such as shepherd or oversee the flock.
If it is the case that the New Testament uses the terms “elders,” “shepherds,” “pastors,” “overseers,” and “bishops” to speak of the same spiritual office, what does that mean for the Lord’s church today? First, it would indicate that anyone who is a “pastor” or “bishop” should have the qualifications for those offices that are listed in Titus and 1 Timothy. Those lists present straightforward personality traits and life situations that all who “qualify” as pastors or bishops must maintain in order to spiritually oversee the church of the Lord. Without going into an extended discussion of each item on the lists, we can see why an “elder” or “bishop” must not be “greedy for money” if he is to lead the Lord’s church. Furthermore, we can understand why an overseer must not be addicted to alcohol or be violent.
It is true that people can appoint anyone they want as their “spiritual leaders” and call them whatever they like. By that I mean, could a religious group appoint teenage alcoholics who love to fight and are greedy and covetous to be their spiritual overseers, and use the terms “elders” or “pastors” to describe them? Certainly they could. But that would not make them pastors in the way the New Testament describes a pastor. Notice that in Acts 20:28, Paul told the Ephesian elders that the Holy Spirit had made those men elders. How does that happen today? Since we know that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the Bible writers such as Peter and Paul were inspired when they penned the books of the New Testament (2 Peter 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13), then we can conclude that in order for pastors to be appointed today “by the Holy Spirit” they must meet the qualifications found in the New Testament. Just because a group of people refers to someone as a bishop or pastor does not mean that person actually meets the qualifications of a bishop or pastor as found in the New Testament.
A close look at the qualifications for pastors (bishops, elders, overseers, shepherds) reveals that many people who are called pastors or bishops would not qualify as such under the New Testament. For instance, Paul told Timothy that “a bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2). He instructed Titus that a man could be appointed as an elder (or bishop) if he was “blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children” (1:6). Notice that one of the first qualifications mentioned in order for a person to be a spiritual overseer of the Lord’s church is that he is married to one woman. Would this apply to many who are called pastors or bishops today?
When it becomes clear that many who are called pastors, elders, or bishops in certain religious groups do not meet the qualifications that are inspired by the Holy Spirit, an attempt is often made to “bend” the qualifications. For instance, we are often told that it is not necessary for a pastor to be the husband of one wife; it would be fine if he were not married. We are told that “the qualifications” are not so strict as to exclude unmarried men or even women from the office. There is an obvious problem with such reasoning. Which of the qualifications can be omitted? Would those religious groups argue that it would be acceptable to have a greedy bishop, or an alcoholic elder, or a violent pastor? You see, once humans begin to amend the list of qualifications to their own liking, it is no longer the Holy Spirit’s qualification list being used to appoint bishops and elders, but an uninspired, humanly devised (or revised) list.
A study of the term pastor as it is used in the New Testament helps us arrive at another interesting biblical concept. In each of the references to the office of pastors (bishops, overseers, elders, shepherds) we see that the New Testament consistently refers to a plurality of these spiritual leaders in each church. In Titus 1, Paul told the young preacher to “appoint elders (plural) in every city.” Peter wrote, “The elders (plural) who are among you I exhort” (1 Peter 5:1). In Acts 20 we see that Paul “sent to Ephesus and called for the elders (plural) of the church” (20:17). Acts 14:23 explains that Paul and Barnabas “appointed elders (plural) in every church.” The idea of a single spiritual leader overseeing a church or congregation of the Lord’s people is found nowhere in the New Testament. As J.W. McGarvey noted: “There is no proposition in reference to the organization of the primitive churches upon which scholars and critics are more perfectly agreed than that every fully organized church had a plurality of Elders” (1950, p. 66).
If we compare the biblical idea of a pastor to that found in many religious groups today we discover that the Bible and those groups present opposing ideas. The biblical picture of a pastor is that of a spiritual leader who meets specific qualifications and who works in conjunction with other pastors who meet the same qualifications to shepherd the church of God of which they jointly have been appointed as overseers. Does your view of a pastor correspond with the view found in the Bible? Does the religious group that you associate with have a biblical arrangement for its spiritual leadership? If it does not, wouldn’t it be wise to begin your search today for a congregation of the Lord’s church that does have pastors who have been appointed by the Holy Spirit to overseer the flock?


Danker, Frederick William, William Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago. Press).
McGarvey, J.W. (1950), The Eldership (Murfreesboro, TN: Dehoff Publications).


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