"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Beware Of Pretentious Scribes (12:38-40) INTRODUCTION 1. Teaching in the temple on Tuesday of the Last Week, Jesus has countered the doctrines of various religious and political leaders... a. The Pharisees and Herodians b. The Sadducees and scribes 2. Toward the end, He then addressed the practices of some of them... a. Especially the scribes - Mk 12:38-40 b. But also the Pharisees - cf. Mt 23:1-39 [Mark’s gospel limits Jesus’ censure to pretentious (self-important and affected, made to look or sound important) scribes, which we shall also do in this lesson. Let’s begin with what is said about the...] I. PRETENTIOUS SCRIBES IN JESUS’ DAY A. DESIRED TO WEAR THEIR LONG ROBES... 1. Their "flowing robes" were full-length prayer shawls with tassels attached to the four corners, in contrast to the colorful common Jewish dress. - J.R. Edwards (PNTC) 2. Made of wool or linen, these blanket-like mantles, known as tallits, distinguished rabbis and scholars as men of wealth and eminence. - ibid. -- They relished the distinction of their robes and the attention it gave them B. LOVED GREETINGS IN THE MARKETPLACES... 1. "the formal salutations in the market-places, and to have the people address them as ‘rabbi.’ " - Hendriksen (NTC); cf. Mt23:6 2. What the men who are here rebuked were always longing for was not a mere token of friendliness but rather a demonstration of respect, a public recognition of their prominence. - ibid. -- They wanted to be addressed by titles that distinguished and elevated them C. BEST SEATS IN THE SYNAGOGUES... 1. Refers to the benches along the walls of the synagogues, and especially to the dais at the front of the synagogue, which faced the congregation seated on the floor in the middle of the synagogue. - Edwards (PNTC) 2. These "first seats," as they were called in Greek, were reserved for teachers and persons of rank, and afforded the best position from which to address the congregation. - ibid. -- They loved the honor and attention such seats gave them D. BEST PLACES AT FEASTS... 1. Seating at banquets was either according to age or according to importance. - C.A. Evans (WBC) 2. Jesus had warned against seeking out the best places at a feast - Lk 14:7-11 -- They wanted privileges they felt due their position and stature E. DEVOUR WIDOWS’ HOUSES... 1. By embezzling funds set up for the care of widows - Evans (WBC) 2. By freeloading on the hospitality of widows - ibid. 3. By mismanaging estates or wills of widows entrusted to them - ibid. -- They took advantage of widows who trusted them F. FOR SHOW OFFER LONG PRAYERS... 1. The scribes were capable of lengthy, eloquent prayers - Evans (WBC) 2. But this they did in pretense, consistent with their ostentation in dress and pursuit of honors and recognition - ibid. -- They paraded their religious knowledge and supposed piety [Human nature being what it is, it should not surprise us that there can also be...] II. PRETENTIOUS ‘SCRIBES’ IN OUR DAY A. MINISTERS ARE OFTEN ELEVATED... 1. Distinctive clerical garb, without NT authority 2. Religious titles (Reverend, Father, Pastor, Preacher) - contra Mt 23:8-10 a. Apostle, prophet, pastor, elder, evangelist, teacher are descriptive terms in the NT b. They are never used as religious titles in the NT 3. Reserved seating in worship 4. Preferred treatment at social gatherings 5. Unaccountable control of financial resources 6. Always being asked to lead public prayers -- Even well-intentioned respect can easily lead to pretentiousness B. MINISTERS OFTEN ELEVATE THEMSELVES... 1. Preferring to wear distinctive clothing to stand out, gain respect 2. Expecting others to address them by religious titles 3. Demanding special seating in worship 4. Assuming preferred treatment in social settings 5. Embezzling church funds, taking advantage of widows 6. Praying long, showy prayers by rote -- Ministers of Christ are called to be humble servants - Mt23:11-12 CONCLUSION 1. The words of Jesus should serve as a warning... a. Not just to those who might be led astray by the pretentiousness of religious leaders b. But by religious leaders themselves, lest they no longer serve as true ministers of Christ 2. It is not just religious leaders who can have problems with pretentiousness... a. The average Christian can easily be ostentatious in their conduct and clothing b. Thus we should give careful thought to these words of Jesus: And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. - Mt 23:12
"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" David’s Son And David’s Lord (12:35-37) INTRODUCTION 1. Teaching in the temple on Tuesday of the Last Week, Jesus easily silenced His critics... a. Those who questioned His authority - Mk 11:27-33 b. The Pharisees and Herodians, regarding taxes - Mk 12:13-17 c. The Sadducees, regarding the resurrection - Mk 12:18-27 d. A scribe, regarding the foremost commandment - Mk 12:28-34 2. Jesus then asked the Pharisees a question... a. Concerning the Christ (Messiah) as the son of David - Mk 12:35 b. How could that be if David by inspiration called the Christ "Lord"? - Mk 12:36-37 c. Seemingly a conundrum they could not answer 3. The passage Jesus referenced was Psalms 110... a. The most frequently quoted OT text in the NT b. Quoted or alluded to 33 times in the NT - D. M. Hay [While the Pharisees could not answer, we have the benefit of completed revelation to understand how the Christ could be both David’s son and David’s lord, and how Jesus proved to be both...] I. THE CHRIST IS DAVID’S SON A. ACCORDING TO PROPHECY... 1. As prophesied to David, with Solomon as a prefigure of Christ - 2Sa 7:12 2. As promised by the prophets
- Isa 11:1-5; Jer 23:5-6; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25 -- At the time of the NT, the common Jewish expectation was that the Christ would be a descendant of David B. JESUS IS THE DESCENDANT OF DAVID... 1. Jesus was David’s son through the royal ancestry of Joseph
- Mt 1:1-17 a. Matthew’s gospel shows that Jesus was the royal descendant of David b. Following the lineage of David through his son Solomon
- Mt 1:6 2. Jesus was David’s son through the fleshly ancestry of Mary
- Lk 3:23-38 a. Luke’s gospel shows that Jesus was the fleshly descendant of David b. Following the lineage of David through his son Nathan
- Lk 3:31 -- Jesus was a descendant of David on both sides of His family (mother and step-father)! [Jesus’ question was not to cast doubt on Christ as David’s son. It served to stump His critics for they did not comprehend how David’s son could also be David’s lord. Today, we understand how...] II. THE CHRIST IS DAVID’S LORD A. ACCORDING TO PROPHECY... 1. As prophesied by David in the text Jesus quoted - Ps 110:1-7 a. The Christ would be David’s lord b. Ruling at God’s right hand as both king and priest forever 2. As prophesied by Isaiah - Isa 9:6-7 a. The Christ would be a Son, Mighty God, Everlasting Father b. Over a government with no end 3. As prophesied by Micah - Mic 5:2 a. The Christ born in Bethlehem would be a ruler b. Who would be from everlasting! -- OT prophecy declared the kingship and deity of the Christ! B. JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD... 1. As accepted and claimed by Jesus a. Jesus accepted the title "Son of God" in worship - Mt 14:33 b. Jesus referred to Himself as the "Son of God" - Jn 5:25; 10:36; 11:4 2. As proclaimed by others a. God called Jesus His Son - Mt 3:17; 17:5 b. Peter confessed Jesus as the Son of God - Mt 16:16 c. Mark began his gospel declaring Jesus as the Son of God - Mk1:1 d. The angel Gabriel spoke of Jesus as the Son of God - Lk 1:35 e. John the Baptist testified that Jesus is the Son of God - Jn1:34 f. Nathaniel, Martha, and John confessed Him as the Son of God - Jn 1:49; 11:27; 20:31 3. Being called the Son of God alludes to His pre-existence a. As expressed in John’s prologue to his gospel - Jn 1:1-2 b. As claimed by Jesus Himself - Jn 8:56-58 c. As taught by the apostle Paul - Php 2:5-7 -- NT scriptures clearly declare the deity of the Christ! C. JESUS IS THE KING OF KINGS... 1. Jesus now has all authority in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18 2. All things (including David in heaven!) have been subjected to Him - Ep 1:20-23; 1Pe 3:22 3. He is the ruler of the kings of the earth - Re 1:5 4. The King of kings and Lord of lords - 1Ti 6:14-15; Re 17:14 5. Who will reign until all enemies are placed under His feet, death being the last - Ps 110:1; 1Co 15:24-26 -- NT scriptures clearly declare the kingly reign of the Christ! CONCLUSION 1. This is the answer to the conundrum posed by Jesus... a. The Christ is David’s son by virtue of His incarnation in the lineage of David b. The Christ is David’s lord by virtue of His eternal deity and present reign! 2. The apostle Paul would later write that Jesus is... a. The Son of David according to the flesh - Ro 1:3 b. The Son of God as evidenced by His resurrection - Ro 1:4 c. "Our Lord" - Ro 1:3 Not only did David rightly call his Son "lord", but so should we. Have we accepted David’s Son (Jesus) as Lord, serving Him as "volunteers in the day of Your power"...? - cf. Ps 110:3; Lk 6:46
The Bible and a Little Detail
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
If the Bible really is the Word of God, then we should expect it to be totally accurate. Not only should it be able to get the “big” details right, like the emperors of Rome or the locations of major cities, but it should be equally as accurate with smaller details like names of specific, obscure people, or details concerning foods or local customs.
When we critically analyze the Bible in regard to these “little” details, it quickly becomes apparent that the Bible shows the same fidelity in these small areas as it does in those that would be considered much larger. For instance, in Acts 10:6, the Bible notes that the apostle Peter was staying with a man named Simon, who was a tanner. The text also explains that Simon’s house was “by the sea.” What is the significance of Simon’s house being by the sea?
Tanning, the process of making usable leather from animal hides, was an extremely distasteful job to many in the first century. Because the process often involved decaying animal skins and the use of animal feces, ancient tanning was extremely foul-smelling. In order to process hides for tanning and clean the foul-smelling agents away, tanners need large amounts of water. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states: “Simon’s house was by the seashore, as is true of the tanneries along the Syrian coast today, so that the foul-smelling liquors from the vats can be drawn off with the least nuisance, and so that the salt water may be easily accessible for washing the skins during the tanning process” (“Tanner,” emp. added). Where would you have expected a tanner to live in the first century?—by the sea, exactly where Simon’s house was said to have been in Acts 10 (see Jackson, 1986, p. 64).
Regardless of the “size” of the detail, the biblical writers were perfect. The tiny details that fill the inspired text are exactly what we expect from a book that was authored by the omnipotent, infallible Creator.
“Tanner” (no date), International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, [On-line], URL: http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/T/TANNER/.
Philosophical Naturalism and Theology
|by||Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.|
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a major intellectual shift occurred, leaving deep philosophical wounds on the body of academia that as yet have not healed. This period, known as the Enlightenment, introduced a novel way of thinking about our world that can be characterized as anthropocentric—humankind became the central arbiter of truth. While capable philosophers and theologians have attended to the injuries caused by this intellectual trauma, those wounds appear to have resisted treatment and have begun to fester.
As human reason nudged its way to the epistemological center, God’s revelation, the Bible, was driven to the periphery. Once privileged and “enlightened” intellectuals jettisoned the biblical world view that embraced the concept of a sovereign, transcendent God, rationalism began to rule and the period known as modernism emerged. Guided in large measure by the empiricism of Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), modern scientists were optimistic that humans could exercise “power over nature by means of the discovery of nature’s secrets” (Grenz, 1994, 30:25). The seismic intellectual shift of the Enlightenment eventually produced the philosophical tidal wave of naturalism that largely has washed away supernaturalism from the field of science (see Johnson, 1995, pp. 8-9,97-101).
Briefly put, philosophical naturalism is the idea that nothing exists beyond “the spatio-temporal world of physical entities that we can investigate in the natural sciences” (Wilkins and Moreland, 1995, p. 8). In other words, the natural universe occupying space and time is exhaustive of reality, and should be explained by purely naturalistic theories. From this perspective, nothing beyond the Universe (i.e., the supernatural or transcendent God) exists, except as an unsubstantiated “belief ” in people’s minds.
In this way, philosophical naturalism has strangled scientific investigation, and now has biblical/theological studies firmly in its grip. The current maelstrom within Jesus’ studies created by the fellows of the now-famous Jesus Seminar is a popular example of the extent to which naturalism has influenced theology (see Strimple, 1995, pp. 1-11; van Biema, 1996; Woodward, 1996). Committed to naturalistic presuppositions, this panel of biblical scholars has surgically removed with their critical scalpels the miraculous dimension from the biblical text. In so doing, they have denied, among other essential doctrines, the deity of Jesus, and His bodily resurrection as a historical event (see Bromling, 1994; Brantley, 1995, pp. 15-30).
While Christians likely are both astounded and perplexed by such dogmatic pronouncements of critical scholars, we need to understand exactly what is at work. Such scholars have adopted the “scientific” world view dominated by philosophical naturalism, which has colored their historical interpretations. These naturalistic assumptions adopted generally by the fellows of the Jesus Seminar dismiss from the realm of historical possibility the idea of a transcendent God’s breaking into our world and, therefore, reject the occurrence of miracles at any time in history. Yet, this reasoning is incurably circular. It says, in essence, we know that Jesus did not perform miracles or rise from the dead, because we know that such events cannot occur. Hence, while they profess to be objective in their research, critical scholars prove to be in the grips of their own naturalistic dogmatism, which has influenced their historical reconstructions of the Man from Galilee.
Contrary to Enlightenment thinking, the biblical world view is one in which God, not humanity, is at the center. We must be careful, therefore, to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)—not the distorted Christ reconstructed by theological naturalists, but the incarnate Son of God as presented in the Scriptures.
Bromling, Brad T. (1994),“A Look at the Jesus Seminar,” Reason and Revelation, 14:81-87, November.
Grenz, Stanley J. (1994), “Star Trek and the Next Generation: Postmodernism and the Future of Evangelical Theology,” Crux, 30:24-32.
Johnson, Philip E. (1995), Reason in the Balance (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity).
Strimple, Robert B. (1995), The Modern Search for the Real Jesus (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R).
Wilkins, Michael J. and J.P. Moreland (1995), “Introduction: The Furor Surrounding Jesus,” Jesus Under Fire (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Woodward, Kenneth L. (1996), “Rethinking the Resurrection,” Newsweek, pp. 60-70, April 8.
van Biema, David (1996), “The Gospel Truth?,” Time, 147:52-59.
Instrumental Music and the Principle of Authority
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Perhaps no other doctrine is emphasized so frequently in scripture as the principle of authority. Yet, perhaps no other doctrine is so discounted, ignored, rejected, or misunderstood. But the Scriptures make clear that, from the beginning of human history, God has required people to structure their behavior based upon His will. We human beings have no right to formulate our own ideas concerning religious truth. We must have God’s approval for everything we do.
Who could successfully deny that current culture is characterized by disrespect for authority? The “do your own thing” mentality that has been so pervasive since the 1960s has resulted in subsequent generations viewing themselves as autonomous (self-governing) with no higher authority than oneself. Authority is seen to reside inherently within the individual. This circumstance is reminiscent of the dark ages of Jewish history (the period of the Judges) when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
COLOSSIANS 3:17: "IN THE NAME OF"
If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches that all human beings are
under obligation to submit to the authority of God and Christ. Paul
articulated this extremely important principle in his letter to the
Colossians: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of
the Lord Jesus” (3:17). What did the apostle mean by that statement?
What is the meaning of the expression “in the name of the Lord”?
Luke corroborated Paul’s statement by providing the answer. Shortly after the establishment of the church of Christ on Earth (Acts 2), the Jewish authorities were extremely upset that the apostles were spreading Christian concepts throughout Jerusalem. So, they hauled Peter and John into their assembly and demanded to know, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” (Acts 4:7). The word “power” (dunamei) bears a close correlation to and relationship with the concept of authority (Perschbacher, 1990, p. 108), and is closely aligned with exousia—the usual word for authority (cf. Luke 4:36; Revelation 17:12-13). W.E. Vine listed both terms under “power” (1966, p. 196). “Authority” (exousia) refers to power, rule, authority, or jurisdiction (cf. Betz, 1976, 2:608)—“the power of authority, the right to exercise power” and “the right to act” (Vine, pp. 152,89,196). It includes the ideas of “absolute power” and “warrant” (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 277), as well as “the ‘claim,’ or ‘right,’ or ‘control,’ one has over anything” (Moulton and Milligan, 1982, p. 225). These religious leaders were demanding to know by what authority the apostles were acting. Who was giving them the right to teach what they were teaching? What authoritative source approved or sanctioned their particular actions? Peter’s answer was “by the name of Jesus Christ” (vs. 10). In other words, the apostles had not been advocating their own ideas. They were simply presenting what Jesus had previously authorized and commissioned them to present (cf. Matthew 16:19; 18:18; 28:18-20). He placed closure on the incident by concluding: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (vs. 12). Salvation may be achieved only by the authority, approval, sanction, and requirements of Christ. No one else on the planet has any right or authorization to extend salvation to anyone.
“In the name of ” frequently is used in Scripture as a parallel expression to “by what power/authority.” Hans Bietenhard noted that the formula “in the name of Jesus” means “according to his will and instruction” (1976, 2:654). In Acts 4:7, therefore, “[n]ame and ‘power’…are used parallel to one another” (2:654). Vine said “name” in Colossians 3:17 means “in recognition of the authority of ” (1966, p. 100; cf. Perschbacher, p. 294). Moulton and Milligan said that “name” refers to “the authority of the person” and cited Philippians 2:9 and Hebrews 1:4 as further examples (p. 451). Observe carefully: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth” (Philippians 2:9-10, emp. added; cf. Ephesians 1:21). This is precisely what Jesus claimed for Himself when He issued the “Great Commission” to the apostles: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18, emp. added). Paul’s reference to the name of Jesus was a reference to the authority and jurisdiction of Christ. Jesus’ name being above every name means that His authority transcends all other authority. As Findlay explained: “ ‘The name of the Lord Jesus’ is the expression of his authority as ‘Lord’ ” (Spence and Exell, 1958, p. 155, emp. added). A.T. Robertson cited the use of onoma in Matthew 28:19 as another example where “name” “has the idea of ‘the authority of ’ ” (1934, p. 740).
After Moses presented God’s demands to Pharaoh, he returned to the Lord and complained that Pharaoh’s reaction was retaliatory: “For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people” (Exodus 5:23, emp. added). For Moses to speak in God’s name meant to speak only those things that God wanted said. After healing the lame man, Peter explained to the people: “And His name…has made this man strong” (Acts 3:16, emp. added). He meant that it was Christ’s authority and power that achieved the healing. Likewise, when Paul became annoyed at the condition of the demon possessed slave girl, he declared: “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her” (Acts 16:18, emp. added). He, too, meant that he had Christ’s backing and authorization to do such a thing.
So when Paul stated that everyone is obligated to speak and act “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17), he was indicating that all human conduct must be conformed to the directives of Jesus Christ. Everything a person says or does must have the prior approval and sanction of God. Writing in 1855 from Glasgow, New Testament scholar John Eadie well summarized the thrust of Colossians 3:17: “It…strictly means—by his authority, or generally, in recognition of it. To speak in His name, or to act in His name, is to speak and act not to His honour, but under His sanction and with the conviction of His approval” (1884, 4:249, emp. added).
OLD TESTAMENT ILLUSTRATIONSThis biblical principle has enormous implications. No human being has the right to introduce into religious practice an activity for which the Scriptures provide no approval. We human beings are simply not free in God’s sight to fashion religion and morality according to our own desires. Cain learned that the hard way when he did not offer the precise sacrifice that God had designated (Genesis 4:5-7; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12). The lives of Nadab and Abihu were snuffed out by God because of what they viewed as a minor adjustment in their offering (Leviticus 10:1-2). They were the right boys, at the right time and place, with the right censers, and the right incense—but the wrong fire. This deviation from God’s precise specifications was “unauthorized” (NIV) fire “which He had not commanded them” (NKJV). The change failed to show God as holy and give Him the respect He deserves (Leviticus 10:3).
Saul was rejected by God when he presumed to offer a sacrifice he was not authorized to offer (1 Samuel 13:8-14). He was censured a second time for making slight adjustments in God’s instructions (1 Samuel 15:22-23). He lost His crown and the approval of God. Justifying his adjustments on the grounds that he was merely attempting to be “culturally relevant” would not have altered his status in God’s sight. Uzzah was struck dead simply because he touched the ark of the covenant—though his apparent motive was to protect the ark (2 Samuel 6:6-7). David admitted that they had deserved the Lord’s displeasure because they were not seeking God “after the due order” (1 Chronicles 15:13; cf. Numbers 4:15; 7:9; 10:21). In other words, God had given previous information concerning proper or authorized transportation of the ark, but these instructions were not followed. Their handling of the ark was not done “in the name of the Lord,” in that they did it their way instead of according to the divine prescription.
Notice that these cases involved people who were engaged in religious activities. These people were religious. They were not pagans, skeptics, or atheists. They were attempting to worship the one true God. They were believers! Yet their failure to comform precisely to divine instructions elicited the disapproval of God for the simple reason that their actions were not authorized.
NEW TESTAMENT ILLUSTRATIONSThe New Testament illustrates this principle repeatedly. Authority begins with God. He delegated authority to Jesus (Matthew 28:18; John 5:27). Only Jesus, therefore, has the authority to define and designate the parameters of human behavior in general, and religious practice in particular. Consequently, no human being on Earth has the right to do anything without the prior approval of Christ. John said that those who believe on Christ’s name (i.e., those who accept His authority) have the power or right to become children of God. In other words, faith is a necessary prerequisite that gives a person divine authority to become a child of God. All other human beings, i.e., unbelievers, lack divine sanction to become children of God.
A Roman centurion, an officer who commanded one hundred men, understood the principle of authority. He said to Jesus: “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Matthew 8:9). This centurion recognized that individuals who are subject to the authority of a higher power must receive permission for everything they do. They must conform themselves precisely to the will of their superior.
Even the religious enemies of Jesus understood and acknowledged the principle of authority. One day when Jesus was teaching in the temple, the chief priests and elders confronted Him with this question: “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority” (Matthew 21:23). Commenting on the use of the term “authority” in this passage, Betz noted that the Pharisees used the term exousia to refer to “the power to act which given as of right to anyone by virtue of the position he holds” (1976, p. 601). They were asking, in essence, “Who was it that conferred upon you this authority which you presume to exercise? Was it some earthly ruler, or was it God himself?” (Spence and Exell, 1961, 15:321). Even these religiously warped opponents of our Lord at least grasped correctly the concept that one must have prior approval from a legitimate authoritative source before one can advocate religious viewpoints. As Williams noted: “No one could presume to teach without a proper commission: where was his authorization?” (quoted in Spence and Exell, 1961, 15:320). If Jesus agreed with the majority of religionists today, He would have said, “What do you mean ‘by what authority’? God doesn’t require us to have authority for what we do in religion as long as we do not violate a direct command that forbids it, and as long as one is sincere.”
But Jesus was not in sympathy with today’s permissive, antinomian spirit. In fact, His response to the Jewish leaders showed that He fully agreed with the principle of authority. He proceeded to show them that His teaching was authorized by the same source that authorized the teaching of John the Immerser. Yet, these hardhearted religious leaders rejected John and, by implication, his source of authority. So neither would they accept Jesus Who received His authority from the same source (i.e., heaven). In any case, both Jesus and His enemies agreed that one must have God’s prior permission for what one advocates in religion.
What did Peter mean when he wrote, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11)? He meant that whatever a person advocates in religion must be found in God’s Word. But everyone knows that baby dedication services, handclapping, instrumental music, choirs, praise teams, the worship of Mary, non-weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, and church raffles are not authorized by God’s Word. Thus, their use violates the principle of authority—failing to “speak as the oracles of God.”
What did Paul mean when he wrote, “...that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6)? He meant that whatever we do in religion, first must be found in the Scriptures. But everyone knows that “sacred drama,” swaying arms, and religious observance of Christmas and Easter are not found in scripture. Their use violates the principle of authority—thinking and going “beyond what is written.”
ILLUSTRATIONS FROM SECULAR SOCIETYInterestingly enough, even secular society acknowledges the principle of authority. The average American citizen will walk into a restaurant and see two doors. The first door has the word “Restrooms” on it, while the second door has the words “Authorized Personnel.” These messages are immediately interpreted to mean that the customer has authority to enter the door that reads “Restrooms,” while he or she is not permitted to enter the other door. In fact, one instantly knows that no authority exists to enter the second door—even though the sign does not explicitly command the customer not to enter the door. The sign does not indicate who may NOT enter. It only specifies who may enter—who has permission or authority to enter. The customer is under obligation to use reasoning powers, and to deduce that he or she has no authority to pass through the second door.
Entering the first door, the customer encounters two additional doors. The first door has a stick figure of a woman on it, while the second door has a stick figure of a man. Once again, the customer is expected to understand that only women are authorized to enter the first door, and only men have permission to pass through the second door—though the word "only" does not appear. People fathom the principle of authority so easily and so thoroughly that they can ascertain what they may or may not do even from pictures—stick figures! But when it comes to the Christian religion and those who wish to broaden the parameters of God’s Word, recognition of the principle of authority is set aside in exchange for irrational, emotional desire to do what one wants to do.
When a person purchases a new vacuum cleaner or a new car, the product comes with a factory warranty. This warranty provides the customer with free repair service for the specified warranty period. However, should a malfunction occur, the customer is instructed to take the product to a “Factory Authorized Representative.” Failure to do so will void the warranty. Does the average person understand the principle of authority in this case? Of course she does. She understands that the manufacturer has given prior approval to a select group of repairpersons that is authorized to repair the product. She understands that she has authority/permission to take the product to any of those places, but that she is not authorized to take the product anywhere else—even though other repairpersons are not specifically singled out as unacceptable repairpersons.
When a person enters the hospital for surgery, he or she signs a document authorizing the physician to operate on the patient. What would you think of a doctor, whom you have authorized to perform surgery on you, if he were to go out into the waiting room where, say, your child is awaiting your return, and commence to operate on your child? In addition to thinking he may be mentally ill, you would protest his lack of authority for his action. What if he justified his action by insisting that you did not specifically forbid his performing surgery on your loved one? Neither you—nor the medical and legal professions—would put up with such nonsense. Why? Normal people understand and live by the principle of authority. But religion is different. Nonsense and abnormality seem to have become the order of the day.
What if your doctor wrote you a prescription for antibiotics, and you took the prescription to the pharmacist, who then filled the prescription by giving you the antibiotic—laced with strychnine? Upon reading the label, you would immediately protest the pharmacist’s action and demand an explanation. Would the pharmacist be considered in her right mind if she offered as her explanation, “The doctor did not say I was not to give you the poison. I interpreted his silence to be permissive”? What if she insisted: “The doctor’s command neither prescribes nor prohibits strychnine”? Yet proponents of instrumental music insist that “New Testament commands to sing neither prescribe nor prohibit instrumental music.” Their statement is precisely parallel to: “The doctor’s command to give antibiotic neither prescribes nor prohibits strychnine.”
Suppose you send your child to the grocery store to purchase a gallon of 2% milk and a 1 lb. loaf of wheat bread. He returns with a gallon of 2% milk, a 1 lb. loaf of white bread, and a box of Twinkies™. Do you pat him on the head and compliment him for his faithful obedience? Do you praise him for his effort and sincerity? Or do you challenge his behavior as being unauthorized? What if he justifies his actions by insisting that you said nothing about the purchase of white bread and Twinkies? Those who seek to justify instrumental music in worship declare: “You can’t open your Bible and show me where God forbids it.” So what if your child hands you the written note you sent to him and declares: “You can’t open your note and show me where you forbade it.” No, both you and he would know that he had engaged in unauthorized behavior. He did not have your permission to purchase white bread or Twinkies—even though you did not specifically forbid it.
When you place an order at a drive through window of a fast food restaurant, you expect them to conform to your instructions precisely, neither adding to nor subtracting from your order. Suppose at the speaker, you order a Chicken Sandwich Combo on a wheat bun, with waffle fries, and a large Diet Lemonade. You then pull forward to the window and the cashier says, “That will be $435.87,” as she and her co-workers begin handing bag after bag of food to you, bags that contain large quantities of every food item on the menu. You would immediately ask her to stop, and you would insist that you did not order all that food. What would you think if she responded: “You did not order a Chicken Sandwich Combo on a wheat bun, with waffle fries, and a large Diet Lemonade ONLY. You did not forbid us to give you additional food.” You would think this person is either joking—or crazy. The restaurant workers receive authority from you based on what you say to them—not based on what you do not say. You do not give them authority for their actions on the basis of your silence. You authorize them by your words, your instructions, your directions. If they go beyond the parameters of your words—though you do not specifically forbid such actions—they are proceeding without your authority. So it is with our relationship with God and His Word (cf. Deuteronomy 4:2; 5:32; 12:32; Joshua 1:7; Proverbs 30:6). God instructed us to worship Him by singing. He did not instruct us to worship Him by playing. Hence, to worship with instruments is to worship God without His approval.
AUTHORITY FOR EVERYTHING?But does that mean that we must have authority for everything we do in religion? Everything? What about the many things we do that the Bible does not mention? For example, where is our authority for church buildings, pews, lighting, carpet, television programs, songbooks, and communion trays?
Consider the case of Noah. He was instructed by God to construct a large wooden boat. God’s instructions included such details as dimensions, type of wood, a door and window, and decks (Genesis 6:14-16). The principle of authority applied to Noah in the following fashion. He was authorized to build a boat, but not authorized to build an alternative mode of transportation (e.g., car, plane, or balloon). He was authorized to make the boat out of wood, but not authorized to make it out of some other material (e.g., plastic, steel, or fiberglass). He was authorized to use “gopher wood,” but not authorized to use some other kind of wood (e.g., oak, poplar, or pine). He was authorized to utilize whatever tools and assistance were necessary to comply with God’s command (e.g., hammers, nails, saws, hired help).
Consider the Great Commission. God commanded His emissaries to “Go” (Mark 16:15). The Bible describes with approval inspired preachers going by a variety of means, including by chariot (Acts 8:31), by rope and basket (Acts 9:25), on foot (Acts 14:14), and by ship (Acts 16:11). Gathering together everything in the Scriptures pertaining to this matter, it becomes clear that the mode of transportation was optional. Therefore, the Bible interpreter is forced to conclude that every mode is authorized today (including, for example, television) as long as it does not violate some other biblical principle (e.g., the principle of stewardship).
This process of gathering biblical evidence and drawing only warranted conclusions is divinely mandatory for every human being (see 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). We are under obligation to weigh the biblical data on every subject, and conclude only what God wants us to conclude. [For concise, definitive analyses of the principle of authority, see Warren, 1975; Deaver, 1987].
The Bible enjoins upon us the act of assembling together for worship (e.g., Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 5:4; 11:17-18; Hebrews 10:25). But it is physically impossible for a plurality of individuals to assemble together without an assembly place. To obey the requirement to assemble, one must assemble somewhere. We have approved instances of the early church assembling together in a third-story room (Acts 20:8-9), in private residences, as well as in non-private settings (1 Corinthians 16:19; 11:22; cf. Acts 20:20). We are forced to conclude that the location is optional and authorized, as long as it does not violate other biblical principles (cf. John 4:21). Hence, the Scriptures authorize church buildings and the necessary furnishings (e.g., carpet, chairs, electricity, air conditioning, lights, restrooms, indoor plumbing, microphones, drinking fountains).
The same may be said of songbooks. Christians are commanded to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), and to worship in an orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:40). God wants us to sing the same song together (as opposed to singing different songs at the same time). Ways to comply with these stipulations would be to use songbooks, sheet music, or projectors that give the entire assembly access to the same song at the same time. Therefore, all such tools are authorized as expedient ways to comply with the command to sing.
Instrumental music in worship is not authorized. While some people may think it qualifies as an expedient—an aid to their singing—it does not. It may drown out their singing, or so overshadow their singing that they think it sounds better, but in actuality a musical instrument merely supplements singing. It is another form of music in the same way that seeing and hearing are two distinct ways of perceiving. Seeing does not aid hearing; it supplements one form of perception/observation with another. Singing with the voice and playing on a mechanical instrument are two separate ways of making music. Singing is authorized because the New Testament enjoins it (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). God has told us He wants us to sing. Instrumental music is not authorized—not because Ephesians and Colossians exclude it or don’t mention it—but because no New Testament passage enjoins it. Nowhere does God inform us that He desires that we play on an instrument to Him. To do so is to “add to His words” (Proverbs 30:6) and to “go beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6).
The Lord’s Supper is to be eaten when the church is assembled for worship (Matthew 26:29; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:20). God wants each worshipper to partake of both the bread and the grape juice. How may this be accomplished? Containers or trays are necessarily required—unless grapes are hand carried to each person who would then squeeze the juice into his or her own mouth. We do have the account of Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper and apparently using a single cup. However, the context makes clear that the container was incidental—representing a figure of speech known as “metonymy of the subject,” in which the container is put for the contained (Dungan, 1888, p. 279). The content of the cup—the juice—was what they were to drink, and upon which they were to reflect symbolically. We are forced to conclude that the manner of distribution of the elements of the Lord’s Supper is authorized as optional.
CONCLUSIONEvery single facet of our behavior, in and out of worship, may be determined in the same way. God so requires. He expects us to give heed to His Word, studying it carefully and consistently in order to know how to live life in harmony with His will. For true Christianity to be practiced, we must be true to God’s directions. We must be faithful to the book. Indeed, for Jesus to be the “Lord of my life” 24-7, I must ascertain His will in every decision of my life. Hezekiah “did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 31:20). To what do the words “good,” “right,” and “true” refer? The next verse explains: “And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart” (2 Chronicles 31:32). Hezekiah was faithful to God, doing what was good, right, and true—in the sense that he obeyed precisely the law and commandment of God, and did so from the heart (cf. John 4:24).
Many churches that claim to be Christian have introduced into their belief and practice all sorts of activities, programs, and practices that have no basis in scripture—i.e., no indication from God that He approves. Upon what basis are these innovations justified? “Well, it meets our needs”; “It gets more people involved”; “It brings in lots of people”; “It generates enthusiasm”; “It allows us to get things done”; “We really like it”; “It stimulates interest”; “It keeps our young people’s attention”; “It creates a warm, accepting environment”; "it is a good mission strategy." It is absolutely incredible that so many Christians could drift so far from biblical moorings. However, their failure to recognize the principle of Bible authority will not exempt them from God’s disfavor (1 Samuel 13:13).
When all is said and done, when we’ve gone through all the rationalizing as to why we do what we choose to do in religion, we still are faced with whether what we do is, in fact, in accordance with God’s instructions. By definition, being faithful to God entails conformity to divine directives—right doing (1 John 3:7; Acts 10:35). When one “transgresses (i.e., goes ahead), and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9), he becomes unfaithful and removes himself from the benefits of God’s grace (2 Peter 2:20-22; Hebrews 10:26-31; Galatians 5:4). Remaining within the grace and favor of God is dependent upon our compliance with the all-important, God-ordained principle of authority.
Must we conform ourselves to the name of Christ? That is, in order to be saved, must I have His prior approval, His sanction, His authorization, for everything I do in religion? Listen to Peter: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
REFERENCESArndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Betz, Otto (1976), “exousia,” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, ed. Colin Brown (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Bietenhard, Hans (1976), “onoma,” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, ed. Colin Brown (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Deaver, Roy (1987), Ascertaining Bible Authority (Austin, TX: Firm Foundation Publishing House).
Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Eadie, John (1884), A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979 reprint).
Moulton, James and George Milligan (1982 reprint), Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and Other Non-literary Sources (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Perschbacher, Wesley, ed. (1990), The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Robertson, A.T. (1934), A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, TN: Broadman).
Spence, H.D.M. and J.S. Exell, eds. (1958 reprint), “Colossians,” The Pulpit Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Spence, H.D.M. and J.S. Exell, eds. (1961 reprint), “St. Matthew,” The Pulpit Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Vine, W.E. (1966 reprint), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).
Warren, Thomas B. (1975), When Is An “Example” Binding? (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).
Does the Hebrew Word Yōm Endorse an Old Earth?
|by||Justin Rogers, Ph.D.|
[EDITOR’S NOTE: A.P. auxiliary writer Dr. Rogers serves as an Associate Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He holds an M.A. in New Testament from Freed-Hardeman University as well as an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Hebraic, Judaic, and Cognate Studies from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.]
How old is the Earth? It has become standard for many scientists to believe the Universe is over 10 billion years old, and the Earth over six billion years old. Public school textbooks implicitly teach our children the biblical account of Creation is at best incomplete, and at worst erroneous. It is no wonder that many Bible-believers have sought to harmonize the “facile” narrative of biblical Creation with the complex and engaging portrait of universal origins in modern “science.”The Bible never dates the creation of the world explicitly. But the Bible does provide a straightforward account of the first week of universal history. There is no obvious implication that the days are really billions of years, or that the first week is a quasi-mythological construct. Yet old-Earth creationists who wish to utilize the Bible need something in Genesis 1 to divinely approve their position. In this quest for evidence, many have fixated on the Hebrew term for “day” (yōm).
Understanding each day to be an “epoch” of time, the word yōm has been required to carry the weight of old-Earth creationism and evolution—a weight it is incapable of bearing. With little attention to context, to other markers of time in Genesis 1, and to common linguistic sense, many have blindly accepted that the Bible endorses old-Earth creationism. It is not the place here to discuss the larger question of the age of the Earth. However, I hope to establish in this article that the Hebrew word yōm cannot be used as ammunition for old-Earth creationism.
The Non-Literal Use of YOm
Many researchers have noted that the term yōm is not always literal in the Hebrew Bible. This is true. The term can be used both in the singular and in the plural simply to mean “time” in a generic sense. In the King James and New King James versions of Genesis 39:11, the Hebrew is translated, “It came to pass about this time.” The other major versions, however, more literally render the Hebrew word yōm, “Now it happened one day” (e.g., NASB). Is the KJV wrong? No. It simply rendered the term “day” as “time,” which, although not the most literal translation, is certainly acceptable in the context.The same can be observed for the plural form “days” (yāmîm) in the Bible. Scripture informs us, “And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days [yāmîm] of Abraham his father” (Genesis 26:18). The passage is obviously not referring to the specific number of 24-hour periods of time that Abraham lived. We might differently translate “in the time of Abraham” to capture the essential meaning. The book of Joshua is summarized similarly: “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua” (Joshua 24:31). No literal number of days is intended, although a limited “period” of time is implied.
We should note here that the non-literal use of the word “day” has a perfect parallel in English. We often speak of “days gone by,” meaning not, of course, the consecutive 24-hour periods of time that have elapsed, but “times gone by.” Likewise, one might look forward to “better days,” again referring to a nonliteral period of time in the future. The generic use of the word “day” in English and Hebrew has led some to believe that the same term in Genesis 1 is also generic, and thus need not be taken as a literal, 24-hour period of time. The generic meaning of the word “day,” however, is entirely irrelevant for Genesis 1 for reasons we will consider below. But at this juncture let us emphasize that the Creation account does use the term yōm in a non-literal fashion.
The work of the first week is summarized as follows: “This isthe history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day [yōm] that the Lord God made the earth and the heaven” (Genesis 2:4, NKJV). If one forces this passage into literalism, then God did not create the world in six days, but in one day! Some ancient readers of Genesis did, in fact, derive from this verse that the Creation took place in one day, and Genesis 1 therefore must be a non-literal account (e.g., Philo of Alexandria). Knowing little to no Hebrew, and not recognizing the non-literal use of the word “day,” these thinkers drew the wrong conclusions.
The term yōm in Genesis 2:4 is not to be taken in the sense of a literal, 24-hour period of time. The same can be said of God’s warning about the tree in Genesis 2:17: “for in the day [yōm] that you eat of it you shall surely die.” The term is again referring generically to a “time” of indeterminable length and not to a specific 24-hour “day.” Now the big question: Is this non-literal usage relevant for Genesis 1?
The Term Yom in Genesis 1Words mean nothing outside of contexts. In other words, reading a sentence is similar to piecing together a puzzle. The picture of the whole emerges only after the individual pieces are put in their place. Such is the case with the term yōm. It can be literal or non-literal, depending on the context. But a distinctive syntactical feature of Genesis 1 ought to be observed. An adjective accompanies every occurrence of yōm in Genesis 1, a fact that fundamentally limits its meaning.
Virtually every language uses adjectives to modify a noun’s scope of reference. I may declare, “Women are wise!” Is this a general truth or an absolute truth? The hearer doesn’t know. It is a generic and ambiguous statement. But if I add the adjective, “All women are wise!” it is an absolute truth applicable to all women. If I say, “Some women are wise!” then the truth of the first statement is limited. In the Hebrew language, as in English, numbers are adjectives. Since every time the word “day” occurs in Genesis 1, a numerical adjective accompanies it, the generic application of the term “day” that we have observed does not apply at all. The scope of reference is limited.
Allow me to illustrate. If I say, “These days have gone so quickly,” you do not know how much time has elapsed. All you know is that more than one day has gone by. But if I declare, “These five days have gone so quickly,” you know exactly how many days have passed. The latter example is a much better illustration of the term “day” in Genesis 1. When the Bible declares “one day,” “a second day,” “a third day,” and so on (Genesis 1:5,8,13), the numerical adjective naturally limits the scope of reference so that the Hebrew word “day” cannot be taken in the generic sense of “one block of time,” “a second block of time,” and so on. The term must be used in accord with the numerical adjective that accompanies it. Its scope of reference is limited.
Moses expected the original audience of the Pentateuch to understand his intention of a literal, 24-hour day in the Creation account. In commanding the observance of the Sabbath day he wrote, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:11). Israel was to imitate God’s example of working for six literal days, and resting on the seventh. If Moses’ audience had understood the days of Genesis 1 as hundreds, thousands, or billions of years, as many modern interpreters wish to do, they could have lived their entire lives without ever observing a single Sabbath! This would not be the intention of biblical law. Violating just one Sabbath required execution (Numbers 15:32-36). Clearly the readers of Genesis were to understand a literal Creation week.
Other References to Time in Genesis 1
It is conveniently selective for those who wish to age the Earth from Genesis 1 to focus exclusively on the Hebrew word for “day.” There are, in fact, other references to time in the same paragraphs in which the term “day” occurs. These terms help further to limit and define the specific meaning of the word yōm in the context.After each day’s creative activities, the Bible utilizes the same formula: “And there was evening and there was morning” (Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31). While it is true that the Hebrew term “day” can be used in a nonliteral sense in other contexts, the terms “evening” (‘erev) and “morning” (bōqer) are always used in a literal sense. The former occurs 134 times in the Old Testament and the latter around 200 times. So our representative sampling is high enough to draw absolute conclusions about what these words mean.
The words ‘erev and bōqer are used to specify holidays on the Israelite calendar (Exodus 12:18), to mark the exact span of one’s ceremonial uncleanness (Leviticus 11:31), to regulate the timing of the required sacrifices (Numbers 28:23), and to mark the exact time of historical events (Nehemiah 8:3). Therefore, the Bible counts on the literal understanding of the terms “evening” and “morning,” for the Israelites’ very religious and secular calendar depends on it. There is to my knowledge no place in the Bible in which the terms “evening and morning” refer to a broad scope of time. They are always literal, both when they occur separate from one another, and when they occur together; both when they are singular and when they are plural. When these terms occur with the word yōm, the obvious conclusion is that a regular, 24-hour day is in view (Leviticus 6:13; Numbers 19:19; Deuteronomy 16:14).
Even if one insists on explaining the term yōm in a non-literal fashion, this explanation does not permit him to force non-literal applications of other time references in the same context. How long was the morning of day 1 anyway? The linguistic acrobatics applied to Genesis 1 are never applied consistently to other contexts of the Old Testament. Why force words to fit a preconceived theory of truth? Why not allow them to speak clearly from their contexts?
In language, words are bound to their contexts. The meaning of biblical words is determined by their use in the sentence, paragraph, chapter, and book in which they occur. The term yōm occurs in many contexts, both in the singular and in the plural, in a non-literal fashion. In the context of Genesis 1, however, there can be little doubt that the Hebrew noun yōm, accompanied by numerical adjectives and limited by further references to time, should be understood literally. So those who wish to defend old-Earth creationism must look elsewhere to support their doctrine.
Noah Webster on Electing Political Leaders
[L]et it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good, so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands and elect bad men to make and administer the laws (1832, pp. 336-337, emp. added).
REFERENCESWebster, Noah (1832), History of the United States (New Haven, CT: Durrie & Peck).
Does God Dwell in Light or Darkness?by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
In the February 12, 2009 Butt/Barker Debate on the existence of the God of the Bible, atheist Dan Barker spent nearly two-thirds of his opening 15-minute speech alleging that the Bible’s portrayal of God is contradictory. Barker alleged several discrepancies (most all of which we have answered elsewhere on our Web site), including that God cannot logically dwell in light and darkness. Twelve minutes and five seconds into his first speech, Dan Barker asserted:
Does God live in light or does God live in darkness? First Timothy 6: “The King of kings, Lord of Lords dwelling in the light which no man can approach.” James 1:17: He’s “the Father of lights” and on and on we see God is light. There’s no darkness in him at all. However, in 1 Kings 8: “Then spake Solomon: “The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.” First Samuel 22: “He made darkness pavilions round about Him, dark waters and thick clouds of the sky.” Psalm 18:11: “He made darkness his secret place.” So, God lives in light. God lives in darkness.Do these verses paint a contradictory picture of God? Not at all.
First, the Bible uses the terms “light” and “darkness” in several ways and in a variety of contexts. God’s dwelling place in the spiritual realm of the heaven of heavens is filled with “unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16), because His unrestrained glory illuminates it (Revelation 21:23). God made light in the physical Universe during the six-day Creation and “called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night” (Genesis 1:5). He made the Sun, Moon, and stars on day four of Creation, thus making Him the “Father of lights” (James 1:17). Jesus was miraculously transfigured before three of His apostles and “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2). The psalmist referred to light in the sense of divine instruction: “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (119:130). Conversely, the psalmist referred to those who “do not know, nor...understand,” as those who “walk about in darkness” (82:5). While addressing the subjects of sin and righteousness, the apostle John used the terms light and darkness symbolically: “God is light (i.e., holy) and in Him is no darkness (i.e., sin)” (1 John 1:5). This same apostle referred to Jesus as “the Light” throughout his gospel account (1:4-9; 8:12; 9:5; 12:34-36,46), and Matthew recorded that Jesus spoke of His disciples as “the light of the world” (5:14-16), reflectors of His righteousness.
Notice that Barker never hinted at the different ways in which the word “light” and “darkness” are used in Scripture. He simply positioned a phrase like that found in James 1:17 regarding God being the Creator (“Father”) of lights against the poetic statement found in Psalm 18:11 (“He made darkness his secret place”) and expected his listeners to believe they are contradictory. But the fact is, God being the Father of the Sun, Moon, and stars made on day four, has no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether God dwells in darkness or light. What God has created and where God dwells are two different things. One cannot fault Scripture when a critic compares apples and oranges. For there to be a legitimate contradiction, the same thing must be under consideration.
Second, the passage in 1 Kings 8:12 that Barker noted (“The Lord said that he would dwell in thick darkness”—KJV) is not discussing God’s dwelling place in the heaven of heavens. First Kings 8:12-13, along with 2 Chronicles 5:13-14, discuss God’s presence in the physical temple of God in Jerusalem. Just as “the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” in the days of Moses (Exodus 40:34), so “the house of the Lord [the temple], was filled with a cloud” (2 Chronicles 5:13). Similarly, the highly poetic wording in Psalm 18 and 1 Samuel 22 (a quotation of Psalm 18) pictures God, not on His majestic, glorious throne in heaven, but as One Who “came down” from heaven (Psalm 18:9), “flew upon the wings of the wind” (18:10), and delivered his servant David from his enemies while making “darkness His secret place” and “His canopy...dark waters” (18:11). As H.C. Leupold commented:
The picture is that of a violent storm—a figure so frequently used in the Scriptures to furnish the accompaniment of God’s approach, He Himself being as it were housed in the storm. From the time of Sinai onward these figures become standard (cf. Exod. 19:16-18; Judg. 5:4,5; Ps. 68:7;77:16-18; Is. 29:6; 30:27ff.; etc.). As the storm sweeps near, He is in it. The thick storm clouds are the material upon which He rides (1959, pp. 166-167).Once again, when a person takes the time to carefully inspect Dan Barker’s allegation that the Bible paints a contradictory picture of God, the sincere truth seeker will discover the vacuousness of his charges. Time and again, both in his debate with Kyle Butt on the existence of the God of the Bible and in his writings, Barker has disregarded the fact that for a legitimate contradiction to exist, one must be referring to the same person, place, or thing, at the same time, in the same sense (for more information, see Lyons, 2003 and 2005).
REFERENCESButt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), The Butt/Barker Debate (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Leupold, H.C. (1959), Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Lyons, Eric (2003), The Anvil Rings: Volume 1 (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Lyons, Eric (2005), The Anvil Rings: Volume 2 (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
God has appointed men as leaders in the home and in the churchAfter Adam and Eve had sinned, God appointed the husband as leader: "To the woman He said: 'I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you'" (Genesis 3:16).
The husband is the head of the wife.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything" (Ephesians 5:22-24).
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord" (Colossians 3:18).
"Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear" (1 Peter 3:1,2).
Both the husband and wife provide leadership for the children.
"Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord" (Colossians 3:20). "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth'" (Ephesians 6:1-3).
"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Fathers are responsible for bringing up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. This requires much wisdom and constant attention from birth until the child is grown.
Bringing up children in the training and admonition of the Lord means that their upbringing must be according to the word of God. It also involves teaching children the Scriptures, not only in word, but even more importantly, by example.
Timothy knew the Scriptures from childhood (2 Timothy 3:15). The genuine faith which first dwelt in his grandmother Lois and in his mother Eunice, was also in him (2 Timothy 1:5).
Men have been appointed by God as leaders in the church.
Jesus, the Head of the church, is a man (1 Timothy 2:5). The twelve Apostles are men. Elders and deacons are men -- since they must be "the husband of one wife" (1 Timothy 3:2,12).
Providing leadership in the church is a grave responsibility. Paul told the elders at Ephesus: "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). An elder must hold "fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict" (Titus 1:9). Peter wrote: "The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble'" (1 Peter 5:1-5).
Older women teach younger women.
"The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanders, not given to much wine, teachers of good things -- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed" (Titus 2:3-5).
Some restrictions are placed on women.
This is to substantiate God's appointment of men as leaders in the church.
"Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression" (1 Timothy 2:11-14). "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church" (1 Corinthians 14:34,35).
We notice three specific restrictions which will be discussed individually: women are to remain silent in the assembly, they are not to teach men, and they are not to exercise authority over men.
Women must remain silent in the assemblies.
"Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church" (1 Corinthians 14:34,35). "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission" (1 Timothy 2:11).
Since men are to lead, women may not teach or lead when men are present. To substantiate men's leadership role, and to avoid any misunderstanding, women are specifically commanded to be silent in the assembly.
This does not apply to singing together, since in that case women are not exercising leadership or authority, but are following the brother who is leading the congregation. It would be wrong, however, for a woman to sing solo or to participate in leading the singing.
Women are not permitted to teach men (1 Timothy 2:12).
Again, this prohibition substantiates the leadership role God has assigned to men. Also outside the assembly, a woman is not to serve as a teacher of men. In an informal and submissive manner, women are free to participate in a mixed Bible study -- which is not viewed as an assembly -- but the study must be led by a man. This restriction is not violated when a woman teaches women or small children.
This certainly does not mean that a man may never learn something from a woman! Apollos is an example of this. "Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the ways of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18:24-26).
Notice that they "took him aside" and notice that they "explained" the way of God to him more accurately. These expressions depict a conversational situation.
This passage is sometimes misapplied to appoint a woman, or a man and woman together, to lead a mixed Bible class. In the case of Apollos, however, there was not a teacher-student relationship.
The example of Aquila and Priscilla does show that a Christian couple may invite a preacher into their home and explain the way of the Lord to him more accurately! Many preachers have benefited from such help!
Women may not exercise authority over men.
"And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man" (1 Timothy 2:12).
Again, this restriction is simply a consequence of God's appointment of men to lead the church. Leadership is not limited to the assembly. Just as a woman may not teach men, neither may she lead men. For this reason, prayers are led by men in a mixed Bible study, although women join in the discussion.
Some try to justify women participating in "chain" prayers in a mixed group by claiming that each one is just saying his own private prayer, and is not leading the others. According to Jesus, however, private prayers should be said in private: "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:6). According to Paul, group prayers should be understandable, so all can say "amen" (1 Corinthians 14:15,16). The thoughts of the group are being led by the one saying the prayer. Thus, outside the assembly as well, the prayers of a mixed group must be led by men.
All of the passages in which restrictions are placed on women are in a domestic or religious context. Paul tells Timothy he is writing these things "so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God" (1 Timothy 3:14, 15). Thus it would be extending these prohibitions beyond the context to claim that women may not have leadership roles in business or politics.
At the other extreme, some limit the application of 1 Timothy 2:12, "And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man," to the assembly. The house of God is not a building or a meeting place, however, but is God's family, God's people. Most of what the church does is done from day to day as the living body of Christ. Preaching and teaching are done outside the assembly. Prayers are led outside the assembly. Religious authority is exercised outside the assembly. Thus the restriction that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men also applies to the work of the church and religious activities in general and not just to the assembly.
When a church has elders, decisions are of course made by the elders who are men. When a church does not have elders, since women are not to exercise authority over men, decisions must be made by the men of the congregation.
Man's leadership is compared to Christ's leadership.
This applies both in the home and in the church.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22).
To the church at Corinth, where some women were rebellious, Paul wrote: "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians 11:3).
Man's leadership does not mean that he may be a tyrant. He himself is under the authority of Christ. His leadership must agree with the word of God. He has no right to contradict God's word. In such a case Peter's explanation to the Jewish leaders would apply: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
What about women who prophesied?
Philip had four virgin daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9). Paul mentions women who prophesied (1 Corinthians 11:4-10).
Some misuse these examples to invalidate the commandment that women must be silent in the assembly. It is never said, however, that women prophesied in the assembly. They who make that claim are not joining the Scriptures together, but are tearing the Scriptures apart! Several passages must be combined on the basis of what is stated. They may not be brought into conflict by adding something not stated. Since women are not to speak in the assembly and since women are not to teach men, their prophecy was limited to teaching women outside the assembly.
Let us respect God's appointments.
God has appointed the husband as head of the wife, and men as leaders in the church. As a consequence, women are not to teach men, are not to exercise authority over men, and are not to speak in the assembly. Decisions for the church are made either by the elders or, if there are none, by the men of congregation. God has appointed men as leaders in the home and in the church.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
Bible Reading February 21 (World English Bible)
Exo 2:1 A man of the house of Levi went and took a daughter of Levi as his wife.
Exo 2:2 The woman conceived, and bore a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.
Exo 2:3 When she could no longer hide him, she took a papyrus basket for him, and coated it with tar and with pitch. She put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank.
Exo 2:4 His sister stood far off, to see what would be done to him.
Exo 2:5 Pharaoh's daughter came down to bathe at the river. Her maidens walked along by the riverside. She saw the basket among the reeds, and sent her handmaid to get it.
Exo 2:6 She opened it, and saw the child, and behold, the baby cried. She had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children."
Exo 2:7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Should I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?"
Exo 2:8 Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." The maiden went and called the child's mother.
Exo 2:9 Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." The woman took the child, and nursed it.
Exo 2:10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, and said, "Because I drew him out of the water."
Exo 2:11 It happened in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brothers, and looked at their burdens. He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his brothers.
Exo 2:12 He looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no one, he killed the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
Exo 2:13 He went out the second day, and behold, two men of the Hebrews were fighting with each other. He said to him who did the wrong, "Why do you strike your fellow?"
Exo 2:14 He said, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you plan to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian?" Moses was afraid, and said, "Surely this thing is known."
Exo 2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and lived in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.
Exo 2:16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock.
Exo 2:17 The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
Exo 2:18 When they came to Reuel, their father, he said, "How is it that you have returned so early today?"
Exo 2:19 They said, "An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and moreover he drew water for us, and watered the flock."
Exo 2:20 He said to his daughters, "Where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread."
Exo 2:21 Moses was content to dwell with the man. He gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter.
Exo 2:22 She bore a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, "I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land."
Exo 2:23 It happened in the course of those many days, that the king of Egypt died, and the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.
Exo 2:24 God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
Exo 2:25 God saw the children of Israel, and God was concerned about them.
Mat 26:1 It happened, when Jesus had finished all these words, that he said to his disciples,
Mat 26:2 "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."
Mat 26:3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas.
Mat 26:4 They took counsel together that they might take Jesus by deceit, and kill him.
Mat 26:5 But they said, "Not during the feast, lest a riot occur among the people."
Mat 26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
Mat 26:7 a woman came to him having an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table.
Mat 26:8 But when his disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste?
Mat 26:9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor."
Mat 26:10 However, knowing this, Jesus said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? Because she has done a good work for me.
Mat 26:11 For you always have the poor with you; but you don't always have me.
Mat 26:12 For in pouring this ointment on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.
Mat 26:13 Most certainly I tell you, wherever this Good News is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of as a memorial of her."
Mat 26:14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests,
Mat 26:15 and said, "What are you willing to give me, that I should deliver him to you?" They weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver.
Mat 26:16 From that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
Mat 26:17 Now on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
Mat 26:18 He said, "Go into the city to a certain person, and tell him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples." ' "
Mat 26:19 The disciples did as Jesus commanded them, and they prepared the Passover.
Mat 26:20 Now when evening had come, he was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples.
Mat 26:21 As they were eating, he said, "Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me."
Mat 26:22 They were exceedingly sorrowful, and each began to ask him, "It isn't me, is it, Lord?"
Mat 26:23 He answered, "He who dipped his hand with me in the dish, the same will betray me.
Mat 26:24 The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born."
Mat 26:25 Judas, who betrayed him, answered, "It isn't me, is it, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You said it."
Mat 26:26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it, and broke it. He gave to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."
Mat 26:27 He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, "All of you drink it,
Mat 26:28 for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.
Mat 26:29 But I tell you that I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's Kingdom."
Mat 26:30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Mat 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of me tonight, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
Mat 26:32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee."
Mat 26:33 But Peter answered him, "Even if all will be made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble."
Mat 26:34 Jesus said to him, "Most certainly I tell you that tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."
Mat 26:35 Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you." All of the disciples also said likewise.
Mat 26:36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go there and pray."
Mat 26:37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and severely troubled.
Mat 26:38 Then he said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch with me."
Mat 26:39 He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire."
Mat 26:40 He came to the disciples, and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What, couldn't you watch with me for one hour?
Mat 26:41 Watch and pray, that you don't enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Mat 26:42 Again, a second time he went away, and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cup can't pass away from me unless I drink it, your desire be done."
Mat 26:43 He came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
Mat 26:44 He left them again, went away, and prayed a third time, saying the same words.
Mat 26:45 Then he came to his disciples, and said to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest. Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Mat 26:46 Arise, let's be going. Behold, he who betrays me is at hand."
Mat 26:47 While he was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priest and elders of the people.
Mat 26:48 Now he who betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, "Whoever I kiss, he is the one. Seize him."
Mat 26:49 Immediately he came to Jesus, and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed him.
Mat 26:50 Jesus said to him, "Friend, why are you here?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
Mat 26:51 Behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck the servant of the high priest, and struck off his ear.
Mat 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place, for all those who take the sword will die by the sword.
Mat 26:53 Or do you think that I couldn't ask my Father, and he would even now send me more than twelve legions of angels?
Mat 26:54 How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be so?"
Mat 26:55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs to seize me? I sat daily in the temple teaching, and you didn't arrest me.
Mat 26:56 But all this has happened, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him, and fled.
Mat 26:57 Those who had taken Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together.
Mat 26:58 But Peter followed him from a distance, to the court of the high priest, and entered in and sat with the officers, to see the end.
Mat 26:59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus, that they might put him to death;
Mat 26:60 and they found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward,
Mat 26:61 and said, "This man said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.' "
Mat 26:62 The high priest stood up, and said to him, "Have you no answer? What is this that these testify against you?"
Mat 26:63 But Jesus held his peace. The high priest answered him, "I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God."
Mat 26:64 Jesus said to him, "You have said it. Nevertheless, I tell you, after this you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of the sky."
Mat 26:65 Then the high priest tore his clothing, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy.
Mat 26:66 What do you think?" They answered, "He is worthy of death!"
Mat 26:67 Then they spit in his face and beat him with their fists, and some slapped him,
Mat 26:68 saying, "Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who hit you?"
Mat 26:69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the court, and a maid came to him, saying, "You were also with Jesus, the Galilean!"
Mat 26:70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I don't know what you are talking about."
Mat 26:71 When he had gone out onto the porch, someone else saw him, and said to those who were there, "This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth."
Mat 26:72 Again he denied it with an oath, "I don't know the man."
Mat 26:73 After a little while those who stood by came and said to Peter, "Surely you are also one of them, for your speech makes you known."
Mat 26:74 Then he began to curse and to swear, "I don't know the man!" Immediately the rooster crowed.
Mat 26:75 Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." He went out and wept bitterly.