Another Coffee Break: Dealing With “Apparent” Contradictions 1
April 20, 2017
Sometimes it can seem a bit monotonous when you stay with a subject for a prolonged time, so I figured I would change the pace a bit today and likely next week. We still have quite a distance to go, and a lot of revelation to explore in the Psalm 23 Adventure, so let’s take a break today and talk about something totally unrelated.
Anyway, Great day in the mornin’, y’all! TGIF, right? Nahhh. Fridays are about as busy as any other day of the week – and just as enjoyable.
Anyway, even though I’ve got my cup of coffee ready for this morning’s discussion, Della’s in the kitchen brewing up some kind of combo of black and green teas that she likes to take to the office. Not too bad, actually.
Got your cup poured, yet? Pull up a chair, and let’s get this day under way.
Can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten sucked into these discussions throughout the past few years where folks insist that the Bible is full of contradictions.
Some friends sent me a letter some time back and talked about a relative who was totally focused on writing a book dealing with Biblical contradictions. I made myself a bunch of notes on the topic, and I’ve added to that list over the past few years.
Let me begin by addressing two recently cited by a young fellow from 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. I must admit that the one concerning Ahaziah had escaped me until just recently. I was familiar with the one concerning Jehoiachin. Both of these are quite simple, however. You are dealing with a translator’s clerical error. In re-reading the actual Hebrew text, both references to Jehoiachin ascribe him 18 years. Both references to Ahaziah mention that he was 2 and 20 years of age.
Somehow, the translators have picked up the Hebrew letters “sin” and “shin” – which have different numerical values – and transposed their usage numerically. The two letters “sin” and “shin” look nearly identical to each other. The difference is that “shin” has a Hebrew breathing mark which distinguishes it apart from “sin” and is easily overlooked. In all other aspects, the two letters are identical. The breathing mark in “shin” changes it numerical value, however, from “sin”, and this is where the error occurred in translation.
The references to Jesus’ lineage in Matthew and Luke are simple, and easily explainable. Ancient Jewish tradition does not allow for women’s lineage to be traced as the lineage of a man. In order to deal with unusual cases such as that of Mary, (or Esther, for example), the historians chose to track the lineage, citing the husband instead of the wife. Because Joseph was Mary’s husband, they could legally use her lineage as part of his lineage.
My young friend missed out on the fact here that these are two distinctly different lines of inheritance traceable to David. Matthew’s lineage is that of Joseph, whose lineage was traced to Solomon, the son of David. Luke’s lineage is actually that of Mary (and you will note that he says that Jesus “as was supposed” (was) “the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,” etc.
While not true, perhaps, by birth, Joseph WAS the son of Heli by marriage to Mary. Jewish law and tradition made Joseph legally “the son of Heli.” Here, Mary’s lineage is traced to Nathan, the son of David – not Solomon. Here is a case where the Holy Spirit has clearly demonstrated that Jesus, by virtue of dual and precisely traceable lines of inheritance, was “the son of David,” in fulfillment of God’s promise to David.
Jesus’ divine birth was implanted by the Holy Spirit, and thus he was not genetically the son of David through Joseph. However, Mary WAS of the lineage and house of David, and the fact that she bore Jesus made him legitimately “the son of David.” It is an extraordinary demonstration of the fulfillment of prophecy, both legally and genetically, and spiritually. The two lines of inheritance have always intrigued me. Folks frequently don’t follow this one through far enough to see what the Lord was doing.
When people do not know the Lord, and don’t understand Jewish tradition along with Hebrew and Greek metaphors, they frequently fall into the trap of making fools out of themselves when they attempt to cite supposed contradictions. There are none in Scripture – ANYWHERE!
There are many apparent contradictions, but none that is not easily understood once you know Jewish tradition and/or understand the hidden meanings in metaphors. Likewise, if one attempts to use an English translation instead of the original text, and then proclaim that he has found contradictions, he will make himself out to be foolish and ignorant.
Now, let me really mess with you!
There is an aspect of God’s word that IS contradictory on purpose! God has chosen deliberately to confound the wisdom of this world with simple truths that are often obscured by religion and religious tradition, and are contradictory at first sight. But let me explain how and why He does this.
We have contradictory truths that are absolute in our society today. Let me illustrate.
“Look before you leap.” “He who hesitates is lost.” Are they both true? Of course. Are they contradictory? Certainly. What makes them work, then? It is the element of time.
There is a time to be cautious and look before you leap. If you are on the run for your life, however, and someone is hot on your heals with a gun, then “He who hesitates is lost.” That principle is true in God’s economy.
The concept of “time” in relationship with the Lord is all too often overlooked within the Body of Christ today. We have doctrines built certain scriptures by one group, and doctrines which conflict with those doctrines built on opposing scriptures by other groups, and “ne'er the twain shall meet.”
Here are a couple of good illustrations: On one side is what some doctrinarians like to call “eternal security” (John 10:27-29) and it reads like this:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
What seems to be a totally opposite side of this picture is seen in Hebrews 6:4-6, and it reads like this:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
How do we resolve what seems to be a total contradiction in this instance? OK, let me take you back to the very beginning of the Psalm 23 Adventure. What’s the very first part of it?
The LORD is my Shepherd. That’s not some passive comment or some kind of general statement! That is a vow! It is total commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ as our Shepherd. No ifs ands or buts! This isn’t a situation where one kneels down at some altar bench and prays the prayer of Salvation, and then gets up and continues life, pretty much as usual. When you begin to see the developments that follow and the requirements that take place in your daily walk resulting in real spiritual growth, you begin to get a grasp on the statement that Jesus makes when He says, “My sheep KNOW my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
There is nothing passive or casual about that! Hence, those people who walk in that kind of commitment with the Lord Jesus Christ legitimately have eternal security. Their relationship is locked in with the Lord, and no matter what happens, their future in eternity is secure.
Now, contrast that with what Paul writes to the Hebrews when he says that it is impossible for those who have “been enlightened” ….. “if they shall fall away” (that translation from the Greek misses it) ….. “to renew them again unto repentance.”
Because of what Paul is trying to communicate to the believers in this instance, it becomes important for us to see this Greek word, parapipto, in its full picture. While the translation, “to fall away,” is acceptable, it would be better translated, “to apostasize,” or perhaps, “to deliberately walk away,” or even, “to deviate from the truth.”
So, what is it they are deliberately walking away from? Paul lays it out quite succinctly: (1) those who were once enlightened (or actually received real revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who He is, what He is, and what He has done for them); (2) tasted (literally, eaten) the good (nutritious and life-giving) Word and experienced first-hand that Word and His power in their life; (3) and the powers of the world to come. (Now, there’s one for you!)
The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but “the powers of the world to come,” takes us into a dimension of God that gets lost in this translation. The Greek word, aion, is almost always translated “eternity,” or perhaps, “forever.” In any case, Paul is not making reference to “the world to come,” or “the new heavens and the new earth.” He is expressing the powers, the gifts, the realm of the supernatural that is available NOW to those who walk in the Spirit.
My good friend and brother in the Lord, Bruce Allen, actively teaches on supernatural transportation (some call it, “trans-relocation”) and being in two places at the same time (something he has personally experienced). His book, Gazing into Glory, is one that every believer ought to read – especially those who want to begin walking in “the powers of the world to come.”
Now you begin to get a grasp on what Paul is saying, and why this in no way contradicts what Jesus said. What Paul is describing is those who have walked with the Lord in an intimate relationship, experienced first-hand for themselves the Word at work in their lives, walked in the realm of the supernatural, and then deliberately turned aside or walked away from that realm of intimacy with the Lord. There’s no way a person who does that has any claim to “eternal security” with the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul puts it, “They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.”
OK, I took more time with that one than intended, but let’s continue. In another instance we have “speaking in tongues” (I Corinthians 14:5) for those who espouse the idea of everyone speaking in tongues; on the other hand, we have -- in the very same epistle, and the very next verse -- not everyone speaking in tongues. Paul makes it clear that his desire is for everyone to speak in tongues.
As I noted in the part of the discussion on the Psalm 23 Adventure where we talked about “He leadeth me beside the still waters,” this realm of the supernatural is a place and an opportunity that we are led to, but not compelled. This is a place open and available to every single believer – and a mandatory place if we are going to move on into the realm of the supernatural that the Lord has for us – but it is a dangerous place for those who think they are going to just play with it. When a person chooses and pursues the infilling or the baptism of the Holy Spirit with their whole being, Holy Spirit awaits them and opens up doors into the supernatural that are not accessible any other way.
There are more examples I can cite that would make this Coffee Break turn into a treatise – or a verrrry loooong read for one day, so let’s abbreviate this one for today and I’ll finish this discussion next week.
Two weeks from now, we will get back to the Psalm 23 Adventure as we pick up with the comfort of the Staff.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
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