12.04 Miracles And Teachings Intensify

12.04 Miracles And Teachings Intensify

Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 24, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04 Miracles And Teachings Intensify

Unit 12

The Galilean Ministry Ends


Chapter 04

Miracles And Teachings Intensify


 12.04.00.A. THE CONVERSATION OF ZACCHAEUS by Bero Strozzi. 1625-1650.

12.04.00.A. THE CONVERSATION OF ZACCHAEUS by Bero Strozzi. 1625-1650.  People were stunned when Jesus asked Zacchaeus, a tax collector, to come down from the tree. Tax collectors were considered to be the worst of all sinners.


Jesus now ends His work in Galilee and begins His last journey in life – the long road to Jerusalem and Calvary where He will die.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 24, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04.01 JESUS BLESSES THE CHILDREN

12.04.01 Mk. 10:13-16 (See also Mt. 19:13-15; Lk. 18:15-17)




13 Some people were bringing little children to Him so He might touch them, but His disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me. Don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 After taking them in His arms, He laid His hands on them and blessed them.


In the midst of His challenges, Jesus took the time to bless the children. In doing so, He did nothing unusual.  It was what every caring rabbi or loving father did.  There was a wonderful custom of parents bringing their children, at an early age, to the synagogue that they might receive the prayers and blessings of the elders. It is the origin of today’s “child dedication service” in many churches.  However, since Jesus had become such a prominent figure, the disciples considered these little ones to be an interruption.  Consequently, He became upset. This account is the first recorded event where He became displeased with other believers. His anger was a response to injured love.  He loved the children and desired to bless them and be responsive to the love of their parents who brought them.[1]


The similarities between children and His followers, who are to be like children, are that children are pure, truthful, simplistic, sincere, and have a loving dependence upon their parents. Followers of Jesus are to have the same attributes with a loving dependence upon Jesus.


“Indignant.” This was the strong word that described Jesus when His disciples refused to let the children come to Him.  It reflects the high degree of importance He placed on them and is used only here. Jesus blessed them, as a visual demonstration of the Kingdom of God.[2]

[1]. Becker, “Blessed, Blessing, Happy.” 1:213.


[2]. Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament. 93.


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 24, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04.02 THE RICH RULER; THE CAMEL AND THE EYE OF A NEEDLE

12.04.02 Lk. 18:18-27; Mk. 10:18c (See also Mt. 19:16-30; Mk. 10:17-18b, 19-27)




A  Lk. 18 A ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?


B  19 “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus answered.  “No one is good – except God alone.  20 You know the commandments:

‘Do not commit adultery,

do not murder­,

do not steal,

do not bear false witness;

Mk. 18c do not defraud

Lk. honor your father and mother’ (Ex. 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20).”


21 “I have kept all these from my youth,” he said.


C  22 When Jesus heard this, He told him,

“You still lack one thing:

Sell all that you have and

distribute it to the poor

and you will have treasure in heaven. 

Then come, follow Me.”


D 23 After he heard this,

he became extremely sad,

because he was very rich.


E 24 Seeing that he became sad, Jesus said,

“How hard it is for those who have wealth

to enter the kingdom of God!


E’ 25 For it is easier for a camel

                                                      to go through the eye of a needle

                           than for a rich person

to enter the kingdom of God.”


D’ 26 Those who heard this asked,

 “Then who can be saved?”

27 He replied, “What is impossible with men

is possible with God.”


C’ Peter said to him,

We have left all

to follow you!” 


B’  “I tell you the truth,”

Jesus said to them,

“no one, who has left


or wife

or brothers

or parents

or children

for the sake of the Kingdom of God,


A’ will fail to receive many times as much in this age and in the age to come, eternal life.”


Literary style.[1]  Luke demonstrated, in typical Hebraic question and answer style, the matter of eternal life in lines A and A’.  To acquire this eternal life one must enter the Kingdom of God in lines E and E’.  In lines B and B’ are the old requirements versus the new requirements and in lines C and C’ are recorded the required obedience of the ruler versus the fulfilled requirements of Peter and the disciples. Finally, in line C is the obedience required of the ruler, but he feels it is too hard for him. In line C’ it is apparent that with God all things are possible, including obedience to His Word. In the poetic parable, Jesus compared the largest animal, a camel, which was in domestic use, with the smallest of holes to make the illustration that it is impossible to have eternal life without God.


In this encounter Jesus met a young man who, in today’s standards, might be considered to be the ideal disciple. He was religious, seriously observed all the biblical regulations of life, he was wealthy and evidently had a good mind for business and government administration, and his question suggests that he had heard Jesus several times previously.  But Jesus identified his motives and knew that even though he loved God, his primary interest was wealth and not God.  Therefore, when Jesus asked him to surrender his fortune to the poor (charity is one of the ideals of Judaism) he went away saddened. In fact, he is the only one in the gospels narratives who met Jesus and left discouraged.


“A ruler.” The identity of this ruler is not given, but when considering the common hatred everyone had for the Herodian dynasty, it is interesting that not a single negative word is mentioned about this ruler.  Furthermore, he is one who observed all the Jewish laws, and in fact, he probably was Jewish. Mark said that he ran up to Jesus and knelt down (10:17). For a man of wealth, especially one in government, that was a very undignified way of addressing a common rabbi.  Clearly he was at a point of desperation. Furthermore, since all Jews believed that they would all be saved, clearly he had heard several sermons by John the Baptist or Jesus previously that made him ask the question of eternal life.

One of the unique features of Inter-Testamental and first century Judaism was the love of discussion men had on theological issues. One of their favorite topics must have been, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” This subject, on one form or another, appears in a number of Jewish writings as it was among the favorite subjects of debating rabbis.[2]  Therefore, it is not surprising that this question was presented to Jesus – and probably many times. However, it is a flawed question – one cannot do anything to inherit eternal life. We have free will because God wants us to freely accept His invitation of love and to love Him in return.  Furthermore, that love is demonsrated not so much by our lip service, but by our actions to Him and to others. So while the rich young ruler thought he observed all the commandments, he was weak on the first four (of the Ten Commandments). Evidently something in his spirit bothered him, because the subject had become personal to him.

“You know the commandments.” Every Jewish man knew the Ten Commandments. However, when Jesus referred to those commandments, he mentioned only a few of them. He did not need to mention all ten because that was understood. To mention a few of them was a Hebraic shorthand of referring to all of them – as was also done in James 2:10, Romans 13:9, and with the Noahide Commandments.[3] Furthermore, Jesus knew that this man knew the answer to his own question.


“Sell all that you have.”  The wealthy man had faithfully kept all the laws in relationship to other people, but his security and trust were in his wealth, not in God. He was focused on materialism first and religion second – just enough to logically rationalize that God was pleased with him.  Yet his heart was empty.  The reason Jesus told him to give all that he owned to the poor was to separate him from his earthly security; to make him dependent upon Jesus and become a follower of Him.


This passage is often problematic in Western nations today where success is identified with materialism. The question is whether Jesus really intended to reduce this wealthy man, who was already obeying the Mosaic Law, down to poverty with this command.  When Jesus spoke with Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector of Jericho, the social outcast said he would give half his wealth to the poor (Lk. 19:8).  But Jesus did not require all his wealth to be given to the poor.  Evidently Jesus was pleased with his response.  Neither did Jesus tell him to seek another occupation.  Jesus perceived the hearts of both men:  With the ruler it was evident that the wealth owned him even though he obeyed all the laws, whereas Zacchaeus demonstrated that he owned wealth and was more than willing to share it with others.  The first man had his faith (trust) in materialism and was not willing to give it up, whereas Zacchaeus had his total faith in Jesus.  There is a significant difference.


“Distribute it to the poor.”  This was the cultural symbol of righteousness.[4]  It was believed one could not inherit eternal life unless there was a contribution to the less fortunate. This was always money above the tithe or support of the temple. It is amazing how close this came to being theologically correct.  Jesus told the rich man to give to the poor because it was the godly thing to do and because he would then have to transfer his faith and security to Christ. But he refused.


Giving to the poor and other acts of charity is considered acts towards perfection and becoming “fully righteous.” However, by the time of Jesus the term “fully righteous” also included observing the entire Torah.[5]  It always played an important function in Jewish piety – and was carried over into Christianity. Rabbi Hillel once said,


The more charity, the more peace.

         Mishnah, Aboth 2.7


“Extremely sad.” This rich young ruler is the only person in the gospels who had a direct encounter with Jesus and left sad – he rejected the counsel of the One whom he will meet one day.  In comparison to Zacchaeus, the tax collector at Jericho (Lk. 19:1-10; 12.04.06) the rich young man had good doctrine as reflected in his religious training and having been observant of all the biblical commands, yet he lacked love for those in need. Zacchaeus, on the other hand, had no doctrinal foundation in his life, but fell in love with Jesus and for those in need.



12.04.02.Q1 In Matthew 19:16-26 and parallels, could the gospel writers have meant “rope,” instead of “camel”?

Some critics have said that the phrase, “a camel,” is a misinterpretation.  They claim the Greek word actually means rope, because the two Greek words for rope and camel are similar. They argue that a scribal error was made when copying Scriptures since the Greek word for camel kamelos,[6] is close to the word for a heavy rope kamilos that was used to pull ships.[7] This interpretation was so popular among some scholars, that in 1938 English Bible translation titled the Book of Books used the word rope instead of camel.[8]  The purpose was obviously to soften the harshness of the saying. However, what these translators failed to recognize is that the same figure of speech is found in rabbinic writings, which indicates that the Scripture was transmitted accurately, without a scribal error.[9]



12.04.02.Q2 In reference to Luke 18:25, is “the eye of a needle” a small gate in the city wall?

This figure of speed, “the eye of a needle,” has often been problematic.  Matthew used the Greek word rhaphis to mean an ordinary needle, but Luke, a physician, used the word belone, a medical term for a surgical needle and is found nowhere else in the New Testament.[10]  The phrase obviously cannot be taken literally, but could this figure of speech be a reference to a very small gate in the city wall that was impassible for a large camel?


The Babylonian Talmud has a reference to the phrase, and from its context, it is clearly a figure of speech, similar to a hyperbole – an intentional exaggeration to underscore a point.  It was also a point of humor.  In the Talmud a certain Rabbi Naaman wrote that a man’s fanciful dreams are a reflection of his thoughts.  He said that:


This is a proven by the fact that a man is never shown in a dream, a date palm of gold, or an elephant going through the eye of a needle.

 Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth 55b


This saying was reflective of life in Babylon where elephants were more common than in Israel.  Obviously the reality of having a date palm tree made of gold is as likely as an elephant going through the eye of the needle. Jesus used the same humor.  Centuries later Muhammad made a similar comment which is found in the Qu’ran.  It reads,


To those who reject our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will be there for the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the garden, until a camel can pass through the eye of a needle.  Such is our reward for those in sin.

             Qu’ran, Sura A’raf 7:40[11]


Another Jewish proverb reads as follows,


A needle’s eye is not too narrow for two friends, nor is the world wide enough for two enemies.

A Jewish Proverb[12]


Jesus essentially used a proverb that was centuries old and common in many cultures. The classical Periclesian Greek proverb says,


A camel can pass through an eye end of a needle for sewing easier than can a man of wealth who loves his wealth enter into the dwelling of the Gods.

            Pericles in 485 B.C.


As to the meaning of the “eye of a needle,” there are two incorrect traditions and both refer to a small door through which someone could enter the city at night when the main gate was sealed. The two traditions are as follows:


  1. Beside main city gate there was a smaller gate in the wall.


  1. In the main city gate there was a much smaller door; a door within a door. (However, centuries later such combination of doors was developed.)[13]


The so-called lesson of the proverbial “eye of the needle” was that anyone with a large animal, such as a camel, would have to unload his beast of burden and the camel could barely squeeze through the gate to enter the city.[14] Any such claim is grossly false;[15] there is no archaeological or literary evidence of it.[16] Some have even said that the camel had to enter walking on its knees. There are four strong arguments against this fanciful interpretation.


  1. In all rabbinic writings, some of which are extremely detailed in the physical descriptions

of Jerusalem and the temple, there is not the slightest hint of such a gate.  Jerusalem and the temple were deemed so incredibly beautiful and influential that there are no less than nine ancient sources which have preserved a description and none of them mentions the mythical gate as a night entrance.[17]


  1. No archaeological evidence of the biblical period has been found to support either the gate in the wall theory or the gate within the city gate theory,


  1. A camel cannot walk on its knees – no more than a horse or cow can walk on its knees.


  1. The myth may have had its origin in 1835 when a correspondent traveled to the Middle East and wrote to F. W. Farrar indicating that he had discovered such a gate. Farrar then proceeded to write of it in biblical journals.[18] Because he was a highly respected scholar and theologian, whose works are considered classics even today, his opinion on the eye of the needle was considered gospel truth. Hence, the myth was born.  But if the unknown correspondent found it in the early 19th century, why cannot archaeologists do the same today? The answer is obviously a mythical mystery.


However, shortly after Farrar’s “research” became public, a longtime Middle East resident, G. N. Scherer, read the story and boldly stated that there was no such evidence whatsoever. Scherer stated the following:  “There is not the slightest shred of evidence for this identification.  This door has not been called the needle’s eye in any language and is not called so today.”[19] Scherer obviously was not familiar with the term in other writings, but he was quite knowledgeable of Jerusalem.


  1. Concerning a gate within the city gate, the city gate was the weakest point of any ancient city defense system. To have a door within a door would only have weakened it more. However, by the time the Ottoman Empire ruled Jerusalem (1517-1917), technology had advanced and small doors were placed within the city gates in a manner that the gates were not significantly weakened. The legend of the small gate of the first century is probably rooted in this development.


The conclusion of these two gate accounts is that the gate in the city wall is outright false and the night gate within the city gate is a legend rooted in a tradition that is barely a few centuries old. In light of that, the only explanation is one that has a trail of written history, and that is the phrase an “eye of the needle” is a figure of speech. Unfortunately, Farrar never realized that the camel and eye of a needle narrative is an exaggerated proverb denoting extreme difficulty; but note – it is a proverb; a figure of speech.


“A rich person.”   The point of this poetic parable is not that the wealthy are automatically condemned to eternal punishment, but their sin is placing faith and security in material possessions.   To the ancients, this phrase carried the cultural definition that wealth was obtained because of divine blessing.  That belief posed a problem: “How could God punish someone to Hell, if He had blessed him financially?” Therefore, those who were wealthy were convinced they had free entrance into Heaven.  The problem was not only that finances “owned” wealthy people, but those individuals believed in a theological constructed that made repentance challenging.



However, Jesus said that it is a sin for the wealth to own the believer.  On the contrary, the believer is to own, enjoy, and share his material blessings to others. Giving to the poor has always been considered an act of righteousness not only in Judaism, but also in the primitive church.  When Jesus told the ruler he needed to sell everything, that did not necessarily mean that the giver would become destitute and equally poor himself or even poorer than those he helped.  Rather, it meant that he was to be free with his wealth and give to those in need.  An example is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, where members sold everything they owned to join the community.  Archaeological discoveries indicate that the Essenes did not live in poverty, but rather enjoyed comfort in first century living standards even though they considered themselves individually poor.  They had become known for their righteousness in helping the poor outside of their community, precisely what Jesus was teaching.  A scroll reads as follows:


But we in the Community of Your Truth shall rejoice because of your mighty hand… Truly, your mighty hand is with the poor.

Dead Sea Scroll, War Scroll 1QM 13:12-14[20]


The account of the condemned wealthy man is not because he owned wealth, but because it owned him. Eternal life is only when faith is placed in Christ Jesus and not in any other form of security. What Jesus meant was that just as the camel cannot pass through the physical eye of a physical needle without the miraculous intervention by God, so a wealthy man cannot enter the Kingdom of God without the miraculous intervention by God. Wealth is a blessing to those who use it properly (see 1 Tim. 6:17-19).


“We have left all to follow you.”  Really?  Did Peter really leave everything behind to follow Jesus? The gospels are clear that he still possessed a house (Mk. 1:29) that was occupied by his mother-in-law and presumably by his four daughters, as well as a boat (Mk. 3:9; 4:1).  Clearly his statement was not an absolute literal interpretation and Jesus never remarked about it.  His statement was understood however, in the context that he renounced the comforts of a home and family along the Sea of Galilee as well as the security and financial rewards of a prosperous fishing business.

[1]. Bailey, Poet and Peasant. Part II, 158; Fleming, The Parables of Jesus. 25.


[2]. Ps. 37:9, 11, 18 refer to inheriting the land but also of an abiding heritage; Dan. 12:2; 1 QS 4.7; CD 3.20; 4Q181 1.4; 2 Macc. 7:9; 1 Enoch 37:4; 40:9; 58.3; Psalms of Solomon 3:12.


[3]. See Appendix 17.


[4]. For more information on the economy and social structure of the time, see. 02.03.03 “Economy.”


[5]. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. 127.  


[6]. Barclay, “Matthew.” 2:217.


[7]. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hawsers. Retrieved August 3, 2013.


[8]. Bruce, Answers to Questions. 55.


[9]. Grant, R. Early Christianity and Society. 97.


[10]. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 1:212, 1:407.


[11]. Muhammad founded Islam in the early 7th century A.D. and the Qu’ran (Koran) was compiled a century or two later. The more distant a literary work is from the time of its subject, the less reliable it is. Therefore, Islamic writings are not considered reliable “primary witnesses.”  Nonetheless, this quotation is included for the benefit of Muslim readers.


[12]. Quoted by Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 1:109.


[13]. An example of such a double door can be seen in the Nazareth Village in Israel. This door is of the early Ottoman Empire Period and is typical of medieval European fortress doors.


[14]. Thompson, “Camel.” 1:491-92.


[15]. Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 19, page 6.


[16]. Vine, “Needle.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:429; Ryken, Wilhoit, and Longman, eds., “Eye of the Needle.” Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. 256.


[17]. Descriptions of Jerusalem and the Temple are found in a number of ancient sources, including  Josephus, Wars. 5.5.1-8; Antiquities. 15.11.1-7; Jewish writings in the Mishnah, Middath 1-4; Strabo, Geography 7.281; 16.28-40 (cf. 16.2.34);  Tacitus, History. 4.4; Dio Casius History of Rome. 37.5-17; 49.22; 66.4-12;  Pliny the Elder, Natural History. 5.14;  Polybius, The Histories of Polybius. 16.4; and the Temple Scroll which is a part of the collection known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.


[18]. Farrar, “Brief Notes on Passages.” 375-76.

[19]. Scherer, The Eastern Colour of the Bible. 37; Bailey, Poet and Peasant. Part II, 166.


[20]. Cited by Hansen, “The Rich Young Ruler and the Wandering Rabbi.” 13-14.

12.04.03 Road to Jerusalem DEATH FORETOLD THIRD TIME

Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 24, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04.03 Road to Jerusalem DEATH FORETOLD THIRD TIME

12.04.03 Mk. 10:32-34; Lk. 18:34 (See also Mt. 10:17-19) Road to Jerusalem




Mk. 32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. They were astonished, but those who followed Him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, He began to tell them the things that would happen to Him.

33 “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death. Then they will hand Him over to the Gentiles, 34 and they will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and kill Him, and He will rise after three days.”


Lk. 34 They understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.


Jesus again warned His disciples of His coming death, but they still did not comprehend what He was talking about.  He knew that the imminent crucifixion would shake them to the core.  To prepare them, He told them for the third time that He was about to be betrayed, He would die, and after three days would rise from the grave. This was an unusual statement because it was not the cultural norm to say something of this nature directly.  He did not declare, “Within a month I will fulfill such-and-such prophecies of the Old Testament.” That would have been totally inappropriate, even though modern students would prefer to see such a pointed statement. Yet, He did make the point, which the disciples failed to comprehend. He had performed so many profound miracles they simply could not understand how He could be killed. Their lack of understanding of the preceding discussion is demonstrated by the following conversation in Matthew and Mark:


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 23, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04.04 MEN OF SELFISH HONOR – JAMES AND JOHN

12.04.04 Mt. 20:20-21; Mk. 10:35-45




Mt. 20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons approached Him with her sons. She knelt down to ask Him for something. 21 “What do you want?” He asked her.

“Promise,” she said to Him, “that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom.”


Mk. 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Him and said, “Teacher, we want You to do something for us if we ask You.”

36 “What do you want Me to do for you?” He asked them.

37 They answered Him, “Allow us to sit at Your right and at Your left in Your glory.”

38 But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We are able,” they told Him.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. 40 But to sit at My right or left is not Mine to give; instead, it is for those it has been prepared for.” 41 When the other 10 disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John.

42 Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. 43 But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life — a ransom for many.”


Mark 10:35-45 and 9:33-37 are parallel passages of discussions that occurred at different times.  Both predict the death of Jesus, discuss the meaning of true greatness in God’s kingdom, and emphasize how undiscerning the disciples were.  The latter part is quite interesting as it authenticates the gospel as genuine.  If the book of Mark was a created work by later editorial Christians to enhance their religion, as some critics claim, they would never have written the critical comments about the disciples that are so evident in this gospel.


As previously stated, honor and respect were high values in this culture. This is evident in the wedding banquet parables. In this case, the seating arrangement is often thought to be of a selfish attitude.  However, Jesus never said there would not be a seating order at His table.  Rather, those who desire to be the greatest will need to be servant to all and will need to be humble in attitude.  The culture, however, demanded a precise seating arrangement and Jesus did not refute it.  What He said without words, was there will be a seating order based on an arrangement different than what the disciples thought, namely, that of humble service to the King of kings.  Note that there was a seating order at the Last Supper.


“The mother of Zebedee’s sons.” The mother of Zebedee’s sons has been criticized for making this request.  She was the sister of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. Or in other words, she was the aunt of Jesus. In this culture where honor and age were highly valued, a woman, especially a woman of age, could often ask sensitive questions that others could not.[1]


“That these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and the other on Your left.”  Sitting on either side of a king would strongly suggest the honored person would also share the king’s power and prestige, especially if her sons were His cousins. Such a request in ancient times was quite normal, especially in families of royalty.[2] But Jesus never spoke of a future government; never spoke of any military organization, and did not propose any laws of His new society. So He recognized that the statement was made out of ignorance, because no one at this point could comprehend His concept of the Kingdom of God or the difficulties He would have to endure.  Anyone sitting beside a king was also obligated to share in the difficulties and hardships of being a monarch.  It was believed that ranking was initially a matter of respect and wisdom given to those who were honored for their age and wisdom.


When the patriarch enters, everyone rises and does not sit down until he says to them, “Sit down.”  And when the head of the court enters, they set up for him two rows, one on one side and one on the other side, through which he goes, and he sits down in his place.


Mishnah, Sanhedrin 7.8



And on what account does one sit in rank and age at his right hand?  Because of the honor owing to age.


Mishnah, Sanhedrin 8.1


The Essenes believed that there was a clearly defined seating order, which clearly reflected a person’s relationship in God’s order. This opinion may have been prevalent throughout the Jewish culture and therefore, reflected in this biblical passage.  Precisely whatever was in the minds of those in the biblical passage is unknown to the modern reader. Yet it is safe to presume that people in general believed that there was a proverbial “pecking order,” as described in the following Dead Sea Scrolls.


They shall act in this way year after year, all the days of Belial’s dominion.  The priests shall enter the Rule foremost, one behind the other, according to their spirits.  And the Levites shall enter after them. In third place all the people shall enter the Rule, one after another, in thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, so that all the children of Israel may know their standing in God’s Community in conformity with the eternal plan.  And no one shall move down from his rank nor move up from the place of his lot.


Dead Sea Scroll Fragment, 1QS 2.19-23


When God will have engendered (the Priest-) Messiah, he shall come [at] the head of the whole congregation of Israel with all [his brethren, the sons] of Aaron the Priests, [those called] to the assembly, the men of renown; and they shall sit [before him, each man] in the order of his dignity. And then [the Mess]iah of Israel shall [come], and the chiefs of the [clans of Israel] shall sit before him, [each] in the order of his dignity, according to [his place] in their camps and marches. And before them shall sit all the heads of [family of the congreg]ation, and the wise men of [the holy congregation,] each in the order of his dignity.

Dead Sea Scroll Fragment, 1Q28a, Column 2[3]

The response by Jesus is two fold:


  1. He notes that they do not realize that suffering will be part of their future, if they will have a part of His ministry.


  1. In addition, the kingdom of God will be one that is opposite of the world’s system. Therefore, they have no clue as to what will be in store in their future.


Are you able to drink the cup.”  The term cup (poterion 4221) [4] in an expression or figure of speech indicating that “I” will share in someone’s misfortune and sorrowful fate (i.e. sin). There have been two major misunderstandings concerning “the cup.”


  1. Some have said Jesus referred to His physical death. Not so, see John 10:17; Luke 19:10; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 10:5-9.


  1. Others have said Jesus referred to his premature death. Not so, see Luke 22:46; John 10:18.


As is explained, Jesus referred to the wrath of God and spiritual death that was about to fall upon Him. The phrase “the cup” has more than a single meaning.


  1. It is a metaphor for the life experiences that one will have as the result of being a committed follower of Jesus. Those experiences may be good or bad,[5] but in this case, it reflects upon the coming suffering.[6]


  1. In Mark 14:32-36 it is symbolic of God’s wrath for the sin of humanity that Jesus bore; the baptism of persecution they will face is another metaphor.[7]


In Old Testament days, the cup of wine was a metaphor of God’s pending judgment for rebellion and sin.[8]  Later Jesus referred to the cup He would drink in reference to carrying the sins of humanity to the cross (Mk. 10:45; 14:36).[9]  In this passage (vv. 38-39), the cup refers to the persecution that His disciples would face.  A few decades later His half-brother, James, would be the first to be martyred (Acts 12:2). However, some messianic scholars say this phrase refers to wedding imagery, meaning that being joined with Jesus will mean similar trials and tribulations in life as He was about to experience.


“Give His life – a ransom for many.” The Greek preposition for means instead of, or a substitute for, or in place of.  The word ransom refers to the monies paid to purchase freedom for a slave.[10] This phrase makes the verse one of the outstanding theological passages in Mark’s book and was another prophecy (Isa. 52:13 and 53:12) fulfilled by Jesus.



12.04.04.Q1 How can Matthew 20:20 be reconciled with Mark 10:35?


In Matthew’s account, the mother of James and John approached Jesus to ask him for a position for her sons in the new kingdom.  Mark, on the other hand, does not mention the mother; he only records that it was the two disciples who came to Jesus to make the same request. In this culture, there was no difference between a requester and his agent.  They have the same issue with the centurion and his servant.  All too often attention is paid to the origin of the question rather than the response given by Jesus.

[1]. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 308.


[2]. See Lk. 14:7-14 Banquet Place of Honor 12.02.05.

[3]. Translation by Stephen D. Ricks of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Provo, Utah. Because the Dead Sea Scrolls are 2,000 years old or older, portions of papyrus are at times missing and the translators attempt to insert the lost letters and words which are in brackets.

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=120&chapid=1438 Retrieved October 10, 2013.  See also Dead Sea Scroll 1QSa 2:5-10 as referenced by Kenneth Bailey in Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes. 321, citing  Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English. (1975 ed.) 121.


[4]. Vine, “Cup.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:141.


[5]. Barclay, “Mark.” 255.


[6]. See Ps. 75:8; Isa 57:17.


[7]. Gen. 6-8; Isa. 30:27-28; Jon. 2:2-6; Ps. 18:4-5; 2 Sam. 22:5-6.


[8]. Isa. 51:17-23; Ps. 75:8; Jer. 25:15-28; 49:12; 51:7.


[9]. New International Version Study Bible footnote on Mk. 10:38.

[10]. Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament. 95-96.


12.04.05 Mk. 10:46-51; Lk. 18:42-43 (See also Mt. 20:29-34) Jericho BLIND BARTIMAEUS HEALED

Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 23, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04.05 Mk. 10:46-51; Lk. 18:42-43 (See also Mt. 20:29-34) Jericho BLIND BARTIMAEUS HEALED

12.04.05 Mk. 10:46-51; Lk. 18:42-43 (See also Mt. 20:29-34) Jericho      




Mk. 46 They came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!” 48 Many people told him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; He’s calling for you.” 50 He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

51 Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

“Rabbouni,” the blind man told Him, “I want to see!”

Lk. 42 “Receive your sight!” Jesus told him. “Your faith has healed you.” 43 Instantly he could see, and he began to follow Him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.


The ministry of Jesus was filled with ironies. The rich young man did not perceive the identity of Jesus, but the blind man did.  In this case, Jesus again fulfilled the prophetic words of Isaiah (35:5) when He said that the eyes would be opened. In fact, this miracle has been called a doublet because of the similar account in Matthew 9:27-31. In that narrative beggars were permitted in limited areas of the temple.  Usually they were near the entrance of a “holy place” such as the temple gate, on along the road leading to the temple or a synagogue.[1] But in this case, it appears that Bartimaeus may have been waiting for Jesus to walk by on His way to Jerusalem.

While the Bartimaeus passage is generally treated as a “stand-alone” narrative, in reality it should be in conjunction with the famed tax collector of Jericho – Zacchaeus. The reason is that both men were clearly alluded to in Ecclesiastes 4:1, an Old Testament book that is seldom referred to as having any prophetic significance relative to Jesus.  Notice that the author, who most likely was King Solomon, made a reference to the tears of the oppressed and the power of the oppressor – and there was no one to comfort either one. Fast-forward a thousand years and Jesus meets Bartimaeus, who is oppressed by his blindness, and Zacchaeus, who is the oppressor agent of Rome.  Now for the words of Solomon:


Again, I observed all the acts of oppression being done under the sun. Look at the tears of those who are oppressed; they have no one to comfort them. Power is with those who oppress them; they have no one to comfort them.

Ecclesiastes 4:1


Bartimaeus had spiritual sight, Zacchaeus was spiritually blind; Bartimaeus was physically blind, Zacchaeus had physical sight. Jesus healed them both.



Into this paradox steps Jesus. He did what only He could do – touch the point of need for both men who were at opposite ends of life.  Blindness vs. health; poverty vs wealth; weakness vs. power; but both needed Jesus.  Zacchaeus was hated for being a tax collector and Bartimaeus was among the downtrodden of society – both were despised by their fellow Jews; but both received the gift of Jesus. Both had their lives radically changed.

Son of David, Jesus.” This was a profound statement because Bartimaeus recognized Jesus as the true messiah. There were many descendants of the famous king, even the great Hillel was a Davidic descendant.[2]  But he spoke specifically of the expected Son of David who would bring freedom to Israel.  He also knew the prophecies of Isaiah that the messiah would bring sight to the blind.[3] So when he called Jesus by the biblical title, “Son of David,” he sent fear into the leading Pharisees and Sadducees. The irony is that those who were ordained to represent the people before an eternal God chose to remain blind. Bartimaeus chose sight and vision.[4]

Jesus and His disciples arrived at Jericho either in the evening of Thursday, Nisan 7, or Friday morning, Nisan 8.  This beautiful city was located at an oasis about two miles from the ruins of a smaller city of the same name that was destroyed by Joshua. The new Jericho was known for its fragrant roses and palm trees.  The springs that gushed forth a constant stream of water were in stark contrast to the surrounding hot Judean Desert and the near-by Dead Sea. Jericho was an import-export city situated inland from the Jordan River. For centuries water from the Jericho springs had been distributed by irrigation ditches to nearby palm groves, vineyards and farmlands that included the best balsam trees used for medical purposes. Traveling caravans stopped at Jericho, paid the required toll tax, and continued on to their destinations. Since it was much warmer than Jerusalem, the Hasmoneans built a winter palace there in the second century B.C. that was later remodeled by Herod the Great. The temple Sadducees, who were descendants of the Hasmoneans, also enjoyed luxurious winter homes near the desert springs.[5] Many beggars congregated along the main street to beg for money as pilgrims in festival caravans went to Jerusalem.[6] And it was in this opulent community where Jesus met a tax collector by the name of Zacchaeus, who welcomed Jesus to his home (Lk. 19:9).


12.04.05.Q1 How does one explain the two discrepancies (two cities of Jericho and two blind men) in Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-51, and Luke 18:42-43?

There are two issues to consider in these passages:


  1. Matthew and Mark record that Jesus was leaving Jericho while Luke said He was entering it. Clearly, someone has to be wrong? Right?


  1. How many beggars were there? Luke recorded that Jesus met the blind man as He approached Jericho, while Matthew said He met two blind men as they left the city. Mark, on the other hand, simply stated that the name of the blind man was Bartimaeus. Some critics have said there is an obvious conflict.


Concerning the number of cities: This issue is resolved by understanding that there were two cities by the name of Jericho.[7]  The first one was destroyed centuries before Jesus. The second one is located about two miles from the first.  It was built in the second century B.C. by the Hasmoneans and later expanded and enhanced by Herod the Great.[8]  He made it into a city of surprising beauty, creating the ideal vacation destination and travel rest area.[9] The answer to the question, in what some have called a biblical error, was explained by the Jewish historian Josephus.  He made reference to “the old city” that was destroyed by Joshua, but was near the new town of the same name.


“… Notwithstanding which, there is a fountain by Jericho; that runs plentifully and is very fit for watering the ground.  It rises near the old city which Joshua, the son of Nun, the general of the Hebrews, took the first of all the cities of the land of Canaan by right of war.”

Josephus, Wars 4.8.3 (459)


The gospel writers presented their accounts from two different perspectives, so there is no conflict.


Concerning the number of beggars:  Matthew, being the former accountant and tax collector, would have been more detail-oriented in this matter, whereas Mark and Luke would have presented the story of an individual named Bartimaeus. In essence, Matthew gave the legal accounting of two blind men Jesus encountered, while Luke and Mark simply referenced the encounter of the most prominent person.

In the modern legal system, such differences are not acceptable.  However, in the biblical era, reporting an account in this manner was deemed normal and accurate. The ancients focused on the theme or purpose of the encounter, not as much on the details as is common today. An alternative view is that the blind man met Jesus as He approached the ancient city (as per Luke), the two walked together through the town, and as they left the city Jesus healed him (as per Matthew). Consequently, there is no need to believe that there is a contradiction.[10]

Finally, on a cultural side point, blind persons were given special clothing to wear, which identified them as being blind.  This permitted people passing by to offer aid when needed, and chariot drivers took extra precaution when approaching them.  When Jesus healed him, “he threw off his coat,” a signal to the public of his healing, and he rejoiced in Jesus.


[1].  A few examples are: 1) The impotent man of Acts 3:2-10 was near the Gate Beautiful, also known as the Nicanor Gate. 2) The blind and lame people in the temple who asked Jesus for a healing were probably in the Court of the Gentiles (i.e., Mt. 21:14). 3) The man who was blind from birth probably met Jesus at one of the two southern temple gates (Jn. 9:1-8). 4) Jesus also met a blind man at the Pool of Siloam, another place considered to be “holy.”


[2]. Babylonian Talmud, Juchas. 19.2; Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. 3:35.


[3]. There were four kinds of people that were considered as good as dead, and it was believed that in all four situations their illness was a divine judgment. They were the blind, the leper, the poor, and the childless.


[4]. The messianic title “Son of David” appears in the following three groups of passages in the gospels where it is always reflective of the Davidic Covenant: 1) In various healings by Jesus – Mt. 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30-31; Mk. 10:47-48; Lk. 18:38-39. 2) In connection of the harassment the religious leaders gave Jesus – Mt. 22:42-43, 45; Mk. 12:35, 37; Lk. 20:41, 44, and 3) The praise the crowds gave Jesus at His entry into Jerusalem – Mt. 21:9, 15; Mk. 11:10. See Rogers, “The Davidic Covenant in the Gospels,” Bibliotheca Sacra. Part 1 of 2. 158-78.


[5]. Josephus, Antiquities 15.4.2; Wars 4.8.2-3.


[6]. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. 59; Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 2:278; Farrar, The Life of Christ. 364.


[7]. In this desert oasis in centuries past the Chaldeans captured King Zedekiah (2 Kg. 25:5) and during the Maccabean Revolt the Syrians attempted to established a military outpost there (1 Macc. 9:50).  The military stronghold came under Hasmonean control at the end of the Revolt, but was destroyed by the Roman General Pompey in 63 B.C.


[8]. Byers, “On the Jericho Road.” 43-44.  See also Zondervan’s New International Version Archaeological Study Bible. (2005 ed.). 1646.


[9]. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 715; The new Jericho was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. For more information, see Josephus, Antiquities 15.3.3 and Wars 1.22.2.


[10]. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 364.


12.04.06 Lk. 19:1-10 The New Testament Era Jericho ZACCHAEUS RECEIVES JESUS

Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 23, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04.06 Lk. 19:1-10 The New Testament Era Jericho ZACCHAEUS RECEIVES JESUS

12.04.06 Lk. 19:1-10 The New Testament Era Jericho



1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 There was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was not able because of the crowd, since he was a short man. 4 So running ahead, he climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus, since He was about to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today I must stay at your house.”

6 So he quickly came down and welcomed Him joyfully. 7 All who saw it began to complain, “He’s gone to lodge with a sinful man!”

8 But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, Lord! And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I’ll pay back four times as much!”

9 Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”


“Crowd.” Luke did not describe these people as an ordinary crowd.  Evidently the expectation and tension was high because he used the Greek word ochlos (3793), meaning a confused throng.[1] The fact many present were pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem who expected Jesus to announce His Messiahship at the temple simply added to the dynamics of the moment.

The “sycamore tree,” a/k/a the “sycamore-fig tree,” (Gk. sukomorea 4809) is, in fact, an Egyptian fig tree (Ficus sycomorus L).[2]  It has leaves like a mulberry tree but fruit like a fig tree.[3]  It is not related to the American sycamore or English maple, although both are at times identified to be this biblical tree.  A point of interest is that the gospel writer indicated that Zacchaeus was of short stature and, therefore, had to climb a tree to see Jesus.  The sycamore normally pictured with this verse has high branches, which would have been impossible for any short person to climb.  The Egyptian fig tree, however, has low branches, permitting an easy climb.

Few things in Israel are as weird as this tree. While it originated in Egypt, it grows well in Israel but has a little problem – it is handicapped and needs help to pollinate its fruit.  This is primarily because the bee needed to pollinate does not live in Israel.  Therefore, the fruit does not become edible until a bee makes a hole in the fruit to lay its eggs.  The eggs hatch and the young bees fly away.  Only then will the fruit ripen.  But because the bee does not live in this land, for centuries people like the prophet Amos had to climb Egyptian-fig trees (Amos 7:14) and prick small holes in thousands of little green figs so that other local bees could lay their eggs in the holes of the fruit.[4]  That process enabled the figs to ripen.  Now that’s weird!

“I’ll pay back four times the amount.”   This was far more than the twenty percent the Law of Moses required (Lev. 5:16; Num. 5:7).  Clearly, he had the “fruit of repentance” John the Baptist preached about (Lk. 3:8).  The name “Zacchaeus” means pure, just, or innocent[5] and he may not have lived up to his name until he met Jesus.  But he said that he would give up to half of his possessions to the poor and pay a four-fold restoration (see 12.04.06.Q1 below) to anyone whom he had cheated. There are two points to consider here.

  1. It is well understood from New Testament context that salvation comes only by faith, not by the gifts given to the poor or to any other acceptable cause. Yet anyone who has experienced a sincere transformation of life will immediately be concerned for the welfare of others, as was demonstrated by Zacchaeus.
  1. Since the tax collector was willing to restore up to four times any ill-gotten gains, he evidently had made a number of honest and wise financial investments or he would quickly have been bankrupt. Therefore, the negative attitude toward all tax collectors may be one of jealousy as well as the corruption of many (most?) tax collectors.


The four times payment for having done wrong may have been a cultural standard at the time, since Josephus mentioned it.

The thief shall restore fourfold, and that if he had not so much, he shall be sold indeed, but not to foreigners, not so that he be under perpetual slavery, for he must have been released after six years. But this [new] law [by Herod], thus enacted in order to introduce a severe and illegal punishment seemed to be a piece of insolence in Herod, when he did not act as a king but as a tyrant.

Josephus, Antiquities 16.1.1 (3-4)


12.04.06.Q1 On what biblical principle did Zacchaeus offer to pay back four times anything he may have taken unjustly (Lk. 19:8)?


Most Bible readers would consider his offer to be quite generous; going far above and beyond what was required.  However, Zacchaeus was doing precisely what the Old Testament law required. There were three levels of restitution for wrongs committed:

  1. When a person confessed to having committed fraud, he was to make full restitution plus

add twenty percent to his victim (Lev. 6:1-5; Num. 5:5-7).

  1. If a thief was apprehended, he had to pay double of what he stole (Ex. 22:4, 7).
  1. However, if a man stole what was essential and demonstrated no pity to his victim, he was

required to pay back fourfold (Ex. 22:1; 2 Sam. 12:6). His decision reflects his passion to obey God’s Word literally, and he lived up to the meaning of his name.


Whether Zacchaeus demonstrated pity to his victims may not be the point here as much as the fact that the general public perceived tax collectors as having no pity and dedicated to greed. He not only desired to be right with God, but also right with his neighbors. Jesus affirmed his decision that was based on an Old Testament law. The greater question might be, what does that mean for us today?

“Today salvation has come to this house.” This phrase is typical of the puns or word plays found in the Bible. Not only did the message of Jesus proclaim salvation, but His name, Yeshua, in Hebrew means salvation.[6] The irony is that before Zacchaeus had any opportunity to repent or to invite Jesus, Jesus invited Himself to the home of the tax collector – and that was without showing any kind of concern for Zacchaeus’s traitorous lifestyle, his reputation and possible immoral behavior. The gospel narrative leaves the reader wondering what their conversation was about.

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”  This is the theme of the life of Jesus. It never changed, but was presented through parables, miracles, teachings, His lifestyle, and finally, His death and resurrection.  The theme of Luke’s gospel is that Jesus came to redeem humanity from the ravages of sin. It is noteworthy that the term seek is from the Hebrew word daras, which means more than to search, but to search with care and diligence.[7]


12.04.06.A. AN EGYPTIAN FIG, OR “SYCAMORE” TREE.  This fig tree is also known as a sycamore tree, although the two species are not at all related. In fact, the sycamore does not even grow in Israel and the Egyptian fig seeds were planted in Israel by migrating birds.  Zacchaeus, who was a man of small stature, could not have climbed the tall American or European sycamore tree because the lowest branches would have been beyond his reach.  However, he had no problem climbing the Egyptian fig tree. Photograph by the author.

[1]. Vine, “Crowd.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:139.


[2]. Hareuveni, Tree and Shrub in Our Biblical Heritage. 41, 83.


[3]. Vine, “Sycamore.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:614.


[4]. Bees that have been brought into Israel from Egypt and Africa for pollination died, making the insect relocation a failure.


[5]. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 1:408.


[6]. Mills and Michael, Messiah and His Hebrew Alphabet. 7.


[7]. Levy, The Ruin and Restoration of Israel. 134.



Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 23, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04.07 PARABLE OF GOD’S ACCOUNTABILITY

12.04.07 Lk. 19:11-28              



11 As they were listening to this, He went on to tell a parable because He was near Jerusalem, and they thought the kingdom of God was going to appear right away.

12 Therefore He said: “A nobleman traveled to a far country to receive for himself authority to be king and then returned. 13 He called 10 of his slaves, gave them 10 minas, and told them, ‘Engage in business until I come back.’

14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this man to rule over us!’

15 “At his return, having received the authority to be king, he summoned those slaves he had given the money to, so he could find out how much they had made in business.       16 The first came forward and said, ‘Master, your mina has earned 10 more minas.’

17 “‘Well done, good slave!’ he told him. ‘Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, have authority over 10 towns.’

18 “The second came and said, ‘Master, your mina has made five minas.’

19 “So he said to him, ‘You will be over five towns.’

20 “And another came and said, ‘Master, here is your mina. I have kept it hidden away in a cloth 21 because I was afraid of you, for you’re a tough man: you collect what you didn’t deposit and reap what you didn’t sow.’

22 “He told him, ‘I will judge you by what you have said, you evil slave! If you knew I was a tough man, collecting what I didn’t deposit and reaping what I didn’t sow,           

23 why didn’t you put my money in the bank? And when I returned, I would have collected it with interest!’ 24 So he said to those standing there, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has 10 minas.’

25 “But they said to him, ‘Master, he has 10 minas.’

26 “‘I tell you, that to everyone who has, more will be given; and from the one who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away. 27 But bring here these enemies of mine, who did not want me to rule over them, and slaughter them in my presence.’”

28 When He had said these things, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

In this parable, the nobleman invested ten minas with each of his ten slaves, or servants. A mina was equal to 100 drachmas or denarii, which in turn represented a hundred days of labor.  Therefore, 100 minas was a significant investment and Jesus only responded to the investment results of three servants.[1] The key figure is, of course, the third servant who failed to earn anything because he not only feared the nobleman, but had no trust or respect for him either.

They thought the kingdom of God was going to appear right away.”  The disciples were convinced that Jesus would be the king of a physical Kingdom of God on earth within a few days and, in some manner, the corruption of the temple aristocrats and Roman tyranny would end.  This profound statement is clear evidence that, after spending more than three years with the Him, they still thought He was some kind of a political-messiah.  Little wonder then, seeing Him hanging on a cross was a horrific shock. The most unimaginable event was about to become their worst nightmare. Israel had rejected Jesus; therefore, the millennial kingdom would have to be postponed and would not be instituted until after He returns at some future date.  For this reason, Jesus told them a parable of a man of noble birth, a story figure with whom they were quite familiar.               

It is another story that reflected recent Jewish history,[2] and Jesus didn’t have to get very far into it until everyone recognized it as such. A nobleman traveled to a far country to receive for himself authority to be king, and then returned.”  Many of the 38 parables Jesus told were taken from daily life experiences to illustrate various spiritual lessons. In this parable, the king travels off to another land to receive his crown and kingship. It sounds almost mythological, for who ever heard of a king traveling outside of his kingdom to be crowned as the supreme monarch?  Yet this is exactly what occurred with Archelaus while Jesus was still an infant living in Egypt with His parents.[3] This story was of such incredible significance to Israel’s social-political environment that Josephus wrote a lengthy and detailed account.[4] A background summary is found below, followed by the historical narrative by Josephus.

Herod the Great was so cruel, that at his death the Jews and Arabs revolted, believing they could achieve freedom.  But in response, the Roman General Varus came south from his district capital in Damascus, because Israel was a province within the region of Damascus, and crushed the revolt.[5]  It was a time of severe social and political tensions, as the Arabs burned and plundered several villages including Sampho and Arus. By the time Varus restored order, many were killed and 2,000 Jews were crucified.[6]

In the meantime, Rome had to approve the last will and testament of Herod and that required Herod’s son Archelaus, to sail to Rome. When peace was restored, Archelaus sailed for Rome where he requested the title of “king.” However, when he arrived, much to his surprise, he found a delegation of his own subjects waiting for the opportunity to address the Senate.  These Jews strongly opposed the title and the Senate agreed to grant Archelaus a lesser title. Josephus preserved the account.


…but as for Archelaus, he had new sources of trouble come upon him at Rome, on occasions following: for an embassage (entourage) of the Jews was come to Rome, Varus having permitted the nation to send it, that they might petition for the liberty of living by their own laws.  Now the number of [Jewish] ambassadors that were sent by the authority of the nation was fifty, to which they joined above eight thousand of the Jews that were at Rome already.  Hereupon Caesar assembled his friends and the chief men among the Romans in the temple of Apollo, which he had built at a vast charge, whither the ambassadors came and a multitude of the Jews that were there already, came with them as did also Archelaus and his friends.


But as for the several kinsmen which Archelaus had, they would not join themselves with him, out of their hatred to him; and yet they thought it too gross a thing for them to assist the ambassadors [against him], as supposing it would be a disgrace to them in Caesar’s opinion to think of thus acting in opposition to a man of their own kindred. Philip also was come hither out of Syria, by the persuasion of Varus, with this principal intention to assist his brother [Archelaus]: for Varus was his great friend, but still so, that if there should any change happen in the form of government (which Varus suspected there would), and if any distribution should be made on account of the number that desired the liberty of living by their own laws, that he might not be disappointed, but might have his share in it….


Now upon the liberty that was given to the Jewish ambassadors to speak, they who hoped to obtain a dissolution of kingly government betook themselves to accuse Herod of his iniquities …. That Herod had put such abuses upon them as a wild beast would not have put on them, if he had power given him to rule over us; and that although their nation had passed through many subversions and alterations of government, their history have no account of any calamity they had ever been under that could be compared with this which Herod had brought upon their nation.


That it was for this reason that they thought they might justly and gladly salute Archelaus as king, upon this supposition, that whosoever should be set over their kingdom, he would be more mild to them than Herod had been; and that they had joined with him in the mourning for his father, in order to gratify him, and were ready to oblige him in other points also, if they could meet with any degree of moderation from him: but that he seemed to be afraid lest he should not be deemed Herod’s own son; and so, without delay, he immediately let the nation understand his meaning and this before his dominion was well established, since the power of disposing of it belonged to Caesar, who could either give it to him or not as he pleased.


That he had given a specimen of his future virtue to his subjects, and with that kind of moderation and good administration he would govern them, by that his first action which concerned them, his own citizens, and God himself, also, when he made the slaughter of three thousand of his own countrymen at the temple.  How, then could they avoid their just hatred of him, who, to the rest of his barbarity, has added this as one of our crimes, that we have opposed and contradicted him in the exercise of his authority?….


When Caesar had heard these pleadings, but a few days afterwards he appointed Archelaus, not indeed to be king of the whole country, but ethnarch[7]  of one half that which had been subject to Herod, and promised to give him the royal dignity hereafter, if he governed his part virtuously….

Josephus, Antiquities 17.11.1-4 (Excerpts from 299-321)[8]  


It is an irony of history that Herod the Great made the same trip to Rome in 40 B.C. to acquire the same appointment. He received it, but his son Archelaus didn’t.  Being angered over this humiliating event, Archelaus was determined to punish his subjects, and proved to be an abusive dictator worse than his father. For this reason, Mary and Joseph were told, upon their return from Egypt, not to return to Bethlehem but rather, go to Nazareth. As a result, he was humiliated and spilled out his vengeance upon his subjects. He raised taxes and those who failed to pay were rewarded with utmost cruelty.  Ten years later he was removed from his position by the Roman Senate.[9]

In Luke 19:11-28 Jesus took this historical event and made it into a teaching parable and added His own instruction to it.  He wanted the disciples to understand that He would not go to Jerusalem to be crowned as the political-messiah, as some were expecting.  Rather, He would be leaving them to return at some future time. Upon that future return, Jesus expects to find His servants fruitful and productive in the work they were entrusted to complete.

This is an example of a historical event that was molded into a parable to teach a spiritual lesson. The audience immediately understood the story of the king and they were able to connect with the teaching of Jesus.  Notice the parallels:


(Lk. 19:12) A nobleman traveled to a far country to receive the authority to be king.

Josephus: Archelaus sailed to Rome to receive his kingship


(Lk. 19:14) But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this man to rule over us!”

Josephus: Jewish ambassadors went to Caesar and said they did not want Archelaus to be their king.


            (Lk. 19:15) At his return, having received the authority to be king.

Josephus: Archelaus received the authority to be king without the title of “king.” He functioned as a king but with a less dignified title.


Clearly Jesus once again displayed Himself to be the Master Teacher.


“Well done, good slave.” Some translations read, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” These are words that every believer desires to hear someday from our Lord. Today, all too often, this parable is restricted to financial matters, but in reality, it covers all aspects of life.

Jesus, His disciples, and many others, left the oasis village of Jericho that is about 1,000 feet below sea level, and began the arduous march up to the Holy City.  Since Jerusalem is located centrally within the Central Mountain Range at 2,700 feet above sea level, for centuries Jewish poets and song writers cherished the phrase “going up to Jerusalem.” The phrase is often found in Jewish songs of ascent. In route, Jesus said Jerusalem was where many prophets were killed in centuries past, and the past was about to be repeated. Again He warned His enemies of their coming judgment and that His words would fall upon rebellious ears.  He also taught that the Kingdom of God would not be a political sovereignty, but a holy lifestyle, where God rules each individual with a blessed reward for those who were faithful. Likewise, those who were hostile to His Word would be punished. As Jesus and the disciples walked to Jerusalem, in true Jewish custom, they would have sung the Psalm of Ascent (Ps. 118).[10]



At this point it is good to compare two similar parables. In Luke 19:11-28, the servant who kept the master’s money in a cloth (19:20) viewed his master as being less than honorable – so much so, that when an account was required, his master was very angry. It was a matter of self-fulfilling prophecy. Had he invested successfully, he would have received a similar blessing as the others. In Matthew 25:14-30 is a similar parable with the same theme; one where an individual chose to bury his investment money rather than invest it. The Mishnah states that this method of keeping money safe was common at this time.[11] But again the servant is described as being wicked not only because he failed to invest the funds, but he also saw his trusting master in a negative light.

[1]. See Appendix 20.


[2]. See also 12.03.08.X.


[3]. Bible historians have long connected this parable with the life of Archelaus and his trip to Rome to attain the title of “King of the Jews.” It was typical of Jesus to frame His parables to everyday life and events that His audience clearly understood. See Geikie, The Life and Works of Christ. 2:388-89.

[4]. Josephus, Antiquities 17.9.1-3.


[5]. Josephus, Antiquities 17.10.9 (290-294).

[6]. Josephus, Antiquities 17.10.10 (295).

[7]. The position of ethnarch was a lower ranking than that of a king, and consequently, the change was extremely humiliating to Archelaus.


[8]. Parenthesis added for clarification by Whiston, ed.

[9]. Josephus, Antiquities 17.9.3-7; 17.11.1-4; Wars 2.2.1-3; Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 367.


[10]. Gilbrant, “Luke.” 569.


[11]. Mishnah, Baba Mesi’a 3.11.



Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 23, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04.08 ARREST PLANNED FOR PASSOVER

12.04.08 Jn. 11:55-57 Nissan 8; March 31, A.D. 30.




55 The Jewish Passover was near, and many went up to Jerusalem from the country to purify themselves before the Passover. 56 They were looking for Jesus and asking one another as they stood in the temple complex: “What do you think? He won’t come to the festival, will He?” 57 The chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it so they could arrest Him.


Caiaphas and his co-conspirators of the Sanhedrin planned to have Jesus executed.  They continued to persuade the multitudes that Jesus was a demon-possessed imposter of the messiah. There were many messianic imposters[1] during the Roman occupation and they said that Jesus was another one of them.


A Jewish tradition said that when the messiah comes, He would announce His kingship from the temple steps during Passover.  They feared what Jesus might say whenever He entered the temple.  Consequently, they planned to capture Him secretly and have Him and Lazarus (Jn. 12:10) executed immediately after the festival.


Centuries later the Babylonian Talmud had the following commentary on Jesus. It did not deny that He performed miracles, but claimed He did so with demonic powers.  In a negative manner, the Jews here admitted to the miracles He performed but they questioned His source of power.


He (Yeshu Hannorzr) shall be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.  Anyone who has anything to say in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.  Anyone who knows where he is, let him declare it to the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.[2]  


The name Yeshu Hannorzri is the Hebrew for “Jesus the Nazarene.”  The punishment of stoning would have been the method of execution except that capital punishment was prohibited by the Romans decades earlier. The stoning of Stephen (Acts 7) was not a judicial act, but one of a riotous mob which included the Sanhedrin.


According to the Talmud, when there was to be a trial, the custom was for a court crier to go to the major cities and post an official handbill or make a public announcement in the marketplace of the upcoming trial. Jewish law required that there be forty days between the announcement and the coming trial.  This was hardly the case concerning Jesus.[3]



12.04.08.Q1 What were the 12 reasons the Jewish leadership planned the death of Jesus?


There were many reasons why the Sadducees and leading Pharisees wanted Jesus removed from the national spotlight. And there would be three more after Jesus entered Jerusalem.[4]


  1. He claimed to be the Son of God and have divine authority such as the right to forgive sin.


  1. He failed to be the messiah they were expecting. The nationalistic Galilean Jews who did not accept Him were expecting a political-messiah who would overthrow the Romans. The Judean Jews who did not accept Him, including the leading Pharisees and Sadducees of Jerusalem, desired to keep the status quo with Roman occupation. They would not have accepted the political-messiah if they felt that he would be a threat to their lucrative religious businesses and positions.


  1. Jesus “was human.” The Messiah, according to Daniel 7:13, would be like a man, and to the Jews this meant someone who would not be human, but in some mystical way, be superhuman. This individual would be expected to restore Israel to its glory days when it was an international superpower under King David. While Jesus did not fit this picture, thousands of common Jews did accept Him as their Messiah while the religious leaders rejected Him.


  1. He held the Written Law in superior position to the Oral Law, which was directly opposite to the position held by the leading Pharisees.


  1. The Jewish leaders had created laws to circumvent biblical commands, and thereby justify their own selfishness and greed. Jesus challenged their commands as well as their cold hearts when they should have demonstrated mercy and justice for everyone, especially for the poor.


  1. When they challenged Jesus in public, He made them look foolish by exposing the weakness of their argument or lack of knowledge.
  2. Neither Jesus nor His disciples attended one of the recognized theological schools of Jerusalem. In fact, Jesus came from Nazareth, a disgusting town in the eyes of the aristocrats. The religious elite were far too proud to consider that mere fishermen disciples of Jesus could possibly be ordained of God to do anything worthwhile, much less be participants in miracles of healing or teach them anything about God.
  3. Jesus was born of a virgin. Religious leaders said that was an impossibility and that He was born out of wedlock and, therefore, a sinner.
  4. He ignored some of their purity laws when He associated with sinners, including some of the most despised people in the community.
  5. Jesus healed on the Sabbath. There were numerous prohibitions for the Sabbath and healing violated one or more of these oral laws. The term Sabbath means rest[5] but healing was redefined to mean work.
  6. Jesus was said to cast out demons with the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons, meaning Satan.[6]
  7. Jesus was accused of blasphemy for no less than seven reasons.[7]


As stated previously, the upper echelon of the scribes, aristocratic Pharisees, and all of the Sadducees functioned well together to protect their wealth and religious status. All were involved in  events of political-religious corruption during the days of Herod the Great according to Josephus, especially the Pharisees. For example, the daughter of Herod Antipas, Salome,[8] made accusations against another woman in the royal court and accused her of “subsidizing the Pharisees” to oppose the king.[9] The most corrupt of political figures in Rome would hardly be a match for various members of the Herodian dynasty, as John the Baptist had previously experienced. Now these religious leaders were cooperating with the Romans to rid themselves of Jesus.


The Jews carefully used the political environment to their advantage. They had rebelled against the Romans numerous times since 63 B.C. Yet they were good friends with their Roman overlords and they did not want to risk the loss of their status or comfortable lifestyles. They knew the political relationship between Pilate and Rome was strained to a breaking point. They knew Pilate attempted to please Caesar in every possible manner and believed that another Jewish revolt could possibly result in his loss of office. So they took advantage of Pilate’s predicament and used it to remove their “problem.” Therefore, Pilate was forced to appease them even though he strongly felt that Jesus was innocent of all charges. While this political issue was more of a Roman issue than a Jewish one, obviously the Sadducees used it to manipulate Pilate.

[1]. See Appendix 25.


[2]. Quoted by Charlesworth, Jesus within Judaism. 168-69.


[3]. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2:169; Maier, The First Easter. 114.


[4]. See 13.01.04.


[5]. Josephus, Antiquities 1.1.1.


[6]. Smith, Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament: Matthew. 115.   


[7]. For a listing, see 15.03.08.Q1 “What were the reasons the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of blasphemy?”


[8]. This is the Salome who requested the head of John the Baptist.


[9]. Josephus, Wars 1.29.2; Neusner, “Josephus and Pharisees.” 279.



Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 23, 2015  -  Comments Off on 12.04.09 MARY ANOINTS JESUS

12.04.09 Jn. 12:1-2; Mt. 26:7b; Jn. 12:4-6; Mt.26:10-13; (Mk. 14:9) Bethany




Jn. Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for Him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.

Mt.7b A woman approached Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive fragrant oil. She poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table.

Jn. Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot(F) (who was about to betray Him), said, “Why wasn’t this fragrant oil sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor?” He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was put in it.

Mt. 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a noble thing for Me. 11 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me. 12 By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial.   13 I assure you: Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.”


A cultural commentary is important to review at this point: In the history of the Jewish people, kings and priests were anointed in the coronation or dedication ceremony. These were individuals who were set apart and chosen by God for a special service. They were heavily anointed with olive oil that was perfumed with expensive spices that was placed not only on the head, but also on the clothing.  This created an aroma that was noticed by everyone near the king, the priest, and later Jesus. The English word “Christ” comes from the Greek word Christos.  The Hebrew equivalent is Mashiach from where the English word Messiah originated, and it means the Anointed One.[1] This adds significance to the anointing that Mary gave to Jesus.

Spikenard, a/k/a nard, was the expensive perfume used in this encounter. It was used for anointing in both religious and civic feasts and celebrations.[2] In this culture a woman would never do this, but she willingly broke cultural traditions because she was determined to honor Jesus.



12.04.09.Q1 How could Mary have afforded expensive perfume such as Indian Spikenard (Mt. 26:7)?

Women of wealth were rare in ancient times.  Those privileged with high incomes generally were the wives of government officials, merchants or high priestly families, unless of course, they were expensive “call girls” for the rich and famous clients. Unfortunately, many scholars have implicated Mary to have been a prostitute, who may have been personally known to the religious leaders.  However, she could have simply have been a wealthy woman who realized her need for salvation.

Mary brought an alabaster jar of very expensive fragrant oil” for Jesus that was known by the full plant name of Indian Spikenard.[3] Some translations read this phrase as, “pure, an expensive perfume.” Pliny the Elder said, “Perfumes are best kept in alabaster flasks” (13.4).[4]  While Jesus ministered to the poor and destitute, He was also clearly interested in the rich and famous and, at times, without comment about their wealth.  This was to be her last feast of fellowship with her good Friend and Savior.


“Because he was a thief.”  No doubt all the disciples considered Judas to be the most trustworthy, since Jesus permitted him to be in charge of the financial affairs of the group.  However, Jesus was evidently aware of his dishonesty and intentions, as evidenced by His foreknowledge of the coming betrayal. Yet He did not confront Judas on this issue. Jesus still loved him, wishing to win him into the kingdom.  It is interesting that Judas, who knew that Jesus recognized the attitudes and thoughts of His critics, for some reason must have assumed that Jesus would not realize that he was going to betray Him.

 “A noble thing.” This phrase is a Jewish idiom meaning she performed a great work; a great deed.[5]  Some scholars point to four narratives of Mary anointing Jesus, and concluding that these were the same event but written incorrectly in the Bible. The similar accounts found in Luke 7, Mark 14, and Matthew 26, bear some resemblance to the story of the anointing by Mary (there were several Mary’s) of Bethany found in John 12. Even though there are some similarities of all four accounts, the apparent differences between Luke 7 and Mark 14 are indicative of two separate events.[6]

Finally, on an interesting side note, critics in the past three or four centuries have often argued that the gospels were written two or three centuries after the events they describe. Then three small papyrus fragments were discovered that include sections of Matthew 26:7 and 10 and became known as the Magdalene Papyrus fragments. The discovery shocked many New Testament scholars because these are now dated to the first century.

Researchers today have scientific resources and measuring instruments that were considered science fiction merely twenty years ago.  For example, a scanning laser microscope can measure the height and depth of the ink upon layers of papyrus.[7] In fact, the composition of the ink can also be determined. The Magdalen papyrus was dated on the basis of physical evidence and letter style rather than literary analysis or historical suppositions.[8]   And that silences the critics!



12.04.09.A. THE “MAGDALENE PAPYRUS” FRAGMENTS. Papyrus fragments, a/k/a the “Jesus Papyrus,” are believed to have been written in the second half of the first century or earlier.  The three small pieces, written on both sides, reveal portions of Matthew 26:7-8, 10, 14-15, 22-23, and 31-33. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.


 12.04.09.Q2 Is there a conflict between John 12:1-3 and Mark 14:1-3?

According to the gospel of John, Mary anointed Jesus in Bethany six days before Passover, but in Mark she anointed Him two days before the national festival.  Why is there an obvious difference?  This again is reflective of the significant differences in the thinking processes between Greeks and Jews.


Today, scholars examine all the details before coming to a conclusion.  But the ancient Jews considered events and concepts of far superior importance to chronological order of an account.  In fact, the latter point was considered relatively insignificant.  The fact that Mark placed this event in the 14th chapter indicates that he was aware of the anointing, but he felt it was important not to write particular features modern scholars think are necessary.  Note that modern scholarship is based upon Greek patterns of thinking, not Hebraic patterns of thinking.[9]

Information omitted by Mark does not imply an event did not occur.  Furthermore, the gospels were written several decades after these events. One would certainly become suspect, if every detail was in perfect agreement. This derails the argument of modern critics, who have proposed that this account was added later by church fathers to create a theological story. Such apparent difficulties occur in historical chronology, not in theological matters.

Both Jews and Christians think of Passover as a ritualistic meal on a specific day.  However, Passover is essentially a week-long celebration with culmination at the Passover (Seder) meal. They chose the Passover lamb on the 10th day of Nissan and killed it on the 14th day. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was seven days (but fell under the “Passover” name).[10]  Where the text has the term “Passover,” the term was applied to all three feasts that were celebrated at that time.  Therefore, the phrase, “After two days was the feast of the Passover,” it could mean that it may have been the 8th day of the month, two days before the lamb was chosen, not two days before the lamb was killed.

The reason Mark may have placed this event in this portion of his text is that it is adjacent to the following episode in which Jesus washed the feet of His disciples during the Last Supper.  He did not record the feet-washing event of Jesus, yet everyone in the early church was aware of it.  This would provide a literary contrast for his readers between Mary, the humble servant, and Jesus, the humble servant to His disciples.[11]

The act of anointing must have highly irritated the religious leaders who, no doubt, looked upon the episode in 2 Kings 9:6 and discounted the scene before them.  In this Old Testament passage, one of Israel’s greatest prophets, Elisha, told the son of another prophet (2 Kgs. 9:1) to take a flask of oil and anointed Jehu as King of Israel (2 Kgs. 9:6).[12] Now the religious leaders experienced a truth they could not escape: in the room with Jesus were the greatest leaders of Israel, who had almost unanimously rejected Him, when suddenly, in walked a woman who broke her flask of oil and anointed Jesus as her Lord.  She did what the ordained men of God refused to do. Furthermore, she broke the Jewish custom and let her hair down to anoint the feet of Jesus.

This encounter not only demonstrated the heart of the Gentiles and Jewish leaders, but also the status of women in the culture.  Normally, religious leaders would not have accepted anointing by women and, if they did, the authors would not have mentioned it. But the disciples were functioning within the framework of the Kingdom of God.


[1]. Spangler and Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. 16.


[2]. Ex. 30:25-30; Josephus, Antiquities 3.8.6 (205) and 19.9.1 (358).


[3]. Farrarm, 326; Alexander, 14.


[4]. Ben-Dor, “Alabaster.” 1:75-76.


[5]. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 356.


[6]. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 355-56.


[7]. Traditionally, scholars have had a wide range of opinions concerning the date of the Magdalen Papryus.  However, recent scholarship that applied laser technology has revealed identical writing styles with a copy of the book of Leviticus from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and other writings from within twenty years of the life of Jesus. For more information, see Eyewitness to Jesus. (DVD) Discovery Communications, 2011.


[8]. The “Jesus Papryus,” a/k/a the “Magdalene Papyrus,” are fragments which have been the subject of considerable scholarly debate and scientific testing. For more information, see Thiede and D’Ancona, The Jesus Papyrus.


[9]. For more information on the differences of Greek and Hebraic ways of thinking, see Unit 02, Chapter 04 “Differences between First Century Roman-Greek and Jewish Worldviews.”


[10]. See “Levitical Feasts as Prophetic Reflections of Jesus” in Appendix 5.


[11]. Major, Manson, and Wright, The Mission and Message of Jesus. 855.


[12]. Jehu is among fifty biblical names whose existence has been verified by archaeological studies in a published article by Lawrence Mykytiuk titled, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” Biblical Archaeology Review. March/April, 2014 (40:2), pages 42-50, 68.  This archaeological evidence confirms the historical accuracy of the biblical timeline.  For further study, see the website for Associates for Biblical Research, as well as Grisanti, “Recent Archaeological Discoveries that Lend Credence to the Historicity of the Scriptures.” 475-98.


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