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A Beginning of Global Governance - #1 in a series
Prophetic Signs that we are in the End Times
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Alleged Contradictions in the Bible Answered


More alleged contradictions are being added.  Check back for an updated list.

War or Peace?

 

Exodus 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

 

Romans 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

 

Let's ask a simple question -- is it not reasonable to say that God can be both a "warrior" (NIV) and a God of peace, as the circumstances require? Can a person not be a soldier at some time in their life, during a time of war, and say, a tuba inspector during times of peace? Is God not allowed to react to what we do as He sees fit?

A contradiction would only exist if God were described as being of war and peace at the same time and while performing the same action.

Ecclesiastes 3:17 “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”


The Genealogy of Jesus - Who is the father of Jesus?

 

Matthew 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

 

Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.

 

Matthew and Luke present different genealogies of Jesus--one through David's son Solomon (the royal line) and the other through David's son Nathan (the non-royal line). The royal line is traced in Matthew; the "natural" line in Luke. Matthew's genealogy goes only back to Abraham (to show the Jewish character of the King); Luke's goes back to Adam (to show the universal aspect of the Savior). Matthew's emphasizes Jesus' royalty; Luke, his humanity. It is generally accepted (but not unanimously) that the genealogy in Matthew belongs to Joseph's family, and the one in Luke applies to Mary's line. (The historical evidence is fairly strong that both Mary and Joseph were of the house of David.) Both genealogies are 'aware' of the virgin birth: Luke adds the phrase "He was the son, SO IT WAS THOUGHT, of Joseph" (3:23) and Matthew switches verbs from "X begat Y" to "Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom (feminine pronoun) was born Jesus".

 


Who was at the empty tomb?

Matt. 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

Mark 16:1-2 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

 

First, some will claim that the descriptions given for WHEN they went to the tomb creates a contradiction.  These times are given as "as it began to dawn," "very early in the morning," (twice), and "when it was yet dark".  All of these are fully capable of describing the pre-dawn twilight hours just before the sun peaks over the horizon.  This is no more contradiction than if I were to tell you I went somewhere in the evening and later said I had gone late in the day.  Both can be descriptions of the same time period.

The second point critics will claim is a contradiction is the list of WHO went to the tomb.  We are told in the different accounts that Mary and the other Mary went; Mary, Mary and Salome went; Mary, Mary, Joanna, and several others went; Mary Magdalene went, though obviously not alone (vs. 2 "we" do not know...).  No one verse here excludes any other.  In other words, no one account speaks of the ones listed as being the only ones who went to the tomb.  First it's important to understand that it was common practice for women to go to the tomb to perform burial work.  It wasn't as if this was something unusual that would need a great deal of explanation.  Obviously, each writer picked different women who were representative of the party in their description.   Mary Magdalene appears in all four accounts suggesting her prominence in the group, but Matthew chose to spend more time on his description of the stolen body and include at the end of his account the great commission.  However John's account is short and to the point, and it is quite logical that he wouldn't give a detailed list of all women present in his summarization.  As an example of how silly it is to claim this is a contradiction, we can look at modern day journalism.  If an Associated Press article claimed that the President, the First Lady, and the Secretary of State attended a dinner with foreign leaders, and a Reuters article simply stated that the President was at a dinner with foreign leaders, you wouldn't say that the AP article contradicted the Reuters article.  The AP article just gave more detail and told us more about who was present at the dinner.  They both agree that the President was at the dinner.

The accounts given in the gospels here are not identical.  However, if you aren't reading them with the sole intent of finding a discrepancy, it's easy to see that the differences are in how much detail is given and they do not contradict each other.


How many of each beast went into the ark?  Were there 7 of each clean animal or 2

Gen. 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

Gen. 7:8-9 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.

 

There were 7 of each clean animal as Genesis 7:2 says.  Verses 8-9 are simply saying that the animals entered the ark in pairs, "two and two".  Notice when speaking of two unclean animals it says "by two", but in verses 8-9 it says "two and two".

The NIV translates it this way.  "Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark."

They came in pairs, but that does not mean there were only one pair of each clean animal.  There were 3 pairs of each and one oddball to be used for sacrifice.

Genesis 8:20 "Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it."

If there were only two of each clean animal, Noah would have had to sacrifice one of a lone pair thereby rendering that species extinct.


How many stalls and horsemen were there?

1 Kings 4:26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.

2 Chron. 9:25 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.

 

 

These verses, taken from the King James Bible, are an example of some of the minor errors found in the KJV due to the date it was written.  At the time the KJV was written, translators had far fewer extant manuscripts to translate from .  The NIV, using thousands of manuscripts, dating much earlier, that have been found since the KJV was written correct this copyist error found in some but not all, or even most, manuscripts.  The NIV reads as follows:

I Kings 4:26 "Solomon had four thousand stalls for chariot horses, and twelve thousand horses"

Other proofs that the manuscripts used in translation of of the King James Version contained a  copyist error can be found as well:

  • The reading found in 2 Chronicles is evidence of the correct number.
  • Archaeological data indicating that 4000 would be an appropriate number of stalls for a nation the size of ancient Israel, whereas 40,000 would be very excessive.
  • 4000 comports better with the number of horsemen.
  • There is sufficient explanation for a change. It would be easy for a scribe to copy the number incorrectly.  The number "40" is spelled aleph-resh-bet-ayin-yodh-mem with "4" being spelled aleph-resh-bet-ayin-heh , the only difference being the plural "-im" ending in "40" while "4" has the singular feminine ending.

To read more on the translation of the KJV and the reliability of the newer versions, see here, here, and here.


Is it folly to be wise or not?

Prov 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom and the man that getteth understanding.

Prov. 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Eccl. 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

1 Cor.1:19 "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."

 

 

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "ignorance is bliss".  This is very true.  For example, not knowing anything of the things in this world that would be upsetting to you would be a blissful state to be in.  However, it's equally true that ignorance can be dangerous, embarrassing, and harmful.  These two statements don't contradict each other - they're both true. 

In the same way, wisdom and understanding can bring you happiness as you gain understanding of the good things in life, but gaining wisdom will also expose you to the bad things in life - those things that bring sorrow.

1 Corinthians 1:19 makes another point.  There are those who call themselves wise, but they are really fools.  Their earthly wisdom blinds them to the truth.  In other words, becoming wise by human standards rather than the truth of the Bible will lead to destruction.  This kind of wisdom will be exposed for what it is when Christ returns and the nations are forced to see the truth.  Secular wisdom will not help them.

Romans 1:21-22 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.


Will children pay for the sins of the father or not?

Deut. 5:9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me...

Deut. 24:16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.

 

 

James Patrick Holding gives an excellent explanation for this "contradiction" that says it all:

A couple of years ago, when I first faced this "contradiction" in reply to Jim Merritt, I gave this brief and rather off-the-cuff answer:

(Deuteronomy 24:16) refers to punishments meted out for crimes, as does Ezekiel. Isaiah and the others refer to punishments and sufferings that are the natural results of one persons' actions "rolling downhill" on another person. In other words, if Dad goes alone and robs the Hickory Farms store and steals all the weinerschnitzel, then Junior doesn't get thrown in the slammer if he wasn't part of it. But if Dad is a smoker, then Junior's lungs will get polluted; if Mom drinks too much when pregnant, Junior may be born with fetal alcohol syndrome. If Dad brags about robbing the Hickory Farms store or seems content with his lot in jail, and Junior hears or finds out about it, Junior might be inspired to a life of crime also!

To this I also added the point that "four generations" in Deut. 5:9 and elsewhere refers to the normal lifespan of a human being, so that essentially, the verse means that punishment will be meted out over the lifetime a person alone -- to which I will add here, that punishment is not the same as guilt. Thus my explanation above is somewhat correct -- but far from complete.

You can read the rest of Holding's explanation here.


Does the Bible wrongly call the bat a bird?

Lev. 11:13, 19 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls...And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (See also Deut. 14:11, 18)

 

 

First, linean classification was not available when Leviticus and Deuteronomy were written, nor did a specific scientific definition for what a bird was exist.  The classification of animals was made by function and form.  This can be seen in the definition of words used to describe animals in the Old Testament.  For example, the word here that we render "fowl" comes from the Hebrew word owph which means flying creatures, to include birds, winged insects, and any animal that owns a wing.  It comes from a root word that means to cover or to fly.  This verse could rightly be interpreted, "And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among flying creatures....".  The King James Version seems to call the bat a fowl, but when you understand the times in which it was written, and the meaning of the original Hebrew, it's obvious there is no error here.


Rabbits do not chew their cud.

Lev. 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. (See also Deut. 14:7)

 

 

This objection is answered here in great detail.


Insects and fowl do not have four feet.

Lev. 11:20-3 All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.

 

 

Once again the word translated fowl here is 'owph', which means a creature with wings.  It's the same word used in verse 21 and translated flying.  The reference in both cases is referring to insects.  Notice the differentiation between the four feet and the "legs above their feet".  The large legs on insects such as the locust, grasshopper, cricket (beetle) etc., are considered legs, but they are different than the other legs which are called "feet" in every instance here.  You can add the four feet (legs) to the legs above their feet (legs) and get 6 legs if you like, however, the Hebrews chose to differentiate between the regular legs on the insects described here and the large legs used for jumping or lifting off to take flight.


Snails do not melt.

Ps. 58:8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

 

 

What have we here -- a sort of fantastic creature-feature idea of a snail which slowly dissolves in the heat? Not exactly. The Hebrew word here is temec, and this is the only place where it appears in the Bible. Strong's says that the main meaning here is liquefaction, with a root in a word referring to dissolution. All agree that slugs and snails leave a trail behind as they move -- this is not something that is hard to observe or unknown. And of course, it is obvious that this liquid comes from their own bodies -- and presumably, especially in a hot, desert climate like Palestine's, a snail that doesn't find a source of moisture to replenish itself is going to eventually shrivel away: hence the comparison to the "untimely birth of a woman."

For this objection to work, it would have to be assumed that temec means "dissolve" in the sense that snow, for example, melts -- but there is no point of comparison, and no reason why this word cannot refer to the dehydration process we describe.2


Doesn't Genesis 30:39 imply some kind of magical genetics?

Gen. 30:39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.

 

 

This verse seems to show Jacob engaging in some kind of superstitious form of magic while breeding his cattle.  Indeed it was superstitious and Jacob was engaging in magical arts.  However, the Bible does not condone this act.  It's a factual part of the story.  As you read on you learn that it wasn't the rods and Jacob's superstition that produced ringstraked, speckled, and spotted cattle.  It was God's intervention.  He intervened to prevent Rachel and Leah's father from cheating Jacob again.  Jacob admits that it was God's intervention and not creative genetic engineering that brought him this result.  See Genesis 31:9


While snakes travel on their bellies, they do not "eat dirt" as the Bible says.

Genesis 3:14  And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

 

 

There are two ways of looking at this.  First, snakes use their tongues as their sense of smell, and do indeed ingest dirt as they flick the ground with their tongues.  However, it's more likely that this was meant figuratively.  Being brought low, and eating dirt are used several times in the Bible to indicate abject humiliation.

 

Ps. 72:9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.

 

Is. 49:23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet.

 

Mic. 7:17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent.

 

This verse in Genesis is simply a way of saying that Satan would be cursed and humiliated.  It does not mean that the serpent literally subsists on dirt as it's main food source.


Do the righteous flourish or perish?

Ps.92:12  The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree.

Isa.57:1  The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart.

 

 

When you rip verses out of context, of course they won't make sense.  Psalm 92 is a psalm of praise.  It is speaking of the righteous in eternity.  In other words, it speaks of the blessed hope.  "Though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be forever destroyed" (v. 7).  You see, while the wicked may flourish in this life on earth, the righteous will flourish for eternity with the Lord.  If you read the entire Psalm, the eschatological meaning becomes abundantly clear.

Now, the verse in Isaiah, is speaking of the present.  Reading the verse in context helps tremendously.

Isa.57:1-2  The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.  Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. (NIV)

When the righteous perish, they are being spared from evil and enter into an eternity of peace.  They flourish while the wicked spend eternity in hell.  No contradiction here.  Just a lack of context.


How did Judas die, by hanging or falling headlong?

Matthew 27:3-8  Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See to that yourself!"  And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.  And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood."  nd they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers.  For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

Acts 1:16-19  Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.  "For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry."  (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.  And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

 

 

There is no contradiction here at all because both are true.  A contradiction occurs when one statement excludes the possibility of another.  In fact, what happened here is that Judas went and hung himself and then his body later fell down and split open.  In other words, the rope or branch of the tree probably broke due to the weight and his body fell down and his bowels spilled out.

 

Also, notice that Matt. 27:3-8 tells us specifically how Judas died, by hanging.  Acts 1:16-19 merely tells us that he fell headlong and his bowels gushed out.  Acts does not tell us that this is the means of his death where Matthew does.3

 

This "contradiction" is also addressed in great detail HERE


Was Jesus' first sermon on a plain or a mountain?

Matt.5:1,2: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying....

Luke 6:17,20 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people...came to hear him.. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said...

 

 

First let's look at the NIV in order to deal with some translation issues here.

Matthew 5:1,2 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down.  His disciples came to him and he began to teach them, saying:

Luke 6:17,20 He went down with them and stood on a level place.  A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases.  Those troubled by evil spirits were cured and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.  Looking at his disciples he said:

The Greek word translated as "plain" in the KJV is pedinos, which means level ground, as in easy for the feet.  If you've ever been on a mountainside you've undoubtedly noticed that the terrain changes and isn't always a steady incline.  There are steep areas, rocky areas, grassy areas, and even flat areas.  If you were going to preach a sermon, would you try to gather on a steep, uneven area of the mountainside, or on a flat, even area?  I'd choose the level area too.

Now, some of the skeptics out there might be asking, "but how do we know the KJV isn't more accurate, and it was actually a vast plain with no mountains?"  If you go back to Luke 6:12, you find that, just before giving the sermon, Luke records Jesus as being on a mountainside, in agreement with the verses in Matthew.

Luke 6:12  One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.  When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.....He went down with them and stood on a level place.

In both cases, Jesus is on a mountainside.  The only difference comes from the added detail in Luke that Jesus found a level area to stand while preaching.


Do the Gospels Disagree on Jesus' Last Words on the Cross?

Matthew 27:46,50 (also Mark 15:34) "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with
a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?' that is to say, 'My God,
my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'....Jesus, when he cried again with a loud
voice, yielded up the ghost."

Luke 23:46
"And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, 'Father,
unto thy hands I commend my spirit:' and having said thus, he gave up the
ghost."

John 19:30:
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, 'It is
finished:' and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

 

 

First, John was nearer to the cross and probably heard things the others
didn't. John is referred to in scripture as the disciple that Jesus loved
(John 13:23). Notice he is mentioned as being near the cross of Jesus.

John 19:25  Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister,
Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother
there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his
mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your
mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home."


Notice, in the verse above, Jesus is speaking only to Mary and John who are directly below the
cross.

When John recounts the events at the cross, he's focusing on what was said
privately to him at the foot of the cross and what's said to those standing
close by - the plea of thirst, the statement of completion, and the turning
over of responsibility for Jesus' mother to John.

Matthew focused on the words Jesus said "in a loud voice" to all that were
there (the crowd).

The Last thing Matthew heard was "My god, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Then a loud cry before giving up the ghost.

Luke hears the same loud cry that Matthew mentions, but also hears after
that, probably because he's closer, "Father, unto thy hands I commend my
spirit". It makes sense that he would say "My God, My God..." in a louder
voice than he would say his last words commending his spirit into the
father's hands.

When Jesus asked for something to drink, he was speaking to those below the
cross where John was standing. John heard what the others farther back heard,
but also heard the dialogue about asking the people near the cross for water and his quieter statement,
"It is finished".

Here are the three accounts put together:

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?' that is to say, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'....Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice said , 'Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:' (notice the cry with a loud voice is separated from Jesus commending His spirit, probably quieter), then he said softly, 'It is finished:' and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."


Can God be seen or not?

John 1:18 "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only who is at the Father's side, has made him known."

Exodus 33:20  And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live.

1 Tim. 6:16  Whom no man hath seen nor can see.

Exodus 24:9-10  Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel.  Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.

Amos 9:1  I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and he said: .....

Gen. 26:2  The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt...."

 

 

(Exodus 24:9-10)  Those who saw God did not see him in all His glory.  Exodus 33:20-21 says "But", he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."  Then the Lord said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.  When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."  Clearly, there are parts of God we can see, and certain forms of God we can see, but His full glory and His face we cannot see.

(Amos 9:1)  Earlier in the book of Amos (chapter 7 and 8) we see that God is showing Amos visions.  God showing Amos a vision is very different from God coming to him in His full glory and showing himself to Amos.  As in other verses, God shows Himself in other forms and in visions, but they do not see Him in His full glory or see His face present before them outside of the vision.

(Genesis 26:2)  The Lord at times "appeared" in some way to the patriarchs and others, but not in all his glory (Exodus 33:18-20).  Seeing God in visions or in other forms is similar to the Apostles seeing God through Christ.  John 1:18 "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known."  The Bible tells us throughout that Jesus is God.  While we can't see the face of God or God in all his glory, many did see Jesus and live.  So, we obviously can see God in the person of Christ and in other forms.

Numbers 12:5-8     "Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam.  When both of them stepped forward, he said, "Listen to my words: When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.  But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house.  With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles, he sees the form of the Lord."

Here we see God appearing to a lesser person in a pillar of cloud.  To a prophet, God appears in visions and dreams.  To Moses, who is of a higher position in God's sight, a form of the Lord appears to him face to face.  There is a reason God said Moses saw the "form of the Lord" and not just "the Lord".  Moses, while seeing God outside of visions and dreams, still is not allowed to fully see God in all His glory. 

"Face to Face" is translated "mouth to mouth" in the King James version.  This would seem to be more correct as the Hebrew here is "peh", which means a) mouth (of man) b) mouth (as organ of speech)

A detailed look at the original Hebrew, and a look at the paradox that unfolds when these verses are read in chronological order can be found here.


Was Jesus the first to ascend up to heaven, or was Elijah?

2 Kings 2:11 And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

John 3:13 "No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, ... the Son of Man."

 

In this context, Jesus is setting forth His superior knowledge of heavenly things. In essence He is saying, “No other human being can speak from firsthand knowledge about these things, as I can, since I came down from heaven.” He is claiming that no one has ascended to heaven to bring down the message that He brought. In no way is He denying that anyone else is in heaven, such as Elijah and Enoch ( Gen. 5:24 ). Rather, Jesus is simply claiming that no one on earth has gone to heaven and returned with a message such as He offered to them.4


Do the Gospels Disagree on the Number of Times the Rooster Crowed?

Matthew and John (13:38) say before the rooster crows once, Peter will have denied the Lord three times. But Mark affirms that before the rooster crows twice Peter will deny Christ three times. Which account is right?

 

Mark 14:30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

 

John 13:38  Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

Mark 14:68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.

Mark 14:72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

 

There is no contradiction between the two accounts because, given the correctness of the text, Matthew and John do not expressly state how many times the rooster will crow. They simply say Peter will deny Christ three times “before the rooster crows,” but they do not say how many times it will crow. Mark may simply be more specific, affirming exactly how many times the rooster would crow.

It is also possible that different accounts are due to an early copyist error in Mark, that resulted in the insertion of “two” in early manuscripts (at Mark 14:30 and 72 ). This would explain why some important manuscripts of Mark mention only one crowing, just like Matthew and John, and why “two” appears at different places in some manuscripts. 5


Who killed Saul?

1 Samuel 31:4-6 Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.

2 Samuel 1:8-10 And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. [Saul] said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.

 

See answer HERE.  This is one of the more humorous supposed contradictions used by skeptics.


Why does Luke say Jesus stood to teach them during the sermon on the mount when Matthew declares that He sat to teach them?  Was the Sermon on the mount on a mountain or a level place?

 

Luke 6:17  He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon...

 

Matthew 5:1  Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:

 

First let's address whether Jesus was sitting or standing.  There is no contradiction here, rather both are likely correct.  In Matthew 5:1 Jesus is not yet on the mountainside.  He went up into a mountainous area and sat down UNTIL his disciples came to him.  Luke picks up the story after Jesus has already traveled up the mountain.  When the crowd of his disciples arrived, Jesus stood to teach them.  Similarly, Jesus was on a mountainside AND moved to a level place to teach.  If you've ever been camping in the mountains and went hiking on a mountainside, this will make sense to you.  Mountains aren't perfect pyramids.  There are often level areas and even valleys between peaks and rises on the mountain.  Sometimes "contradictions" are simply the result of a skeptics bias and unwillingness to allow the possibility that there is no contradiction.


 

FOOTNOTES

1.  James Patrick Holding, "Copyist Errors and Estimations", Tektonics Apologetics Ministry, http://www.tektonics.org/af/copyisterrors.html

2.  James Patrick Holding, "Was the Psalmist wrong about snails melting", Tektonics Apologetics Ministry, http://www.tektonics.org/qt/snailmelt.html

3.  Matt Slick, "Bible Contradictions", CARM, http://www.carm.org/diff/Matt27_3.htm

4.  Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties (Page 407). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

5.  Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties (Page 360). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.