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Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows

Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows

Blood of the Prophets:

By Will Bagley

University of Oklahoma Press; 1st Ed. edition (January 1, 2002)

Reviewed by Jack Kettler

Author’s Bio:

“Will Bagley has written and edited more than twenty books on overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, the creation of computer search technology, and the Mormons. Some love him, some hate him, but his work has won every major prize in Western History—an Old Joe, the Spur, the Wrangler, the Caroline Bancroft, the John W. Caughey Prize for the year’s most distinguished book on the history of the American West, and the Merrill J. Mattes Award for Excellence in Writing. He is not “anti” anything: he simply tries to tell the stories and find the truth of what happened.”

Publisher’s Description:

“The massacre at Mountain Meadows on September 11, 1857, was the single most violent attack on a wagon train in the 30-year history of the Oregon and California trails. Yet it has been all but forgotten. Will Bagley’s Blood of the Prophets is an award-winning, riveting account of the attack on the Baker-Fancher wagon train by Mormons in the local militia and a few Paiute Indians. Based on extensive investigation of the events surrounding the murder of over 120 men, women, and children, and drawing from a wealth of primary sources, Bagley explains how the murders occurred, reveals the involvement of territorial governor Brigham Young, and explores the subsequent suppression and distortion of events related to the massacre by the Mormon Church and others.”

A Review:

Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Will Bagley is an exceptionally well-crafted account of one of the most infamous and tragic events in the history of the American West. This book delves into some of the darkest corners of the American experience, exploring the roots and the aftermath of this terrible atrocity. As a historian, Bagley has a unique perspective on the massacre and its impact on the Westward Expansion of the 1800s. He thoroughly analysis historical and archival documents and interviews to investigate the event and its aftermath.

The book opens up with a riveting description of what happened at the Mountain Meadows in September of 1857—a group of over one hundred and twenty men, women, and children seeking a new life in California were slaughtered by local Mormon militia members. Bagley shares with the reader how this event shook the American West and caused much tension between members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and the US government. He then takes us on a journey to uncover this event’s deeper meaning, what led to it, and how it has been remembered and reflected on by various parties throughout history.

The investigation into the massacre allows Bagley to track the source of dissension and violence that surrounded Utah’s new settlers during the 1850s. He explores the complex political tensions between Utah’s Latter-Day Saints and the US government and paints a vivid portrait of life during this time. Bagley’s research leads him to conclude that Brigham Young, the revered leader of the Latter-Day Saints, was ultimately responsible for the massacre because of his misplaced belief in the physical Kingdom of God now theology. 

The “Blood of the Prophets” is essential for readers interested in American West’s history. Bagley expertly weaves an engaging and informative story that explores the origins of a tragedy that still haunts the American landscape. He offers a nuanced and sensitive exploration of this dark chapter in American history that will leave readers with much to consider. In addition, the book also includes a comprehensive bibliography allowing readers to explore further the historical evidence and aftermath of this terrible event.

The interaction of Bagley with Juanita Brooks’ “The Mountain Meadows Massacre” is masterful. Bagley is indebted to Brooks but not dependent.    

Bagley and Brooks had a longstanding professional relationship. Bagley used Brooks’ book as a primary source in his research for his book, “The Blood of the Prophets.” They also participated in various lectures and interviews to discuss the Mountain Meadow Massacre and other events in Utah’s history. Bagley greatly respected Brooks’ work and acknowledged her as the “quintessential scholar” of early Utah history. They often disagreed in their opinions regarding the facts surrounding the Massacre. However, Brooks’ dedication to the truth and Bagley’s exploration of the records allowed their discourse to be productive and informative.

Overall, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows is an excellent and well-researched account that provides a powerful and engulfing exploration of the violence and tension of the American West during this time. With a unique and insightful perspective, Bagley writes an engaging and comprehensive book that stands as an essential exploration for anyone interested in the history of the American West and the trials and tribulations that came with it. After twenty years since its publication, Bagley’s book is highly recommended!

End of review*

“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)

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 15 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon.

*  Assistance from AI Chat and Grammarly

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A Brief List of Arguments for a Young Earth

A Brief List of Arguments for a Young Earth                                               By Jack Kettler

Lack of sediments in the ocean bed:

The average thickness of all sediments on the ocean floor globally is only 1,300 feet, even though sediments have been amassing for supposedly billion years. If natural processes had occurred, the ocean floor would have been filled with sediments many miles deep. However, this is not supported by observed evidence.

The faint Sun paradox:

During Earth’s early history, the sun’s radiance was much less than it is now in the Phanerozoic period, approximately 541.0 million years ago. In reality, the radiative output was so low that all surface water on Earth should have been frozen. However, evidence shows that it was not.

The quickly decaying magnetic field:

The Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that shields living things from solar radiation, which is necessary for life to exist, which is why scientists were surprised by the discovery that this field is rapidly fading. If this rate continues, the field and the Earth will be no older than 20,000 years!

Helium in radioactive rocks:

Due to the extremely low solubility of helium, even though it diffuses quickly from the rocks, it cannot escape the rocks completely. Thus, even after hundreds of thousands of years of uranium and thorium decay, the rocks are still full of helium atoms. Why?

Carbon-14 in fossils, coal, and diamonds:

Carbon-14 is a radioactive form of carbon that scientists use to date fossils. However, its half-life of 5,730 years is so short that any remaining carbon-14 in fossils is expected to decay after a few hundred thousand years. However, astonishingly, carbon-14 has been detected in fossils that are supposedly up to hundreds of millions of years old since the invention of radiocarbon dating. Why is that?

Why are there still comets in existence?

Comets travel billions of miles through the cold expanse of space until they come close to the sun. The sun’s heat causes the comet’s ice to evaporate and dust to be released, forming a stunning tail. Nevertheless, since comets have very little mass, each time they come near the sun, they lose more and more of their mass until they finally disappear. Comets cannot survive the billions of years that they travel through space. So why are there still comets? Does a hypothetical “oort cloud” solve this problem? Where is this cloud? Has anyone ever seen it? Is belief in an “oort cloud” blind faith?

Why is there such as small amount of salt in the Sea?

Salt accumulates in the world’s oceans but at a slower rate than what is added each year, which means that if the oceans have been around for billions of years, their salt content should be much higher than what is observed today.

DNA in prehistoric bacteria:

Scientists were amazed to discover bacteria from 250 million years ago had almost identical DNA to modern bacteria. This discovery was unexpected since, given the known mutation rate,  the DNA of a modern bacteria should have changed significantly over 250 million years.

Soft Tissues and Biomolecules in Fossils:

Under the microscope, Dr. Mary Schweitzer was astonished to find that the fossilized femur of a Tyrannosaurus rex from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana showed signs of blood vessels and red blood cells with nuclei. Dr. Schweitzer’s remarkable finding challenged the long-held assumption that soft tissues cannot survive millions of years of fossilization. – Scientific American, (December 2010, pp. 62–69).

Population growth not consistent evolutionary dates:

Evolutionary theory suggests that the human population should be much larger than it is today, yet the world’s population has only recently reached eight billion. This discrepancy between expectations and reality indicates an issue with evolutionary dating methods. It implies fewer individuals were born for three to six million years than expected.

In closing:

The above summary of problems for evolutionists is a brief sampling of issues that have never been addressed adequately. The present writer makes no claim of originality for the words in this overview and summary.  

“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)

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 15 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon.

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How does touching a dead body make one unclean in Haggai 2:13?

How does touching a dead body make one unclean in Haggai 2:13?              By Jack Kettler

“And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?” So, the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.” (Haggai 2:13)


Haggai’s prophecies to the people of Jerusalem took place in 520 BC, approximately eighteen years after the return from exile in Babylon (538 BC).


  • The Setting: 1:1-2
  • The Rebuke: 1:3-6
  • The Summons to Rebuild the Temple: 1:1-15
  • The Way of Repentance: 1:7-8
  • The Response of the People: 1:12-15
  • The Path of Repentance and Hope for a Future Temple: 2:20-23

Why does touching a corpse or something unclean make a person unclean? What is the solution to restore cleanliness?

Two relevant cross-reference passages:

“If a descendant of Aaron has a skin disease or a discharge, he may not eat the sacred offerings until he is clean. Whoever touches anything defiled by a corpse…” (Leviticus 22:4)

“‘He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days.” (Numbers 19:11)

In verse 13, Haggai echoes Moses from Leviticus and Numbers. What can be learned about the nature of this uncleanness?

The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament comments on the cross-reference passage from Numbers 19:11 and informs the reader on the nature of the uncleanness:

“Whoever touched a corpse, “with regard to all the souls of men,” i.e., the corpse of a person, of whatever age or sex, was unclean for seven days, and on the third and seventh day he was to cleanse himself (התחטּא, as in Numbers 8:21) with the water (בּו refers, so far as the sense is concerned, to the water of purification). If he neglected this cleansing, he did not become clean, and he defiled the dwelling of Jehovah (see at Leviticus 15:31). Such a man was to be cut off from Israel (vid., at Genesis 17:14).” (1)

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers notes a unique characteristic of this type of defilement:

“(13) Unclean. — The defilement incurred by contact with a dead body was one of the deepest. (See Numbers 19:11-16.) On the force of the term tmê nephesh, compare the passages Leviticus 21:11; Leviticus 22:4; Numbers 6:6.” (2) (underlining emphasis mine)

The Pulpit Commentary elaborates further on the seriousness of this defilement:

“Verse 13. – Unclean by a dead body; Septuagint, ἀκάθαρτος ἐπὶ ψυχῇ: Vulgate. pollutus in anima. These versions are closer to the Hebrew, “unclean by a soul,” than the Authorized Version, but not so intelligible. “Soul” (nephesh) is used to mean a person, and, with the attribute “dead” understood, a corpse, as Leviticus 21:1. The full phrase is found in Numbers 6:6, 11. Contact with a dead body produced the gravest ceremonial uncleanness, which lasted seven days, and could be purged only by a double lustration and other rites (Numbers 19:11, etc.). This uncleanness was doubtless connected with the idea that death was the result of sin. Any of these. The things mentioned in the preceding verse. It shall be unclean. In accordance with Numbers 19:22 A polluted human being communicated his pollution to all that he touched. It was owing to the defilement that accompanied contact with the dead that the later Jews used to whiten the sepulchres every year, that they might be seen and avoided (Matthew 23:27, and Lightfoot, ‘Her. Hebr.’ in loc.). Haggai 2:13” (3)

The Pulpit commentators connect Haggai 2:13 with Numbers Chapter 19; identical cases of defilement are seen.

Consulting Christ in the Bible Commentary, The Complete Old Testament, the reader learns about how the cleansing of defilement for touching a dead body is cleansed: 

“The most impressive of all the ordinances provided for the wilderness life of Israel was that which is known as the ordinance of the red heifer, described in Numbers 19, and referred to explicitly in Heb. 9:13, as the special type of the provision which Christ has made for our continual cleansing and keeping amid the defilements of our earthly journey.”

“The Type of Christ 2. The selection of the heifer was expressive of the person and sacrifice of Christ. She was to be red, and the rabbis tell us that there must be no single hair of any other color. She must also be without blemish of any kind, and must never have come under the yoke (Num. 19:2). This was fulfilled in the spotless purity of the Lord Jesus, and in the fact that He was under no obligation on His own account to suffer for sin, or to take the place of the criminal; but was purely voluntary in His sacrifice, and able through His perfect righteousness to make atonement for the guilty. The unmixed color of the living victim vividly portrays the sufferings of Christ, and the emphatic truth that His one business was to be the sacrifice for sins. His mission was all pure crimson. He had not two aims—to please Himself, and save men. He only came to redeem a lost world. 3. The heifer was next taken outside the camp and slain, so Christ was crucified outside the gate as an outcast and a criminal (Num. 19:3; Heb. 13:12). 4. The blood was then sprinkled seven times before the Tent of Meetings, implying the offering of Christ’s life is a perfect satisfaction for the guilt of man and a complete ransom for the soul and its forfeited inheritance (Num. 19:4; 1 Peter 1:19).” (4)

More on defilement and how only Christ can cleanse an individual:

“9. The causes of defilement for which this ordinance was to be applied were extremely suggestive. They were chiefly for persons who became defiled by touching the dead (Num. 19:2, etc.). This represents the presence and influence of the carnal nature which the apostle describes as the “body of death” (Rom. 7:24) hanging about the soul, unless it is wholly laid off. The corpse of the victim, as in ancient times, was chained to the body of the murderer (Rom. 7:24). A poor criminal in St. Louis told the chaplain of his prison one day, that every night in his dreams he saw the body of the man whom he had slain fastened to him by ropes and dragging him down into a horrible vortex, and that he could not shake it off. So many souls are carrying themselves as weights of corruption and death, and there are no sources of defilement so terrible as those that come to us from our sinful nature. Sometimes the touch of the dead comes from our taking back, in recollection and reflection, our former and our forgiven sins. This always contaminates the conscience. Sometimes from not wholly leaving off the old man and reckoning ourselves dead indeed, by the habit of faith. It is only as we refuse to count him our true self that we can be free from his contagion. It is the believer’s privilege to hand him over to Christ, to be by Him held and slain. But if for a moment he forgets this in the wild assaults of natural impulse, and allows a fear to assert itself and intimidate him from his new vantage ground, he will become defiled and unable to hold his victory. More frequently the touch of the dead arises from yielding to the instigations and desires of the flesh, either willfully, or under sudden or hasty temptation. Of course, such yielding is always sin, and brings contamination and condemnation; and there must be instant cleansing, or there will be a complete loss of communion and peace. These two considerations are the most important elements in a life of victory over the flesh, and they are both emphasized again and again in the sixth chapter of Romans, which is the very manual of this teaching. “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Rom. 6:12), is the apostle’s statement of the one; and, “count yourselves dead to sin” (Rom. 6:11), is the equally important direction in respect to the other. If, for a moment, either of these is disobeyed, the soul will be swept by the breath of evil, and must instantly repair to the water of separation before its purity and communion can be restored. Happy indeed are they who have learned this secret of continual cleansing. It is further implied, however, that defilement may come unconsciously from the elements of evil that are around us constantly in a sinful world. Every open vessel which had no covering bound upon it was unclean. The air was so full of contagion that in order to avoid it even the vessels had to be closed. This is intensely true in Christian life. The soul must keep its doors locked, or it shall be continually denied. Some natures are so open to everything that comes, that they just absorb the floating particles of evil that are in the air, even as in some manufacturing cities the purest linen absorbs the coal soot from the atmosphere. Walking as we ever do through such an atmosphere, we must just live in the blood and Spirit of Christ as the very elements of our spiritual existence, even as the pebble in the running brook is kept ever shining with the freshness of the crystal stream. This was what Jesus meant when He said to His disciples: “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (John 15:3); and then added with solemn emphasis, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you” (John 15:4).” (5)

In closing:

The pronouncement of defilement upon one who touched a corpse is symbolic of the predicament of the human race that is fallen sin and dead, awaiting the wages of sin, eternal punishment. God called His people to be separate from the impurities of the world. The Old Testament purification processes pointed to Christ’s perfect sacrifice. 

If Judah follows the instructions laid out by Haggai, this will be the results:

“In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:23)

“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)


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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon

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The History of the Reformation in Scotland

The History of the Reformation in Scotland

By John Knox

The Banner Of Truth Trust

Reviewed by Jack Kettler


“John Knox, (born c. 1514, near Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland—died November 24, 1572, Edinburgh), the foremost leader of the Scottish Reformation, who set the austere moral tone of the Church of Scotland and shaped the democratic form of government it adopted. He was influenced by George Wishart, who was burned for heresy in 1546, and the following year Knox became the spokesman for the Reformation in Scotland. After a period of intermittent imprisonment and exile in England and on the European continent, in 1559 he returned to Scotland, where he supervised the preparation of the constitution and liturgy of the Reformed Church. His most important literary work was his History of the Reformation in Scotland. Knox was the principal figure in the formation of the Presbyterian Church.”

A Review: 

The Reformation in Scotland by John Knox is an informative and comprehensive look at the history of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. Knox provides an accessible overview of the key figures, events, and ideas that shaped the transformation of the Scottish Church during the 16th and 17th centuries. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about Scotland’s religious history and the development of the Presbyterian Church. The Reformed Church in Scotland was born out of the midst of martyrs and persecution.

The Reformation in Scotland is well-structured, no longer in old English, with chapters devoted to the important figures and events that defined the period. Knox’s writing is engaging and clear, making the book accessible to readers of all levels of knowledge. The book contains interesting facts about the development of the Protestant Church in Scotland, and Knox provides context for the events that took place during this time. Moreover, He does an excellent job of exploring the influence of the Reformation on Scotland as a whole.

John Knox had a number of meetings with Mary Queen of the Scots. Knox was a passionate advocate for the Protestant faith and was not afraid to express his theological beliefs to Mary. He was uncompromising and often confrontational, which resulted in a number of heated arguments with the Queen. Knox was unafraid of the face of no human. It was only before God that he trembled. Nevertheless, He never ceased calling Mary to repent from observing the idolatry of the Roman mass. Despite their differences, Knox respected Mary’s intelligence and willingness to engage in dialogue and pledged submission to her rule except for faithfulness to religious dogma. In this area, Knox argued that only God could demand submission. Mary even reportedly said that she feared the prayers of John Knox more than an army of ten thousand men.

John Knox and His First Blast is a powerful and relevant work that still resonates with importance today. Knox calls out the injustices of the Catholic Church and its rulers boldly and passionately. He speaks out against the tyranny of the monstrous rule of women tyrants. Throughout the book, Knox expresses his thoughts on the importance of religious freedom and justice. Of course, it goes without saying that Queen Mary was not too pleased with the treatise.

Overall, John Knox and his First Blast is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the Reformation. It is an inspiring and thought-provoking work that will leave readers feeling inspired and empowered.

The Reformation in Scotland is an invaluable resource for those interested in the history of the Protestant Church in Scotland. Knox’s engaging and comprehensive writing style makes it an accessible and enjoyable read. Knox’s book is highly recommended!

“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)

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 15 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon.

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What is the sacrifice mentioned in Zephaniah 1:7?

What is the sacrifice mentioned in Zephaniah 1:7?                                          By Jack Kettler

“Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.” (Zephaniah 1:7)

Judah is told to “hold thy peace,” why? Additionally, is this an animal sacrifice or something else?


Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of Josiah (640–609 B.C.), a good King of Judah who wanted to restore proper worship.


  • Book heading (1:1)
  • Judgment coming against Judah (1:2–6)
  • The Day of the LORD (1:7–3:20)
  • Day of judgment (1:7–9)
  • Impending doom (1:10–18)
  • Repentance is possible (2:1–3)
  • Warnings to the nations (2:4–3:8)
  • The expectation of hope (3:9–20)

In Matthew Poole’s Commentary, one learns about the phrase “hold thy peace.:”

“Hold thy peace; thou that murmurest in discontent, or disputest out of frowardness against God, his worship, and his government, that thinkest of him but little better than of Baal or Malcham, cease all thy quarrels and dispute, stand in awe.”

“At the presence of the Lord God; who is almighty, omniscient, who ruleth and will avenge.”

“The day of the Lord; a day of vengeance from the Lord. The Lord hath prepared a sacrifice; the wicked among the Jews, whom he will sacrifice by the Chaldean’s sword.”

“He hath bid his guests; summoned in beasts of the field and fowls of the air, to eat the flesh and drink the blood of slain Jews, whom the Babylonians slew.” (1)

The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary informs the reader about the sacrifice:

“This judgment will speedily come. Zephaniah 1:7. “Be silent before the Lord Jehovah! For the day of Jehovah is near, for Jehovah has prepared a slaying of sacrifice, He has consecrated His called.” The command, “Be silent before the Lord,” which is formed after Habakkuk 2:20, and with which the prophet summons to humble, silent submission to the judgment of God, serves to confirm the divine threat in Zephaniah 1:2-6. The reason for the commanding Hush! (keep silence) is given in the statement that the day of Jehovah is close at hand (compare Joel 1:15), and that God has already appointed the executors of the judgment. The last two clauses of the verse are formed from reminiscences taken from Isaiah. The description of the judgment as zebhach, a sacrifice, is taken from Isaiah 34:6 (cf. Jeremiah 46:10 and Ezekiel 39:17). The sacrifice which God has prepared is the Jewish nation; those who are invited to this sacrificial meal (“called,” 1 Samuel 9:13) are not beasts and birds of prey, as in Ezekiel 39:17, but the nations which He has consecrated to war that they may consume Jacob (Jeremiah 10:25). The extraordinary use of the verb hiqdiish (consecrated) in this connection may be explained from Isaiah 13:3, where the nations appointed to make war against Babel are called mequddâshı̄m, the sanctified of Jehovah (cf. Jeremiah 22:7).” (2) (underlining emphasis mine)

In closing:

The phrase keeping silence was emblematic of showing reverence toward God.

According to the Old Testament, the day of the LORD is a time of God’s judgment, which occurs numerous times and is not limited to end-times eschatology.

Lord had prepared a sacrifice. It was the judgment of the unrepentant Jerusalem and Judea who were the recipients of His judgment (Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 39:17)

Therefore, the Day of the LORD was the Day of the LORD’s Sacrifice.

Zephaniah amplifies the coming judgment in the following passages:

“The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.” (Zephaniah 1:14-16)

Which is why:

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)

“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)


  1. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Zephaniah, Vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 976.
  2. Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Zephaniah, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p. 129.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon

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When does Habakkuk 2:14 take place?

When does Habakkuk 2:14 take place?                                                     By Jack Kettler

“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)


Judah and Jerusalem’s rebellion had reached a climax, and God’s judgment was certain. Habakkuk’s prophecy took place around the time of Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians in 587 BC. Outline:

  • 1:2-4                Habakkuk’s first dispute.
  • 1:5-11              God answers by saying the Babylonians are his agent of judgment.
  • 1:12-17            Habakkuk’s second dispute.
  • 2:1                    Habakkuk as God’s watchman.
  • 2:2-20              The punishment of the wicked.
  • 3:1-19              Habakkuk’s hymn.

How does one understand the fulfillment of Habakkuk 2:14? There is disagreement if Habakkuk talks about the Church age or the Dispensational Chiliastic view of the future in 2:14. The present study will focus on the Church age fulfillment of Habakkuk’s glorious prophecy. The futuristic approach is speculative compared to the Church age.

The Church age is between the 1st and 2nd coming of Christ. 

Chiliasm, is from the Greek word chilia (χίλια), or millenarianism from the Latin words mille, “a thousand,” and annus, “year.”

Cross references where God says the same thing as in Habakkuk:

“But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” (Numbers 14:21)

“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.” (Psalm 22:27)

“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)

Jonathan Edwards regarding Isaiah 11:9, which says the same as Habakkuk 2:14:

“Now the kingdom of Christ shall in the most strict and literal sense be extended to all nations, and the whole earth. There are many passages of scripture that can be understood in no other sense. What can be more universal than Isaiah 11:9. ‘For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.’ As much as to say, as there is no part of the channel or cavity of the sea, but what is covered with water; so there shall be no part of the world of mankind but what shall be covered with the knowledge of God.” (1)

Baptist missionary, William Carey, the father of the modern missionary movement agreed with Habakkuk 2:14, thus, providing him motivation and hope. Carey believed the gospel could convert whole nations to Christ. 

In Carey’s case, after laboring in India for over five years, he finally had his first conversion.

Carey said:

“He was only one, but a continent was coming behind him. The divine grace which changed one Indian’s heart could obviously change a hundred thousand.” (2)

The following survey of classic commentaries will edify the reader. With the exception of Barnes, these commentaries were written before the rise of Dispensational Chiliasm, thus, escaping the trap of reading the interpretive dictates of a theological system into the Scriptures. 

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Habakkuk 2:14:

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, …. Of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ; of the glory of his person, as the Son of God, and truly God; which is essential to him, and underived; the same with his Father’s, and what transcends the glory of all created beings; and of the glory of his office as Mediator, which itself is glorious and honourable: and this his glory lies in his fitness for it; in his faithful performance of it, and the honour given him by his Father upon it; as well as in the fulness of grace in him, which makes him appear glorious to his people; and who are continually giving glory to him as the Lord their righteousness, by exercising faith on his righteousness, and glorying in it; and as their only Saviour and Redeemer, by looking to him, and believing in him as such; and as the only Head of the church, by owning and holding to him; and as the only Mediator between God and man, by making use of him for that purpose, and not angels and saints; and as their Prophet, by hearkening to his voice, yielding a subjection to his Gospel, and submission to his ordinances; and as their Priest, by dealing with his blood and sacrifice for the atonement and pardon of their sins; and as their King, by obedience to his commands; and who will now take to himself his great power, and reign gloriously before his saints; the glory of his kingly office will be now seen and known, when this prophecy shall have its full accomplishment, and which seems greatly intended. The “knowledge” of all this glory will not be a mere notional and speculative one, but special and spiritual; an experimental knowledge, accompanied with affection, approbation, confidence, and appropriation: and “the earth will be filled with” this; that is, the inhabitants of it: this had an accomplishment in part in the times of the apostles, when they were sent into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature, and diffused the savour of the knowledge of Christ everywhere; and had a further accomplishment in the times of Constantine, when the whole Roman empire, or all the world, became Christians; and again at the time of the Reformation, when many nations, especially in Europe, were freed from Popish darkness by the pure light of the Gospel; but will have its final accomplishment in the latter day; and which will bring on the destruction of antichrist, and seems here intended; since this is given as a reason why it will be all labour in vain to attempt the prevention of it. It will be by means of the Gospel spreading the knowledge of Christ everywhere that antichrist will fall; this is the brightness of Christ’s coming, with which he will be destroyed; hence the angel, with the everlasting Gospel to preach to all nations, and with whose glory the whole earth will be lightened, is represented as preceding the fall of Babylon, and as the means of it; see 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and the great spread and large abundance of this knowledge communicated by the preaching of the Gospel is thus illustrated and exemplified,”

“as the waters cover the sea; expressing the nature of Gospel doctrines, revealing the glory of Christ and his grace, which, like waters, refresh and make fruitful; and the force and power of them, bearing down all before them, like an inundation of water when it breaks its banks; and likewise the depths of them, these being the deep things of God; and more especially the general spread and large abundance of them, and of the knowledge conveyed by them; which will fill the earth, as the waters of the sea fill up and cover the vast chasm prepared for them; see Isaiah 11:9.” (3)

There is no question at all regarding the time period for Gill as he notes, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, …. Of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ; of the glory of his person, as the Son of God….”

Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible provides an excellent commentary on Habakkuk:

“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord – Habakkuk modifies in a degree the words of Isaiah which he embodies, marking that the destruction of Babylon was a stage only toward the coming of those good things which God taught His people to long for, not their very coming. All the world should be then full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, not, as yet, wholly of Himself Jerome: “When Babylon shall be overthrown, then shall the power of the might of the Lord be known unto all. So shall the whole earth be filled with the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the bottom of the sea. This as to the letter. But it is plain, that the Devil also and antichrist, and the perverse teaching of heretics, built a city in blood; i. e, their own Church, with the destruction of those whom they deceive … But when they fail in the fire (either this fire which is felt, or consumed in the fire of the devil their prince, or burned up with the fire whereof the Lord says, ‘I came to send a fire upon the earth,’ and so brought back from their former course, and doing penitence), the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, when, at the preaching of the apostles, their ‘sound shall go out into all the world,’ as waters covering the sea, i. e., all the saltness and bitterness of the world which Satan had rained down and the earth had drunk, the waters of the Lord shall cover, and cause the place of their ancient bitterness not to appear.”

Rup.: “‘For the Spirit of the Lord filled the earth,’ and when He filled it, ‘the earth was filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,’ so that unlearned and ignorant men became wise and eloquent, and earthly became heavenly, yea, they who were earth became heaven, knowing the glory of the Lord, declaring the glory of God, not anyhow, but as waters cover the sea. Great as must be waters, which would cover the sea, or compared to which the sea were nothing, far greater is the miracle, when the abundance of heavenly wisdom, given to the simple, surpassed the sea, i. e., the wisdom of all mankind.” This verse being already a received image of the spread of the gospel Isaiah 11:9, it would of itself be understood to include this also; but more generally, it declares how upon all the judgments of God, a larger knowledge of Him would follow Cyril: “All things are full of Christ, who is the Glory of the Father; wherefore also He said John 17:4, I have glorified Thee on earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” (4)

Barnes correctly sees the connection between Habakkuk 2:14 and Isaiah 11:9 

Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible

“The Prophet briefly teaches us here, that so remarkable would be God’s judgement on the Babylonians that his name would thereby be celebrated through the whole world. But there is in this verse an implied contrast; for God appeared not in his own glory when the Jews were led away into exile; the temple being demolished and the whole city destroyed; and also, when the whole easterly region was exposed to rapine and plunder. When therefore the Babylonians were, after the Assyrians, swallowing up all their neighbors, the glory of God did not then shine, nor was it conspicuous in the world. The Jews themselves had become mute; for their miseries had, as it were, stupefied them; their mouths were at least closed, so that they could not from the heart bless God, while he was so severely afflicting them. And then, in that manifold confusion of all things, the profane thought that all things here take place fortuitously, and that there is no divine providence. God then was at that time hid: hence the Prophet says, filled shall be the earth with the knowledge of God; that is, God will again become known, when by stretching forth his hand he will execute vengeance on the Babylonians; then will the Jews, as well as other nations, acknowledge that the world is governed by God’s providence, as it had been once created by him.”

“We now understand the Prophet’s meaning, and why he says, that the earth would be filled with the knowledge of God’s glory; for the glory of God previously disappeared from the world, with regard to the perceptions of men; but it shone forth again, when God himself had erected his tribunal by overthrowing Babylon, and thereby proved that there is no power among men which he cannot control. We have the same sentence in Isaiah 11:9.” “(39) The Prophet there speaks indeed of the kingdom of Christ; for when Christ was openly made known to the world, the knowledge of God’s glory at the same time filled the earth; for God then appeared in his own living image. But yet our Prophet uses a proper language, when he says that the earth shall then be filled with the knowledge of God’s glory, when he should execute vengeance on the Babylonians. Hence incorrectly have some applied this to the preaching of the gospel, as though Habakkuk made a transition from the ruin of Babylon to the general judgement: this is a strained exposition. It is indeed a well-known mode of speaking, and often occurs in the Psalms, that the power, grace, and truth of God are made known through the world, when he delivers his people and restrains the ungodly. The same mode the Prophet now adopts; and he compares this fullness of knowledge to the waters of the sea, because the sea, as we know, is so deep, that there is no measuring of its waters. So, Habakkuk intimates, that the glory of God would be so much known that it would not only fill the world, but in a manner overflow it: as the waters of the sea by their vast quantity cover the deep, so the glory of God would fill heaven and earth, so as to have no limits. If, at the same time, there be a wish to extend this sentence to the coming of Christ, I do not object: for we know that the grace of redemption flowed in a perpetual stream until Christ appeared in the world. But the Prophet, I have no doubt, sets forth here the greatness of God’s power in the destruction of Babylon. (40)”

“(39) The idea is nearly the same, though not the words. The verse in Isaiah is literally this—”

“For fill the earth shall the knowledge of Jehovah,

Like the waters spreading over the sea.”

“The verb rendered “cover” here and in Isaiah is, [כסה], which means first to spread, and in the second place to cover, as the effect of spreading. It is followed here by [על], over, and by [ל], over, in Isaiah; and so, spreading must be the idea included in the verb. The comparison in Isaiah is between knowledge and waters, and the earth and the sea. Hence the common version does not properly present the comparison. The verb [מלא], is used in a passive and active sense. See Genesis 6:13, and Genesis 1:22. This verse may be rendered in Welsh word for word, without changing the order in one instance: —”

“(lang. cy) Canys henwa y ddaear wybodaeth o Jehova,

Vel y dyvroedd dros y more yn ymdaenu.”

“The knowledge of Jehovah,” [דעה את-יהוה], is not an instance of a genitive case by juxtaposition, which is common both in Hebrew and in Welsh; for [את] here must be a preposition, “from,” for it is sometimes used for [מאת]. It is a knowledge that was to come from Jehovah, and not a knowledge of Jehovah. – Ed.”

“(40) There is no reason to doubt but that this is the meaning of the sentence here: and it is a striking instance of the variety of meaning which belongs to similar expressions, when differently connected. The glory of God is manifested by judgments as well as by mercies. In Isaiah it is “the knowledge of or from Jehovah;” here the expression is, “the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah.” By “the knowledge of Jehovah” is to be understood the revelation made by the gospel. But by “the knowledge of his glory” is meant evidently the display of his power in destroying Babylon, as power is often signified by glory. – ED” (5)

As seen, Calvin enlightens the reader to the immediate application of Habakkuk 2:14 and then most aptly explains the Messianic fulfillment of the passage. 

In closing:

Our Father, which art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come,

Thy will be done in earth,

As it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen. Matthew 6:9–13

Like in times past, God fulfills Habakkuk’s prophecy in response to prayer!

“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)


  1. Jonathan Edwards, the Complete Works, Vol. 1, The History of Redemption, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts, reprinted from the 1834 edition, Seventh printing May 2011), p. 608.
  2. Iain Murray, The Puritan Hope, (The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971), p. 141.
  3. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Habakkuk, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), p. 38-39.
  4. Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Habakkuk, Vol. 11 p. 340-341.
  5. John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Habakkuk, Volume 1V, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), pp. 108-109.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at:

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12 Nights in Odessa

12 Nights in Odessa                                                                  

12 ночей в Одессе, Украина

12 Nights in Odessa The Odyssey of Calvin and Myria in the Wild Fields

Кальвін і Мірія відправляються на 12 ночей в Одесу в Україні, щоб відкрити для себе дик

By Randy Warren

Reviewed by Jack Kettler


Mr. Warren has been involved in Ukraine since 1994. Eventually, he moved to Odesa, where he and his wife lived for six years. During that time, he came to love the city, which reminded him so much of his hometown, Savannah, Georgia.

A Review:

The author’s book is in the genre of historical fiction. It is set in a real place during an identifiable time. Many characters in the book are fictional; some are not and are well-known. 

The main characters in the book are well-developed and believable, and likable. Character and historical development span several centuries. The author accomplishes this without getting bogged down with unnecessary detail. However, the details provided explain the history and character development successfully.   

The author has spent much time in Odesa, Ukraine, thus allowing him the ability to explain in fascinating detail the city’s and countryside’s architecture, how the local people dress, the food they eat, and historical knowledge of the city and region, and its customs.

It is a fast-paced action thriller with a surprising, unexpected creative twist that would be a spoiler if revealed. The book is an entertaining and culturally educational read. In addition, Warren’s book could be turned into an exciting, action-packed thriller movie.

In the climax ending of the book, the author creatively incorporates spiritual redemption. The book is a great entertaining read and is highly recommended. The author’s descriptive words in this book effectively stimulate mental images of the characters, architecture, countryside, and scenery.

Mr. Kettler is the author of 15 books in the area of theology that can be ordered online at Amazon.

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Who is the well-favored harlot in Nahum 3:4? 

Who is the well-favoured harlot in Nahum 3:4?                                          By Jack Kettler


Key themes in Nahum:

The destruction of evil; the jealousy and vengeance of God.

The time of Nahum’s prophecy was the coming judgment of Nineveh by the Medes and Babylonians in 612 B.C.

  • God’s judgment on Nineveh – Chapter one
  • Siege and capture of Nineveh – Chapter two
  • The total ruin of Nineveh – Chapter three

“Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well favoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.” (Nahum 3:4)

Who is the well-favoured harlot that Nahum speaks?

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers informs the reader regarding Nahum’s prophecy:

“(4-6) Because of the multitude. — In the idolatry and superstition of Nineveh the prophet finds the cause of her destruction. Perversion of religious instinct is frequently denounced under the same figure in Scripture. Here, however, a more literal interpretation is possible, since there is reason to believe the religious rites of Assyria were characterised, like those of Babylon, by gross sensuality. According to Herod, i. 199, the Babylonian worship of Beltis or Mylitta was connected with a system of female prostitution, which was deemed “most shameful” even by the heathen historian. Compare also the Apocryphal Book of Bar 6:43. The same deity was worshipped in Assyria. Professor Rawlinson writes: “It would seem to follow almost as a matter of course that the worship of the same identical goddess in the adjoining country included a similar usage. It may be to this practice that the prophet Nahum alludes when he denounces Nineveh as a ‘well-favoured harlot,’ the multitude of whose harlotries was notorious” (Five Great Monarchies, ii. 41).” (1)

“Well favoured” means beautiful or having special advantages. In addition, as Ellicott notes, “perversion of religious instinct is frequently denounced under the same figure in Scripture,” in other words, as a harlot. God even called His own people harlots or accused them of practicing whoredoms.

For example:

“My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.” (Hosea 4:12)

“My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them; For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, and they have played the harlot, departing from their God.” (Hosea 4:12 NASB)

In closing:

Against the backstop of God’s judgment, He offers hope because of His slowness to anger in (Nahum 1:3) and His goodness and strength in (1:7). To answer the starting question, the well-favoured harlot is Nineveh.

It is interesting to note that many times when God addresses the people, a city, or a country ripe for His judgment, He will personify them collectively as a harlot.

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” (Lamentations 3:22)

“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)


  1. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Nahum, Vol.5, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 519.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at:

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Who is the prophet speaking of in Micah 5:2?

Who is the prophet speaking of in Micah 5:2?                                            By Jack Kettler

The prophet Micah addresses the themes of judgment and hope in his prophecy to Israel.

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

The individual that Micah is speaking of exists “from everlasting.” Other translators render it “from ancient days” or “from the days of eternity.”

Looking at the Hebrew from Strong’s Lexicon, it is found:

“of eternity.

עוֹלָֽם׃ (‘ō·w·lām)

Noun – masculine singular

Strong’s Hebrew 5769: 1) long duration, antiquity, futurity, forever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world 1a) ancient time, long time (of past) 1b) (of future) 1b1) forever, always 1b2) continuous existence, perpetual 1b3) everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity.”

The following cross-references are helpful in seeking the identity of this one from eternity:

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem.” (Matthew 2:1)

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of My people Israel.” (Matthew 2:6)

“So, Joseph also went up from Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, since he was from the house and line of David.” (Luke 2:4)

“Doesn’t the Scripture say that the Christ will come from the line of David and from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” (John 7:42)

“For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, a tribe as to which Moses said nothing about priests.” (Hebrews 7:14)

“Later, they set out from Bethel, and while they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth, and her labor was difficult.” (Genesis 35:16)

“So, Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” (Genesis 35:19)

The above references provide clues or pointers to the identity of the one “from everlasting.”

Consider the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges commentary on Micah 5:2:

“2–4. The Messiah’s birth and world-wide rule”

“2. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah …] (See the application of this passage by the Jewish Sanhedrin in Matthew 2:6; comp. John 7:42.) To the deep abasement of the actual king the prophet, in this and the following verses, opposes the Divine glory of the ideal King. Mean as Bethlehem may be in outward appearance, it has been selected as the birthplace of the Messianic Deliverer. ‘Ephratah,’ or rather ‘Ephrathah’ (a fuller form of Ephrath), was another name for Bethlehem (1 Samuel 17:12, Ruth 1:2; Ruth 4:11, 1 Chronicles 2:50-51): its meaning (‘fruitful’) suggests that it originally belonged to the valley which leads up to Bethlehem, and which is still richly adorned with vines and olive-trees. The Septuagint rendering is peculiar, ‘And thou Bethlehem, house of Ephratah,’ which looks very much like a combination of two different renderings, which presuppose two different readings of the Hebrew text (the one, ‘And thou, Bethlehem;’ the other, ‘And thou, Beth-Ephratah’). Some scholars indeed prefer the latter reading on exegetical grounds, and suppose that the present reading of the Hebrew text is incorrect, and that lehem in Bethlehem is an interpolation, due to a confusion between the two meanings of Ephratah. This makes a little difference in the exegesis of the passage. ‘House’ in ‘house of Ephratah’ will have to be taken in the larger sense of the word, viz. for a subdivision of the ‘thousand’ or ‘family.’ This will very well suit the following words (as generally explained), which will then contain a statement that the people or households of the district of Ephrath (see above) were not numerous enough to form a ‘thousand’ or ‘family’ by themselves. The context also shews the essential point of the prophecy to be, not that the Deliverer shall be born at Bethlehem, but that he shall belong to the Davidic family. If we retain the received reading of the Hebrew text we may refer to the analogy of Isaiah 9:1, which (when rightly translated) mentions a particular region of Palestine as in some sense the object of special favour from the Messiah: the one prediction is not more circumstantial than the other. There remains however a difficulty connected with the compound form of the name. Why Bethlehem Ephratah, and not simply Bethlehem? It is hardly enough to reply that there was another Bethlehem in the territory of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15), for the danger of confusion would be more naturally guarded against by giving the full name ‘Bethlehem-judah’ (Jdg 17:9; Jdg 19:18). Nor can we attach much weight to the remark of Delitzsch, that the prophet substitutes Ephratah for Judah, because the former name “awakens so many reminiscences from the primitive history of Israel (Genesis 35:16) and the Davidic kingdom (Ruth 4:11).” Messianic Prophecies (by Curtiss), section 45.”

“though thou be little …] The Hebrew text according to most scholars, requires a different rendering—art too small to be, &c. This however is not strictly in accordance with grammar, and it is very possible that the Auth. Vers. is correct; only it requires us to suppose that one of the Hebrew words in this verse (li-h’yoth) has been written twice over, and that it has thus intruded into a wrong clause. — As a matter of fact, Bethlehem was a small and unimportant place. It is omitted in the list of cities of Judah in the received Hebrew text of Joshua 15 (though, together with ten other towns, it is found in the text of the Septuagint), and also in the list, Nehemiah 11:25. It is also spoken of in John 7:42 as κώμη. Yet poor, insignificant Bethlehem was to have the honour of giving birth to the Messiah.”

“O sola magnarum urbium

Major Bethlem, cui contigit

Ducem salutis cœlitus

Incorporatum gignere.”

Prudentius, Hymn. Epiph. 77.”

“thousands] A ‘thousand’ is another name for a ‘family’ (in the larger, technical sense of the word, = ‘clan’), see Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:4, Joshua 22:14; Joshua 22:21, &c. Several ‘thousands’ or ‘families’ went to make up a ‘tribe.’”

“unto me] Rather, for me, in pursuance of my will.”

“whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting] The meaning of the word rendered ‘goings forth’ is doubtful. If we keep this translation, we must explain it of the revelations of Jehovah to the early Israelites and to the patriarchs. In Isaiah 9:6 one part of the great compound name of the Messiah is ‘God the Mighty One’ (or, Hero), from which we may infer that the Messiah is the permanently visible manifestation of the delivering or punishing, or, in a word, world-governing aspect of the Deity. So too in Isaiah 63:9 we are told that in ‘the days of old’ (the same phrase which is here rendered ‘everlasting’) Jehovah, or the Angel which represented Him, sympathized with the trouble of His people, and delivered them; and in Micah 5:15 of the same chapter that the attributes of Jehovah, regarded under this aspect, are ‘jealousy’ and ‘heroism’ (Auth. Vers., loosely, ‘zeal’ and ‘strength’). We can hardly be wrong in inferring that in all these passages one and the same essential aspect of Jehovah is meant, and that the Messiah may be said, in harmony with prophetic teaching, to have been revealed at intervals from the patriarchal history onwards. In favour of this translation, it may be observed that it produces a striking antithesis between the former and the latter half of the verse; ‘he shall come forth’ being a part of the same verb from which the word rendered ‘goings forth’ is derived. But it is also permissible to render this word ‘origins,’ and to explain the plural as that of ‘excellence’ or extent, just as we find ‘dominions’ for ‘dominion’ in Psalm 114:2 (literally rendered), and ‘habitations’ for ‘habitation’ in Isaiah 54:2. The passage will then become a statement either of the pre-existence of the Messiah in the eternal purposes of God (comp. Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 37:26); or, which is more obvious and perfectly suitable to the context, of his descent from the ancient Davidic family—comp. Amos 9:11, where ‘the days of old’ evidently refer to the reign of David. (David was already three centuries behind Micah.) In the latter case, we ought to render the passage before us, whose origin hath been from aforetime, from the days of old. There is, in fact, properly speaking, no word in Hebrew exactly answering to ‘everlasting.’ See also Micah 7:14; Micah 7:20, where Auth. Vers. rightly has, ‘the days of old.’” (1)

In closing:

Micah not only predicted the coming of the Lord’s Kingdom but prophesied that Christ, who is from everlasting, was going to be born in Bethlehem. The coming ruler of Israel was the one “whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.” The term “Ancient of Days” first appears in Daniel 7:9. In Isaiah 43:13, God refers to Himself as existing from the “ancient of days.” God declares Himself to be “from everlasting to everlasting” in Psalm 90:2 and as “the first and the last” in Isaiah 44:6 and Revelation 22:13.

Micah 5:2 is one of the great Messianic prophecies!

“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)


  1. J. J. Stewart Perowner, Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Micah, (Cambridge University Press, 1898), e-Sword version.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon:

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What was it, a fish or whale that swallowed Jonah? 

What was it, a fish or whale that swallowed Jonah?                                                By Jack Kettler                                       

“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)

From the Strong’s Concordance, one learns:

dag: a fish

Original Word: דָּג

Part of Speech: Noun Masculine

Transliteration: dag

Phonetic Spelling: (dawg)

Definition: a fish.”

Was it a whale or some great fish that swallowed Jonah? Did God create the fish? There is no reason to think that the text regarding “prepared” a great fish has any meaning other than to assign or appoint.

Theological liberals and the Bible:

“Author C. Dennis McKinsey believes that Americans have only seen or heard the good things about the Bible, without any exposure to its many shortcomings.” – Goodreads.

According to Dennis McKinsey, he supposed that Matthew 12:40 was:

“probably the most famous scientific error by Jesus.” (1)

Keil and Delitzsch’s Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament says the following:

“(Heb. Ch. 2:1). “And Jehovah appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah” מנּה does not mean to create, but to determine, to appoint. The thought is this: Jehovah ordained that a great fish should swallow him. The great fish (lxx κῆτος, cf. Matthew 12:40), which is not more precisely defined, was not a whale, because this is extremely rare in the Mediterranean, and has too small a throat to swallow a man, but a large shark or sea-dog, canis carcharias, or squalus carcharias L., which is very common in the Mediterranean, and has so large a throat, that it can swallow a living man whole.”

“(Note: The aqualus carcharias L., the true shark, Requin, or rather Requiem, reaches, according to Cuvier, the length of 25 feet, and according to Oken the length of four fathoms, and has about 400 lance-shaped teeth in its jaw, arranged in six rows, which the animal can either elevate or depress, as they are simply fixed in cells in the skin. It is common in the Mediterranean, where it generally remains in deep water, and is very voracious, swallowing everything that comes in its way – plaice, seals, and tunny-fish, with which it sometimes gets into the fishermen’s net on the coat of Sardinia, and is caught. As many as a dozen undigested tunny-fish have been found in a shark weighing three or four hundredweight; in one a whole horse was found, and its weight was estimated at fifteen hundredweight. Rondelet (Oken, p. 58) says that he saw one on the western coast of France, through whose throat a fat man could very easily have passed. Oken also mentions a fact, which is more elaborately described in Mller’s Vollstndiges Natur-system des Ritters Carl v. Linn (1 Thessalonians 3.p. 268), namely, that in the year 1758 a sailor fell overboard from a frigate, in very stormy weather, into the Mediterranean Sea, and was immediately taken into the jaws of a sea-dog (carcharias), and disappeared. The captain, however, ordered a gun, which was standing on the deck, to be discharged at the shark, and the cannon-ball struck it, so that it vomited up again the sailor that it had swallowed, who was then taken up alive, and very little hurt, into the boat that had been lowered for his rescue).” (Emphasis mine)

“The miracle consisted therefore, not so much in the fact that Jonah was swallowed alive, as in the fact that he was kept alive for three days in the shark’s belly, and then vomited unhurt upon the land. The three days and three nights are not to be regarded as fully three times twenty hours, but are to be interpreted according to Hebrew usage, as signifying that Jonah was vomited up again on the third day after he had been swallowed (compare Esther 4:16 with Esther 5:1 and Tob. 3:12, 13, according to the Lutheran text).” (2)

As noted above, theological liberals believe the account of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish is just a made-up story. But, unfortunately, for the doubters of Scripture, Jesus confirmed the account of Jonah:

“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so, shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary explains how Jonah in the fish belly typified Christ’s burial:

“Now, Heb. And.”

“Prepared; created at first, say some; but what need that, when a mighty overgrown fish of a double age may do this; by God’s will and appointment it attended the ship, and followed it in the storm, expecting a prey, and ready to receive the prisoner.

A great fish; a whale, as we read, Matthew 12:40; others say it was a shark, a fish common in those seas.”

“To swallow up; not to chew upon him, but to take him down whole.

Jonah was in the belly of the fish, in safe custody, three days and three nights, that he might rightly typify Christ’s burial in the grave.” (3)

The Strong’s Concordance informs the reader:

kétos: a huge fish

Original Word: κῆτος, ους, τό

Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter

Transliteration: kétos

Phonetic Spelling: (kay’-tos)

Definition: a huge fish

Usage: a sea monster, huge sea fish, whale.”

In closing:

While a whale is a possible translation of Greek, a huge or large fish is a better translation. In Jonah, the Hebrew dag: a fish is the best translation.

It could have been a whale:

“Humpback whale swallows diver whole, then spits him out 56-year-old Michael Packard lives to tell tale after spending 30 to 40 seconds inside huge marine mammal. In a story reminiscent of that of Biblical Jonah, a veteran lobster diver was swallowed whole by a humpback whale on Friday off the Massachusetts coast and survived to tell the tale.” – By TOI staff and AP -2 June 2021

Humpback whales were considered extremely rare in the Mediterranean Sea until recently. The whale’s migratory pattern in the North Atlantic did not normally consist of the Mediterranean Sea. Researchers remain divided on why this change is so.      

Moreover, as seen from the Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament,there are large fish in the Mediterranean Sea, such as the sea-dog (Carcharias), which can swallow a man whole. While it could be “whale,” nevertheless, the KJV’s poor translation of kétos, whale, fueled needless ridicule from theological liberals.     

“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)


  1. Dennis McKinsey, The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy, (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1995), p. 142.
  2. Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Jonah, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p. 398.
  3. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Jonah, Vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 929.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon.

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