QUESTION: In Exodus 34:28 it appears that Moses wrote the Ten Commandments on the tables of stone. Is this true?
ANSWER: Moses did not write the Ten Commandments on the tables of stone - God did.
Exodus 34:28 says, "So he [Moses] was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights, he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." It appears the "he wrote" could refer to Moses. The difficulty in understanding this account is purely grammatical.
From Deuteronomy 10 it can be absolutely proved that God wrote the Ten Commandments mentioned in Exodus 34:28. Deuteronomy 10:1-4 states: "At that time the LORD said to me, 'Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.' So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. And He [God] wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the LORD had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me."
Exodus 32:16 tells us the first tablets were also the work of God. "Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tables." Additional proof is found in Exodus 31:16 "And when He [God] had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God."
QUESTION: Where is the land of Nod? And why was Cain sent there?
ANSWER: Genesis 4:16 tells us: "Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden." The only information the Bible gives us is that the land of nod was east of Eden. The Hebrew word for Nod means "wandering." Part of the punishment Cain incurred for murdering his brother Able, was that of being a fugitive and a vagabond in a land apart from his kinsman. Genesis 4:11-12 states: "So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.'"
QUESTION: Does God approve of, or sanction, the practice of "polygamy"?
ANSWER: The first account of a polygamist marriage is found in Genesis 4:19 "Then Lamech took for himself two wives: the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah."
God never approved or sanctioned the practice of polygamy. He did permit it in the law of Moses - just as He allowed divorce because of the harness of man's heart (Matthew 19:8). Nevertheless, according to the Bible, the ideal marital state is one husband and one wife who become one flesh in marriage for life. God gave Adam one wife (Genesis 2:24). Jesus also said that from the beginning it was God's will that a man leave his parents and cleave to his wife (not wives) and the two of them would become one flesh (Matthew 19:4-9).
New Testament Scripture also reveals that an elder (I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6) or deacon (I Timothy 3:12) is to set the right example and have only one wife.
ANSWER: Cain's sins separated him from God (Isaiah 59:2). His attitude and actions were not right with God. In Genesis 4:3-7 we read: "And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." Because Cain was in a rebellious state of mind, God would not have accepted his sacrifice even if he had offered an animal. Proverbs 15:8 states: "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight."
Why was Abel's offering accepted and Cain's was not? Abel was a righteous man of faith (Hebrews 11:4). Cain, on the other hand, rejected God and His laws and lived an evil life. "Not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous" (I John 3:12). God admonished Cain to overcome the sin that permeated his life. But Cain did not follow God's instruction, but chose to reject God and His laws, and eventually even murdered his own brother (Genesis 4:8).
QUESTION: Why was Canaan cursed for an act apparently committed by Ham (Genesis 9:24)?
ANSWER: The difficulty in understanding this account is purely grammatical.
We read about this account in Genesis 9:18-25: "Now the sons of Noah who went out from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of this father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness. So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his [Ham's] younger son [some Bible translations have "youngest son"] had done to him. Then he said: 'Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.'"
Notice that Canaan is mentioned twice in the account. The pronoun "his" properly refers back to Ham, not Noah. Genesis 10:6 shows that Canaan was the "youngest son" of Ham: "The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan." Canaan is mentioned last in time order of birth.
Canaan was not punished for a sin that Ham committed. He was punished for his own sin!
QUESTION: How do we explain the apparent contradiction between Genesis 32:30 and I John 4:12? Genesis 32:30 says, "Jacob saw God face to face," yet I John 4:12 states that "no man has seen God at any time?"
ANSWER: I John 4:12 states: "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us." The context of I John 4 shows that John was speaking of the Father (see verse 10). No man has seen the Father in person except Jesus Christ (John 1:18; John 5:37).
Therefore when Jacob explained: "...For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved," he could not have meant the Father. The One whom Jacob saw face to face - the One with whom he wrestled all night long - the One who blessed him and changed his name to "Israel" which means "prevailer with God" was that member of the God Family who became Jesus Christ. It was He that was "in the beginning..." with God, and "...was God" (John 1:1-3; John 1:14).
QUESTION: Matthew 27:9 - This is purported to be a prophecy from the book of Jeremiah. Yet it cannot be found in that book. How can this be explained?
ANSWER: Matthew 27:9-10 states: "Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 'And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 'and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me.'"
Notice carefully that Jeremiah spoke these words. If he wrote them, they are not included in the book of Jeremiah.
I similar prophecy is found in the book of Zechariah (Zechariah 11:12-13). This has led some to believe that the word "Jeremiah" in Matthew 27:9 should be "Zechariah." In all authoritative texts, however, the original was "Jeremiah."
The simple explanation is that the prophecy was spoken by Jeremiah, not written. Zechariah, writing at a later time, was inspired to record it.
QUESTION: Purim - What is this festival? And, does God command us to celebrate it?
ANSWER: We read about the feast of Purim in Esther 9:18-32. Notice especially Esther 9:26-28 "So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them, the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who should join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants."
This festival is one of the national feasts of the Jewish people. It commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from the Persian Empire during the fifth century B.C. This and similar festivals, such as the Feast of Lights (from the Maccabean period in the second century B.C.) are rich in meaning and history for the Jewish people. As a Jew, Jesus observed them.
However, these festivals are not part of God's annual Holy Days and Festivals (Leviticus 23), nor does God command us to observe them.
QUESTION: Who are "the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth" mentioned in Revelation 5:6?
ANSWER: Notice what God inspired to be written in - Revelation 5:6 "And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth."
This verse describes these Spirits as being the "seven eyes" of the "Lamb." They are seven angelic beings who serve as the seven observers for Jesus Christ. In Revelation 1:4 we find that these seven angels have access to the very throne of God in heaven. Notice: "John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne."
The function of these seven angels is described in II Chronicles 16:9 "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him..." This description of the seven Spirits is repeated in Zechariah 4:10 "For who has despised the day of small things: For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."
These seven angels have a specific and important responsibility. They continually go throughout the entire earth to observe conditions and report them to Jesus Christ in heaven.
ANSWER: The word "Jew" is a nickname for the Israelite tribe of Judah. The tribe of Judah descended from the man named Judah. This man was one of the twelve sons of the patriarch Jacob (Genesis 35:23).
Abraham was the father of Isaac (Genesis 21:3). Isaac was the father of Jacob (Genesis 25:26). Jacob was the father of Judah (Genesis 35:23). Judah the progenitor of the Jews, was a great-grandson of Abraham. Therefore, Abraham was not a Jew, but an ancestor of the Jews. Abraham is properly referred to as a Hebrew.
QUESTION: Are the days mentioned in Genesis 1 twenty-four hours in length?
ANSWER: Each day was 24 hours in length. The account of the recreation (Psalm 104:30) shows that plants were created on the third day of the week. The sun, moon, and stars did not appear until the next day. If these days were a thousand years or more in length as some claim, the plants could not have survived without sunlight.
It should also be noted that although the plants were made on the third day, insects were not created until the sixth day. Plants could not have existed for great periods of time, without the insects. Nor could the insects, such as butterflies and moths, and bees and wasps, survived for long without nectar-bearing plants. Even a basic understanding of nature proves that the days of creation were twenty-four hours in length.
The Bible simply states: "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day..." (Exodus 20:11). Each day is exactly what the Scripture says, an "evening and a morning" - that is, a nighttime and a daytime (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).
QUESTION: How could there be light on the first day of creation when the sun, moon, and stars were not created until the fourth day?
ANSWER: Massive devastation occurred when God cast Satan and his demons to the earth when they rebelled (Revelation 12:4). The earth was covered by thick clouds of dust and ash. No light penetrated the earth's atmosphere. In recreating the surface of the earth, the first thing God did was remove the thick dark clouds to allow sunlight to reach the surface of the earth once again. In Genesis 1:2 we read: "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light." Then on the fourth day, God completely cleared the atmosphere so that the sun, moon, and stars could be clearly seen.
Genesis 1:16-18 states: "Then God made [Hebrew - asah] two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good." The word "made" in verse 16 can be translated: "made," "had made," or "will have made." Any of these renderings could be correct. The correct translation must be determined in context. By looking at the context is apparent that God "had made" the sun, moon, and stars long before the fourth day of creation, and that they were made visible again on the fourth day of the recreation week.
ANSWER: Matthew says Judas died by hanging himself. "Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself" (Matthew 27:5). However, Luke said Judas burst open. "Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out" (Acts 1:1). Is this a contradiction? No.
Isaiah the prophet mentioned an important principle regarding the Bible: "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little" (Isaiah 28:10). Jesus said, "The scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). The Bible is the inspired Word of God, and we can rely on its trustworthiness. However, it must be rightly divided (II Timothy 2:15).
By putting the two accounts together we get a clearer picture of what happened. Both events are true. But both events did not happen at the same time. Matthew wrote that Judas "hanged himself." Luke explained what happened later: falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out."
We do not have sufficient details to know whether Judas was dead before the fall. Either the hanging was improperly carried out, since it resulted in Judas falling from the noose and bursting asunder on the ground below. Or Judas was dead for some time, and his body decomposed and fell, or slipped from the noose.
ANSWER: The breastplate held the Urim and the Thummim. These transliterated Hebrew words, mean "lights" and "perfections." Together their names may mean "perfect knowledge."
Exodus 28:30 states: "And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually." Here we see that the Urim and Thummim were placed in a breastplate which was worn by Aaron, the high priest, and that his breastplate was to reveal God's judgment.
Leviticus 8:8 states: "Then he [Moses] put the breastplate on him [Aaron], and he [Moses] put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastplate." Here again we see that the Urim and the Thummin were put in the breastplate.
And in Numbers 27:21 we read: "He [Joshua] shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the LORD for him by the judgment of the Urim; at his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the children of Israel with him, all the congregation." In this account the Urim is used to give judgment; to show what God wanted the Israelites to do.
The Urim and the Thummim were placed in the breastplate of judgment, which was worn by the high priest, and were the means by which God's judgment or decision might be obtained in matters of national importance.
Besides these few facts little more is known. For some historical information on this subject see (Josephus, Book Three, Section Eight, Antiquities of the Jews).
ANSWER: There can be no doubt that Moses is the author of the Book of Genesis as well as the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the Pentateuch). The Jews, which are responsible for preserving the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures (Romans 3:1-2) ascribe the book of Genesis to Moses.
We also have Jesus' own testimony that Moses wrote Scripture: "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27). A few verses later Jesus gave the division of the Old Testament and said: "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me" (Luke 27:44). Jesus began with Moses because it was Moses who wrote the first five books of the Bible. Further proof is found in John 5:45-47 where Christ said: "Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you - Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"
This does not preclude the fact that Joshua and other prophets added further comments to the law that Moses wrote. Two examples of this are: Genesis 14:14 where the name Dan is used instead of Laish (see Judges 18:29); and Deuteronomy 34:5-12 where we read the account of Moses death.