Popologetics

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Ted Turnau has written a book titled, Popologetics.  Turnau develops a method for analyzing our current culture and evaluating it from a Christian Worldview.  He defines popologetics as the “use of the imagination and intellect to critically engage popular culture in order to open a way of worship of the true God.”  Turnau suggests five questions to ask about a piece of popular culture.  The goal is to be able to discern between the good and the evil present in popular culture and to hold to that which is good while rejecting the evil.  Here are the five questions.
What’s the Story?
Popular culture comes to us in many different stories.  What is the overall narrative?  If we were to ask this question about the Bible, we would be able to answer that the Bible is the story of the redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ.  Every book in the Bible relates some aspect of this story.  The overall narrative is called a metanarrative.  Politicians attempt to develop  a story or metanarrative about war, climate change, immigration, etc.  Fascination with celebrity lifestyles is driven by our addiction to story.  Movies, television shows, books, songs, etc. tell stories.  The object is the discover the overall story presented in these various forms of popculture.  In order to do this, we must break down the story into its constituent elements.  Summarize the plot.  Isolate the different elements that make up the story:  main characters, major conflicts, and plot points.  Look for the main theme.  Consider the main character.  Does he/she attain his/her goal?  Look for broad themes.  Look at the structure of the story: the setting, the narrator’s point of view, prominent symbols, and repeated motifs. The overall goal is to be able to give a solid interpretation of the story.
Where Am I?
Examine the world of the text.  The worlds depicted by popular culture are ways of seeing reality.  Popcultural texts proposition our imaginations, displaying to the imagination different ways of seeing the world and of seeing ourselves.  We interpret our own lives through the metanarratives that we come to accept.  So, our own worldview is shaped by them.  The story is shaped by style.  Style involves some type of medium: music (gets under your skin and haunts your memory); cinema (embraces us.  We are sucked into the story); novels (embraced in a different way–through imagination–we supply the images); television (intimate worlds and very personal); computer (interactive and immersive).  The story is guided by conventions.  Conventions are time-honored rules and expectations that guide how the story is told.  How fast and lose does the author play with the rules?  You can go against the rules or you can go with the rules.  Here are some questions to ask:  What counts as good or evil in this world?  What is beautiful in this world?  What makes relationships work or fail?  Where is God?  What is worshiped?  What makes life worth living?  We need to pay particular attention to the texture of the worldview.  It is here that our own worldview intersects with the worldview of the popular culture event.  Every experience shapes us in some way.
What is Good and True?
The third question focuses on what is good in the popular culture event.  There will be moments when good and beauty shine forth in popular culture.  Those who make culture also bear the image of God (are created by God in His image).  Some truth will come forth.  In the world of popular culture, there will always be a mixture of good and evil.  We may have to look hard to find what is good.
What is False and Evil?
The fourth question forces us to probe popular culture events and discover what is evil or idolatrous.  Where does popular culture lie about the truth?  A good knowledge of the truth/scriptures is indispensable to discovery of error or evil.  The Christian Worldview is established by God’s Word.  God’s Word gives us an objective means to analyze the different aspects of popular culture.  We must prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.  At the same time, we must abstain from every form of evil (I Thess. 5:21-22).  Satan transforms himself into an “angel of light” (II Cor. 11:14).  Can you detect the “angel of light” that is really Satan in disguise?  Some questions to ask:  What does “salvation” look like in this story?  Is it all about getting the girl?  or, getting rich?  What isn’t portrayed as sin that God says is sin?  Satan is a parasite.  He takes the good and distorts it. He represents the good and then lies about it.  This is the classic bait and switch.  Idolatry sells.  Idolatry seduces and tempts.  Idolatry appeals to the flesh.  Beauty and sex are both gifts from God, but Satan corrupts both through pornography.  Making money into a god that you live for will pierce you through with many sorrows.  Romance and sex without commitment and authentic love (agape) in marriage is another distortion.
How Does the Gospel Apply?
The final question focuses on the gospel.  The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).  A biblical perspective responds to popular culture by providing exposure and giving answers.  True love, reconciliation, contentment, security, justice, family and forgiveness are defined by and found in the gospel.  Popculture may distort these and offer something else (an idol) instead of God.  The Christian Worldview is not a dry set of theological propositions.  It is rooted in the astounding reality of the gospel and touches on our deepest desires–desires for relationship, for truth, for forgiveness, for healing, for peace, for justice and much more.  The gospel is not small.  It is all-encompassing.

Jesus and Moses

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In a recent article in the Christian Courier, Wayne Jackson presented material concerning Jesus and Moses (Christian Courier, April, 2014, p. 15). I would like to expand on that material.
Unbelievable Quotes
T. K. Cheyne (1899) wrote that the books of Moses were written almost a thousand years after Moses and therefore, could not have been written by Moses (Encyclopedia Biblica, vol. 2, p. 2055). According to Cheyne, Moses could not have written anything about Jesus.
John Willis (2009) in the Transforming Word, (Abilene Christian University Press) said, “There is no unequivocal specific prediction of the coming of Jesus Christ and/or the church in the Old Testament.” Willis does not believe that there is any Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament.
Both of these statements betray the liberal theology of the men who wrote them.
The Statement of Jesus
In John 5:46-47, Jesus stated, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words.” Jesus believed that Moses wrote of Him. Jesus believed that Moses’ writings were Scripture (John 5:39). Jesus connected belief in Moses’ words with belief in His own words. Jesus words are also Scripture.
What Moses Wrote About Jesus
Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament (Luke 24:44). Consider the following passages that Moses wrote about Jesus.
First, Gen. 3:15 was written by Moses. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This is the first Messianic prophecy in Scripture. The prophecy relates to the “seed of woman” who would destroy the works of Satan (Heb. 2:14; I John 3:8). This is the beginning of the seed promise. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4). God promised Abraham that through his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 22:18). Paul applies this promise to Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16). The seed promise was also made to David (II Sam. 7:11-17). In Matthew 1:1, the word of God declares that Jesus was the son of David, the son of Abraham. This connects Jesus with the seed promise. Moses wrote concerning the physical line of descent that would be the means by which Jesus was brought into the world.
Second, in Gen. 49:10, Moses wrote, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” The sceptre denotes rule. Shiloh would be a descendent of Judah and would rule with authority and might. Shiloh would also be a lawgiver. Jesus was a lawgiver (Heb. 1:1-2). The word Shiloh means “rest-giver.” Jesus brought rest and peace (Matt. 11:28; John 16:33). John refers to Jesus as the “lion of the tribe of Judah” (Rev. 5:5). Jesus is the Shiloh mentioned in this text and this text was written by Moses!
Third, Moses wrote the book of Exodus. In Exodus 12:1-14, the details of the Passover are given to us. The Old Testament foreshadows the New Testament (Heb. 10:1). “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” The Old Testament forshadows or typifies things that were to come. The New Testament contains the antitype or substance (reality). The Passover lamb was a type of which Jesus is the antitype. Paul writes, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (I Cor. 5:7). Jesus is the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Moses wrote of our redemption through Jesus Christ by giving us the type of which Jesus is the antitype. This feature of the link between the Old Testament and the New Testament is just as important as prophecy and its fulfillment.
Fourth, the various sacrifices offered under the Old Testament foreshadowed the supreme sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of mankind. In Leviticus 1-7, Moses writes concerning the various sacrifices that comprised the sacriicial system under the law of Moses. One of these sacrifices was the burnt offering which was made in order to obtain atonement. However, the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin (Heb. 10:4). Only the blood of Jesus purges the conscience from dead works (Heb. 9:14-15). Consequently, the atonement for sins committed under the Old Testament was secured by the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. Only the blood of Jesus remits/forgives sin. Jesus is a superior sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:4). Once again, Moses foreshadows the utimate sacrifice for sin.
Fifth, in Numbers 21:4-9, we read that the Israelites were discouraged during their journey from Mount Hor to the land of Edom. They murmured against God. God sent “fiery serpents” (poisonous snakes) among them and many were bitten and died. God instructs Moses to make a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole. When the people looked upon it, they would be healed. In John 3:14-15, Jesus applies this historical event to His own death. “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Mosess lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” Jesus also said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). Jesus referenced His death upon the cross. Through His death, many would be healed spiritually (forgiven of their sins). Through type and antitype, Moses wrote of Jesus.
Finally, consider the prediction that Moses made in Deut. 18:18-20, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” In Acts 3:22-23, Peter, an apostle of the Lord, said, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” Peter states that Moses wrote about Jesus! Moses pointed to Jesus as a spokesman for God that all people must obey.
In every book that Moses wrote, i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, he said something about Jesus! Jesus said Moses wrote of Him. Peter said that Moses wrote of Jesus. You simply cannot appeal to a higher authority to prove this fact. In light of the unbelievable statements given above, we must affirm, “let God be true and every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).

Camels and the Veracity of the Bible

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A recent article appeared in the National Geographic magazine claiming that there were no domesticated camels at the time of the biblical patriarchs (Abraham, Job), therefore, the Bible has to be in error.
John Noble Wlford calls the mention of camels in Abraham’s day (Gen. 12:16) an anachronism. An anachronism is a statement that represents a person, event, or thing in a historical context in which it could not have occurred or existed. It is a chronological inconsistency. Wilford writing in the New York Times, states, “These anachronisms are telling evidence that the Bible was written or edited long after the events it narrates and is not always reliable as verifiable history” (yahoo.com, 2/13/2014). Research was published recently by Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, archeologists from Tel Aviv University in Israel based on radioactive-carbon dating techniques which they claim shows that camels were not domesticated until hundreds of years after the events documented in the book of Genesis. The authors suggest the domestication of camels in the eastern Mediterranean until 1000 B.C. (yahoo.com article by Mike Krumboltz, 2/13/2014).
Archeologits have known for quite some time that camels were domesticated in China/Mongolia around 3500 B.C. and that they were domesticated in the Middle East somewhere around 2500 to 3000 B.C. (see the chart on domestication provided at archeologyabout.com). There are two references that should be consulted on this matter that are very helpful to the Bible student.
The first is The New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas, organizing editor (1962) p. 181-183. The article on camels was written by K. A. Kitchen. Kitchen cites the archeological evidence for the domestication of camels in the partricarchal period. First and foremost, he mentions a reference to the domestication of the camel in a cuneiform tablet from Alalah in North Syria (18th century BC) as GAM.MAL; see Wiseman, JCS XIII, 1959, p. 29 and Goetze, ibid., p. 37…). Next, he mentions the kneeling camel-figure from Byblos of similar date, Montet, Byblos et l”Egypte, 1928, p. 91 and plate 53, No. 179. A camel’s jaw was found in a Middle Bronze Age tomb at Tell el-Fara’ by Nablus (c. 1900-1550 B.C.), de Vaux, op.cit., p. 9, note 8. In the Etyptian Fayum province was found a camel-skull dated to the “Pottery A” state, i. e. within the period c. 2000-1400 BC, the period from the patriarchs to Moses (see O. H. Little, Bulletin de l’Institut d’Egypte, XVIII, 1935-6, p. 215). From the Memphis region comes a figure of a camel with two waterjars (clear evidence of its domestication in Egypt) datable by associated archaeological material to about the 13th century BC, Petrie, Gizeh and Rifeh, 1907, p. 23 and plate 27.
A second resource is Approaches to faunal Analysis in the Middle East, edited by Richard H. Meadow and Melinda A. Zeder (Peabody Museum Bulletin 2) 1978, pp. 93-103. The article is titled, “The Camel: Its Distribution and State of Domestication in the Middle East During the Third Millennium B.C. in Light of the finds from Shahr-i Sokhta, pp. 93-103. (Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, New Haven, CT). The Peabody Museum is associated with Harvard University. The authors date the domestication of the camel before 2500 BC.
These resources help to establish the veracity of the Scriptures. Camels are mentioned in Gen. 12:16 and Job 1:3. The time of Abraham and Job is given as around 2100 to 2200 BC. The archeological evidence proves the truthfulness of the statements in God’s Word. Let God be true and every man a liar! (Rom. 3:4).

Time Will Tell?

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In Acts 5:33-40, the Sanhedrin convenes to attempt to stop the apostles from preaching in the name of Jesus.  Earlier, they had imprisoned the apostels and forbade them from teaching in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:3,18).  However, the apostles were let go and continued their work and ministry.  The apostles were imprisoned again (Acts 5:18), but, they were miraculously delivered by an angel of the Lord (Acts 5:19).  They went to the temple and continued preaching the gospel.
The Sanhedrin met and sent for the apostles to appear before them.  They found out that the apostles had been freed from prison (Acts 5:25) and were teaching in the temple.  The captain of the temple with his officers went to the temple and brought the apostles to the council (Acts 5:27).  An exchange of words occurred between Peter and the high priest.  Peter resisted the authority of the council and boldly declared that the apostles would obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).  The council was infuritated and took counsel to kill the apostles (Acts 5:28-32).
At this time, Gamaliel stood up to give his advice to the council.  Gamaliel was a Pharisee.  The Pharisees were a Jewish sect that insisted on the strictest observance of legal regulations and, also, the traditions that added a mass of regulations to the Mosaic Law.  Gamaliel was a teacher of the law of  Moses and was held in honor by all the people.  Saul (Paul) studied under him in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3).  Gamaliel was a member of the Sanhedrin.  The Sanhedrin was the highest Jewish court comprised of 70 members who belonged to the Sadducees (another Jewish sect that denied the existence of angels and  the resurrection) and Pharisees.
Gamaliel addressed the court without the apostles being present.  First, he related two historical incidents of uprisings and, then, he made an application to the present situation.
The two historical cases of uprisings that Gamaliel mentioned involved men by the name of Theudas and Judas.  Theudas was a man of self-proclaimed importance.  He had a following of 400 men.  But, they were all dispersed and came to naught following his death.  Judas (Acts 5:37) was a Galilean who made an uprising in the days of the enrollment for taxation (Luke 2:1-2).  His rebellion was greater than that of Theudas, but, he, too, perished and his followers dispersed.
Gamaliel made an application to the present circumstances involving the followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 5:38).  He said, “And as to now…”  His application is faulty for the primary reason that neither Theudas nor Judas arose from the dead.  But, Jesus did!  The historical incidents are not parallel to the present circumstances.
Gamaliel made two conditional statements.  The first statement was, “If this counsel or work be of men, it will come to nought.”  This is a third class conditional statement and indicates that Gamaliel felt it was very unlikely.  The second statement was, “If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”  This statement is a first class conditional statement and is the more likely to be true.
Every religion built by men will be overthrown.  This is true, but when?  It may be that it would not be overthrown in their lifetimes and so the truthfulness or falsity of the religion would be undecided.  Can we sit down in indecision until this final proof is produced?  Is there a better way to detemine whether a religion is true or false?  The second alternative also is flawed.  If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it.  If they wait until the final proof is made according to time, then, they may miss the blessings of believing.  The waiting game puts their own souls in jeopardy.  The implication of Gamaliel’s counsel is that God has not provided enough information to determine the truth about Christianity.  We must wait and see the fate of any religion before we can determine whether or not it is of God.  Gamaliel belongs to that class of men where the most convincing evidence is unconvincing.  He belongs to the class of unbelievers.  He knows Jesus was resurrected from the dead!  Yet, he is still in denial.
Gamaliel’s counsel is the counsel of indecision because it is based on unbelief.
Time will tell or truth will tellTruth is a better basis upon which to decide the legitimacy of any religion.  Deciding for Jesus is evidence of an authentic faith rooted and grounded in truth.  Have you decided?

Undesigned Coincidences in the Pentateuch

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In 1891, John Blunt wrote a book on Undesigned Coincidences in the Old and New Testaments.  This book was a unique look at apologetics from the standpoint of the veracity of the historical accounts of the unfolding history of the people of the Bible.  Many of the details of the natural events of the Biblical story exhibit an unsurpassed harmony.  These details in the natural events show the truthfulness of the narrative.  Thy also are interwoven with the supernatural details of the special events in the lives of the Bible characters.  If the natural events show remarkable truthfulness what does this say about the supernatural events which are interwoven with these natural events?  The Bible history is true.  Bible history is not myth.  Taking this one step further, we have to consider the redemptive story that unfolds through these natural and supernatural events.  God was working in the history of man to bring Jesus Christ into the world for our redemption!  This is the ultimate focus of Bible history.

A Wife For Isaac.
Abraham’s servant is sent to Mesopotamia to procure a wife for Isaac of the daughters of that branch of the Patriarch’s family which continued to dwell in Haran.  The servant entreats God to give him a token or sign whereby he might know which of the women He (God) had appointed for Isaac to wed.  The sign given was:  whichever woman drew water from the well for him and his camels was the woman Isaac would wed.  Rebekah came out to draw water.  She was the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother.  Rebekah was the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother.
It appears, therefore, that the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother is to be the wife of Abraham’s son.  A person of the third generation of Nahor’s side is found of suitable years for one of the second generation on Abraham’s side.
What could harmonize more remarkably with the fact that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had no child until stricken in years.  Thus it was that a generation on Abraham’s side was lost and the grandchildren of his brother in Haran were the coequals of his own child in Canaan.
Again, the ordinary and extraordinary details of the story are placed side by side.  Sarah gave birth in her old age when she was past child bearing years and previously had been barren.  God intervened miraculously!  The natural and the supernatural events recorded in Scripture must stand or fall together!
Now, we all know the importance of Abraham in the lineage of the Messiah.  The promise that God made to Abraham in Gen. 15:1-6 and Gen. 22:17-18 regarding his seed and “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” were fulfilled ultimately in Christ (Gal. 3:16).  The veracity of the sacred text is undeniable.

Unreasonable Doubt

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     The reasons for unbelief are varied and complex.  Whenever a person says that he or she does not believe in God, we wonder why?  Jim Spiegel explored some of the reasons for atheism that are not generally considered by most in a recent article in Christianity Today titled, “Unreasonable Doubt” (Christianity Today, Jan. 2011, p. 48).   Most of the time, atheists attempt to give rational explanations for their beliefs.  But, what about those who make irrational claims?  For instance, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow have written The Grand Design in which they affirm that the cosmos was spontaneously generated “from nothing” with no God (or gods) required to make sense of existence. This is the height of irrationality!  It is irrational to affirm that everything in the universe came from nothing.  Nothing produces nothing.
     The apostle Paul states that these individuals are without excuse.  In Romans 1:20, he writes, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”   The phrase without excuse means that they have no defense (apologia).  They cannot make a rational defense of rejecting belief in God.  If it is irrational and indefensible to be an atheist, why be one?
In Psalm 14:1, the Holy Spirit declares, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.  They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”  Could the rejection of belief in God be rooted in corrupt and sinful behavior?  Consider Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”  Some men suppress the truth by personal vices and immoral desires.
     There is a cognitive consequence to sin!  We emphasize that beliefs impact behavior, but behavior also impacts beliefs.  Our conduct affects the way we think.  Once we sin, we also attempt to justify our sin.  We can develop a belief system that will exonerate why we do the things we do.  The 20th century ethics philosopher Mortimer Adler (who was baptized when he was 81) confessed to rejecting religious commitment for most of his life because it “would require a radical change in my way of life, a basic alteration in the direction of my day-to-day choices as well as in the ultimate objectives to be sought or hoped for…The simple truth of the matter is that I did not wish to live up to being a genuinely religious person” (Christianity Today, p. 48).
     Disobedience hardens the heart.  Paul describes individuals who gave themselves over to work all manner of uncleanness because of  the blindness of their heart.  Hear his words in Ephesians 4:18-19, “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”   The more a person gives himself/herself over to vice, the less reliable his or her belief formation will be.  Unbelief and disobedience go hand in hand.
     Many atheists are such not because of sound rational arguments, but because they do not want to conform their lives to God’s Will.  They are comfortable with conformity to this world.  The truth can set any person free from the psychological, emotional and behavioral problems that produce unbelief.  A powerful aspect of truth is the reality of God’s love for us and the sacrifice Jesus made to atone for our sins.  Truth and love are powerful weapons against atheism or any false belief.

Undesigned Coincidences in the New Testament

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     I have been reading an interesting book in the field of Christian Apologetics.  The book was written by John J. Blunt and is titled, Undesigned Coincidences in the writings of both the Old and New Testament.  The book is an argument for the veracity of the Scriptures.  One of the interesting examples of undesigned coincidences is the scriptural record of the miracles of the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand.  All four evangelists record the miracle of the five thousand (Matt. 14:20; Mark 6:43; Luke 9:17 and John 6:13).  All four, without variation, use the word kophinous (plural form of kophinos) to indicate the baskets taken up.  There were twelve baskets taken up after the multitude was fed.  The miracle of the feeding of the four thousand is recorded by two of the evangelists (Matt. 15:37; Mark 8:8).  The phrase, “hepta spuridas” is used to indicate the seven baskets taken up after the multitude was fed.  There must have been a marked difference in the two baskets.  Kophinos is invariably used when the miracle of the five thousand is referenced and spuris is invariably used when the miracle of the four thousand is referenced.  Jesus refers to both of these miracles in Matt. 16:9-10.  “Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?  Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?”  Jesus used the same terms, kophinos and spuris respectively, when speaking of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and the miracle of the feeding of the four thousand.
     In Acts 9:25, Paul was let down by the wall in a basket to escape a plot to take his life.  The basket (spuris) was large enough for a man to get into.  This is the basket that was used to take up the fragments of food left over after the feeding of the four thousand.  The spuris was a large basket whereas the kophinos was a smaller basket.  So, even though there were fewer baskets taken up (seven verses twelve), the baskets were larger.
     The point of the coincidence is the precise difference of the vessels and the uniform application of the term kophinos to the basket of the miracle of the five thousand and the uniform application of spuris to the miracle of the four thousand.  The words are never used interchangeably.  The two miracles were distinctly impressed upon the minds of the evangelists and of Jesus as real events.
     If the minute details of the miracle accounts are true, then what about the miracles related in the account?  If the details are so well preserved and validated, then what about the miracle itself?  The miracle must also be true and points to something greater. 
     Jesus is the “bread of life” (John 6:35).   “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).  “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).  While physical bread sustains physical life, only the “bread from heaven” (Jesus Christ) can give spiritual life that leads to eternal life!

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