Was America founded as a Christian nation?

Was America founded as a Christian nation?

Which came first, the constitution or states? The states created the constitution as an administrative tool to work out the difference between the states. The states gave a limited amount of authority to the federal government. The real power was in the states and people. A similar question, which came first the people or did the state? As a limited administrative tool, the federal government and “Roberts Rules of Order” would not need to be declared Christian.

The states in early America were essentially nation-states. The states entered into the contract with full knowledge and assurance that they could withdraw from the contract. Moreover, as late as the time of the “War of Northern Aggression,” General Lee, when offered the command of the Union Army, said no, and that his loyalties were with Virginia, which supports the idea that the real power was the states.  

The debates between the founders, much like the debates at the Constitution Convention, were similar. It would have not even entered their minds, much like the framing of the “Bill of Rights.” Some thought it unnecessary to add the “Bill of Rights” since it was self-evident. The thought-forms of the day were thoroughly Christian. When God was mentioned, it was self-evident that the God of the Bible was being referenced.   

The 1790 naturalization law recognized a framework for becoming a citizen, and it did not implement a standard oath for the country, leaving the naturalization procedure wide-ranging from state to state for more than 100 years. The oath that is taken today did not come into existence until the 1950s.

As seen from historical, legal, and the views of Presidents, the modern view of the nation and was referred to as Christian.           

The 17th century was the nation’s actual founding of the nation, and Christianity was born out in the colonial charters. For example:

Nine of the 13 colonies had established churches, and all required officeholders to be Christians—or, in some cases, Protestants.

The First Charter of Virginia:

“We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God.…”

Instructions for the Virginia Colony (1606)

“Lastly and chiefly the way to prosper and achieve good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own, and to serve and fear God the Giver of all Goodness, for every plantation which our Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted out.”

John Hancock, Governor of Massachusetts, is another example of Christianity in the colonies:

1.      “He also called on the State of Massachusetts to pray in 1791 . . .

2.      that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory.

3.      that the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.

4.      to confess their sins and to implore forgiveness of God through the merits of the Savior of the World.

5.      to cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth.

6.      to confess their sins before God and implore His forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

7.      that He would finally overrule all events to the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom and the establishment of universal peace and good will among men.

8.      that the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be established in peace and righteousness among all the nations of the earth.

9.      that with true contrition of heart we may confess our sins, resolve to forsake them, and implore the Divine forgiveness, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Savior. . ..  And finally, to overrule all the commotions in the world to the spreading the true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ in its purity and power among all the people of the earth.”

Other interesting tidbits:

·         King George himself reportedly referred to the War for Independence as “a Presbyterian Rebellion.”

·         British Major Harry Rooke was principally correct when he confiscated a presumably Calvinist book from an American prisoner and remarked that “[i]t is your G-d Damned Religion of this Country that ruins the Country; Damn your religion.” Douglass Adair and John A. Schutz, eds., Peter Oliver’s Origin and Progress of the American Rebellion (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961), p. 41; Paul Johnson, A History of the American People (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), p. 173; John Leach, “A Journal Kept by John Leach, During His Confinement by the British, In Boston Gaol, in 1775,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol.19 (1865), p. 256.

Legal Opinions:

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is their duty – as well as privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” – John Jay, First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” – John Jay.

“I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law … There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.” – Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, Harvard Speech, 1829

“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian… This is a Christian nation.” – United States Supreme Court, Church of the Holy Trinity v. the United States, 1892

“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent a national ecclesiastical establishment which should give a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.” – Joseph Story appointed to the court by James Madison.

Is the United States a Christian nation?

The United States has the largest Christian population globally and, more specifically, the largest Protestant population in the world, with nearly 230 to 250 million Christians and, as of 2019, over 150 million people affiliated with Protestant churches. So, in a qualified way, yes.

 James Madison (Architect of the U.S. Constitution & Co-Author of the Federalist Papers)

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” – James Madison.

Congress, U.S. House Judiciary Committee, 1854

“Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle… In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity… That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.”

“The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” – Congressional record 1854

John Adams:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” – John Adams Treaty of Tripoli.

Did Adams write this? If so, what did Adams mean? How did he understand “Founded on the Christian religion” the same as one might today?

The phrase from article 11 was added in the Treaty of Tripoli (1797) by the negotiating Ambassador, hoping it would placate the Muslims when they read it in the Treaty. The negotiators wrote it and, Adams signed it, so yes, it was like he signed.


·         A new Treaty was eventually negotiated in 1805. The second Treaty did not repeat Article 11. The renewed Treaty takes precedence over the early Treaty.

·         Therefore, Adam’s above quote should no longer be used as evidence that the country was not founded as a Christian nation.

What was the thinking on this wording, and how it might be understood:

The wording “founded on the Christian religion” may have meant that the government was an agent of the church, which was not accurate.

Nearly every nation in Europe was “founded on some version of the Christian religion,” Italy and France on Catholicism, the Germanic states on Lutheranism. However, in America, there was no national state “establishment of religion.”

The founders were well aware of what it was like under a state church. Puritans and Presbyterians experienced persecution at the hands of state churches in England, Scotland, and the Netherlands.

Adam’s son had this to say:

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams

The Treaty of Paris of 1783 formally created and established the USA as a sovereign nation, and that was negotiated and signed by Adams, Franklin, and Jay, that begins with:

In the Name of the most Holy & undivided Trinity.

What happened to Adams? He signed this.

Other sayings by Adams:

“I have examined all, as well as my narrow sphere, my straitened means, and my busy life would allow me; and the result is, that the Bible is the best book in the world.” – John Adams

“The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.” – John Adams

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” – John Adams

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.

The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost. . .. There is no authority, civil or religious – there can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation.

Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . .. What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be! “I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.” – John Adams

Adams’ son:

“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day. Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the Progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Saviour and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before.” – John Quincy Adams July 4th, 1837

“I speak as a man of the world to men of the world; and I say to you, Search the Scriptures! The Bible is the book of all others, to be read at all ages, and in all conditions of human life; not to be read in small portions of one or two chapters every day, and never to be intermitted, unless by some overruling necessity.” – John Quincy Adams

“The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams

In 1832, Noah Webster published his History of the United States, in which he wrote:

“The brief exposition of the constitution of the United States, will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.” – Noah Webster

“The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government.” – Noah Webster

“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all of our civil constitutions and laws…. all the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” – Noah Webster

“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty.” – Noah Webster

Congress printed a Bible for America and said:

“The United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States … a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.” – United States Congress 1782

Other quotes. What do they mean?

“I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.” – Benjamin Rush Signer of the Declaration 

“The Bible is the rock on which our Republic rests.” – American president Andrew Jackson

“The fundamental basis of this nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul.” – Harry S. Truman

“This is a Christian nation.” – Harry Truman, President

“The United States is founded on the principles of Christianity.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, President

Founding Father, George Washington:

“My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to lose it.” – George Washington, speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779.

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” – George Washington 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

“To our constant prayers for the welfare of our country, and of the whole human race, we shall esteem it our duty and happiness to unite our most earnest endeavors to promote the pure and undented religion of Christ; for as this secures eternal felicity to men in a future State, so we are persuaded that … where righteousness prevails among individuals the Nation will be great and happy. Thus, while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support.” – George Washington to the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America, November 19, 1789

Thomas Jefferson:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” – Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

“The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man” – Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

John Witherspoon:


“If you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ – if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness – you must forever perish.” – John Witherspoon

“He is the best friend to American liberty who is the most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.” – John Witherspoon


The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The most recent alteration of its wording came on Flag Day (June 14) in 1954, when the words “under God” were added.

Reformed leaders such as John Knox, George Buchanan, and Samuel Rutherford of Scotland, Stephanus Junius Brutus and Theodore Beza of France, and Christopher Goodman and John Ponet of England argued that inferior magistrates must resist unjust rulers and even permitted or required citizens to do so.

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 www. JackKettler .com

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What Does the Bible Say? Volume 5

What Does the Bible Say? Volume 5


Volume 5 of this multi-volume series will cover, “What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel? Who is a Virtuous Woman? Can a Christian woman work outside the home? What does the Bible say about the Flood? Was it universal? Does the Bible forbid the use of alcohol?                                                                      

Chapter One: The internal testimony of the Holy Spirit and the connection to the Word of God.

Chapter Two: Who is a Virtuous Woman? Can a Christian woman work outside the home?

Chapter Three: What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?

Chapter Four: Heresy, what the Bible says.

Chapter Five: What does the Bible say about Adiaphora? Adiaphora, a Study in Liberty and its Boundaries.

Chapter Six: What does the Bible say about the flood?

Chapter Seven: What are unjust statutes and oppressive decrees?

Chapter Eight: What does God say about the death penalty and capital punishment?

Chapter Nine: Does the Bible forbid the use of alcohol?

Chapter Ten: The Will of God, what is it and how can it be known?Other books by the author: 

The Religion That Started in a Hat

The Five Points of Scriptural Authority: A Defense of Sola Scriptura

1 Corinthians 15:29 Revisited: A Scriptural based interpretation

Christian Apologetics in the marketplace of ideas

Studies in Soteriology: The Doctrines of Grace Magnified

Doctrinal Disputations

What Does the Bible Say? Vol. 1-4

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 www. JackKettler .com

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Who or what is the Leviathan in Job 41:1?

Who or what is the Leviathan in Job 41:1?                                                      By Jack Kettler

“Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?” (Job 41:1)

Is the leviathan a real creature or mythical? Some scholars think the leviathan to be a crocodile or a large whale. There is much scholarly disagreement. In addition, Job also mentions Behemoth, a powerful land animal whose “bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron” (Job 40:18). However, Leviathan will be the focus of this study. In this study, other passages that mention leviathan will be consulted along with lexical, commentary encyclopedic entries.

From Strong’s Lexicon:


לִוְיָתָֽן׃ (liw·yā·ṯān)

Noun – masculine singular

Strong’s Hebrew 3882: 1) leviathan, sea monster, dragon 1a) large aquatic animal 1b) perhaps the extinct dinosaur, plesiosaurus, exact meaning unknown ++++ Some think this to be a crocodile, but from the description in Job 41:1-34 this is patently absurd. It appears to be a large fire breathing animal of some sort. Just as the bomardier beetle has an explosion producing mechanism, so the great sea dragon may have an explosive producing mechanism to enable it to be a real fire breathing dragon.

“May those curse it who curse the day, those who are ready to arouse Leviathan.” (Job 3:8 NKJV)

“None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?” (Job 41:10)

In Job 41:10, the imagery of the leviathan is descriptive of the authority and power of God.

Matthew Poole’s Commentary comments on Job 41:10 explain this passage correctly:

“That dare stir him up, when he sleepeth or is quiet. None dare provoke him to the battle.

To stand before me; to contend with me his Creator, as thou, Job, dost, when one of my creatures is too hard for him.” (1)

Other passages that mention the leviathan:

“Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.” (Psalm 74:14)

In Psalms 74:14, God’s authority is displayed by destroying the leviathan.

“There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.” (Psalm 104:26)

In Psalms 104:26, the leviathan is seen to be created by God.

“In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” (Isaiah 27:1)

In Isaiah 27:1, the leviathan is descriptive of powerful and wicked kings.

Leviathan from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

“le-vi’-a-than (liwyathan (Job 41:1-34), from [~lawah, “to fold”; compare Arabic

name of the wry neck, Iynx torquilla, abu-luwa, from kindred lawa, “to bend”):

(1) The word “leviathan” also occurs in Isa 27:1, where it is characterized as “the swift serpent …. the crooked serpent”; in Ps 104:26, where a marine monster is indicated; also, in Ps 74:14 and Job 3:8. The description in Job 41:1-34 has been thought by some to refer to the whale, but while the whale suits better the expressions denoting great strength, the words apply best on the whole to the crocodile. Moreover, the whale is very seldom found in the Mediterranean, while the crocodile is abundant in the Nile, and has been known to occur in at least one river of Palestine, the Zarqa, North of Jaffa. For a discussion of the behemoth and leviathan as mythical creatures, see EB, under the word “Behemoth” and “Leviathan.” The points in the description which may well apply to the crocodile are the great invulnerability, the strong and close scales, the limbs and the teeth. It must be admitted that there are many expressions which a modern scientist would not use with reference to the crocodile, but the Book of Job is neither modern nor scientific, but poetical and ancient. – Alfred Ely Day” (2)

KJV Dictionary Definition: leviathan:

“LEVI’ATHAN, n. Heb.

1. An aquatic animal, described in Job 41, and mentioned in other passages of Scripture. In Isaiah, it is called the crooked serpent. It is not agreed what animal is intended by the writers, whether the crocodile, the whale, or a species of serpent.

2. The whale, or a great whale.” (3)

Political implications of Leviathan. Enter John Locke and Thomas Hobbes:

Both Thomas Hobbes and John Locke believed in social contract theories. Hobbes claimed for government absolutism. He used the leviathan’s metaphorical form in his social contract theory, giving virtually unlimited power to the state, which was to be feared. In contrast, Locke believed in parliamentary constitutionalism and limited government. Locke believed that if the social contract is violated, the people have the right to cast off the government. John Locke is echoed by Thomas Jefferson later in the founding of America. In the English Civil War, Hobbes supported the king, while Locke supported Parliament. In the American War for Independence, both Lockean and Hobbesian social contract theories were in play.

Thomas Hobbes on government and his leviathan theory:

“For by art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH, or STATE (in Latin CIVITAS), which is but an artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; the magistrates and other officers of judicature and execution, artificial joints; reward and punishment (by which fastened to the seat of sovereignty every joint and member is moved to perform his duty) are the nerves, that do the same in the body natural; the wealth and riches of all the particular members are the strength; salus populi (the people’s safety) its business; counsellors, by whom all things needful for it to know are suggested unto it, are the memory; equity and laws, and artificial reason and will; concord, health; sedition, sickness; and civil war, death.” (4)

Hobbes naively believed in the goodness of government taking the form of an absolute monarchy because of the limitations of mankind. Hobbes was a humanist of his time and not a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the American colonies’ fight for independence, Locke’s ideas won the day. In response to Hobbes’s use of leviathan to represent government absolutism, John Locke wrote his Two Treatises of Government.

In contrast with Hobbes, Locke was a Christian. Locke’s beliefs were based upon the messianic reign of Christ. He believed that Christian doctrine must be defined by Scripture, which justifies resisting an evil absolutist monarchy.

The danger of Hobbes and his ideas about leviathan government exposed:

“Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society” (5)

For those within the history of a Lockean/Jeffersonian view of history, leviathan has become synonymous with a monstrous tyrannical government.

In closing:

From antiquity, Pliny the Elder’s Natural History a possible solution to the historicity of leviathan:

“The bones of this monster, to which Andromeda was said to have been exposed, were brought by Marcus Scaurus from Joppa in Judaea during his aedileship and shown at Rome among the rest of the amazing items displayed. The monster was over forty feet long, and the height of its ribs was greater than that of Indian elephants, while its spine was 1-1/2 feet thick.” (6)

Did Japanese fishermen find the remains of a plesiosaur?

“In April 1977, the Japanese fishing trawler Zuiyo-maru operating off the coast of New Zealand snagged a large carcass at a depth of about 1,000 feet. The carcass was brought to the surface and onto the ship. The dead creature was about 33 feet long and weighed about 4,000 pounds.” (7)

Crocodiles and whales do not seem to satisfy the imagery of the leviathan portrayed in Scripture. It is possible that the leviathan was a surviving dinosaur.  

The image of the leviathan struck fear into the hearts of men. God used this image of a terrible sea monster to remind man of his weakness.

Christ’s Crown, His Kingship, and Covenant take this fear away.   

“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)


1.      Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Job, Vol. 1, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 1027-1028.

2.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, “Entry for ‘Leviathan,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), pp. 1868-1869.

3.      The King James dictionary contains over 11,000 definitions https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/kjv-dictionary-index.html

4.      Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, (London, Printed for Andrew Crooke, 1651), (Introduction, 1, p.3-4).

5.      David Gordon, The State Eviscerated, Mises Review 10, No. 4 (Winter 2004) by Robert Higgs, https://mises.org/library/against-leviathan-government-power-and-free-society-robert-higgs

6.      As Quoted in Bill Cooper’s, The Authenticity of the Book of Jonah, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 19.

7.      Dr. Tommy Mitchell, “Didn’t a Fishing Boat Find a Dead Plesiosaur?” September 7, 2010, https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/arguments-to-avoid/didnt-a-fishing-boat-find-a-dead-plesiosaur/ Picture of the remains of the creature at weblink

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 www. JackKettler .com

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How do we understand Elijah mocking God’s enemies 1 Kings 18:27

How do we understand Elijah mocking God’s enemies 1 Kings 18:27?       By Jack Kettler

“And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.” (1 Kings 18:27)

How is this passage to be understood? Is Elijah mocking non-believers a contradiction in Scripture? Mocking can also be translated to ridicule and taunt. Synonymous with ridicule would be to laugh at or make fun of a promoter of false gods. Synonymous with taunting would be to criticize.

“At noon, Elijah began making fun of them. Pray louder! he said. Baal must be a god. Maybe he’s daydreaming or using the toilet or traveling somewhere. Or maybe he’s asleep, and you have to wake him up.” (1 Kings 18:27 Contemporary English Version)

For example, it can be asked:

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Is Elijah in violation of this teaching of Jesus?

Or conversely, can Elijah be used as a model for interacting with pagans today?

From the classic Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament on the Kings passage:

“As no answer had been received before noon, Elijah cried out to them in derision: “Call to him with a loud voice, for he is God (sc., according to your opinion), for he is meditating, or has gone aside (שׂי, secessio), or is on the journey (בּדּרך, on the way); perhaps he is sleeping, that he may wake up.” The ridicule lies more especially in the הוּא אלהים כּי (for he is a god), when contrasted with the enumeration of the different possibilities which may have occasioned their obtaining no answer, and is heightened by the earnest and threefold repetition of the כּי. With regard to these possibilities we may quote the words of Clericus: “Although these things when spoken of God are the most absurd things possible, yet idolaters could believe such things, as we may see from Homer.” The priests of Baal did actually begin therefore to cry louder than before, and scratched themselves with swords and lances, till the blood poured out, “according to their custom” (כּמשׁפּטם). Movers describes this as follows (Phnizier, i. pp. 682,683), from statements made by ancient authors concerning the processions of the strolling bands of the Syrian goddess: “A discordant howling opens the scene. They then rush wildly about in perfect confusion, with their heads bowed down to the ground, but always revolving in circles, so that the loosened hair drags through the mire; they then begin to bite their arms, and end with cutting themselves with the two-edged swords which they are in the habit of carrying. A new scene then opens. One of them, who surpasses all the rest in frenzy, begins to prophesy with signs and groans; he openly accuses himself of the sins which he has committed, and which he is now about to punish by chastising the flesh, takes the knotted scourge, which the Galli generally carry, lashes his back, and then cuts himself with swords till the blood trickles down from his mangled body.” The climax of the Bacchantic dance in the case of the priests of Baal also was the prophesying (התנבּא), and it was for this reason, probably, that they were called prophets (נביאים). This did not begin till noon, and lasted till about the time of the evening sacrifice (לעלות עד, not עלות עד, 1 Kings 18:29). המּנחה עלות, “the laying on (offering) of the meat-offering,” refers to the daily evening sacrifice, which consisted of a burnt-offering and a meat-offering (Exodus 29:38.; Numbers 28:3-8), and was then offered, according to the Rabbinical observance (see at Exodus 12:6), in the closing hours of the afternoon, as is evident from the circumstances which are described in 1 Kings 18:40. as having taken place on the same day and subsequently to Elijah’s offering, which was presented at the time of the evening sacrifice (1 Kings 18:36).” (1)

 The example of Elijah seems to be out of character with general exhortations in Scripture such as:

 “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6)

 In line with Colossians, when someone hurls ad hominem attacks our way, we should not respond in kind.

 The Apostle Paul presents a case similar to Elijah in the New Testament:

 “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” (Acts 17:22-23)

 Did the Apostle Paul violate his teaching in Acts 17, where he called the Athenians superstitious and ignorant? 

 Speaking the truth at times requires bluntness:

 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 ESV)

 “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.” (Jude 1:18)

 How to understand Elijah and Paul in an apologetic context:

 Back to 1 Kings 18:27, in another setting, Elijah and the false priests of Baal can be understood as a philosophical worldview apologetic debate. In presuppositional apologetic debates, the Christian will assume the opponent’s view for the sake of argument and then reduce it to the logical conclusion, absurdity. If we see Elijah’s and Paul’s rejoinder to the priests of Baal and the Athenians in this light, both are early forms or examples of a worldview debate.

 Elijah’s mocking in a modern apologetic context:

 There is a large unusual religious group located in the Rocky Mountains. They believe that their God is a man with a physical body, and who can only be in one place at a time. In addition, they believe this God has a father God above him along with great grandfather Gods, on and on. 

 In the tradition of Elijah, it can be asked how does this god with a body travel and how fast. Does he travel like superman and use a cape? Does he use a spaceship? How does this god communicate with the other gods in his family? An intergalactic phone system? Do these gods have family reunions? Where?

In addition, this god has goddess wives. Do goddess wives cook and clean? Does the god with a body have sex with his goddess wives? If this man-god had 1000 wives, how long could he spend with each wife each day?   

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” (Proverbs 26:4-5)

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers comments are right to point:

“(5) Answer a fool according to his folly. — As his folly deserves, sharply and decisively, and in language suited to his comprehension.” (2)   

The Hebrew word for the word fool is “nabal” and means senseless. According to God, the fool has no sense and why “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

“The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.” (Ecclesiastes 10:12)

A fool can include all types of people, such as prostitutes and politicians.

In closing:

 To answer a starting question, no, Elijah did not violate the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:44. The teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:44 is in general; there are exceptions.

 For example:

 Jesus’s condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees documented in Matthew 23:1-39 and Luke 11:37-54 show obvious exceptions to the general teaching in Matthew 5:44.

 If Elijah’s mocking or making fun is seen in an apologetic context, the question of sinful mocking disappears. Instead, Elijah’s example is a brilliant use of worldview apologetics.

 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30) 

 “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)


 1.      Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, 1 Kings, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p. 245.

2.      Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Proverbs, Vol.9, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 498-499.

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 www. JackKettler .com

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Psalm 110:1, a devotional

Psalm 110:1, a devotional                                                                    By Jack Kettler

“A Psalm of David. The LORD [יְהוָֹהYhvh yeh-ho-vaw’] said unto my Lord [אֲדֹנָיAdonay], sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)

Psalm 110 is foundational in the Christian faith. Moreover, the persons of the Godhead and Christ’s reign as Prophet, Priest, and King are proclaimed.

From Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, there are several important insights into this passage:

“Psalm 110:1

“The Lord said unto my Lord” – Jehovah said unto my Adonai: David in spirit heard the solemn voice of Jehovah speaking to the Messiah from of old. What wonderful intercourse there has been between the Father and the Son! From this secret and intimate communion spring the covenant of grace and all its marvellous arrangements. All the great acts of grace are brought into actual being by the word of God; had he not spoken, there had been no manifestation of Deity to us; but in the beginning was the Word, and from of old there was mysterious fellowship between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ concerning his people and the great contest on their behalf between himself and the powers of evil. How condescending on Jehovah’s part to permit a mortal ear to hear, and a human pen to record his secret converse with his co-equal Son! How greatly should we prize the revelation of his private and solemn discourse with the Son, herein made public for the refreshing of his people! “Lord, what is man that thou shouldst thus impart thy secrets unto him.”

Though David was a firm believer in the Unity of the Godhead, he yet spiritually discerns the two persons, distinguishes between them, and perceives that in the second he has a peculiar interest, for he calls him “my Lord.” This was an anticipation of the exclamation of Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” and it expresses the Psalmist’s reverence, his obedience, his believing appropriation, and his joy in Christ. It is well to have clear views of the mutual relations of the persons of the blessed Trinity; indeed, the knowledge of these truths is essential for our comfort and growth in grace. There is a manifest distinction in the divine persons, since one speaks to another; yet the Godhead is one.

“Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies they footstool.” Away from the shame and suffering of his earthly life, Jehovah calls the Adonai, our Lord, to the repose and honours of his celestial seat. His work is done, and he may sit; it is well done, and he may sit at his right hand; it will have grand results, and he may therefore quietly wait to see the complete victory which is certain to follow. The glorious Jehovah thus addresses the Christ as our Saviour; for, says David, he said “unto my Lord.” Jesus is placed in the seat of power, dominion, and dignity, and is to sit there by divine appointment while Jehovah fights for him, and lays every rebel beneath his feet. He sits there by the Father’s ordinance and call, and will sit there despite all the raging of his adversaries, till they are all brought to utter shame by his putting his foot upon their necks. In this sitting he is our representative. The mediatorial kingdom will last until the last enemy shall be destroyed, and then, according to the inspired word, “cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father.” The work of subduing the nations is now in the hand of the great God, who by his Providence will accomplish it to the glory of his Son; his word is pledged to it, and the session of his Son at his right hand is the guarantee thereof; therefore, let us never fear as to the future. While we see our Lord and representative sitting in quiet expectancy, we, too, may sit in the attitude of peaceful assurance, and with confidence await the grand outcome of all events. As surely as Jehovah liveth Jesus must reign, yea, even now he is reigning, though all his enemies are not yet subdued. During the present interval, through which we wait for his glorious appearing and visible millennial kingdom, he is in the place of power, and his dominion is in no jeopardy, or otherwise he would not remain quiescent. He sits because all is safe, and he sits at Jehovah’s right hand because omnipotence waits to accomplish his will. Therefore, there is no cause for alarm whatever may happen in this lower world; the sight of Jesus enthroned in divine glory is the sure guarantee that all things are moving onward towards ultimate victory. Those rebels who now stand high in power shall soon be in the place of contempt, they shall be his footstool. He shall with ease rule them, he shall sit and put his foot on them; not rising to tread them down as when a man puts forth force to subdue powerful foes, but retaining the attitude of rest, and still ruling them as abject vassals who have no longer spirit to rebel, but have become thoroughly tamed and subdued.” (1)

What is the time period that Christ sits at the right hand of the Father? Mark, in his gospel, answers this question.

“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)

This sitting at the right hand of the Father is happening now. Christ’s reign is likewise happening now. It is the Father who put the enemies under Christ’s rule.

Psalm 110:1 and the following passage from 1 Corinthians 15:25 are inseparable.

“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:25)

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains the reign of Christ:

“For he must reign…. That is, Christ must reign; he is set as King over God’s holy hill of Zion; he is King of saints; he is made and declared to be both Lord and Christ; he is exalted at the right hand of God as a Prince, where he sits and rules and reigns; and his sitting at God’s right hand is here explained by his reigning, for reference is had to Psalm 110:1 he must reign because it is the unalterable will, and unchangeable decree and purpose of God, that he should reign; and because he has promised it, and prophesied of it; and because the state and condition of his people require it, who otherwise could not be saved, nor dwell safely: and so he must and will,

till he hath put all enemies under his feet; and made them his footstool; meaning either all the elect of God, who in a state of nature are enemies in their minds, by wicked works, to himself and to his Father; whom he conquers by his grace, subdues their rebellious wills, of enemies makes them friends, brings them to his feet, and to a subjection to his sceptre, to his Gospel and ordinances; and he must reign till he has brought every elect soul into such an obedience to himself: or rather antichrist and his followers, and all wicked and ungodly men, with Satan and his angels; who will be destroyed with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming; and will be cast down by him into hell, and there be ever objects of his wrath and vengeance: and till all this is done he must reign; not that he shall cease to reign afterwards, but that he shall reign notwithstanding these enemies of his and his people, who would not have him to reign over them; and will reign until they are subdued or destroyed; and when they are entirely vanquished and overcome, who can doubt of his reigning then? or what, or who will there be to hinder it? The Alexandrian copy, and others, read, “his enemies”; and so, do the Syriac and Ethiopic versions.” (2)

 While brief, the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary adds something of significance:

“25. must—because Scripture foretells it.

till—There will be no further need of His mediatorial kingdom, its object having been realized.

enemies under his feet — (Lu 19:27; Eph 1:22).” (3)

 What is meant by the term “mediatorial kingdom”?

 From the Westminster Confession Chapter 8.1 explains Christ’s mediatorial reign:

“i. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Savior of His Church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world: unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed, and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.”

Scriptural evidence of the present reality of Christ’s kingdom?

“…the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)

“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matthew 12:28)

“Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, who shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28)

“Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Colossians 1:13)

What are the implications of Christ’s mediatorial reign, both spiritual and political?

In closing, the awesome article by David Hall and Christ’s reign that answers the above question:

David Hall

Apr 14, 2016

“Allusions to Reformation themes abounded in early American sermons. The Waldensians, the eradication of the French Huguenots, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli were all referred to in Samuel Davies’ 1756 sermon, “The Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories of Jesus Christ.”

The Calvinist college at Princeton, where Edwards had once presided and where James Madison would later be educated, became a hive for anti-hierarchical theory. A line of distinguished presidents contributed to Princeton’s reputation as an educational laboratory for Calvinistic republicanism. Samuel Davies (1724-1761) assumed that presidency in 1759. Taking the helm of this strategic college shortly after the death of the college’s third president, Jonathan Edwards, Davies straddled the watersheds of the Great Awakening and the Revolutionary War. His political Calvinism, which apparently fit well with that of Jonathan Witherspoon, is evident in his sermon, “God the Sovereign of all Kingdoms.” Davies maintained that “the Most High is the sole disposer of the fates of kingdoms” because of his divine perfections. Argued Davies: “How shall this [goodness] be displayed in this world, unless he holds the reins of government in his own hands, and distributes his blessings to what kingdom or nation he pleases? . . . His power is infinite, and therefore the management of all the worlds he has made, is as easy to him as the concerns of one individual.” [1] God was not a remote “unconcerned spectator” but ruled by his active providence. Active providence, by implication, led to an active citizenry.

In his 1756 “The Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories of Jesus Christ,” Davies inquired about the nature and properties of Christ’s kingship. While many honorific titles were attributed to Christ, the office of King was assigned to him in both Old and New Testaments. The regal “character and dominion of our Lord Jesus” was a theme that spanned the pages of Scripture. Of course, Davies pointed out, the rule of Christ was not an earthly one, but nonetheless all earthly sovereigns were required to submit to his sovereignty. Since Christ had “an absolute sovereignty over universal nature,” he had superiority over any earthly ruler, and no earthly ruler was absolute.

Christ’s reign was absolute and supreme; he overrules and controls all political powers, “disposes all the revolutions, the rises and falls of kingdoms and empires . . . and their united policies and powers cannot frustrate the work which he has undertaken.” Sunday after Sunday, early American congregations heard that the key difference between the reign of Christ and the reign of any human ruler was the “universal extent of the Redeemer’s kingdom.” In contrast to his universal empire, the “kingdoms of Great-Britain, France, China, and Persia, are but little spots of the globe.” The laws of Christ’s kingdom were perfect, but earthly laws were not.

Davies praised “the ever-memorable period of the Reformation” for advancing liberty and diminishing persecution. He also decried the fact that Protestants were still being tortured and persecuted in France. He reminded Americans to appreciate, among the noble witnesses of God, the precursors to the Reformation, including Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the martyrs from France. While he lamented the lack of piety in his own day, he also noted in one sentence two phrases that would be yoked in the Declaration of Independence twenty years later: “The scheme of Providence is not yet completed, and much remains . . . [one day] the time shall be no more; then the Supreme Judge, the same Jesus that ascended the cross, will ascend the throne, and review the affairs of time.”

In his 1758 “Curse of Cowardice,” Davies preached another classic political sermon, this time to the Hanover (Virginia) County Militia from the OT. That sermon began by enumerating a list of grievances (including reference to “rapacious” hands and the “usurpation [by] Arbitrary powers”). Sermons like this commonly itemized civil governors’ moral violations of covenants. At the same time, Davies also reminded his listeners that, in the outworking of his Providence, God occasionally brought people to war. To fail to respond because of cowardice was to beg for the curse on Meroz described in Judges. It was a line of reasoning made previously in Stephen Marshall’s sermon to the British Parliament (1641). American political sermons, thus, were not novel—they stood on the shoulders of a long line of Puritans and other Reformers who intensely applied Scripture to their own times.

Davies exhorted soldiers in 1758 to turn to religion in order to keep themselves “uncorrupted in the midst of Vice and Debauchery.” They were to acknowledge God’s Providence in all situations. In language similar to that used later in congressional proclamations, Davies reminded his listeners that they walked before the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. He concluded by calling for “A THOROUGH NATIONAL REFORMATION” that would begin with individual listeners.

Davies articulated the common view of depravity embraced by the early Princetonians, i. e., that sinners were inactive, listless, insensible to the things of God, and utterly unable to quicken themselves. He preached, “The innate depravity and corruption of the heart, and the habits of sin contracted and confirmed by repeated indulgences of inbred corruption, these are poisonous, deadly things that have slain the soul; these have entirely indisposed and disabled it for living religion.” As a good Calvinist, Davies traced this sinful nature to Adam’s fall.

Davies’ Diary from that period mentions two figures central to this period. Years before he assumed the presidency of Princeton, Davies knew of Witherspoon, whose “Ecclesiastical Characteristics,” a “Burlesque upon the highflyers under the ironical name of Moderate Men,” had caused a stir in 1754. Davies liked the work and compared its humor to that of Dean Swift. Also, Davies read Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Laws in December 1753 and called it “an ingenious Performance with many new and valuable Sentiments.”[2] The seeds of Calvinistic politics were watered by many gardeners.

Davies, one of those gardeners, exhorted his Princeton students, including future signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Rush, that the union of “public spirit” and religion made a man useful. These two components of human life were inseparable. He charged Rush and others: “Public spirit and Benevolence without Religion is but a warm Affection for the Subjects to the Neglect of the Sovereign, or a Partiality for the Children in Contempt of their Father who is infinitely more worthy of Love. And Religion without Public Spirit and Benevolence is but a Sullen, Selfish, sour and malignant Humour for Devotion unworthy that sacred name.” [3]

Davies also influenced Patrick Henry, who listened to his preaching from age eleven to twenty-two. Henry, whose own oratory bears striking resemblance to that of Davies, based his stirring cadences on what he had certainly heard Davies assert (as Buchanan and Rutherford had earlier)—namely, that the British constitution was “but the voluntary compact of sovereign and subject.” [4]

Davies’ sermons mentioned above may be found at: http://consource.org/document/the-mediatorial-kingdom-and-glories-of-jesus-christ-by-samuel-davies-1756-5-9/. His “Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories” is available in Ellis Sandoz, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998).

[1] Cited in Morton H. Smith, Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology (Jackson, MS: Presbyterian Reformation Society, 1962), 51.

[2] The Reverend Samuel Davies Abroad, The Diary of a Journey to England and Scotland, 1753-1755, George W. Pilcher, ed. (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1967), 40.

[3] Cited in John Kloos, “Benjamin Rush’s Public Piety,” American Presbyterians 69:1 (Spring 1991), 51. The original was a 1760 “Religion and Public Spirit, A Valedictory Address.” Another of Davies’ students was the Rev. John Lathrop, who spread the Calvinistic-Princetonian views from the pulpit of Boston’s Old North Church beginning in 1768. See Alice M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1928), 112.

[4] C. H. Van Tyne, “Influence of the Clergy, and of Religious and Sectarian Forces, on the American Revolution,” American Historical Review, vol. 19 (1913-1914), 49. Davies’ son (William Davies) was head of the war department of Virginia during Patrick Henry’s life. See William Wirt Henry, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence, and Speeches (1891, rpr. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1993), vol. 2, 134.” (4)

 David Hall’s Bio:

“David W. Hall has served as the Senior Pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Powder Springs, Georgia since 2003. Previously, he served as Pastor of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (1984-2003) and as Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Rome, Georgia (1980-1984).

His undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis (BA, 1975) was in philosophy. After completion of his undergraduate studies, David Hall studied at Swiss L’Abri and then enrolled at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating in 1980. He later earned a Ph.D. in Christian Intellectual Thought from Whitefield Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1980.

In addition to pastoring, David Hall is the author or editor of over 20 books and numerous essays, and co-editor, with John L. Carson, of To Glorify and Enjoy God: A Commemoration of the Westminster Assembly, published by the Trust.

David Hall, Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals https://www.placefortruth.org/blog/the-mediatorial-kingdom-and-glories-of-jesus-christ”

 In conclusion:

 “The LORD [Κύριος – Jehovah] said unto my Lord [Κυρίῳ – Adonai], sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Matthew 22:44)

 Jesus in Matthew is quoting the Greek Septuagint in this text. The Pulpit Commentary elucidates this passage exceptionally well: 

“Verse 44. – The Lord said unto my Lord (Psalm 110:1). The quotation is from the Septuagint. But neither this nor our English Version is an adequate rendering of the original, where the word translated “Lord” is not the same in both parts of the clause, more accurately, the solemn beginning of the psalm is thus given: “Utterance [or, ‘oracle’] of Jehovah to my Lord (Adonai).” The psalmist acknowledges the recipient of the utterance as his sovereign Lord; this could be no earthly potentate, for on earth he had no such superior; Jewish tradition always applied the term unto the Messiah, or the Word. The prediction repeats the promise made by Nathan to David (2 Samuel 7:12), which had no fulfilment in his natural progeny, and could be regarded as looking forward only to the Messiah. Sit thou on my right hand. Thus, Messiah is exalted to the highest dignity in heaven. Sitting at God’s right hand does not necessarily imply complete Divine majesty (as Hengstenberg remarks), for the sons of Zebedee had asked for such a position in Messiah’s earthly kingdom (Matthew 20:21); but it denotes supreme honour, association in government, authority second only to that of Monarch. This is said of Christ in his human nature. He is “equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood.” In his Divine nature he could receive nothing; in his human nature all “power was given unto him in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18). Till I make (ἕως α}ν θῷ) thine enemies thy footstool; ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν σου. This is the Septuagint reading. Many manuscripts here give ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν σου Τιλλ Ι πυτ τηινε ενεμιεσ υνδερνεατη τηψ φεετ. Some few have both ὑποπόδιον and ὑποκάτω. Vulgate, Donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum. The complete subjection of all adversaries is denoted (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:25-27; Hebrews 1:13); and they are subjected not merely for punishment and destruction, but, it may be, for salvation and glory. The relative particle “till” must not be pressed, as if Christ’s session was to cease when his victory was completed. We have before had occasion to observe that the phrase, ἕως οῦ, or ἕως α}ν, asserts nothing of the future beyond the event specified. As St. Jerome says of such negative phrases, “Ita negant praeteritum ut non ponant futurum” (comp. Matthew 1:25; Matthew 5:26; Matthew 18:34). Of Christ’s kingdom there is no end. Matthew 22:44” (5)

“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)


 1.      Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David Volume 2, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984), p. 460.

2.      John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1 Corinthians, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), p. 26-27.

3.      Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 1222-1223.

4.      David Hall, Christ’s reign, Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals, https://www.placefortruth.org/blog/the-mediatorial-kingdom-and-glories-of-jesus-christ

5.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Matthew, Vol. 15., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 367.

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 www. JackKettler .com

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What Does the Bible Say? Volume 4

What Does the Bible Say? Volume 4

Volume 4 of this multi-volume series will cover, “Can Good Come from Evil? What says the Scriptures?” “The Virgin Birth of Christ, Isaiah 7:14;” “What does a “troop” mean in Isaiah 65: 11;” “A “Riddle will be Solved, Psalm 49:4;” also covered will be chapters on transgenderism, fornication, and homosexuality. When posted as a blog, the chapter on transgenderism generated the most flames or hate comments ever witnessed by this author.

Chapter One: Can Good Come from Evil? What says the Scriptures?

Chapter Two: The Virgin Birth of Christ, Isaiah 7:14

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

Chapter Four: A Riddle will be Solved, Psalm 49:4

Chapter Five: What are Anthropomorphisms and Theophanies?

Chapter Six: The Creation or Cultural Mandate, what is it?

Chapter Seven: Transgenderism, what does the Bible say?

Chapter Eight: What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

Chapter Nine: What does the Bible say about fornication?

Chapter Ten: What is Inerrancy?

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 www. JackKettler .com

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Who are the other sheep mentioned in John 10:16

Who are the other sheep mentioned in John 10:16                                     By Jack Kettler

“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

Whom would these other sheep be? One large religion that is headquartered in the Rocky Mountains uses this passage from John as a proof text to advance an agenda. Since this group does not use legitimate Biblical exegesis, their theory does not warrant interaction.

As will be seen, there is nothing secretive about the identity of these other sheep. Throughout the Scriptures, the identity and salvation of these other sheep are anticipated. 

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers provides a standard exposition of the text:
“(16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold. — The words recall to the mind a question which the Jews had asked at this very feast, “Will He go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?” (John 7:35). They asked it in the bitterness of scorn. He asserts that among the Gentiles—who are not of the Jewish fold—He already possesses sheep; just as He says to Paul concerning Corinth, “I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:10). The Old Testament prophets had foretold this coming of the Gentiles, as e.g. Isaiah 52:13 et seq.; Isaiah 53:10 et seq.; Micah 4:2; and it is present to our Lord’s mind here as the result of His laying down His life for the sheep. (Comp. Notes on John 11:52; John 12:32.)

Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice. – The bringing in of the Gentiles was in the Divine counsel part of the Messianic work which He must therefore needs do. It would result from His being lifted up that all men should be drawn unto Him, and would be accomplished in the mission-work of the Church. These scattered sheep shall hear His voice, for the conscience which knows the voice of God is the heritage of all men; they shall hear it, as the words seem to imply, while the sheep now in the fold refuse to follow it. (Comp. Notes on Matthew 8:11 and Romans 11:17.)

And there shall be one-fold, and one shepherd. — Better, there shall become one flock, and one shepherd. The word here rendered “fold,” is quite distinct from that which occurs in John 10:1, and in the earlier clause of this verse. It should be, beyond all doubt, rendered “flock”; but the reader may prove this for himself by comparing the only other passages where it is found in the New Testament—Matthew 26:31; Luke 2:8; 1Corinthians 9:7 (twice). In each of these passages we have “flock”; but here our version has followed the Vulgate and the Great Bible in giving “fold,” whereas both Tyndale and Coverdale had rightly given “flock.” But even “flock” and “shepherd” fail to catch the expressiveness of the Greek, where the words are closely allied, and of nearly the same sound, “There shall be one poimne and one poimèn.” Luther’s German can exactly render the verse. “Und Ich habe noch andere Schafe, die sind nicht aus diesem Stalle. Und dieselben muss Ich herführen, und sie werden meine Stimme hören, und wird eine Herde und ein Hirte werden.”

It is not uniformity which is promised, but unity. The distinction is not merely one of words, but upon it depends a wide and important truth. It is not unity of fold which is regarded as the future of the Church, but unity of flock. There will be many folds, in many nations, in many ages, in many climes. But for all Christians there will be one true Shepherd who layeth down His life for the sheep, and all these differing folds shall, through living unity with Him, make one vast flock.” (1)

Biblically passages that foretell from an Old Testament predictive point of view or clarify from the New Testament point of view, John 10:16:

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:18)

“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You.” (Psalm 22:27)

“All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.” (Psalm 86:9)

“The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” (Isaiah 9:2)

“He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)

“Thus, declares the Lord GOD, who gathers the dispersed of Israel: I will gather to them still others besides those already gathered.” (Isaiah 56:8)

“Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:3)

“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:14)

“I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’” (Hosea 2:23)

“All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.” (Acts 10:45)

“Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.” (Acts 11:1)

“When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)

“Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” (Acts 28:28)

“Even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.” (Romans 9:24)

“In order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:14)

“Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For all the nations will come and worship before You, For Your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:4)

Using the interpretive rule that the Scriptures and the best interpreter of Scripture, the Biblical student can easily see what has been foretold and the glorious fulfillment of God saving the Gentiles.   

The Apostle Paul explains this:

“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” (Ephesians 3:6)

For the reader’s added benefit, two additional commentary entries will be consulted.

After accessing the parallel passages, Matthew Poole’s Commentary provides additional insight on John’s text:
“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; our Saviour meaneth the Gentiles, who belonged not to the Jewish state and church, so were not under the same laws and government; for, 1Jo 2:2, he was not only a propitiation for the sins of the Jews, but for the sins of the whole world: he calleth those sheep, because the Lord knew who were his from eternity; and they were sheep in the counsels of God, and they were suddenly to be made his sheep by calling, the gospel being soon to be preached to all nations.

Then also (saith he) I must bring in; it is so written in God’s book, the promises and prophecies to that purpose must be fulfilled. They shall not only hear the voice and sound of my gospel, though going out of Zion, yet not terminated in Zion; but they shall embrace, receive, and believe that joyful sound.

And there shall be one-fold, and one shepherd; and there shall be but one church; as I am one Shepherd, so there shall be but one flock of sheep; one body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, as there is one God and Father of all, as the apostle speaketh, Ephesians 4:4-6.” (2)

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible will provide a helpful concluding commentary:

And other sheep I have

Not distinct from those for whom he laid down his life, but from those who were under the Old Testament dispensation, and who heard not the thieves and robbers that were before Christ, ( John 10:8 ) ; others besides the lost sheep of the house of Israel, or the elect among the Jews, to whom Christ was sent; and by whom are meant the chosen of God among the Gentiles, who were sheep, though not called and folded, for the reasons given: (See Gill on John 10:3). These, though uncalled, belonged to Christ; he had an interest in them, they were given him by his Father; he had them in his hands, and upon his heart; his eye was upon them, and they were under his notice, inspection, and care:

which are not of this fold,

of the Jewish nation and church, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise; were as sheep going astray, and were scattered about in the several parts of the world; and were to be redeemed out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation:

them also I must bring;

out of the wilderness of the world, from among the men of it, their former sinful compassions, from the folds of sin and Satan, and the pastures of their own righteousness; to himself, and into his Father’s presence, to his house and ordinances, to a good fold and green pastures, and at last to his heavenly kingdom and glory: and there was a necessity of doing all this, partly on account of his Father’s will and pleasure, his purposes and decrees, who had resolved upon it; and partly on account of his own engagements, who had obliged himself to do it; as well as because of the case and condition of these sheep, who otherwise must have eternally perished:

and they shall hear my voice;

in the Gospel, not only externally, but internally; which is owing to his powerful and efficacious grace, who quickens them, and causes them to hear and live; unstops their deaf ears, and gives them ears to hear; and opens their hearts, to attend to his word, and gives them an understanding of it. The Arabic version reads this in connection with the preceding clause, thus, “and I must bring them also to hear my voice”; as well as the rest of the sheep among the Jews, and therefore the Gospel was sent among them:

and there shall be one-fold, [and] one shepherd;

one church state, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles; the middle wall of partition being broke down, these two coalesce in one, become one new man, and members of one and the same body; for though there may be several visible Gospel churches, yet there is but one kind of church state, and one general assembly and church of the firstborn, one family to which they all belong; for what reasons a church is comparable to a fold, (See Gill on John 10:1). And over this fold, or flock, there is but one shepherd, Jesus Christ; who is the rightful proprietor, and whose own the sheep are; and who knows how to feed them, and does take care of them; though there are many under shepherds, whom he employs in feeding them; in the original text the copulative “and” is wanting, and the words stand thus, “one fold, one shepherd”; which not only expresses a peculiar elegance, but answers the proverb delivered in the same form; and to which agree the Arabic and Ethiopic versions, which render them, “and there”, or “they shall be one fold of one shepherd”; or one flock which belongs to one shepherd only; see ( Ezekiel 34:23 ) ( 37:24 ).” (3) (bolding emphasis mine)

In closing:

In the Scriptures, sheep are depicted as necessary to the ancient Hebrews as livestock. Sheep are also depicted in Scripture as figuratively referring to God’s people.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)

These sheep include both Jew and Gentiles.

“For He Himself is our peace and our bond of unity. He who made both groups — [Jews and Gentiles]—into one body and broke down the barrier, the dividing wall [of spiritual antagonism between us].” (Ephesians 2:14 The Amplified Bible)

“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)


1.      Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, John, Vol.17, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 46.

2.      Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, John, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 333.

3.      John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, John, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), p. 356-357.
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 www. JackKettler .com

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Lot Offers His Daughters for Rape (Genesis 19:8)

Lot Offers His Daughters for Rape (Genesis 19:8)                                      By Jack Kettler

“Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.” (Genesis 19:8)

How is this story to be understood? It seems shocking to contemplate.

The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament summarizes the story:
Lot went out to them, shut the door behind him to protect his guests, and offered to give his virgin daughters up to them. “Only to these men (האל, an archaism for האלּה rof, occurs also in Genesis 19:25; Genesis 26:3-4; Leviticus 18:27, and Deuteronomy 4:42; Deuteronomy 7:22; Deuteronomy 19:11; and אל for אלּה in 1 Chronicles 20:8) do nothing, for therefore (viz., to be protected from injury) have they come under the shadow of my roof.” In his anxiety, Lot was willing to sacrifice to the sanctity of hospitality his duty as a father, which ought to have been still more sacred, “and committed the sin of seeking to avert sin by sin.” Even if he expected that his daughters would suffer no harm, as they were betrothed to Sodomites (Genesis 19:14), the offer was a grievous violation of his paternal duty. But this offer only heightened the brutality of the mob. “Stand back” (make way, Isaiah 49:20), they said; “the man, who came as a foreigner, is always wanting to play the judge” (probably because Lot had frequently reproved them for their licentious conduct, 2 Peter 2:7, 2 Peter 2:8): “not will we deal worse with thee than with them.” With these words they pressed upon him, and approached the door to break it in. The men inside, that is to say, the angels, then pulled Lot into the house, shut the door, and by miraculous power smote the people without with blindness (סנורים here and 2 Kings 6:18 for mental blindness, in which the eye sees, but does not see the right object), as a punishment for their utter moral blindness, and an omen of the coming judgment.

 How can Lot’s offer be understood? Surely Lot was in sin to make this offer. The Puritan Commentator does not gloss over this question.

 Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible addresses this question:  Behold now, I have two daughters, which have not known man, though some think they were espoused to men, but had not yet cohabited with them, see Genesis 19:14,

let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes; this was a very great evil in Lot to make such an offer of his daughters; it was contrary to parental love and affection, an exposing the chastity of his daughters, which should have been his care to preserve; nor had he a power to dispose of them in such a manner: and though fornication is a lesser evil than sodomy, yet all evil is to be avoided, and even it is not to be done that good may come: nothing can be said to excuse this good man, but the hurry of spirit, and confusion of mind that he was in, not knowing what to say or do to prevent the base designs of those men; that he might be pretty certain they would not accept of his offer, their lust burning more after men than women; that this showed his great regard to the laws of hospitality, that he had rather sacrifice his daughters to their brutal lusts, than give up the men that were in his house to them; and that he might hope that this would soften their minds, and put them off of any further attempt; but after all it must be condemned as a dangerous and imprudent action:

only unto these men do nothing; for as yet he knew them not to be angels; had he, it would not have given him the concern it did, since he must have known that they were able to defend themselves, and that the sin these men offered to commit could not be perpetrated on them: but he took them for mere men, and his request is, that no injury might be done to their persons in any respect, and especially in that way which their wicked hearts put them upon, and is so shocking to nature:

for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof; for though it was not their intention in coming, nor the design of Providence in bringing them into Lot’s house, to secure them from the violence of the men of Sodom, but for the preservation of Lot and his family, which as yet he knew nothing of, yet it was what Lot had in view in giving the invitation to them: and the laws of hospitality being reckoned sacred and inviolable, a man’s house was accounted an asylum for strangers when taken into it.

 The next entry from the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary agrees with Gill:  “4. men of Sodom, compassed the house—Appalling proofs are here given of their wickedness. It is evident that evil communications had corrupted good manners; otherwise Lot would never have acted as he did.”

 In closing:

 Even though Lot was a believer, there is no imperative to try and find an excuse for his failure. The Scriptures portray the failure of men like King David committing adultery with Bathsheba. In addition, the Scriptures warn the believer not to surround themselves with non-believers. There is a very real danger of being contaminated by the actions and thinking process of non-believers. In this regard, Lot is a perfect case of someone who was corrupted by being surrounded by evil. His example should be one that strikes fear into the hearts of believers.

 If it were not for the two angels, Lot and his family would have been destroyed along with the inhabitants of Sodom. Moreover, Christian fellowship is important because it strengthens our faith, and it helps us to concentrate on Christ and His teachings.     

 “Study to show 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)


 1.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, Entry for “TimeInternational Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), pp. 2981-2982.

2.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, Entry for “CalendarInternational Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), pp. 541-542.
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 www. JackKettler .com

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What Does the Bible Say? Volume 3

What Does the Bible Say? Volume 3

In Volume 3 of this multi-volume series, “What does the Bible say,” the focus will be on difficult portions of Scripture such as Does Romans 13 on submission contradict other portions of Scripture? Does a Christian owe allegiance to a gang of robbers who call themselves the government? Romans 13 and the Limits of submission to the Church or State. Also, in this volume, the Reign of Christ, A Scriptural view of the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, The Federal Headship of Adam and Christ, Christ Our Prophet, Priest, and King, and The Triune nature of God and the Deity of Christ will be considered.


Chapter One: Does Romans 13 on submission contradict other portions of Scripture?

Chapter Two: Does a Christian owe allegiance to a gang of robbers who call themselves the government?

Chapter Three: Romans 13 and the Limits of submission to the Church or State

Chapter Four: Does Romans 13:1, 3-5 contradict Isaiah 5:20?

Chapter Five: The Danger of Subjectivism in the life of the Christian

Chapter Six: 1 Corinthians 15:24-26 and the Reign of Christ

Chapter Seven: A Scriptural view of the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom

Chapter Eight: The federal headship of Adam and Christ

Chapter Nine: Christ Our Prophet, Priest, and King

Chapter Ten: The Triune nature of God and the Deity of Christ

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 www. JackKettler .com

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What type of calendar did the Jewish people use, lunar or solar?

What type of calendar did the Jewish people use, lunar or solar?                 By Jack Kettler

The Hebrews followed a lunar calendar, but adjusted it for solar years. The lunar calendar is 12 days shorter than the solar calendar.

In Genesis 1, there is the chorus or refrain “it was evening and it was morning,” which describes God’s creative acts for each day of the creative week. The account of creation in Genesis 1:1-2:4 provides the basis for measuring time. This creative refrain in Genesis also provides the basis for a seven-day week. It also delineates the week into six-work days and one day for sabbath rest.

In this overview of the Hebrew measurement of time and their calendar, online reference sources will be utilized for the benefit of the reader. 

The concept and development of time in the Old Testament will be explained from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:


tim: The basis of the Hebrew measurement of time was the day and the lunar month, as with the Semites generally. The division of the day into hours was late, probably not common until after the exile, although the sun-dial of Ahaz (2Ki 20:9; Isa 38:8) would scent to indicate some division of the day into periods of some sort, as we know the night was divided, The word used for “hour” is Aramaic she`a’ (sha`ta’), and does not occur in the Old Testament until the Book of Daniel (Isa 4:6; 5:5), and even there it stands for an indefinite period for which “time” would answer as well.

1. The Day:

The term “day” (yom) was in use from the earliest times, as is indicated in the story of the Creation (Ge 1:1-31). It there doubtless denotes an indefinite period, but is marked off by “evening and morning” in accordance with what we know was the method of reckoning the day of 24 hours, i.e. from sunset to sunset.

2. Night:

The night was divided, during pre-exilic times, into three divisions called watches (‘ashmurah, ‘ashmoreth), making periods of varying length, as the night was longer or shorter (Jg 7:19). This division is referred to in various passages of the Old Testament, but nowhere with indication of definite limits (see Ps 90:4; 119:148; Jer 51:12; Hab 2:1).

In the New Testament we find the Roman division of, etc.). But the use of the word in the indefinite sense, as in the expressions: “day of the Lord,” “in that day,” “the day of judgment,” etc., is far more frequent (see DAY). Other more or less indefinite periods of the day and night are: dawn, dawning of the day, morning, evening, noonday, midnight, cock-crowing or crowing of the cock, break of day, etc.

3. Week:

The weekly division of time, or the seven-day period, was in use very early and must have been known to the Hebrews before the Mosaic Law, since it was in use in Babylonia before the days of Abraham and is indicated in the story of the Creation. The Hebrew shabhua`, used in the Old Testament for “week,” is derived from shebha`, the word for “seven.” As the seventh day was a day of rest, or Sabbath (Hebrew shabbath), this word came to be used for “week,” as appears in the New Testament sabbaton, sabbata), indicating the period from Sabbath to Sabbath (Mt 28:1). The same usage is implied in the Old Testament (Le 23:15; 25:8). The days of the week were indicated by the numerals, first, second, etc., save the seventh, which was the Sabbath. In New Testament times Friday was called the day of preparation (paraskeue) for the Sabbath (Lu 23:54).

4. Month:

The monthly division of time was determined, of course, by the phases of the moon, the appearance of the new moon being the beginning of the month, chodhesh. Another term for month was yerach yerach, meaning “moon,” which was older and derived from the Phoenician usage, but which persisted to late times, since it is found in the Aramaic inscriptions of the 3rd century AD in Syria. The names of the months were Babylonian and of late origin among the Hebrews, probably coming into use during and after the Captivity. But they had other names, of earlier use, derived from the Phoenicians, four of which have survived in “Abib,” “Ziv,” “Ethanim” and “Bul.”


5. Year:

The Hebrew year (shanah) was composed of 12 or 13 months, the latter being the year when an intercalary month was added to make the lunar correspond with the solar year. As the difference between the two was from ten to eleven days, this required the addition of a month once in about three years, or seven in nineteen years. This month was added at the vernal equinox and was called after the month next preceding, we-‘adhar, or the “second Adar.” We do not know when this arrangement was first adopted, but it was current after the Captivity. There were two years in use, the civil and the ritual, or sacred year. The former began in the autumn, as would appear from Ex 23:16; 34:22, where it is stated that the “feast of ingathering” should be at the end of the year, and the Sabbatic year began in the Ex 7:1-25th month of the calendar or sacred year, which would correspond to September-October (Le 25:9). Josephus says (Ant., I, iii, 3) that Moses designated Nican (March-April) as the 1st month of the festivals, i.e. of the sacred year, but preserved the original order of the months for ordinary affairs, evidently referring to the civil year. This usage corresponds to that of the Turkish empire, where the sacred year is lunar and begins at different seasons, but the financial and political year begins in March O.S. The beginning of the year was called ro’sh ha-shanah, and was determined by the priests, as was the beginning of the month. Originally this was done by observation of the moon, but, later, calculation was employed in connection with it, until finally a system based on accurate calculation was adopted, which was not until the 4th century AD. New-Year was regarded as a festival.

See ASTRONOMY, sec. I, 5; YEAR.

6. Seasons:

The return of the seasons was designated by summer and winter, or seed-time and harvest; for they were practically the same. There is, in Palestine, a wet season, extending from October to March or April, and a dry season comprising the remainder of the year. The first is the winter (choreph), and this is the seed-time (zera`), especially the first part of it called yoreh, or the time of the early rain; the second is the summer (qayits, “fruit-harvest,” or qatsir, “harvest”).

Seed-time begins as soon as the early rains have fallen in sufficient quantity to moisten the earth for plowing, and the harvest begins in some parts, as in the lower Jordan region, near the Dead Sea, about April, but on the high lands a month or two later. The fruit harvest comes in summer proper and continues until the rainy season. “The time when kings go out to war” (2Sa 11:1; 1Ki 20:22) probably refers to the end of the rainy season in Nican.

7. No Era:

We have no mention in the Old Testament of any era for time reckoning, and we do not find any such usage until the time of the Maccabees. There are occasional references to certain events which might have served for eras had they been generally adopted. Such was the Exodus in the account of the building of the temple (1Ki 6:1) and the Captivity (Eze 33:21; 40:1) and the Earthquake (Am 1:1). Dates were usually fixed by the regnal years of the kings, and of the Persian kings after the Captivity. When Simon the Maccabee became independent of the Seleucid kings in 143-142 or 139-138 BC, he seems to have established an era of his own, if we may attribute to him a series of coins dated by the years “of the independence of Israel” (see COINS: MONEY; also 1 Macc 13:41 and 15:6,10). The Jews doubtless were familiar with the Seleucid era, which began in 312 BC, and with some of the local eras of the Phoenician cities, but we have no evidence that they made use of them. The era of the Creation was not adopted by them until after the time of Christ. This was fixed at 3,830 years before the destruction of the later temple, or 3760 BC. See ERA.” H. Porter

In addition, we learn about the Hebrew calendar from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:


kal’-en-dar (Latin calendarium, “an account book,” from calendae, “day on which accounts were due”): The Hebrew or Jewish calendar had three stages of development: the preexilic, or Biblical; the postexilic, or Talmudic; and the post-Talmudic. The first rested on observation merely, the second on observation coupled with calculation, and the third on calculation only. In the first period the priests determined the beginning of each month by the appearance of the new moon and the recurrence of the prescribed feasts from the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. Thus, the month Abib (‘abhibh), the first month of the year according to the Levitical law, in which the Passover was to be celebrated, was determined by observation (Ex 12:2; De 16:1-22). After the exile more accurate methods of determining the months and seasons came into vogue, and calculation was employed to supplement and correct observations and the calendar was regulated according to the Babylonian system, as is evidenced by the names of the months which are derived from it. In later times the calendar was fixed by mathematical methods (see the article “Calendar” in the Jewish Encyclopedia). The difficulty of ascertaining the first day of the new moon by observation, in the early period, led to the celebration of two days, as seems to be indicated in 1Sa 20:27. We have only four names of months belonging to the pre-exilic period, and they are Phoenician. Of these Abib (‘abhibh) was the first month, as already indicated, and it corresponded to Nis (nican) in the later calendar. It was the month in which the Exodus occurred and the month of the Passover (Ex 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; De 16:1).

The 2nd month of this calendar was Ziv (ziw) (1Ki 6:1,37); Ethanim (‘ethanim) was the 7th (1Ki 8:2), corresponding to Tishri of the later calendar, and Bul (bul) the 8th, corresponded to Marchesvan (marcheshwan) (1Ki 6:38). There were course other month names in this old calendar, but they have not come down to us. These names refer to the aspects of the seasons: thus Abib (‘abhibh) means grain in the ear, just ripening (Le 2:14; Ex 9:31); Ziv (ziw) refers to the beauty and splendor of the flowers in the spring; Ethanim (‘ethanim) means perennial, probably referring to living fountains; and Bul (bul) means rain or showers, being the month when the rainy season commenced. The full calendar of months used in the postexilic period is given in a table accompanying this article. The names given in the table are not all found in the Bible, as the months are usually referred to by number, but we find Nican in Ne 2:1 and Es 3:7; Siwan in Es 8:9; Tammuz in Eze 8:4, although the term as here used refers to a Phoenician god after whom the month was named; ‘Elul occurs in Ne 6:15; Kiclew (the American Standard Revised Version “chislev”) in Ne 1:1 and Zec 7:1; Tebheth in Es 2:16; ShebhaT in Zec 1:7 and ‘Adhar in Ezr 6:15 and several times in Est. These months were lunar and began with the new moon, but their position in regard to the seasons varied somewhat because of the intercalary month about every three years.

The year (shanah) originally began in the autumn, as appears from Ex 23:16 and Ex 34:22, where it is stated that the feast of Ingathering should be at the end of the year; the Sabbatic year began, also, in the Ex 7:1-25th month of the calendar year (Le 25:8-10), indicating that this had been the beginning of the year. This seems to have been a reckoning for civil purposes, while the year beginning with Nican was for ritual and sacred purposes. This resulted from the fact that the great feast of the Passover occurred in this month and the other feasts were regulated by this, as we see from such passages as Ex 23:14-16 and De 16:1-17. Josephus (Ant., I, iii, 3) says: “Moses appointed that Nican, which is the same with Xanthicus, should be the first month of their festivals, because he brought them out of Egypt in that month; so that this month began the year as to all solemnities they observed to the honor of God, although he preserved the original order of the months as to selling and buying and other ordinary affairs.” A similar custom is still followed in Turkey, where the Mohammedan year is observed for feasts, the pilgrimage to Mecca and other sacred purposes, while the civil year begins in March O.S.

The year was composed of 12 or 13 months according as to whether it was ordinary or leap year. Intercalation is not mentioned in Scripture, but it was employed to make the lunar correspond approximately to the solar year, a month being added whenever the discrepancy of the seasons rendered it necessary. This was regulated by the priests, who had to see that the feasts were duly observed at the proper season. The intercalary month was added after the month of ‘Adhar and was called the second ‘Adhar (sheni, wa-‘adhar, “and Adar”), and, as already indicated, was added about once in 3 years. More exactly, 4 years out of every 11 were leap years of 13 months (Jewish Encyclopedia, article “Calendar”), this being derived from the Babylonian calendar. If, on the 16th of the month Nican, the sun had not reached the vernal equinox, that month was declared to be the second ‘Adhar and the following one Nican. This method, of course, was not exact and about the 4th century of our era the mathematical method was adopted. The number of days in each month was fixed, seven having 30 days, and the rest 29. When the intercalary month was added, the first ‘Adhar had 30 and the second 29 days.” H. Porter

In closing:

“The Hebrew calendar (Hebrew: הַלּוּחַ הָעִבְרִי, Ha-Luah ha-Ivri), also called Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits (dates to commemorate the death of a relative), and daily Psalm readings, among many ceremonial uses. In Israel, it is used for religious purposes, provides a time frame for agriculture and is an official calendar for civil purposes, although the latter usage has been steadily declining in favor of the Gregorian calendar…

The Hebrew lunar year is 12 days shorter than the solar year and uses the 19-year Metonic cycle to bring it into line with the solar year, with the addition of an intercalary month every two or three years, for a total of seven times per 19 years. Even with this intercalation, the average Hebrew calendar year is longer by about 6 minutes and 40 seconds than the current mean tropical year, so that every 216 years the Hebrew calendar will fall a day behind the current mean tropical year.” Hebrew calendar From Wikipedia

“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)


1.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, Entry for “TimeInternational Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), pp. 2981-2982.

2.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, Entry for “CalendarInternational Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), pp. 541-542.

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 www. JackKettler .com

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