1/3/17

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus - II (1:14-15) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

             The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus - II (1:14-15)

INTRODUCTION

1. Previously, we observed that "The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus"
   involved...
   a. Proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God
   a. That kingdom foretold by Daniel - Dan 2:44; 7:13-14
   b. The good news that is was "at hand", for "the time is fulfilled"!

2. In examining the nature of the kingdom, we noted that it...
   a. Involves the rule or reign of God through the person of Jesus
      Christ
   b. Is spiritual in nature
   c. Is manifested visibly today in the form of the Lord's church
   d. Has both present and future elements
   -- Indeed, this kingdom is now available to all who freely submit to
      the authority of Jesus

3. But Jesus did more than just announce the coming of the kingdom of
   God...
   a. He called on people to repent
   b. He called on people to believe

[And so as we return to our text (Mk 1:14-15), we note that in addition
to the kingdom of God...]

II. JESUS PREACHED THE NEED TO REPENT

   A. WHAT DOES REPENT MEAN...?
      1. There are two common misconceptions concerning repentance
         a. E.g., that repentance is "sorrow"
            1) But repentance is an outcome of sorrow - cf. 2Co 7:9-10
            2) Sorrow leads to repentance; sorrow itself is not
               repentance!
         b. E.g., that repentance is "a changed life"
            1) Thinking that repentance is a converted life
            2) But repentance and conversion are two separate things
               - cf. Ac 3:19
               a) Peter says "Repent therefore and be converted"
               b) If repentance means the same as conversion, then Peter
                  was redundant
      2. W. E. Vine defines "repentance" as:
         a. A "change of mind"
         b. That which "involves both a turning from sin and a turning
            to God"
      3. Repentance is therefore a decision to "turn from sin and turn
         to God"
         a. Preceded by sorrow - 2Co 7:10
         b. Followed by a changed life - 2Co 7:11
      -- Jesus therefore called on people to make a decision regarding
         sin, because of the imminent arrival of the kingdom of God

   B. DO WE NEED  TO PREACH REPENTANCE TODAY...?
      1. Most certainly!
         a. Repentance is to be preached in Jesus' name to all nations
            - Lk 24:46-47
         b. God now calls men everywhere to repent - Ac 17:30
         c. Thus Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles that they
            should repent - Ac 26:20
      2. Wherever there is sin, repentance needs to be proclaimed
         a. People need to be told to "change their minds" (repent)
         b. They need to "turn to God, and do works befitting
            repentance" - cf. Ac 26:20
      3. Whenever the kingdom of God is proclaimed, it must include a
         call to repent
         a. Paul spoke of preaching the kingdom of God - cf. Ac 20:25
         b. Which included telling people of repentance - cf. Ac 20:21
      -- Any preaching of the kingdom of God that does not include a
         clarion call to repent is not the true gospel!

[Of course, the decision to turn from sin involves faith.  So we are not
be surprised to note also that...]

III. JESUS PREACHED THE NEED TO BELIEVE

   A. WHAT DOES BELIEVE MEAN...?
      1. As defined by Easton's Bible Dictionary:
         a. Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a
            certain statement is true
         b. Its primary idea is trust
      2. It is a strong conviction or trust in something; as the NIV
         translates He 11:1...
         a. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for..."
         b. "...and certain of what we do not see."
      3. For example, you have faith that your parents are indeed your
         parents
         a. Based upon your trust or conviction in the reliability of
            their word
         b. Such trust prompts you to respond accordingly
      -- Jesus proclaimed that people should trust in the good tidings
         concerning the kingdom of God

   B. DO WE NEED TO PREACH THE NEED TO BELIEVE TODAY...?
      1. Most certainly!  For people need to believe:
         a. In God, to be pleasing to Him - He 11:6
         b. In Jesus, to have forgiveness of sins and eternal life 
            - Jn 8:24; 20:31
      2. But people also need to believe in the kingdom of God!
         a. Which is what Jesus was saying in our text - Mk 1:15
         b. That it was "at hand" when Jesus was preaching
      3. Thus there is the need to believe in the kingdom of God today!
         a. Just as Paul sought to convince his Jewish brethren - Ac 28:23
         b. If we do not believe, then the good news of God's kingdom
            and salvation should be taken to others - Ac 28:24-28
      4. We need to believe concerning the kingdom of God:
         a. That Jesus now reigns over all - Mt 28:18; Ep 1:20-22; 1 Pe 3:22
         b. That those who obey the gospel become members of that
            kingdom - Col 1:13
         c. That those who persevere will inherit the everlasting
            kingdom - 2Pe 1:10-11
         d. That those who persist in sin will not inherit the kingdom
            of God - 1Co 6:9-10; Ep 5:5

CONCLUSION

1. Thus "The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus" began with a proclamation
   regarding...
   a. The coming of the kingdom of God
   b. The need to repent and believe

2. The kingdom of God came just as Jesus (and the prophets) said it
   would...
   a. Jesus received all authority, and now reigns at the right hand of
      God - Mt 28:18; 1Pe 3:22
   b. He exercises that reign, even in the midst of His enemies - cf.
      Ps 110:1-2
   c. His people (the church) freely volunteer in the day of His power
      - cf. Ps 110:3
   d. When He returns, it will be to deliver the kingdom to His Father
      - 1Co 15:24-26

Do you wish to be part of that everlasting, heavenly kingdom?  Then you
must be in the kingdom of God now, freely submitting to the reign of God
in your life today!

If you have not yet done so, then repent of your sins, put your faith in
Jesus Christ, be baptized for the remission of your sins, and begin
living for Him today...! - Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:36-38
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK"The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus - I (1:14-15) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

             The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus - I (1:14-15)

INTRODUCTION

1. In Mk 1:14-15, we read of the beginning of Jesus' public ministry in
   Galilee...
   a. Which followed the imprisonment of John the Baptist - cf. Mk 6:
      17-18
   b. Which began at Capernaum, on the edge of the Sea of Galilee - cf.
      Mt 4:13

2. His public ministry involved "preaching"...
   a. "...preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God" - Mk 1:14
   b. The word "preach" (Gr., kerux) means "to herald, to proclaim"

[But what was the message Jesus proclaimed?  Is it a message we should
be preach today?  From our text (Mk 1:14-15) we first see that...]

I. JESUS PREACHED THE KINGDOM OF GOD

   A. WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD...?
      1. That kingdom of God foretold in book of Daniel
         a. A kingdom which shall never be destroyed - Dan 2:44
         b. A kingdom, along with glory and dominion, given to the Son
            of Man - Dan 7:13-14
      2. The kingdom of God involves four interrelated concepts
         a. God's kingship, rule, or recognized sovereignty
            1) The term "kingdom" as used by the Jews often stressed the
               abstract idea of rule or dominion, not a geographical
               area surrounded by physical boundaries
            2) basileia - royal power, kingship, dominion, rule; not to
               be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right
               or authority to rule over a kingdom - Thayer
         b. This rule of God is spiritual in nature
            1) It is not a physical kingdom - cf. Jn 18:36
            2) But one that is spiritual - cf. Ro 14:17
         c. Its visible manifestation today is in the form of the Lord's
            church
            1) For the church is that community of souls in whose hearts
               God is Sovereign
            2) That the church constitutes the kingdom of God on earth,
               consider:
               a) The term "church" and "kingdom" used interchangeably
                  - Mt 16:18
               b) Comments made to those who were in the church - Col 1:
                  13; 1Th 2:12
               c) The description of those in the churches of Asia 
                  - Re 1:4,6,9
         d. It has a future element as well as a present one
            1) Future aspect as spoken of by Jesus - Mt 25:34
            2) Future aspect as spoken of by Paul - 1Co 15:50; 2 Ti 4:18
            3) Future aspect as spoken of by Peter - 2Pe 1:10-11
      3. Thus the kingdom of God is both present and future
         a. In the present sense:
            1) It is found wherever the sovereignty of God is accepted
               in the hearts of men
            2) It is a spiritual kingdom, for God rules in the hearts of
               men
            3) Its outward manifestation today is the Lord's church
            4) This rule or kingdom of God was "inaugurated" on the Day
               of Pentecost (Ac 2)
         b. In the future sense:
            1) The rule or kingdom of God will be "culminated" with the
               coming of the Lord
            2) It will involve that "news heaven and a new earth in
               which righteousness dwells", described by Peter and John
               - 2Pe 3:10-13; Re 21-22
            3) It will be experienced only by those in the church who
               are submitting to God's will today! - cf. Mt 7:21-23;
               2Pe 3:13-14
      -- The kingdom of God involves good news (gospel)!

   B. DOES THE KINGDOM OF GOD NEED TO BE PROCLAIMED TODAY...?
      1. Most certainly!
         a. Philip "preached the things concerning the kingdom of God"
            - Ac 8:12
         b. The apostle Paul in his preaching and teaching:
            1) Spoke of the challenges in entering the kingdom in its
               future sense - Ac 14:22
            2) Reasoned and persuaded with people concerning the kingdom
               - Ac 19:8
            3) Had gone among the Ephesians, "preaching the kingdom of
               God" - Ac 20:25
            4) Solemnly testified of the kingdom of God to the Jews in
               Rome - Ac 28:23,30-31
         c. In his epistles, Paul wrote of:
            1) The nature of the kingdom - Ro 14:17
            2) Those who will not inherit the kingdom 
               - 1Co 6:9-10; Ga 5:21; Ep 5:5
            3) Jesus giving the kingdom to God when He returns 
               - 1Co 15:24-26
            4) How flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom - 1Co 15:50
            5) How we are in the kingdom now - Col 1:13
            6) His companions as fellow workers for the kingdom - Co
               4:11
            7) How we might be counted worthy of the kingdom - 2Th 1:5
            8) God calling us into His kingdom and glory - 2Th 2:12
            9) Jesus judging us at His appearing and His kingdom - 2 Ti 4:1
           10) The Lord preserving him for His heavenly kingdom - 2 Ti4:18
         d. Hebrews refers to our receiving a kingdom which can't be
            shaken - He 12:28
         e. James described the faithful poor as "heirs of the kingdom"
            - Jm 2:5
         f. Peter wrote how we might have an abundant entrance into the
            everlasting kingdom - 2Pe 1:10-11
         g. John was a brother and companion in the kingdom of Jesus
            Christ - Re 1:9
      2. Yet there is an important difference in our message today
         a. John the Baptist, Jesus, His disciples in the Limited
            Commission...all proclaimed the kingdom "at hand" (drawing
            near)
            1) For the rule of God as foretold by the prophets was about
               to be manifested - cf. Mk 1:14-15; Dan 2:44; 7:13-14
            2) During Jesus' earthly ministry that kingdom (reign) was
               yet future
            3) That was the "good news" (gospel) of the kingdom then:
               it was near!
         b. After the ascension of Christ, the preaching of the kingdom
            proclaimed it both present and future
            1) The rule of God is now being fully manifested through
               Jesus Christ - cf. Mt 28:18; Ep 1:20-22; 1Pe 3:22
            2) Those who "gladly receive" the message are added by the
               Lord Himself to His church or kingdom (i.e., the
               community of believers who submit to His authority)
               - cf. Ac 2:36-41,47; Col 1:13; Re 1:9
            3) Those who persevere to the end inherit the heavenly and
               everlasting kingdom of our Lord - Ac 14:22; 2Pe 1:10-11
      -- This is the good news (gospel) of the kingdom today:  it is
         both now and coming!

CONCLUSION

1. Thus "The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus" involved proclaiming the
   kingdom of God...
   a. The coming rule or reign of God
   b. As proclaimed by prophets like Daniel
   c. Was now "at hand", for "the time is fulfilled"!

2. But Jesus did more than just announce the coming of the kingdom of
   God...
   a. He called on people to repent
   b. He called on people to believe - Mk 1:15

We will examine His call for repentance and faith in our next study.  In
the meantime, we do well to ask ourselves, "Are we in the kingdom of God
today?"  The answer lies in whether we submit to the rule of God now
manifested in the person of Jesus Christ... - cf. Mt 28:18-20
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

Newsweek Article's Attack on the Bible: So Misinformed It's a Sin by Dave Miller, Ph.D. Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=5104

Newsweek Article's Attack on the Bible: So Misinformed It's a Sin

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.
Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Abraham Lincoln is credited with the statement: “How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” With that thought in mind, we turn our attention to the cover story of the December 23, 2014 issue of Newsweek titled, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin.” Kurt Eichenwald, the author, said concerning his article: “This examination is not an attack on the Bible or Christianity.” He says about his writing, “None of this is meant to demean the Bible, but all of it is fact.” Eichenwald may say that his article is not an attack on the Bible or is not designed to demean it, but that claim is simply not true. He boldly states that the Bible is “loaded with contradictions and translation errors and wasn’t written by witnesses and includes words added by unknown scribes to inject Church orthodoxy.” In fact, the bulk of his writing is an effort to prove these errors, contradictions, and discrepancies. Having declared that they are facts (which is the furthest thing from the truth, as we will show in this response), he says, “Christians angered by these facts should be angry with the Bible, not the messenger.” Make no mistake about it, Eichenwald is bashing the Bible, and he does so without the facts.
In a way, Eichenwald’s attack on the Bible is reassuring to the Bible believer for the simple reason that Eichenwald uses information that has been refuted literally for centuries. His article consists of warmed-over skepticism that has so often been easily refuted; we at Apologetics Press already have articles on virtually every subject he mentions (www.apologeticspress.org). In another way, however, his article is troubling. Why, if his arguments are so easily answered, does the author feel that they will resonate with his audience or cause others to question the Bible? The most reasonable answer seems to be that he knows his audience is ignorant of the responses to his attacks. The Proverbs writer once stated, “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). To those who have not given these matters much thought, Eichenwald’s information may seem legitimate and may cause one to doubt the Bible’s inspiration. However, when one examines this information, it will be seen for what it is—a thinly veiled, inept attack against the inspired Word of God.

The “Contradictions” in the Bible

The Birth of Jesus

One of the clearest examples of Eichenwald’s errant thinking is seen in his repetitious claim that the Bible is “loaded with contradictions.” In his section titled “No Three Kings,” he contends that the accounts of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke are contradictory. He writes: “Jesus was born in a house in Bethlehem. No wise men showed up for the birth…. No angel appearing to Mary…. Not born in a manger….” Then he asks the reader: “Not the version you are familiar with...? You may not recognize this version, but it is a story of Jesus’ birth found in the Gospels. Two Gospels—Matthew and Luke—tell the story of when Jesus was born, but in quite different ways. Contradictions abound.”
Is it true that the versions of Jesus’ “birth” are filled with contradictions? Not at all. Let us see how he proceeds to fabricate contradictions that are not there. First, notice how he begins his section: “Jesus was born in a house in Bethlehem.” Note that he did not provide a verse reference for that claim—for good reason: there is no Bible passage that claims that Jesus was born in a house in Bethlehem. The account in Luke makes it clear that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (2:4) and, contrary to Eichenwald’s charge, in a manger (2:7,16)—i.e., a barn-animal feeding trough. Did an angel appear to Mary? The Gospels make no such claim, and therefore, cannot be said to contradict one another. An angel appeared to shepherds in the field at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8-13) and to Mary before Jesus was conceived (Luke 1:26-31), but this does not contradict any other passage. Did wise men come to the birth? When we turn to Matthew’s account, the chapter begins its narrative about the wise men: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King…” (2:1). How long after Jesus was born in Bethlehem? The text does not say. In fact, king Herod asked the wise men what time Jesus’ star appeared (vs. 7), and based on that information, the evil king issued a decree to kill the young males in Bethlehem who were from “two years old and under” (vs. 16). Obviously, between the time the star appeared, and the time the wise men arrived, several months had elapsed. In fact, from Herod’s calculations to kill two year olds, it could have been as much as 18 months to two years. So, the story in Matthew 2 is not even a “birth” story. The Bible makes no claim that wise men were at Jesus’ birth. The only contradiction that can be levied concerning the appearance of the wise men is not a contradiction in the Bible, but a contradiction between what the Bible says and what people have erroneously claimed the Bible says—as with the case of the appearance of the angel to Mary.
Eichenwald has committed the very mistake that he accuses so many evangelicals of committing. Early in the article he bemoans the fact that many people who call themselves Christians do not even know what the text says. Sadly, he is right. Many Christians do not study the Bible as they should. He insists that his article is “designed to shine a light on a book that has been abused by people who claim to revere it but don’t read it.” Ironically, Eichenwald’s attack is filled with heat, but very little light. His examples of obvious “contradictions” in the “birth” accounts of Jesus are attacks against information that is not even in the Bible. In an article that purports to straighten out those who are biblically illiterate, to boldly proclaim that the Bible states that “Jesus was born in a house in Bethlehem”—when the Bible nowhere makes such a statement—is inexcusable, slipshod scholarship. [For more information, see the A.P. article: “When Did Jesus Go to Egypt?” (Lyons, 2011).]
In addition, Eichenwald claims that the genealogies in Matthew and Luke trace Jesus’ bloodline through Joseph, “Except…Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ father…. Mary, the mother of Jesus, can be the only parent with a bloodline to David, but neither Gospel makes mention of that.” This allegation has been decisively answered in the A.P. article titled, “The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke.” Here is the short answer to this alleged discrepancy:
Here is the precise purpose of Matthew’s genealogy: it demonstrated Jesus’ legal right to inherit the throne of David—a necessary prerequisite to authenticating His Messianic claim. However, an equally critical credential was His blood/physical descent from David—a point that could not be established through Joseph since “after His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18, emp. added). This feature of Christ’s Messiahship was established through His mother Mary, who was also a blood descendant of David (Luke 1:30-32). Both the blood of David and the throne of David were necessary variables to qualify and authenticate Jesus as the Messiah (Miller, 2003, emp. in orig.).
Isn’t it interesting that Eichenwald left out the fact that Luke’s genealogy mentions Jesus “being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph” (Luke 3:24)? By using the phrase “as was supposed,” Luke demonstrates that Jesus was not the actual son of Joseph, just the perceived one. In addition, the Newsweek author neglected to mention that in Matthew 1:16, when the text says that “Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus,” the word “whom” (in the Greek) is in the feminine form. It could only be referring to Mary. Thus, neither of the genealogies states that Jesus was born to Joseph.

Alleged Contradictions in the Resurrection Accounts

Eichenwald continues his attack on the Bible, stating that the “stories in the four Gospels of Jesus’ death and resurrection differ as well.” He asserts: “And who went to anoint Jesus in his tomb? In Matthew, it was Mary and another woman named Mary, and an angel met them there. In Mark, it was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, and a young man met them. In John, it was Mary alone; no one met her.” Supposedly, these “differing” accounts are so blatantly contradictory that no further examination need be applied to them. When we apply proper reasoning to this allegation, however, we see there are no contradictions.
For instance, what if John mentions one Mary while Matthew mentions Mary and another woman named Mary? This difference is not a contradiction. John would have had to qualify his statement by saying that “only” Mary or Mary “alone” went to the tomb. Did you notice that Eichenwald includes the word “alone” with Mary, but the biblical text never does? Just because one writer gives additional or supplemental information does not make him contradict the other account. [For more information, see the A.P. article titled, “The Resurrection Narratives” (Butt, 2002).] Consider Eichenwald’s own statement that at the Council of Nicaea, “Constantine arrived wearing jewels and gold on his scarlet robe and pearls on his crown.” Suppose that another person were to say that Constantine arrived with numerous courtiers and was wearing boots. Would that statement be a contradiction? Not in any way. Such accusations barely deserve to be answered—if it were not for their prevalence.

Two Accounts of Creation?

Eichenwald further suggests that “biblical scholars have concluded that two Jewish sects wrote many of the books. Each prepared its version of the Old Testament, and the two were joined together without any attempt to reconcile the many contradictions” (2014). Once again, the Newsweek writer conveniently mentions only those “biblical scholars” who happen to agree with him. What about the thousands of scholars that do not agree with this specious position? As an example of these “doublets,” he states: “The next time someone tells you the biblical story of Creation is true, ask that person, ‘Which one?’ Few of the Christian faithful seem to know the Bible contains multiple creation stories…. Careful readers have long known that the two stories contradict each other.” In truth, careful readers have long known just the opposite. As Wayne Jackson concluded: “When the texts of Genesis 1 and 2 have been considered carefully, one thing is clear: an objective evaluation reveals no discrepancies, nor is a dual authorship to be inferred. Devout students of the Bible should not be disturbed by the fanciful, ever-changing theories of the liberal critics” (See the A.P. article, “Are There Two Creation Accounts in Genesis?” [Jackson, 1991; Cf. McGarvey, 1910, p. 66]). [NOTE: In his section dealing with such doublets, Eichenwald mentions that “biblical scholars” have concluded that Moses did not write the Pentateuch. The evidence, however, reveals that Moses certainly did write these books. See the A.P. article “Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch—Tried and True” (Lyons, 2003; cf. McGarvey, 1902).]
The article also uses the Flood story as an example of doublets causing contradictions. Eichenwald says the “water flooded the earth for 40 days (Genesis 7:17), or 150 days (Genesis 7:24).” His careless use of the Scripture is painful to endure. The text does not say in Genesis 7:17 that the Flood stopped after 40 days. It simply details things that occurred at that time, such as the waters lifting the ark off the ground. The text in Genesis 7:24 specifically says that at the end of 150 days the water began to decrease. The previous 7:17 says nothing about the complete duration of the Flood or when the waters stopped rising. [NOTE: For an exhaustive list of answers to these types of alleged contradictions, see A.P.’s Web site category titled “Alleged Discrepancies.”]

Sunday As the Christian Day of Worship

The title of the Newsweek article, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” explains much about the author’s method of bashing. He approaches the subject in light of the idea that many Christians do not read or understand the Bible. One of the author’s grievous faults, however, is that it is apparent that he does not read or understand the Bible either, and he writes in a way that betrays this fact. For instance, when discussing the Christian day of worship, Eichenwald suggests that Constantine was responsible for establishing it as Sunday instead of the Sabbath (or Saturday). He alleges:
Things that are today accepted without much thought were adopted or reinforced at Nicaea. For example, the Old Testament was clear in declaring that God rested on the seventh day, making it the Sabbath. The seventh day of the week is Saturday, the day of Jewish worship and rest. (Jesus himself invoked the holiness of the Jewish Sabbath.) The word Sunday does not appear in the Bible, either as the Sabbath or anything else. But four years before Nicaea, Constantine declared Sunday as a day of rest in honor of the sun God…. Many theologians and Christian historians believe that it was at this moment, to satisfy Constantine and his commitment to his empire’s many sun worshippers, that the Holy Sabbath was moved by one day, contradicting the clear words of what ultimately became the Bible (2014).
Notice the author’s tactic. First, he says that both the Old Testament and Jesus invoked the Sabbath (our Saturday) as holy. Then he states that the Bible never even uses the word Sunday. And, lastly, he implies that Christians were not “officially” worshiping on this day prior to Constantine, but that Constantine changed the day of Christian worship to Sunday.
Eichenwald’s assertions regarding the day of Christian worship contradict both biblical and historical fact—and are easily answered. First, he confuses the issue when he says that the word “Sunday” is not even used in the Bible, since none of our modern names for the days of the week are used in the Bible. The term “Saturday” does not appear. You will not read the terms “Friday” or “Monday” in the original text either. Such is to be expected. The real question is: did the writers of the Bible have their own designation for the day that we call Sunday? Of course they did; it was called “the first day of the week,” Saturday (or Sabbath), being the last or seventh day of their week. We could ask, then, do we read about anything in the New Testament happening on the first day of the week? Absolutely. In fact, Jesus rose early “after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn” (Matthew 28:1). Christians were to come together to give money to support the church’s work every “first day of the week” in the city of Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:2). And the book of Acts explains that the Christians gathered to partake of the Lord’s Supper (referred to as “breaking bread”) on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
Early Christian writers that lived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries verify this truth. As Eric Lyons wrote in the A.P. article titled “Did Paul Want Christians to Come Together on Saturday or Sunday?”:
Ignatius wrote in his letter to the Magnesians (believed to be penned around A.D. 110) how Christians “have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day” (1:62, emp. added; cf. Revelation 1:5). And, in chapter 67 of his First Apology (written around A.D. 150), Justin Martyr noted how Christians would gather together “on the day called Sunday” to read the writings of the apostles and prophets, instruct, pray, give, and eat of bread and wine (2005; see also the A.P. article, “The First Day of the Week” [Lyons, 2006]).
Biblical scholar Robert Milligan wrote, “That the primitive Christians were wont to celebrate the Lord’s Supper on every first day of the week is evident.... During the first two centuries the practice of weekly communion was universal, and it was continued in the Greek church till the seventh century” (1975, p. 440).
In addition to these facts, Eichenwald seems to be totally unaware of the overwhelming testimony of the New Testament that the Old Testament has been fulfilled and removed. Yes, the Old Testament mandated worship on the Sabbath—for the Jews; but Christ’s death and resurrection changed the law. As the Hebrews writer so concisely observed, “In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete” (8:13). And again Paul wrote that the Old Law, “was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:25). Christians no longer sacrifice animals as the Israelites did, they no longer celebrate the Passover, and they no longer hallow Saturday as the Holy Day. Those are vestiges of the Old Law that have been removed. For Eichenwald to misunderstand such clear and repetitive New Testament teaching is disappointing to say the least. The testimony of the New Testament and early Christian writers proves that Sunday was the Christian day of worship centuries before Constantine arrived on the scene.

Jesus and Family Values

In the first paragraph of his article, Eichenwald caricatures certain “Christian” fanatics and caustically attacks them, demanding that “they are God’s fraud’s, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch.” As we have seen throughout this review, Eichenwald is often guilty of the very tactics he condemns others for using. As an example, consider his statements concerning Jesus and family values. He wrote:
Some of the contradictions are conflicts between what evangelicals consider absolute and what Jesus actually said. For example, evangelicals are always talking about family values. But to Jesus, family was an impediment to reaching God. In the Gospel of Matthew, he states, “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (2014).
Talk about cafeteria style Bible interpretation! Eichenwald conveniently fails to include the fact that one of Jesus’ dying statements was to ensure that His mother was taken care of after His death (John 19:26-27). He leaves out the fact that Jesus’ apostles insisted that husbands are called to love their wives and give their very lives to protect them (Ephesians 5:25). In addition, children are to honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1), fathers are to train and discipline their children (Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:7-11), families are to financially support their own (1 Timothy 5:8), and wives are to love their husbands and their children (Titus 2:4). In addition, Jesus insisted that God is like a loving Father who longs for the return of His children (Luke 15:11-32). It is only possible to question Jesus’ and the apostles’ family values if a handful of verses are ripped from their context.
What is Jesus really saying when He mentions that His followers are to “forsake” families or homes for His cause? The easy-to-understand message here is that a relationship with Jesus must be the most important relationship in the life of His followers. That means if a spouse were to demand that a Christian participate in pagan idol worship or the spouse was going to leave, then with much sadness but firm resolve, the Christian should let the spouse leave and not join in the pagan idol worship. If Hindu parents insist that if their college son becomes a Christian they will disown him, that son should follow Christ and be disowned by his parents. We can all understand that a person should never commit murder, theft, or adultery to preserve a close relationship with family or friends. Jesus was merely stating that the relationship with Him is the most important. [See the A.P. article “Hate Your Parents—or Love Them?” Butt, 2004).]

Has the Bible Been Corrupted?

One of the longest sections of the Newsweek article deals with the idea that the Bible has been corrupted over time, that we do not really know which books belong in the Bible, and that translation errors are so plentiful that we do not have the original message. Yet these allegations have been confronted and refuted time and time again. [Cf. A.P.’s soon-to-be released video series titled, “Has the Bible Been Corrupted?” in which such assertions are debunked.] Many books over the years have masterfully answered the skeptic in this regard, including such volumes as J.W. McGarvey’s Evidences of Christianity, F.F. Bruce’s The Canon of Scripture, Bruce Metzger’s The Text of the New Testament, and a host of others. The Newsweek article manifests abysmal, inexcusable ignorance of the long established facts of the matter.
For example, Eichenwald states that we do not have the original message of the Bible because the originals are lost and the translations are filled with errors and variations. He claims that
no television preacher has ever read the Bible. Neither has any evangelical politician. Neither has the pope. Neither have I. And neither have you. At best, we’ve all read a bad translation—a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times (2014).
Supposedly, according to Eichenwald, since we don’t have the originals, and our translations are from copies that were written in other languages, there is no way we have actually read the Bible.
This na├»ve, uninformed view of message transmission cannot be maintained in light of the evidence. Are we to believe that since we have never seen Eichenwald’s original article that he personally typed or penned, then we cannot have the information he intended to present? Is it true that since some people read the article on-line, but others in printed form, then the original message is hopelessly lost? Is it true that anyone who reads the article in a language other than English has never really read the article, since it would be a translation? What Eichenwald and other skeptics are attempting to do is suggest that it is impossible to pass information accurately from one language to another, or from one printed page to another; but that suggestion is simply not true. If it is possible for a person to copy accurately a message once, it is possible to do so twice, and so on.
When we approach the Bible, we must simply ask, “Do we have the message that the original authors penned?” When we explore that question, we discover that the books of the New Testament are the most extensively verified books of ancient history. If we deny the Bible is verified, then we are saying that it is impossible for any information to be conveyed accurately from the past to the present. The skeptics’ attack is not against the Bible, per se; it is against the idea that we can know anything from ancient history. If it is possible to know what any writer has ever penned, then the skeptic’s accusations against the Bible cannot be sustained. When Eichenwald states, “And what biblical scholars now know is that later versions of the books differ significantly from earlier ones,” he implies there are so many variations in the manuscripts that the original message has been lost. This misleading exaggeration is a typical ploy by those who wish to discredit the integrity of the text of the Bible. What’s more, when he states, “Scribes added whole sections of the New Testament, and removed words and sentences that contradicted emerging orthodox beliefs,” he unwittingly admits that scholars have been able to identify and isolate those very words and sentences! In actuality, those manuscripts wherein scribes manifested doctrinal bias are in the small minority, do not represent the mass of manuscripts, and are identifiable.
Due to length constraints, a detailed analysis of textual variants is beyond the scope of this article. However, the sincere inquirer may easily access the analyses that have been made on each passage. For example, for a thorough discussion of the last 12 verses of Mark, see Miller, 2005; Scrivener, 1861, pp. 429ff; et al. For a discussion of the manuscript support pertaining to the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11), see Scrivener, pp. 439-443; Woods, 1989, p. 162; McGarvey, 1974, p. 16; Metzger, 1971, pp. 219-222; Jackson, 2011, p. 161; et al. For 1 John 5:7, see Woods, 1962, pp. 324-326; Metzger, 1971, pp. 716-718. For Luke 22:17-20, see Metzger, 1971, pp. 173-177. Any standard text on textual criticism discusses these and many other variants (e.g., Aland and Aland, 1987). If the reader desires the truth regarding the authenticity and integrity of the Bible, the evidence is available—if the individual is willing to spend the time and effort to weigh that evidence and arrive at the proper conclusion (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1).
What Eichenwald fails to divulge are several facts that completely undermine and discredit his attack on the integrity and transmission of the Bible:
  1. God knew that the original autographs would not survive, and that His Word would have to be transmitted through the centuries via copies. The transmission process is sufficiently flexible for God’s Word to be conveyed adequately by uninspired, imperfect copyists.
  2. We know how the original New Testament books read because we have three surviving classes of evidence by which to reconstruct the original New Testament: Greek manuscripts, ancient versions, and patristic citations.
  3. The current number of Greek manuscript copies containing all or part of the New Testament now stands at 5,795. This amount of manuscript evidence for the text of the New Testament is far greater than that available for any ancient classical author.
  4. The time between the writing of the original books of the New Testament and the earliest surviving copies is relatively brief.
  5. Although no two manuscript copies agree in every detail, the degree of accuracy achieved by most scribes was remarkably high. The vast majority of textual variants involve minor matters that do not alter any basic teaching of the New Testament. No feature of Christian doctrine is at stake.
  6. Suitable solutions to these differences are detectable. Even if they weren’t, the original reading is one of the extant options. And even those variants that some might deem “doctrinally significant” pertain to matters that are treated elsewhere in the Bible where the question of genuineness/certainty is unquestioned.
  7. We can confidently affirm that we have 999/1000ths of the original New Testament intact. The remaining 1/1000th pertains to inconsequential details.
These observations have been verified by the greatest textual critics and linguistic scholars of the past two centuries. Their conclusions have not become outdated, but remain as valid today as when first formulated. If the integrity of the text of the Bible was fully authenticated in their day, it remains so today. Consider the following statements by some of these world class authorities.

Scholarly Verification of the Purity of the New Testament Text

F.F. Bruce (1910-1990) was a biblical scholar who taught Greek at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Leeds, chaired the Department of Biblical History and Literature at the University of Sheffield, received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Aberdeen University, and served as the Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester. He wrote over 40 books and served as Editor of The Evangelical Quarterly and Palestine Exploration Quarterly. Bruce declared: “The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the N.T. affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice” (1975, pp. 19-20, emp. added). As if anticipating the Newsweek article, he also stated:
In view of theinevitable accumulation of such errors over so many centuries, it may be thought that the original texts of the New Testament documents have been corrupted beyond restoration. Some writers, indeed, insist on the likelihood of this to such a degree that one sometimes suspects they would be glad if it were so. But they are mistaken. There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament (1963, p. 178, emp. added).
Bruce further insisted:
Something more ought to be said, and said with emphasis. We have been discussing various textual types, and reviewing their comparative claims to be regarded as best representatives of the original New Testament. But there are not wide divergencies between these types, of a kind that could make any difference to the Church’s responsibility to be a witness and guardian of Holy Writ…. If the variant readings are so numerous, it is because the witnesses are so numerous. But all the witnesses, and all the types which they represent, agree on every article of Christian belief and practice (1963, p. 189, emp. added).
Bruce Metzger (1914-2007) was also a scholar of Greek, the New Testament, and New Testament Textual Criticism, serving as professor at Princeton Theological Seminary for 46 years. He was a recognized authority on the Greek text of the New Testament. He served on the board of the American Bible Society, was the driving force of the United Bible Societies’ series of Greek Texts, and served as Chairperson of the NRSV Bible Committee. He is widely considered one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the 20th century. Metzger stated:
…even if we had no Greek manuscripts today, by piecing together the information from these translations from a relatively early date, we could actually reproduce the contents of the New Testament. In addition to that, even if we lost all the Greek manuscripts and the early translations, we could still reproduce the contents of the New Testament from the multiplicity of quotations in commentaries, sermons, letters, and so forth of the early church fathers (as quoted in Strobel, 1998, p. 59).
Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) was a British bishop, biblical scholar and theologian, serving as Bishop of Durham and holding the Regius Professorship of Divinity at Cambridge. His colleague, Fenton John Anthony Hort(1828-1892), was an Irish theologian who served as a Professor at Cambridge. Together, they pioneered the widely recognized Greek text The New Testament in the Original Greek in 1881. They are still considered to be renowned textual critics. They forthrightly asserted:
With regard to the great bulk of the words of the New Testament…there is no variation or other ground of doubt…. [T]he amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation is but a small fraction of the whole residuary variation, and can hardly form more than a thousandth part of the entire text. Since there is reason to suspect that an exaggerated impression prevails as to the extent of possible textual corruption in the New Testament…we desire to make it clearly understood beforehand how much of the New Testament stands in no need of a textual critic’s labours (1882, pp. 2-3, emp. added).
These peerless scholars also insisted: “[I]n the variety and fullness of the evidence on which it rests the text of the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably alone among ancient prose writing” (p. 278, emp. added). They add: “The books of the New Testament as preserved in extant documents assuredly speak to us in every important respect in language identical  with that in which they spoke to those for whom they were originally written” (p. 284).
Benjamin Warfield (1851-1921) was a Professor of Theology at Princeton Seminary from 1887 to 1921. He is considered to be the last of the great Princeton theologians. In his Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, Warfield insightfully observed:
[S]uch has been the providence of God in preserving for His Church in each and every age a competently exact text of the Scriptures, that not only is the New Testament unrivalled among ancient writings in the purity of its text as actually transmitted and kept in use, but also in the abundance of testimony which has come down to us for castigating its comparatively infrequent blemishes…. The great mass of the New Testament, in other words, has been transmitted to us with no, or next to no, variation (1886, pp. 12-13,14, emp. added).
Richard Bentley (1662-1742) was an English classical scholar, critic, and theologian who served as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and was the first Englishman to be ranked with the great heroes of classical learning. He was well-known for his literary and textual criticism, even called the “Founder of Historical Philology,” and credited with the creation of the English school of Hellenism. Here are his comments on the integrity of the New Testament text:
[T]he real text of the sacred writers does not now (since the originals have been so long lost) lie in any single manuscript or edition, but is dispersed in them all. ‘Tis competently exact indeed even in the worst manuscript now extant; nor is one article of faith or moral precept either perverted or lost in them (1725, pp. 68-69, emp. added).
Sir Frederic George Kenyon (1863-1952) was a widely respected, imminent British paleographer and biblical and classical scholar who occupied a series of posts at the British Museum. He served as President of the British Academy from 1917 to 1921 and President of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. He made a lifelong study of the Bible as an historical text. In his masterful Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Kenyon affirmed:
One word of warning…must be emphasized in conclusion. No fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading. Constant references to mistakes and divergencies of reading…might give rise to the doubt whether the substance, as well as the language, of the Bible is not open to question. It cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain. Especially is this the case with the New Testament. The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church is so large, that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book in the world (1895, pp. 10-11, emp. added).
In his monumental The Bible and Archaeology, Kenyon further stated:
The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established (1940, pp. 288-289, emp. added).
Indeed, “the Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear of hesitation that he holds in it the true Word of God, faithfully handed down from generation to generation throughout the centuries” (1895, pp. 10-11).
Samuel Davidson (1806-1898) was an Irish biblical scholar who served as Professor of Biblical Criticism at Royal College of Belfast and Professor of Biblical Criticism in the Lancashire Independent College at Manchester. He authored many books on the text of the Bible. Referring to the work of textual criticism, Davidson concluded:
The effect of it has been to establish the genuineness of the New Testament text in all important particulars. No new doctrines have been elicited by its aid; nor have any historical facts been summoned by it from their obscurity. All the doctrines and duties of Christianity remain unaffected.… [I]n the records of inspiration there is no material corruption…. [D]uring the lapse of many centuries the text of Scripture has been preserved with great care…. Empowered by the fruits of criticism, we may well say that the Scriptures continue essentially the same as when they proceeded from the writers themselves (1853, 2:147, emp. added).
Frederick H.A. Scrivener (1813-1891) was a prominent and important New Testament textual critic of the 19th century. Having graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, he taught classics at several schools in southern England. His expertise in textual criticism is self-evident in that he served as a member of the English New Testament Revision Committee (Revised Version), edited the Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis and several editions of the Greek New Testament, collated the Codex Sinaiticus with the Textus Receptus, and was the first to distinguish the Textus Receptus from the Byzantine text. In his A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Scrivener admitted:
[O]ne great truth is admitted on all hands—the almost complete freedom of Holy Scripture from the bare suspicion of wilful corruption; the absolute identity of the testimony of every known copy in respect to doctrine, and spirit, and the main drift of every argument and every narrative through the entire volume of Inspiration…. Thus hath God’s Providence kept from harm the treasure of His written word, so far as is needful for the quiet assurance of His church and people (1861, pp. 6-7, emp. added).
J.W. McGarvey (1829-1911) was a minister, author, educator, and biblical scholar. He taught 46 years in the College of the Bible in Lexington, Kentucky, serving as President from 1895 to 1911. He summarized the point: “All the authority and value possessed by these books when they were first written belong to them still” (1974, p. 17).
Elias Boudinot (1740-1821) was a prominent Founding Father of America. He served in the Continental Congress (1778-1779, 1781-1784), as its President in 1782-1783, and was the founding president of the American Bible Society. In his refutation of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason, Boudinot explained: “[T]he facts upon which the Christian religion is founded, have a stronger proof, than any facts at such a distance of time; and that the books which convey them down to us, may be proved to be uncorrupted and authentic, with greater strength than any other writings of equal antiquity” (1801, p. 239, emp. added). This Founding Father’s view of the purity of the text of the New Testament was the view of the vast majority of the Founders.
With all the kindness one can muster, these imminent, well-studied, competent, peerless scholars, whose expertise in the field of Textual Criticism is unsurpassed, are far more qualified and accurate in their assessment of the credibility, integrity, and authenticity of the biblical text than the author of the Newsweek article.

conclusion

Here is the deeply disturbing predicament of our day:
  • Outstanding scholarship of bygone days fully demonstrated the authenticity and integrity of the text of the Bible, forcefully refuting the skeptics to the extent that the skeptics gained little traction in western civilization. The textual evidence that has come to light in recent decades has added even more weight to the arguments for biblical integrity.
  • But in recent years, such honest biblical scholarship has been succeeded by those who do not possess the same burning desire to seek the truth, but instead want to maintain their own infidelic agenda.
  • These biased unbelievers have the brazen effrontery to foist false information upon their unsuspecting victims who are completely unaware of the facts and ill-equipped to handle the onslaught.
  • Due to the propaganda to which the average citizen has been subjected (in an education system that long ago abandoned the pursuit of the truth)—professors and magazine writers know they will go largely unchallenged by the bulk of society.
Indeed, it is unfortunate that such articles as Eichenwald’s even need answering. There was a time when this type of anemic propaganda against the Bible would have immediately been dismissed for the slanted, biased, foolishness that it is. IfChristians will arm themselves with the evidence, and “always be ready to give a defense” to those who are attacking the Truth, God may grant that we see those times again. [NOTE: Those who are fearful that the integrity of the text of the Bible is compromised by the reality of textual variants need to be reminded that the world’s foremost textual critics have demonstrated that currently circulating copies of the New Testament do not differ substantially from the original (see Miller, 2005a, “Is Mark...,” 25[12]:89-95; Miller, 2010).]

REFERENCEs

Aland, Kurt and Barbara Aland (1987), The Text of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Bentley, Richard (1725), Remarks Upon a Late Discourse of Free Thinking (Cambridge: Cornelius Crownfield).
Boudinot, Elias (1801), The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia, PA: Asbury Dickins), http://www.google.com/books?id=XpcPAAAAIAAJ.
Bruce, F.F. (1963), The Books and the Parchments (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).
Bruce, F.F. (1975 reprint), The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Bruce, F.F. (1988), The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Butt, Kyle (2002), “The Resurrection Narratives,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=294.
Butt, Kyle (2004), “Hate Your Parents or Love Them?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=781.
Davidson, Samuel (1853), A Treatise on Biblical Criticism (Boston: Gould & Lincoln).
Eichenwald, Kurt (2014), “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,”  http://www.newsweek.com/2015/01/02/thats-not-what-bible-says-294018.html.
Ignatius (1973 reprint), “Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Jackson, Wayne (1991), “Are There Two Creation Accounts in Genesis?” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=1131.
Jackson, Wayne (2011), A New Testament Commentary (Stockton, CA: Christian Courier).
Justin Martyr (1973 reprint), “The First Apology of Justin,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1895), Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode).
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1940), The Bible and Archaeology (New York: Harper & Row).
Lyons, Eric (2003), “Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch—Tried and True,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=36.
Lyons, Eric (2005), “Did Paul Want Christians to Come Together on Saturday or Sunday?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=23&article=1575.
Lyons, Eric (2006), “The First Day of the Week,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=2022.
Lyons, Eric (2011), “When Did Jesus Go to Egypt?” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=4132.
McGarvey, J.W. (1902), The Authorship of Deuteronomy (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
McGarvey, J.W. (1910), Biblical Criticism (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
McGarvey, J.W. (1974 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Metzger, Bruce (1968), The Text of the New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press).
Metzger, Bruce (1971), A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (New York: United Bible Societies).
Miller, Dave (2003), “The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=932.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Is Mark 16:9-20 Inspired?” Reason & Revelation, 25(12):89-95, December, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=572&article=433.
Milligan, Robert (1975 reprint), The Scheme of Redemption (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Scrivener, F.H.A. (1861), A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament (Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, & Co.).
Strobel, Lee (1998), The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Warfield, Benjamin B. (1886), An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament (London: Hodder & Stoughton).
Westcott, B.F. and F.J.A. Hort (1882), The New Testament in the Original Greek (New York: Harper & Brothers).
Woods, Guy (1989), A Commentary on the Gospel According to John (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Woods, Guy (1962), A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

Higgs Boson—The "God Particle"? (Update) by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4120

Higgs Boson—The "God Particle"? (Update)

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


[NOTE—For the original article, see HIggs Boson—The "God Particle"? ; for an updated article see HIggs Boson—The "God Particle"? (2nd Update)]
In June, we released an article discussing the elusive Higgs Boson particle (i.e., the “God Particle”) that is thought by many scientists to be the particle that could have given mass to matter after the alleged Big Bang—thus providing a critical function in the formation of the Universe (see Miller, 2011). This particle, though never observed, is necessary in order for Big Bang cosmology and the atheistic perspective to even be considered a possibility, much less a true account of the origin of the Universe. The non-existence of this theoretical particle would be added to the lengthy list of fatal flaws in the atheistic mindset and Big Bang Theory.
Recall that the Large Hadron Collider, located at the CERN research center, has been the focus in the search for the Higgs Boson particle. Recall further that an “unexpected ‘bump’ in emissions” was observed a few months ago, that some thought “may be proof of the long-sought particle” (“Has Quest for the Elusive…?” 2011). After further study, CERN admitted to a conference in Mumbai that “possible signs of the Higgs last month were now seen as less significant” (“‘God Particle’…,” 2011, emp. added).
Some scientists are now considering the possibility that “the mystery particle might not exist” (“‘God Particle’…”). CERN stated that their new results “show that the elusive Higgs particle, if it exists, is running out of places to hide” (“‘God Particle’…,” emp. added). If it does not exist, “[i]t remains unclear what could replace it as an explanation” as to how matter got mass (“‘God Particle’…”). CERN blogger Pauline Gagnon said, “We know something is missing, we simply don’t quite know what this new something might be” (“‘God Particle’…”).
There is much more missing in the quest to substantiate the Big Bang than a little particle, and the list of those missing entities continues to grow and will continue to do so until true science—science that is in keeping with the evidence—is allowed to flourish. Is it possible, perhaps, that such particles do not exist, because it would be impossible for mass to exist at all without a Creator having created it and written the natural laws to govern it? Is it possible that the “something” that is missing in the equation, is actually Someone?
The list of missing entities in the Big Bang equation is growing. Without their existence in space somewhere, Big Bang cosmology cannot be substantiated. Yet these necessary entities have not been observed and therefore, lie outside the realm of scientific truth. It has become increasingly popular for cosmologists to label many of these missing entities with the first word, “Dark.” It would be consistent for cosmologists to rename the Higgs Boson the “Dark Particle” and add it to the list of missing “dark” elements that prove the Big Bang theory to be inadequate as an explanation for our Universe.

REFERENCES

“‘God Particle’ May Be a Mirage, Scientists Hint” (2011), Fox News, August 23, http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/08/23/god-particle-may-be-mirage-scientists-hint/?intcmp=obinsite.
“Has Quest for the Elusive ‘God Particle’ Succeeded?” (2011), Fox News, April 25, http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/25/quest-elusive-god-particle-succeeded/?test=faces.
Miller, Jeff (2011), “Higgs Boson—the ‘God Particle’?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=977&article=1500.

Give a Defense...to Everyone! by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=847

Give a Defense...to Everyone!

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The word apologetics derives from the Greek apologia, which means to defend or give a defense. Christian apologetics, then, is the defense of the Christian belief system.
The passage in 1 Peter 3:15 often is hailed as “the apologetic verse” because of its command to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense [apologian] to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
The inspired apostle instructed believers to be ready to give a defense. Offering a defense for the hope that lies within the heart of faithful Christians often is an easy thing to do. Whenever a person is surrounded by others of “like precious faith,” it proves an easy task to boldly defend New Testament Christianity. Perhaps it is for that very reason that Peter carries the thought a step farther by saying that Christians should stand ready to offer a defense “to everyone who asks you.”
Imagine Peter penning these words as his mind drifted back to the hour of Jesus’ arrest and trial. Shortly before the events of that night unfolded, Peter boldly and bravely had declared that he would die with Christ. Yet once the murderous mob confiscated His Lord, Peter was reduced to lurking in the shadows and following at a distance. His weakness and ignominy would only multiply as he was ushered into the courtyard of the High Priest. Waiting for him outside the trial was an enemy he was unable to fight—one so fierce and heinous that his mouth seemingly could not utter a defense of either his faith or his Lord. That enemy was…a servant girl!
“You also were with Jesus of Galilee” she accused. And Peter, who had been one of the first disciples to declare that Christ was the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16), and who had been the one among the disciples to voice his affirmation that Christ alone had the words of life (John 6:68), stood dumbfounded as he cowardly muttered, “I do not know what you are saying” (Matthew 26:70).
Peter had faced a primordial challenge to his faith—and had failed that challenge miserably. He thus knew from firsthand experience exactly how it felt to have his faith collapse under the weight of pressure from the enemy. Yet only a few weeks after his shameful denial, the Lord granted him the privilege of preaching the sermon that opened wide the doors of the Kingdom on the Day of Pentecost.
Peter’s admonition to those who were to follow after him, therefore, becomes somewhat like the warning of a loving mother who has burned her hand on the stove many times and wants to save her child from making the same mistake and enduring the same pain. Peter’s life-changing experience, no doubt, was why the apostle urged every Christian to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” He understood all too well the alternative—denying the Lord in the face of the enemy—and knew far better than most that it was too horrible to contemplate.

Cro-Magnon Man: Nothing but a “Modern” Man by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=3501

Cro-Magnon Man: Nothing but a “Modern” Man

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

If macroevolution is true—if human beings are the result of millions of years of gradual evolution from an ancient, single-celled life form—there should be abundant evidence in the fossil record that verifies such a contention. There should be billions of transitional fossils—fossils of intermediate creatures mid-way in their evolution between animal kinds. To the dismay of the evolutionary community, such evidence is conspicuously missing. Renown evolutionary paleontologist of Harvard University, Stephen J. Gould, admitted some thirty years ago what remains true today:
The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been apersistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution (Gould, 1980, 6[1]:127, emp. added).
Colin Patterson, the late paleontologist who served as the editor of the professional journal published by the British Museum of Natural History in London, even conceded:
I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them…. Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional forms…. I will it lay it on the line—there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument (Patterson, 1979, 19[8]:8, emp. added).
Thus, it comes as no surprise that the evolutionary community, with the help of the news media, jumps at any mention of a potential transitional fossil find. The media is quick to broadcast the fossil find far and wide--yet without adequate evidence to substantiate the evolutionists’ claims. Perhaps you have heard mention of “Cro-Magnon Man” by evolutionists. Who is Cro-Magnon Man? Are the Cro-Magnon fossils proof of evolution? Are they transitional fossils that provide a “missing link” in the evolution of man from ape-like ancestors?
In 1868, near the village of Les Eyzies in southwestern France, a rock shelter dated to be 23,000-27,000 years old (using evolutionary dating techniques) known as “Abri de Cro-Magnon” was investigated. In it, the first Cro-Magnon fossils were discovered (O’Neil, 2011). According to evolutionists, the fossils were considered to be of “early modern humans,” who “were very similar in appearance to modern Europeans” (O’Neil). Some scientists have decided that the Cro-Magnons “are not sufficiently different enough from modern humans to warrant a separate designation. Scientists today use ‘Anatomically Modern Human’ (AMH) or ‘Early Modern Human’ (EMH) to designate the Upper Paleolithic human beings who looked a lot like us…” (Hirst, 2011). ScienceDaily reports that the Cro-Magnoids were “the first people who had a skeleton that looked anatomically modern” (Public Library of Science, 2008, emp. added). So clearly, according to evolutionists themselves, the Cro-Magnons looked like modern man.
Recent research indicates that the Cro-Magnons were also genetically the same as modern Europeans (Caramelli, et al., 2008). So, if it looks like a modern man anatomically, and if it even looks like a man genetically…what’s the difference? Ultimately, there is no difference. However, according to the theory of evolution, there must be a difference, because the human brain has been a product of evolution. Thus, according to evolutionary thinking, the assumption must be made that humans living thousands of years ago would have been less intelligent and capable, since their brains had not yet fully developed. With this in mind, they define a “modern man” as one who is considered to be more recent. The problem is that there is no evidence that human beings evolved in such a manner. The transitional fossils are lacking. What the evidence indicates is that humans have always been humans. Humans have always been “modern man.” Humans have always had the intelligence to do great things that are not understood even today—from the pyramids of Giza to the Egyptian embalming abilities; from the Paracas civilization of South America who amazingly conducted successful brain surgery over 2,000 years ago (“The Inca…,” 2010), to the Maya astronomers, studying the stars over 1,000 years ago and creating a calendar using a sophisticated gear system of such precision that eclipses could be anticipated and the cycles of the Moon documented with an error of only 33 seconds (“The Maya…,” 2010); from the Moche people, living 1,500 years ago and engineering enormous structures, including the “Temple of the Sun,” constructed with over 140,000,000 adobe bricks (“The Inca…”), to the Nazca people, also living over 1,500 years ago, who developed sophisticated irrigation systems and who made enormous pictures in the ground which are only viewable by air. The lines which comprise the pictures are barely visible at all by ground. These lines—covering some 135 miles—include a 450 feet long bird, an enormous spider, and a killer whale (“The Lost City of Nasca,” 2000; “Nazca Lines and Cahuachi Culture, 2011; “The Inca…”). Historians are at a loss as to how or why these pictures were made. Some have speculated that they were made for extraterrestrials to see from space. Some believe they were for irrigation purposes. In 1975, Jim Woodman built a hot air balloon using materials that the Nazca were believed to have in their day and flew it over the images, illustrating that the Nazca may have been able to fly (“The Inca…”).
The truth is, humans have always been “modern man.” Scientific breakthroughs may be made at different times in history that cause technology to surge forward and give humanity more insight into the created order, but such breakthroughs are not an indication of the evolving brain of mankind. Such breakthroughs are due to the fact that God’s beneficent hand is involved in the affairs of men, causing it to “rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Bottom line: Cro-Magnon Man is not a missing link. Cro-Magnon Man is just an evolutionary name for a “modern” man. [Note: see Thompson, et al., 2002 for a thorough examination of many of the alleged transitional fossils.]

REFERENCES

Caramelli, D., L. Milani, S. Vai, A. Modi, E. Pecchioli, M. Girardi, et al. (2008), “A 28,000 Years Old Cro-Magnon mtDNA Sequence Differs from All Potentially Contaminating Modern Sequences,” PLoS One, 3[7]:e2700, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002700.
Gould, Stephen Jay (1980), “Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?,” Paleobiology, 6[1]:119-130, Winter.
Hirst, K. Kris (2011), “Why Don’t We Call Them Cro-Magnon Anymore? What Are ‘Anatomically Modern Humans’?,” About.com: Archaeology, http://archaeology.about.com/od/earlymansites/a/cro_magnon.htm.
“The Inca: Secrets of the Ancestors—Part 8” (2010), Time Life’s Lost Civilizations Series, http://www.documentarystream.com/time-lifes-lost-civilizations/.
“The Lost City of Nasca” (2000), BBC Home, http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/1999/nasca.shtml.
“The Maya: The Blood of Kings—Part 7” (2010), Time Life’s Lost Civilizations Series, http://www.documentarystream.com/time-lifes-lost-civilizations/.
“Nasca Lines and Cahuachi Culture” (2011), http://www.crystalinks.com/nazca.html.
O’Neil, Dennis (2011), “Early Modern Homo Sapiens,” Palomar College, http://anthro.palomar.edu/homo2/mod_homo_4.htm.
Patterson, Colin (1979), Letter on April 10, 1979 to Luther Sunderland: reprinted in Bible-Science Newsletter, 19[8]:8, August, 1981.
Public Library of Science (2008), “Europe’s Ancestors: Cro-Magnon 28,000 Years Old Had DNA Like Modern Humans,” ScienceDaily, July 16, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715204741.htm.
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Eric Lyons (2002), “Human Evolution and the ‘Record of the Rocks,’” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=153.

Homosexuality and Female Menses by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1456

Homosexuality and Female Menses

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The Bible speaks consistently throughout its pages in condemnation of same-sex relations. For example, God made clear His will on this matter when He handed down the Law of Moses to the Israelite nation. In a chapter dealing almost exclusively with sexual regulations, His words are explicit and unmistakable.
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any beast, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before a beast to mate with it. It is perversion. Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who sojourns among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God…. If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them (Leviticus 18:22-30; 20:13, NKJV, emp. added).
I suggest that a reader would need help to misunderstand these injunctions.

COMPARED TO FEMALE MENSTRUATION?

Nevertheless, attempts have been made to offset their seemingly unmistakable import. For example, it is argued that in the same chapter (i.e., Leviticus 20), five verses after the injunction against homosexuality, the death penalty was also required for a man and his wife for having sexual relations during her menstruation: “If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from their people” (Leviticus 20:18). Thus the homosexual activist (who wishes to maintain some semblance of affiliation with the Bible) dismisses this text as ritualistic and limited to Israel’s peculiar concern for purity, thus having no universal significance. After all, the Israelites lived during an ignorant, primitive period of human history. Consider the following wording of this viewpoint:
Of course, many now live in quite different cultures. But that has not stopped some from selectively using regulations like Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 to support their condemnation of homosexual intimacy. Meanwhile, the Bible prohibits sex during menstruation in the very same chapters (Lev. 18:19; 20:18), but few Christian conservatives have mounted a campaign to expel people who violate that commandment (Carr, 2003).
This interpretation of the biblical position stands in conflict with several factors. First, are those who dismiss the condemnation of homosexuality, on the basis that the same context condemns sexual intimacy during a woman’s menses, also willing to dismiss the condemnations in the same context of child sacrifice (20:2-5), bestiality (20:15-16), incest (20:11-12), and bigamy (20:14)? What proves too much, proves nothing.
Second, a closer reading of the text reveals that while all the items alluded to are clustered together because they share a common concern for the principle of “separateness” (which constitutes the theme of Leviticus—e.g., 10:10; 11:44; 19:2; 20:7,26), nevertheless, a distinction may be made between those actions that were temporary and limited in their scope to the Israelites and those that are clearly permanent and universal in their application. For example, child sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5) has always been an abominable sin before God (cf. Deuteronomy 12:31; 18:10; 2 Kings 17:17; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6; Psalm 106:37-38; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; 32:35; Ezekiel 23:37,39). The same may be said of bestiality (Leviticus 18:23; 20:15-16), sorcery, witchcraft, astrology, and the like (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:26,31; 20:6,27; Deuteronomy 18:10-11; Isaiah 8:19; Acts 19:19), as well as various forms of incest (Leviticus 18:6-17; 20:11-12; 1 Corinthians 5:1). Homosexuality fits into this same category since it is condemned in every period of Bible history, and repeated in especially strong terms in the New Testament (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10).
This distinction is reinforced by the variations given to the penalties associated with each infraction. Two expressions must be distinguished in the pericope of Leviticus (i.e., chapters 17-20, what Pfeiffer labeled “The Holiness Code”—1957, p. 46). The first is “cut off,” which, in the Pentateuch, includes being cut off “from his people,” “in the sight of their people,” “from among the congregation,” “from Israel,” “from the congregation of Israel,” and “from My presence.” Linguistic scholars agree that the Hebrew verb translated “cut off” (karat) has both a literal meaning and a metaphorical meaning, which in turn gives rise to “the extensive range of the root’s literal and extended semantic spheres of meaning” (Hasel, 1995, 7:343). The basic literal meaning of the verb is “to cut” (7:344-345), and so may be used to refer to everything from cutting down a tree to cutting off a piece of cloth. However,
In addition to the literal meaning of this root, “to cut off,”…there is the metaphorical meaning to root out, eliminate, remove, excommunicate or destroy by a violent act of man or nature. It is sometimes difficult in a given context to know whether the person(s) who is “cut off” is to be killed or only excommunicated (Harris, et al., 1980, 1:457, emp. added).
In this metaphorical sense, being “cut off” consists of “exclusion from the community” (Harris, et al., 1:457), “in the sense of being cut off from a center or circle in which the offender lives” (Hasel, 7:347).
The “cutting off” formula therefore does not appear to refer solely to human execution of the death penalty. In the majority of offenses, “cutting off” means a “cutting off” which leads to “banishment” or “excommunication” from the cultic community and the covenant people…from life in God’s presence through exclusion (7:348, emp. added).
Gesenius confirms this understanding of the term, recognizing that its figurative meaning is “to be cut off from one’s country, i.e., to be driven into exile, to be expelled” (1847, p. 417, emp. added). Though Gesenius listed Leviticus 20:18 under the literal meaning of “to be destroyed,” translator Tregelles rightfully added a note to the section: “In some of the passages it appears only to signify severed from the congregation of the Lord” (p. 417, emp. added).
The Scriptures themselves bear out this observation. For example, in a context addressing contact with the dead, the Israelites were told, “Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord. That person shall be cut off from Israel. He shall be unclean, because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him; his uncleanness is still on him” (Numbers 19:13, emp. added; cf. vs. 20). It is evident, both from this verse and surrounding verses, that those who had been defiled by corpses were to be separated from the congregation for the appropriate period of purification—not executed.
This dual use of the expression is further confirmed by comparing it with a second one that is germane to the discussion: “put to death.” Both expressions are used in Exodus 31:14—“You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people (emp. added). Observe that the phrase “cut off from among his people” is the broader expression. “Put to death” is the more narrow expression, and clarifies by what means the individual would be “cut off.” Thus, to be “cut off” from Israel could be accomplished in two distinct and separate ways: (1) through temporary isolation of the individual by physically removing him from the community, transporting him to a location away from the social/religious life of Israel (cf. “put out of the camp”—Numbers 5:2); or (2) through permanent removal of the individual from Israelite society by legal execution, i.e., the death penalty. Context must determine which meaning is intended.
Of the 12 occurrences of karat (“cut off”) in the Niphal conjugation of the Hebrew verb in Leviticus (see Wigram, 1890, p. 619), those outside of chapter 20 that refer to being merely quarantined for a period of time until correction/cleansing could be made, are 7:20,21,25,27; 17:4,9; 19:8; 22:3. A generic use is seen in 18:29 where it is found in a summary statement of offenses without further specification as to its meaning—since chapter 20 is intended to be the portion of the pericope that prescribes punishment for the offenses mentioned in chapter 18. The only instance in Leviticus where the expression apparently includes the death penalty is 23:29. However, even in this instance, that the death penalty is intended is derived from the verse before and the verse after, which indicate that “afflicted” (NKJV), “humble” (NASB), or “deny himself” (NIV) pertain to the defiant refusal to abstain from work on the Day of Atonement (which elsewhere was treated as a capital offense when done on a holy day—Numbers 15:33ff.), and the accompanying threat by God to “destroy” the culprit.
Additionally, when one examines the pericope with regard to prescribed penalties, those for the offenses listed in chapter 18 are not given until chapter 20 (with the exception of the generic formula, “cut off” [18:29]). Chapter 20 clarifies in what sense the offender was to be “cut off,” depending upon the offense committed. “Cut off” in the Hiphil conjugation of the Hebrew verb was the penalty for child sacrifice (20:2-5), clarified as “put to death” (vs. 2), as well as for the person who engaged in sorcery, i.e., turned to mediums and spiritists (20:6), which also is further pinpointed as “put to death” (vs. 27). For adultery (20:10), certain forms of incest (20:11-12), homosexuality (20:13), and bestiality (20:15-16), the penalty was “put to death.” Those who committed bigamy were to be “burned with fire” (20:14), i.e., put to death and their corpses cremated (cf. Joshua 7:15,25; Jamieson, et al., n.d., p. 88; although Clarke insisted that branding with a hot iron was meant—n.d., 1:578). For another form of incest, and relations during a woman’s menstruation, only the expression “cut off” is used (20:17-18), and three other forms of incest have only “they shall bear their guilt” (20:19), “they shall die childless” (20:20), and “they shall be childless” (20:21).
When one reads all three injunctions pertaining to menstruation given in Leviticus, their meaning and harmonization become apparent:
If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; also everything that she sits on shall be unclean. Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. And whoever touches anything that she sat on shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. If anything is on her bed or on anything on which she sits, when he touches it, he shall be unclean until evening. And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean (Leviticus 15:19-24, emp. added).
Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity (Leviticus 18:19).
If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from their people (Leviticus 20:18, emp. added).
Comparing the three injunctions shows that a woman was to be set apart from the community during her monthly menstruation. If her husband were to have sexual relations with her during that time (the implication possibly being that her menstruation commenced during intercourse, catching both unawares—see Wenham, 1979, p. 220; Keil and Delitzsch, 1976, 1:394), then he, too, was ceremonially defiled and subject to the same separation. Hence, “set apart for seven days” (15:19), “unclean seven days” (15:24), and “cut off from their people” (20:18) are three ways to express the same proscription. “Cut off” did not mean execution in this case (cf. Harris, 1990, 2:600-601).
Based upon these observations, the regulation pertaining to refraining from sexual relations during a woman’s period of menstruation, when violated, did not involve the death penalty. The injunction was limited to the Israelites, and served to reinforce the concept of being a holy people. Blood, a term that is used 86 times in Leviticus, was a critical feature of this Old Testament teaching, especially in its relation to life and atonement (e.g., Leviticus 17:11). Beyond this central significance, the injunction could possibly have been intended to emphasize (1) the importance of being health conscious or (2) the importance of the husband being thoughtful and considerate toward his wife during a difficult time of the month.
Concerning the former, there is some debate in the medical community over whether or not intercourse during menstruation increases the risk for exposure to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (see “Pelvic Inflammatory…,” 1998; “Causes of Pelvic…,” 2003; “PID,” 2004). Blood, of course, can be a significant medium for bacteria and infectious diseases. As one medical authority noted: “Intercourse during menses and frequent intercourse may offer more opportunities for the admission of pathogenic organisms to the inside of the uterus” (“Pelvic Inflammatory Disease,” 2001). Though great strides have been made in increasing medical understanding over the centuries, medical science has not provided all the answers to questions that still exist regarding the Bible’s inspired declarations concerning various matters of health and medicine.
Concerning the latter, some authorities point out that this law was a benevolent injunction designed to render compassionate assistance to women during a difficult time (Knight, 1981, p. 83; Harris, 1990, 2:586-587,600). Even today, women are vulnerable to the whims of thoughtless men. The Law of Moses manifested a comparable concern for women in other aspects of life, including pregnancy (Exodus 21:22ff.) and unfair divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). It is notable that Jesus manifested tender compassion for the poor woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years (Matthew 9:20ff.; Mark 5:25ff.; Luke 8:43ff.).
We are forced to conclude that some Israelite laws (like the prohibition of eating unclean foods) affected only Israel and, in most cases, were subject to penalties that simply required purification and cleansing procedures. Ulrich Falkenroth agreed: “Intercourse during menstruation…was not subject to a civil penalty but brought ritual uncleanness” (1978, 3:95). This was unquestionably the case for matters pertaining to a woman’s menses. [NOTE: Interestingly, in addition to ceremonial cleansing, both a sin and a burnt offering were required following childbirth (Leviticus 12) and a non-menses discharge (Leviticus 15:25-30), but not for normal monthly menstruation.] It is these very laws of ritualistic purification that are noted in the New Testament as having been confined to the Israelites prior to the cross of Christ, having no abiding relevance or application (e.g., Colossians 2:14-17; cf. Mark 7:19). On the other hand, these ceremonial laws were treated differently from the universal sins that repeatedly surface elsewhere in Scripture as having a broader application to all cultures in all times, i.e., lying, stealing, adultery, bestiality, child sacrifice, homosexuality, etc. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 were expressions of God’s will pertaining to same-sex relations that represent a continuing prohibition (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; cf. Flatt, et al., 1982, pp. 27-29).

REFERENCES

Carr, David (2003), “Chapter and Verse,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2003/familyfundamentals/special_chapter_3.html.
“Causes of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease” (2003), [On-line], URL: http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/p/pelvic_inflammatory_disease/causes.htm.
Clarke, Adam (no date), Clarke’s Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury).
Falkenroth, Ulrich (1978), “Punishment,” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, ed. Colin Brown (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1979 reprint.
Harris, R. Laird (1990), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Leviticus, ed. Frank Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Harris, R. Laird, Gleason Archer Jr., and Bruce Waltke, eds. (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody Press).
Hasel, G.F. (1995), “karat,” Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Jamieson, Robert, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown (no date), A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1976 reprint), Commentary on the Old Testament: The Pentateuch (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Knight, G.A.F. (1981), Leviticus (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press).
“Pelvic Inflammatory Disease” (1998), National Institutes of Health, [On-line], http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/stdpid.htm.
“Pelvic Inflammatory Disease” (2001), Joseph F. Smith Medical Library, [On-line], URL: http://www.chclibrary.org/micromed/00060140.html.
Pfeiffer, Charles (1957), The Book of Leviticus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
“PID” (2004), Health Communities, [On-line], URL:http://www.womenshealthchannel.com/pid/index.shtml.
Wenham, Gordon (1979), The Book of Leviticus (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Wigram, George W. (1890), The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980 reprint).