Diverse Measures and Bible Versions

“Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 20:10)

The many English Bible versions available today are very different.  Since it is the Bible against which the Christian must evaluate every truth claim, these many different Bible versions function as “divers measures”.  In practice, Christians who use/consult many Bible versions tend to choose the readings they like, or the ones to their advantage, much like the dishonest merchant of the ancient world.  It is difficult not to conclude that the LORD must consider this an “abomination”.  Relative to Bible versions, there can be only one true measure, which functions as the universal standard.  In English, that universal standard should be the King James Bible.

A study of this issue, titled Diverse Measures and Bible Versions, has been added under Textual Studies.

The English Bible and the Process of Purification

The King James Bible is a fulfillment of God’s promise to purify and preserve His words (Ps12:6-7).  Being the product of a seven-fold process of refinement, it represents the pure words of God in English.  Existing in printed (digital) form, the pure words of God can be perfectly preserved “from this generation forever”.

An essay on this issue, titled The English Bible and the Process of Purification, has been added under Textual Studies.

That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings

“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” (Romans 3:4)

The so-called science of modern textual criticism has developed a set of arbitrary rules to guide its decision-making process when faced with a textual variant.  One of those rules is proclivi scriptioni praestat ardua, which means the harder reading is to be preferred.  However, application of this rule often results in the critic preferring a reading that is just not sensible, or even introduces a factual error or an internal inconsistency/contradiction into the text of Scripture.  For the Bible-believer, this is absurd.  A textual variant that would introduce a factual error or an internal inconsistency/contradiction into the text of Scripture cannot be authentic.  It must be rejected from theological considerations alone.  This is not an arbitrary requirement, but one that honors the testimony of Scripture that:  1) God “cannot lie” (Tit1:2) and “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas1:17), and 2) God’s “word is truth” (Jn17:17) and “true from the beginning” (Ps119:160).

A detailed study of this issue, titled Theological Resolution of Textual Variants, has been added under Textual Studies.

Why Were the Thessalonians Shaken?

The second chapter of Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians is a mighty tour-de-force polemic for the pre-tribulational nature of the rapture of the Church.  It has long been recognized that the Restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is the Holy Spirit, and that His removal before the Antichrist is revealed (i.e., before the Tribulation begins) necessitates the rapture of the Church due to the Spirit’s indwelling of the Body of Christ as a temple in the present dispensation (1Cor6:19).  It has more recently been recognized that the “falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV; Greek, apostasia) that also must occur before the Antichrist is revealed is in context better understood to be a departure (i.e., the rapture of the Church).  However, even without these clear and powerful witnesses, a pre-tribulational rapture of the Church is a necessary inference from Paul’s opening to the chapter in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2.

FIGURE 1. Timing of the Rapture in the Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib,
Pre-Wrath, and Post-Trib Views.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:1, Paul introduces the subject of the chapter as “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him”.  The subject is a single event, since the first substantive clause is articulated and the second is not, being connected by an epexegetical kai in the Greek text (i.e., the Granville Sharp rule).  Paul’s subject is that particular “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” which involves “our gathering together unto him” (cf. Jn14:1-3; 1Thess4:13-18). Thus, the subject of the chapter is the rapture of the Church.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:2, it is revealed that the Thessalonians had become “shaken in mind” and “troubled”, apparently as a result of a “letter as from us” (i.e., a letter alleging to be from the Apostle Paul, which was in fact a forgery). Their alarm was caused by the fact that the letter asserted that “the day of the Lord” had begun. The remainder of the chapter presents an iron-clad polemic for why that could not possibly be the case. However, one must ask why this news so disturbed the Thessalonians; why were the Thessalonians shaken?

In 2 Thessalonians 2:5 Paul reminds the Thessalonians that he had previously instructed them concerning this subject. Indeed, Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians discusses the rapture in every chapter (cf. 1Thess1:9-10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-17; 5:1-11). Presumably Paul had taught them when the rapture would occur relative to the coming 7-year Tribulation (i.e., the day of the Lord; 2Thess2:2). If he had taught them that the rapture of the Church would occur mid-trib, pre-wrath, or post-trib (i.e., any view that sees the rapture of the Church as occurring at some point during the Tribulation; see FIGURE 1), there is no reason for the Thessalonians to be “shaken” or “troubled”. There would be no inconsistency between those rapture views and the counterfeit message alleging that the Tribulation had begun. Rather than causing them to be “shaken”, such news would be cause for excitement and anticipation, since it would mean that their rapture was necessarily drawing near. However, if Paul had taught the Thessalonians that the rapture of the Church would occur before the Tribulation begins (i.e., pre-trib), then it is easily understandable why news that it had begun would be so troubling; if true, it would mean either: 1) that Apostle Paul’s previous teaching was untrue, or 2) the rapture of the Church had already occurred, and they had been left behind.

Only a belief in a pre-trib rapture as taught to the Thessalonians by the Apostle Paul explains why they were so “shaken” and “troubled” by the counterfeit message that the day of the Lord (i.e., the Tribulation) had begun. No other rapture view would have troubled the believers at Thessalonica. Properly understood, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 is a powerful witness to the fact that the Apostle Paul taught that the rapture of the Church would be pre-trib!

Jude: Contending for the Faith Amidst Apostasy

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)

A brief one chapter epistle written by the half-brother of Jesus, the theme of Jude is contending for the historic faith delivered by the apostles in the midst of a present and growing apostasy (Jude 3-4). Jude describes the false teachers and doctrines that, beginning in the 1st century, would “wax worse and worse” (2 Timothy 3:13) throughout the Church Age. The messages of Jude and 2 Peter are very similar. As the message of 2 Peter is given in the future tense, whereas that of Jude appears in the present tense (Cp., Jude 3; 2 Peter 2:1), it is apparent that Jude was written after 2 Peter and quotes from it. The shocking message of Jude is that the apostasy prophesied by Peter had begun! As our culture increasingly rejects the Biblical worldview and rushes to embrace paganism, the message of Jude could not be more relevant for the days in which we live.

A Bible study class on The Epistle of Jude will begin in March 2021. The notes and audio for the study will be updated weekly. You can find them under the Biblical Studies menu; check periodically to follow the study as it progresses. God bless!

Is There a Gap between Genesis 1:1 & 1:2?

The Gap Theory is not consistent with the revelation given in the Bible concerning God’s work of creation.  No gap of immense time occurred between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Genesis 1:2 describes an initial, and naturally unformed and unfilled, condition of the earth as part of God’s process of creation that took six days to complete, not the result of a primeval judgment upon an angelic civilization alleged to have existed in the ancient past. Rather, Scripture clearly teaches that the heaven and earth (i.e., the universe) and all the creatures that populate them were created in a six day period.

A detailed study of this issue, titled Gap Analysis, has been added under Creation Studies.

Dispensationalism’s Necessity of a Pre-Tribulational Rapture

A proper dispensational understanding of the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15) absolutely necessitates a pre-tribulational Rapture of the Church.

What is the Church? The Church is being formed during the present Dispensation of Grace and is comprised of all who believe, whether Jew or Gentile, who are subsequently baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Furthermore, the Church is not (the nation of) Israel, or any other nation, but a unique body comprised of believers from all nations. However, if the Church is present on earth during the Tribulation period (i.e., the 70th Week of Daniel; Daniel 9:27), all who believe during the Tribulation must become members of the “Church”. If this is to be the case, there can be no “saved” nation of Israel or Gentile nations present on earth at the end of the Tribulation to enter the Millennial Kingdom.

Utter confusion results if the Church is present on earth during the Tribulation. But thanks be to God, who has promised to remove the completed Church, the Body of Christ, at the Rapture (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Revelation 3:10). During the Tribulation, the Church will be wed to Christ in heaven (Revelation 19:7-8), and those on earth who believe and endure to the end make up the “saved” nations who enter the Millennial Kingdom at the second coming of Christ.

Psalm 12:6-7 and God’s Promise of Preservation

Psalm 12:6-7 is the clearest presentation of God’s promise to preserve His words found in the Bible.  Modern objections to its translation in the KJV, that would obscure or remove this promise, are without foundation.  The gender discordance between pronouns and antecedents found in the Hebrew text is not uncommon in the Psalms, especially when the subject is scripture; this is recognized even by modern translators in numerous other places.  Rather, it is modern translators who violate grammatical norms, mistranslating pronouns in person and number.  Finally, even apart from grammatical considerations in the original language (Hebrew), the English reader would naturally conclude from the theme and parallelism of Psalm 12 that the intended subject of God’s preservation is His “words”.  The Bible-believer should continue to understand and treasure Psalm 12:6-7 as properly translated in the King James Bible.

A study of this issue, titled God’s Promise of Preservation, has been added under Textual Studies.

The Answer to Preterism

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34)

Based on this verse, Preterists conclude that the 70th Week of Daniel must have occurred within the lifetime of those hearing this prophecy spoken by Jesus; thus, it took place in the 1st century and is a past event from our present point of view. Matthew 10:23 and 16:28 present similar challenges that are resolved within Preterism by placing the fulfillment of prophecy in the 1st century AD.

However, the tension created by Matthew 24:34 is not resolved by conceding that its prophecy was fulfilled in the past. Such a solution creates more problems than it solves, since it is self evident that the 2nd Coming of Christ (as described in the Bible) did not occur in the 1st century. Rather, the tension is revolved by the two-fold recognition of:  1) the contingent nature of the Kingdom, and 2) the mystery nature of the Church (Age).

A study of this issue, titled Answer to Preterism, has been added under Biblical Studies.

A Biblical Analogy for Faith

Calvinism, as part of its Doctrine of Total Depravity, has adopted a corpse/cadaver as a metaphor for the natural man.  Since a corpse is unable to believe, they argue the natural man is unable to believe apart from a preceding, supernatural, and sovereign work of regeneration by God.  But is the analogy of a corpse/cadaver for the natural man accurate?  Actually, the Bible uses a very different analogy.

A study of the proper analogy for sinful man and his ability to believe, titled Look and Live: A Biblical Analogy for Faith, has been added under Biblical Studies.

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