Saturday, August 2, 2008

Answering Bible Contradictions: Part 9

What did they give him to drink?
vinegar - Matthew 27:34

wine with myrrh - Mark 15:23

I think it's vinegar and gall it speaks of in Matthew 27:34.

No, this doesn't contradict. Myrrh is an extremely bitter and sour herb, and therefore, Mark 15:23 can be translated as "sour wine." Sour wine is vinegar.

How long was Jesus in the tomb?
Depends where you look; Matthew 12:40 gives Jesus prophesying that he will spend "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth", and Mark 10:34 has "after three days (meta treis emeras) he will rise again". As far as I can see from a quick look, the prophecies have "after three days", but the post-Resurrection narratives have "on the third day".

Take a look at these scriptures: "...until the third day..." (Matthew 27:64) " three days..." (Matthew 26:61; 27:40) "...on the third day..." (Matthew 16:21; 17:23) "...three days later..." (Mark 9:31; 10:34) "...after three days..." (Matthew 27:63) "...three days and three nights..." (Matthew 12:40)

These all refer to the resurrection of Christ, yet some of them seem to contradict. But if you look more closely, the emphasis used on the phrases is not the literal number of hours which had passed, but the number of days of which a portion was included in the whole amount.

Jesus was put into the tomb before the Sabbath day, He remained in the tomb on the Sabbath, and then, on the first day of the week, He was gone.

"At what time in the morning did the women visit the tomb? At the rising of the sun (Mark 16:2), or when it was yet dark (John 20:l)?"

Simple. The sun was rising but it was still dark. In the early morning when the sun rises it is still pretty dark. Notice how in both scriptures it stresses that it was early in the morning. There is no contradiction here.

"Was the tomb open or closed when they arrived? Open (Luke 24:2). Closed (Matt. 28:l)."

Here's what happened at the resurrection (so you don't question it further).

1. A big group of women watched the crucifixion of Jesus (Matthew 27:55).

2. Jesus' burial took place (Luke 23:55).

3. The women went away to prepare spices and ointments for Him.

4. They rest on the Sabbath and then return to the burial site in two groups on Sunday (Luke 24:1).

5. Mary (supposed to be the mother of James and Joses), Mary Magdalene, and Salome set out ahead of the others while it is still dark (John 20:1), while looking for someone to roll away the stone so they could go inside (Mark 16:3).

6. They are astounded to see that the stone was taken away and the tomb appeared empty.

7. Without going inside, Mary Magdalene runs off to tell the disciples that someone has stolen the body (John 20:2).

8. The other two women go in the tomb and see an angel (Mark 16:5).

9. This same angel who had previously appeared to the guards and rolled away the stone now speaks to them (Matthew 28:5-7), telling them to go tell the disciples.

10. They run out of the tomb, afraid of the angels and too frightened to go tell the disciples (Mark 16:8).

11. In the mean time, Peter was told about it by Mary Magdalene and he runs over to see the empty tomb for himself (Luke 24:12), followed by John (John 20:3).

12. Mary Magdalene also returns behind them and still weeps after they leave (John 20:11).

13. Two angels appear before her to comfort her and Jesus Himself comes to her later (John 20:12-14 and Luke 16:9).

14. After that, she returns to the disciples to inform them of further news (John 20:18).

15. While this is all happening, the frightened Salome and Mary regroup with the rest of the women with the spices and go to the tomb. When they find it empty, they stand, perplexed (Luke 24:4).

16. Right then, two angels appear to the entire group and explain in greater detail about news of the resurrection (Luke 24:4-9).

17. Afterwards, everyone goes back to the disciples (Luke 24:10 and Matthew 28:8).

18. On the way, Jesus meets them and comforts them further (Matthew 28:9-10).

This, I would say, is a complete picture of what happened, taking all the gospels together.

On the "contradiction" you listed, the events of Matthew 28:2-4 occur before the women arrive at the tomb.

"The 'Annunciation' took place after Mary was pregnant (Matt 1:18-21), or
the 'Annunciation' took place before Mary was pregnant (Luke 1: 26-31)."

The "Annunciation" was annunciated to Mary before conception and to Joseph afterwards. Simple.

"Jesus was born during the reign of Herod, who died 4 B.C. (Matt. 2:1), or
Jesus was born at the time of Quirinius, in 6 A.D. (Luke 2:2)."

The only census that was taken outside the Bible near this time under Quirinius (a.k.a. "Cyrenius" in the Greek) is the one referred to by the historian Josephus, which says took place in 6 A.D.

But Luke 2:2 says that the census taken at about the time Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. This means that there was a later census, which was most likely the one referred to by Josephus, which Luke would have also certainly known about when writing the gospel.

According to a Latin inscription discovered in 1764, there is good reason to believe that Quirinius was in a position of command twice over the province of Syria, which included Israel as a political subdivision. The first time would have been when he was leading the military against the Homonadensians during the period between 12 and 2 B.C. His title may even have been "military governor," not your ordinary governor.

During this time there was definitely a taxing. Therefore, it is very possible that an associated census had the details which may have been common knowledge in Luke's time, but are lost to modern history records of today.

"Jesus was crucified when it was the third hour (Mark 15:25), or
it could not have been the third hour since he was still before Pilate (John 19:14)."

Easy. John recorded using Roman hours, while the other gospels used the Jewish time system.

"At the hearing before Pilate, Jesus answered no charges (Matt. 27:14), or
Jesus responds directly to all of Pilate’s questions (John 18:33-37)."

Is this the best you've got? Matthew only records that Jesus did not answer the charges. John doesn't record the charges that were brought: refusing to pay taxes, etc. etc. He records a brief conversation that Pilate and Jesus had.

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