From Mark Copeland... "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD" The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

                        "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD"

                      The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit


1. In previous lessons we made frequent reference to the "gift" 
   of the Spirit...
   a. Promised to all who repent and are baptized - Ac 2:38-39
   b. Referring to the gift of the Spirit Himself 
      - cf. Jn 7:39; Ac 5:32; Ga 4:6
   c. Pertaining to the indwelling of the Spirit in the church and in
      the Christian - 1Co 3:16; 6:19

2. The Bible also speaks of the "gifts" of the Spirit, which is not the
   same as the "gift" of the Spirit...
   a. "We must distinguish the gift of the Spirit from the gifts of the
      Spirit. The gift of the Spirit is the Spirit himself, bestowed by
      the Father through the Messiah; the gifts of the Spirit are those
      spiritual faculties which the Spirit imparts, 'dividing to each
      one severally even as he will' (1Co 12:11)." - F.F. Bruce,
      Commentary on the Book of Acts, p.77
   b. "We need, however, to distinguish between 'the gift' of the Holy
      Spirit and what Paul called 'the gifts' (ta pneumatika, 1Co 12:1;
      14:1) of that self-same Spirit.  'The gift' is the Spirit himself
      given to minister the saving benefits of Christ's redemption to
      the believer, while 'the gifts' are those spiritual abilities the
      Spirit gives variously to believers 'for the common good' and
      sovereignly, 'just as He determines' (1Co 12:7,11).  Peter's
      promise of the 'gift of the Holy Spirit' is a logical outcome of
      repentance and baptism." - Richard N. Longenecker, Expositors'
      Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, p.283

3. In this study, we shall focus our attention on the "gifts" 
   of the Spirit...
   a. What were the gifts?
   b. How did people receive the gifts?
   c. What was the purpose of the gifts?
   d. How long were the gifts to last?

[By reading 1Co 12:8-11, we can begin to answer the first question...]


      1. "word of wisdom" - ability to speak new revelations of divine
         wisdom, cf. 1Co 2:6-10
      2. "word of knowledge" - ability to speak truths already revealed,
         e.g., 1Co 14:6
      3. "faith" - not saving faith, but faith to perform miracles, cf.
         1Co 13:2; Mk 11:23
      4. "gifts of healing" - ability to heal all kinds of sickness, cf.
         Mt 10:1
      5. "the working of miracles" - miracles of extraordinary power,
         e.g., Ac 19:11
      6. "prophecy" - in this context, inspired disclosure of the
         future, e.g., Ac 11:27-28; 21:11
      7. "discerning of spirits" - ability to tell whether another
         speaks from the Spirit, or from some other source, either human
         or demonic, cf. 1Co 14:29; 1Ti 4:1; 1Jn 4:1
      8. "kinds of tongues" - ability to speak in various languages,
         e.g., Ac 2:4-11; 1Co 14:18
      9. "interpretation of tongues" - ability to interpret languages,
         e.g., 1Co 14:27
      -- There may be overlapping in these gifts; I have listed the
         descriptions given by Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown in their

      1. These gifts are called "spiritual" (Grk., pneumatikos) 
         - 1Co 12:1; 14:1
         a. Implying that which is of the Spirit, and not natural
         b. They all come from the same Spirit - 1Co 12:11
      2. They were "manifestations" of the Spirit - 1Co 12:7
         a. Manifest - conspicuous, plain; that which illustrates, or
            makes anything seen or known (Barnes)
         b. These "spiritual" gifts were visible and audible evidences
            of the Spirit's influence
         c. Perhaps in contrast to other "gifts" which were not as
            noticeable, but expressions of God's gracious "gifts"
            nonetheless - cf. Ro 12:3-8; 1Pe 4:10-11
      3. Not all Christians had these "spiritual" gifts; some may have
         had no such gift at all
         a. E.g., not all could speak in tongues - 1Co 12:28-30
         b. Some were even "ungifted" (NASB) - 1Co 14:16,23-24
            ("uninformed", NKJV)
      4. Possession of these "spiritual" gifts did not ensure 
         spiritual maturity
         a. The brethren at Corinth came short in no gift - 1Co 1:4-7
         b. Yet they were noted for being "carnal" and "babes" 
            - 1Co 3:1-4
      5. These "spiritual" gifts could be abused, but also controlled
         a. Used for personal benefit, contrary to their purpose 
            (see below) - 1Co 14:1-5
         b. Used improperly, to the shame of the congregation 
            - 1Co 14:23
         c. Used properly, to the edification of all - 1Co 14:26-32
      -- Note:  In this lesson we are talking about the "spiritual"
         gifts, those gifts that were a miraculous manifestation 
         of the Spirit

[The next question we shall examine is...]


      1. The Holy Spirit distributed the gifts to each one as He
         determined - 1Co 12:11
      2. Those with certain roles likely received more gifts; e.g., the
         apostles - cf. 1Co 14:18
      3. On special occasions, the Spirit came upon individuals and
         imparted gifts directly
         a. E.g., the apostles, at Pentecost - cf. Ac 2:1-4
         b. E.g., the household of Cornelius, the first Gentiles 
            - cf.Ac 10:44-46

      1. Definitely through the laying on of the apostles' hands
         a. E.g., the Samaritans - cf. Ac 8:14-19
         b. E.g., the Ephesians - cf. Ac 19:6
         c. E.g., the Romans - cf. Ro 1:11
      2. Possibly through the laying on of hands by others
         a. Paul may have received the Spirit (along with the gifts)
            with the laying on of hands by Ananias - cf. Ac 9:17
         b. Timothy may have received a gift by the laying on of hands
            of elders - cf. 1Ti 4:14
            1) Though the Greek "with" implies that the presbyter's
               laying on hands was the mere accompaniment of the
               conferring of the gift (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown)
            2) And "by" (in 2Ti 1:6) implies that Paul's laying on his
               hands was the actual instrument of its being conferred
      -- Though the Spirit (in this miraculous manifestation) was
         imparted by the laying on of hands, it was the Spirit who
         determined what gifts one received

      1. Paul instructed some to pray that they might receive a gift
         - cf. 1Co 14:13
      2. Those who already had the gift of tongues could pray to receive
         the gift of interpreting tongues - cf. 1Co 12:10
      3. Could those who had not already received a gift pray for one?

[The Scriptures do not go into detail as to how people received the
gifts.  The reason for such ambiguity may have been their temporal
nature.  Before we consider how long gifts were to last, let's consider
the question...]


      1. To reveal God's will and confirm that it was His will 
         - cf. Mk 16:17-20; He 2:3-4
         a. Some gifts revealed God's will (e.g., prophecy)
         b. Other gifts confirmed God's will (e.g., tongues, miracles)
      2. Gifts were of little value unless truth was being revealed
         - 1Co 14:6
         a. Which is why prophesy was valued more highly than tongues
            - 1Co 14:5
         b. Especially when tongues were spoken without interpreters
            - 1Co 14:9-11
      -- Spiritual gifts were an indication the process of revelation
         was not yet complete

      1. The gifts of the Spirit were given "for the profit of all"
         - 1Co 12:7
         a. Not for personal or selfish reasons
         b. But for the purpose of benefiting others
      2. Thus the purpose of these miraculous gifts were to:
         a. To instruct and edify the church - cf. 1Co 14:3-4
         b. To convince unbelievers, e.g., speaking in tongues 
            - 1Co 14:22; Ac 2:4-11
      -- Spiritual gifts were designed to bless the whole church, not

[Keeping in mind the purpose of spiritual gifts will help us to answer
our next question...]


      1. Prophecies were to done away (NASB) - 1Co 13:8a
      2. Tongues would cease - 1Co 13:8b
      3. Knowledge (cf. 1Co 12:8) will be done away (NASB) - 1Co 13:8c
      -- The three gifts, prophecy, tongues, and knowledge evidently
         stand for the whole group of spiritual gifts (Ferrell Jenkins)

      1. What does "that which is perfect" refer to? - cf. 1Co 13:9-10
         a. Some say Christ, alluding to the time of His return
         b. Others say heaven, alluding to the same time period
      2. The overall context suggests differently; note carefully...
         a. The contrast between partial knowledge, and that which is
            perfect - 1Co 13:9-10
            1) "perfect" (teleios) means "brought to its end, finished;
               wanting nothing necessary to completeness; perfect..."
            2) There appears to be a contrast:
               a) Between the partial knowledge at the time it was being
                  revealed through spiritual gifts
               b) And the time when such knowledge would be completely
                  revealed (i.e., when God's revelation was final)
         b. The contrast in the two illustrations used by Paul 
            - 1Co 13:11-12
            1) The first showing a contrast between infancy and maturity
               a) Spiritual gifts served during the infancy (beginning)
                  of the church
               b) Once their purpose (to reveal and confirm) was
                  complete, things necessary to the beginning of the
                  church were to be done away
            2) The second showing a contrast between a vague image and a
               clear image
               a) During the period when knowledge of God's will was not
                  yet complete, it was like looking at a dim mirror
               b) Once God's word was completely revealed, it would be
                  like seeing oneself much more clearly
         c. The contrast with what would remain - 1Co 13:13
            1) While prophecies, tongues, and knowledge would cease,
               faith, love, and hope would "abide" (Grk., meno, "remain,
               dwell, continue, tarry, endure")
            2) To say Christ or heaven is "that which is perfect" makes
               Paul's point meaningless
               a) For there will be a time when spiritual gifts have
                  ceased, while faith, love, and hope remain
               b) Yet when Christ or heaven comes, faith and hope will
                  be no more!
                  1] We will no longer walk by faith, but by sight!
                     - cf. 2Co 5:7
                  2] We will no longer hope for what is unseen! 
                     - cf. Ro 8:24-25
            3) But if "that which is perfect" refers to 
               completed revelation...
               a) Then faith, hope, and love, will continue until 
                  Christ returns
               b) Even though spiritual gifts have been done away with
      -- Spiritual gifts, so important to the beginning and
         establishment of the Lord's church, ceased once their purpose
         (to reveal and confirm God's Word) was completed


1. Spiritual gifts were important to the beginning of the church, the
   means by which the Lord...
   a. Bore witness to His Word and His apostles - Mk 16:19-20; He 2:3-4
   b. Provided a full and final revelation of His Will 
      - 2Pe 1:3; Jude 3;2Ti 3:16-17

2. Yet spiritual gifts, the miraculous manifestations of the Spirit,
   were simply a means to an end...
   a. To produce the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit - Ep 6:17
   b. Which in turn produces the "fruit" of the Spirit 
      - Ga 5:22-23; Ro 8:5-6

3. More important than tongues, prophecy, knowledge, or any other
   spiritual gift...
   a. Are the qualities of love, joy, peace, hope, etc., in the life of
      the Christian
   b. I.e., the "fruit" of the Spirit in our life is more important than
      the "gifts" of the Spirit!

Spiritual gifts may have ceased, but the fruit of the Spirit can be born
whenever one is willing to let "the perfect law of liberty" (i.e., the
Word of God) transform their life! - cf. Jm 1:21-25

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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The Dead Sea Scrolls and Biblical Integrity by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.


The Dead Sea Scrolls and Biblical Integrity

by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.

Bible believers often are confronted with the charge that the Bible is filled with mistakes. These alleged mistakes can be placed into two major categories: (1) apparent internal inconsistencies among revealed data; and (2) scribal mistakes in the underlying manuscripts themselves. The former category involves those situations in which there are apparent discrepancies between biblical texts regarding a specific event, person, place, etc. [For a treatment of such difficulties see Archer, 1982; Geisler and Brooks, 1989, pp. 163-178]. The latter category involves a much more fundamental concern—the integrity of the underlying documents of our English translations. Some charge that the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts, having been copied and recopied by hand over many years, contain a plethora of scribal errors that have altered significantly the information presented in the original documents. As such, we cannot be confident that our English translations reflect the information initially penned by biblical writers. However, the materials discovered at Qumran, commonly called the Dead Sea Scrolls, have provided impressive evidence for both the integrity of the Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts of the Old Testament and the authenticity of the books themselves.


When the scrolls first were discovered in 1947, scholars disputed their dates of composition. Scholars now generally agree that although some materials are earlier, the Qumran materials date primarily to the Hasmonean (152-63 B.C.) and early Roman periods (63 B.C.-A.D. 68). Several strands of evidence corroborate these conclusions. First, archaeological evidence from the ruins of the Qumran community supports these dates. After six major seasons of excavations, archaeologists have identified three specific phases of occupation at the ancient center of Qumran. Coinage discovered in the first stratum dates from the reign of Antiochus VII Sidetes (138-129 B.C.). Such artifacts also indicate that the architecture associated with the second occupational phase dates no later than the time of Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 B.C.). Also reflected in the material remains of the site is the destruction of its buildings in the earthquake reported by the first-century Jewish historian, Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, 15.5.2). Apparently, this natural disaster occurred around 31 B.C. a position that prompted the occupants to abandon the site for an indeterminate time. Upon reoccupation of the area—the third phase—the buildings were repaired and rebuilt precisely on the previous plan of the old communal complex. The community flourished until the Romans, under the military direction of Vespasian, occupied the site by force (see Cross, 1992, pp. 21-22). Such evidence is consistent with the second century B.C. to first-century A.D. dates for the scrolls.
The second strand of evidence is that the generally accepted dates for the scrolls are corroborated by palaeographical considerations. Palaeography is the study of ancient writing and, more specifically, the shape and style of letters. Characteristic of ancient languages, the manner in which Hebrew and Aramaic letters were written changed over a period of time. The trained eye can determine, within certain boundaries, the time frame of a document based upon the shape of its letters. This is the method by which scholars determine the date of a text on palaeographical grounds. According to this technique, the scripts at Qumran belong to three periods of palaeographical development: (1) a small group of biblical texts whose archaic style reflects the period between about 250-150 B.C.; (2) a large cache of manuscripts, both biblical and non-biblical, that is consistent with a writing style common to the Hasmonean period (c. 150-30 B.C.); and (3) a similarly large number of texts that evinces a writing style characteristic of the Herodian period (30 B.C.-A.D. 70). This linguistic information also is consistent with the commonly accepted dates of the Qumran materials.
Finally, as an aside, the carbon-14 tests done on both the cloth in which certain scrolls were wrapped, and the scrolls themselves, generally correspond to the palaeographic dates. There are, however, some considerable differences. Due to the inexact nature of carbon-14 dating techniques (see Major, 1993), and the possibility of chemical contamination, scholars place greater confidence in the historically corroborated palaeographic dates (see Shanks, 1991, 17[6]:72). At any rate, the archaeological and linguistic data provide scholars with reasonable confidence that the scrolls date from 250 B.C. to A.D. 70.


While the importance of these documents is multifaceted, one of their principle contributions to biblical studies is in the area of textual criticism. This is the field of study in which scholars attempt to recreate the original content of a biblical text as closely as possible. Such work is legitimate and necessary since we possess only copies (apographs), not the original manuscripts (autographs) of Scripture. The Dead Sea Scrolls are of particular value in this regard for at least two reasons: (1) every book of the traditional Hebrew canon, except Esther, is represented (to some degree) among the materials at Qumran (Collins, 1992, 2:89); and (2) they have provided textual critics with ancient manuscripts against which they can compare the accepted text for accuracy of content.


This second point is of particular importance since, prior to the discovery of the Qumran manuscripts, the earliest extant Old Testament texts were those known as the Masoretic Text (MT), which dated from about A.D. 980. The MT is the result of editorial work performed by Jewish scribes known as the Masoretes. The scribes’ designation was derived from the Hebrew word masora, which refers collectively to the notes entered on the top, bottom, and side margins of the MT manuscripts to safeguard traditional transmission. Hence, the Masoretes, as their name suggests, were the scribal preservers of the masora (Roberts, 1962, 3:295). From the fifth to the ninth century A.D., the Masoretes labored to introduce both these marginal notes and vowel points to the consonantal text—primarily to conserve correct pronunciation and spelling (see Seow, 1987, pp. 8-9).
Critical scholars questioned the accuracy of the MT, which formed the basis of our English versions of the Old Testament, since there was such a large chronological gap between it and the autographs. Because of this uncertainty, scholars often “corrected” the text with considerable freedom. Qumran, however, has provided remains of an early Masoretic edition predating the Christian era on which the traditional MT is based. A comparison of the MT to this earlier text revealed the remarkable accuracy with which scribes copied the sacred texts. Accordingly, the integrity of the Hebrew Bible was confirmed, which generally has heightened its respect among scholars and drastically reduced textual alteration.
Most of the biblical manuscripts found at Qumran belong to the MT tradition or family. This is especially true of the Pentateuch and some of the Prophets. The well-preserved Isaiah scroll from Cave 1 illustrates the tender care with which these sacred texts were copied. Since about 1700 years separated Isaiah in the MT from its original source, textual critics assumed that centuries of copying and recopying this book must have introduced scribal errors into the document that obscured the original message of the author.
The Isaiah scrolls found at Qumran closed that gap to within 500 years of the original manuscript. Interestingly, when scholars compared the MT of Isaiah to the Isaiah scroll of Qumran, the correspondence was astounding. The texts from Qumran proved to be word-for-word identical to our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted primarily of obvious slips of the pen and spelling alterations (Archer, 1974, p. 25). Further, there were no major doctrinal differences between the accepted and Qumran texts (see Table 1 below). This forcibly demonstrated the accuracy with which scribes copied sacred texts, and bolstered our confidence in the Bible’s textual integrity (see Yamauchi, 1972, p. 130). The Dead Sea Scrolls have increased our confidence that faithful scribal transcription substantially has preserved the original content of Isaiah.
Of the 166 Hebrew words in Isaiah 53, only
seventeen letters in Dead Sea Scroll 1QIsb
differ from the Masoretic Text (Geisler and
Nix, 1986, p. 382).

10 letters = spelling differences

4 letters = stylistic changes

3 letters = added word for “light” (vs. 11)
17 letters = no affect on biblical teaching


The Qumran materials similarly have substantiated the textual integrity and authenticity of Daniel. Critical scholarship, as in the case of most all books of the Old Testament, has attempted to dismantle the authenticity of the book of Daniel. The message of the book claims to have originated during the Babylonian exile, from the first deportation of the Jews into captivity (606 B.C.; Daniel 1:1-2) to the ascension of the Persian Empire to world dominance (c. 536 B.C.; Daniel 10:1). This date, however, has been questioned and generally dismissed by critical scholars who date the final composition of the book to the second century B.C. Specifically, it is argued that the tales in chapters 1-6 as they appear in their present form can be no earlier than the Hellenistic age (c. 332 B.C.). Also, the four-kingdom outline, explicitly stated in chapter 2, allegedly requires a date after the rise of the Grecian Empire. Further, these scholars argue that since there is no explicit reference to Antiochus Epiphanes IV (175-164 B.C.), a Seleucid king clearly under prophetic consideration in chapter 11, a date in the late third or early second century B.C. is most likely (see Collins, 1992a, 2:31; Whitehorne, 1992, 1:270).
The apparent reason for this conclusion among critical scholars is the predictive nature of the book of Daniel. It speaks precisely of events that transpired several hundred years removed from the period in which it claims to have been composed. Since the guiding principles of the historical-critical method preclude a transcendent God’s intervening in human affairs (see Brantley, 1994), the idea of inspired predictive prophecy is dismissed a priori from the realm of possibility. Accordingly, Daniel could not have spoken with such precision about events so remote from his day. Therefore, critical scholars conclude that the book was written actually as a historical record of events during the Maccabean period, but couched in apocalyptic or prophetic language. Such conclusions clearly deny that this book was the authentic composition of a Daniel who lived in the sixth century B.C., that the Bible affirms.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have lifted their voice in this controversy. Due to the amount of Daniel fragments found in various caves near Qumran, it appears that this prophetic book was one of the most treasured by that community. Perhaps the popularity of Daniel was due to the fact that the people of Qumran lived during the anxious period in which many of these prophecies actually were being fulfilled. For whatever reason, Daniel was peculiarly safeguarded to the extent that we have at our disposal parts of all chapters of Daniel, except chapters 9 and 12. However, one manuscript (4QDanc; 4 = Cave 4; Q = Qumran; Danc = one of the Daniel fragments arbitrarily designated “c” for clarification), published in November 1989, has been dated to the late second century B.C. (see Hasel, 1992, 5[2]:47). Two other major documents (4QDanb, 4QDana) have been published since 1987, and contribute to scholarly analysis of Daniel. These recently released fragments have direct bearing on the integrity and authenticity of the book of Daniel.


As in the case of Isaiah, before Qumran there were no extant manuscripts of Daniel that dated earlier than the late tenth century A.D. Accordingly, scholars cast suspicion on the integrity of Daniel’s text. Also, as with Isaiah, this skepticism about the credibility of Daniel’s contents prompted scholars to take great freedom in adjusting the Hebrew text. One reason for this suspicion is the seemingly arbitrary appearance of Aramaic sections within the book. Some scholars had assumed from this linguistic shift that Daniel was written initially in Aramaic, and then some portions were translated into Hebrew. Further, a comparison of the Septuagint translation (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) with the MT revealed tremendous disparity in length and content between the two texts. Due to these and other considerations, critical scholars assigned little value to the MT rendition of Daniel.
Once again, however, the findings at Qumran have confirmed the integrity of Daniel’s text. Gerhard Hasel listed several strands of evidence from the Daniel fragments found at Qumran that support the integrity of the MT (see 1992, 5[2]:50). First, for the most part, the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts of Daniel are very consistent in content among themselves, containing very few variants. Second, the Qumran fragments conform very closely to the MT overall, with only a few rare variants in the former that side with the Septuagint version. Third, the transitions from Hebrew to Aramaic are preserved in the Qumran fragments. Based on such overwhelming data, it is evident that the MT is a well-preserved rendition of Daniel. In short, Qumran assures us that we can be reasonably confident that the Daniel text on which our English translations are based is one of integrity. Practically speaking, this means that we have at our disposal, through faithful translations of the original, the truth God revealed to Daniel centuries ago.


The Daniel fragments found at Qumran also speak to the issue of Daniel’s authenticity. As mentioned earlier, conventional scholarship generally places the final composition of Daniel during the second century B.C. Yet, the book claims to have been written by a Daniel who lived in the sixth century B.C.However, the Dead Sea fragments of Daniel present compelling evidence for the earlier, biblical date of this book.
The relatively copious remains of Daniel indicate the importance of this book to the Qumran community. Further, there are clear indications that this book was considered “canonical” for the community, which meant it was recognized as an authoritative book on a par with other biblical books (e.g., Deuteronomy, Kings, Isaiah, Psalms). The canonicity of Daniel at Qumran is indicated, not only by the prolific fragments, but by the manner in which it is referenced in other materials. One fragment employs the quotation, “which was written in the book of Daniel the prophet.” This phrase, similar to Jesus’ reference to “Daniel the prophet” (Matthew 24:15), was a formula typically applied to quotations from canonical Scripture at Qumran (see Hasel, 1992, 5[2]:51).
The canonical status of Daniel at Qumran is important to the date and authenticity of the book. If, as critical scholars allege, Daniel reached its final form around 160 B.C., how could it have attained canonical status at Qumran in a mere five or six decades? While we do not know exactly how long it took for a book to reach such authoritative status, it appears that more time is needed for this development (see Bruce, 1988, pp. 27-42). Interestingly, even before the most recent publication of Daniel fragments, R.K. Harrison recognized that the canonical status of Daniel at Qumran militated against its being a composition of the Maccabean era, and served as confirmation of its authenticity (1969, p. 1126-1127).
Although Harrison made this observation in 1969, over three decades before the large cache of Cave 4 documents was made available to the general and scholarly public, no new evidence has refuted it. On the contrary, the newly released texts from Qumran have confirmed this conclusion. The canonical acceptance of Daniel at Qumran indicates the antiquity of the book’s composition—certainly much earlier than the Maccabean period. Hence, the most recent publications of Daniel manuscripts offer confirmation of Daniel’s authenticity; it was written when the Bible says it was written.
A final contribution from Qumran to the biblically claimed date for Daniel’s composition comes from linguistic considerations. Though, as we mentioned earlier, critical scholars argue that the Aramaic sections in Daniel indicate a second-century B.C. date of composition, the Qumran materials suggest otherwise. In fact, a comparison of the documents at Qumran with Daniel demonstrates that the Aramaic in Daniel is a much earlier composition than the second-century B.C. Such a comparison further demonstrates that Daniel was written in a region different from that of Judea. For example, the Genesis Apocryphon found in Cave 1 is a second-century B.C. document written in Aramaic—the same period during which critical scholars argue that Daniel was composed. If the critical date for Daniel’s composition were correct, it should reflect the same linguistic characteristics of the Genesis Apocryphon. Yet, the Aramaic of these two books is markedly dissimilar.
The Genesis Apocryphon, for example, tends to place the verb toward the beginning of the clause, whereas Daniel tends to defer the verb to a later position in the clause. Due to such considerations, linguists suggest that Daniel reflects an Eastern type Aramaic, which is more flexible with word order, and exhibits scarcely any Western characteristics at all. In each significant category of linguistic comparison (i.e., morphology, grammar, syntax, vocabulary), the Genesis Apocryphon (admittedly written in the second century B.C.) reflects a much later style than the language of Daniel (Archer, 1980, 136:143; cf. Yamauchi, 1980). Interestingly, the same is true when the Hebrew of Daniel is compared with the Hebrew preserved in the Qumran sectarian documents (i.e., those texts composed by the Qumran community reflecting their peculiar societal laws and religious customs). From such linguistic considerations provided by Qumran, Daniel hardly could have been written by a Jewish patriot in Judea during the early second-century B.C., as the critics charge.


There are, of course, critical scholars who, despite the evidence, continue to argue against the authenticity of Daniel and other biblical books. Yet, the Qumran texts have provided compelling evidence that buttresses our faith in the integrity of the manuscripts on which our translations are based. It is now up to Bible believers to allow these texts to direct our attention to divine concerns and become the people God intends us to be.


Archer, Gleason, Jr. (1974), A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Archer, Gleason, Jr. (1980), “Modern Rationalism and the Book of Daniel,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 136:129-147, April-June.
Archer, Gleason, Jr. (1982), Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Brantley, Garry K. (1994), “Biblical Miracles: Fact or Fiction?,” Reason and Revelation, 14:33-38, May.
Bruce, F.F. (1988), The Canon of Scriptures (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Collins, John J. (1992a), “Daniel, Book of,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday), 2:29-37.
Collins, John J. (1992b), “Dead Sea Scrolls,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday), 2:85-101.
Cross, Frank Moore (1992), “The Historical Context of the Scrolls,” Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Hershel Shanks (New York: Random House).
Geisler, Norman and Ronald Brooks (1989), When Skeptics Ask (Wheaton, IL: Victor).
Geisler, Norman and William Nix (1986), A General Intorduction to the Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Harrison, R.K. (1969), Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Hasel, Gerhard (1992), “New Light on the Book of Daniel from the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Archaeology and Biblical Research, 5[2]:45-53, Spring.
Josephus, “Antiquities of the Jews,” The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, (Chicago, IL: John C. Winston; translated by William Whiston).
Major, Trevor (1993), “Dating in Archaeology: Radiocarbon and Tree-Ring Dating,” Reason and Revelation, 13:73-77, October.
Roberts, B.J. (1962), “Masora,” The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Abingdon), 3:295.
Seow, C.L. (1987), A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew (Nashville, TN: Abingdon).
Shanks, Hershel (1991), “Carbon-14 Tests Substantiate Scroll Dates,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 17[6]:72, November/December.
Whitehorne, John (1992), “Antiochus,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday), 1:269-272.
Yamauchi, Edwin (1972), The Stones and the Scriptures: An Evangelical Perspective (New York: Lippincott).
Yamauchi, Edwin (1980), “The Archaeological Background of Daniel,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 137:3-16, January-March.

Non-Religion, America, and Apologetics by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Non-Religion, America, and Apologetics

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

My dad was born in 1935 on a farm in southwest Missouri. My mother was born in 1940 in southern Alabama. Neither has any recollection of ever having conversations with atheists or agnostics. Practically all their acquaintances were theists who considered themselves Christians.
Religious researcher and statistician Flavil Yeakley mentioned in his most recent book, Why They Left, that in 1950 “we could assume that most of the people around us already believed in God, in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and in the Bible as the Word of God. They already understood that people are lost in sin and in need of salvation” (2012, p. 29). According to George Gallup, Jr. and Michael Lindsey, in 1947, 89% of Americans identified themselves as Christian Protestants or Catholics (1999, p. 7). Considering this is in addition to the millions of other “religious” Americans (e.g., Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.), it is safe to say that the percentage of non-religious Americans (including atheists, agnostics, and skeptics) was minuscule.
Although, thankfully, the majority of Americans still believe in God (see Miller, 2012), the upward trend of non-religion in America is quite disturbing. In 1990, 8.2% of Americans claimed to be non-religious, most notably agnostics, skeptics, and atheists (Kosmin, 1991). In 2001, that number had jumped to 14.1% (Kosmin, et al., 2001). By 2008 it reached 15% (Kosmin and Keysar, 2009). According to USA Today’s religion reporter, Cathy Lynn Grossman, aggregated surveys by the Pew Research Center indicated that the percentage of non-religious Americans has now reached 19% of the American population (2012). [NOTE: The percentage of non-religious individuals would be even higher were it not for the many millions of Catholic Hispanics who have migrated to the United States over the past two decades.]
The percentage of non-religious Americans only 60 years ago was hardly noticeable. By 1990, nearly one in every 12 Americans claimed no religion. Today, it appears that nearly one in five Americans claims no affiliation with Christianity or any other religion, while one in every three Americans claims that religion is not an important part of their daily lives (Newport, 2009). Sadly, the number of skeptics, agnostics, atheists, etc. has risen drastically in only the last few decades, while the number of Americans claiming Jesus Christ as Lord of their daily lives has continued to decrease gradually.
The likelihood of you crossing paths with an atheist, agnostic, or skeptic at some point in the next few months is pretty high. The odds of your children, grandchildren, nephews or nieces running into atheistic professors or skeptical students in high school or college are very high (considering many public schools and universities are breeding grounds for non-religious Americans). More than ever, Christians need to equip themselves with the tools to help them “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Those of us at Apologetics Press hope that you will consider equipping your friends and family members with soul-saving, life-enriching materials. Why not order for your younger children or grandchildren a subscription to Discovery, A.P.’s monthly children’s magazine on Scripture and science? Why not consider arming your teens with Truth Be Told: Exposing the Myth of Evolution? Why not purchase multiple copies of A Christian’s Guide to Refuting Modern Atheism and give them away to college students who may very well be struggling for the first time in their lives with knowing how to defend their belief in the one true God of the Bible? At the very least, why not send your friends or family members a link to the A.P. site, where they can obtain thousands of pages of free electronic Christian evidence material.
Never in the history of the United States has there been a greater need for Christians to study Christian evidences. It is imperative that we teach our young people, not merely proof texts about God’s plan of salvation, but the evidence for God Himself, as well as proofs for the inspiration of the Bible and the deity of Christ.
Are you armed and ready for spiritual warfare? Are you prepared to answer the accusations levied against New Testament Christianity (cf. 1 Peter 3:15)? Are you preparing yourself and others to assist some of the millions of non-religious Americans whom, by the grace of God, you will have an opportunity to talk to about the Creator and Savior of the world (Colossians 1:16; John 4:42; 1 John 4:14)?


Gallup, George Jr. and Michael Lindsay (1999), Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing).
Grossman, Cathy Lynn (2012), “Survey Finds 19% Without Religious Affiliation,” USA Today, July 20,http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-07-19/no-religion-affiliation/56344976/1.
Kosmin, Barry (1991), The National Survey of Religious Identification.
Kosmin, Barry, Egon Mayer, and Ariela Keysar (2001), American Religious Identification Survey.
Kosmin, Barry and Ariela Keysar (2009), American Religious Identification Survey.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “Literal Creationists Holding Their Ground in the Polls,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/APPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1093&article=2040.
Newport, Frank (2009), “State of the States: Importance of Religion,” Gallup,http://www.gallup.com/poll/114022/state-states-importance-religion.aspx.
Yeakley, Flavil (2012), Why They Left: Listening to Those Who Have Left Churches of Christ(Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

Dinosaur Extinction Rewritten Again by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Dinosaur Extinction Rewritten Again

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Since 1978, the scientific community has thrown heavy support to the story that a huge asteroid hammered the Earth 65 million years ago and caused the dinosaurs to go extinct. Beautifully illustrated books feature detailed pictures of the alleged event. Multi-million-dollar movies have presented the animated version of the purported catastrophe and indelibly ingrained the idea into the minds of millions. Of course, this epic mass-extinction never happened in real life. Young Earth creationists have known this truth for years. Besides the fact that the millions-of-years timetable is a myth, it is a scientific, historical, and biblical fact that dinosaurs went extinct only a few hundred years ago (see Lyons and Butt, 2008).
Now, however, even the evolutionary scientific community is calling the asteroid fable into question. Jeffrey Kluger wrote an article titled “Maybe an Asteroid Didn’t Kill the Dinosaurs” (2009). In the article, he reviewed a study in the Journal of the Geological Society, which he says throws the entirety of the asteroid theory “into question” (2009).
The study, done by geoscientists Gerta Keller and Thierry Addate, asserts that the massive die-off occurred 300,000 years after the asteroid impact. To arrive at this figure, they studied a 30-foot layer of sediment just above the alleged asteroid impact layer. Using uniformitarian assumptions, they claimed that the layers of the sediment were laid down at a rate of about one inch per thousand years, giving an approximate time of 300,000 years. Furthermore, they looked at “52 distinct species” below the 30-foot sediment, and the same 52 were present through the 30-foot layer of sediment. The die-offs of the species were not seen until 300,000 years after the supposed asteroid impact (Kluger). Thus, the authors concluded that the asteroid could not have caused the dinosaur extinction. [NOTE: We do not believe the uniformitarian assumptions, nor the vast amounts of geological time. They are reported simply to show that the evolutionary scientists themselves have a problem with the standard dinosaur extinction model.]
Kluger then asked the question that comes to many of our minds: “So if the Chicxulub asteroid didn’t kill the dinosaurs, what did?” He answered his own question, stating: “Paleontologists have advanced all manner of theories over the years.” Indeed they have, but the vast majority of these theories have been plagued by false uniformitarian assumptions, as well as the denial of the evidence that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time (see Lyons and Butt, 2008). There remains one cataclysm in ancient history that the atheistic scientific community refuses to factor into dinosaur mass destruction—the global Flood. The Flood persists as the best explanation for the massive dinosaur graveyards that exist today (Lyons and Butt, pp. 205-223). Furthermore, the Flood is a historical reality that simply cannot be written out of the record like so many false dinosaur extinction theories have been.


Kluger, Jeffrey (2009), “Maybe an Asteroid Didn’t Kill the Dinosaurs,” TIME, [On-line], URL:http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1894225,00.html?xid=rss-healthsci-yahoo.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2008), The Dinosaur Delusion: Dismantling Evolution’s Most Cherished Icon (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Judge Strikes Down Tax-Exempt Status for Ministerial Housing Allowance by Kevin Cain, J.D.


Judge Strikes Down Tax-Exempt Status for Ministerial Housing Allowance

by Kevin Cain, J.D.

A federal court recently held that laws providing tax-exempt status for “clergy” housing allowances are unconstitutional (Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Lew, 2013). This decision was handed down by Judge Barbara Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin. While there is much to be concerned about with this legal opinion, there is also good reason to take this all with a grain of salt and with hope for the future.
In Judge Crabb’s opinion and order, she held that 26 U.S.C. section 107(2) violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This provision states:
In the case of a minister of the gospel, gross income does not include—
(1) the rental value of a home furnished to him as part of his compensation; or
(2) the rental allowance paid to him as part of his compensation, to the extent used by him to rent or provide a home and to the extent such allowance does not exceed the fair rental value of the home, including furnishings and appurtenances such as a garage, plus the cost of utilities (26 U.S.C. § 107).
Interestingly, the plaintiff did not challenge section 107(1), but only section 107(2). While the court held that only subsection 2 was unconstitutional, this appears on its face to be blatantly inconsistent with the fact that the court’s holding is based in part on the language “minister of the gospel.” This is language that applies to both subsections.
One could easily argue that the reason why the court did not hold section 107(1) to be unconstitutional was because it was not challenged by the plaintiff, and therefore, that issue was not before the court. However, the plaintiff did not even move for judgment in this case. This matter came before the court when the defendant moved for summary judgment. So how did the court grant judgment in favor of the plaintiff when the plaintiff did not move for judgment before Judge Crabb. The district court sua sponte (on its own initiative) decided to abandon the role of a neutral party and moved for judgment on behalf of the plaintiff (an incredibly rare procedure). Therefore, if the court wanted to resolve the constitutionality of section 107(1), it could have done so sua sponte. This is just one example of many where this opinion goes awry.
Nevertheless, the court held that section 107(2) (tax exemption for a minister’s housing allowance) violated the Establishment Clause because it violated the Lemon Test. Under the Lemon Test, a court must (1) determine whether the law or government action in question has a bona fide secular purpose; (2) determine whether the state action has the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion; and (3) consider whether the action excessively entangles religion and government (Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971).
Without going into the substance and details of the analysis (guaranteed to cure all forms of insomnia), this is not the first time Judge Crabb has demonstrated hostility toward religion in her judicial opinions. This Carter-appointed district judge authored an opinion in 2010 holding that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional because it violated the Establishment Clause (Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Obama, 2010). She employed the same analysis using the LemonTest to reach the result that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional. Notice that the same special interest group (Freedom From Religion Foundation) was the plaintiff in this case as well. Apparently, their primary goal is to free our government from religion and ensure that we have a godless form of government. Nevertheless, the good news in all this is that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Crabb’s hostile opinion striking down the National Day of Prayer (Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Obama, 2011). The Seventh Circuit held that the plaintiff did not have standing because it had not been injured. In other words, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is just a group that likes to stick their nose into litigation where it does not belong (a very down-to-earth explanation of what it means to not have standing before a court).
The same defect plagues the plaintiff in Judge Crabb’s opinion regarding the minister’s housing allowance. The defendant in that case argued and preserved for appeal the issue of standing. As such, if and when the defendant in that case appeals Judge Crabb’s opinion, they will appeal to the Seventh Circuit, the same appellate court that has previously held that this same plaintiff does not have standing to challenge these types of statutes. However, even if the Seventh Circuit finds that the plaintiff does have standing, the court will then address the merits of the constitutionality challenge to determine if the statute regarding the tax-exempt status of ministers’ housing allowance violates the First Amendment. And, there is a legitimate chance that the court will correct Judge Crabb’s anti-religion opinion. Regardless of who wins or loses before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, this is the type of case that is likely to find its way before the U.S. Supreme Court. Therefore, it will be some time before this issue will be resolved.
Have you ever noticed that when some renegade judge with an axe to grind comes out with some ridiculous ruling or appellate opinion, you hear about it all over the internet, Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, and even national news and radio? However, when that same ruling or opinion gets reversed or struck down on appeal, there is little in the way of hype or publicity to equal the coverage that accompanied the original bad news. I guess that is how the media (and our minds) work. A little bad news goes a long way toward gaining attention and scaring some people into taking notice. However, good news rarely makes it above the fold these days. That notwithstanding, I look forward to the day when I can report to you that the Seventh Circuit has yet again reversed another hostile opinion from Judge Crabb, or even better, the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on the subject and established sound precedent holding that the ministerial housing allowance exception does not violate the Establishment Clause—precedent that binds every federal court.
But if at the end of the day, Judge Crabb’s opinion survives appellate scrutiny, and higher courts hold that the ministerial housing allowance exception is unconstitutional, I am confident that I know exactly what hundreds and thousands of evangelists and preachers for the body of Christ all over the United States will do. They will continue to preach the whole counsel of God, they will continue to preach in season and out of season, they will continue to pray for the government, obey the government, pay taxes, and honor the government. Why will they respond this way? Because as blessed as we are to be citizens of this wonderful country, we serve a God who calls us to be citizens of a heavenly kingdom. Why will evangelists do what is right regardless of the law? Because these fine servants and preachers of God’s good news are not preaching for the tax exemptions (although that is certainly a help), but they preach in order to seek and save the lost. Why will preachers react in this godly manner? Because the position, policy, and practice of this nation cannot hinder the proclamation of God’s saving message.


26 U.S.C. § 107.
Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Lew, No 11-cv-626-bbc (W.D. Wis., Nov. 21, 2013).
Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Obama, 705 F.Supp.2d 1039 (W.D. Wis. 2010).
Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Obama, 641 F.3d 803 (7th Cir. 2011).
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).

Were Plants or Humans Created First? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Were Plants or Humans Created First?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Were plants or humans created first?


Most knowledgeable Christians read this question and immediately recall what Genesis 1 teaches: plants were created on day three (vss. 9-11) and humans on day six (vss. 24-31). Skeptics, however, have long criticized Genesis 1 and 2 as being contradictory. According to Bible critic Dennis McKinsey, “God made the fruit trees on the third day and created man three days later” in Genesis 1, but in Genesis 2 “God made man before the fruit trees” (1984, 22:1, emp. added). McKinsey’s criticism centers on Genesis 2:8-9a: “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” Allegedly, these verses contradict the chronology of Genesis 1:9-11,24-31.
The main reason that skeptics see disharmony in the events recorded in the first two chapters of the Bible (especially regarding the order of God’s creation of vegetation and man) is because they fail to realize that Genesis 1 and 2 serve different purposes. Chapter one (including 2:1-4) focuses on the order of the creation events; chapter two (2:5-25) simply provides more detailed information about some of the events mentioned in chapter one.
Consider a basketball announcer who, from beginning to end, tells of every point that each player scores in a particular game. After the game, however, the statistics are tallied, and the announcer informs the audience who scored all of the points, from most to fewest. Whereas earlier, the points were all announced in the precise order in which they were scored (and by whom), later, the results are presented non-sequentially.
Similar to a post-game summary that never is intended to be a regurgitation of what previously was announced sequentially, Genesis 2 never was meant to be a chronological accounting of the Creation. Whereas Genesis 1 is arranged chronologically, Genesis 2 is arranged topically.


McKinsey, Dennis (1984), “The Creation Accounts,” Biblical Errancy, 22:1-3, October.