"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS" Obtaining The Glory Of Our Lord (2:13-17) by Mark Copeland


Obtaining The Glory Of Our Lord (2:13-17)


1. In clarifying possible misconceptions about the coming of Christ,
   Paul warned of two ominous events that must occur first...
   a. The falling away must occur - 2Th 2:3
   b. The man of sin must be revealed - 2Th 2:3

2. Both events portend a sad end for many people...
   a. The falling away would necessitate the apostasy of many people
   b. The man of sin would deceive many people who were perishing

3. Yet Paul writes of "Obtaining The Glory Of Our Lord"...
   a. Thankful that the Thessalonians appeared destined for that
      blessing - 2Th 2:13-14
   b. A blessing to be received when Christ comes - cf. 2Th 1:10
   c. A blessing for which Paul prayed diligently they would indeed
      receive - 2Th 1:11-12

[In our study I wish to address the question:  What is necessary for
"Obtaining The Glory Of Our Lord"?  From Paul's remarks in our text
(2Th 2:13-17), obtaining this glory is possible...]


      1. For which Paul was bound to give thanks - 2Th 2:13
      2. Which was evidence of God's love for them - 2Th 2:13
      3. From the beginning - 2Th 2:13
         a. Likely referring to God's election before the foundation of
            the world - Ep 1:4-5
         b. Which I understand to be general, not particular; corporate,
            not individual
            1) God chose the body of Christ, the church, to be the
               recipients of His grace and purposes predestined before
               the world began)
            2) Not select individuals, as per Calvinism
         c. While in the "corporate" sense this choice is unconditional
            and final, as "individuals" we must be  "diligent to make
            your calling and election sure" - 2Pe 1:10
            1) Just as Israel (as a nation) had been chosen by God to
               receive His blessings
            2) Yet individually, the Israelites had to "make their
               calling and election sure"
            3) Thus Paul would need to exhort the Thessalonians to
               "stand fast" - 2Th 2:15
      4. For salvation - 2Th 2:13
         a. Salvation from the wrath to come, as vividly described in
            2Th 1:7-9
         b. Salvation that will include participation in the glory to
            come - cf. 2Th 1:10; 2:14

      1. Through sanctification by the Spirit - 2Th 2:13
         a. They had been sanctified (set apart) by the Spirit
         b. This sanctifying work of the Spirit included:
            1) His work in revealing and confirming the Word of God
               through the apostles - Jn 17:17; He 2:1-4
            2) His work of regeneration and renewal in conversion - Ti
      2. Through belief in the truth - 2Th 2:13
         a. They had believed the testimony of the Spirit through the
            apostles - 2Th 1:10
         b. This was their part to become one of the chosen, God's elect
      3. Through the call of the gospel - 2Th 2:14
         a. Here is how it all came together...
            1) Through the preaching of the gospel God was calling them
            2) Those who believed the preaching of the gospel, were
               sanctified (set apart) by the Holy Spirit in their
         b. Thus set apart...
            1) They became God's beloved, part of His elect
            2) They were among the chosen to receive salvation

[This salvation, involving "Obtaining The Glory Of Our Lord", is
available to all who answer the call of the gospel, and believe the
truth concerning Jesus Christ.

But in light of the earlier warning of apostasy, and the danger of
deception by the man of sin, how can we "make our calling and election
sure" and obtain the glory of the Lord?  Paul's answer...]


      1. Similar to charges given to other churches - 1Co 15:58; Php 4:1
      2. Why such a warning, unless the danger of apostasy is real?
         a. The danger is real - cf. He 3:12-15
         b. The Scriptures are filled with many such warnings
      -- So we need to stand fast if we desire to obtain the glory of
         our Lord!

      1. Holding to the traditions of the apostles - 2Th 2:15
         a. Traditions are teachings "handed down"
            1) Such as those delivered by those apostles - cf. 1Co 11:2
            2) Whether by word (orally) or by epistle (written)
         b. The apostles' traditions were to be kept - cf. 2Th 3:6; Ac
            1) If we desire to stand fast, we must hold to the teachings
               of the apostles
            2) Like the Jerusalem church, we must continue steadfastly
               in the apostles' doctrine
      2. In the comfort of God's love and grace - 2Th 2:16-17
         a. God and Jesus have already:
            1) Shown Their love
            2) Given everlasting consolation and good hope by grace
            -- This God and Jesus did by saving them through the gospel
         b. Thus Paul prays that God and Jesus will also:
            1) Comfort their hearts - cf. 2Co 1:3-5
            2) Establish them in every good word and work - cf. 1 Pe
            -- Established and comforted, they would be able to "stand


1. "Obtaining The Glory Of Our Lord" is made possible only with the help
   of God, and from our text we learn that...
   a. God loves us
   b. Jesus Christ Himself loves us
   c. They have given everlasting consolation and good hope by grace
   d. They are willing to comfort our hearts
   e. They desire to establish us in every word and work
   -- For such reasons we should feel "bound to give thanks to God

2. Yet while God and Jesus stand ready to help us obtain the glory of
   the Lord, let's not forget our obligation...
   a. To believe the truth
   b. To accept the call of the gospel
   c. To stand fast
   d. To hold to the traditions of the apostles

Do we desire to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ?  May Paul's
words always serve to remind us how it is possible, and encourage us
never to become slack in our dedication to the Word of God!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Failing to Count the High Cost of Leaving the Faith by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Failing to Count the High Cost of Leaving the Faith

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been.” — John Greenleaf Whittier
As we make our way through this pilgrimage we call life, each of us faces opportunities and challenges that require not only forethought and decision, but commitment and dedication as well. At times we think carefully, choose wisely, and act forcefully. At times we do not.
While it is true that there exist scenarios in which a personal failure may be due to circumstances beyond our control, often it is true that the responsibility for failure rests solely with the individual. It seems to be a part of human nature that we readily empathize with the person who works hard, gives his best, and yet still fails. But it is just as much a part of human nature that we disdain the person who—in the heat of battle—simply quits, gives up, and walks away. That person never will experience the sweet taste of victory, the joy of success, or the innate pride of having given his all. Truly, the saddest words are, “It might have been.”
Nowhere is the truth of this adage more evident than in our relationship with our God. And nowhere is failure more tragic, or the results more permanent. Within the pages of both the Old and New Testaments there are numerous accounts of people—or nations—that simply quit, gave up, and walked away from both their faith and their God. The results were nearly always disastrous to them personally. Sadder still was the effect their personal loss of faith had on family, friends, neighbors, and even future generations. It is a simple fact that many who leave the faith fail to count the high cost of doing so.
Every person familiar with the Old Testament is aware that one of its central themes is that of the evil results of spiritual apostasy. From the beginning of Genesis to the end of Malachi, heaven’s warning was this: faithfulness would bring spiritual life and God’s blessings, while unfaithfulness would bring spiritual death and God’s wrath. Ezekiel declared: “When the righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and comitteth iniquity, and dieth therein; in his iniquity that he hath done shall he die” (Ezekiel 18:26)
Moses often warned the Israelites of the horrible effects of apostasy (see Deuteronomy 8:11-14; 4:9; 28:62). God was willing to help them possess the land of Canaan (Exodus 23:30; Deuteronomy 10:22). But more than once their sins reversed God’s promised blessings. Eventually their apostasy caused God to allow them to be dispersed. In fact, no nation has ever been disseminated so completely. The Northern Kingdom was captured and taken from Canaan by the Assyrians c. 722 B.C.. These people never would return to Israel as a group, and eventually were scattered around the world. The Southern Kingdom, Judah, was taken into captivity by the Babylonians, and despite the vast number of people exiled, only a remnant would return 70 years later.
Truly, God’s people had failed to count the high cost of leaving the faith. That failure even affected generations yet unborn. Moses and the other prophets understood what so many of the general populace did not—obedience is important because it is the only possible demonstration of faith (James 2:18); without faith, no one can please God (Hebrews 11:6), and without obedience, there is no faith.
Turning to the New Testament, the story remains much the same. During His tenure on Earth, Jesus warned that some, in temptation, would fall away from the faith (Luke 8:13), and even went so far as to note that some branches [disciples] would be pruned from Him as the vine and burned (John 15:1-6). We know that, indeed, some of the early Christians did leave the faith. The apostle Paul observed that Demas forsook him and his own faith, “having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). Some abandoned Christianity, reverting to their beloved Judaism, and in so doing “fell away” (Hebrews 6:4-6; Galatians 5:4). In fact, it was prophesied that prior to the return of Christ at His second coming, a great apostasy would occur (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; cf. 1 Timothy 4:1ff, 2 Timothy 4:1ff.).
Paul observed that the things written in the Old Covenant had been penned “for our learning” (Romans 15:4), and that the old law was to be our “schoolmaster” (Galatians 3:24). It should come as no surprise, then, to see Paul catalog in 1 Corinthians 10 a number of instances in which the Israelites apostatized—as a warning to those who would follow so they could avoid making the same mistakes. Through the years that followed, however, there have been those who have ignored the inspired warning, and who subsequently have abandoned the faith. Why is this the case? And what has been the cost?


Were it possible for us today to catalog the reasons why Christians leave the faith, no doubt the list would be quite lengthy. Likely, however, included among those reasons would be some, or all, of the following.
First, some fall away because they neglect their own spiritual welfare. The Scriptures are clear regarding the fact that Christians have been provided a “great salvation” that should not be neglected (Hebrews 2:3). When a person does what the Bible commands him to do to be saved, he enters the kingdom (i.e., the church) as a newborn enters an earthly family—in need of milk for sustenance and tender care for survival. The apostle Peter spoke of such people as “newborn babes” who were to “long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Paul discussed those whom he had fed spiritually “with milk, not with meat” because they were not yet ready for such (1 Corinthians 3:2). But just as the neonatal child eventually grows into adolescence and adulthood, so Christians are to mature in their faith. Peter observed that one of the responsibilities of being a faithful child of God is to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). There are those who never would dream of neglecting their physical needs such as food and rest, yet who nevertheless carelessly neglect their spiritual needs. They do not attend worship services regularly (Hebrews 10:24-25). They make no effort to cultivate personal habits of diligent study and meditation (2 Timothy 2:15). And, they ignore biblical commands to assist in the salvation of others and thus bear fruit as a Christian (John 15:1-10; Romans 7:4). As a result, they grow disinterested in spiritual matters, and eventually drift away completely.
Second, some leave the faith as a result of persecution. In His parable of the sower (Matthew 13), the Lord revealed that on occasion a person “endures for a while; and when tribulation and persecution arise because of the word, straightway he stumbles” (13:21). In Luke 14:27-32, Christ gave several examples intended to emphasize the importance of counting the cost of discipleship. No doubt some are drawn to Christianity because of the “abundant life” it ensures in the here and now (John 10:10), and because of the promise of an eternal life with God in the hereafter (John 3:16). They fail to realize, however, that “all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). When persecution arises—from family, friends, or the world—their faith becomes like the seed that fell on the shallow soil with a layer of bedrock underneath. It sprang up quickly, but soon was destroyed by the heat of the midday Sun.
Third, some abandon the faith because they fall prey to false teaching. Faithful Christians will take heed how they hear (Luke 8:18), and be careful to compare all that they hear to the Word of God (Acts 17:11). In Matthew 22:23-33, Christ rebuked the Sadducees because of their ignorance of the Word of God, and attributed their manifold errors to such ignorance. In both 1 Timothy 4:1ff. and 2 Timothy 4:1ff., Paul foretold of a time when some would fall away from the faith because they succumbed to the doctrines of false teachers (cf. also 1 John 4:1). In this day and age, when there is a different religious group represented on practically every street corner, and a different televangelist on practically every television station, it is all the more easy to fall victim to human doctrines that are at variance with the Word of God. Such doctrines have snared many, and caused them to lose their souls.
Fourth, it cannot be denied that many have left the faith because of suffering in their lives, or in the lives of those they know and love. Sadly, we today do not inhabit a world reminiscent of the Garden of Eden; rather, we live in a world ravaged by the effects of man’s sin (Genesis 3:16ff.; Romans 5:12; 8:20ff.). Planet Earth is ravaged by natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes that often take an awful toll on both property and human life. Our bodies and minds are ravaged by an increasingly long list of maladies such as cancer, heart attacks, and Alzheimer’s disease. Christians are not somehow immune to such occurrences. Christ observed in the Sermon on the Mount that God “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). It is a scriptural teaching that while we are the recipients of many blessings, we also are affected by calamities from time to time. One of the messages of the book of Job is that Jehovah does not necessarily shield His people from tragedies.
As He ended His Sermon on the Mount, Christ told a parable of two men, one of whom He labeled as wise for building his house upon a foundation of rock, and one of whom He labeled as foolish for building his house upon a foundation of sand (Matthew 7:24-27). The Lord’s point was two-fold: (1) trials and tribulations will come; and (2) in order for faith to stand firm, it must be rooted in God’s Word. Sometimes the trials and tribulations are literal disasters such as those Christ discussed in His parable—floods, winds, and rains. Sometimes, however, the trials and tribulations are mental or spiritual assaults upon our faith that arrive in the form of persecution, the effects of disease upon a loved one, or the death of a family member. Unfortunately, on occasion such assaults raise questions in the mind of a Christian concerning the benevolence and omnipotence of God. Deep-seated emotions are stirred and the seeds of doubt begin to sprout, eventually coming into full bloom to replace what was once a vibrant, living faith. Faithfulness turns into faithlessness, and a soul is lost.
There are, to be sure, numerous other reasons why Christians leave the faith. Some place their confidence in men, only to see that those they trust also have feet of clay. Some fall away because they do not have a steady diet of association with other Christians, and exposure to the world on a daily basis causes their commitment to God to wane. Some lose their faith as a result of fellow Christians whose actions may be well-intentioned, but who are harsh and inappropriate. More than one soul has had his fledgling faith bludgeoned and destroyed by an insensitive, tactless saint under the banner of defending the faith or righting a wrong. Regardless of the reason(s), the fact remains that as they are on their way to heaven, some Christians lose sight of the goal, become distracted or disinterested, take a detour, and end up leaving the faith altogether. But at what cost?


In Romans 12:2, Paul warned: “And be not fashioned according to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Sad though it may be, the truth is that some Christians ultimately leave the faith, and again are “fashioned according to this world.” They once were lost, but were offered salvation as the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet they spurned the Lord’s gift, choosing instead to relinquish the treasures of a home in heaven for a meager measure of earthly pottage. What an unseemly trade—and at what a terrible price! Surely they who do such have failed to count the high cost of leaving the faith.

The Cost to the Individual Himself

In addressing the apostasy of certain Christians, Peter lamented:
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse than the first. For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them. It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:21-22).
The apostle paints an ugly picture with his vivid description of the end state of those who leave the faith. Peter’s observation that in the case of these apostates, their “last state is become worse than the first,” is fitting indeed. Think of the burden of guilt that will follow them all the days of their lives. These are people who once knew the serenity of salvation. These are people who once understood the promise of an eternal life in heaven. These are people who once enjoyed the friendship and fellowship of other saints. But now, all of that is gone, having been freely relinquished and subsequently replaced with the knowledge of eventually spending an eternity in the absence of God in an eternal hell (2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 21:8).
As the days pass by in their own fleeting fashion, what will run through the mind of the apostate? In more private moments, as he sits quietly on the park bench on a beautiful spring day, or looks pensively out the bay window of his house at the gentle rain as it falls from heaven, will his knowledge of what he knows he should do, but refuses to do, not eat away at his inner peace? Will he not remember passages such as James 4:17: “To him that knoweth to do right, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”? Will he not remember Paul’s statement Philippians 2:10-11 that “in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, or things in heaven and things on the earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father”? While his outward appearance may exhibit a confident attitude of indifference toward his present spiritual state, his true inner self may languish in the knowledge that he once was saved, but now is lost.

The Cost to Families

In Romans 14:7, Paul commented on the human condition when he noted that “none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself.” How true an observation that is. Hermits are few and far between. Man rarely does well when isolated from others of his kind. As God looked down from His heavenly estate on the first man, Adam, whom He had created, He remarked, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Nothing has changed since that initial divine diagnosis.
From the beginning to the end of our pilgrimage of life, we interact socially with those around us. We move beyond childhood and adolescence to adulthood. And as is often the case, we fall in love, marry, form a home, bear and rear children, and possibly even become grandparents or great-grandparents. Although at times we wish they did not, the truth of the matter is that more often than not the decisions we make, and the actions that stem from those decisions, inevitably affect those we love the most. Certainly this is true in a spiritual context.
For example, Peter noted that the effects of a godly wife upon her husband might be responsible for bringing his soul to the Lord. “In like manner, ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without a word be gained by the behavior of their wives, beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear” (1 Peter 3:1-2). What a sobering thought—that one person, through behavior tempered by a reverent fear of God, ultimately might influence a sinner to come to salvation.
Yet what is the corollary to this concept? If faithfulness produces such wonderful results, what results might unfaithfulness produce? Does not practical experience answer that question in a thousand different ways? Consider, for example, the following scenario. A young man grows up, becomes a Christian, falls in love, and marries a lovely Christian woman with whom he has two children. But during the children’s impressionable years of youth, the man and his wife grow indifferent about their own spiritual conduct and welfare, and eventually leave the faith. Church attendance stops. Fellowship with Christians is severed. Years pass. Then, at the persistent urging of a friend, this couple attends a lecture on the Bible and man’s responsibility according to it. The message moves both the husband and wife to repent of their years of spiritual apathy. They ask for, and are granted by God and their fellow Christians, forgiveness. They then begin their Christian life anew.
But what of their two children? These are the children who for years witnessed the callous indifference of their parents toward spiritual matters. These are the children who rarely, if ever, were taken to worship God, or attended Bible class. These are the children whose Bible knowledge would fit into a sewing thimble, because during the years when they should have been receiving spiritual instruction at home, their parents were not even capable of sustaining their own faith, much less imparting that faith to their offspring.
Their parents have returned to God. But experience tells us it is highly unlikely that these children ever will. Because of the parents’ unfaithfulness at a critical time in their children’s lives, the opportunity to impart a living, active faith to those children during their most impressionable years has been lost forever. And what, then, will become of this couple’s grandchildren and great grandchildren? Is it not true to say that likely they, too, will be reared in an atmosphere of indifference, apathy, or outright unbelief? Thus, the spiritual condition of not one, but several generations, has been affected adversely as a result of unfaithfulness on the part of parents who failed to count the high cost of leaving the faith.

The Cost to the Church

On occasion, however, it is not just physical families that suffer due to a member’s unfaithfulness. Sometimes the spiritual family of the church suffers just as well. The sin of a single individual can have severe repercussions for those around him. Paul applied this principle when he urged the Christians at Corinth to discipline one of their own members who was living in adultery. He warned: “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6).
Suppose, just to choose one example, that the local evangelist commits adultery and leaves his wife and family. First, there is little doubt that the church’s reputation will be damaged. As he works in a local community, a preacher’s influence is exhibited in a variety of ways, and his actions, rightly or wrongly, often are interpreted by non-Christians as representative of what Christians in general should be like. The fact that he has been unfaithful not only to his wife, but to his Lord, may well have a negative impact on how the church is viewed by those who are not members of it, and yet who under other circumstances would have been kindly disposed to it. This is true of any Christian, not just one who is continually in the public eye.
Second, such circumstances will provide “grist for the mill" of those who are always searching for reasons to revile the church and its individual members. When he wrote his first epistle to the young evangelist Timothy, Paul urged that his instructions be carried out so that there would be “no occasion to the adversary for reviling” (1 Timothy 5:14). When Christians leave the faith, it supplies ammunition for those who have set themselves against God’s work through His church.
Third, there are weak and new Christians to consider. As they see a man who was once a faithful Christian fall into sin and abandon his faith, it can have a devastating effect upon theirs. The Proverbs writer suggested: “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint” (25:19). The new Christian, or the one who is struggling already, may reason as follows: If a man who is a seasoned child of God has lost his way and left the faith, then what hope is there for me? The initial unfaithfulness of a single individual may, on occasion, set off a chain reaction that decimates the body of Christ in a way no one could have imagined.


Christians may freely choose to walk away from their faith in God, but no power in existence can take that faith from them without their consent. Paul assured the Christians of his day, and for all ages, that this was true when he wrote:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-37).
While it is true that some Christians fall away, it does not have to be so. Peter provided instructions from the Lord for the Christians of his day, and then reminded them: “Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10).

Facsimile 1 from the Book of Abraham by Dewayne Bryant, Ph.D.


Facsimile 1 from the Book of Abraham

by Dewayne Bryant, Ph.D.

Christianity is a historical religion. The Bible makes claims about events that happened in real time and space that can be evaluated in light of the historical and archaeological records. If the events of the Bible truly happened, then one would expect the surviving evidence to lend support to the biblical record. If not, then we would naturally expect the evidence to contradict it. Over the last two centuries, the Bible has fared incredibly well.
Mormonism also makes a number of historical claims. Like the claims of the Old and New Testaments, the Mormon scriptures can be checked against the historical and archaeological records. The Book of Mormon and other Mormon scriptures have not fared well at all. The dearth of evidence has made things increasingly difficult for Mormon apologists.
Scholars within the Mormon community have recognized the difficulties presented by the archaeological record. Michael Coe, professor emeritus at Yale University and one of America’s foremost experts on the Mayan civilization, says, “What has gone wrong, therefore, with Mormon archaeology?… Mormon intellectuals, it seems to me, have taken three ways to extract themselves from the dilemma,” noting, “The third way out of the dilemma is apostasy. I will not dwell further on this painful subject, but merely point out that many unusually gifted scholars whom I count as friends have taken exactly this route” (Coe 1973, pp. 46-47). Scholars such as William Ramsay and William Foxwell Albright began as skeptics of the Bible and later became convinced by the evidence that the Bible was true. It would appear that the opposite is the case for many scholars who have difficulty reconciling the claims of the Mormon scriptures with the paucity of evidence in the archaeological record.
Of all the sacred texts of the Mormon church, one of the most fascinating is the Book of Abraham, a five-chapter book that purportedly records the travels of Abraham in Egypt. According to Joseph Smith’s introductory comments in the translation, Abraham wrote the book himself, “by his own hand, upon papyrus” (Smith, 1842, [9]3:704). The book tells a story of Abraham’s capture and near-sacrifice by an evil Egyptian priest. It also portrays the patriarch as lecturing the pharaoh in astronomy.
In the 1800s, ancient papyrus documents emerged that were quickly purchased by the budding Mormon church. Smith, eagerly seeking historical evidence, claimed these documents were part of the Book of Abraham, which would in time become canonized as part of the Mormon scriptures. These documents were later lost, only to resurface in the 1900s to be examined by scholars.
Egyptologists who have examined these papyrus fragments understand them to be parts of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a tome of spells to aid the deceased in the afterlife. This corpus of material began as the Pyramid Texts, which were inscribed inside the pyramids themselves. As pharaohs abandoned pyramid building in favor of tombs, Egyptians inscribed these texts on coffins, which were then called the Coffin Texts. Finally, this material was written on scrolls, later known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead. This work was illustrated by scribes in the ancient world, and three such illustrations (known as Facsimiles 1, 2, and 3) were found among the papyrus documents Smith purchased.
Facsimile 1 supposedly depicts the scene of Abraham nearly being sacrificed by the Egyptian priest Elkenah. Since Joseph Smith knew virtually nothing about Egyptian religion, he misidentified everything in the scene. Following is the list of Smith’s proposed identifications, as well as their true identification (The facsimiles and the suggested identifications may also be found on the LDS Web site: http://lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/fac-1?lang=eng).
  1. “The Angel of the Lord.” This winged figure is not an angel but the ba, or the soul of the deceased. It was depicted in Egyptian art as a bird-like figure with a human head that hovered near the body of its owner. Angels in the Bible are heavenly beings (the Hebrew term mal’ach means “messenger”), not disembodied human souls. The original papyrus is fragmentary, and the original head of the bird is missing. It was restored (presumably by Smith himself) as the head of a bird, but almost certainly had the head of a human originally.
  2. “Abraham fastened upon the altar.” The figure identified as Abraham is really the body of the deceased who is being mummified. This is a common scene in Egyptian art.
  3. “The idolatrous priest Elkenah attempting to offer up Abraham as a sacrifice.” What the picture does not reveal is that in the original papyrus document, the head of the standing figure is missing, as is the hand of the arm that is extended over the body. These were drawn in at a later date. In the original document, it is absolutely certain that the head of the standing figure was that of a jackal, which would belong to Anubis, the god of mummification. The knife in the hand was also added. In pictures like this from Egypt, the hand is empty. Someone supplied the knife in the drawing, which was not there originally.
  4. “The altar for sacrifice by the idolatrous priests, standing before the gods Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and Pharaoh.” The “altar” is a structure known as a funerary couch or funerary bed. It was essentially an embalming table. The deceased is often depicted as resting on this structure during the mummification process. In other ancient illustrations the god Osiris is seen lying on the couch.
  5. “The idolatrous god of Elkenah.” The items in the picture numbered 5-8 are improperly identified. There are no known gods with the names Smith ascribes. In the Book of Abraham, Smith plainly states that this illustration was included to educate the reader about the Egyptian gods: “That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning” (Book of Abraham, 1:14). Unfortunately, many Mormon believers may be completely unaware that this is pure invention. These are not idols of gods, but rather funerary items known as canopic jars (some might object here, saying that Smith’s identification is accurate, since the jars depict Egyptian gods. The problem is that the word “god” in Scripture, unless it refers to the God of the Bible, is often synonymous with “idol.”). These jars, often made of alabaster, held specific internal organs that had been removed from the body of the deceased during the mummification process. The heads on the tops of the jars each represent one of the four sons of Horus. All four of the names Smith assigns are incorrect. No one with any familiarity with either Egyptian or Hebrew would have used these names—because they belong to neither language. The figure depicted on the first jar is the god Qebehsenuef. This jar contained the intestines of the deceased.
  6. “The idolatrous god of Libnah.” This jar is topped with the head of a jackal, representing the god Duamutef. It contained the stomach.
  7. “The idolatrous god of Mahkackrah.” This jar is topped with the head of a baboon, representing the god Hapi. It contained the lungs.
  8. “The idolatrous god of Korash.” This is the human-headed jar, representing Imseti. This jar contained the liver.
  9. “The idolatrous god of Pharaoh.” This figure is more difficult to identify, but it may represent the crocodile god Sobek. Defenders argue this point tenaciously, since no name is given other than “idolatrous god” and its ambiguity allows considerable room for defense by Mormon apologists. But the very fact that the identification is so vague suggests that it, like everything else in the scene, is guesswork on Smith’s part (remember that the canopic jars are also misidentified as “idolatrous gods”). There is still a problem with this identification, however. The term pharaoh was not used to refer to the king of Egypt until the Eighteenth Dynasty (Hoffmeier, 1996, p. 87)—roughly 1500 B.C.—a detail Smith could not have known. The patriarchal narratives in Genesis call the king of Egypt pharaoh because by the time Moses put these stories in writing, this was a common term used to refer to the king (although Hoffmeier also notes that the king’s name may be missing because it was common Egyptian practice not to name one’s enemies). If Abraham had written the papyrus with “his own hand” as Smith stated, the patriarch would have used the name of the king rather than the term “Pharaoh.”
  10. “Abraham in Egypt.” Again, this is the body of the deceased person being mummified, not the captive patriarch. The fact that the figure appears to be clean-shaven is particularly difficult for Mormon apologists. Egyptian men shaved their heads and facial hair, while Semitic peoples did not (cf. Genesis 41:14). Egyptian art, such as that in the Beni Hasan tomb painting (17th century B.C.), shows Semitic people like Abraham with beards and full heads of hair (the beard with which the pharaohs were depicted was a false one—a close examination of both paintings and sculpture will show the strap along the jaw line designed to hold the beard in place). Shaving the beard was a sign of extreme shame (2 Samuel 10:4) or mourning (cf. Isaiah 7:20) for the Israelites.
  11. “Designed to represent the pillars of heaven, as understood by the Egyptians.” Many ancient cultures believed that heaven was supported by pillars. The design in Facsimile 1 seems to be nothing more than artistic ornamentation. The name Smith assigns to these “pillars” is neither Hebrew nor Egyptian. It is another instance of invention on his part. The Egyptian concept of heaven, which they called Aaru (“the field of reeds”), was of reed fields much like those in the Nile delta. Of course, Smith could not have known this, and simply based his guess on what was familiar to him.
  12. “Raukeeyang, signifying expanse, or the firmament over our heads; but in this case, in relation to this subject, the Egyptians meant it to signify Shaumau, to be high, or the heavens, answering to the Hebrew word, Shaumahyeem.” Smith says that the “expanse” is analogous to the Hebrew “Shaumahyeem,” which is a badly garbled spelling of the Hebrew word shamayim, meaning “heavens.” Raukeeyangand shaumau are not Egyptian words. Smith’s designations do little more than expose his lack of familiarity with the textual evidence, both biblical and Egyptian.
Egyptologists have disputed Smith’s identifications for a century. In 1912, an Episcopal bishop named Franklin S. Spalding sent copies of the three facsimiles to some of the world’s leading Egyptologists. Spalding published the results of his inquiry in the book, Joseph Smith, Jr., As a Translator. The scholars of whom Spalding inquired agreed that the facsimiles belonged to funerary documents. The famed Sir William Flinders Petrie said, “It may be safely said that there is not one single word that is true in these explanations.… None but the ignorant could possibly be imposed on by such ludicrous blunders” (as quoted in Spalding, p. 24). Archibald Sayce of Oxford said, “It is difficult to deal seriously with Joseph Smith’s impudent fraud” (as quoted in Spalding, p. 23). Arthur Mace of the Department of Egyptian Art of the Metropolitan Museum of New York stated:
The “Book of Abraham,” it is hardly necessary to say, is a pure fabrication.… Joseph Smith’s interpretation of these cuts is a farrago of nonsense from beginning to end. Egyptian characters can now be read almost as easily as Greek, and five minutes’ study in an Egyptian gallery of any museum should be enough to convince any educated man of the clumsiness of the imposture” (as quoted in Spalding, p. 27).
The New York Times even carried a story in the Sunday edition of December 29, 1912, with a headline stating, “Museum Walls Proclaim Fraud of Mormon Prophet” (“Museum Walls…”).
Mormons passionately believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. They also vigorously defend the texts considered sacred by the Mormon church. But as a historical faith—one that makes claims that may be checked against the ancient evidence—the Mormon scriptures fail to pass basic tests of historical accuracy. This is not surprising, as the evidence clearly implicates Smith as a gifted, though error-prone, storyteller. The Old and New Testaments have been supported and verified by archaeological evidence. Mormon scriptures have been contradicted by it. With all passionate sincerity, we would invite our Mormon friends to investigate the evidence and see for themselves whether the Mormon scriptures pass the test. From all the evidence that has emerged so far, the Bible passes with flying colors. The same cannot be said for the Book of Mormon or its companion, the Book of Abraham. [NOTE: For more discussion on the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, see “Is the Book of Mormon From God”? http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2787&topic=80.]


Coe, Michael D. (1973), “Mormons and Archaeology: An Outside View,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer, pp. 40-48.
Hoffmeier, James K. (1996), Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press).
Smith, Joseph Jr. (1842), “Truth Will Prevail,” Times and Seasons, [9]3, March 1.
Spalding, Franklin Spencer (1912), Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator (New York: Protestant Episcopal Church National Council).
“Museum Walls Proclaim Fraud of Mormon Prophet” (1912), New York Times, 29:1-2, December.
“Facsimile I” (no date), http://lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/fac-1?lang=eng.

Ezekiel’s Vision: An Alien UFO? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Ezekiel’s Vision: An Alien UFO?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

“I saw it with my own two eyes,” the farmer excitedly explained to the reporter. “As I was feeding the chickens, a huge, saucer-shaped object hovered over my house. A bright light beamed down through my barn, and before I knew what was happening, I saw Bessie, my best milk cow being pulled through the air toward the ship. In seconds, the ship whirred away with Bessie. Don’t know why those aliens would want my best cow!”
Does this scenario sound vaguely familiar? Hundreds of UFO sightings, alien abduction stories, and supposed communication with extraterrestrial life forms have been reported across the globe. From the various outlandish claims, not a single shred of legitimate evidence for life in outer space has ever surfaced. Yet, humanity’s fascination with aliens, UFOs, and extraterrestrial life seems only to grow year by year, in spite of this lack of evidence.
As proof of this growing fascination, it has been suggested that the biblical prophet Ezekiel, in the Old Testament book bearing his name, had an early encounter with an alien spaceship. In a Web article titled “UFOs: Even Before There Were Weather Balloons…,” the author misquoted Ezekiel 1:1-4: “As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as if it were gleaming bronze” (a very loose paraphrase of Ezekiel 1:1-4). The article then listed several other ancient “UFO” sightings, and concluded by stating: “These are just a few of the examples of UFO sightings from history” (2004).
Is it the case that Ezekiel saw an alien-operated flying machine from outer space? No, Ezekiel did not see an alien spaceship. How, then, are his visions to be explained? When one looks into Ezekiel’s prophetic book, it becomes clear that Ezekiel did see some strange things. From a quick reading of chapter one, it becomes apparent that Ezekiel saw a “great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself ” (vs. 4), four living creatures from within the cloud (vs. 5), a wheel beside each living creature (vs. 15), and the rims of the wheels full of eyes (vs. 18), among many other things. Indeed, the things seen by Ezekiel were amazing and unusual to say the least.
But with a little research into the biblical message, it becomes clear that Ezekiel’s writing and visions were apocalyptic in nature—very similar to the writings found in both Daniel and Revelation. The visions Ezekiel described are of heavenly, spiritual beings, not “alien life forms.” By comparing the description of the living creatures in Ezekiel to that of the living creatures that surround the throne of God in Revelation 4, one quickly realizes that the scenes witnessed by Ezekiel, John, Daniel, and other inspired writers were visions of God and His spiritual host of heaven.
As further evidence of this fact, at the end of Ezekiel 1, after describing “a likeness with the appearance of a man” on a throne, Ezekiel wrote: “This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord” (1:28). Then, a few verses later in chapter 2, this same person said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me” (2:3). Ezekiel fully understood this to be the Lord talking to Him, that the vision was of spiritual beings, and that he had not had an encounter with an alien from outer space. It is ironic that Ezekiel recognized his vision to be a calling and message from God, yet over 2,500 years after this vision, modern-day UFO hunters want to “reinterpret” Ezekiel’s original understanding of what he saw. A simple question should be asked: who would be in a better position to know what he saw—Ezekiel, or a modern-day “alien hunter” who believes in UFOs in spite of the overwhelming paucity of evidence? To ask is to answer, is it not?
Ezekiel did not see a UFO! He was allowed the special privilege of being called by God through an amazing vision of the heavenly host. His description of the vision ties in perfectly with other apocalyptic writings such as Daniel and Revelation. Those who are looking for the long-absent evidence proving the existence of aliens and UFOs, will have to look some place other than Ezekiel for it.


“UFOs: Even Before There Were Weather Balloons…” (2004), [On-line], URL: http://ufos.miningco.com/library/weekly/aa052097.htm.

Did Hezekiah Disregard God's Silence? by Trevor Bowen


Did Hezekiah Disregard God's Silence?


In considering a proper respect for the silence of Scriptures, one cannot help but be impressed by the exemplary attitudes of saints recorded in the Bible. Although we have previously studied and learned about the dangers of presumption in interpreting God's Word, a few Bible examples seem to suggest that the Lord had previously glossed over presumptuous sins. One such seemingly contradictory case is that of King Hezekiah, as recorded in II Chronicles 30. The goal of this article is to explain what appears to be three instances of presumption and disregard for God's silence in this chapter. Did Hezekiah, King of Judah, show disregard and disrespect for God's silence? Let us study carefully to discover the answer.

Case 1: Presumption or Preapproved Modification?

Immediately after Hezekiah's reign began in Jerusalem over Judah, he initiated a spiritual reform and restoration. In the first month of his reign, he directed the priests to sanctify themselves and cleanse the temple, which had become filled with the idolatrous rubble of preceding generations (II Chronicles 29:3-19II Kings 18:1-6). After this cleansing, "rising early", he quickly restored the proper order of the temple worship by donating animals for sacrifices, commanding the priests to resume the proper sacrifices, organizing the musical worship as God had commanded David, directing the Levites to resume the Davidic singing, and finally inviting all to worship through "sacrifices and thank offerings" (II Chronicles 29:20-36). Next, Hezekiah sought to resume observance of the Passover feast. However, there was a problem:
For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem. And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly. So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner. (II Chronicles 30:2-5 NKJV)
God had proscribed that the people and priests be "cleansed" and "consecrated" before coming before the Lord (Exodus 19:10-112228:329:35). However, this apparently took time, which the people did not have at this point. So, they agreed to push the date out a month. Does that seem presumptuous? It might first appear that way, and yet the people received the Lord's blessing! Why? Please let us keep reading to understand fully:
"For if you return to the LORD, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him." So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD. (II Chronicles 30:9-12 NKJV)
Although Hezekiah and the people were not observing the proper month, God graciously permitted them to observe the Passover the following month. Why? Did God just gloss over their sin? First, God's nature is clearly one of mercy, as indicated in the above text. He is not looking to destroy, but to save (II Peter 3:9Ezekiel 18:23-32). But, second, God is also a just God, and He must be revered as holy (Leviticus 10:1-3). Therefore, it is no surprise to learn that the king's command was authorized and sanctioned by "the word of the Lord". When and how was that word of the Lord delivered? On at least one or two previous occasions, God revealed how the Israelites were to handle such situations.
Moreover, this was not the first time that some of God's people were unable to keep the Passover at the prescribed time of observance. During only the second observance of the Passover, which was the first observance after Israel's exodus from Egypt, some people were unable to keep the Passover at the appointed time. Hear the Lord's solution as recorded then:
And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, at twilight, in the Wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did. Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day; and they came before Moses and Aaron that day. And those men said to him, "We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of the LORD at its appointed time among the children of Israel?" And Moses said to them, "Stand still, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you." Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the LORD'S Passover. On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.'" (Numbers 9:5-11 NKJV)
By Hezekiah's time, the Lord had already long ago prescribed how the people were to handle exceptions. The only distinction was that the entire nation had to exercise the exceptional observance, as opposed to a few detained individuals.
Furthermore, this phrase, "at the word of the Lord", may indicate the Israelites had received a direct revelation from God. In support, we know from other books that the prophets, Isaiah and Micah, were active during this time (Isaiah 1:136-39Micah 1:1). Moreover, Scriptures often do not emphasize, articulate, or even record every revelation delivered by the Lord's prophets. For example, only in a brief postscript do we learn that David's arrangement of musicians at the Lord's house was originally commanded by the Lord (II Chronicles 29:25-26). Likewise, it could be that we are here learning only later that Hezekiah's rearrangement of the Passover's observance time came "at the word of the Lord", the details of which revelation are lost to us.
In either case, whether Hezekiah acted on contemporary revelation or ancient inspiration, the footnote indicates that God's king acted on explicit authority not presumption. Consequently, we must entreat our own consciences, "If Hezekiah did not act presumptuously, and if in fact he observed the Passover at a later date only because he had God's explicit approval, should we not also require today explicit authority for modifying God's previously delivered commands and pattern?"

Case 2: Ignoring or Atoning Transgression?

As the chapter continues recounting the events of this great observance, we learn that during the exuberant worship, an unintended transgression was committed:
Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron. Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the LORD. They stood in their place according to their custom, according to the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites. For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the LORD. For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying"May the good LORD provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary." And the LORD listened to Hezekiah and healed the people. (II Chronicles 30:13-20 NKJV)
Maybe the journey had been long and time had been short, maybe these people were zealous but ignorant, maybe there were not enough priests to cleanse the people, but whatever the reason, these sojourners from the northern tribes of Israel were not properly cleansed, so their participation (eating) of the Passover was forbidden and condemning. However, God did not strike them dead? Why? Did God not care they had disobeyed? Was He simply glossing over their sin?
No, God was not ignoring their sin. In fact, God's wrath and displeasure was evidently already looming over these people prior to Hezekiah's prayer, because God "listened to Hezekiah and healed the people". There would have been no need to listen to Hezekiah's prayer, if the people were justified. There would have been no need to heal the people, if they were not condemned. Consequently, we can infer both that the unclean observance was not deliberately planned and that God was displeased with their participation, which actually condemns the attitude of presumption – not approve it.
Again, we see God's merciful nature manifested in this case. Many of these people's hearts were in the right place. And, we see that God granted unpromised mercy in this instance, based on those who were prepared in heart, even if the body was unprepared (II Chronicles 30:18-19).
We may speculate about what would have happened had Hezekiah not prayed, but the text simply does not address it, except to indicate that atonement and healing were required. Certainly, we would not want to "go beyond what was written" and assume that God would have spared them without their repentance or other mediatory intervention (Romans 14:23I Corinthians 4:6). Instead, let us focus on what we can confidently learn from the text, which was that adding to God's command brought God's wrath, and only special mediation alleviated it.

Case 3: Violation or Generically Authorized Extension?

Lastly, as feast draws to a close, the text records a third curious instance of apparent presumption:
So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing to the LORD, accompanied by loud instruments. And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the LORD; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers. Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness. For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the leaders gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. (II Chronicles 30:21-25 NKJV)
After the proscribed 7 days of Passover observance were completed, the people extended the feast's observance another 7 days! Did they add to God's command? Did the Lord ignore what seems to be a blatant addition to His Word and violation of His law?
To answer this question, let us notice exactly what the people did during the feast, based on the above text:
  • Levites and priests praised the Lord through singing and loud instruments.
  • Hezekiah encouraged the Levites.
  • The Levites taught the people the knowledge of the Lord.
  • They ate.
  • They offered peace offerings.
  • They confessed to God.
  • Hezekiah and his officials provided animals to sacrifice.
  • Priests sanctified themselves.
  • The whole assembly rejoiced.
Which of these actions required further approval from God? Had not God already provided general authority and a standing order for these generic acts of worship?
The assembly of Israel did not "add" to God's command, even though they did "add" to the feast by extending it, because God had already provided authority for them to voluntarily and additionally worship in the above manner, whenever they saw fit. Similarly, if we choose to assemble more regularly, we can (Hebrews 10:24-25). And, if we want to offer additional worship in the privacy of our own home, we can (James 5:13). The children of Israel's extension of the Passover feast is comparable to us meeting multiple times on Sunday, or even more if the need arises (Hebrews 10:25). Both are authorized by the generic permission to offer freewill worship according to the proscribed manner. Therefore, the requirement to feast for 7 days served more as a minimum requirement, given the standing authority to worship more frequently. Consequently, the Israelites did violate God's law, rather that honored it and Him.

Testing For Absurd Conclusions

Having drawn this parallel, we may naturally wonder, "If the Israelites continued to eat the holy Passover lamb for additional time, can we likewise observe our holy meal at additional times, like a Monday or Tuesday?" This seems a fair question, but let us first check the premises of this question. Did the Israelites indeed eat the Passover lamb, herbs, and other ritual elements for all 14 days?
'Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire-- its head with its legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD'S Passover.' (Exodus 12:5-11 NKJV, see also Leviticus 23:4-8)
So, the Passover lamb was not eaten for 14 days. In fact, it was not even eaten for all of the first 7 days. It had to be completely consumed or destroyed during the first night of the Passover week! Every sacrificial meal eaten during the remaining 6 or 13 days would have been centered around the meat of trespass, atonement, thanksgiving, or freewill offerings, which could be offered and eaten any time. Likewise, our holy feast, the Lord's Supper, may be observed on the Sunday of a week long "gospel meeting", but assemblies convened on every other day must focus on the freewill and thanksgiving sacrifices of our lips and hearts, not the Lord's Supper (Hebrews 13:15I Thessalonians 5:17II Timothy 4:1-4).
Furthermore, the text indicates that lambs were not eaten for the additional 7 days, instead they ate bulls and grown sheep. In fact, the text further indicates that this generous gift from Hezekiah and his officials, and the sanctification of additional priests, was the only reason the people could keep the feast an additional 7 days. (In the phrase, "kept it another seven days with gladness. For Hezekiah … gave ...", the word, "for", indicates causality.) Therefore, the people were not eating sacrificial Passover lambs, but rather they were eating sacrificial bulls and sheep for additional 7 days, which were generically authorized. Consequently, the analogy of observing the Lord's Supper on additional days is not parallel to this account, and therefore consistency is maintained.


In this account of Hezekiah restoring observance of the Passover feast, we find 3 curious cases of apparent presumption, which would otherwise violate a respect for God and His silence. These cases found in II Chronicles 30 are:
  • Mutually agreed postponing of the observance by one month.
  • Spontaneous and unscriptural observance by many unsanctified individuals.
  • Adding to the number of days for which the feast was observed.
Although these events may appear to be instances of presumptuously violating the silence of the Scriptures, we see that these actually support a respectful observation of God's silence in Scripture, because:
  • The postponement was authorized and the second observance commanded "by the word of the Lord".
  • The contrary observance is Scripturally recognized as being "contrary to what was written", and the people needed mediatory prayer and "healing" after such ignorant but presumptuous behavior, indicating God's initial condemnation.
  • The 7-day extension of the feast was already approved by the generic authority for "any time" thanksgiving, trespass, and other freewill offerings.
Therefore, upon closer inspection this account actually supports a respect for God's silence rather than providing permission to presumptuously disregard it.
Trevor Bowen