Were Humans Created Before or After the Animals?

12 March 2011

Q. According to Genesis, were humans created before the animals?
A. No.

The passages in question proceed as follows:

“God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” (NASB)
– Genesis 1:25-27

“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him.’
Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” (NASB)
– Genesis 2:18-20

It requires a great stretch in basic reading comprehension to visualize a contradiction between these passages. The first chapter of Genesis gives a chronological record of the creation of the universe. The second chapter sums up the record within the first few verses, and then repeats the story in more detail (beginning at Genesis 2:4).

The 18th verse illuminates the reason and significance behind the creation of the woman. In the rhythm of a narrative, the fact about animals being created is recalled in order to emphasize the distinction between humans and animals.

Did the Temple Curtain Rip Before or After Jesus Died?

12 March 2011

Q. Did the temple curtain rip before or after Jesus died?
A. The instant He died.

The answer to “when” the temple curtain ripped is dependent upon the answer to “why” the temple curtain ripped. Exodus 26:33 describes the temple curtain in question as a veil put in place to partition the Holy of Holies from from the presence of sinners.

Before Jesus served as the ultimate sacrifice, human souls were unable to approach Yahweh directly through the holiest part of the temple due to their unrighteousness. As soon as the debt was paid in full, the veil was torn apart, symbolizing that believers were no longer separated from the throne of Yahweh because their sins were washed away. Messiah Yeshua became the permanent mediator – the High Priest – between sinful believers and the perfect God.
The author of Hebrews explains this as follows:

“Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.

Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.

The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
– Hebrews 9:1-12, NASB

The concept of being able to approach the divine without earthly mediation through priests was a bold and terrifying concept to ancient people, so the the record of the temple veil being torn in half is a powerful message.

If it would have made no sense for the temple veil to be torn in two before the Lamb of God was slain, then why do some of the gospels mention it before mentioning Christ’s death? Here is what they actually say:
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.” (NASB)
– Matthew 27:50-51

“And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (NASB)
– Mark 15:37-38

“It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.” (NASB)
– Luke 23:44-46

The proximity to which the accounts of the temple veil being torn in two and Jesus breathing His last occur create a dramatic literary effect that emphasizes the precision and significance of the event.

The context of the message is also important. Luke mentioned the ripping of the temple veil and the death of Christ right after he recorded the interesting conversation that Christ had with the robbers being crucified on either side of Him (Luke 23:39-43). Jesus told the understanding thief that he would be saved.

But according to the Torah, how on earth would this be possible? The thief realized he was wrong and was prepared to repent and seek salvation when he was in the middle of being executed! He didn’t have time to make the proper sacrifices and get the high priest to intercede for him!

But Jesus told him he wasn’t doomed. The unblemished Lamb was being sacrificed right next to him. The temple veil was being torn in two.

Does Yahweh Tempt People?

12 March 2011

Q. Does Yahweh tempt people?
A. No, Yahweh never tempts someone. Not in the evil sense of the word, anyway.

James 1:13 says:

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” (NASB)

People are often confused when they see they read in the King James Version that God “tempted” Abraham (Genesis 22:1). This is likely due to a decreased understanding of the English language that the brilliant William Tyndale translated that passage into, let alone a decreased understanding of Hebrew and Greek languages. God tested Abraham, not “tempted” him in the sense that James wrote about.

The book of James distinguishes between positive and negative tempting through the Greek words peirasmos, meaning trials, and peirazo, meaning tempted (as in lust).

To make up for the decreasing understanding of proper English, more recent translations have resolved the issue by using the word “test” in place of the word “tempt”:

“Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said ‘Here I am.’” (Genesis 22:1, NASB)

“Tempt” comes from Middle English/Anglo-French tempter, tenter, which in turn is derived from the Latin temptare, or tentare, meaning to feel and try.

Here’s something else to think about…

Think of the following words: test, trial, try

Now, you probably know what this word means: attempt

Do you see the word “tempt” in there? If you at-tempt something, you are pursuing a try, a test, a trial. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are attempting evil. To take a creative spin on the issue, when you are tempted, you are not necessarily tempted to do evil. You can be tempted to do good by various incentives.

Who Put the Gorgeous Purple Robe on Jesus?

12 March 2011

Q. Who put the gorgeous purple robe on Jesus? Herod’s soldiers, or Pilate’s soldiers?

A. Herod’s soldiers put the robe on Jesus and sent Him to Pilate. Pilate’s soldiers jerked off the robe, scourged Him, and then dressed Him in a robe again – probably the same one used by Herod’s soldiers.

The day of crucifixion was a tortuously long day for Christ. Beginning before sunrise, He was dragged from one court to the other while the rulers deliberated over what to do with Him.

The time line of the “royal mocking” incident proceeds as follows.

“When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself was in Jerusalem at that time. Now Herod was very glad to see Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing.

And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently. And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate…

…But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!” Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged [When scourging someone, the Romans would have (obviously) removed some of the prisoner’s clothing – in this case, the gorgeous robe – so that the prisoner would feel upon their back the lash of harsh whips made with pieces of sharp material, including pieces of bone. This particular passage is found in Mark, the gospel addressed to the Romans, an audience that would comprehend that without further explanation.], he handed Him over to be crucified.

The soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and they called together the whole Roman cohort…

…And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. Pilate came out again and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”

Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!”

The above verses come from Luke 23:6-11, Mark 15:14-16, and John 19:2-5, respectively (NASB).

Generational Punishment in the Torah

12 March 2011

Q. In Old Testament law, were children to be punished for the sins of their fathers?
A. No.

The Bible contains both applicable laws and prophetic revelations throughout the text. The applicable laws are directions that people are supposed to carry out, while the prophetic revelations may be actions that only Yahweh is supposed to carry out.

According to Deuteronomy 24:16, government must not deliberately initiate generational punishment:

“Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers, everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.”

This is because according to the Biblical view, humans are fallible and have limited understanding. People cannot be trusted to be in charge of carrying out generational punishment or vengeance. This is contrary to the typical customs of the era. Law in Mesopotamian cultures often ordered punishment based on the sins of parents.

Yahweh, however, is capable of removing protection from family lines based on the sins of an ancestor:

“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who keep My commandments.”

– Deuteronomy 5:9-10

UNDER MAINTENANCE

10 March 2011

Luke Historians was assaulted with bizarre technical issues this week and is currently undergoing a cleanse. Thank you for your patience, and please check back again later!

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