Christian Churches of God

No. 164B

 

 

 

Alleged Bible Contradictions

 

(Edition 1.0 20100306-20100306)

 

This paper deals with commonly quoted Bible texts alleged to be contradictory and their explanations. They are often quoted by Atheists who have no real knowledge of the Bible. The text is to assist members of the churches of God to answer the claims.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

(Copyright ©  2010 Wade Cox)

 

This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisher’s name and address and the copyright notice must be included.  No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies.  Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.

 

This paper is available from the World Wide Web page:
http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 

 


Alleged Bible Contradictions



 


Introduction

 

There are a number of texts in the Bible that are held up as contradictions. They are then claimed as proof that the Bible text is uninspired.

 

Let us examine these texts and we can perhaps deal with the doubts raised in the minds of people by those who seek to attack the basis of the faith by attacking the inspiration of Scripture.

 

Old Testament

 

(a) Adam was told that if and when he eats the forbidden fruit he would die the same day (Genesis 2:17)
(b) Adam ate the fruit and went on to live to a ripe old age of 930 years (Genesis 5:5)

The comment was that the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. The process of death was commenced on the day that he ate of it. The process and time of death was begun and the speed accelerated with time. Adam lived 930 years and the patriarchs lived great ages but the period decreased until after the flood when it went to 120 years and then to 70 years.

 

(a) God decided that the life-span of humans will be limited to 120 years (Genesis 6:3)
(b) Many people born after that lived longer than 120. Arpachshad lived 438 years. His son Shelah lived 433 years. His son Eber lived 464 years, etc. (Genesis 11:12-16).

 

The text in Genesis 6:3 says that God said that His Spirit shall not always strive (remain in man) but he had allocated 120 years. The fact was that some of the patriarchs were more righteous and filled of the Spirit than others. The fact was that the ages diminished from that time forth.

 

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When the Israelites dwelt in Shittim they committed adultery with the daughters of Moab. God struck them with a plague. How many people died in that plague?

(a) Twenty-four thousand (Numbers 25:1 and 9)
(b) Twenty-three thousand (I Corinthians 10:8)

The twenty-four thousand in Numbers 25:9 includes the thousand hanged in verses 4 & 5 as well as those who died of the “plague.” The twenty-three thousand were those that fell in one day (1Cor. 10:8) (cf. Bullinger’s notes to v. 9).

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How many members of the house of Jacob came to Egypt?

(a) Seventy souls (Genesis 46:26-27)
(b) Seventy-five souls (Acts 7:14)

The seventy-five referred to by Stephen are those that came out of his loins which were the nine additional relatives to the sixty-six that came in of the direct family of Jacob and the sons of the family of Joseph that were already there making seventy, one of which was a foetus in utero. These five were made up in part by the five in 1 Chronicles 7:14-20 who were Machir, Gilead, Shuthelah, Tabath, Eden, as also in the Septuagint.

 

The problem comes from a lack of knowledge on the part of the questioner.
.............................

 

To whom did the Midianites sell Joseph?

(a) “To the Ishmaelites” (Genesis 37:28)
(b) “To Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh” (Genesis 37:36)

Joseph’s brothers wanted to sell him to the Ishmaelites who were nearby. It was the Midianites that retrieved him. The Ishmaelites bought Joseph from the Midianites. The fact is that they were sons of Abraham, the former from Hagar and the latter from Keturah. They were mixed together and were distinguished only by their nose rings as we know from the texts (Jdg. 8:24, 25; cf. Gen 24:47; 35:4; Ex. 32:2 etc.). Some exchange occurred in transit as it was the Midianites that sold him to Potiphar, as Genesis 37:36 clearly states. Perhaps these people can’t read properly.

 

The next question is explained by this text.

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Who brought Joseph to Egypt?

(a) The Ishmaelites bought Joseph and then “took Joseph to Egypt” (Genesis 37:28)
(b) “The Midianites had sold him in Egypt” (Genesis 37:36)
(c) Joseph said to his brothers “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt” (Genesis 45:4)

The sequence of exchanges had the result of him being sold by his family into slavery in Egypt.

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Does God change his mind?

(a) Yes. “The word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I repent that I have made Saul King...” (I Samuel 15:10 to 11)
(b) No. God “will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent” (I Samuel 15:29)
(c) Yes. “And the Lord repented that he had made Saul King over Israel” (I Samuel 15:35). Notice that the above three quotes are all from the same chapter of the same book! In addition, the Bible shows that God repented on several other occasions:
i. “The Lord was sorry that he made man” (Genesis 6:6)
“I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:7)
ii. “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people” (Exodus 32:14).
iii. (Lots of other such references.)

The use of the word repent in relation to God carries with it the implication that God is not omniscient and changes His mind.

 

The matter is one of sorrow that the creation has conducted itself as it has. The texts refer to multiple entities. Yahovah of Hosts Eloah or Yahovih is omniscient. The subordinate God of Israel Yahovah is not.

 

The fact is that these people do not even  understand there is one God, let alone a Host of Elohim that carry out His will.  

 

In most occasions that God speaks thus it is testing the hearer in relation to what they will do or say and determining their spirituality. Such as with Moses for example when He said He would make a new nation from Moses. He was testing Moses’ ability to become elohim. He knew what Moses would do. He simply wanted Moses to know that also. So also was it with Abraham and David and the others.

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The Bible says that for each miracle Moses and Aaron demonstrated the magicians did the same by their secret arts. Then comes the following feat:

(a) Moses and Aaron converted all the available water into blood (Exodus 7:20-21)
(b) The magicians did the same (Exodus 7:22). This is impossible, since there would have been no water left to convert into blood.

 

The first act was concerned with the Nile as the text is in the singular. There was thus other water available.
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Who killed Goliath?

(a) David (I Samuel 17:23, 50)
(b) Elhanan (2 Samuel 21:19)

The text in 2Samuel 21:19 states clearly that Elhanan slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite.

 

Once again the questioners can’t read plain English.

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Who killed Saul?

(a) “Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.... Thus Saul died... (I Samuel 31:4-6)
(b) An Amalekite slew him (2 Samuel 1:1- 16)

The text in the last chapter of 1Samuel says that Saul asked that his armour bearer kill him with his sword but the armour bearer refused so Saul fell on his own sword.

 

The account in the first chapter of 2Samuel states that Saul (apparently having made a botch of it) then asked the captive Amalekite to kill him which he says he did. He says he was sure he could not live after he had fallen. The text obviously means that he had fallen on his sword. He was pulling himself up with his staff to summon the Amalekite. The armour bearer had left the scene it appears. There is no contradiction in the text but rather confirmation of what happened.

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Contradictions regarding David

 

Who incited David to count the fighting men of Israel?

The assertion is made that a contradiction occurred by comparing the texts in Samuel and Chronicles and misrepresenting them simplistically thus:

 

(a)    God did (2 Samuel 24: 1)

(b)   Satan did (I Chronicles 2 1:1)

The word rendered God here is Yahovah. The supposed contradiction has been explained by Bullinger in the Footnotes to 2Samuel 24:1 in the Companion Bible for decades. He says: “He moved = He suffered him to be moved. By Hebrew idiom (and also by modern usage) a person is said to do that which he permits to be done. Here we have the historical fact. In 1Chronicles 21.1 we have the real fact from the Divine standpoint. Here the exoteric, in 1Chronicles 21.1 the esoteric. For examples see Ex. 4.21; 5.22; Jer. 4.10; Ezek. 14.9; 20.25; Matt. 11.25; 13.11; Rom. 9.18; 11.7,8; 2Thes. 2.11; God’s permission but Satan’s suggestion (Jas. 1.13,14; or yaysath  was taken impersonally, “David was moved.”)

 

The contradiction is actually a misrepresentation by biblically illiterate people who have been influenced by deliberate misrepresentation.

 

The next is like it:

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In that count how many fighting men were found in Israel?

(a) Eight hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
(b) One million, one hundred thousand (IChronicles 21:5)

The distinction was made here between those who volunteered for battle as valiant fighting men in 2Samuel 24:9 and the text in 1Chronicles 21:5 which refers to Israel at 1,100,000 – all they of Israel that drew the sword. The law prohibits sending non volunteers to battle, which is the distinction made here.  Bullinger explains that in the footnotes also so there is no excuse for this misrepresentation.

 

So also is it with Judah in the next paragraph.

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How many fighting men were found in Judah?

(a) Five hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
(b) Four hundred and seventy thousand (I Chronicles 21:5)

 

The text in 2Samuel 24:9 refers to the “men of Judah.” The text in 1Chronicles 21:5 refers to the “men that drew the sword” which was 30,000 less than the total men of Judah.

 

No person who has ever seen active service, nor a medical officer who had any idea of forces, would make such a basic error. There is no contradiction. As in all the Bible texts where different numbers are given it tells the more complete story and is a stone of stumbling to the ignorant.

The next is also explained in Bullinger’s footnotes.

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God sent his prophet to threaten David with how many years of famine?

(a) Seven (2 Samuel 24:13)
(b) Three (I Chronicles 21:12).

 

The figures for seven and three are similar in Hebrew. The Septuagint (LXX) (see Brenton) says three in 2Samuel 24:13 as well as the text in 1Chronicles 21:12. It appears that the MT was a scribal error or misreading of the numeral in the text in Samuel. A simple cross check would have demonstrated that there was no substantive conflict.

 

Once again Bullinger explained that fact and they are without excuse.

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The chief of the mighty men of David lifted up his spear and killed how many men at one time?

(a) Eight hundred (2 Samuel 23:8)
(b) Three hundred (I Chronicles 11: 11)

The text from AV, RSV margin is Josheb-bassebet + Ish Bosheth (put for Ish Baal (man of Baal) son of a Hachmonite altered later to Adino (so Bullinger).

 

The LXX shows that the text in 2Samuel 23:8 refers to the three and the eight hundred were faced by Adinon the Asonite and not Jebosthe the Chananite who is the Josheb Bassebeth referred to as killing the three hundred in 1Chronicles 11:11.

 

There appears to be a distinction in the text of drawing one’s sword against 800 men and killing three hundred at the same time.

 

The problem may also lie with the translation of the text in the KJV and other English translations. The LXX shows clearly that there were two referred to in the text in 2Samuel 23:8. The text actually reads: “These are the mighty men of David: Jebosthe the Chananite is a captain of the third part: Adinon the Asonite he drew his sword against 800 soldiers at once.” The translators may have combined two people or if he were the Canaanite renamed as Adinon the Asonite then he is recorded as going up against 800 on his own and killing 300 of them. Either way there is no irreconcilable problem in the text.

 

The next problem is also similar.

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When did David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem? Before defeating the Philistines or after?

(a) After (2 Samuel 5 and 6)
(b) Before (I Chronicles 13 and 14)

This question is a misrepresentation of the texts. The sequence was that David occupied Jerusalem and after having done so, after a while, he decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. While attempting to do so the Ark overbalanced because the oxen shook the cart and the man Uzzah put his hand out to steady it. He was killed and the Ark was then placed at the house of Obed-edom the Gittite for three months. While the Ark was at the house of Obed-edom the Philistines attacked Israel and were defeated. The problem comes from a superficial reading of the text in  2Samuel 5 and 6 and assuming that the textual order is a chronological order and implies one thing when the text in 1Chronicles shows more clearly the sequence of events (1Chron.13:8-14:17). 

--------------------

When David defeated the King of Zobah, how many horsemen did he capture?

(a) One thousand and seven hundred (2 Samuel 8:4)
(b) Seven thousand (I Chronicles 18:4)

The question is wrong in its interpretation of the texts.

 

2Samuel 8:4 shows that when David defeated Hadadezer the son of the king of Zobah. David seized one thousand chariots and seven hundred horsemen and 20,000 footmen. David is then recorded as hamstringing all the chariot horses of which the number is not mentioned. However, he reserved of them enough for a hundred chariots. So we have no idea from this text how many horses were seized.   

 

The text does say seven hundred horsemen in the text. The problem is presented from 1Chronicles 18:4 which asserts seven thousand horsemen were taken. The number in Hebrew for 7 and 700 are easily mistaken by the translator. For example, Brenton notes the Alexandrian text says seven in 2Samuel 28:4 but the LXX says seven thousand. The LXX of the text in 1Chronicles 18:4 says seven thousand. The Soncino commentary in 1Chronicles 18:4 noted the text in Samuel but notes that the LXX for Samuel agrees with the text in Chronicles. Thus the MT is a transcription error after 140 BCE.

 

The early Hebrew characters were Phoenician and are seen from the Moabite stone. They were in use until ca 140 BCE

 

The same problem is noted in the next alleged problem.

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How many stalls for horses did Solomon have?

(a) Forty thousand (I Kings 4:26)
(b) Four thousand (2 chronicles 9:25)

Bullinger notes the problem in the transcription and the notation of four thousand of 2Chronicles 9:25 is the correct notation. 2Chronicles 1:14 however says that  

Solomon had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen that he placed in the chariot cities with the king at Jerusalem. Therefore, there had to be a minimum of 13,800 horses plus remounts.

 

Deuteronomy 17:16 forbade the king to multiply horses to himself.

 

The LXX omits the section from its text in the sequence. In 2 Chronicles the LXX says that Solomon had 4000 mares for chariots.

 

The Phoenician characters may have been an error in transcription after 140 CE.

 

However, the likely answer is that there were 4000 mares for chariots and 40,000 stalls for the horses that the horsemen of Israel owned in the chariot cities with their remounts which were likely to be one a man. The text in the LXX tells us the likely answer.

 

Twelve thousand horsemen may well have had 24,000 horses. Certainly the couriers had to have remounts on an extended basis. Whilst each cavalry man supplied his own mounts it was the king’s responsibility to house them in the barracks to which they were posted.

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How many overseers did Solomon appoint for the work of building the temple?

(a) Three thousand six hundred (2 Chronicles 2:2)
(b) Three thousand three hundred (I Kings 5:16)

2Chronicles deals with the total of overseers of the work. 1Kings 5:16 shows us that the division was in three hundred chiefs overall and 3300 involved in the work.

 

The texts make the distinction and the conflict exists only in the minds of those seeking to confuse the texts.

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Solomon built a facility containing how many baths?

(a) Two thousand (1 Kings 7:26)
(b) Over three thousand (2 Chronicles 4:5)

The sea at the Temple was built of a displacement volume of three thousand baths (not more than as is suggested by the ones confusing the problem).  As no vessel is filled to its brim the explanation is offered by Bullinger that it was usually filled to the volume of two thousand baths.

 

The other explanation offered by the Soncino Commentary is that the volume of the bath changed. It refers the reader to the text in chapter 2:9 for comment on the capacity of the bath. A bath was a tenth of a kor which was a little over eight gallons.

 

Remember that the Babylonian system of weights and measures was different and the shekel differed in measure also by a ratio of two to three. Thus two thousand baths was the equivalent of three thousand under the Babylonian system.

 

The different measures were probably given to denote what systems were in use to determine the exact size and remove doubt. There are other measurements and time frames that have different totals or years listed to make the matter more and not less precise.

 

The next problem is another silly question based on a known translation error from the Hebrew into the English.

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In what year of King Asa's reign did Baasha, King of Israel die?

(a) Twenty-sixth year (I Kings 15:33 - 16:8)
(b) Still alive in the thirty-sixth year (2 Chronicles 16:1)

The problem arises in the text in 1Kings 15:33 which says: In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Basha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years. Therefore he died in the twenty sixth year of Asa (16:8). Yet from 2Chronicles 16:1: in the thirty-sixth year Basha came and made war against Judah (i.e. in the 9th/10th year after his death.

 

The problem comes from the translation of the word meaning kingdom as reign. The text should read “the thirty-sixth year from the kingdom of Israel.”  Bullinger notes the answer in his note to 1Kings 15:33 and all one had to do was look up his answer or use one’s common sense.

 

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Of the Israelites who were freed from the Babylonian captivity, how many were the children of Pahrath-Moab?

(a) Two thousand eight hundred and twelve (Ezra 2:6)
(b) Two thousand eight hundred and eighteen (Nehemiah 7:11)

The record registered in Nehemiah is a later record and is stated to have been found much later. Zerubbabel did not return with Nehemiah and this is a second list made we know not when. It may well have been made later and found well over 100 years later.

 

The next problem is another example of misunderstanding the text from the translations.
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How old was Ahaziah when he began to rule over Jerusalem?

(a) Twenty-two (2 Kings 8:26)
(b) Forty-two (2 Chronicles 22:2)

The text in 2Chronicles 22:2 says: “a son of Forty two years”: i.e. of the house of Omri, on account his connection with it through his mother which is why she is mentioned in the text.  The text says daughter of Omri which is used biblically for grandchildren also, which she was.

 

Bullinger’s figures are 832-790 BCE which is the forty-two years. 2Kings 8:26 has Ahaziah’s actual age of twenty-two years when he began to reign in 790, during the two years of his father’s disease. His father Jehoram was thirty-two when he began to reign with Jehoshaphat two years before his death (cf. 2Kgs 8:16) (in 796 BCE on Bullinger’s chronology). Jehoram was only 16 years of age when he fathered Ahaziah.

 

There is no conflict. The comments merely serve to explain the sequence of the reigns and the importance of the figures involved. The absence of the three kings Ahaziah, Joash and Amaziah in the lineage of Joseph and adoptively Christ in Matthew 1:8 is because they all died violent deaths and were excluded. We will explain that later.

 

Once again all these people had to do was look up Bullinger’s notes and they would have understood. There is nothing difficult about it.

 

As with the next:

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How old was Jehoiachin when he became king of Jerusalem?

(a) Eighteen (2 Kings 24:8)
(b) Eight (2 Chronicles 36:9)

Bullinger’s notes on 2Chronicles 36:9 show an incorrect reasoning or interpretation of the texts. The LXX and Syriac and some codices read eight years. Brenton has a note that says that the Alexandrian text reads 18 years and not eight. The text in 2Kings is correct and the scribal error in the MT and a text of the LXX stems from a scribal error after the production of the Alexandrian that made eighteen into eight in the Chronicles’ text which is of itself a drastic abridgment of 2Kings 24:8-17. The New Oxford Annotated Bible RSV notes that the Babylonian tablets disclose that by 592 BCE he had five sons; and hence 18 was the correct age from this independent corroborative evidence. Far from being a problem, the Babylonian tablets corroborate the text in Kings and show what was a scribal error in a later text of the Masoretes.

 

The next claim is a good example of trite and simplistic reasoning.

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How long did he rule over Jerusalem?

(a) Three months (2 Kings 24:8)
(b) Three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9)

The text in Kings does not incorporate the part month of ten days. The Bible rarely quotes days as part of months unless there is a specific purpose. This inclusion of ten days was used here to note that it was the turn of the year that Nebuchadnzzar came against Jerusalem in his eighth year which Bullinger completely misapprehends. It was important to the calculation of the calendar from Ezekiel and was added here for that purpose.

 

The next is puerile reasoning

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How many pairs of clean animals did God tell Noah to take into the Ark?

(a) Two (Genesis 6:19, 20)
(b) Seven (Genesis 7:2). But despite this last instruction only two pairs went into the ark (Genesis 7:8-9)

Two pairs of all animals went into the ark but there were seven pairs of clean animals as explained in the texts. This was also explained in the paper The Foodlaws (No. 015). One does not have to be all that clever to understand the text and see that the arguments are specious.

 

This question also is answered as per the two independent texts above.

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How many were the children of Zattu?

(a) Nine hundred and forty-five (Ezra 2:8)
(b) Eight hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:13)

Bullinger has a note (v. 66) dealing with the two independent accounts which were made at different times.

 

Of the 42,360 numbered in Nehemiah there were 31,089 listed as named in Nehemiah and 494 not named in Ezra and as 31,583 with a difference between names and numbers of 10,777.

 

So there were two roll calls made at different times by different scribes. So what? The stragglers may have caught up with the main body. Some new ones might have decided to come.

 

Here again the same problem is posed, same answer.

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How many were the children of Azgad?

(a) One thousand two hundred and twenty-two (Ezra 2:12)
(b) Two thousand three hundred and twenty-two (Nehemiah 7:17)


Same problem and answer for the next one.

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How many were the children of Adin?

(a) Four hundred and fifty-four (Ezra 2:15)
(b) Six hundred and fifty-five (Nehemiah 7:20)

And the next:

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How many were the children of Hashum?

(a) Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:19)
(b) Three hundred and twenty-eight (Nehemiah 7:22)

And the next:

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How many were the children of Bethel and Ai?

(a) Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:28)
(b) One hundred and twenty-three (Nehemiah 7:32)

Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the total number of the whole assembly was 42,360. Yet the numbers do not add up to anything close. The totals obtained from each book is as follows:

(a) 29,818 (Ezra)
(b) 31,089 (Nehemiah)

 

And also with the next: The lists were made to cover at least two movements over one hundred years and the people framing these questions don’t understand any of the facts of the matter. The issues are covered in the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 013).

 

Ezra was prepared and operating before Nehemiah got there and the differences reflect what we would expect to see in two independent accounts of what was happening at any one time.

The same applies to the singers listed as being with them.

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How many singers accompanied the assembly?

(a) Two hundred (Ezra 2:65)
(b) Two hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:67)

As the governor there would be little doubt that he would have brought in more officers which would include criers and singers.

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What was the name of King Abijah’s mother?

(a) Michaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chronicles 13:2)
(b) Maachah, daughter of Absalom (2 Chronicles 11:20) But Absalom had only one daughter whose name was Tamar (2 Samuel 14:27)

At the writing of the text in Samuel, Absalom had three sons and one daughter, Tamar. By the time he erected the pillar referred to 2Samuel 18:18 every one of his sons was dead and he only had daughters left to him, one of whom we are told in 2Chronicles 11:20 was Maachah, in addition to the Tamar referred to in the text in Samuel.

 

The comments regarding Michaiah are explained in Josephus and the comments here come from the same misunderstanding of Hebrew idiom. A “daughter” can be a granddaughter, as well as referring to a daughter as is the case here. Uriel of Gibeah was the husband of Tamar daughter of Absalom. Tamar was the mother of Michaiah (Josephus, Antiq. VIII, 10.1; cf. also 2Chron. 11:20; 1Kgs. 15:2).

 

The next claim reflects the same ignorance of Scripture and fact

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Did Joshua and the Israelites capture Jerusalem?

(a) Yes (Joshua 10:23, 40)
(b) No (Joshua 15:63)

Joshua captured the king of Jerusalem as well as a number of others in open warfare as stated in Joshua 10:23. Verse 40 makes no mention of Jerusalem at all. 15:63 shows that he did not enter Jerusalem he merely captured the kings in battle and killed them all and cleared the fields as verse 40 states.

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This question shows a profound ignorance of genealogy and Hebrew customs.

 

Who was the father of Joseph, husband of Mary?

(a) Jacob (Matthew 1:16)
(b) Heli (Luke 3:23)

Heli was Joseph’s father-in-law. The text in Luke 3 is that of Mariam the mother of Christ.

 

The absence of the definite article before the son-in-law indicates that he is the husband of Heli’s daughter. This is a widely known and acknowledged fact in Judaism.

 

The next question is thus a superfluous error.

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Jesus descended from which son of David?

(a) Solomon (Matthew 1:6)
(b) Nathan (Luke3:31)

Christ was the descendant of Nathan.

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Who was the father of Shealtiel?

(a) Jechoniah (Matthew 1:12)
(b) Neri’ (Luke 3:27)

Jechoniah was the father of Assir the father of Salathiel (1Chron. 3:17-19). The other sons of Jechoniah were Machiram and Pediah and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah.

 

The lineage in Luke 3 refers to a Salathiel and also to a Zorobabel the father of Resa.

 

Zorobabel means “born in” or “son of Babylon.” The son named Resa was born from the princess of Persia, daughter of Darius the Persian who was Zorobabel’s second wife. Hence the Persian name Resa.

 

The real father of Zorobabel was in fact Pediah, conceived under the Levirate laws. (cf. 1Chron. 3:19) This fact is explained in the paper Genealogy of the Messiah (No. 119).

 

The next question follows on from the same error in understanding.

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Which son of Zerubbabel was an ancestor of Jesus Christ?

(a) Abiud (Matthew 1: 13)
(b) Rhesa (Luke 3:27) But the seven sons of Zerubbabel are as follows: i.Meshullam, ii. Hananiah, iii. Hashubah, iv. Ohel, v.Berechiah, vi. Hasadiah, vii. Jushabhesed (I Chronicles 3:19, 20). The names Abiud and Rhesa do not fit in anyway.

Abiud was the ancestor of Joseph husband of Mariam mother of Christ and not of Christ’s lineage.

 

Zorobabel, of the return, had three wives the third of which was a Jewess of the house of David. The other two were foreign princesses. The second one, a Persian, was the ancestress of the Messiah. That is common knowledge in Jewish genealogy.

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Who was the father of Uzziah?

(a) Joram (Matthew 1:8)
(b) Amaziah (2 Chronicles 26:1)

The text in Mathew 1:8 omits three names of kings who all died violent deaths.

 

The names are in sequence including the omissions:

1. Joram or Jehoram (2Kgs 8:16; 2Chron. 21:1);

2. Ahaziah (2Kgs 8:27; 2Chron. 22:1-9);

3. Joash or Jehoash (2Kgs 11:2-12:20; 2Chron 24:1-23);

4. Amaziah (2Kgs 14:8-20; 2Chron 25:1,8; 5. Jehioakim (2Kgs 23:36-24:6; 2Chron. 36:5-8).

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Who was the father of Jechoniah?

(a) Josiah (Matthew 1:11)
(b) Jehoiakim (I Chronicles 3:16)

Jechonias was Jehoiakin the son of Jehoiakim (2Kgs 24:8) omitted from the text in Matthew for stated reasons.

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How many generations were there from the Babylonian exile until Christ?

(a) Matthew says fourteen (Matthew 1:17)
(b) But a careful count of the generations reveals only thirteen (see Matthew 1: 12-16)

The Christ is the fourteenth. However, there were only the righteous counted in this list anyway.

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Who was the father of Shelah?

(a) Cainan (Luke 3:35-36)
(b) Arphaxad (Genesis 11: 12)

The inclusion of Cainan in the genealogy in Luke 3 is based on the evidence of the Septuagint which is disputed by the Masoretic Text. The compilation of the Greek in Luke used the Greek of the LXX.

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Was John the Baptist Elijah who was to come?

(a) Yes (Matthew 11: 14, 17:10-13)
(b) No (John 1:19-21)

Christ stated quite clearly that John was an Elijah but the promised Elijah of Malachi 4   was yet to come. There is nothing difficult in comprehending what Christ was saying in this regard.

 

The next question shows the same ignorance of the genealogies as listed above.

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Would Jesus inherit David’s throne?

(a) Yes. So said the angel (Luke 1:32)
(b) No, since he is a descendant of Jehoiakim (see Matthew 1:11, IChronicles 3:16). And Jehoiakim was cursed by God so that none of his descendants can sit upon David’s throne (Jeremiah 36:30)

The Messiah has to be a descendant of David through Nathan to fulfil the prophecies.

 

No descendant of Jeconiah could sit on David’s throne without God’s direct permission or authority. The lineage from Jeconiah in Matthew 1 is of Joseph which Christ only shared by adoption. The fact that Christ did inherit David’s throne through direct intervention of God shows that God used this link to heal the rift.

 

The next question shows a poor understanding of the harmony of the gospels.

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Jesus rode into Jerusalem on how many animals?

(a) One - a colt (Mark 11:7; cf. Luke 19:35). “And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it.”
(b) Two - a colt and an ass (Matthew 21:7). “They brought the ass and the colt and put their garments on them and he sat thereon.”

The two events are explained in the paper Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No.159).

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How did Simon Peter find out that Jesus was the Christ?

(a) By a revelation from heaven (Matthew 16:17)
(b) His brother Andrew told him (John 1:41)

Andrew told Peter that they had found the Messiah. It was the Holy Spirit that told him that the Messiah was the Son of the Living God. Christ confirmed that fact.

 

Likewise the next question shows an ignorance of the texts involved.

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Where did Jesus first meet Simon Peter and Andrew?

(a) By the sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18-22)
(b) On the banks of river Jordan (John 1:42). After that, Jesus decided to go to Galilee (John 1:43)

Andrew first met Christ at the Jordan and then followed him to where he dwelt (Jn. 1:39). The question misrepresents the text in John to assert it says something it does not say.

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When Jesus met Jairus was Jairus’ daughter already dead?

(a) Yes. Matthew 9:18 quotes him as saying, “My daughter has just died.”

 

(b) No. Mark 5:23 quotes him as saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death.”

The text says “at the point of death” (eschatos exei). The wording in Mathew says arti eteleutesen. The one text conveys the concept that she had died; the other says she was dying. The fact is that she was at the point of death and assumed dead, but was saved alive.

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Did Jesus allow his disciples to keep a staff on their journey?

(a) Yes (Mark 6:8)
(b) No (Matthew 10:9; Luke 9:3)

The twelve apostles were sent out to the lost of the house of Israel and were told not to take a staff (rabdon). Mark 6:8 says except a rabdon. The problem seems to come with the distinction in the use of staff or clubs (cf. Mat. 26:47).

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Did Herod think that Jesus was John the Baptist?

(a) Yes (Matthew 14:2; Mark 6:16)
(b) No (Luke 9:9)

The text in Luke is phrased in the form of a question in that he said he had beheaded John and if so, then who was it of whom he was hearing.  He wanted to see for himself that it was not John. The other two texts show that he was afraid it might have been the resurrected John. Historically, the whole nation was expecting the Messiah.

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Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus before his baptism?

(a) Yes (Matthew 3:13-14)
(b) No (John 1:32,33)

John expected the Christ and when he saw him he knew that he was the Christ by what happened. He already told the people that the Messiah was coming. To suggest that he did not know his own cousin is a bit silly. He knew him but the confirmation that he was the Messiah, the lamb of God, came from the Holy Spirit.

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Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus after his baptism?

(a) Yes (John 1:32, 33)
(b) No (Matthew 11:2)

This posed problem is a misrepresentation of the text. There is no conflict. Mathew 11:2 represents a question posed of Christ as to him now carrying out the work of God. He is urging him to get on with the work of God which Christ did as soon as John was cast into prison. The text is one of concern for the work.

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According to the Gospel of John, what did Jesus say about bearing his own witness?

(a) “If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true” (John 5:31)
(b) “Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true” (John 8:14)

The problem is taken out of context.

 

Christ goes on to say the works themselves bear witness to the truth and the Father himself bears witness to him. John 8:14 says: “bear record of myself” which is the word marturia or effectively witness as was that of John (Jn. 1:19, 32).

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When Jesus entered Jerusalem did he cleanse the temple that same day?

(a) Yes (Matthew 21:12)
(b) No. He went into the temple and looked around, but since it was very late he did nothing. Instead, he went to Bethany to spend the night and returned the next morning to cleanse the temple (Mark I1:1- 17).

The sequence of the Gospels is not understood by the people posing this question. The various occasions that Christ entered the Temple were part of the Sanctification process and is explained in the texts Timing of the Crucifixion and the  Resurrection (No.159) and also Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 241).

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The Gospels say that Jesus cursed a fig tree. Did the tree wither at once?

(a) Yes. (Matthew 21:19)
(b) No. It withered overnight (Mark 11: 20)

The text in Mathew says that Christ cursed the tree on the way from Bethany into the city and presently it withered away. Not immediately but presently. The disciples when they saw it, which was the next morning when they left the city, marvelled that it was already withered.

 

The problem does not exist except in the minds of those who seek occasion against the word of God.

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Did Judas kiss Jesus?

(a) Yes (Matthew 26:48-50)
(b) No. Judas could not get close enough to Jesus to kiss him (John 18:3-12)

The text in Matthew shows that Judas went to Jesus with the group and kissed him to betray him. The text in John concentrates on the fact that Jesus then turned the tables on the situation by asking the question that they had set Judas up to identify by approaching him. They were then cowardly in their behaviour because they did things clandestinely. There is no necessary contradiction here but one of emphasis.

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What did Jesus say about Peter’s denial?

(a) “The cock will not crow till you have denied me three times” (John 13:38).
(b) “Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times” (Mark 14:30). When the cock crowed once, the three denials were not yet complete (see Mark 14:72). Therefore prediction (a) failed.

The text in John 13:38 says: “a cock shall by no means have crowed” meaning the cock will not have finished crowing until you have denied me three times, and the other texts show that from the time he had commenced to crow to the time he had finished the third denial occurred and the texts show that to be the meaning.

---------------------------------

Did Jesus bear his own cross?

(a) Yes (John 19:17)
(b) No (Matthew 27:31-32)

Christ bore his own cross for the majority of the way but towards the end the scourging had taken such toll another was made to carry it for him. John 19:17 records the fact that he was made to bear his own cross and goes to the place of execution in the narrative. The narrative in Matthew is concerned with the detail of the journey.

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Did Jesus die before the curtain of the temple was torn?

(a) Yes (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark l5:37-38)

(b) No. After the curtain was torn, then Jesus crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:45-46)

The Temple veil was torn at the end of the darkness which lasted from the sixth hour to the ninth hour that is from 12 noon to 3 p.m.

 

The placement of the text of 45 and 46 is contemporaneous and the person posing the question tries to make it appears as though the sequence is consecutive when in fact the other texts show what the meaning is. The ninth hour was the time that the first lamb was killed to be presented to the High Priest and that was the precise time that Christ died and the darkness was lifted as the Temple veil was torn. The centurion witnessed the sequence and said those words.

 

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Did Jesus say anything secretly?

(a) No. “I have said nothing secretly” (John 18:20)
(b) Yes. “He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything” (Mark 4:34). The disciples asked him “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matthew 13: 10-11)

Speaking in parables is not speaking secretly. It is speaking so that people would not understand what he said.

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Where was Jesus at the sixth hour on the day of the crucifixion?

(a) On the cross (Mark 15:23)
(b) In Pilate’s court (John 19:14)

At the sixth hour of the night which is the darkness of the day he was in Pilate’s court and the sixth hour of the day that is at 12 noon he was on the stake.

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The gospels say that two thieves were crucified along with Jesus. Did both thieves mock Jesus?

(a) Yes (Mark 15:32)
(b) No. One of them mocked Jesus, the other defended Jesus (Luke 23:43)

The assumption is that there were only three stakes and three people killed. The long held tradition was that there were five killed, two on either side of Christ.

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Did Jesus ascend to Paradise the same day of the crucifixion?

(a) Yes. He said to the thief who defended him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43)
(b) No. He said to Mary Magdelene two days later, “I have not yet ascended to the Father” (John 20:17)

 

The problem comes from the understanding of the idiom and the translation.

 

Christ said: “I say to you today, You will be with me in paradise.” He did not say that he would be in Paradise with him that day but that he was saying today I am telling you that you will be with me in paradise.
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When Paul was on the road to Damascus he saw a light and heard a voice. Did those who were with him hear the voice?

(a) Yes (Acts 9:7)
(b) No (Acts 22:9)

The companions of Saul saw the light and heard the sound of the voice but could not distinguish the words spoken as we see from 22:9 (cf. Bullinger’s notes to the text).

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When Paul saw the light he fell to the ground. Did his travelling companions also fall to the ground?

(a) Yes (Acts 26:14)
(b) No (Acts 9:7)

The men stood speechless. Paul provides the information at 26:14 that they also did in fact fall down but he could not himself see when he got up.

 

He may have been able to distinguish nothing.

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Did the voice spell out on the spot what Paul’s duties were to be?

(a) Yes (Acts 26:16-18)
(b) No. The voice commanded Paul to go into the city of Damascus and there he will be told what he must do. (Acts 9:7; 22:10)

In Acts 26:13-19 he is recounting a synopsis of what transpired to Agrippa and it makes no claim to be the entire accounting of the events. Why should it be assumed to be so?

..........................

 

What did Judas do with the blood money he received for betraying Jesus?

(a) He bought a field (Acts 1:18)
(b) He threw all of it into the temple and went away. The priests could not put the blood money into the temple treasury, so they used it to buy a field to bury strangers (Matthew 27:5)

The word purchased in Acts 1:18 is ktaomai meaning “caused to be acquired as a possession by purchase.” This explains what took place in consequence after he placed the money in the treasury where it could not remain.

-----------------------

How did Judas die?

(a) After he threw the money into the temple he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5)
(b) After he bought the field with the price of his evil deed he fell headlong and burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:18)

He did not buy the field but caused it to be purchased by the Temple authorities because they could not allow the money to remain in the treasury as it was blood money. He caused the land to be cursed as he hanged himself in a field and fell from the tree and polluted the field. The Temple authorities used the money to pay for the field.

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Why is the field called “Field of Blood”?

(a) Because the priests bought it with the blood money (Matthew 27:8)
(b) Because of the bloody death of Judas therein (Acts 1:19)

The field was polluted by the death of Judas and also the blood money paid for the Christ. There were two reasons both of which were stated.

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Who is a ransom for whom?

(a) “The Son of Man came...to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all... “(I Timothy 2:5-6)
(b) “The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the faithless for the upright” (Proverbs 21:18)

The words in Proverbs: “The wicked is a ransom for a righteous one and a traitor for the upright.” The word is changed to make the quotation an imputation.

 

The text has nothing to do with the purpose and death of Christ for the salvation of both elements of the Host.

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Is the law of Moses useful?

(a) Yes. “All scripture is... profitable...” (2Timothy 3:16)
(b) No. “. . . A former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness... “(Hebrews 7:18)

A reading of the text in Hebrews shows that the laws of Sacrifice were set aside by the sacrifice of Christ so that we are made priests after the order of Melchisedek.

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What was the exact wording on the cross?

(a) “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37)

(b) “The King of the Jews” (Mark 15:26)

(c) “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38)

(d) “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19)

The words were written in Hebrew and Greek and Latin, in that order, which explains some of the variation. The actual term was “the Nazarene” which was a term of reproach.

 

Mark 15:26 is not a title placed on the stake. It is merely a reference to the accusation or indictment of the ground or cause of his condemnation. It nowhere claims to be a title (or titlos as in Jn. 19:19) placed on the stake.

 

This title was first written by Pilate and taken from there and placed on the stake. We know that there was a discussion about the appropriateness of the wording as the Jews objected to it. From verses 35 and 36 it is asserted by Bullinger that they brought another title and set it above his head “after they had parted his garments.” There were not two titles at the same time. It therefore has to be assumed that they took the one down and replaced it with another. There is no indication as to the time or duration of the argument.

 

Luke 23:38 shows that there was another title brought and placed above him in the language order of Greek, Latin and Hebrew. This was placed there “after the reviling of the people” (cf. vv. 35-37 with 38) whereas the title in Mathew was set up before the reviling (cf. Mat. 27:37 with v. 39).

 

So John’s title was first written in Hebrew Greek and Latin and was placed there first before it left Pilate.

 

Matthew’s was the second placed after the parting of garments and before the reviling and the third was Luke’s account put up over him after the reviling had been completed (Lk. 23:35). It was written in the order of Greek, Latin and Hebrew. Bullinger is also of this view (cf. Companion Bible, Appendix 163).

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Did Herod want to kill John the Baptist?

(a) Yes (Matthew 14:5)
(b) No. It was Herodias, the wife of Herod who wanted to kill him. But Herod knew that he was a righteous man and kept him safe (Mark 6:20)

Matthew 14:1-5 shows Herod the Tetrarch did not wish to kill John at all but Herodias did. She prompted the daughter to ask for his head when she had danced for Herod and had extracted an oath from him. This is a misrepresentation of Scripture.

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Who was the tenth disciple of Jesus in the list of twelve?

(a) Thaddaeus (Matthew 10: 1-4; Mark 3:13 -19)
(b) Judas son of James is the corresponding name in Luke’s gospel (Luke 6:12-16)

Thaddaeus is the Greek rendering of the Aramaic Thaddaios which occurs in the text in Matthew and Mark and does not appear in the text in Luke. It is taken as a rendering for Judas son of James. There is no deviation of the persons in the texts except for the order in which they are listed.

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Jesus saw a man sit at the tax collector’s office and called him to be his disciple. What was his name?

(a) Matthew (Matthew 9:9)
(b) Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27)

Matthew is an Aramaic word meaning the gift of God. He became Matthew the son of Alphaeus changed from Levi the son of Alphaeus. In like manner Paul was changed from Saul.

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Was Jesus crucified on the daytime before the Passover meal or the daytime after?

(a) After (Mark 14:12-17)
(b) Before. Before the feast of the Passover  Judas went out at night (John 13:30). The other disciples thought he was going out to buy supplies to prepare for the Passover meal (John 13:29). When Jesus was arrested, the Jews did not enter Pilate’s judgment hall because they wanted to stay clean to eat the Passover (John 18:28). When the judgment was pronounced against Jesus, it was about the sixth hour on the day of Preparation for the Passover (John 19:14)

This question shows a lack of understanding of the period called the Passover and/or Unleavened Bread.

 

The law in Deuteronomy 16:1-8 covers the laws of the Passover and Unleavened Bread.

 

Deuteronomy 16:5-7 shows that the Passover commences from the night of the 14 Abib and may not be eaten in any of our gates and for the entire period of 36 hours we must be outside of our gates. On the morning of the First Holy Day of Unleavened Bread that is the morning of 15 Abib we may return to our dwellings. So the Passover begins on the night of 14 Abib when the preparation meal is taken and the Passover is prepared and killed in the afternoon of 14 Abib at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and eaten after dark on the night of 15 p.m.

 

The failure to understand the texts comes from a failure to understand the Passover itself. The paper The Passover (No. 098) explains the sequence (see also the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156)).

----------------------------

Did Jesus pray to The Father to prevent the crucifixion?

(a) Yes. (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42)
(b) No. (John 12:27)

 

Christ prayed that if it were possible let the cup pass from him but nevertheless let it not be as he willed but as God willed.

 

He was firmly resolved in John 12:27 when he said: “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour.”

 

That was because Luke 22:43 shows that an angel came and strengthened him.

 

The texts show that he did not want to die but was resolute in fulfilling the will of the Father.

---------------------------------

In the gospels which say that Jesus prayed to avoid the cross, how many times did ‘he move away from his disciples to pray?

(a) Three (Matthew 26:36-46 and Mark 14:32-42)
(b) One. No opening is left for another two times. (Luke 22:39-46)

The texts show that he prayed three times but the text in John concentrates on the last event.

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Matthew and Mark agree that Jesus went away and prayed three times. What were the words of the second prayer?

(a) Mark does not give the words but he says that the words were the same as the first prayer (Mark 14:39)
(b) Matthew gives us the words, and we can see that they are not the same as in the first (Matthew 26:42)

The words are the same sentiment expressed by Matthew in the written form avoiding tedious repetition as is customary in writing to this day.

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What did the centurion say when Jesus died?

(a) “Certainly this man was innocent” (Luke 23:47)
(b) “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39)

 

Matthew 27:54 says: “Truly this was the son of God”, which are the exact words of Mark.

Luke 23:47 says: “truly this was a righteous man” using the term dikaios.


Matthew and Mark are unanimous on the one term that asserts him saying something else. Whether it was one of a series of exclamations is unclear. There is certainly complete accord that the events occurred and the centurion witnessed them.

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When Jesus said “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” in what language did he speak?

(a) Hebrew: the words are “Eloi, Eloi …..“(Matthew 27:46)
(b) Aramaic: the words are “Eloi, Eloi ….. “(Mark 15:34)

The words in Matthew are an Aramaic form of a Hebrew text. He said Eli, Eli lama Sabach-tha-ni

 

The rendering of the Eli in Mark is Eloi, Eloi.

 

The rendering of the Psalm 22:1 was an Aramaic rendering of the Hebrew of the psalm which used the word El (SHD 410) which is Ely for “my God.”

 

The problem comes from trying to capture a Hebrew word rendered in Aramaic in a Greek text and transfer it to English. There is absolutely no doubt that he quoted Psalm 22:1.

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According to the gospels, what were the last words of Jesus before he died?

(a) “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46)
(b) "It is finished" (John 19:30).

The word spoken was the Greek teleo meaning done which is the end of Psalm 22. So he said “done” to end the psalm, which was prophecy but the last prayer was as per the text in Luke 23:46.

 

After he gave his spirit to God the text said he expired, meaning he breathed his last. It appears with his last breath he uttered the word “done.”

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When Jesus entered Capernaum he healed the slave of a centurion. Did the centurion come personally to request Jesus for this?

(a) Yes (Matthew 8:5)
(b) No. He sent some elders of the Jews and his friends (Luke 7:3, 6)

The texts refer to two separate occasions concerning the same centurion.  Bullinger makes notes to this effect in both texts.

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Apart from Jesus did anyone else ascend to heaven?

(a) No (John 3:13)
(b) Yes. “And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11)

Elijah was taken by chariot. He did not go into the heavens to the throne of God. Scripture says he will be brought forward in time to the Last Days to restore all things.

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Who was high priest when David went into the house of God and ate the consecrated bread?

(a) Abiathar (Mark 2:26)
(b) Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar (I Samuel 1:1; 22:20)

The father and the son had two names Abiathar and Ahimelech (1Sam. 21:1; 22:9, 11,20; and Ahiah (1Sam. 14:3). In 2Samuel 8:17 and 1Chronicles 18:16 the names are Ahimelech the son of Abiathar. In 1Samuel 22:20 it is Abiathar the son of Ahimelech who was the son of Ahitub.

 

The best witnesses as to the truth of the proposition and the correctness are the enemies of the Lord himself as if he had been wrong they would have made much of it. They knew the text and they knew the facts of it and were silent (cf. Mk. 3:6).

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Was Jesus’ body wrapped in spices before burial in accordance with Jewish burial customs?

(a) Yes and his female disciples witnessed his burial (John 19:39-40)
(b) No. Jesus was simply wrapped in a linen shroud. Then the women bought and prepared spices “so that they may go and anoint him [Jesus]” (Mark 16: 1)

The texts show that they had some spices and some were used to dress his feet and the feet were wiped by Mary’s hair. They purchased others to complete the task after the Holy Day was over on the Friday so the task could be completed before Sabbath.

-----------------------

When did the women buy the spices?

(a) After “the Sabbath was past” (Mark 16:1)
(b) Before the Sabbath. The women “prepared spices and ointments.” Then, “on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:55 to 24:1)

Both statements are correct. The Sabbath referred to in Mark 16:1 is the Sabbath of the First Holy Day of Unleavened Bread which was the High Day referred to in the gospels. That commenced at dark on the evening after 14 Abib which fell on the Wednesday and ended at Dark on the Thursday evening. The Friday was not a Sabbath or High Day and thus the spices could be purchased. Only a person that accepts the Trinitarian false system of Easter would make this error.

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At what time of day did the women visit the tomb?

(a) “Toward the dawn” (Matthew 28: 1)
(b) “When the sun had risen” (Mark 16:2)

Mathew 28:1 says at the end of the Sabbath as it began to dawn towards the First Day of the week. That means at the end of the Sabbath at evening as the First Day of the week was commencing. The Day begins at the dark beginning the evening of the next day. Night comes before Day in the Bible and did so with the Anglo-Saxons and others until the 18th and 19th centuries. There were two events referred to. The text in Mark refers to two events in verses 1 and 2. Verse 1 refers to the events after the Holy Day purchasing the spices and the time they saw Christ. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene and the second time to the three of them.

Look at the paper The Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159).

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What was the purpose for which the women went to the tomb?

(a) To anoint Jesus’ body with spices (Mark 16: 1; Luke 23:55 to 24: 1)
(b) To see the tomb. Nothing about spices here (Matthew 28: 1)
(c) For no specified reason. In this gospel the wrapping with spices had been done before the Sabbath (John 20: 1)

The previous question covers the problem and the various visits, and the answer is in the paper referred to. John’s gospel does not need to explain any issue and his text simply takes the entire process as past and makes no reference to it other than to note the bandages.

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A large stone was placed at the entrance of the tomb. Where was the stone when the women arrived?

(a) They saw that the stone was “Rolled back” (Mark 16:4) They found the stone “rolled away from the tomb” (Luke 24:2) They saw that “the stone had been taken away from the tomb” (John 20:1)
(b) As the women approached, an angel descended from heaven, rolled away the stone, and conversed with the women. Matthew made the women witness the spectacular rolling away of the stone (Matthew 28:1-6)

Two separate visits were involved and no conflict occurs.

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Did anyone tell the women what happened to Jesus’ body?

(a) Yes. “A young man in a white robe” (Mark 16:5). “Two men ... in dazzling apparel” later described as angels (Luke 24:4 and 24:23). An angel - the one who rolled back the stone (Matthew 16:2). In each case the women were told that Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 28:7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:5 footnote)
(b) No. Mary met no one and returned saying, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (John 20:2)

Mary went to the tomb on at least two and seemingly three occasions.

 

The three accounts refer to different aspects of the same events and they have to be pieced together as they have been in the paper #159 referred to above.

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When did Mary Magdelene first meet the resurrected Jesus? And how did she react?

(a) Mary and the other women met Jesus on their way back from their first and only visit to the tomb. They took hold of his feet and worshipped him (Matthew 28:9)
(b) On her second visit to the tomb Mary met Jesus just outside the tomb. When she saw Jesus she did not recognize him. She mistook him for the gardener. She still thinks that Jesus’ body is laid to rest somewhere and she demands to know where. But when Jesus said her name she at once recognized him and called him “Teacher.” Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me...” (John 20:11 to 17)

These texts also refer to the two occasions. After dark on the First Day of the week he had to remain ritually clean by Law in order to ascend as the Wave Sheaf offering at 9 a.m. on the Sunday Morning. He could not be touched at this time until he had gone before God and been accepted as the Wave Sheaf. On his return he was able to be touched again which the apostle Thomas and others did.

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What was Jesus’ instruction for his disciples?

(a) “Tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Matthew 28: 10)
(b) “Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17)

Where is the conflict in issuing one instruction for them to go to Galilee and another instructing them to be told where he was going?

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When did the disciples return to Galilee?

(a) Immediately, because when they saw Jesus in Galilee “some doubted” (Matthew 28:17). This period of uncertainty should not persist
(b) After at least 40 days. That evening the disciples were still in Jerusalem (Luke 24:33). Jesus appeared to them there and told them, stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). He was appearing to them “during forty days” (Acts 1:3), and “charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise ... “(Acts 1:4)

Christ’s instruction was that they go into Galilee and await him.

 

He ascended as the Wave Sheaf on the Sunday morning and returned that afternoon.

 

He was on earth for a period of over 40 days and gave the instructions for them to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit was given to them, which occurred at Pentecost exactly 50 days to the hour that he had been accepted as the Wave Sheaf.

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Does every man sin?

(a) Yes. “There is no man who does not sin” (I Kings 8:46; see also 2 Chronicles 6:36; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; and I John 1:8, 10)

(b) No. True Christians cannot possibly sin, because they are the children of God. “Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God. (I John 5:1). “We should be called children of God; and so we are” (I John 3: 1). “He who loves is born of God” (I John 4:7). “No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God” (I John 3:9). But, then again, Yes! “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8)

The very comments of John show the context in which he is speaking. We all sin but we who are truly born of God do not sin. The intent of the sermon is for all of us to overcome sins through being born of God.

 

This question or objection is a trite game and deserves to be treated with contempt.

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Who will bear whose burden?

(a) “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2)
(b) “Each man will have to bear his own load” (Galatians 6:5)

Every man is judged for his own sins but our task is to help others so that they do not sin.

 

Those who cause others to sin are held to account for it.

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How many disciples did Jesus appear to after his resurrection?

(a) Twelve (I Corinthians 15:5)
(b) Eleven (Matthew 27:3-5 and Acts 1:9-26, see also Matthew 28:16; Mark 16:14 footnote; Luke 24:9; Luke 24:33)

1Corinthians 15:5 mentions James and all the apostles. It gives no number but then Paul includes him as being one of those to whom Christ appeared. We know that a twelfth apostle was appointed by lot from Acts 1:23 and that was Matthias. The texts are silent on whether he appeared to Matthias but he may have done so before he rose. There is no claim that he appeared to twelve; it merely says “all the apostles” so he may have or Matthias may have been appointed after the ascension. It could have been either way. The question itself is deceitful.

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Where was Jesus three days after his baptism?

(a) After his baptism, “the spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days ... (Mark 1:12-13)
(b) Next day after the baptism, Jesus selected two disciples. Second day: Jesus went to Galilee - two more disciples. Third day: Jesus was at a wedding feast in Cana in Galilee (see John 1:35; 1:43; 2:1-11)

The question is a specious use of the English language and the texts.

 

The details of what occurred are covered in the text Christ’s Age at Baptism and the Duration of his Ministry (No. 019).

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Was baby Jesus’ life threatened in Jerusalem?

(a) Yes, so Joseph fled with him to Egypt and stayed there until Herod died (Matthew 2:13-23)
(b) No. The family fled nowhere. They calmly presented the child at the Jerusalem temple according to the Jewish customs and returned to Galilee (Luke 2:21-40)

Both comments are true. The Purification laws required that he be presented at forty days after birth having been circumcised on the eighth day (see the paper Purification and Circumcision (No. 251).  After the Magi had failed to appear before Herod the destruction began but it was long after the birth perhaps as much as almost two years. They fled to Egypt some time after the Purification ceremony but we are not told exactly how long.

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When Jesus walked on water how did the disciples respond?

(a) They worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33)
(b) “They were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened” (Mark 6:51-52)

 

They said from Mathew 14:33 truly you are God’s son, as there is no article in the Greek text. Mark says they were utterly astounded but makes no mention of the words they spoke. One would imagine that there might be some comments to see the boss walking on water. The opportunity for speech to have occurred is quite clear from verses 49-52.

 

It is thus clear that the large number of these questions could have been and are answered from the body of the texts themselves. There are no contradictions, merely differing emphasis from each of the accounts.

 

We could have made much more of the problems such as the fact that the synoptic gospels cover only one year of the ministry and John’s gospel shows that the ministry lasted over two years with three Passovers. That however is obvious to anyone doing any serious reading, although some Trinitarians try to assert Christ’s ministry was three and a half years based on no specific evidence other than the mistranslation of Daniel 9:25 and a fractured understanding of the text in Daniel (see the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the reconstruction of the Temple (No. 013).

 

The sad thing about these silly misinformed objections or listings is that some people that were themselves baptised members of the body of Christ and should have been able to see through them could not do so and had their faith destroyed by them and have attempted to actually use them to destroy the faith of others. Such people have even been highly educated.

 

The list was actually sent to us by allegedly highly educated former members of the churches of God who were totally unable to see the absurdity of the questions as obvious as they are. Seemingly they thought we would be unable to answer them as they had been. They had become Atheists. Remember only a fool says in his heart there is no God (Ps. 53:1).

 

It merely goes to show there is no limit to stupidity and where it will manifest itself in the education process and when the people lose the Holy Spirit and become discouraged or simply seek to destroy the faith because they themselves have none.

                                                                       

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