Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Dr. James White on Evangelizing Roman Catholics (and other things)
08/28/2009 - Tur8infanThanks to Monergism.com I recently located a discussion recorded on October 16, 2005, at the Omaha Bible Church featuring Dr. James White discussing evangelizing Roman Catholics (here's a link to the mp3 - about 1 hour). This is one of several presentations that was given that weekend. The rest are provided below:
- Justification by Faith Alone (link to mp3 - about 50 minutes)
- The Biblical Truth of the Trinity (link to mp3 - about 44 minutes)
- Earnestly Contending for the Faith Against Antinomianism (link to mp3 - about 1 hour, 11 minutes)
- Earnestly Contending for the Faith Against Legalism (link to mp3 - about 1 hour, 18 minutes)
- Earnestly Contending for the Faith Against Relativism (link to mp3 - about 38 minutes)
- The Heart of the Gospel (Part 1) (link to mp3 - about 1 hour)
- The Heart of the Gospel (Part 2) (link to mp3 - about 19 minutes)
Bonus: From about the time the 2005 conference ended, an interview of Dr. James White (link to to mp3 - about 50 minutes).
Arminianism's Depersonalization of the Gospel
08/28/2009 - James White
Lane Chaplin Interviews Dr. James White
08/26/2009 - Tur8infanLane Chaplin has interviewed Dr. James White on the topic, "Does Reformed Theology Matter?"After a short introduction, Mr. Chaplin interviews Dr. White from Dr. White's own office on the importance of Reformed theology. There's even a video clip from one of Dr. White's debates. Enjoy!
Warner Accepts the Hoary Notion that Calvinism is a "Philosophical System"
08/24/2009 - Alan KurschnerTim Warner on the origins of Calvinism asserts that it is "Christian philosophical speculations, [that] eventually led to what is today called, 'Calvinism.'"
I do not know too many philosophers that have written a mountain of commentaries, which I suspect Warner has not read a single volume.
Nor do I know too many Christian philosophers who have been humble to the point of uttering the following words:
And yet I will exert special effort to the end that they who lend ready and open ears to God's Word may have a firm standing ground. Here, indeed, if anywhere in the secret mysteries of Scripture, we ought to play the philosopher soberly and with great moderation; let us use great caution that neither our thoughts nor our speech go beyond the limits to which the Word of God itself extends. For how can the human mind meaure off the measureless essence of God according to its own little meaure, a mind as yet unable to establish for certain the nature of the sun's body, though men's eyes daily gaze upon it? Indeed, how can the mind by its own leading come to search out God's essence when it cannot even get to its own? Let us then willingly leave to God the knowledge of himself. For, as Hilary (of Poitiers) says, he is the one fit witness to himself, and is not known except through himself. But we shall be "leaving it to him" if we conceive him to be as he reveals himself to us, without inquiring about him elsewhere than from his Word. — John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I:XIII:21.One wonders if Tim Warner has examined the origins of his own Arminian Tradition, which is actually the philosophical system called libertarianism that underlies humanism, Roman Catholicism, and Greek pagan philosophy. But make no mistake, this system is not so much a "historical tradition" as it is the ahistorical phenomenon found in the heart of every creature, which desires to be autonomous from his Creator. And only by the grace of God does the creature recognize that there is only one free being in the universe: God.
Calvin and Servetus Revisited... Again
08/24/2009 - James SwanNot long ago I posted Calvin and Servetus Revisited. In that entry I included a 20 minute section on Calvin and Servetus that Dr. White did on the Dividing Line. During his explanation, he mentioned that Servetus has been credited with describing the circulatory system and that he hadn't had a chance to check the accuracy of this claim.
I think I've found the source. I picked up a very interesting book recently entitled Out Of The Flames (New York: Broadway Books, 2002) by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. The book is entirely about Michael Servetus and his book the Christianismi Restitutio. This book by Servetus was that text sent to Calvin as an attack on the Institutes. According to the authors, the Christianismi Restitutio became one of the rarest books in the world. They tell quite a fascinating tale of how this rare book survived through the centuries.
It appears the claim about the circulatory system comes from the Christianismi Restitutio. The following quote appears on page 171 in Book V:
The substantial generation of the vital spirit is composed of a very subtle blood nourished by inspired air...It is generated in the lungs from a mixture of inspired air with elaborated, subtle blood which the right ventricle of the heart communicates with the left. However, this communication is not made through the middle wall of the heart as is commonly believed, but by a very ingenious arrangement, the subtle blood is urged forward by a long course through the lungs; it is elaborated by the lungs, becomes reddish yellow and is poured from the pulmonary artery into the pulmonary vein. Then in the pulmonary vein it is mixed with inspired air through the expiration it is cleansed of its sooty vapors. Thus finally the whole mixture, suitably prepared for the production of the vital spirit, is drawn onward from the left ventricle of the heart by diastole. [Out Of The Flames, pp. 197-198].
The authors add, "This was a description of pulmonary circulation, perhaps the single most important statement about the workings of the human body in fifteen hundred years." The Goldstone's also tell quite an interesting historical story of how this claim from Servetus was unearthed, given the fact the copies of the Christianismi Restitutio were not thought to exist. It wasn't until 1694 that someone actually mentioned the claim in print. What first began as hearsay later was documented when an copy of the Christianismi Restitutio was discovered, and it turned out, according to the authors, to be the very copy of the text used by Germain Colladon during the trial of Servetus.
Why Good Greek Grammar Matters: An Exegetical Response to Tim Warner's Preterit Interpretation of the Golden Chain - Part 1
08/24/2009 - Alan Kurschner“(28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (30) And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
– Rom 8:28–30.
You can find Tim Warner’s article here.
He immediately begins with a caricature of Calvinism. He asserts:
According to Calvinists, from “predestination” to “glorification,” everything related to our salvation is determined and performed by God. Nothing man does can in any way affect his eternal destiny.I ask: how does an individual become justified? It is by faith. Who "performs" the faith? The individual or God? Answer: faith is expressed by the will of the individual, which is enabled by our gracious God. And can someone who does not love God be glorified? No.
The verb [οἶδα, oida in v. 28], rendered “we know” in the NKJV and “we have observed” in our translation, is a perfect active indicative form of the verb meaning “to observe and therefore perceive [he cites Thayer’s Lexicon].He inaccurately cites Thayer’s lexicon. This is not the definition that Thayer provides. What is omitted in Warner’s discussion of this term is Thayer’s important note: “The tenses coming from eido; and retained by usage form two families, of which one signifies to see, the other to know.” Thayer continues to show that when the term is in the aorist tense it means “to see, observe, perceive." But when it is in the perfect tense, which it is in this case, it means “to know, understand." Warner acknowledges that the term is in the perfect tense. So why does he blunder and choose the aorist meaning of this term?
The reason why Warner translates it himself as “we have observed” rather than “we know” is because it supports his thesis that all of the events in the golden chain, including glorification, are a past event. In other words, for him, the salvific acts in the golden chain do not represent timeless truths, but rather what has happened to individuals in the past. To put it in his own words, which he states later: "Paul was describing what has always occurred in the past based on his observation. Therefore, even the 'glorification' must be something that has been observed previously."
The perfect tense indicates past completed action with continuous results. Literally, “we have observed” (and therefore we know). The knowledge claimed is based solely on past observation. This is a requirement of this term.He continues to predicate his thesis on his flawed lexical assertion that oida, "we know," means "we observe as a past action." As demonstrated above, he misread Thayer's lexicon.
In addition, Warner is not familiar with current Greek linguistics or he would be qualifying this absolute statement about verb tense. Traditional Greek has taught that this is what the perfect tense means, but recent scholarship has qualified this substantially, or jettisoned it all together. The perfect tense-form can be found in various temporal contexts, not just past time. Moreover, οἶδα, oida in verse 28 would be a "Perfect with a Present Force." In fact, oida is the most common verb for this Greek category given its stative lexical meaning. In other words, the present temporal reference of this word is due to the stative lexeme and context, not the tense-form.
Greek verbal aspect theory emphasizes the distinction of form and function; semantics and pragmatics; spatial quality and temporal reference; aspect (i.e., author’s subjective portrayal of the action) and Aktionsart (i.e., objective “kind of action”).
Traditionally, grammarians confused the latter elements with the former. For example, it was (and still is among many New Testament interpreters) thought that the verb tense grammaticalized (or encoded) time. But verbal aspect has argued often persuasively that temporal reference is not an inherent (semantic) value of the verb-tense (the future “tense” is an exception, but even then there are qualifications). It is the context that provides us clues to the temporal reference. Further, the perfect tense-form serves to highlight the action of the verb (contrasted with the aorist tense-form, which is the least significant tense-form and only serves to move the storyline or argument along without depicting how the action exactly unfolds).
Continuing, Warner writes:
Remember, Paul was encouraging them in persecution to place their hope in the future resurrection and inheritance, and that God was at work in them even in their present situation. So, it is natural that he would offer some demonstration from history to support the observation of this fact.Warner is setting up the reader for his thesis, which again he thinks that Paul is only describing what has happened in the past; i.e., the golden chain is not providing timeless truths of God's acts of salvation.
Verses 29-30 do not offer a theological argument, or insight into God’s secret purposes. Rather, they offer historical demonstration of what Paul and his readers had indeed observed, that God works for the good of those who love Him.Again, he utilizes the erroneous "observed" definition. And one truly has to wonder how Warner can miss the explicit revealing of God’s purpose! Paul uses the infinitive of purpose: εἰς τὸ εἶναι (eis to einai)…"so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren." That is, we are predestined to be conformed to Christ so that Christ may be preeminent over a new humanity.
We will continue in part two…
Dr. James White on Justification and the Uniqueness of Christ
08/19/2009 - Tur8infanOne of Dr. White's speaking engagements while in Australia was to give a talk on Justification and the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ. While I am told that a YouTube video may follow, you can get the audio now at the following link (link). That site has a handy embedded player. If, however, you'd like to just download the mp3s, the links are (part 1)(part 2).
Enjoy to your edification!
Calvin and Servetus Revisited
08/18/2009 - James SwanA recent letter asks:
Do you know if Calvin really wanted Servetus put to death? I know he wrote he wouldn't stop it, if he were put to death. I know the two often corresponded, until Calvin lost patience. But a Reformed guy told me, last summer, that when Servetus wrote he wanted to come to Geneva, Calvin tried to discourage him? And that when he did get arrested, and sentenced to burn alive at the stake, Calvin tried to get the sentence mitigated to the quicker and more humane decapitation?
A few months back Dr. White provided a very helpful overview on this issue on the Dividing Line. I extracted the 20 minute section on Calvin and Servetus as an MP3 clip. If you're engaging in dialogue with someone bringing up Servetus, simply link them to this MP3 clip and ask them to at least listen to it before further exchanges.
If you're in discussion on this, also take a look at the Banner of Truth's short concise article on Calvin and Servetus. The article outlines three different approaches taken by those who use Servetus as an argument against Calvin and Calvinism. I find this useful as a means of formulating a response. The article states:
It is very common to hear the remark, "What about Servetus?" or, "Who burned Servetus?" There are three kinds of persons who thus flippantly ask a question of this nature. First, the Roman Catholics, who may judge it to be an unanswerable taunt to a Protestant. Second, those who are not in accord with the great doctrines of grace, as taught by Paul and Calvin, and embraced and loved by thousands still. Then there is a third kind of persons who can only be described as ill-informed. It is always desirable, and often useful, to really know something of what one professes to know.
I shall narrow the inquiry at the outset by saying that all Roman Catholics are "out of court." They burn heretics on principle, avowedly. This is openly taught by them; it is in the margin of their Bible; and it is even their boast that they do so. And, moreover, they condemned Servetus to be burned.
Those who misunderstand or misrepresent the doctrines of grace call for pity more than blame when they charge the death of Servetus upon those views of divine truth known as Calvinistic. Perhaps a little instruction would be of great value to such. It is very desirable to have clear ideas of what it is we are trying to understand. In most disputes this would make a clear pathway for thought and argument. Most controversies are more about terms than principles.
The third sort of persons are plainly incompetent to take up this case, for the simple reason that they know nothing whatever about it. Pressed for their reasons, they have to confess that they never at any time read a line about the matter.
I've had my own encounters with those using the Servetus burning as a means of either discrediting the Reformation or Calvinism from all three above mentioned groups. A few years back I came across someone highlighting this old quote from freethinker Robert G. Ingersoll:
"Calvin was of a pallid, bloodless complexion, thin, sickly, irritable, gloomy, impatient, egotistic, tyrannical, heartless, and infamous. He was a strange compound of revengeful morality, malicious forgiveness, ferocious charity, egotistic humility, and a kind of hellish justice. In other words, he was as near like the "Sovereign God" of the "Institutes of the Christian Religion" as his health permitted."
There is of course, a much different John Calvin that one finds from historical research. Chris Arnzen's Iron Sharpens Iron has done a few interesting interviews (all available as free MP3 downloads) presenting quite a different image of John Calvin:
Nelson Kloosterman: John's Calvin's Teaching on Morality
Joel Beeke: The life and Ministry of John Calvin
Burk Parsons: John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology
Dr Joseph Pipa: Calvin: The Preacher
Steven Lawson: "The Expository Genius Of John Calvin" (Part one)
Steven Lawson: "The Expository Genius Of John Calvin" (Part two)
BibleJohn and the Blindness of Some Fundamentalists
08/10/2009 - James WhiteA while back a fellow showed up in our chat channel using the nick BibleJohn. From the beginning I felt he was a troll, that is, someone "trolling" to create controversy, someone not being honest with us about who he was or what he was up to. It seemed to me that his behavior and language was so caricatured that it was really artificial. No one could possibly be this narrow minded, so incapable of thinking outside his very narrow traditions! And though we tried, for quite some time, to reason with the man, eventually the inevitable happened, and I sent him packing (participation in our chat channel is not a universal human right: it is a privilege, one I can rescind at any point, and quickly, I might add).
What prompted his removal was the fact that he had ordered Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free, and, though he had not read "the other side," was singing its praises in channel. It seems a rather artificial way of providing offense, and after wasting a lot of time giving him the benefit of the doubt, I sent him packing. Within about half an hour, as I recall, I was directed to a "review" of The Potter's Freedom that he posted on Amazon. Now, realize, this is a man who has never read the book. But, he posted the review anyway. Another good reason to ignore Amazon reviews, as any of my books act as magnets to attract every kind of loony "review." In any case, many people pointed out that the man was just acting childish for having been banned from an IRC chat channel, but with folks like BibleJohn, reason isn't really high up there on the "things he's likely to respond to" list.
So today someone posted a link to the newest version of his "here is a review of a book I have never read and will never read because I'm a good IFB!" article, and I ran across this line:
1. If Limited Atonement was taught in the Bible then can you tell me why would Hebrews 2:9 state "that Christ should taste death for everyman?"Now, the sad irony is that his whole list is answered in the book he refuses to read but pretends to review. But what is more was that days before he was expelled, back when we were trying to get him to kick-start his thinking processes, I directed him to the following video, which just happens to be on...Hebrews 2:9ff! He even claimed to have listened to it (though, I saw no reason to believe him). So even in posting nonsense on Amazon, the man cannot think far enough outside of the small, small box of his fundamentalism to even understand why anyone would read the text differently than he and his IFB heroes do.
I feel badly for BibleJohn. If he is, in fact, what he represented himself to be, then he is the most perfect representation of a mind closed down by legalism and self-righteous adherence to the traditions of men I've ever seen in my years of ministry. He responds in a classicaly cultic fashion: if you dare challenge his assumptions, you are filled with "hatred" and "arrogance" against "God's Word." Encountering men like BibleJohn reminds me of how very dangerous religion, even religion that is "true" in many ways, can be when it is not balanced and fully biblical.
From Seventy to More than a Million?
08/05/2009 - Tur8infanTwo posts ago, I pointed out how Mr. Camping's chronology falls apart under Scriptural scrutiny over something as simple as the name of Moses' father (link). In the immediately preceding post, I demonstrated that a rebuttal based on there needing to be 430 years in Egypt was wrong based on the plain teachings of Scripture (link). As I explained then, the claim that there were 430 years in Egypt is based on misreading the text of Scripture.
In addition to the argument based on misreading a text as suggesting that Israel would be in Egypt for 430 years, there was also an argument made based on population growth. "How could it be that in only 210 years," we might paraphrase the question as stating, "the population of Jacob's family grew from 70 people to over two million?" The short answer is that the Israelites had large families.
For a more detailed answer, first of all, let's confirm that the numbers are correct:
Exodus 1:5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.
All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six; and the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.
Specifically that 70 number is (breaking it down by their maternal connection to Jacob): 7 sons and grandsons of Bilhah (Genesis 46:25); 14 sons and grandsons of Rachel (Genesis 46:22); 16 (15 sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons and 1 daughter) offspring of Zilpah (Genesis 46:16); and 33 (32 sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons and 1 daughter) offspring of Leah (Genesis 46:15), for a grand total of 70 sons, daughters, grandsons, and great-grandsons of Jacob.
Additionally, as Genesis 46:26 informs us, there were wives that were not included in that number (nor, as we note above, was Israel himself included in that number). So, in essence, there were 69 men of Israel (Israel himself and 68 sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons, as well as two daughters) at the beginning of the 210 year period in Egypt.
Two years after the Exodus, there were 603,550 men (counting only those 20 years old and older) and not counting the Levites (Numbers 1:46-47). That's huge population growth in only 210 years. How did this happen? They had very large families. Scripture expresses it this way:
Exodus 1:7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
They didn't just have a lot of kids, they:
- were fruitful
- increased abundantly
- waxed exceeding mighty [numerically]
- land was filled with them
But again, after the initial wave of persecution (which the midwives resisted) Scripture tells us that the fecundity continued yet more:
Exodus 1:20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
There was an enormous boom in the population of Israel. How could this happen? The answer is simply that there were really enormous families. This is revealed to us in Scripture:
In Numbers 3:43, Moses and Aaron counted all the firstborn males of Israel - not counting the Levites. Now, keep in mind that the total number of males (over 20 years old) was 603,550. What Moses and Aaron found was that the firstborn males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward were 22,273 (Numbers 3:43).
That's a ratio of 1 firstborn male for every 27 males. Even if Israelites rarely had girls in those days (an unlikely proposition), that's an average family of 27 children. And actually, we've understated the matter, since the first-born males were counted from a month old and upward, but the total males were only counted from 20 years old and upward, and only those that were able to go forth to war (presumably this excludes any disabled or elderly men) (But see FN1, below). If we further assume that there were about an even number of girls born to boys born, then the average Hebrew family had over 50 children. These children may not have been born serially, since it possible that the Israelites were polygamists. If they were, their ever-increasing need for wives would tend to be met by taking Egyptian girls as the wives for their sons, something that would further have caused concern to the Egyptian Pharaoh, who would see it as decreasing his own population in each successive generation.
So, that's the answer to the objection to a 210 year stay in Egypt based on the massive population growth of the Israelites: they grew from 69 males to over 600,000 males (an 8,700-fold increase) by having enormous families.
FN1: One further caveat is that the firstborn would tend to be the first to die of old age. Given that the 600,000 number counts those able to go to war, and excludes the elderly, the "old age effect" should roughly be canceled out.
Unbelievable Programs Airing
08/04/2009 - James WhiteYou may recall that last month I did two programs with Justin Brierley on his "Unbelievable" radio program in London. I debated Roger and Faith Forster on the doctrines of grace and on the existence of eternal punishment. The first of those programs aired last weekend, which means I assume the program on eternal punishment will air this weekend in London. Hence, on Sunday or Monday that program should show up on the Unbelievable website, found here. Give the programs a listen, and drop Justin a line thanking him for being brave enough to have that wild man from Phoenix on! I enjoyed doing the programs and would love to do more, especially if I get a chance to be back in London, hopefully in February.
How then Four Hundred, Thirty Years?
08/03/2009 - Tur8infanOne reader inquired regarding the Camping Jenga post:
If Amram was Aaron's dad, how on earth do we account for the 430 year sojourn in Egypt?I answer as follows:
The Israelites did not sojourn 430 years in Egypt. This is one of the first mistakes that Mr. Camping has made in his claims regarding the matter, though it is certainly not the most significant or plain of his mistakes. Look at the verses that are relevant more closely:
Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
You will notice that neither of these verses say that the Hebrews were in Egypt for 430 years, but that they were sojourning for 430 years. When we compare Scripture to Scripture, we discover what the starting point of the 430 years is:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Paul here clearly explains that the promise came to Abraham 430 years before the giving of the law. Therefore, the 430 years should be counted not from the entry into Egypt by Jacob and his sons and grandsons, but from the date of the promise.
This particular commenter didn't specifically state whether he accepts Mr. Camping's chronology, but let's be perfectly clear: if one accepts Mr. Camping's chronology, one contradicts Paul in Galatians 3:16-17, because Mr. Camping's chronology makes the period from the promise to the law much longer than 430 years. In fact, Mr. Camping dates the birth of Isaac at 2068 B.C. and the exodus at 1447 B.C., over 600 years later. (Biblical Calendar of History, pp. 6-7)
Recall as well the remainder of the promise:
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. but in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Abraham died seeing only his grandson Jacob, but not his great-grandchildren from Jacob. We know this from the fact that Abraham died at 175 (Genesis 25:7), that his son Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 (Genesis 17:17), and that Jacob was born when Isaac was 60 (Genesis 26:26).
Who then is the fourth generation? It is the fourth generation of descendants that Abraham did not see.
1) Levi, the son of Jacob
2) Kohath, the son of Levi
3) Amram, the son of Kohath
4) Aaron and Moses, the sons of Amram
But again, if one takes Mr. Camping's view, one must deny the truth of the promise to Abraham, because if Amram was not Moses' and Aaron's father, then they were more than four generations past Abraham's death. I realize that Mr. Camping attempts to defuse this objection by suggesting an odd way of doing the chronology, such that "generation" is actually not the way we consider generations today.
So, as you can see, Mr. Camping's error regarding the relatively simple question of "who is Moses' father?" (correct answer, according to Exodus 6:20, Numbers 26:59, 1 Chronicles 6:3, and 1 Chronicles 23:13, is "Amram") actually ends up in his having not only to deny the plain sense of the term "four generations" but having to contradict Paul's chronology in Galatians.
Before signing off, for those interested, I'd like to add one additional plain contradiction to the growing pile. You'll recall that Mr. Camping's chronology calculated 430 years thus:
Levi (77 years in Egypt)
Kohath (133 years in Egypt)
Amram (137 years in Egypt)
Aaron (83 years in Egypt)
Total = 430 years total time
The last plain contradiction that I'll point out is this. Kohath was Levi's son (Exodus 6:16), Kohath lived a total of 133 years (Exodcuse 6:18), and Kohath came into Egypt with Levi (Genesis 46:8-26, especially vs. 11). Thus, Kohath was born before he and Levi came into Egypt, and Levi's time in Egypt is not properly added to Kohath's time in Egypt, since their time in Egypt was overlapping.
In case anyone thinks that this was a different Kohath in Genesis 46 as opposed to Exodus 6, Scripture confirms the identity of Kohath for us:
Genesis 46:11 And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Exodus 6:16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years.
(I've included an addendum with quotations from Gill, Calvin, and Henry at my own blog - link)
Camping and the Atonement
08/01/2009 - Tur8infanIn a previous post (link) we discussed how Mr. Harold Camping errs on the simple question of who Moses' father is, according to the Scriptures, and how this has a chain reaction effect on his chronology. There are other clear errors in Mr. Camping's theology that relate less directly to his date-setting error.
Scripture Says Christ Died Once
Scripture is perfectly clear that Christ died only once:
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
And again, we see the same clear teaching in Paul's Epistle to the Romans:
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Mr. Camping Says Christ Died Twice
Mr. Camping claims:
Later in this study, we will learn that the Lord Jesus Christ died twice in connection with the atonement. He died before the foundation of the world as the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 13:8). He also died when He was on the cross, demonstrating to us and the world how He paid for our sins. The doubling of His punishment agrees with the principle set forth in Genesis 41:32, that is, that which is doubled is established by God.(To God be the Glory, p. 25)
Mr. Camping also claims:
Now we understand that Christ suffered once to pay for our sins, and He suffered a second time to demonstrate how He paid for our sins. Now we can understand why Pilate, the Roman governor, repeated again and again, “I find no fault in him” (Luke 23:4, 22; John 19:4, 6; also see Matthew 27:19, 24). Christ stood before him absolutely sinless. Yet He had to be punished as if He were still laden with all of the sins of those who were elected to become saved in order to demonstrate how He suffered for those sins.(To God be the Glory, p. 34)
Exploring Camping's View of Revelation 13:8
As to Mr. Camping's view of Revelation 13:8, the verse states:
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
I can understand how that verse might sound at first (and in English) as though it were saying that the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. It is, however, also legitimate to understand "slain" as modifying "Lamb" and "from the foundation of the world" as modifying "written." We find confirmation of this from another discussion of this book:
Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Notice how here, again, "from the foundation of the world" is not right next to "written" but nevertheless the reader can figure out that it does not modify "life" but "written."
There's another aspect that we must consider as well. The expression "the Lamb slain" is a picture that John used previously in Revelation 5:
Revelation 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Revelation 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Finally, we see a parallel expression to that in Revelation 13:8 without the reference to slaying:
Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Mr. Camping, however, prefers to quote Revelation 13:8 selectively. For example:
- "The first surprising information that we learn as we carefully study all that God teaches us in the Bible about the atonement is that it was completely finished before God created mankind. In Revelation 13:8, we read of “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”" (To God be the Glory, p. 32)
- "Now, Jesus is the great “I AM,” God Himself, who has no beginning, and the Bible tells us in Revelation 13:8, that He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”" (I Hope God Will Save Me, p. 8)
- "But nobody except God Himself knows who they are. Only after they receive their new resurrected soul, that is, after they have become saved, will they begin to understand that God had saved them. But the fact is that they were justified from the beginning of time because Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8)."(I Hope God Will Save Me, p. 9)
- "Since Christ was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (rev. 13:8), this again shows that it has always been God’s intention to save people out of the Gentile nations as well as out of the nation of Israel."(An Exposition of Galatians, at Galations 3:14, p. 15)
Incidentally, this ambiguity regarding the reference of "from the foundation of the world" is removed in many more recent translations:
- (ASV) And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain.
- (BBE) And all who are on the earth will give him worship, everyone whose name has not been from the first in the book of life of the Lamb who was put to death.
- (CEV) The beast was worshiped by everyone whose name wasn't written before the time of creation in the book of the Lamb who was killed.
- (Darby) and all that dwell on the earth shall do it homage, every one whose name had not been written from the founding of the world in the book of life of the slain Lamb.
- (ESV) and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.
- (GNB) All people living on earth will worship it, except those whose names were written before the creation of the world in the book of the living which belongs to the Lamb that was killed.
- (Holman NT) All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered.
- (NASB) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
- (MKJV) And all dwelling on the earth will worship it, those whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world.
- (MSG) Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world's foundation in the slaughtered Lamb's Book of Life will worship the Beast.
- (RSV) and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.
- (TEV) All people living on earth will worship it, except those whose names were written before the creation of the world in the book of the living which belongs to the Lamb that was killed.
- (WE) Everyone on earth will worship the beast, if they do not have their names in the book of life. The book of life belongs to the Lamb who was killed. That was God's plan since the world was made.
Same for the TNIV, and the Amplified Bible provides a similar footnote (a): 'Revelation 13:8 Alternate translation: "recorded from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain [in sacrifice].'"
My reason for pointing this out is not to try to win the battle by pointing out that more translators translate the text one way than anther way. Nor am I trying to cast negative light on the most popular edition of the KJV, a version that preserves the ambiguity in a way that I think is admirable. Instead, I'm simply pointing out that a significant number of committees and translators of the Greek have viewed the phrase "from the foundation of the world" as modifying the writing, rather than as modifying the slaying.
What if "from the foundation of the world" Modifies "slain"?
I should point out that the first edition of the KJV (like the prior printed English versions, such as the Bishops' Bible and the Geneva Bible) punctuated the verse in a way that is different from the most popular edition of the KJV. Specifically, the KJV1611 places a comma between "Lambe" and "slaine," which tends to force the "from the foundation of the world" to modify "slain."
So, what about my dear friends who only use KJV1611 or who strongly prefer it. Does that version support Mr. Camping's view? Is the KJV1611 endorsing a "two deaths of Christ" view? Of course not.
Even if we are to read "from the foundation of the world" as modifying "slain," the bigger question is why on earth anyone would interpret that literally? No one in their right mind interprets "Lamb" literally, and most people would have the sense to realize that there could be no literal book before the foundation of the world.
No, even if "from the foundation of the world" as modifying "slain," we would still view the imagery as symbolic and not literal. We would view him as "slain from the foundation of the earth" in the sense of that being his eternal purpose, not as him actually having been slain before the world was founded. There's no particular reason to take that kind of plainly symbolic comment literally: we don't view Jesus as a literal lamb, we don't view the book of Life as a literal book, and we don't view the writing in the book as literal writing. Jesus is a lamb in that he is the sacrifice for sin. The writing in a book symbolizes the fixity of God's decrees.
This is confirmed by, for example, the marginal note in the Geneva Bible (1599) on the word slain: "As God ordained from before all beginning, and all the sacrifices were as signs and sacraments of Christ’s death."
In short, there is no reason to think that there was a literal slaying before the foundation of the world, even if the phrase "from the foundation of the world" as modifying "slain," which does not appear to be the best understanding of the text.
How does this error on Mr. Camping's part influence his end times prediction? It does not have a very direct and immediate impact. It's significance is that it is one of several ways that Mr. Camping tries to treat the entire life of Jesus as simply being a spiritual picture, thereby reinforcing Mr. Camping's attempt to avoid the literal sense of Scripture in favor of specific, selective spiritualizing interpretations. This particular error does not have such a direct, chain reaction effect as Mr. Camping's error regarding Moses' father, but it does help to serve to show a second instance in which Mr. Camping's spiritualizing agenda places him in direct contradiction with the plain teachings of Scripture.