What does the Bible say about burial and cremation?

What does the Bible say about burial and cremation?                            By Jack Kettler

What does the Bible say regarding putting to rest the dead? In this study, both the Old and New Testaments will be surveyed to answer this question.   

Old Testament texts that mention burial:

“And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 23:19)

“The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.” (Genesis 25:10)

“But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place. And he said I will do as thou hast said.” (Genesis 47:30)

“And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite.” (Genesis 49:29)

“There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.” (Genesis 49:31)

“His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 21:23)

“So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He [God] buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.” (Deuteronomy 34:5-6)

“Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee.” (2 Samuel 19:37)

“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)

New Testament Texts that mention burial:

“But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:22)

“Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.” (John 11:38)

“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre [tomb μνημεῖον (mnēmeion)] weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.” (John 20:11-12)

“Men and brethren let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.” (Acts 2:29)

The doctrine of the resurrection taught with the example of burial:

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in resurrection.” (Romans 6:4-5)

“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)

In the Romans and Colossians texts, a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith is taught using the example of Christ’s death and burial, namely, the resurrection. In and of itself, this a compelling argument for traditional Christian burial.

The Bible and cremation:

The Bible is silent about cremation as an alternative burial choice. It would seem therefore, that cremation is not forbidden. If the Bible in the Old and New Testaments do not specifically condemn practice, the church should be careful to outlaw a practice.    

There are cases of burning the dead; it should be noticed that these cases are not burials.

“If a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.” (Leviticus 20:14)  

“And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 21:9)

“And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.” (Joshua 7:15) In the Old Testament, Achan and his family were stoned and then burned.

Another example of burning and judgment is “Thus saith the LORD; for three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime.” (Amos 2:1)

These examples of burnings were a judgment, and therefore cannot be considered an alternative to burials.

To Bury or Cremate? (Updated) by R. Scott Clark:

“Update: Diarmaid MacCulloch agrees (HT: Russell Moore via Aquila Report). “As hellfire receded, there advanced the literal fires of the crematorium.”

First published in 2006. Republished Aug 13, 2009.

Warning: If You’re Eating, You Might Want to Wait to Read This.

The question not infrequently comes to me: “What about cremation?”

This is an inherently difficult question because it touches a very personal and private decision: what to do with the remains of a loved one or what should be done with one’s own remains (it doesn’t get much more personal).

It’s also difficult because these are difficult decisions often made in a very emotional time.

Nevertheless, there are biblical patterns and doctrines from which we can learn and apply to this situation.

There is a consistent biblical pattern of burial of human remains. Perhaps the most outstanding OT example is Abraham’s quest to bury Sarah (Gen. 23) as a sojourner in a foreign land. Other significant examples could be cited (e.g., Jacob, Joseph and others). This is clearly the biblical pattern, carrying right through the care given to the deceased body of our Lord himself.

According to the Apostle Paul, the biblical pattern was not grounded in sentiment but in a conviction: the resurrection. In 1 Cor. 15 the Apostle Paul used an agrarian metaphor to explain the hope of the resurrection. According to Paul, our bodies are like seeds planted in hope, in the expectation of a glorious (if unusual!) harvest: the resurrection body, i.e., a glorified human body.

As my dear friend and colleague Steve Baugh graciously pointed out to me in 1985 or so, the act of cremation is at odds with the act of planting a body in the soil. For one thing, the imagery is not the same at all. Burial is done with regard to the body’s status as part of the image of God. We don’t just have a body. We are body and soul. That is who we are as image-bearers.

In modernity we’ve been taught to regard the body as a machine and in our disposable age we know what to do with broken down machines: we bin them. But the body isn’t just a machine. The materialists are wrong. However much we may think we know about the body, it is not just a machine. We are persons made in the divine image. Our bodies are part of our personhood. That is why it is wrong, a violation of creational law, to murder (Gen. 9:1-6). To attack the body is to attack the image of God.

Thus, burial is not just a cultural custom. It’s an act of faith. When there is a choice between burial and cremation, the latter isn’t just a convenience or an economy, it’s a message about the body and the nature of our humanity and our status as image-bearers.

To be sure, there may be times when burial is simply impossible. In those cases, we must act like sojourners and make do, but just because some are forced by circumstances to a difficult and unhappy choice doesn’t make that choice desirable or preferable.

As to expense, at least some of this difficulty can be faced by planning and wise stewardship. We’re Calvinists. We should expect to die (if the Lord doesn’t come first). Who believes in sin and death more than we? In that case, knowing that the funeral business is just that, a business in search of profits, if we investigate, we can probably discover less expensive modes of burial. Don’t expect the funeral home to tell you how to be buried inexpensively.

As we contemplate the last thing that will likely happen to our bodies, let us at least give some serious thought to the message we are sending about the body and its relation to the image and to human dignity rooted in the image of God. If cremation is unavoidable, we can at least arrange some clear testimony to the hope of the resurrection. If, however, cremation is just one option among many, then we must ask, are we, as much as lies within us, testifying to our hope of the bodily resurrection or are we unintentionally sending another message? There’s no question whether God can and shall reconstitute bodies at the resurrection, the question is what message are we sending by our acts? UPDATE 21 August 2009” (1)

Robert Scott Clark is an American Reformed pastor and seminary professor at Westminster Seminary, in California. He is the author of several books, including his most recent work, Recovering the Reformed Confession.

From the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) Directory of Worship?

“Article 196 of the Constitution says, “Members of the Church, having died in the faith and hope of the Gospel, shall receive a Christian burial; the burial service may be conducted according to the order prescribed by the Church.” While this sentence does not explicitly forbid cremation, it explicitly requires “Christian burial,” a term, which implicitly requires bodily interment, for “Christian burial” has been historically defined in that way. Thus, a straightforward reading of the Constitution does not conceive of the burial of cremains as a rite of the church, since no body can be present.” (2)
See the link for the whole RCUS report in the for more study section.

In closing:

Biblically, there is no direct command for a burial. However, in Scripture, burial is the only method seen along with biblical analogies. 

The Christian tradition of burial has additional aspects to consider. For example, in the First Century, bodies before burial or entombment were washed and anointed with spices. In other words, care and respect are shown. Additionally, during the present time, prior to burial bodies are prepared and clothed and placed in caskets to slow the process of decay and protect the remains. In some cases, personal effects are entombed with the buried saint. It is common at funeral services to hear the phrase regarding the burial being described as a sendoff.  

In cremation, none of the care emphasized in the above paragraph happens. Cremation has been objectionable to many Christians as it reminds them of the lost who will be burning in Hell. Historically, cremation was practiced throughout the pagan world and later vanquished with the spread of Christianity.

One example of interest, the Hindu religion in India has practiced burning their dead and then sprinkling the ashes if possible into the Ganges River. The practice of burning the dead in India is rejected by Christians in India who see burial as a witness to the Hindus of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Also noteworthy, in Eastern Orthodoxy, the practice of cremation is rejected:

Question: Can you tell me if the Orthodox Church allows cremation?

Answer:
“According to Byzantine Canon Law, cremation is not permitted. Sources state that the original ban arose out of consideration for the fact that within pagan and possibly gnostic circles cremation was commonly practiced. There was also the implication that through cremation the value of physical creation, and specifically the human body, was denied.”

 According to Orthodoxy, cremation is associated with paganism.

 This writer takes the position of the RCUS as best reflecting the biblical standard. Christian burial signifies Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Because of this, Christians are buried in the hope of the resurrection.

 Those that choose cremation should not be condemned. Many today, choose a cremation because of finances. Churches should consider in their mercy ministry funds to assist those financially to have a burial. In addition, those making the choice of cremation should be encouraged to place the remains in a cemetery with a grave marker or headstone. Why? The gravesite or internment service can be a powerful place to testify or bear witness to the truth of the gospel.

 Burial and Scriptural analogies:

 As seen in Daniel 12:2, Scripture depicts death as sleep and why bodies are preserved in burials. The grave connects sleep with a bed. In cremation, there are no Scriptural analogies, which correspond with this method and the hope of the resurrection, only judgment. 

 The apostle Paul speaking of the human body, “It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:43-44

 Paul teaches that burial is a sowing or planting of the body in 1 Corinthians 15:43-44. Some modern translations instead of “sown” use “buried” or “planted.” The sowing of seeds involves planting them. In these texts, the apostle highlights the body being “sown in corruption” and “raised in incorruption.” Christian burial where the body is laid at rest is analogous biblically to Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 15:43-44. Cremation does not correspond to rest or sleep, which is a temporal state awaiting the glorious resurrection. 

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Notes:

 1.      R. Scott Clark, To Bury or Cremate? The Heidelblog First published in 2006. Republished Aug 13, 2009.

2.      Report of the Study Committee of The Synod of the Reformed Church in the United States February 23, 2019.

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more study:

Magnifying Christ in My Body: Is Cremation a Legitimate Alternative to Christian Burial?

A Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Analysis. Report of the Study Committee of The Synod of the Reformed Church in the United States February 23, 2019 http://www.rescuetheperishing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/RCUS-Synod-Study-Report-on-Cremation-with-updated-recommendations-adopted-by-the-273rd-Synod.pdf

Why Cremation Is Pagan, Burial Is Christian by Eric Metaxas https://www.christianpost.com/news/why-cremation-is-pagan-burial-is-christian.html

THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church book of order Pages 189-206 https://opc.org/BCO/BCO_2015.pdf

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1 Corinthians 11:2-16, head coverings, for today?

1 Corinthians 11:2-16, head coverings, for today?                       By Jack Kettler

Should men wear hats in church? If not, what about women and head coverings?                                   

“2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. 13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” (1 Corinthians 11:2-16 KJV)

An overview of the text:

·         Verses 2-3. the headship principle

·         Verses 4-6. how the principle of headship is applied

·         Verses 7-10. the significance of the created order

·         Verses 11-12. the created order and the sexes

·         Verses 13-16. apostolic authority and the light of nature

Introductory comments:

What is Paul teaching in this selection from his first letter to the Corinthians? How can it be summarized, and is it for today? The apostle is teaching about the created order of men and women displayed by long hair or head coverings.

Are head coverings for today? The reason why this is a question is that verse 16, which seems to in spite of what has gone before in the section of the text, invalidate the church practice of head coverings.

What is the apostle referring to when he says, “we have no such custom” in verse 16? Is Paul contradicting what he taught in verses 2-15 regarding the created order of men and women in verse 16?

The key to understanding this section from 1 Corinthians comes down to a correct understanding of verse 16 and what the apostle is referring to when he says, “we have no such custom.” What is this custom? Is “custom” referring to what he had just taught regarding the created order and the symbols of this order?

For Christians today, being far removed from the 1st Century, it is not readily apparent as to the apostle’s meaning of verse 16. To start, for the conservative exegete, biblically and logically, Paul cannot be controverting what he had just taught in the preceding verses without being guilty of a blatant contradiction.   

Historically, it is evident that women have worn head coverings such as veils or hats in worship services, and men have not. Without fear of contradiction, this tradition is based upon our reading from 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. The head covering practice should be referred to as apostolic doctrine rather than a tradition since the use of tradition confuses the reader into thinking historic theological tradition and “custom” are the same.        

The following entries will provide some historical commentary to what Paul is teaching, particularly in verses 5, 7, 10, and 13-16.

From Vincent’s Word Studies on 1 Corinthians 11:5:

“Her head uncovered

Rev., unveiled. The Greek women rarely appeared in public, but lived in strict seclusion. Unmarried women never quitted their apartments, except on occasions of festal processions, as either spectators or participants. Even after marriage, they were largely confined to the gynaeconitis or women’s rooms. Thus Euripides: “As to that which brings the reproach of a bad reputation upon her who remains not at home, giving up the desire of this, I tarried in my dwelling” (“Troades” 649). And Menander: “The door of the court is the boundary fixed for the free woman.” The headdress of Greek women consisted of nets, hair-bags, or kerchiefs, sometimes covering the whole head. A shawl, which enveloped the body, was also often thrown over the head, especially at marriages or funerals. This costume the Corinthian women had disused in the Christian assemblies, perhaps as an assertion of the abolition of sexual distinctions, and the spiritual equality of the woman with the man in the presence of Christ. This custom was discountenanced by Paul as striking at the divinely ordained subjection of the woman to the man. Among the Jews, in ancient times, both married and unmarried women appeared in public unveiled. The later Jewish authorities insisted on the use of the veil.

All one as if she were shaven

Which would be a sign either of grief or of disgrace. The cutting off the hair is used by Isaiah as a figure of the entire destruction of a people by divine retribution. Isaiah 7:20 Among the Jews a woman convicted of adultery had her hair shorn, with the formula: “Because thou hast departed from the manner of the daughters of Israel, who go with their head covered, therefore that has befallen thee which thou hast chosen.” According to Tacitus, among the Germans an adulteress was driven from her husband’s house with her head shaved; and the Justinian code prescribed this penalty for an adulteress, whom, at the expiration of two years, her husband refused to receive again. Paul means that a woman praying or prophesying uncovered puts herself in public opinion on a level with a courtesan.” (1)

Vincent, in his comments, says, “This custom was discountenanced by Paul.” If it can be determined, what custom was discountenanced, or which custom Paul refused to approve, the question of the continuity of head coverings for today can be answered. In refusing to approve of this custom, Paul gives his reason that it was because the custom was “striking at the divinely ordained subjection of the woman to the man.”   

According to Vincent, (not all Greek women) but the Corinthian women were proclaiming their right to cast off the traditional practices and symbols, which would be head coverings that signified the created order. The Corinthian women were praying or prophesying with uncovered heads.

In verse 10, “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.” Verse 10 has perplexed commentators over the centuries.

From Vincent’s Word Studies on 1 Corinthians 11:10:

“Power on her head (ἐξουσίαν)

Not in the primary sense of liberty or permission, but authority. Used here of the symbol of power, i.e., the covering upon the head as a sign of her husband’s authority. So Rev., a sign of authority.

Because of the angels

The holy angels, who were supposed by both the Jewish and the early Christian Church to be present in worshipping assemblies. More, however, seems to be meant than “to avoid exciting disapproval among them.” The key-note of Paul’s thought is subordination according to the original divine order. Woman best asserts her spiritual equality before God, not by unsexing herself, but by recognizing her true position and fulfilling its claims, even as do the angels, who are ministering as well as worshipping spirits (Hebrews 1:4). She is to fall in obediently with that divine economy of which she forms a part with the angels, and not to break the divine harmony, which especially asserts itself in worship, where the angelic ministers mingle with the earthly worshippers; nor to ignore the example of the holy ones who keep their first estate, and serve in the heavenly sanctuary.” (2)

For Reformed Christians, John Calvin’s view on 1 Corinthians 11:16 must be considered:

“16. But if any man seem a contentious person is one whose humor inclines him to stir up disputes, and does not care what becomes of the truth. Of this description are all who, without any necessity, abolish good and useful customs — raise disputes respecting matters that are not doubtful — who do not yield to reasonings — who cannot endure that any one should be above them. Of this description, also, are those (akoinonetoi) would be singular persons who, from a foolish affectation, aim at some new and unusual way of acting. Such persons Paul does not reckon worthy of being replied to, inasmuch as contention is a pernicious thing, and ought, therefore, to be banished from the Churches. By this he teaches us, that those that are obstinate and fond of quarrelling, should rather be restrained by authority than confuted by lengthened disputations. For you will never have an end of contentions, if you are disposed to contend with a combative person until you have vanquished him; for though vanquished a hundred times, he would argue still. Let us therefore carefully mark this passage, that we may not allow ourselves to be carried away with needless disputations, provided at the same time we know how to distinguish contentious persons. For we must not always reckon as contentious the man who does not acquiesce in our decisions, or who ventures to contradict us; but when temper and obstinacy show themselves, let us then say with Paul, that contentions are at variance with the custom of the Church.” (3)

Calvin believed the custom the apostle is referring to in verse 16 were to those given to arguing and being contentious about the symbols of the created order.

Our next entry is from Thomas R. Schreiner. Schreiner makes a point that verse 16 does not cancel out the commands given previously in verses 4-9. If so, this would be a serious contradiction in Scripture.

Thomas R. Schreiner is an American New Testament scholar. He is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Thomas R. Schreiner on verse 16:

“Paul returns in the final paragraph (verses 13-16) to the main burden of the text: women’s wearing head coverings. This is another indication that verses 11-12 do not cancel out the commands given in verses 4-9. Here Paul appeals to the Corinthians’ own judgment (11:13), confident that “the very nature of things” will instruct them with respect to what is fitting or proper. What is the content of the instruction given by nature? Nature teaches that “if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,” while “if a woman has long hair, it is her glory.” What is the meaning of the word nature (physis) here? Is Paul simply saying that human tradition and customs have made a distinction between the hair length of men and women? The use of the word practice (sune ̄theia) in 11:16 could support this interpretation. But Paul’s use of nature elsewhere and the use of teach suggest that he is referring to the natural and instinctive sense of right and wrong that God has planted in us, especially with respect to sexuality. This sense of what is appropriate or fitting has been implanted in human beings from creation.28 Romans 1:26-27 is an illuminating parallel because the same word is used. Women and men involved in a homosexual relationship have exchanged the natural function of sexuality for what is contrary to nature, i.e., they have violated the God-given created order and natural instinct, and therefore are engaging in sexual relations with others of the same sex. Nature teaches, then, in the sense that the natural instincts and psychological perceptions of masculinity and femininity are manifested in particular cultural situations. Thus, a male instinctively and naturally shrinks away from doing anything that his culture labels as feminine. So, too, females have a natural inclination to dress like women rather than men. Paul’s point, then, is that how men and women wear their hair is a significant indication of whether they are abiding by the created order. Of course, what constitutes long hair is often debated-what is appropriately masculine or feminine in hairstyle may vary widely from culture to culture.29The function of verses 13-15 in the argument is to show that the wearing of a head covering by a woman is in accord with the God-given sense that women and men are different. For a woman to dress like a man is inappropriate because it violates the distinction God has ordained between the sexes. And, according to Paul, if a woman prophesies in church without wearing the symbol of being under male authority-i.e., if she prophesies while dressed like a man-she is in effect negating the distinction between men and women that God has ordained from creation. In verse 16, Paul concludes his argument by saying, “But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.” Now, some have said that Paul actually rejects the wearing of head coverings by women with these words because the Greek literally says, “we have no such practice” (toiaute ̄n sune ̄theian), and thus they conclude that the practice of wearing head coverings is renounced here by Paul. But such an understanding is surely wrong. Paul in this verse is addressing the contentious, who, the previous context makes clear, do not want to wear a head covering. The practice of certain Corinthian women who refuse to wear a head covering is what Paul refers to when he says, “we have no such practice.” Thus, he says to the contentious that both the apostolic circle (“we”) and the rest of the churches adhere to the custom of head coverings. The instructions Paul has given reflect his own view of the matter and the practice of the other churches. Those who see this advice as limited only to the Corinthian situation have failed to take this verse seriously enough. Paul perceives his instructions here as binding for all churches in the Greco-Roman world. Indeed, the other churches already adhere to the practice Paul recommends here. Such a universal word at the conclusion of the text is a strong indication that the principle that underlies this passage cannot simply be dismissed as cultural.” (4)

See Schreiner’s full article at the link below in the for more study section.

Comments:

In the 1st Century, women wore head coverings, most commonly to show they were married and also in worship.

In verse 16, Paul is referring to a practice of Greek women in Corinth that were in opposition to the created order and accompanying symbols and traditions. It seems inescapable that the apostolic directive regarding head coverings is still in place. Paul’s directive, which is from the created order, or light of nature, proves that men and women are distinct. Paul uses similar language in “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature” (Romans 1:26). Against nature or light of nature must mean natural revelation. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 11:16 cannot be considered a temporal, cultural phenomenon like Jesus wearing a robe, thus requiring everyone to wear robes.

In 1 Corinthians 11:16, two words are juxtaposed, contentious, and custom. The contentious person is against apostolic doctrine, namely, the outward symbols of the created order. The apostle is saying the church has no custom of debating endlessly about this teaching. 

John Murray was born in Bonar Bridge, Scotland. He was a Scottish-born Calvinist theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary and then left to help found Westminster Theological Seminary, where he taught for many years.

Head Coverings and Decorum in Worship: A Letter by John Murray:

“Badbea, Bonar Bridge, Ardgay, Ross-shire IV2 43AR, Scotland

16 November 1973

Mr. V. Connors

Presbytery Clerk

Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Australia

Dear Mr. Connors,

I am in receipt of your letter of the 8th. I very deeply appreciate your request even though I may not be able to provide any definitive advice on the questions asked. Allow me to give my judgement on the second question first.

If the Presbytery becomes convinced that a head covering for women belongs to the decorum governing the conduct of women in the worship of God, then I think Presbytery should declare accordingly. I would not suppose it necessary expressly to legislate. I think it would be enough to make a resolution for the instruction and guidance of ministers, sessions, and people. A higher judicatory has both right and duty to offer to those under its jurisdiction, guidance respecting divine obligation. This has been recognised in Reformed Churches throughout the world.

Your main question turns, of course, on the interpretation of I Corinthians 11:2-16. Permit me to offer some of my reflections in order.

1. Since Paul appeals to the order of creation (vss. 3b, vss. 7ff.), it is totally indefensible to suppose that what is in view and enjoined had only local or temporary relevance. The ordinance of creation is universally and perpetually applicable, as also are the implications for conduct arising therefrom.

2. I am convinced that a head covering is definitely in view forbidden for the man (vss. 4, & 7) and enjoined for the woman (vss. 5, 6, 15). In the case of the woman the covering is not simply her long hair. This supposition would make nonsense of verse 6. For the thought there is, that if she does not have a covering she might as well be shorn or shaven, a supposition without any force whatever if the hair covering is deemed sufficient. In this connection it is not proper to interpret verse 15b as meaning that the hair was given the woman to take the place of the head covering in view of verses 5, 6. The Greek of verse 15 is surely the Greek of equivalence as used quite often in the New Testament, and so the Greek can be rendered: “the hair is given to her for a covering.” This is within the scope of the particular argument of verses 14, 15 and does not interfere with the demand for the additional covering contemplated in verses 5, 6, 13. Verses 14 and 15 adduce a consideration from the order of nature in support of that which is enjoined earlier in the passage but is not itself tantamount to it. In other words, the long hair is an indication from “nature” of the differentiation between men and women, and so the head covering required (vss. 5, 6, 13) is in line with what “nature” teaches.

3. There is good reason for believing that the apostle is thinking of conduct in the public assemblies of the Church of God and of worship exercises therein in verse 17, this is clearly the case, and verse 18 is confirmatory. But there is a distinct similarity between the terms of verse 17 and of verse 2. Verse 2 begins, “Now I praise you” and verse 17, “Now in this . . . I praise you not”. The virtually identical expressions, the one positive and the other negative, would suggest, if not require, that both have in view the behaviour of the saints in their assemblies, that is, that in respect of denotation the same people are in view in the same identity as worshippers. If a radical difference, that between private and public, were contemplated, it would be difficult to maintain the appropriateness of the contrast between “I praise you” and “I praise you not”.

4. Beyond question it is in reference to praying and prophesying that the injunctions pertain, the absence of head covering for men and the presence for women. It might seem, therefore, that the passage has nothing to do with a head covering for women in the assemblies of the Church if they are not engaged in praying or prophesying, that is, in leading in prayer or exercising the gift of prophesying. And the implication would be that only when they performed these functions were they required to use head covering. The further implication would be that they would be at liberty to perform these functions provided they wore head gear. This view could easily be adopted if it were not so that Paul forbids such exercises on the part of women and does so in the same epistle, (I Cor. 14:33b-36): “As in all the Churches, for it is not permitted to them to speak” (vss. 33b-34a). It is impossible to think that Paul would, by implication, lend approval in chapter 11, to what he so expressly prohibits in chapter 14. Hence we shall have to conclude that he does not contemplate praying or prophesying on the part of women in the Church in chapter 11. The question arises: how can this be, and how can we interpret 11:5, 6, 13? It is possible to interpret the verses in chapter 11 in a way that is compatible with chapter 14:33b-36. It is as follows: —

a. In chapter 11 the decorum prescribed in 14:33b-36 is distinctly in view and Paul is showing its propriety. Praying and prophesying are functions that imply authority, the authority that belongs to the man as distinguished from the woman according to the ordinance of creation. The man in exercising this authority in praying and prophesying must not wear a head covering. Why not? The head covering is the sign of subjection, the opposite of the authority that belongs to him, exemplified in praying and prophesying, hence 11:4, 7. In a word, head covering in praying and prophesying would be a contradiction.

b. But precisely here enters the relevance of verses 5, 6, 13 as they pertain to women. If women are to pray and prophesy in the assemblies, they perform functions that imply authority and would require therefore, to remove the head covering. To do so with the head covering would involve the contradiction referred to already. But it is the impropriety of removing the head covering that is enforced in 11:5, 6 & 13. In other words, the apostle is pressing home the impropriety of the exercise of these functions — praying and prophesying — on the part of women by showing the impropriety of what it would involve, namely, the removal of the head covering. And so the rhetorical question of verse 13: “Is it proper for a woman to pray to God unveiled?”

c. This interpretation removes all discrepancy between 11:5, 6, 13 and 14:33b-36 and it seems to me feasible, and consonant with the whole drift of 11:2-16.

5. The foregoing implies that the head covering for women was understood to belong to the decorum of public worship.

6. The above line of thought would derive confirmation from I Cor. 11:10. Admittedly the reference to the angels is not immediately perspicuous. But a reasonable interpretation is that the presence of the angels with the people of God and therefore their presence in the congregations of the saints. What is being pleaded is the offence given to the holy angels when the impropriety concerned mars the sanctity of God’s worship. But, in any case, the obligation asserted is apparent. It is that the woman ought to have upon her head the sign of the authority to which she is subject, in other words, the sign of her subjection. But this subjection pertains throughout and not simply when in the exercise of praying and prophesying according to the supposition that such is permitted. I submit, therefore, that the verse concerned (vs. 10) enunciates a requirement that is general within the scope of the subject with which Paul is dealing, namely, the decorum of worship in the assembly of the saints.

On these grounds my judgment is that presupposed in the Apostle’s words is the accepted practice of head covering for women in the assemblies of the Church, that apparently this part of decorum was recognised, and that the main point of verses 5, 6, 10, 13 was the impropriety of any interruption of the practice if women were to pray or prophesy, for, in that event, it would be necessary to remove the covering in order to signify the authority that praying and prophesying entailed, an authority not possessed by women, a non-possession signified, in turn, by the use of the covering.

If you so desire I could send you two copies of the Westminster Theological Journal in which opposing interpretations are given, one by Noel Weeks and the other by James B. Hurley. My interpretation has been proposed by Noel Weeks and I acknowledge my debt to him. But the argument as developed is my own. If I send you these copies of the Journal they would have to be sent by surface mail and might take two months to reach you.

With my kind regards to you and the members of your Presbytery,

I am

Sincerely yours,

John Murray” (5)

Historical Quotes:
On the Veiling of Women, “that not nature only, but also her own will may have a part in her acknowledgment of subjection.” “For her to go without a head covering, contrary to Paul’s command, is an indecency.” – John Chrysostom (347-407)

John Chrysostom, Homily 26 (1 Corinthians 11:2-16). Philip Schaff, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1889), 153-154. And John Chrysostom, Homily 15 (Ephesians 4:31)

“It is not becoming even in married women to uncover their hair since the Apostle commands women to keep their heads covered” (Letter 245, To Possidius). – Augustine of Hippo, Epistula CCXLV.

“For that reason, the wife wears a headdress, that is, the veil on her head, as St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians in the seventh chapter, that she is not free but under obedience to her husband.” – Martin Luther, Sermon on Marriage, January 5, 1525.

“It is dishonorable to the female sex to lay aside her veil.” – David Dickerson (Scottish theologian; (1583 – 1663) from his Commentaries on the Epistles

The apostle Paul provided “sufficient reasons for that order of covering or veiling the woman,” – George Gillespie; (Scottish theologian; 1613 – 1648) The Works of Mr. George Gillespie, (R. Ogle and Oliver & Boyd, 1846), p. 125.

“For this cause ought the woman to have power”, that is a covering, “on her head, because of the angels” 1 Cor. 11:10…Methinks, holy and beloved sisters, you should be content to wear this power or badge…” – John Bunyan,

The Bunyan quote is from Henry Stebbing, “A Case of Conscience Resolved (Women’s Prayer Meetings),” The Entire Works of John Bunyan, Vol 4 (London: City Road and Ivy Lane, 1860), p. 418.

“The argument of the Apostle will not hold now, covering the head being not a sign of subjection [in our culture]’… I answer, Christian women may… observe the Apostle’s injunction [for reasons beyond the issue of submission, because]… there are other reasons, which will always hold… [Regarding Paul’s mention of ‘angels’ in v.10,] this reason is perpetual.” – John Edwards from An Enquiry Into Four Remarkable Texts of the New Testament, (J. Hayes, 1692), p. 130-135.

…secondly, verses 5, 13, that, on the contrary, that for a woman to appear or to perform any religious function in the Christian assembly, unveiled, is a glaring impropriety, because it is contrary to the subordination of the position assigned her by her Maker, and to the modesty and reserve suitable to her sex; and even nature settles the point by giving her long hair as her natural veil. Even as good taste and a natural sense of propriety would protest against a woman’s going in public shorn of that beautiful badge and adornment of her sex, like a rough soldier or a labourer, even so clearly does nature herself sustain God’s law in requiring the woman always modestly covered in the sanctuary. The holy angels who are present as invisible spectators, hovering over the Christian assemblies, would be shocked by women professing godliness publicly throw off this appropriate badge of their position (verse 10). The woman, then, has a right to the privileges of public worship and the sacraments…but she must always do this veiled or covered.” – Robert L. Dabney, from his Discussions Evangelical and Theological, vol. 2, p. 104.

“Do you think you and I have sufficiently considered that we are always looked upon by angels, and that they desire to learn by us the wisdom of God? The reason why our sisters appear in the House of God with their heads covered is ‘because of the angels’. The apostle says that a woman is to have a covering upon her head, because of the angels, since the angels are present in the assembly and they mark every act of indecorum, and therefore everything is to be conducted with decency and order in the presence of the angelic spirits” – (C. H. Spurgeon

From his sermon on Eph. 3:10, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 8, p. 263.

“The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century.” Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ, which is ‘the pillar and ground of the truth’ (1 Tim. 3:15)?” – R. C. Sproul, Source https ://       citatis.com/a15/

“During my high school years, when I went to church on Sunday morning, I never saw a   woman in that church (this was a mainline Presbyterian church) whose head wasn’t covered with a hat or a veil. That is one of those customs that has simply disappeared for the most part from Christian culture.” – R. C. Sproul

R. C. Sproul, Now, That’s a Good Question! (Tyndale House Publishers, 2011) p. 347.

Ligonier Ministries relevant to head coverings:  “Our actions must conform to the principles that God has established…Do you disregard the exterior aspects of religion, saying the heart is all that matters? If so, confess your pride before God today.

Whenever we have a lesson from both the Scriptures and from nature, we are doubly bound to obey. We also must recognize that it is a rule rooted in nature, not custom.

If it is shameful for a woman to have her head shaved, then she must realize that it is just as shameful for her to enter public worship with her head uncovered. We must not confuse Paul’s use of hair as ‘nature’s covering’ and the covering he is exhorting women to wear in public worship.

Nowhere does (Paul) give cultural reasons for his teaching, i.e. abusive practices of a pagan society that placed prostitutes with shorn heads in the temple. Paul points back to God’s established order in nature. Whenever a teaching in Scripture refers to ‘creation ordinances’ that teaching is binding for all cultures in all ages…

The ‘rules of decorum’…regarding the worship of God are established by God Himself not by the whims of culture. It is proper for a woman to have a symbol of authority on her head…The necessity of the symbol remains fixed even as the authority of the man remains fixed.” (From ‘Table Talk’ Devotional Guide for June 17-24, 1996, pp. 36-43 – quoted by Sanseri op. cit. pp. 278f.)

 How can this apostolic directive be implemented?

 Using Presbyterian ecclesiastical terminology, the implementation of using symbolic affirmation of the created order must start at the local sessional level, then for clarification, work the way through Presbyteries, and end at the General Assembly of the Church. The General Assembly of the Church can start by appointing committees both for and against the implementation of the head covering practice.

 It is not that hard to implement:

 In this writer’s opinion, a head covering of some sort can accomplish this, such as a veil, made of lace or cloth or hat would suffice.

 A question for those that oppose head coverings in worship for women. Is it a proper decorum for men to wear hats in worship? If not, why not? Then again, if it is not proper for men to wear a head covering in worship, what is the argument for this. Admittedly, it is not 1 Corinthians 11:4. If the “we have no such custom” Paul referred to is 1 Corinthians 11:5, freeing women from head coverings, then men by implication must be free to wear hats in worship. Oh, the wonders of inconsistency.      

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Notes:

 1.      Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies In The New Testament, (Mclean, Virginia, Macdonald Publishing Company), p. 246-247.

2.      Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies In The New Testament, (Mclean, Virginia, Macdonald Publishing Company), p. 248.

3.      John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Corinthians, Volume XX, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), pp. 362-363.

4.      Thomas Schreiner, Head Coverings, Prophecies And The Trinity, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, online.

5.      John Murray, Head Coverings and Decorum in Worship: A Letter by John Murray Badbea, Bonar Bridge, Ardgay, Ross-shire IV2 43AR, Scotland, 16 November 1973.  Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more study:

Head Coverings in Public Worship by Brian Schwertley http://www.reformedonline.com/uploads/1/5/0/3/15030584/web_head_coverings.pdf

What is the Head Covering in 1 Cor. 11:2-16 and Does it Apply to Us Today? By Daniel B. Wallace https://bible.org/article/what-head-covering-1-cor-112-16-and-does-it-apply-us-today

HEAD COVERINGS, PROPHECIESAND THE TRINITY1 CORINTHIANS 11:2-16 by Thomas R. Schreiner http://d3pi8hptl0qhh4.cloudfront.net/documents/tschreiner/RBMW_5.pdf

Covered Glory 1STCORINTHIANS 11& THECHRISTIAN USE OF HEADCOVERINGS by DAVID PHILLIPS http://www.hannoveribc.com/clientimages/25727/coveredglory.pdf

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A review of government tyranny

The fed gov can kill

A review of government tyranny and a call to the people and elected representatives to stop the nomination of a potentially dangerous contender for oversight over a government agency by Jack Kettler

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905.

The globalist criminal syndicate figurehead’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) nominee, David Chipman, raises grave concerns among gun owners and everyday Americans. Why?

Sen. Mike Lee from Utah challenges the (BATF) nominee’s disdain for gun owners in a recent hearing and his inability to define an assault weapon. Chipman is on record for wanting to ban the AR-15 rifle, one of America’s most popular guns.

What can a crazed bureaucrat like Chipman, who disrespects an individual’s God-given rights, do?

Consider the leading cause of death in the Twentieth Century:

Democide is a term defined by the political scientist R. J. Rummel as “the murder of any person or people by their government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder.” According to Rummel, democide passed war as the leading cause of non-natural death in the 20th Century. Moving into the 21st Century, and it shows no signs of stopping.

See Death by Government, by R.J. Rummel, (New Brunswick, New Jersey, Transaction Publishers, 1994).

From this book, it is earned:

·         The Definition of Democide

·         Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide

·         128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS

·         61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State

·         35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill

·         20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State

·         10,214,000 Murdered: Depraved Nationalist Regimes such as the Khmer Rouge Hell State

·         19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS

After reading this book, the conclusion is that government is the leading cause of death.

With a maniacal nominee such as Chipman, it would be prudent to review a real example of what happens when the evil intent of a government is turned on its citizens. Many readers of this blog were not even born when an unorthodox religious sect in 1993 fell into bad favor with the government. The Branch Davidians, a Seventh Day Adventist sect, were victims of democide. This democide happened as the result of the BATF carrying out a  military-styled attack on the members of a religious sect.

What follows is an article about the tragic event in 1993, and a documentary film and an investigative film, along with reviews of these films that exposed the government democide.    

                                                               First Article

Thoughts on Waco: A Remembrance                                                       © 1998 by Jack Kettler

As a Reformed believer, I praise God for the gospel and his saving grace. The main reason I have always been against the forced deprogramming of individuals in aberrational religious groups is that deprogramming removes God from the equation. What happened at Waco was far worse than forced deprogramming. The preaching of the gospel and God’s effectual calling are sufficient reasons to leave the conversion of souls in God’s control. It has been challenging to sort out all the issues involved in the Waco case because of my substantial theological disagreements with Branch Davidian theology. The teachings of the Bible give us the basis for many of our present-day civil laws. One law, in particular, is relevant and is found in Deuteronomy 17:6. Two witnesses are required to convict someone of a crime that results in the death penalty. If the state acts, it must be governed by a Biblically-based judicial process. The process of Biblical justice was completely subverted at Waco.   

The violations of the law by agents of our government at Waco, Texas, are almost beyond comprehension. The present cover-up by high officials in the Treasury and Justice Departments and numerous agents within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) has come very close to succeeding. In my opinion, the actions of the federal government agents at Waco constitute the worst abuse of law enforcement power in our nation’s history. Americans witnessed death and the destruction of the Constitution at Waco.

The following items stand out in my mind as unconscionable criminal violations of American civil liberties: 

The Branch Davidians have civil and constitutional protections enjoyed by all Americans, yet those rights were trampled on and destroyed by agents of our government. Women and young children were fired upon through the roof of their house by government agents from helicopters on Feb. 28th, 1993. Attorneys (Dick DeGuerin and Jack Zimmermann) for David Koresh and Steve Schneider (Davidian leaders) had been inside Mt. Carmel during the siege. Both men provided eyewitness testimony to the five hundred rounds fired through the roof by agents in the helicopters. 

Many people have heard portions of what are known as the “911” tapes. These tapes are truly bone-chilling: You listen to the terror in the voice of African American, Harvard University- educated attorney and Branch Davidian Wayne Martin, as he calls for help and pleads for the attack to be called off. A significant fact is that while listening to the recording, you hear Wayne Martin say, “I have a right to defend myself.” Why was the jury in the San Antonio trial of the Davidians not allowed to hear this portion of the tape?

James L. Pate, a reporter who has written for several publications such as the New York Daily News and Soldier of Fortune, has hard evidence that United States special military forces helped train BATF agents for the raid on the Branch Davidians before a search warrant was issued.  Members of the special forces accompanied BATF agents the day of their assault on the Branch Davidians. Most Americans watched on television as tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles surrounded and terrorized United State citizens. The strict rules forbidding the United States military from engaging in police action against American citizens were violated because of the fabrication by BATF agents that the Branch Davidians were manufacturing illegal drugs. The use of military force is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. A Congressional inquiry should be in order.

Another shocking violation of civil liberties is that of the alleged attempt by BATF to serve a warrant. The BATF has never gotten their story straight on what type of warrant they obtained. Was it a search or arrest warrant? The way this warrant was issued is highly irregular and deserves a special investigation in itself. Ken Maynard, FBI special agent (Ret.), has analyzed BATF agent Davy Aguilera’s probable cause affidavit and says this: “There was not even one fact in the probable cause affidavit by the BATF stating that a violation had or was taking place at Mt. Carmel. There was insufficient evidence to issue a warrant.” Why did BATF agents refuse Koresh’s offer for them to come on out and look around? Henry McMahon, the owner of Hewitt Arms, confirms this. BATF agents were in his store at the time of the offer.

Why was Sunday chosen for this raid? It was well known that this is when the highest number of people would be at Mt. Carmel. If the BATF had an arrest warrant, why not pick Koresh up when he was in town or out jogging? If the BATF had a search warrant, why not go to the complex in the daytime during the week? A number of children would be off the property at school. A number of adults would also have been in town at work. If a problem did develop, the risk of injury to innocent parties would also have been greatly minimized.  Where was the concern for the children in the planning for such a raid? KPOC-TV of Ponca City, Oklahoma, had discovered that the BATF did not even have a warrant with them when they attacked Mt. Carmel.

Who fired first?  BATF Agent Roland Ballesteros made two statements ten days after the raid to the Texas Rangers, saying that the BATF shot first, with no warning. The bullet holes in the front door of the Mt. Carmel center prove who fired first. The BATF said they arrived at the front door, and David Koresh came out. The BATF said they announced who they were and that they had a search warrant. At this point, Koresh allegedly slammed the door, and the Davidians began shooting at the agents through the front door. Unfortunately, the BATF lost (or destroyed) this crucial piece of evidence. It is clear from photographic evidence that the bullet holes in the door were all entry holes fired by the BATF agents into Mt. Carmel. This door was not destroyed in the fire: It mysteriously disappeared and was not available to the Branch Davidian defense team in San Antonio.

Many have blamed those inside Mt. Carmel for not leaving. Could the Branch Davidians have left if they wanted to? According to special correspondent Ken Fawcett, who covered the San Antonio trial, He [Mike Tolouse, member of the misnamed FBI hostage rescue team] was asked if flash grenades were used to keep people from coming out of Mt. Carmel. His reply was, “Yes, many times, including March 10th and April 19th [day of the fire].” It is a well-known fact that the FBI had sniper nests set up around the Mt. Carmel center, which created tremendous fear for those inside. In the Department of Justice report on page twenty, we learn: On March 25th, 1993, Steve Schneider was told by the FBI negotiators that no one would be allowed to come outside the compound.

There is strong evidence that members of the church were shot by FBI snipers on the eastside of the building (away from the cameras) as they tried to escape the lethal amounts of Orthocholorbenzylidene Malononitrile (CS) gas sprayed in and the ferret rounds fired into the building. The FBI agents responsible for this murderous act were stationed in the “Sierra Two” sniper’s nest. Mike McNulty, chairman of Citizens Organization for Public Safety, has a “Forward Looking Infra-Red” (FLIR) film taken from an airplane flying above Mt. Carmel to support this allegation. This shooting happened around 10:30 in the morning. 

The death of Jimmy Riddle confirms this. Riddle was killed with a high-powered rifle bullet to the head.  His body was found a few feet from Koresh’s body. Koresh’s body was burned so badly that it was almost impossible to determine who it was. Jimmy Riddle’s body was not burned because of the dirt that covered his body. Mr. McNulty believes he can substantiate the theory that the tanks, equipped with scoop blades, pushed dirt and some of the Davidians who were gunned down back into the building, thus explaining Riddle’s body being covered with dirt and not burning.

On April 19th, 1993, the Branch Davidians, women and children included, had lethal levels of CS gas along with the combustible dispersal agent methylene chloride pumped into their church-home for six straight hours. Branch Davidian church members were crushed by tanks driving into the building. Women and children were crushed and buried alive (Judy Schneider, 41* and Audrey Martinez, 13) as a result of the tanks collapsing the building down upon them. Did one of the tanks collapse part of the building down upon the entrance to the concrete walk-in cooler, trapping thirty-eight women and children from any hope of escape? Did this same tank collapse a section of the walk-in cooler’s ceiling, crushing to death a number of women and children? Why did the tanks collapse the stairways? This trapped people on the second floor from being able to escape the building once the fire started. The entrance to the underground shelter was also destroyed, thus eliminating another avenue of escape.

Who started the fire? The fire started as the result of the criminally negligent methods of dispersing the deadly CS gas (pyrotechnic ferret rounds). Mike McNulty has a “Forward Looking Infra-Red” (FLIR) film that proves the fire started in the section of the building called the “dog run” due directly to a pyrotechnic device. The shell casing to this device has been recovered and identified. Another fire started after a tank knocked over a lantern. Pyrotechnic devices have started fires on numerous occasions. Page sixty-three of the S.W.A.T. team manual says that some pyrotechnic devices will start fires. FBI agent Mike Tolouse admitted that “flash grenades” were used at Mt. Carmel. According to James Bovard, a nationally known writer, “the FBI’s plan was to immediately and totally immerse the place in gas, and throw in flash-bangs.” Col. Rex Applegate, who invented the ferret round, said, “Any flash-bang [grenade] will start fires.” Col. Applegate is not sure how the fire started. He says: “It could have been a flash-bang, or a pyrotechnic device that was shot in there.” Most disturbing of all is that the (FLIR) tape or film gives strong evidence that after the fire started, government agents from two locations outside the cafeteria fired automatic gunfire into the building, thus preventing the Davidians from escaping the conflagration. Approximately forty Davidians died in the cafeteria area.  

According to Aldrich Chemical Company, in their Manufacturing Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), it is clear how dangerous CS can be. CS is highly flammable and explosive when concentrated within closed quarters. There are strict warnings not to use CS indoors because of the danger of a fire caused by something as small as an electrical spark. When CS burns, it emits carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and hydrogen chloride gases. A number of the Davidian autopsies reveal lethal levels of cyanide poisoning in their bodies.

It is a well-known fact that the government knew the Davidians were using kerosene lanterns twenty-four hours a day. The FBI had shut off the water. Pumping flammable substances in upon women and children with these types of conditions is an unforgivable atrocity. KPOC-TV has provided valuable information concerning the misuse of CS, and the terrible consequences this caused inside the Mt. Carmel center. It is also a fact that when you put water on burning CS, you will create a deadly hydrogen cyanide cloud that may travel for some distance. Can this explain why federal agents kept the fire trucks away until after the entire structure had completely burned down? If so, then it is an inescapable conclusion that the FBI and BATF were familiar with the Aldrich Chemical company’s MSDS report and knew what the results would be.

At 6:30 a.m. April 19th, the morning of the gas and tank attack, the Davidians put a white flag out a window and began waving it. The attack continued. At 9:07 the Davidians displayed a banner that read, “we want our phone fixed.” Eight minutes later, a government tank rammed through the front door.

These two facts were reported in Dirk Johnson’s “Death in Waco” in The New York Times April 22nd, 1993. American citizens used a universally understood sign pleading for the attack to stop.  They asked for communications to be restored. What would happen to an American military commander who refused to recognize this sign of surrender on the part of an enemy in battle?  Second, numerous times during the siege, the Davidians plead with the press to intervene on their behalf. The lack of concern on the part of the press for these requests is shameful.                                             

Government agents destroyed and tampered with evidence at Mt. Carmel. Tanks crushed the Davidian vehicles. These vehicles were crucial for the Davidian defense. The lack of bullet holes in the vehicles would have provided important proof that BATF agents were not receiving heavy fire from the Davidians. Tanks pushed sections of the building into the fire. An FBI agent admitted that some of the weapons submitted into evidence against the Davidians were left at Mt. Carmel by the BATF. The company “Failure Analysis” was not allowed to inspect the Davidian weapons recovered after the fire. Why? Were some of these guns converted to full-auto after the fire? 

The government lied about the type of gas used on the Davidians, and the toxicology reports were falsified to hide the cyanide poisoning. The FBI’s five-hundred-page plan for inserting gas into the Davidian home, which they provided to Attorney General Janet Reno, did not mention the possibility of a fire. Why? Is this criminal negligence? Why did Attorney General Janet Reno approve this plan with no contingency for putting out a fire? Why has the government refused the Davidian defense attorney’s request to allow “Failure Analysis” to examine the tape recordings on the day of the fire? Have these recordings been altered? It is a fact that government agents cut out crucial portions of film taken on April 19th, 1993. The missing film footage, in all probability, proves McNulty’s thesis that Davidians were shot while trying to escape.

The trial of the Branch Davidians in San Antonio is another travesty of justice. Jack Devault, Major USAF (Ret.), has written The Waco Whitewash. This book deals primarily with events at the trial of the Davidians charged with conspiring to murder federal agents. Devault argues that federal judge Walter Smith rigged the trial in order to obtain convictions. It is time for the Branch Davidians suffering unjustly in prison to be set free. Jury foreman Sarah Bain has fought tirelessly for the release of the Davidian prisoners. She pleaded for leniency for the Davidians at their sentencing. She collapsed when the judge, contrary to the wishes of the jury, issued forty-year sentences in most cases.

It is easy to recall the many press conferences in which the Branch Davidians were called cultists by the FBI and BATF spokesmen.  Have FBI and BATF agents taken special theological training to make this determination?  Is this the role of either of these agencies?  Articles One, Two, Four, Five, Six, Nine, and Ten of the Bill of Rights were violated by agents of the federal government.  Who will answer for these crimes? Who will answer from the military for their involvement in this terrible crime? Can the U.S. Congress escape blame for the inept Waco hearings in 1995?  The five-minute questioning rule ensured that no meaningful line of questions would develop.  When will Congress appoint a special prosecutor with full subpoena powers?  

The new riveting documentary film Waco: The Rules of Engagement addresses many of the questions that Americans have been asking. The film is unique in that it lets the viewers draw their own conclusions. “Waco” has been screening at film festivals since it’s opening this year in January at Robert Redford’s 1997 Sundance Film Festival.The San Francisco Chronicle called “Waco” “one of the most disturbing films you’ll ever see.” Siskel and Ebert have given the film “two thumbs up.” The film is also up for best documentary of the year. It is common during screenings of “Waco” for people in the audience to be openly sobbing as they witness the brutal government assault and the close-up shots of mutilated burned bodies and the terribly contorted (the result of cyanide poisoning) body of a young girl. Sarah Thompson, M.D., after seeing “Waco” at the Sundance Festival, felt compelled to review the film.

In her review, she cites film director William Gazecki’s words, “This movie is about looking under rocks and finding what we never wanted to know.” “The result is an extremely disturbing film that should be required viewing for all Americans.” She closes her review of the film with these insightful thoughts: “Remember that this is NOT about partisan politics, Right vs. Left, gun rights, or other divisive issues. It is about our unalienable Constitutional rights to religious freedom, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and above all the freedom not to be murdered by our own government. As the Talmud commands: ‘Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy brother.’” Religious and civil liberties stand or fall together. Let us pray that God may once again give us rulers who govern in the fear of the Almighty.

*All of the Davidian’s bodies recovered after the fire. Judy Schneider’s body was recovered missing the head. At the time, PA coroner Cyril Weck had written a book with a chapter on the events at Waco and questions he had about the FBI’s autopsy analysis. Also, at the time, Cyril Weck was a guest on KOA’s Rick Barber’s overnight show, and this writer as a caller asked him if someone in the FBI had taken Judy Schneider’s skull as a trophy, to which he replied “that would be frightening to contemplate.” 

Sources:

Books:

1. Carol Moore, The Davidian Massacre, (Springfield: Legacy Communications & Gun Owners of America, 1995).

2. Jack DeVault, The Waco Whitewash, (San Antonio: Rescue Press, 1994).

3. Dick J. Reavis, The Ashes of Waco, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995).

4. James D. Tabor, and Eugene V. Gallagher, Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).

5. David Koresh, The Decoded Message of the Seven Seals of the Book of Revelation, (Texas: publisher unknown, 1993). This copy was given to me by Branch Davidian fire survivor David Thibodeau.

Newspaper and Magazine Articles:

James Bovard, “Convoluted trail of Waco explanations.” The Washington Times (April 1995)

James Pate, “Waco Must Get a Hearing.” The Wall Street Journal (May 1995).

James Pate, “Judgment Day.” Soldier of Fortune (June 1994).

Peter Maas, “What Might Have Been.” Parade Magazine (February 1994).

David Chilton, “That dangerous cult in Waco.” World (May 1993). 

Video and Television:

KPOC-TV, The Waco Incident, (Ponca City, Oklahoma) 1994.

PBS “Frontline” Waco: The Inside Story. Scott Malone, investigator, 1995.

Audio Tapes:

“Mt. Carmel 911 tapes” Mt. Carmel Survivors Memorial Fund Inc. (Axtell, Texas) 1993.

“The Last Recorded Words of David Koresh” April 16 & 18, 1993. Supplied by David Thibodeau.

Reports:

Volumes 1- 4 Autopsies of Branch Davidians At New Mt. Carmel Waco, Texas.

Chemical Report On “CS” Agent.

Overview and General Information of Criminal Negligence by Agents of federal government.

These reports were prepared by KPOC TV of Ponca City, Oklahoma and graciously given to me by the owner and general manager, David Hall.

Special Assistance:

Mike McNulty, the producer of the documentary film “Waco: The Rules of Engagement” has provided numerous details concerning the Waco investigation. David Thibodeau provided important details concerning the events surrounding April 19, 1993 at one of his speaking engagements.   

                                                       First Film Review

“Waco: A New Revelation”

A film review and commentary ©2000 by Jack Kettler

1999, MGA Films, Inc.

Produced by Rick Van Vleet, Stephen M. Novak, Jason Van Vleet

and Michael McNulty

Directed by Jason Van Vleet

Original Music Score by Daniel D. Hoeye and Aric R. Johnson

This film is based upon the research of Mike McNulty. After his first film, which won an Emmy for best investigative journalism and was nominated for best documentary of the year, Mr. McNulty was not content to revel in his success. His continued investigation has culminated in this new production, “Waco: A New Revelation,” which is best described as a damning indictment of the federal government’s murderous corruption and cover-ups extending into several agencies and reaching into the executive branch itself.

The film reviews numerous important events surrounding this story and then builds a case based upon solid physical evidence and testimony, which should eventually culminate in lengthy prison sentences for many active and retired federal employees. What is especially heartening about this film is that some current and past federal employees and other law enforcement personnel are lending their credibility to the ongoing investigation by appearing in the movie and even participating in the production of this work about the insidious events at Waco in 1993.

One example is former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, formerly of the FBI crime lab, who narrates the film. Many informed citizens will remember that Dr. Whitehurst became a whistleblower when FBI officials refused to clean up shoddy, unprofessional, and even unethical practices within the reputed celebrated crime lab. In this reviewer’s opinion, the law enforcement and the government employees, both active and retired, who give testimony in the film are heroic and patriotic Americans putting the truth ahead of personal gain. Hopefully, their courage will inspire others in law enforcement and the government to come forward with additional information. Moreover, their testimony makes this new production impossible to dismiss.

In addition to exposing outright federal government lies and suppression of evidence, the film has already resulted in at least one new congressional investigation and even an inquiry from the Justice Department. McNulty’s previous work, “Waco: The Rules of Engagement,” was responsible for a massive shift in public opinion. This new film provides hard physical evidence that the fires, which started in three locations, were the result of flash-bang devices, which are pyrotechnic and were recovered from each place where the fires originated. Interestingly, these devices were all misidentified as silencers or gun parts and buried in an evidence locker for over six years. It is this reviewer’s opinion that this misidentification was intentional and criminal. Trained FBI post-fire investigators knew what flash-bang devices were since the FBI itself had issued and used these same devices to prevent the Branch Davidians from leaving the building during the siege. These devices were also used on April 19th. It should not be forgotten that the FBI had a motive to see the building burned. This destroyed valuable trajectory and ballistic evidence that can be used in both criminal and civil litigation against the government. 

This new film provides compelling evidence of federal responsibility for the fires. It also convincingly argues that military operatives placed a “shape” charge on the top of the concrete walk-in-cooler or “bunker” where the women and children had fled for safety from the deadly concentrations of CS gas. This “shape” charge blew a hole in the concrete roof of this structure, killing everyone and obliterating the bodies of many of the women and children. Former military explosives expert General Benton Partin provides compelling testimony that supports this allegation. This explosion caused the partial disintegration and fusing together of a number of bodies of the women and children on the inside of the “bunker” due to the pressure and heat from this blast. The film reports that investigators were finally given permission to check the remains of the concrete roof of this structure for explosive residue only to find that the roof had disappeared. 

The film deals with how the Davidians were trapped in their crumbled building, the result of tank demolition on April 19th. Because of this demolition, there was only one viable escape route on the side of the complex out of camera view. This avenue of escape would have been through doors in the cafeteria area. In the film, Gene Cullen, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) service officer, among other sources, confirms that Delta operatives, commonly referred to as Delta Force, were forward-deployed and active on April 19th. A number of Davidians were met with automatic gunfire from these Delta operatives as they sought escape through the cafeteria doors. The evidence of this atrocious murderous act is well documented in the film with the government’s own forward-looking infrared (FLIR) film and testimony from one of the country’s leading experts in FLIR technology, Dr. Edward F. Allard, Ph.D. The FLIR expert retained by the congressional committee looking into events at Waco has agreed with Dr. Allard’s analysis of the FLIR tape.

The FBI has long used tape recordings made by their listening devices on April 19th to mislead Congress concerning who was responsible for the fires. Because the film deals with the tapes recorded by FBI listening devices the day of the fire, some comments need to be made regarding these recordings about alleged Davidian plans to pour fuel and start fires. First of all, the FBI is under investigation and cannot be considered trustworthy to tell the truth about the validity of these recordings. Along with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), they have been discovered suppressing the truth and are responsible for missing evidence and the destruction of evidence. The film deals with a number of shocking examples of missing and destroyed evidence. Both agencies must be held accountable.

Therefore, it is fair to question the FBI in particular at every point in this investigation. It should be noted that they have refused to allow independent investigators access to the tape recordings to examine their authenticity. These recordings may have been edited in such a way as to distort the actual audio and context of these tapes. Since these recordings are in existence, this reviewer is glad that the film deals with them. Attorneys for the Davidians will use these recordings in the upcoming civil litigation against the government, as they well should. Also, it is imperative that these tapes be dealt with in order to refute the government’s interpretation of them.    

With that said, let’s assume that these recordings are substantially correct. Some if not all of these recordings were made early in the morning hours before any fire started and had to do with the making of Molotov cocktails to throw at the tanks. There is no evidence that the Davidians were able to carry out these plans. In addition, it appears that according to the recordings, there may have been plans to ignite a fire if federal agents began a physical attack inside the building. It should be remembered that Davidian theology taught that God’s faithful remnant would be attacked by the forces of Babylon (the U.S. Government) and would be killed, thus proving to the world the depravity of this Babylon government. In this writer’s opinion, the depravity of the present government was most certainly proved.

If there were in reality plans of this nature, given Davidian theology against suicide, these plans would have been essentially a last-ditch action to bring the roof down upon Babylon’s murderous forces. These alleged Davidian plans, if true, could easily be understood in essence as a “Samson complex.” When the enemy forces came into their home for the final murderous assault, they would attempt to take out as many of Babylon’s agents as possible before being killed. The Davidians believed that biblical teaching concerning the “fifth seal” spoken of the book of Revelation made it clear that the forces of Babylon would kill God’s faithful remnant. Experientially, they knew these forces had no reservations about shooting women. For example, Jaydean Wendell from Hawaii was killed on February 28th, the day of the initial raid, after she finished nursing her baby. Knowing full well the apocalyptic views of the Davidians, the FBI created a situation in which the Davidians were pushed right to the edge in desperation. 

There is no convincing evidence that a plan like this was actually carried out. However, once the FBI had them on tape in desperation discussing last-ditch plans, then the FBI continued its criminally negligent use of pyrotechnic devices along with the injection of deadly amounts of combustible CS gas, knowing that it would only be a matter of time before the fire would erupt. By the time the fires did begin, Mt. Carmel was structurally ruined, and its hallways were virtually impassable. Most of the Davidians were utterly disoriented and overcome by the CS gas. Towards the end, organized communication among the Davidians was seriously impaired, making any alleged plans impossible to carry out.   

It should be noted that if a plan like this was carried out or contemplated, it is not suicide (remember the Alamo). It is simply a refusal to surrender to unjust attackers and resisting to the last man. It is interesting to note that the Davidian understanding of theology may have given them a reason to believe that had these events took place that God would possibly protect them like He had protected Daniel’s friends long ago in the fiery furnace while the emissaries of Babylon perished. Since the FBI commanders heard these recordings while the tank and gas attack was in progress, which suggested something of this nature, and continued with their assault, they should be found guilty of criminal misconduct among numerous other felonies.   

It should not be forgotten that the Davidians were under siege and subjected to military warfare tactics for fifty-one days. Any comments that are found on the tape recordings during this time must be understood as coming from people under extreme duress, fearing that they were about to perish. People believing that they may be about to die may say things in desperation. Therefore, the content of the tapes must be understood in terms favorable to the Davidians. McNulty has done a great job putting this information on the table so objective analysts can determine the proper context of the recordings in light of the attack that was carried out against the Davidians. 

 As in “Rules of Engagement,” Davidian survivors give compelling testimony. Their humanness is plainly seen. Rita Riddle, a Davidian, left Mt. Carmel during the siege. She appears in the film and talks about her brother Jimmy who was shot and killed on April 19th. Unfortunately, critical autopsy evidence relevant to his death is now missing. This reviewer’s wish is that Rita Riddle’s daughter Misty, who survived the fire, will eventually testify in front of Congress. Misty Ferguson was seventeen at the time and terribly burned in the fire. The American people are still compassionate, and when they see what agents of the federal government did to her, there will be an outpouring of compassion and an outcry for justice.

This film was first screened in Washington, D.C., early in November 1999, to a select group of journalists and government officials. This film deserves a wide audience.   Hopefully, the producers can negotiate a deal to have this film aired on cable television, as was the case with Mr. McNulty’s previous release.

                                                  Second Film Review

“The F.L.I.R. Project”                                          

2001, COPS Productions L.L.C.

Produced and Directed by Michael McNulty

© 2001 A film review and commentary by Jack Kettler

Recently, former Senator John C. Danforth spent millions of taxpayer dollars investigating on behalf of Janet Reno’s Justice Department into a number of serious allegations against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Allegations included such questions as: did the FBI fire on the Davidians trying to escape their burning church home? After his investigation, Danforth pronounced that he was 100% certain that the FBI did not fire any rounds into the building that fateful day on April 19, 1993.

It should be noted that the FBI has come under heavy criticism for its mishandling of evidence in the Timothy McVeigh case. Significantly, the only conviction ensuing from the Danforth investigation was against former U.S. Attorney Bill Johnston, who legally cleared the way, thus allowing Michael McNulty, leading independent investigator into events surrounding the Waco controversy, to examine evidence leading to serious questions of government corruption. Does this lone conviction of Johnston send a message to civil servants that are willing to come forward and reveal information of government wrongdoing? Danforth’s investigation has in effect exonerated the FBI of any wrongdoing in regards to violating rules of engagement designed to safeguard the constitutional liberty of American citizens. 

Unfortunately for Danforth and the FBI, Michael McNulty, the producer of two previous award-winning documentary films, “Waco: The Rules of Engagement” and “Waco: A New Revelation,” released his third film, “The F.L.I.R. Project.” In this new film, McNulty calls into question the credibility of Danforth’s Ft. Hood re-enactment, which allegedly attempted to duplicate events surrounding April 19, 1993, which involved government agents and alleged gunfire directed into Mt. Carmel, the Branch Davidian church home. The government’s actions ultimately climaxed in 80 men, women, and children perishing in a fiery holocaust.

In this new film of thirty-five minutes duration, McNulty raises pertinent questions concerning the accuracy of Danforth’s re-enactment tests. McNulty’s film highlights several examples of differences between the Ft. Hood re-enactment test and April 19, 1993. These are:
1.      A significant difference would be the twenty-inch barrels on the M-16A2 rifles used in the re-enactment at Ft. Hood, whereas the FBI used CAR-16s (M-4s) with 14-inch barrels at Mt. Carmel.

2.      Another significant difference would be that the ammunition used in the re-enactment was standard military ball ammunition with gunpowder that is chemically treated, which suppresses mussel flashes, whereas the FBI, on April 19, 1993, used commercial ammunition produced by the “Federal Cartridge Company.”

3.      Interestingly, the military clothing that used at Mt. Carmel on April 19, 1993, by various agents was treated with a standard heat suppressing substance. The clothing accounts for the difficulty in seeing men on the ground in 1993 “Forward Looking Infra-Red” (FLIR) tape. Danforth makes this apparent invisibility of men a big part of his conclusion. Interestingly, he does not bother to elaborate or explain that this heat suppressing substance is a significant factor, undermining one of his conclusions.

4.      The test debris field at Ft. Hood was watered down the day before and covered with a tarp keeping the ground cool until right before the test took place. The water created a contrast that did not correspond to anything similar or present on April 19, 1993.

5.      There was also a twenty-degree temperature difference between the Ft. Hood tests on April 19, 1993.

6.      The Danforth tests did not bother to create the circulating dust agitated up by the tanks on April 19, 1993. However, agitated circulating dust can make an important difference in flash signatures on FLIR tape.

There are other serious questions, which McNulty raises in his new film, one example being about the FLIR camera used at the re-enactment test and if it was working correctly. The viewer of this film is left with the distinct impression that something is seriously wrong with Danforth’s conclusions. Danforth based his conclusions that the gunfire FLIR tape signatures at the Ft. Hood re-enactment were of shorter duration and nearly invisible on this FLIR tape. Also, Danforth concluded that one could not see men on the ground in the 1993 FLIR tape. McNulty, as outlined above, questions both conclusions by Danforth. McNulty demonstrates that men are visible on the ground in the 1993 FLIR (although difficult to see) and from FBI still photos. In the FBI still photos, men appear to be seen right outside the cafeteria doors, where many Davidians were trapped, unable to exit because of the alleged gunfire. 

In addition, where Danforth failed, McNulty’s “F.L.I.R. Project” team re-created at two locations tests that duplicated gunfire signatures very similar to those flashes seen on the original Waco FLIR tapes. Therefore, in light of the questions raised in this film, this writer believes that it is still an open question regarding the FBI and the use of gunfire directed into Mt. Carmel on April 19, 1993. Also, the interested reader should consult attorney Dave Hardy’s website for pictures and analysis of many issues surrounding the FLIR/gunfire controversy at: http://www.indirect.com/www/dhardy/flir.html

At this point, it would be beneficial to highlight longstanding serious legal and procedural violations still unresolved at Waco. The Justice Department and Danforth are not interested in these violations. Many Americans who are fearful of the loss of religious and civil liberties are very concerned with these issues. The Branch Davidians have civil and constitutional protections enjoyed by all Americans, yet those rights were trampled on and destroyed by agents of our government.Maurice Cox is a mathematician/imagery analyst who summarizes these violations in his OPEN LETTER TO SPECIAL COUNSEL DANFORTH (20 Nov 2000). See the entire letter to Danforth that primarily deals with flaws in the Ft. Hood re-enactment. To date, Danforth has ignored this letter. According to Cox, these unresolved issues are:

  • Using publicity as one motivation for the initial raid
  • Deciding not to arrest Koresh away from Mt. Carmel
  • Acquiring a warrant using false, misleading, and inflammatory information
  • Ignoring the requirement to “knock and announce”
  • Conducting an armed assault for an alleged gun registration/tax crime
  • Conducting an armed assault on a large group to arrest one individual
  • Conducting an armed assault on uncharged women and children
  • Conducting an armed assault on individuals with apocalyptic beliefs
  • Conducting an armed assault on individuals known to be forewarned
  • Indiscriminate firing into a building in violation of policy
  • Assigning a para-military group (HRT) to a non-hostage situation
  • Limiting press access (news management)
  • Using flawed crisis management procedures (shooters negate negotiators)
  • Applying physiological warfare tools against a group with apocalyptic beliefs
  • Imposing an arbitrary negotiation deadline
  • Selective use of “bug” information (requires “enhancement” when unfavorable)
  • Adopting a plan to gas women, children and elderly individuals
  • Executing the gas plan in a manner that intentionally blocked a protected area
  • Destroying the residence beyond anything required by the gas plan
  • Executing the gas plan without adequate fire control means

It is about time that the U.S. Congress hire McNulty and the team of his choosing with full subpoena powers to finally get to the truth of what happened at Waco. A new investigation should start with the botched unconstitutional raid on Feb. 28, 1993, which culminated in the unnecessary deaths of the Davidians on April 19, 1993, and subsequent cover-up

Final Comments:

“The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it’s good-bye to the Bill of Rights.” – H. L. Mencken Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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Quotes about Mohammad and Islam

Quotes about Mohammad and Islam                                                Collected by Jack Kettler
 
The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus . . . is such Koranic verses as: (1) “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2:216); (2) “Slay them wherever you find them” (Koran 4:89); (3) “Fight the idolaters utterly” (Koran 9:36); and such hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah”; and the hadith reported by Muslim, “To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.” – (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law)

“Muhammad was a narcissist, a pedophile, a mass murderer, a terrorist, a misogynist, a lecher, a cult leader, a madman, a rapist, a torturer, an assassin and a looter.” – Dr. Ali Sina; Dr. Ali Sina is an ex-Muslim and founder of Faith Freedom International

Speaking about Muhammad: “The perfect personification of a psychopath in power.” – Dr. Masud Ansari, B.A., M.A., Ph. D., D.C.H., F.C.H., holds a B.A. in law, an M.A. in International Relations from the University of London, and three doctorate degrees, two in political science, one from the Tehran University, the Second from the George Washington University, and the third in hypnotherapy from the American Pacific University has studied the life of Mohammad.

According the Egyptian Press, narcissist Barry Soetoro (a.k.a. Barack Obama) is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization. Many members of the Muslim Brotherhood are a part of His administration. His brother, Malik Obama, is an investment advisor for the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The Muslim Brotherhood builds Islamic Centers across America to be the “axis” of their Movement to “supply (their) battalions.” These Centers are not simply places of worship. On the contrary their own documents say it is a place for all activity surrounding the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission here and the place from which they will launch their military assault at “Zero Hour.” *

*John Guandolo, “Jihadi Raising a Jihadi Generation: Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in America,” (Kepanto Publishing, Vienna, Virginia), p. 21.

“Mahomet established a religion by putting his enemies to death; Jesus Christ by commanding his followers to lay down their lives.” – Blaise Pascal

“I would never regard Islam with anything but horror and fear because it is fundamentally committed to conquering the world for Islam… it is, I think, best described in a Marxian way as the uniting and justifying ideology of Arab imperialism. Between the New Testament and the Qur’an there is (as it is customary to say when making such comparisons) no comparison. Whereas markets can be found for books on reading the Bible as literature, to read the Qur’an is a penance rather than a pleasure. There is no order or development in its subject matter…. The Prophet, though gifted in the arts of persuasion and clearly a considerable military leader, was both doubtfully literate and certainly ill-informed about the contents of the Old Testament and about several matters of which God, if not even the least informed of the Prophet’s contemporaries, must have been cognizant… one thing I’ll say in this comparison is that, for goodness sake, Jesus is an enormously attractive charismatic figure, which the Prophet of Islam most emphatically is not.” – Anthony Flew, philosopher

“Islam was not a torch, as has been claimed, but an extinguisher. Conceived in a barbarous brain for the use of a barbarous people, it was – and it remains – incapable of adapting itself to civilization. Wherever it has dominated, it has broken the impulse towards progress and checked the evolution of society.” – Andre Servier

“If the people of this religion [Islam] are asked about the proof for the soundness of their religion, they flare up, get angry and spill the blood of whoever confronts them with this question. They forbid rational speculation, and strive to kill their adversaries. This is why truth became thoroughly silenced and concealed.” – Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Razi
“I studied the Quran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled—the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.” – Winston Churchill

“He (Mohammed) seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh urges us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected; he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.” – Thomas Aquinas

Resources on Islam:

“…tolerance of intolerance is
cowardice.” Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Plan to Stop Islamic Terrorism

Coughlin Report on Jihad


Learn about: Contradictions in the Qur’an

Muslim Hope

Learn about: Answering Islam

Answering Muslims


Daniel Pipes

Andrew G. Bostom

Mahdi Watch

Faith Freedom

Ayann Hirsi Ali

Islam Terrorism Expert


American Congress for Truth

Counter Jihad Report

The Clarion Project

jihadwatch.org

Glazov Gang

Creeping Sharia

Bare Naked Islam

The Gorka Briefing

Terror Trends Bulletin

Anti Cair

Counter Jihad Report

Political Islam

Raymond Ibrahim

Act for America

Talk About Islam

The Shariah Threat

Info on Islam


Phyllis Chesler

Islam Watch


Investigative Project

Gates of Vienna

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum.

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The archangel Michael, contending with the devil Jude 1:9?

The archangel Michael, contending with the devil Jude 1:9?                        By Jack Kettler                                     

“But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’” (Jude 1:9 ESV)

How do we understand this passage? Is the angel Michael a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ? Historically, this passage is undisputedly obscure and along with parallel passages in Daniel 10:13, 21, 12:1, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and Revelation 12:1, difficult to interpret. As in many previous studies, lexical and commentary evidence will be consulted to gain an understanding of the Jude and related passages.  

Definitions:

What is an archangel?

The word archangel means an angel of the highest position or ranking.

What is the meaning of the name Michael?

Michael means, “Who is like God.”

Strong’ Lexicon:

ἀρχάγγελος (archangelos)

Noun – Nominative Masculine Singular

Strong’s Greek 743: A ruler of angels, a superior angel, an archangel. From archo and aggelos, a chief angel.

Mikha’el – מִיכָאֵל (Hebrew) Μιχαηλ (Greek) meaning, “Who is like God.”

Strong’ Lexicon:

Μιχαὴλ (Michaēl)

Noun – Nominative Masculine Singular

Strong’s Greek 3413: Michael, an archangel. Of Hebrew origin, Michael, an archangel.

An overview on Michael from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia abridged:  
“mi’-ka-el, mi’-kel (mikha’el, “who is like God?” Michael):

(11) “The archangel” (Jude 1:9). Probably also the unnamed archangel of 1Th 4:16 is Michael. In the Old Testament, he is mentioned by name only in Daniel. He is “one of the chief princes” (Da 10:13), the “prince” of Israel (Da 10:21), “the great prince” (Da 12:1), perhaps also “the prince of the host” (Da 8:11). In all these passages, Michael appears as the heavenly patron and champion of Israel, as the watchful guardian of the people of God against all foes earthly or devilish. In the uncanonical apocalyptic writings, however, Jewish angelology is further developed. In them, Michael frequently appears and excretes functions similar to those, which are ascribed to him in Daniel. He is the first of the “four presences that stand before God”–Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel or Phanuel (En 9:1; 40:9). In other apocryphal books and even elsewhere in En, the number of archangels is given as 7 (En 20:1-7; Tobit 12:15; compare also Re 8:2). Among the many characterizations of Michael the following may be noted: He is “the merciful and long-suffering” (En 40:9; 68:2, 3), “the mediator and intercessor” (Ascension of Isaiah, Latin version 9:23; Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Le 5:1-19; Da 6:1-28). It is he who opposed the Devil in a dispute concerning Moses’ body (Jude 1:9). This passage, according to most modern authorities, is derived from the apocryphal Assumption of Moses (see Charles’ edition, 105-10). It is Michael also who leads the angelic armies in the war in heaven against “the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan” (Re 12:7 ff). According to Charles, the supplanting of the “child” by the archangel is an indication of the Jewish origin of this part of the book.

The earlier Protestant scholars usually identified Michael with the preincarnate Christ, finding support for their view, not only in the juxtaposition of the “child” and the archangel in Re 12:1-17, but also in the attributes ascribed to him in Daniel (for a full discussion see Hengstenberg, Offenbarung, I, 611-22, and an interesting survey in English by Dr. Douglas in Fairbairn’s BD).” John A. Lees (1)

 The cultic Jehovah’s Witnesses and the sectarian Seventh Day Adventists are proponents of the view that Michael is Christ. Unfortunately, anyone who believes likewise, albeit for Scriptural reasons, is unfairly tagged with guilt by association.

 As noted by the encyclopedia, a number of “the earlier Protestant scholars identified Michael with the pre-incarnate Christ.” In the commentators cited below, John Gill, and Matthew Poole, Puritan expositors, identified with this interpretation. In addition, Calvin, in his Daniel commentary agreed, and Lutheran theological tradition does likewise.

 Commentary evidence on the meaning of Jude 1:9 and related passages:

 From Matthew Poole’s 17th Century Commentary on Jude 1:9:  “Michael the archangel: either this is understood of Christ the Prince of angels, who is often in Scripture called an Angel, or of a created angel; and that either:

1. One of the archangels: Daniel 10:13, Michael is called one of the chief princes, which though the word archangel be not found in the plural number in Scripture, may well imply a plurality of them; for what is one of the chief princes among the angels, but an archangel? Or,

2. A principal angel, or one that is chief among others.

When contending with the devil; it may be meant either of Christ contending with the devil, as Matthew 4:1-25, in his temptation, and Zechariah 3:1, 2, and Revelation 12:7; or rather, of Michael, a created angel.

He disputed about the body of Moses:

1. If Michael the archangel be meant of Christ, then the body of Moses may be taken figuratively, for that body whereof the Mosaical ceremonies were shadows, Colossians 2:17, i.e. the truth and accomplishment of the law given by Moses; that accomplishment was to be in Christ, who is represented by Joshua, Zechariah 3:1-10: him Satan resists in the execution of his office, and by him strikes at Christ, whose type he was, and whom he afterward opposeth in the execution of his office, when he was come in the flesh. Or,

2. If we take Michael for a created angel, which agrees best with the parallel place in Peter, then the body of Moses must be taken properly, (as most take it), and the dispute seems to be: Whether Moses’s body should be so buried as to be concealed from the Israelites? Deuteronomy 34:6, it is said God buried him, (which might be by the ministry of Michael the archangel), and that no man knoweth of his sepulchre. The devil opposeth the angel, desiring to have the place of his burial known, that in after-times it might be a snare to that people, and a means to bring them to idolatry. And this seems very probable, if we consider what work the devil hath made in the world with the bodies of saints and martyrs, and how much idolatry he hath brought in thereby. This passage Jude, most probably, had (as was observed in the argument) from some known tradition among the Jews, the truth of which we are now sure of, because certified here concerning it.

Durst not bring against him; or, could not endure, (as the Greek word is often taken among profane writers), or find in his heart, not from fear of punishment, but by reason of the holiness of his own nature, and to give an example to us. And this sense agrees to the scope of the place, whether we understand it of Christ, or of a created angel, Hebrews 12:3 1 Peter 2:23.

A railing accusation: see 2 Peter 2:11.

But said, The Lord rebuke thee; i.e. put thee to silence, restrain thy insolence, hinder thy design, &c.: hereby the angel refers the cause to God.” (2)

 From the 20th Century New Testament Commentary by Simon J. Kistemaker:  “B. Michael and Satan

9–10

In these two verses, Jude relies on information that is recorded in the apocryphal book the Testament of Moses or the related work known as the Assumption of Moses. Unfortunately, the ending of this testament is no longer extant, but scholars have been able to reconstruct it from early Christian sources.

Because of this allusion to a non-canonical book and the direct quote from the apocryphal book I Enoch, the church in the first few centuries hesitated to accept the Epistle of Jude as canonical. The fact remains, however, that although Jude uses material from other sources, he does not recognize these books as inspired. He borrows examples from apocryphal literature or from the oral tradition of his day to illustrate and clarify his own teachings.

9. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil over the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

a. Michael

The name given to the archangel means “who is like God?” and is common in the Old Testament. The name also belongs to ten different persons, all of whom are virtually unknown. In the prophecy of Daniel, the name Michael belongs to the angel who is “one of the chief princes” (10:13) and “the great prince who protects” the people Israel (12:1). He opposes and overcomes demons whom Satan has sent to influence the rulers of Persia and Greece (10:13, 20). The term prince is equivalent to the word archangel (compare 1 Thess. 4:16).

Apocryphal literature teaches that there are seven archangels. This information corresponds with John’s description of “the seven angels who stand before God” (Rev. 8:2). Four of these have names; they are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. Michael is the leader of the heavenly armies that fight Satan and his fallen angels and drive them out of heaven (Rev. 12:7–9).

b. Moses

“But even the archangel Michael … was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses.” The Old Testament is silent about this dispute between Michael and Satan and only records that God “buried [Moses] in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is” (Deut. 34:6). A reconstructed outline of the lost ending of the Testament of Moses gives this account of Moses’ burial:

Joshua accompanied Moses up Mount Nebo, where God showed Moses the land of promise. Moses then sent Joshua back to the people to inform them of Moses’ death, and Moses died. God sent the archangel Michael to remove the body of Moses to another place and bury it there, but Samma’el, the devil, opposed him, disputing Moses’ right to honorable burial.… The devil brought against Moses a charge of murder, because he smote the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. But this accusation was not better than slander against Moses and Michael, not tolerating the slander, said to the devil, “May the Lord rebuke you, devil!” At that the devil took flight, and Michael removed the body to the place commanded by God, where he buried it with his own hands. Thus, no one saw the burial of Moses.

Jude uses this illustration about the dispute between Michael and Satan to demonstrate that even this mighty archangel did not dare to rebuke the devil. Even though Michael ranked high above Satan and from our point of view had every right to reprimand this devil, the archangel avoided uttering a rebuke. God is the judge.

c. Satan

“The Lord rebuke you!” This sentence is reminiscent of the account that describes, “Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him” (Zech. 3:1). Then the Lord said, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!” (v. 2). Likewise, Michael turned Satan over to God when Satan forced him to argue about the body of Moses. Jude uses the literary device of comparison: the greater versus the lesser. That is, if the mightiest archangel Michael refuses to rebuke Satan, how much more should sinful man refrain from reviling (compare 2 Peter 2:11–12).

10. Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

In passing, we note that Peter provides a parallel that is even clearer than the wording in Jude’s epistle. He writes, “But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish” (2 Peter 2:12).

After illustrating his teaching with an incident that involves Michael and Satan, Jude returns to the subject of his discussion, namely, the godless men, whom he calls dreamers (v. 8). He depicts them as people who lack spiritual discernment and yet speak abusively against anyone and everything. As Jude says elsewhere, “[They] follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit” (v. 19). Indeed, they are devoid of divine wisdom, unable to comprehend spiritual truth and unwilling to admit their foolishness (see especially 1 Cor. 2:14). David also reflected on the thoughts and deeds of evil men when he composed Psalm 14. This is David’s view, presented here in verse:

The God who sits enthroned on high

The foolish in their heart deny;

Not one does good; corrupt in thought,

Unrighteous works their hands have wrought.

—Psalter Hymnal

“What things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals— these are the very things that destroy them.” What is Jude trying to say? He means that persons without spiritual discernment are abysmally ignorant of reality and depend on instinct. That is, they have lowered themselves to the level of animals and in their sexual pursuits (see v. 8) are guided by instinct. Yet, unlike the animals which abide by the laws of nature, these godless men are destroyed by the very things they fail to understand. When men live by instinct, they abandon even natural law and consequently perish. They place themselves on a par with the animals, but because of their refusal to obey even the laws God has placed in nature, they are destroyed (compare Rom. 1:24).

Greek Words, Phrases, and Constructions in 9–10

Verse 9

ὁ δέ—this combination indicates a change of subject in the discourse.

διακρινόμενος—the use of this middle participle in the present tense denotes duration of time. The tense of the participle relates to the tense of the main verb.

διελέγετο—from the verb διαλέγομαι (I discuss); this form is in the imperfect middle indicative to show duration in the past tense. The imperfect is descriptive.

Verse 10

οὗτοι δέ—Jude returns to the subject of verse 8. The combination of these two Greek words reveals a change of subject in the discourse.

οἴδασιν—this verb in the perfect tense with a present meaning (from οἶδα, I know) expresses innate knowledge.” (3)

 “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13)

 From Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Daniel 10:13:  “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: this place hath some difficulty, therefore variously expounded. Some expound it of earthly princes, some of angels, and among them, some will have good angels meant, who they say have the patronage of the kingdoms and provinces of the earth; but who can imagine that good angels should quarrel one with the other? therefore, say others, they are bad angels that oppose the people of God, and their deliverance, seeking rather their ruin, as Michael and the devil strove, Revelation 12:7: now sometimes God permits Satan to do much this way. But I judge by the prince of Persia is meant Cambyses, who was an enemy to the Jews, and hindered the building of the temple. Now he could not properly resist the angel, but figuratively he did. Angels’ power is not unlimited, but by commission and instructions from God, and their works successive. Therefore, God suffered the wicked counsels of Cambyses to take place a while; but Daniel by his prayers, and the angel by his power, overcame him at last. And this very thing laid a foundation of the Persian monarchy’s ruin, Daniel 10:20; and doubtless that king was stirred up to his evil machinations against the people of God by the prince of the powers of darkness, that ruleth in the children of disobedience, Ephesians 2:2.

Michael: this we take to be Christ.

1. His name signifies, who is like God.

2. He is the first in dignity above all the angels, Hebrews 1:4-7, &c., called archangel, and the church’s prince, Daniel 10:21.

3. The chief champion of his church, helping Gabriel not as his fellow, but as his general. Thus we see what care God takes of his church’s safety against their potent enemies, by doubling their succours, (when he could do it, if he pleased, without means,) thereby to consult his own glory in the world by defeating the counsels and breaking the powers of the mightiest enemies, after he had given them rope to do their worst.” (4)

 “But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” (Daniel 10:21 KJV)

 From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Daniel 10:21:  “But I will show that which is noted in the Scripture of truth,…. Not in the written word, though there are many things relating to what should befall the Jews in the latter day, especially in Deuteronomy 28:1 but in the decrees and purposes of God, which are sometimes signified by a book, and things written in it; because so particular and distinct, and so sure and certain, and which will be most truly, infallibly, and punctually performed: these are “noted”, marked, engraven, in the eternal mind of God; they are “in writing”, and they are “truth” (b), as it may be rendered, since there is a distinguishing accent between “Scripture” and “truth”: they are written in the book of God’s decrees, and are his true and faithful words and sayings, and will most surely be accomplished: now these are the deep things of God, which angels themselves know nothing of, till they are revealed unto them: the angel here having a revelation of such of them as concerned the future monarchies of the earth, and the case of the Jews under them, promises to show them to Daniel; which was the work he was appointed to do:

and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your Prince; Christ the Prince of the kings of the earth, he was the Prince, Protector, and Guardian of the people of the Jews; he is the Angel that went before them in the wilderness, and guarded them in it, and guided them into the land of Canaan; he is the Angel of God’s presence, that bore, carried, and saved them all the days of old, and was their King and their God, their Defender and Deliverer, still; he took their part, and was on their side; yea, he was on the side of, and took part with, them that were for them, the holy angels; and there was none but him that exerted his power, and strengthened Gabriel to act for them in “these things” relating to their peace and prosperity: or, “against these” (c), as it may be rendered; against the princes of Persia and Greece, the evil spirits that worked in these kingdoms, in the children of disobedience there; and had it not been for him, and the exertion of his mighty power, it would have been soon all over with the people of the Jews; as it would be now with the church of Christ, of which they were typical, but the Lord is on their side; Michael the Archangel, and his angels under him, fight for it, protect and defend it; and since he is for his people, who shall be against them? or to what purpose will an opposition be? The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church of God, the saints of the most High.” (5)

 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1 ESV)

 Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on Daniel 12:1 is useful:  “And at that time – At the period referred to in the preceding chapter. The fair construction of the passage demands this interpretation, and if that refers to Antiochus Epiphanes, then what is here said must also; and we are to look for the direct and immediate fulfillment of this prediction in something that occurred under him, however, it may be supposed to have an ultimate reference to other and more remote events. The phrase “at that time,” however, does not limit what is here said to any one part of his life, or to his death, but to the general period referred to in the time of his reign. That reign was but eleven years, and the fulfillment must be found somewhere during that period.

Shall Michael – On the meaning of this word, and the being here referred to, see the notes at Daniel 10:13.

Stand up – That is, he shall interpose; he shall come forth to render aid. This does not mean necessarily that he would visibly appear, but that he would in fact interpose. In the time of great distress and trouble, there would be supernatural or angelic aid rendered to the people of God. No man can prove that this would not be so, nor is there any inherent improbability in the supposition that good angels may be employed to render assistance in the time of trouble. Compare the notes at Daniel 10:13.

The great prince, which standeth for the children of thy people – See the notes as above at Daniel 10:13. The meaning is that he had the affairs of the Hebrew people, or the people of God, especially under his protection, or he was appointed to watch over them. This doctrine is in accordance with the notions that prevailed at that time; and no one can demonstrate that it is not true. There is no authority for applying this to the Messiah, as many have done, for the term Michael is not elsewhere given to him, and all that the language fairly conveys is met by the other supposition. The simple meaning is, that he who was the guardian angel of that nation, or who was appointed to watch over its interests, would at that time of great trouble interpose and render aid.

And there shall be a time of trouble – Under Antiochus Epiphanes. See the notes at Daniel 11:21-45. Compare the books of the Maccabees, passim.

Such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time – This might be construed with reference to the Jewish nation, as meaning that the trouble would be greater than any that had occurred during its history. But it may also be taken, as our translators understand it, in a more general sense, as referring to any or all nations. In either sense, it can hardly be considered as the language of hyperbole. The troubles that came upon the land under the persecutions of Antiochus probably surpassed any that the Hebrew nation ever experienced, nor could it be shown that, for the same period of time, they were surpassed among any other people. The Saviour has employed this language as adapted to express the intensity of the trials, which would be brought upon the Jews by the Romans Mat 24:21, but he does not say that as used in Daniel it had reference originally to that event. It was language appropriate to express the thought which he wished to convey, and he, therefore, so employed it.

And at that time – When these troubles are at their height.

Thy people shall be delivered – To wit, by the valor and virtues of the Maccabees. See the accounts in the books of the Maccabees. Compare Prideaux, Con. iii. 257, following.

Every one that shall be found written in the book – Whose names are enrolled; that is, enrolled as among the living. The idea is, that a register was made of the names of those who were to be spared, to wit, by God, or by the angel, and that all whose names were so recorded would be preserved. Those not so enrolled would be cut off under the persecutions of Antiochus. The language here does not refer to the book of eternal life or salvation, nor is it implied that they who would thus be preserved would necessarily be saved, but to their preservation from death and persecution, as if their names were recorded in a book, or were enrolled. We frequently meet with similar ideas in the Scriptures. The idea is, of course, poetical, but it expresses with sufficient clearness the thought that there was a Divine purpose in regard to them, and that there was a definite number whom God designed to keep alive, and that these would be delivered from those troubles, while many others would be cut off.” (6)

 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

 From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on 1 Thessalonians 4:16:  “with the voice of the archangel; so Michael is called, in Jude 1:9 with which compare Revelation 12:7 and who perhaps is no other than Christ himself, who is the head of all principality and power; and the sense be, that Christ shall descend from heaven with a voice, or shall then utter such a voice, as will show him to be the archangel; or as the Syriac version renders it, “the head”, or “prince of angels”; and which whether, it will be an articulate voice, such as was expressed at the grave of Lazarus; or a violent clap of thunder, which is the voice of God; or the exertion of the power of Christ, is not certain: it is added,” (7)

 “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,” (Revelation 12:7 ESV)

 From the Pulpit Commentary on Revelation 12:7:  “Verses 7, 8. – And there was war in heaven. The passage verses 7-13 is an interruption of the narrative of the persecution of the woman by Satan. It is caused, apparently, by a desire to account in some degree for the relentless hostility of the devil towards God and his Church. Two explanations of the passage may be referred to.

(1) Verses 7-13 relate to the period anterior to the Creation, concerning which we have a slight hint in Jude 1:6. This, on the whole, seems to agree best with the general sense of the chapter, and to present fewest difficulties. Thus:

(a) It accounts for the insertion of the passage (see above).

(b) The war is directly between the devil and Michael, not between the devil and Christ, as at the Incarnation and Resurrection.

(c) Verses 8 and 9 seem to require a more literal interpretation than that which makes them refer to the effects of Christ’s resurrection.

(d) It was not at the period of the Incarnation that the scene of Satan’s opposition was transferred to the earth, as described in ver. 12.

(e) The song of the heavenly voice may be intended to end with the word Christ (ver. 10), and the following passages may be the words of the writer of the Apocalypse, and may refer to the earthly martyrs (see on ver. 10).

(f) This attempt of the devil in heaven may be alluded to in John 1:5, “The darkness overcame it not” (see also John 12:35).

(2) The passage may refer to the incarnation and resurrection of Christ, and the victory then won over the devil. This interpretation renders the whole passage much more figurative.

(a) Michael is the type of mankind, which in the Person of Jesus Christ vanquishes the devil.

(b) Subsequent to the Resurrection Satan is no more allowed to accuse men before God in heaven, as he has done previously (see Job 1; Zechariah 3:1; 1 Kings 22:19-22); he is thus the accuser cast down (ver. 10), and his place is no more found in heaven (ver. 8).

(c) The earth and sea represent the worldly and tumultuous nations. Perhaps the strongest argument in favour of the second view is found in Luke 10:18 and John 12:31. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, Michael and his angels [going forth] to war with the dragon (Revised Version). Alford explains the infinitive phrase as compounded of the genitive τοῦ and depending upon ἐγένετο. Michael (מָי־כאֵל) signifies, “Who is like to God?” We may compare this with the cry of the worldly in Revelation 13:4, “Who is like unto the beast?” In Daniel, Michael is the prince who stands up for the people of Israel (Daniel 12:1; Daniel 10:13, 21). Michael, “the archangel,” is alluded to in Jude 1:9 as the great opposer of Satan. St. John, perhaps borrowing the name from Daniel, puts forward Michael as the chief of those who remained faithful to the cause of God in the rebellion of Satan and his angels. The angels of the dragon are the stars of ver. 4, which he drew with him to the earth, and possibly the reference to this event in ver. 4 gives rise to the account in verses 7-13. Some commentators interpret the war here described as that between the Church and the world. Michael is thus made to be symbolical of Christ, and some have no difficulty in indicating a particular man (such as Licinius) as the antitype of the dragon. And the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. The Greek is stronger, not even their place, etc. Οὐδέ is read in א, A, B, C, Andreas, Arethas; οὔτε is found in P, 1, 17, and others. So complete was the defeat of Satan that he was no longer permitted to remain in heaven in any capacity.” (8)

 Is appears that John Calvin also taught that Jesus is Michael:  “The twelfth chapter commenced, as we stated in yesterday’s Lecture, with the angel’s prediction as to the future state of the Church after the manifestation of Christ. It was to be subject to many miseries, and hence this passage would soothe the sorrow of Daniel, and of all the pious, as he still promises safety to the Church through the help of God. Daniel therefore represented Michael as the guardian of the Church, and God had enjoined this duty upon Christ, as we learn from the 10th chapter of John, (ver. 28, 29.) As we stated yesterday, Michael may mean an angel; but I embrace the opinion of those who refer this to the person of Christ, because it suits the subject best to represent him as standing forward for the defense of his elect people. He is called the mighty prince, because he naturally opposed the unconquered fortitude of God to those dangers to which the angel represents the Church to be subject. We well know the very slight causes for which terror often seizes our minds, and when we begin to tremble, nothing can calm our tumult and agitation. The angel then in treating of very grievous contests, and of the imminent danger of the Church, calls Michael the mighty prince. As if he had said, Michael should be the guardian and protector of the elect people, he should exercise immense power, and he alone without the slightest doubt should be sufficient for their protection. Christ confirms the same assertion, as we just; now saw, in the 10th chapter of John. He says all his elect were given him by his father, and none of them should perish, because his father was greater than all; no one, says he, shall pluck my sheep out of my hand. My father, who gave them me, is greater than all; meaning, God possesses infinite power, and displays it for the safety of those whom he has chosen before the creation of the world, and he has committed it to me, or has deposited it in my hands. We now perceive the reason of this epithet, which designates Michael as the great prince.” (9)

 Michael as Christ in the Lutheran Exegetical Tradition: An Analysis by Christian A. Preus:  “The identification of Michael as Christ in Revelation 12:7 has a long history in the Lutheran exegetical tradition. Both Luther and Melanchthon make the identification and the Lutheran exegetes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries follow suit with apparent unanimity.” (1)

(1) For Luther’s sermon dealing with Michael, see his Predigt am Michaelistage(September 29, 1544), in Martin Luther ,Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe [Schriften], 65 vols. (Weimar: H. Böhlau, 1883–1993),49:570–587 (hereafter WA). For Melanchthon, see In Danielem Prophetam Commentarius (Basel: Bartholomaeus Westheimer, 1543), esp. 148. I have not been able to find a single Lutheran exegete of Reformation or Post-Reformation times who says that the Michael of Revelation 12 is not Christ. In his posthumously published notes on Jude, John Gerhard (or Gerhard’s son who edited the notes) calls it the opinion of the “orthodox,” by which he means, the Lutherans. See John Gerhard, Annotationes Posthumae in Epistolam Judae (Jena: George Sengenwald, 1660), 29.” (10)

 The reader is encouraged to use the link below to see Christian A. Preus’ complete article. In this article, Preus presents Scriptural reasons for the Lutheran understanding of why Michael is believed to be Christ.

 Answers:

 Q. Is the angel of Jude and Daniel and Revelation the same?

A. It can be concluded, yes.

 Q. What does Michael, contending with the devil about the body of Moses imply?

A. Matthew Poole above answers this question,  1. If Michael the archangel be meant of Christ, then the body of Moses may be taken figuratively, for that body whereof the Mosaical ceremonies were shadows, Colossians 2:17, i.e. the truth and accomplishment of the law given by Moses; that accomplishment was to be in Christ, who is represented by Joshua, Zechariah 3:1-10: him Satan resists in the execution of his office, and by him strikes at Christ, whose type he was, and whom he afterward opposeth in the execution of his office, when he was come in the flesh. Or:

2. If we take Michael for a created angel, which agrees best with the parallel place in Peter, then the body of Moses must be taken properly, (as most take it), and the dispute seems to be: Whether Moses’s body should be so buried as to be concealed from the Israelites? Deuteronomy 34:6, it is said God buried him, (which might be by the ministry of Michael the archangel), and that no man knoweth of his sepulchre. The devil opposeth the angel, desiring to have the place of his burial known, that in after-times it might be a snare to that people, and a means to bring them to idolatry. And this seems very probable, if we consider what work the devil hath made in the world with the bodies of saints and martyrs, and how much idolatry he hath brought in thereby. This passage Jude, most probably, had (as was observed in the argument) from some known tradition among the Jews, the truth of which we are now sure of, because certified here concerning it.

 Q. Is Michael the archangel really an angel or Christ?

A. In this writer’s opinion, there are arguments for both yes and no. This however is not suitable. Possibly the best solution is how the Pulpit commentary in the above entry introduces the reader to the idea that Michael is “symbolical of Christ.” Moreover, certainly, Lutheran theological tradition on this topic cannot be dismissed out of hand.  

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Notes:

 1.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, Entry for “Michael,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), pp. 2047-2048.

2.       Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Jude, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 945.

3.       Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary, Peter and Jude, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1986), pp. 385-388.

4.       Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Jude, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 841.

5.      John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Daniel, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), p. 228-229.

6.       Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Daniel, Vol. 9 p. 838-840.

7.       John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1 Thessalonians, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), p. 69.

8.       H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Revelation, Vol. 22, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 311-312.

9.       Calvin’s Commentaries on The Prophet Daniel, Vol. II, Baker reprint, vol. XIII, pp. 369, 370.

10.   Christian A. Preus, Michael as Christ in the Lutheran Exegetical Tradition: An Analysis (CTQ 80 (2016): 257–267), p. 257.   

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more study:

CTQ 80 (2016): 257–267

Christian A. Preus, Michael as Christ in the Lutheran Exegetical Tradition: An Analysis at http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/PreusCMichaelasChrist.pdf

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What does a “troop” mean in Isaiah 65:11?

What does a “troop” mean in Isaiah 65:11?           By Jack Kettler                                     
What does the word “troop” mean as translated by the King James Version? Most modern translations use the word “fortune” or some variation of “luck” or “lucky.” Is the Bible teaching there is something called good “luck” or chance? Is Gad one of Israel’s patriarchs named after a pagan deity, the god of fortune?

For context, Genesis 30:11 and 49:19 will be surveyed:

 “And Leah said, a troop (ḡāḏ 1409 – 1 Occ.) cometh: and she called his name Gad (gāḏ 1410).” (Genesis 30:11 KJV)

 From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Genesis 30:11:  “And Leah said a troop cometh… A troop of children, having borne four herself, and now her maid another, and more she expected; or the commander of a troop cometh, one that shall head an army and overcome his enemies; which agrees with the prophecy of Jacob, Genesis 49:19, and she called his name Gad: which signifies a “troop”, glorying in the multitude of her children, that she had or hoped to have.” (1)

 “Gad, (gāḏ 1410) a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.” (Genesis 49:19)

 From the Pulpit Commentary on Genesis 49:19:  “Verse 19. – Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. The threefold alliteration of the original, which is lost in the received translation, may be thus expressed: “Gad – a press presses him, but he presses the heel’ (Keil); or, “troops shall troop on him, but he shall troop on their retreat’ (‘Speaker’s Commentary’). The language refers to attacks of nomadic tribes which would harass and annoy the Gadites, but which they would successfully repel.” (2)

 From Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Genesis 49:19:  “49:19-21 Concerning Gad, Jacob alludes to his name, which signifies a troop, and foresees the character of that tribe. The cause of God and his people, though for a time it may seem to be baffled and run down, will be victorious at last. It represents the Christian’s conflict. Grace in the soul is often foiled in its conflicts; troops of corruption overcome it, but the cause is God’s, and grace will in the end come off conqueror, yea, more than conqueror, Ro 8:37. Asher should be a rich tribe. His inheritance bordered upon Carmel, which was fruitful to a proverb. Naphtali is a hind let loose. We may consider it as a description of the character of this tribe. Unlike the laborious ox and ass; desirous of ease and liberty; active, but more noted for quick despatch than steady labour and perseverance. Like the suppliant who, with goodly words, craves mercy. Let not those of different tempers and gifts censure or envy one another.” (3)

 Looking at lexical evidence from Genesis 30:11 and 49:19:

 “A troop cometh” (KJV) or “Good fortune has come!” (ESV)

Strong’s Concordance 1409:

 gad: fortune, good fortune

Original Word: גָּד

Part of Speech: Noun Masculine

Transliteration: gad

Phonetic Spelling: (gawd)

Definition: fortune, good fortune

Gad, the proper name of a person and tribe, occurs some 70 times (Strong’ 1410). As has been seen is Gad גָּ֖ד (gāḏ)

Noun – proper – masculine singular

Strong’s Hebrew 1410: Gad = ‘troop’ 1) seventh son of Jacob by Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid, and full brother of Asher.

 1409 – ḡāḏ; – (גָ֑ד) – How fortunate

 “Troop” and the name “Gad” can have different meanings:

 “and she called his name Gad (gāḏ 1410).” (KJV) or “so she called his name Gad (gāḏ 1410).” (ESV) (Genesis 30:11)

 Strong’s Lexicon 1410:

 Gad

גָּ֖ד (gāḏ)

Noun – proper – masculine singular

Strong’s Hebrew 1410: Gad = ‘troop’ 1) seventh son of Jacob by Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid, and full brother of Asher. 2) The tribe descended from Gad 3) a prophet during the time of David; appears to have joined David when in the hold; reappears in connection with the punishment for taking a census; also assisted in the arrangements for the musical service of the ‘house of God’

 Strong’s Concordance 1410 agrees with the lexicon:

 Gad: a son of Jacob, also his tribe and its territory, also a prophet

Original Word: גָּד

Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine

Transliteration: Gad

Phonetic Spelling: (gawd)

Definition: a son of Jacob, also his tribe and its territory, also a prophet

 Now for the passage under consideration for this study:

 “But ye are they that forsake the LORD that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.” (Isaiah 65:11 KJV)

 While lengthy, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains some of the confusion surrounding this verse of Isaiah 65:11:  “But ye are they that forsake the Lord – Or rather, ‘Ye who forsake Yahweh, and who forget my holy mountain, I will number to the sword.’ The design of this verse is to remind them of their idolatries, and to assure them that they should not escape unpunished.

That forget my holy mountain – Mount Moriah, the sacred mountain on which the temple was built.

That prepare a table – It was usual to set food and drink before idols – with the belief that the gods consumed what was thus placed before them (see the notes at Isaiah 65:4). The meaning here is, that the Jews had united with the pagan in thus ‘preparing a table;’ that is, setting it before the idols referred to, and placing food on it for them.

For that troop – Margin, ‘Gad.’ Perhaps there is nowhere a more unhappy translation than this. It has been made evidently because our translators were not aware of the true meaning of the word, and did not seem to understand that it referred to idolatry. The translation seems to have been adopted with some reference to the paronomasia occurring in Genesis 49:19; ‘Gad, a troop shall overcome him’ – יגוּדנוּ גדוּד גד gâd gedûd yegûdenû – where the word Gad has some resemblance to the word rendered troop. The word Gad itself, however, never means troop, and evidently should not be so rendered here. Much has been written on this place, and the views of the learned concerning Gad and Meni are very various and uncertain. Those who are disposed to examine the subject at length, may consult Rosenmuller, Vitringa, and Gesenius on the passage; and also the following works.

On this passage, the reader may consult the Dissertation el David Mills, De Gad et Meni, and also the Dissertation of Jo. Goth. Lakemacher, De Gad et Meni, both of which are to be found in Ugolin’s Thesaurus, xxiii. pp. 671-718, where the subject is examined at length. Mills supposes that the names Gad and Meni are two names for the moon – sidus bonum, and μηνη mēnē. He remarks that ‘on account of the power which the moon is supposed to exert over sublunary things, it was often called the goddess Fortune. It is certain that the Egyptians by Τύχη Tuchē (Fortune), which they numbered among the gods who were present at the birth of man, understood the moon.’ Among the Arabians and Persians the moon is said to have been denominated Sidus felix et faustum – ‘The happy and propitious star.’ See Rosenmuller in loc. Lakemather supposes that two idols are meant – Hecate and Mann Vitringa and Rosenmuller suppose that the sun and moon are intended. Grotius supposes that the name Gad means the same as the goddess Fortune, which was worshipped by the Hebrews, Chaldeans, and Arabians; and that Meni means a divinity of that name, which Strabo says was worshipped in Armenia and Phrygia. Other opinions may be seen in Vitringa. That two idols are intended here, there can be no doubt. For,

1. The circumstance mentioned of their preparing a table for them, and pouring out a drink-offering, is expressive of idolatry.

2. The connection implies this, as the reproof in this chapter is to a considerable extent for their idolatry.

3. The universal opinion of expositors, though they have varied in regard to the idols intended, proves this.

Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and the rabbis generally suppose that by Gad the planet Jupiter was intended, which they say was worshipped throughout the East as the god of fortune, and this is now the prevalent opinion. The word גד gad, says Gesenius, means fortune, especially the god Fortune, which was worshipped in Babylon. He supposes that it was the same idol which was also called Baal or Bel (compare the notes at Isaiah 46:1), and that by this name the planet Jupiter – Stella Jovis – was intended, which was regarded throughout the East as the genius and giver of good fortune, hence called by the Arabians bona fortuna major – ‘the greater good fortune.’ The word ‘Meni,’ on the other hand, Gesenius supposes to denote the planet Venus, called in the East bolla fortuna minor – ‘the lesser good fortune.’ The Vulgate renders this, Fortunae – ‘To Fortune.’ The Septuagint, Τῷ δαιμονίῳ tō daimoniō – ‘To a demon;’ though, in the corresponding member, Meni is rendered by τῇ τύχῃ tē tuchē – ‘To Fortune,’ and it is possible that the order of the words has been inverted, and that they meant to render the word Gad by Fortune. The Chaldee renders it simply, לטעון leṭa‛evân – ‘To idols.’ It is agreed on all hands that some idol is here referred to that was extensively worshipped in the East; and the general impression is, that it was an idol representing Fortune. But whether it was the Sun, or the planet Jupiter, is not easy to determine.

That it was customary to place a table before the idol has been already remarked, and is expressly affirmed by Jerome. ‘In all cities,’ says he, ‘and especially in Egypt, and in Alexandria, it was an ancient custom of idolatry, that on the last day of the year, and of the last month, they placed a table filled with food of various kinds, and a cup containing wine and honey mixed together – poculum mulso mistum – either as an expression of thankfulness for the fertility of the past year, or invoking fertility for the coming year.’ Thus Herodotus (iii. 18) also describes the celebrated table of the sun in Ethiopia. ‘What they call the table of the sun was this: A plain in the vicinity of the city was filled, to the height of four feet, with roasted flesh of all kinds of animals, which was carried there in the night under the inspection of magistrates; during the day, whoever pleased was at liberty to go and satisfy his hunger. The natives of the place affirm that the earth spontaneously produces all these viands; this, however, is what they call the table of the sun.’

And that furnish the drink-offering – In all ancient worship, it was customary to pour out a libation, or a drink-offering. This was done among idolaters, to complete the idea of a repast. As they placed food before the idols, so they also poured out wine before them, with the idea of propitiating them (see the notes at Isaiah 57:6).

To that number – Margin, ‘Meni.’ The phrase, ‘to that number’ evidently conveys no idea, and it would have been much better to have retained the name Meni, without any attempt to translate it. The rendering, ‘to that number’ was adopted because the word מני menı̂y is derived from מנה mânâh, to allot, to appoint, to number. Various opinions also have been entertained in regard to this. Rosenmuller and many others suppose that the moon is intended, and it has been supposed that the name Meni was given to that luminary because it numbered the months, or divided the time. Bynaeus and David Mills have endeavored to demonstrate that this was the moon, and that this was extensively worshipped in Eastern nations. Vitringa supposes that it was the same deity which was worshipped by the Syrians and Philistines by the name of Astarte, or Ashtaroth, as it is called in the Scripture; or as οὐρανίης ouraniēs, the queen of heaven; and if the name Gad be supposed to represent the sun, the name Meni will doubtless represent the moon.

The goddess Ashtaroth or Astarte, was a goddess of the Sidonians, and was much worshipped in Syria and Phenicia. Solomon introduced her worship in Jerusalem 1 Kings 11:33. Three hundred priests were constantly employed in her service at Hierapolis in Syria. She was called ‘the queen of heaven;’ and is usually mentioned in connection with Baal. Gesenius supposes that the planet Venus is intended, regarded as the source of good fortune, and worshipped extensively in connection with the planet Jupiter, especially in the regions of Babylonia. It seems to be agreed that the word refers to the worship of either the moon or the planet Venus, regarded as the goddess of good fortune. It is not very material which is intended, nor is it easy to determine. The works referred to above may be consulted for a more full examination of the subject than is consistent with the design of these notes. The leading idea of the prophet is that they were deeply sunken and debased in thus forsaking Yahweh, and endeavoring to propitiate the favor of idol-gods.” (4)

 As Barnes notes, “the word Gad itself, never means troop, and should not be so rendered here.” Barnes’s comment is in line with the previously seen lexical evidence.

 Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Isaiah 65:11 is an excellent short analysis:

 “(11) That forget my holy mountain . . .—The words imply, like Isaiah 65:3-5, the abandonment of the worship of the Temple for a heathen ritual, but those that follow point, it will be seen, to Canaanite rather than Babylonian idolatry, and, so far, are in favour of the earlier date of the chapter. The same phrase occurs, however, as connected with the exiles in Psalm 137:5.

That prepare a table for that troop.—Hebrew, “for the Gad,” probably the planet Jupiter, worshipped as the “greater fortune,” the giver of good luck. The LXX. renders “for the demon” or “Genius.” The name of Baal-Gad (Joshua 11:17; Joshua 12:17) indicates the early prevalence of the worship in Syria. Phœnician inscriptions have been found with the names Gad-Ashtoreth and Gad-Moloch. The “table” points to the lectisternium (or “feast”), which was a prominent feature in Assyrian and other forms of polytheism.

Unto that number. – Here, again, we have in the proper name of a Syrian deity, probably of the planet Venus as the “lesser fortune.” Some scholars have found a name Manu in Babylonian inscriptions; and Manât, one of the three deities invoked by the Arabs in the time of Mahomet, is probably connected with Mëni the it (Cheyne). See Sayce, as in Note on Isaiah 65:4.” (5) Comments in conclusion regarding Isaiah 65:11:

In context, there are three clauses in the passage if noted, help understand Isaiah 65:11. Underlining, along with yellow, red and green highlighting will help emphasis the clauses.

“But you are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain,” that “prepare a table for that troop,” (lag·gaḏ – Strong’ 1409) “and that furnish the drink offering to that number” (lam·nî – Strong’ 4507).

The verse is addressed to “you that forsake the LORD,” and who do two things, one, Prepare a table “for that troop” (lag·gaḏ – Strong’ 1409) (“Fortune” possibly the planet Jupiter) and two, who furnish a drink offering “to that number” or (lam·nî – Strong’ 4507) (“Destiny” a Syrian or Arabian deity represented by the planet Venus).

In the passage, there are two false gods, “Fortune” and “Destiny,” and those who prepare a table for “Fortune” and furnish the drink offering for “Destiny.” Those who serve the pagan deities are the “you” that have forsaken the LORD.

Therefore, it is not apparentat all that “Gad” לַגַּד֙ (lag·gaḏ Fortune – Strong’ 1409) in this passage is Israel’s patriarch, גָּ֖ד (gāḏ Strong’ 1410). 

There are three Gads mentioned in the Bible:

1.      Gad the seventh son of Jacob in Genesis 30:11.

2.      Gad a prophet in the time of David in 1Samuel 22:5.

3.      Gad refers to an idol in Isaiah 65:11.

As noted, the Hebrew word גָּד ḡāḏ (Strong’ 1409), is distinct from Israel’s patriarch גָּ֖ד gāḏ (Strong’1410). Therefore, in Isaiah 65:11, it is extremely doubtful it is referring to Jacob’s son.

In answer to the first question, if the Bible is teaching or endorsing luck or fortune, no. Just because the Bible mentions something in no wise constitutes an endorsement. The pagan deities “Fortune” and “Destiny” are mentioned not recognized. 

In answer to the second question regarding Gad, the patriarch named after a pagan deity, no as seen from the lexical and commentary evidence. Isaiah 65:11, in particular, is not talking about Gad, Israel’s patriarch.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

Notes:

1.       John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Genesis, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), p. 529-530.

2.       H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Genesis, Vol. 1. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 528.

3.       Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Genesis, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 416-411-412.

4.       Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Isaiah, Vol. p. 1177-1179.

5.       Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Isaiah, Vol. 4. (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 572.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more study:

Hebrew Dictionary (Lexicon-Concordance) Key Word Studies (Translations-Definitions-Meanings)

http://www.lexiconcordance.com/hebrew/1409.html

http://www.lexiconcordance.com/hebrew/1410.html

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The Biblical laws for Quarantine and Sanitation

The Biblical laws for Quarantine and Sanitation                                           By Jack Kettler                                     

What do the Scriptures say about quarantines? When you have a plague or an infectious disease in the land, which biblically is required to be quarantined? What about the contemporary phrase “social distancing.” Is this approach biblical? In this study, biblical quarantine and sanitary laws will be surveyed. Surprisingly, if followed, out of control, problematic health issues can be solved without infringing upon civil liberties or destroying businesses.   

A study like this is relevant considering the panic of government officials over the latest of the yearly flu virus, the so-called Wuhan China flu. The panic is at least partially due to the question of the Wuhan virus, possibly being a human-engineered weaponized virus. To put things in perspective, 10 to 60 thousand people die from the flu each year in the U.S.  

Most of the time, politicians from large decaying cities in America are not in the least concerned about public health issues accept for political purposes. For example, the West coast large city mayors and governors are not concerned with giant rat-infested homeless camps and humans defecating on the streets, real breeding grounds for infectious diseases.

With that said, a biblical study on how to handle a virus or plaque seems prudent. In general, compared to biblical law, political operatives have things ass-backward. God has provided biblical principles, if followed, to solve many public health emergencies.   

A number of passages will be surveyed. A complete listing in this study of passages is not necessary to avoid redundancy. The majority of the passages will be from the Old Testament. How can passages from the Old Testament, which were for Israel, have anything to say today? Let us see.           

The Scriptures on quarantine laws:

“But if the spot is white in the skin of his body and appears no deeper than the skin, and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest shall shut up the diseased person for seven days.” (Leviticus 13:4 ESV) (All passages will be in the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted). 

“He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” (Leviticus 13:46)       

“And if the priest examines the itching disease and it appears no deeper than the skin and there is no black hair in it, then the priest shall shut up the person with the itching disease for seven days, and on the seventh day the priest shall examine the disease. If the itch has not spread, and there is in it no yellow hair, and the itch appears to be no deeper than the skin, then he shall shave himself, but the itch he shall not shave; and the priest shall shut up the person with the itching disease for another seven days.” (Leviticus 13:31-33)           

“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” (Leviticus 13:45-46)   

“Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead. You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.” (Numbers 5:2-3)    

“And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance.” (Luke 17:12)

Quarantines Today by Gary North, author of more than fifty books:

“The question then arises: Is priestly quarantining biblically legitimate today? There is no indication that any of these named diseases survived the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. There is also no indication that the laws of quarantine by a priest continue into the New Covenant. On the contrary, they could not have survived the demise of the priesthood. The quarantine laws were part of the Levitical laws of the Mosaic Covenant, and, I think, to some degree were connected to jubilee land laws of Leviticus 25. These laws all perished with the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. With the collapse of the judicial boundaries of the nation of Israel, there was a collapse of those ritual boundary laws that had governed the people of Israel even before they entered into the land of Canaan. There was no longer any tabernacle to be excluded from, and there was no unclean place outside either the camp or the city to which anyone could be banished. In other words, these laws related to plague, and plague in Mosaic Israel was judicial rather than biological.

In New Testament times, we can study biological afflictions as a separate class of phenomena, and we can also see them as the judgments of God. We do not have the ability to identify the specific sin, either corporate or personal, that leads to most sicknesses, with the exception of venereal diseases. Neither did the priest of the Mosaic Covenant in most cases. The priest was not asked to identify the sin that had led to the individual’s affliction. The priest was required only to identify the affliction and deal with it judicially. We can therefore say that in New Testament times, afflictions of a biological nature can be dealt with either through medical techniques or by public health techniques. Contagious people can either be cured or they can be quarantined. The quarantining process, however, is based on considerations of the contagious nature of the disease, not the judicial status of the individual. Public health laws in the modern world are to be governed by statutes, and statutes must be predictable. Individuals must know in advance the penalties or sanctions that will be imposed for specific kinds of behavior. Thus, an individual who comes down with a disease cannot be said to be a threat to the community merely because he has come down with a disease. The judicial diseases of the Mosaic Covenant are no longer with us. Therefore, the diseases that afflict us today are like the common diseases that afflicted people inside and outside of Mosaic Israel. They are to be dealt with in similar ways: by medical care, by quarantine, by prayer, or by anointing by the elders (James 5:14).

To Protect the Public

The idea of quarantine in the 13th chapter of Leviticus is based on the need to protect the public. The spread of the disease, or other forms of God’s judgment, was to be halted by removing the afflicted individual from within the city. The concern was public health, but it was not a concern about biological contagion. It was concern about the willingness of God to afflict other individuals with the disease or other afflictions because of their unwillingness to enforce His law. Thus, the quarantining process of Leviticus 13 was primarily judicial. In fact, it would probably be safe to say that it was entirely judicial. Only by the extension of the principle of the protection of others within the city is it legitimate to classify today’s diseases as being subject legally to the Bible’s quarantining process.

Does this qualification alter the legal status of the civil government? For example, does this mean that in modern times the civil government is required to finance an individual who has been quarantined? The State has brought sanctions against him in the name of the health of the community. This was also the case in Mosaic Israel. The State has put him under quarantine because he is biologically contagious. This was not the case in the Mosaic Israel. Does the shift from judicial affliction to biological affliction change the legal requirements of the civil government? Does the change from the contagious legal status of the individual to his contagious biological status change the requirements of the civil government? In other words, do the quarantine laws of the civil government go through a fundamental transformation between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant?

It is part of English common law that when a city is on fire, the authorities have the right to knock down an individual’s house in order to stop the spread of that fire. It is also part of common law that the city and the community do not owe anything to the individual who has had his house knocked down in this way. It is presumed that the fire would have destroyed the house anyway. It is also assumed that by destroying the individual’s house, other houses within the community will be protected. This law was for generations basic to the protection of cities. If the fire-fighters had to worry about the cost of repayment each time they knocked down a house, it is unlikely that they would have had the same kind of incentive to knock down the houses. Obviously, if the price of an action goes up, less of it will be demanded. In this case, it means that the city would have been less likely to be protected from the “plague” of fire because of legal obligations to repay those people who were unfortunate enough to be caught in the line of fire, and whose houses, if knocked down, would have allowed the creation of a fire break. It was assumed that the safety of the city was of greater importance than the loss to the individual. Because the house probably would have burned down anyway, it really was not a net loss to the owner.

Consider a contemporary individual who has contracted a contagious disease. He has become a threat to the community. If the community is required by law to finance this individual until such time as he recovers biologically from the disease, it is less likely that the community will take the necessary steps to isolate him. Common law therefore does not require the civil government to compensate the quarantined individual. Neither does biblical law. This is why quarantine is a devastating event in the life of the individual. Historically, quarantined people have not been permitted to leave their homes. Others have not been able to come into those homes without falling under the ban. While it is assumed that charity will be forthcoming to help the quarantined individual in his time of need, it has been assumed until very recently that the State has no legal obligation to support that person during the period of his confinement. To do so would raise the cost of confining individuals, and it would therefore lead to an unwillingness on the part of public health officials to confine them. This would increase the risk of contagion and disease in the community.

The contagious nature of the disease, in effect, is a form of violence. It is violence conducted by a third party, namely, the biological organisms that transmit the disease, but it is still a form of violence. The carrier places other people at risk. Thus, common law determined that an individual who becomes a threat to the community must be removed from the community so as to reduce the likelihood of this indirect form of violence. Public health measures are directed against the disease primarily and against its carriers secondarily.” (1)

As can be seen from North’s commentary, quarantine laws applied to those with infectious diseases, not healthy people. Moreover, as in the case of a house on fire, the police and larger society is not to bear the cost of the quarantine.

Gary North is an American paleolibertarian writer, Austrian School economic historian, and leading figure in the Christian Reconstructionist movement. … He is known for his advocacy of biblical and libertarian economics and as a theorist of dominionism and theonomy. Wikipedia

R. J. Rushdoony on Biblical Quarantine Laws

“The commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” has, as its positive requirement, the  mandate to preserve and further life within the framework of God’s law. Basic to this framework of preservation are the laws of quarantine…To return to the quarantine laws with respect to diseases, those cited in Leviticus 13 and 14 are generally described as leprosy and plague. The term leprosy has changed its meaning extensively from its biblical and “medieval” meaning. The meaning then covered a variety of infectious diseases. In terms of this, the meaning of this legislation is that contagious diseases must be treated with all necessary precautions to prevent contagion. Legislation is thus necessary wherever society requires protection from serious and contagious diseases. The state has therefore a legislative power in dealing with plagues, epidemics, venereal diseases, and other contagious and dangerous diseases. Such legislation is plainly required in the Mosaic Law (Num. 5:1-4). Not only is it declared to be a matter of civil legislation, but also an essential aspect of religious education (Deut. 24:8).

It is clear, however, that this legislation, requiring some kind of quarantine or separation for those who are diseased, or who handle the dead (Num. 5:2), has implications beyond the realm of physical diseases.” (2)

R. J. Rushdoony and quarantine laws through history:

“It is also important to note that the observance of these laws helped eliminate Hansen’s disease, or true leprosy, faster in Europe than in other continents. In Europe, there were at least 9,000 hospitals for leprosy alone, maintained by Christian charity. Louis VII of France left legacies to more than 2,000 hospitals for lepers in his country; no ruler of our times has manifested any comparable charity. The Normans in France applied quarantine strictly, both in Normandy and in England. Thus, the very wealthy and influential Knight, Amiloun, was expelled from his castle to become a beggar when he contracted leprosy. The Lateran Council of 1172 required that special churches be built for lepers, and, in time, both hospitals and churches were available for lepers.” (3)

R. J. Rushdoony bio: a Calvinist philosopher, historian, and theologian and is widely credited as being the father of Christian Reconstructionism and an inspiration for the modern Christian homeschool movement. His followers and critics have argued that his thought exerts considerable influence on the evangelical Christian right. From Wikipedia

The Scriptures on Sanitary Laws:
“And an earthenware vessel that the one with the discharge touches shall be broken, and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.” (Leviticus 15:12)_

“Encamp outside the for camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day. You shall purify every garment, every article of skin, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.”  (Numbers 31:19-20)

 “If any man among you becomes unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he shall go outside the camp. He shall not come inside the camp, but when evening comes, he shall bathe himself in water, and as the sun sets, he may come inside the camp.” (Deuteronomy 23:10-11) Burying human waste  “Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment, have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement.” (Deuteronomy 23:12-13 NIV)

 An excerpt from The First Book of Public Hygiene:  “On the positive side, the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, provide tremendous insight and relief concerning disease prevention. Remarkably, the Pentateuch is regarded as the earliest evidence we have of sound public health and sanitary practices. These ancient writings, when used in conjunction with modern medicine, can break the mode of transmission of virtually every scourge known to humanity.

What follows is a brief summary of the biblical instructions pertaining to public health and sanitation. Bear in mind that these regulations were practiced some 3,500 years before the germ concept of disease was discovered (mainly by the creationist Louis Pasteur)!” (4)

 The full article is a goldmine of wisdom. As an aside, when God gave the Pentateuch and all of the wisdom included therein to the people of Israel, the continent of Europe was not much more than bands of savages.

 Concluding thoughts:

 Regarding the continuing validity of Old Testament principles:

 “To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 19.4)

 The “general equity” refers not to the specific law, but an abiding principle in the law. 

 For example:

 “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet [railing] for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.” (Deuteronomy 22:8)

 Examples of the enduring continuity would be:

 1.      Having a fence around your swimming pool.

2.      Having your yard fenced in if, you have a potentially vicious dog.

 Some buildings and apartments have rooftop recreational areas. Of course, you would want some type of barrier or railing for protection. In modern jurisprudence, there is a whole body of liability laws that deal with things like this. The bottom line, it is about protecting your neighbor and limiting your liability.

 Many of the case laws are more difficult to find principals that have modern applications. A passage from Mark 12:31 is the key to finding continuing principles of applications.  “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

 Instead of locking down entire states, closing down businesses, and placing people essentially under house arrest, the biblical solution is only the person with infectious disease is quarantined, not the public at large. People are free to visit and care for the infected at their own risk. Many Christian charities do precisely this.   

 The contemporary phrase “social distancing” can be good advice from health and state officials. Likewise, reminding people of personal hygiene such as washing hands.

 On closing churches, this should be the call of the elders of the Church in consultation with health officials. Any responsible official would seek the advice of the local clergy before issuing an edict, forcing churches to cease normal functions.

 Defining churches as non-essential is an egregious overreach on the part of the state.  The Church, at the very least, should protest being labeled as non-essential vigorously. 

 We can pray that this present crisis does not turn into a yearly-politicized flu emergency. 

  Here is a quote from Martin Luther when he faced the Black Death Plague:  “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he has expected of me so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

 Historically, Christians have never run away from plagues. “God has not given us the spirit of fear.” (2Timothy 1:7)

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Notes:

 1.       Gary North, BOUNDARIESAND DOMINIONAN ECONOMIC COMMENTARYON LEVITICUS VOLUME 1, (Dallas GA, Point Five Press), p. 292-293.

2.       Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. 1, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Craig Press), p. 293.

3.       Rousas John Rushdoony, Commentaries on the Pentateuch: Leviticus, (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2005), p. 144-145.

4.       David Wise, The First Book of Public Hygiene, (Originally published in Creation 26, no 1 (December 2003): 52-55. https:  //answersingenesis.org/biology/disease/the-first-book-of-public-hygiene/

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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fault lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe

fault lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe

A Review by Jack Kettlerfault linesBy Voddie T. Baucham Jr.
Salem Books (2021)

Voddie Baucham Bio:

Dr. Baucham holds degrees from Houston Baptist University (BA in Christianity/BA in Sociology), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.), an honorary degree from Southern California Seminary (D.D.), and additional post-graduate study at the University of Oxford, England (Regent’s Park College).

A Review:

Unfortunately, many Christians have been asleep and are just now waking up to the subject matter in this book and the gravity of the coming “earthquake” to use the author’s words what the author documents in this book will come as a shock to many. Becoming an ostrich or using a rip van winkle approach will be of no avail.    

Abbreviations and important words encountered in the book:
Antiracism (AR)Critical Social Justice (CSJ)Critical Race Theory (CRT)
Intersectionality (I)
Ethnic Gnosticism (EG)

Important chapters documenting and exposing the antichristian religion and worldview promoted by (AR), (CSJ), (CRT), and (I):

Chapter Four – A New Religion

Chapter Five – A New Priesthood

Chapter Six – A New Canon 

“That same passion has driven me to explore, analyze, and warn against yet another cult: the cult of antiracism.” (66)

“This new cult has created a new lexicon that has served as scaffolding to support what has become an entire body of divinity. In the same manner, this new body of divinity comes complete with its own cosmology (CT/CRT/I); original sin (racism); law (antiracism); gospel (racial reconciliation); martyrs (Saints Trayvon, Mike, George, Breonna, etc.); priests (oppressed minorities); means of atonement (reparations); new birth (wokeness); liturgy (lament); canon (CSJ social science); theologians (DiAngelo, Kendi, Brown, Crenshaw, MacIntosh, etc.); and catechism (“say their names”).” (67)

The author coined the term “Ethnic Gnosticism” and should be considered:
“Ethnic Gnosticism has three basic manifestations. First, it assumes there is a black perspective all black people share (unless they are broken). Of course, no one will admit this since it is obviously racist. However, this is exactly what Ethnic Gnosticism advocates. Second, it argues that white people’s only access to this perspective comes from elevating and heeding black voices. Finally, it essentially argues that narrative is an alternative, and ultimately superior, truth.” (93-94)

 The cult of antiracism and Christ’s forgiveness cannot be harmonized:    “As we saw earlier, the term “antiracist” is loaded. It has a very specific meaning—part of which includes the idea of works-based righteousness. White people are not called to look to God for forgiveness. They are not told that Christ’s blood is sufficient. No, they are told that they must do the unending work of antiracism. And this work must be done regardless of their own actions since the issue at hand is a matter of communal, generational guilt based on ethnicity.” (129)

 Similar to this is obtaining forgiveness in the environmental religion by sorting trash.

 Baucham exposes the dangers of a “new canon” by the cult of antiracism and its extrabiblical literature and the attack on the sufficiency of Scripture.   “The idea that we need a new canon to be able to decipher what the Bible says, or more specifically, what it means regarding race, is quite troubling. This attack on the sufficiency of Scripture should serve as a call to arms.” (130)

 The religion of antiracism is essentially the same as other cults. The Bible cannot be understood without the help of extrabiblical literature and interpreted by a new priesthood or special enlightened leaders.  “James Lindsay, one of the leading academic critics of the Critical Social Justice movement, offers a warning that the Church should heed is noted by the author:

For the foreseeable future, online outrage mobs are going to happen, and they will… eventually target your organization. Your only chance of resisting them is to maintain a positive, anti-fragile, team-oriented internal culture that acts as a counterbalance that gets you through the storm (think about it like boarding up your windows against a rhetorical hurricane). That requires making use of organizational leadership to cultivate the right internal values—broadly liberal and anti-victimhood—and to treat them like a condition of employment or participation in your organization. Then, you can stand against this obnoxious pressure and keep fulfilling your organization’s missions and purposes, as a team.” (204-205)

 The author makes clear; there is nowhere to hide from the catastrophe that has been unleashed:  “It is important to note that, in the Critical Social Justice view, the hegemonic power in the United States of America must include, but not be limited to, all of the following: white, male, heterosexual,9 cisgendered,10 able-bodied,11 native-born, and Christian. That’s right: Christianity is part of the oppressive hegemony!12 And according to some, it is the most pernicious aspect of it; it has and maintains “privilege,” and contributes to oppression.”  (207)

 In conclusion:

 (CSJ), (CRT) and (I) have made inroads into many churches and seminaries under the guise of increasing racial sensitivity, awareness of past societal sins. If this was all that is happening, few could argue with it. However, as Dr. Baucham thoroughly documents, antiracism has all the hallmarks of a religious worldview. If seen in this light, the fundamental assumptions or presuppositions of the movement can be evaluated Biblically in terms of a Christian worldview apologetic. If this approach is taken, the trap of trying to escape the charge of being insensitive racially can be avoided.      

 Dr. Voddie Baucham is one of the contributors and signers of the Dallas Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel. This statement can be found online.

 Dr. Baucham’s book is the gold standard on (CSJ), (CRT), (I) and should be widely read by Christians and politicians everywhere.

 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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The Coming One of Isaiah

The Coming One of Isaiah                                                                        by Jack Kettler                                     

Isaiah means the “Salvation of Yahweh.” There are over twenty messianic prophecies in Isaiah. In this brief survey, only a handful will be considered along with an entry from the Strong’s lexicon or a commentary exposition. Concluding this survey, there will be a biographical sketch of Isaiah.

A Psalm of David:

“Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah” (Psalm 24:8-10) (Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are from the ESV)

The reader is encouraged as they work through this survey to ponder the question; do David and Isaiah speak of the same person?

What exactly did Isaiah say in this regard?

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)

Everlasting Father – אֲבִיעַ֖ד (5703 Strong’s) ’ă-ḇî-‘aḏ. See the New Testament explanation on why Isaiah’s coming one is called the “Everlasting Father.” “…Behold, I and the children God has given me.” (Hebrew’s 2:13) Isaiah’s coming one is not the Trinitarian Father, nevertheless, He is a father unto the children God gave him.

“Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:7)

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

“(7) Of the increase . . .—Better, “For the increase of the government, and for peace with no end . . . The “throne of David,” though in harmony with the whole body of prophetic tradition as to the Messiah, may be noted as the first appearance of that tradition in Isaiah.

Henceforth even for ever.—The words admit, as in the parallels of Psalm 21:4; Psalm 61:6-7; 2Samuel 7:12-16, of being interpreted of the perpetuity of the dynasty of which the anointed king is to be the founder; but the “Everlasting Father “of the context, and the parallels of Psalm 45:6; Psalm 110:4, are in favour of its referring to a personal immortality of sovereignty.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform . . .—As in Greek so in Hebrew, we have the same root-word and root-idea for “zeal” and “jealousy,” and here, perhaps, the latter thought is dominant. It is because Jehovah loves the daughter of Zion with an absorbing love that He purposes such great things for her future, and that what He purposes will be assuredly performed. (Comp. Ezekiel 5:13.)” (1)

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” (Isaiah 11:1 KJV)

Isaiah’s coming one is called a branch – וְנֵ֖צֶר (5342 Strong’s) wə-nê-ṣer

“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” (Isaiah 11:2 ESV)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary:

“The Spirit of the Lord; the Holy Ghost, wherewith he was anointed, Acts 10:38, and by whom his mother was overshadowed, Luke 1:35.

Shall rest upon him; not only come upon him at certain times, as he did upon the prophets now and then at his pleasure, but shall have its constant and settled abode in him; although the same phrase be sometimes used of other prophets in an inferior sense, as Numbers 11:17 2 Kings 2:15.

The Spirit of wisdom and understanding; which hath these perfections in itself, and confers them upon him. It is neither easy, nor at all necessary, exactly to distinguish these two gifts; it is sufficient that they are necessary qualifications for a governor, and for a teacher, both which offices were to meet in the Messiah; and it is evident that they signify a practical and perfect knowledge of all things necessary for the discharge of his trust, and for his own and people’s good, and a sound judgment, to distinguish between things that differ.

Of counsel and might; of prudence, to give good counsel; and of might and courage, to execute it; which are two necessary qualifications of a ruler.

Of knowledge; of the perfect knowledge of the whole will and counsel of God, especially that which concerns the salvation of men, the prosecution whereof was his great work, as also of all secret and hidden things, yea, of the hearts of men, the knowledge whereof is ascribed to Christ. Matthew 9:4 Revelation 2:23.

Of the fear of the Lord; not a fear of diffidence or horror, but of reverence; a care to please him, and loathness to offend him, which well became the Messiah towards his God and Father.” (2)

“Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” (Isaiah 11:5)

Pulpit Commentary:

“Verse 5. – Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, etc.; i.e. ‘righteousness shall be ever with him, ever ready for active use, ever (as it were) bracing him for action.’ Assuredly, he was ‘righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works’ (Psalm 145:17). Faithfulness (comp. Ephesians 6:14, ‘Having your loins girt about with truth’”). (3)

“Then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.” (Isaiah 16:5) See (Luke 1:33)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

“5. If Judah shelters the suppliant Moab, allowing him to remain in Idumea, a blessing will redound to Judah itself and its “throne.”

truth … judgment … righteousness—language so divinely framed as to apply to ‘the latter days’ under King Messiah, when ‘the Lord shall bring again the captivity of Moab’ (Ps 72:2; 96:13; 98:9; Jer. 48:47; Ro 11:12).

hasting—‘prompt in executing.’” (4)

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16 KJV) See (Psalm 118:22) See (Mark 12:10)

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:

“16. There is but one true ground of confidence—Jehovah’s revealed purpose with regard to Zion.

Behold, I lay strictly: Behold, I am he that hath laid (for the Hebr. construction cf. chapter Isaiah 29:14, Isaiah 38:5). The figure of the verse requires little explanation; it is illustrated by the massive and “costly” stones which formed the foundations of Solomon’s temple (1Kings 5:17). And the general idea is that Jehovah’s relation to Israel is the stable and permanent, though invisible, foundation of all God’s work in the world. Beyond this, it is hardly necessary to go in seeking an answer to the question, of what is the stone an emblem? It is not Jehovah Himself, since it is Jehovah who lays it; it is not the Temple, nor Mount Zion, nor the Davidic dynasty, for these are at most but visible symbols of a spiritual fact disclosed to the prophet’s faith. The foundation stone represents the one element in human history, which is indestructible, viz., the purpose of God, and that purpose as historically realised in the relation, which He has established between Himself and the people of Israel.

a sure foundation Transl. with R.V. of sure foundation.

he that believeth shall not make haste The LXX. reads “shall not be ashamed” (yçbôsh for yâḥîsh). Cheyne and others propose a slight emendation (yâmûsh) which gives the sense “shall not give way.” This is the second great passage in which Isaiah emphasises faith as the primary condition of salvation (Ch. Isaiah 7:9).

The image of the verse recurs in Psalm 118:22; and is applied to the Messiah in Romans 9:33; Romans 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6-8 (following the LXX. text).” (5)

“Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice.” (Isaiah 32:1) See (Psalm 72:1) See (Jeremiah 33:15) See (Ezekiel 37:24)

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

“32:1-8 Christ our righteous King, and his true disciples, are evidently here intended. The consolations and graces of his Spirit are as rivers of water in this dry land; and as the overhanging rock affords refreshing shade and shelter to the weary traveller in the desert, so his power, truth, and love, yield the believer the only real protection and refreshment in the weary land through which he journeys to heaven. Christ bore the storm himself, to keep it off from us. To him let the trembling sinner flee for refuge; for he alone can protect and refresh us in every trial. See what pains sinners take in sin; they labour at it, their hearts are intent upon it, and with art, they work iniquity; but this is our comfort, that they can do no more mischief than God permits. Let us seek to have our hearts more freed from selfishness. The liberal soul devises liberal things concerning God, and desires that He will grant wisdom and prudence, the comforts of his presence, the influence of his Spirit, and in due time the enjoyment of his glory.” (6)

“And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:5)

Glory of the Lord – כְּב֣וֹד (3519 Strong’s) kə-ḇō-wḏיְהוָ֑ה (3068 Strong’s) Yah-weh

“Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.” (Isaiah 55:4)

Leader and Commander – נָגִ֥יד (5057 Strong’s) nā-ḡîḏוּמְצַוֵּ֖ה (6680 Strong’s) ū-mə-ṣaw-wêh

“He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.” (Isaiah 59:17)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary:

He put on righteousness as a breastplate; God, resolving to appear as a man of war against Babylon, that did now oppress his people, puts on his arms, Heb. wrapped himself, and particularly his

breastplate, which he calls righteousness, to show the justness of his cause, as also his faithfulness in making good his promises to his people.

An helmet: as the breastplate is to defend the heart and vital parts, whereby God doth signify the innocency and justness of his cause, as well as his faithfulness; so the

helmet is to defend the brain, the fountain of the animal spirits, and therefore by this piece of armour would have us know that he is invincible: as by the other, that he defends a just cause in his truth and faithfulness; so by this, that he cannot be disappointed in it by reason of his power and invincibleness.

The garments of vengeance or garments made of vengeance; as God is said to put on the former for their sakes whom he would preserve, so he puts on these for their sakes whom he will destroy, viz. his people’s enemies, the Chaldeans, and other enemies of the Jews.

Was clad with zeal; either,

1. Zeal to his own honour, which had been given to idols; or,

2. Zeal for his own people, who were now in distress; or,

3. Zeal and indignation against the Babylonians, who were such great oppressors of his people, which are the materials that his garment of vengeance and his cloak of zeal is made of. It may be trifling to follow the metaphor of garments too close: see of the phrase Judges 6:34, margin. The sum of all these expressions is this, to describe both the cause and effect together; the cause was righteousness and zeal in God, the effect salvation to his people, and vengeance on his enemies, as is evident from the next verse.” (7)

“You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 60:16)

Mighty One – אֲבִ֥יר (46 Strong’s) ’ă-ḇîr

“Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? ‘It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel.” (Isaiah 63:1-3) See (Revelation 19:13)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

“CHAPTER 63

Isa 63:1-19. Messiah Coming as the Avenger, in Answer to His People’s Prayers.

Messiah, approaching Jerusalem after having avenged His people on His and their enemies, is represented under imagery taken from the destruction of ‘Edom,’ the type of the last and most bitter foes of God and His people (see Isa 34:5, &c.).

1. Who—the question of the prophet in prophetic vision.

dyed—scarlet with blood (Isa 63:2, 3; Re 19:13).

Bozrah—(See on [868] Isa 34:6).

travelling—rather, stately; literally, ‘throwing back the head’ [Gesenius].

speak in righteousness—answer of Messiah. I, who have in faithfulness given a promise of deliverance, am now about to fulfil it. Rather, speak of righteousness (Isa 45:19; 46:13); salvation being meant as the result of His ‘righteousness’ [Maurer].

save—The same Messiah that destroys the unbeliever saves the believer. Christ’s victory over his enemies, Isaiah 63:1-6, and mercy towards his church; in judgment remembering mercy, Isaiah 63:7-14. The church’s prayer and complaint in faith, Isaiah 63:15-19.

In these two verses either the prophet, as in some vision or ecstasy, is put probably upon inquiry by God himself, rather than by Christ, or Michael, or Judas Maccabeeus, as some have thought; and the rather, because this place doth thus suit best with Isaiah 59:16,17. Or the church makes inquiry, and that with admiration, who it is that appears in such a habit or posture, Isaiah 63:1, and why, Isaiah 63:2.

Edom; that is, the country of Idumea, where Esau dwelt, and Esau himself was sometimes called by this name, Genesis 25:30; and it is put synecdochically for all the enemies of the church, as Moab is, Isaiah 25:10: See Poole “Isaiah 25:10”.

With dyed garments; or, stained: thus, Christ is described, Revelation 19:13, and so also Isaiah 63:3: LXX, the redness of garments.

Bozrah; the capital city of Idumea; see further Isaiah 34:6, a parallel text; and Edom and Bozrah here are mentioned, either,

1. Not as relating to the places so called, but by way of allusion to the garments of this conqueror, Edom signifying red, and Bozrah a vintage; the one relating to his treading the winepress, and the other to the blood sprinkled upon his garments, Isaiah 63:3: the like manner of speaking you have Psalm 120:5. Or rather,

2. Put synecdochically for all the enemies of the church, among whom, though antichrist be not particularly designed, yet may be reckoned, being one of the chief of them; thus typifying Christ’s victories over all the enemies of the church, Revelation 19:19-21; and this is usual. Babylon is put for any detestable city, and Moab for all that are vile and abominable, Isaiah 25:10, so Edom here for all God’s enemies. And he mentions these Idumeans rather than the Chaldeans, who were the Jews’ chief and particular enemies,

2. Partly to set forth the greatness of the enmity, being of old standing, and an inbred malignity, Genesis 25:22,23, and irreconcilable, and perpetual, Amos 1:11, and particularly put forth when the Babylonians took Jerusalem, Psalm 137:72. Partly to comfort the Jews, both because God would take particular revenge upon Edom, as he had threatened, and prophesied by Obadiah, which is the substance of that whole prophecy; and also these being their near neighbours, God doth give them security, that they shall not only be delivered frons the Chaldeans, those remoter enemies, but from the Idumeans also, whose vicinity and neighbourhood might have been troublesome to them.

Glorious in his apparel, such as generals are wont to march before their armies in, or great conquerors, that walk in state and gallantry from their conquests.

In the greatness of his strength; in or according to the majesty of his gait, being an indication of the greatness of his strength, and intimating that he hath thoroughly done his work, and fears no pursuing enemy, as the lion that keepeth his majestic gait without the fear of any other beast, Proverbs 30:30: this notes the invincibleness of his power, and that it is his own strength, he needeth not the help of armies or other instruments, and thus he will travel through all the countries of his enemies.

I that speak in righteousness: here the Lord Christ gives an answer, wherein he both asserts his fidelity, that he will faithfully perform what he hath promised, and that he will truly execute justice, Revelation 19:11; and hereby also he distinguisheth himself from all idol gods, Isaiah 45:19, 20.

Mighty to save; I have power to accomplish salvation as powerful as faithful, Isaiah 19:20.” (8)

A summary of the characteristics of Isaiah’s coming one:

·         The increase of his government and of peace there will be no end… 9:7

·         The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him… 11:2

·         Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist… 11:5

·         In the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice… 16:5

·         A foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation… 28:16

·         Behold, a king will reign in righteousness… 32:1

·         He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head… 59:17

·         Who is this who comes from Edom… 63:1

In conclusion:

Yes, David and Isaiah both spoke of Christ in Old Testament Messianic terminology. 

“Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.” (John 12:41)

Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Isaiah:
“Isaiah

(Heb. Yesh’yahu, i.e., “the salvation of Jehovah”).

The son of Amoz (Isaiah 1:1; 2:1), who was apparently a man of humble rank. His wife was called “the prophetess” (8:3), either because she was endowed with the prophetic gift, like Deborah (Judg. 4:4) and Huldah (2Kings 22:14-20), or simply because she was the wife of “the prophet” (Isaiah 38:1). He had two sons, who bore symbolical names.

He exercised the functions of his office during the reigns of Uzziah (or Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1). Uzziah reigned fifty-two years (B.C. 810-759), and Isaiah must have begun his career a few years before Uzziah’s death, probably B.C. 762. He lived till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, and in all likelihood outlived that monarch (who died B.C. 698), and may have been contemporary for some years with Manasseh. Thus, Isaiah may have prophesied for the long period of at least sixty-four years.

His first call to the prophetical office is not recorded. A second call came to him “in the year that King Uzziah died” (Isaiah 6:1). He exercised his ministry in a spirit of uncompromising firmness and boldness in regard to all that bore on the interests of religion. He conceals nothing and keeps nothing back from fear of man. He was also noted for his spirituality and for his deep-toned reverence toward “the holy One of Israel.”

In early youth Isaiah must have been moved by the invasion of Israel by the Assyrian monarch Pul (q.v.), 2 Kings 15:19 ; and again, twenty years later, when he had already entered on his office, by the invasion of Tiglath-pileser and his career of conquest. Ahaz, king of Judah, at this crisis refused to co-operate with the kings of Israel and Syria in opposition to the Assyrians, and was on that account attacked and defeated by Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Samaria ( 2 Kings 16:5 ; 2 Chr. 2 Kings 28:5 2 Kings 28:6 ). Ahaz, thus humbled, sided with Assyria, and sought the aid of Tiglath-pileser against Israel and Syria. The consequence was that Rezin and Pekah were conquered and many of the people carried captive to Assyria (2Kings 15:29; 16:9; 1Chronicles 5:26). Soon after this Shalmaneser determined wholly to subdue the kingdom of Israel. Samaria was taken and destroyed (B.C. 722). So long as Ahaz reigned, the kingdom of Judah was unmolested by the Assyrian power; but on his accession to the throne, Hezekiah (B.C. 726), who “rebelled against the king of Assyria” (2 Kings 18:7), in which he was encouraged by Isaiah, who exhorted the people to place all their dependence on Jehovah (Isaiah 10:24; 37:6), entered into an alliance with the king of Egypt (Isaiah 30:2-4). This led the king of Assyria to threaten the king of Judah, and at length to invade the land. Sennacherib (B.C. 701) led a powerful army into Palestine. Hezekiah was reduced to despair, and submitted to the Assyrians (2Kings 18:14-16). But after a brief interval war broke out again, and again Sennacherib (q.v.) led an army into Palestine, one detachment of which threatened Jerusalem (Isaiah 36:2-22; 37:8). Isaiah on that occasion encouraged Hezekiah to resist the Assyrians (37:1-7), whereupon Sennacherib sent a threatening letter to Hezekiah, which he “spread before the Lord” (37:14). The judgement of God now fell on the Assyrian host. “Like Xerxes in Greece, Sennacherib never recovered from the shock of the disaster in Judah. He made no more expeditions against either Southern Palestine or Egypt.” The remaining years of Hezekiah’s reign were peaceful (2Chronicles 32:23 2 Chronicles 32:27-29). Isaiah probably lived to its close, and possibly into the reign of Manasseh, but the time and manner of his death are unknown. There is a tradition that he suffered martyrdom in the heathen reaction in the time of Manasseh (q.v.).

One of the heads of the singers in the time of David (1Chronicles 25:3 1Chronicles 25:15, “Jeshaiah”).

A Levite (1Chronicles 26:25).

Ezra 8:7.

Nehemiah 11:7.” (9)

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Notes:

 1.       Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Isaiah, Vol. 4, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 446.

2.       Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Isaiah, Vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 355.

3.       H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Isaiah, Vol. 10. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 203.

4.       Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 527.

5.       John Skinner, Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Isaiah, vol. 1, Volume 19 of (Cambridge University Press, 1898), e-Sword version.

6.       Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Isaiah, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 1158.

7.       Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Isaiah, Vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 437.

8.       Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 589.

9.       M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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What are Weights and Measures in Biblical Law?

What are Weights and Measures in Biblical Law?                                          by Jack Kettler                                     

What do the Scriptures say about Weights and Measures?

A contemporary definition:

 Weights and Measures, a Definition from the U.S. Legal Code:

“Weights, measures or weighing or measuring devices are defined to include all weights, scales, beams, measures of every kind, instruments and mechanical devices for weighing, or measuring, and any appliances and accessories connected with any or all such instruments. The federal government has adopted a standard for weights and measures which is adopted on a state-by-state basis. In states which adopt the federal standard, all contracts made within the state for any work to be done or for anything to be sold or delivered must be construed to have been according to the standard, unless the parties stipulate to the contrary.

Weights and measures regulatory professionals set standards and enforce uniform procedures to verify weight, volume, length or count, ensuring that consumers get the quantity that they pay for and that businesses sell the quantity that they advertise. Inspections may be conducted at such places as grocery stores and gas stations. Some of the items affected include home heating oil, fabrics, parking meters, and taxi fares.”

Where did the notion about weights and measures in the U.S. Legal code come from? It did not arise out of thin air. As with many other legal principles and laws in Western legal codes, it is rooted in Scripture.

The Scriptures:

“You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15 ESV) (All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted)

“You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:35-36 ESV)

“You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small.” (Deuteronomy 25:13)

Comments from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers are apropos:

“Deuteronomy 25:13-16. JUST WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.

So Leviticus 19:35-36. Among the laws of moral holiness comes the law of just weights and measures.

(16) An abomination unto the Lord.—So in Proverbs 11:1, “a false balance is abomination to the Lord.” (See also Amos 8:4-8.) The protection of the poor is the chief practical end in this; rich men can take care of themselves. Poor men are doubly robbed by short weight and measure, because they cannot protect themselves against it. The injustice tends to perpetuate their poverty.” (1)

“A full and fair weight you shall have a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 25:15)

“A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.” (Proverbs 11:1)

The Pulpit Commentary explains this nicely:

“Verse 1. – A false balance; literally, balances of deceit (Proverbs 20:23). The repetition of the injunctions of Deuteronomy 25:13, 14 and Leviticus 19:35, 36 points to fraud consequent on increased commercial dealings, and the necessity of moral and religious considerations to control practices, which the civil authority could not adequately supervise. The standard weights and measures were deposited in the sanctuary (Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; 1 Chronicles 23:29), but cupidity was not to be restrained by law, and the prophets had continually to inveigh against this besetting sin (see Ezekiel 45:10; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:11). Honesty and integrity are at the foundation of social duties, which the author is now teaching. Hence comes the reiteration of these warnings (Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10). A just weight; literally, a perfect stone, stones having been used as weights from early times. So we read (2 Samuel 14:26) that Absalom weighed his hair “by the king’s stone” (eben).” (2)

“A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.” (Proverbs 16:11)

“Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 20:10)

“Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?” (Amos 8:4-6)

“Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. Therefore, I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword.” (Micah 6:10-14)

“Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.” (James 5:4”

Falsified weights and measures has been and is a deceitful technique to obtain an unfair advantage in trade. Therefore, in can be concluded that unfair weights and measures is nothing short of stealing. Im balanced weights and measures is a violation of the seventh commandment.

In conclusion, implications for today:

“Why Paper Money Represents Theft

By Mark R. Rushdoony

June 16, 2005

Every hour of every day the government is stealing your wealth, and, like a good thief, is never suspected. It does it by creating paper (or digital) money and spending it, just like a counterfeiter.

Scripture demands just weights and measures (Lev.19:35–36; Deut. 25:13–15). Obviously, a butcher who holds his finger on the scale when he weighs meat violates this requirement. However, this demand is also a reference to money, which was then also by weight of gold and silver and was counterfeited by adding impurities to it so that its weight was unjust. Tampering with scales or the money that measured wealth in economic transactions was called “unrighteousness” (Lev.19:35) because it was theft. Isaiah condemned Jerusalem for its sin. It had become a city of murderers, thieves, and bribe-takers, and, as Isaiah said, their “silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water” (Isa. 1:22). In other words, Jerusalem was a place where you were going to get clipped.

Melting worthless metals into precious ones, however, is cumbersome. Today’s unjust monetary weights are represented by paper money issued by the government. Increasingly, paper is eliminated and money is created digitally in a computer. Click, and dollars appear because the Federal Reserve System so commands. The government spends these artificial dollars at full value; it is only after they circulate that the increased circulation causes market forces to realize there is more money chasing the same amount of goods. The result is higher prices, reflecting the fact that all money is now worth a little less. Paper inflation is like adding water to wine; the wine becomes less valuable, not more.

Paper money works in the same manner as counterfeiting; only governments allow themselves the exclusive right to inflate the money supply. It still represents a morally lawless money because it is an artificial money, an unjust, unrighteous weight (really no weight at all). Inflation is the government creating spending power by “watering down” the money supply.

Paper money is the greatest single means of government control of wealth. We measure our economy, in fact, in terms of the government’s success in manipulating the flow of money. We watch the Federal Reserve to see if they can maintain a balance between recession and inflation. The health of our economy is increasingly measured in terms of government management, not in terms of productivity, savings, or capital. In reality, an economy that demands government management is already a troubled one.

Critics of hard (gold, silver) money note these are commodities that can fluctuate in value. They can vary in an open market, but paper money always varies and does so in a consistently downward trend. Money represents wealth, and government-inflated paper dollars are a manipulated sliding scale of wealth. How much has our scale slid? It is estimated that if you had held on to a 1934 paper dollar, its spending power today would be the equivalent of five 1934 cents!

We usually realize the tenuous nature of our money’s value. We scramble to avoid holding paper. We put paper money into tangibles we hope will increase in real value faster than paper dollars will decline. Antiques, art, real estate, and stocks all offer us some hope of outpacing the decline in value of our paper money.

Inflation destroys money, the measure of wealth, and is a poison for a capitalistic economy. Inflation means there is no security to acquired wealth, that we must do more than invest, we must speculate on what will outpace inflation.

Our money represents a counterfeiting government’s theft of our wealth. It is an unjust, that is, an unrighteous, weight that produces an artificial economic atmosphere. Like Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day, our counterfeiting government is ripe for judgment. Because it is unjust, the godly ought not to justify it.

Most of God’s judgments are the inevitable consequences of ignoring His laws. If you jump off a cliff, God does not have to do anything to judge you; His gravity will do the job. In our personal finances, we know that theft and debt will lead to our ruin. Our economy is based on the theft of false measurements and debt. One day it will see a severe correction. It will be a hard one, and the hurt will be universal. Avoid both debt and depending on the value of paper money to protect your wealth, however, and you will come out of it better than most.” (3)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

Notes:

1.       Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Deuteronomy, Vol. 2, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 68.

2.       H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Proverbs, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 214.

3.       Mark R. Rushdoony, Why Paper Money Represents Theft, (Vallecito, California, Chalcedon), online https ://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/why-paper-money-represents-theft

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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