Another Coffee Break: Dealing With “Apparent” Contradictions 2
April 27, 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.
Take one more example: Paul says (in Galatians 5:2-3), "If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing!" In Acts 16:3, however, we are told, "Him (Timothy) would Paul have to go forth with him, and took and circumcised him because of those Jews which were in those quarters...."
It almost sounds hypocritical, doesn't it? What's the problem?
There isn’t a problem! The first statement is a principle in Christ which deals with living by the Law instead of living in the grace of Jesus Christ. The second is a policy issue which addresses tradition and follows Paul’s lifetime of “being all things to all men in order that I may win some.”
In the instance of Timothy’s circumcision, he had a group of Jews so bound by tradition that they couldn’t hear the truth because Timothy hadn’t been circumcised.
Accordingly, Paul took Timothy and circumcised him – not to meet the requirements of the Law, but so that he would not have to fight against the deafness of tradition.
Timothy’s circumcision didn’t make him more Holy. It just allowed Paul and Timothy to momentarily circumvent Jewish tradition long enough that the Jews would hear the word of the Lord. The issue – again – was “Time.”
of the Ten Commandments given was, “Thou shalt not
kill.” Yet the Lord
It is baffling to the person who wants absolutes, who wants there to be a set of unchanging rules and conditions by which they can adjudge and adjudicate their own righteousness; but God doesn’t work that way! The Law was established for a people who had a slave mentality as a means to demonstrate the righteousness of God and to portray a pathway to relationship with the Lord.
It was a photograph in words. It incorporated both vertical relationship (with God) and horizontal relationship (with those who were a part of one’s daily life and existence). The apparent impossibility of the Law was remedied at the Cross in and with Jesus, and is clearly foretold in the Law by virtue of the vertical commands and the horizontal commands.
One of the problems in the world today – and especially among people whose concept of God is religious rather than righteous – is that men and women continue to try to measure their rightness by the Law and the keeping of it, rather than by having a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. The effort to measure “rightness” is a futile attempt to become “judge and jury” and take the Law into human hands. The Law of God is not a measure of righteousness, nor is it something than can utilized by men to serve their own ends. The Law of God is a pattern of living written into the tables of men’s hearts by and through the Holy Spirit.
“Time” is probably one of the most dominant factors in dealing with apparent contradictions in God’s Word. What God instructs us to do today, He may instruct us to avoid tomorrow. Neither is a contradiction. It is – simply – that God has a timetable in which He is working out His purposes among men; and to try and apply today what He said yesterday, or view what He says tomorrow as contradictory to what He said today, is pure foolishness.
The best illustration I can give is that of children. There were things I carefully instructed my children NOT to do when they were four and five years of age because it would have been harmful to them. They were not of reasoning age and were incapable of understanding the consequences of their actions. At the same time, I encourage them to do some of those things today because they are mature enough to make the appropriate decisions.
The same is true in the life of every Believer in Jesus Christ. What He instructs to avoid at one point in our relationship, he allows and even encourages at another point because of the change He has wrought in our relationship with Him. Does that mean that the Lord contradicts Himself? Of course not! It means that we are constantly growing and changing in the dynamic of our relationship with Him; and as we grow, more is revealed, and things once hidden in darkness are now clearly perceived.
Finally, let me address a claim to two other supposed contradictions. In Exodus 33:11, we are told that …”the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to a friend.” The Hebrew word for “face” is “paniym” – a word which is used both literally and metaphorically in Scripture. It is used as a picture, as are all Hebrew words. Let me explain.
Both the Hebrew and Greek languages are the only two languages in the world which are “picture” languages. A single word in either language conveys a multitude of pictures in order to bring meaning and understanding to that which is being communicated. At the same time, both languages are the only two with mathematical and numerical equivalents for each word or phrase. With this unique characteristic, there are some extraordinary proofs of Divine authorship that can be easily demonstrated.
For example, if you take the very first letter of the very first verse of Genesis, Chapter 1, move to the 26th Hebrew letter in succession, and every 26th letter thereafter, you will find YHWH, the Hebrew symbol and word for “Yahweh” (or God) spelled out 50 times in succession. If you understand the symbolic nature of numbers as they are attributed to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in the Hebrew as well as the Greek, you know that 7’s represent the Father, 8’s represent the Son, and 9’s represent the Holy Spirit. Assembled in triads (or 3’s), they represent the unity of the Triune God. Thus, whenever you find the authorship of God the Father in Scripture, you can identify exactly who is speaking by the mathematical value of certain phrases.
I just talked about this a few days ago with some friends, but for the sake of this discussion, if the Father is speaking, the mathematical value of the phrase or command is almost certainly 777 or a multiple (or derivative) thereof. If Jesus is speaking, the mathematical value is 888 or a multiple (or derivative) thereof, and 999 is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s authorship.
In Genesis Chapter 1, when you break out the phrase, “And God said” along with the adjoining command, and add together the numerical values of each of the Hebrew letters, you discover that Jesus is actually the One who spoke the words of creation. The mathematical value of those phrases is 888, or a derivative thereof.
Thus, He did not speak out of His own initiative, but in total agreement and unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. By the same token, in Revelation, you have a description of Anti-Christ, and the number, 666. Throughout the Scripture, the number 6 is the number of man. John sees Anti-Christ typified as mankind anthropos – not anthropon [a man]) setting itself up (e.g. Humanism) as the final arbiter of itself, and describes it as “666:” man setting himself up as God.”
Now, let’s get back to “paniym.” Sorry for the detour, but I wanted to lay some groundwork to help you all understand the nature of this word. Paniym is both literal and metaphorical.
In its literal usage, it can be translated as “face” in the conventional sense, and most translators do not take the time to distinguish between its literal and metaphoric usage. Metaphorically, paniym is used to describe “presence”, but in the sense of onoma (or to use the Hebrew word, shem). Used this way, the word describes one’s essence, their character, their makeup, the essence of who they are. The Hebrew scribes were usually quite careful to denote the metaphorical use with a “diacritical” or “breathing” mark next to a word or letter to separate its metaphorical usage from the literal.
This is no exception. In this case, they used paniym to denote the presence of God, and it could be rendered from the Hebrew thus: “And the Lord spake unto Moses presence to presence, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” It describes a situation in which God allowed Himself to be seen by Moses, and spoke to him in his physical presence without actually allowing Moses to see the features of his face.
It is borne out afterward beginning in verse 21 of Exodus 33, “And the Lord said, ‘Behold there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shalt not be seen.” In verses 20 and 23, paniym has no diacritical mark, and is therefore used literally.
Finally, with respect to a question raised concerning Michal, the daughter of Saul, if you take another look at 2 Samuel 6:23, you can see that this is in specific reference to her marriage to David. David refused to allow Michal to have any children by him because of her accusations and verbal attacks on his physical displays of praise and worship. So keen was David’s sensitivity towards the Lord, and so instilled was David with the need to have public ministry in praise and worship to the Lord that he took Michal’s accusations as an affront to the Lord. Because of that affront, he would not tolerate the idea of Michal having children by him – children who would come into this world with that spirit he saw in her.
The reference to Michal’s five children in 2 Samuel 21:8 are specifically identified as the children of Adriel, the son of Barzillai, whom she had been given to by Saul (as a personal slap in the face to David) while David was on the run for his life.
Michal had no children by David all the days of her life, and David refused to continue normal marital relations with her following her false accusations against him. The statement in 2 Samuel 6:23 that “Michal had no child unto the day of her death” was, therefore, a true and non-contradictory statement when viewed from the perspective in which it was made.
Sorry to be so windy. I tend to get a bit carried away when this subject comes up, and over the years, I’m sure I’ve been hit with just about every alleged contradiction people think exists in Scripture. I was at Saint Paul Island filling in for my father in the mid-1980’s when someone really tried to clobber me with a host of supposed contradictions, so I made a point beginning then to clearly document and demonstrate that any apparent contradictions are the illusions of those who neither know the Lord, nor His Word. The accusers generally rely instead on the errors of the unlearned as the basis for their allegations.
If one is really on a trek for truth, the Lord is going to bring him or her there. Trying to find error in God’s word is humorous. I often say that person is in the grasp of the Holy Spirit, and the Lord is going to unveil truth to him or her in the most unexpected ways.
How’s that for a way to begin your day? Got your brain twisted around these supposed contradictions? Relax. We’ll talk more tomorrow..
See you next week.
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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