Sunday, November 23, 2014

Solomon was the youngest son of Bathsheba

Chuck Missler and others keep referring to Solomon as the oldest surviving son of Bathsheba, and Nathan as the second.

All three verses that list the sons of David and Bathsheba list Solomon as the last of the four and Nathan third.  2 Samuel 5:14, 1 Chronicles 3:5 and 1 Chronicles 14:4.
"And these were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, four, of Bathshua the daughter of Ammiel:"
Also I don't believe the four listed here are only the "surviving" ones, I think even the one that died at birth was given a name, and that name was Shimea.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cyrenius does not mean Quirinius

First in the actual Greek text of Luke 2:2 the word translated Cyrenius is the last word and Syria the second to last word.  And the word for "governor" is not a noun and should be more literally translated "governing".  In fact the most accurate rendering of the verse should be something like.
"This counting was first made during the governing of Surias Kureniou"
The last two words I chose not to transliterate and represent them as they are spelled in the Greek.

The only reason why Bible Skeptics insist this MUST be the 6 AD Census in-spite of all the ways it's nothing like that Census (Empire wide not local, and while Herod was still King) is the name of Kureniou.

But it's not even grammatically written as the name of a person.  Now if you look at the Strongs entry for Cyrenius it will claim that the name ends with the specific form of the latter Sigma that in Koine Greek any personal name of a male individual should, and that also ends many descriptive titles.  But in the actual Textus Receptus Greek text it does not.  (And the Sinaiticus is the same.)  And Quirinus does end with an "s" in the original form in it's original language.   So there is no excuse for there not to be a Sigma at the end.

You may ask "But we know from the Greek texts of Josephus that that is how Quirinus name was translated into Greek"?

But in fact the rendering in Josephus isn't identical, for one thing in Josephus it does end with Sigma. In Josephus it's spelled Kurinios, which, like I would expect, uses more then one Iota.  Also there is no "e".  It is a much more plausible Greek rendering of Quirinus.

I'm not sure how early on this confusion started.  Maybe simply because Luke refereed to the 6 AD Census in Acts 5:37 people made the wrong assumption it must be the same Census.  Or maybe the translation of Luke into Latin played a key role in the confusion, when Translations of The Bible into modern languages finally began to happen after the reformation, they were greatly influenced by the Vulgate directly or indirectly.  Even the KJV a little bit.

But Tertullian in his against Heresies book IV chapter XIX simply states Saturninus was governor of Syria at the time without any acknowledgment that supposedly Luke identifies someone else as Syria's Governor.  That tells me that neither he or his readers had heard of the idea that Luke tells us who the governor was.  (Note, identifying Saturninus would fit it being the 8 BC Census).

To be exact, Tertullian said that Roman records proved the fact that censuses (he used the plural) were conducted in Judea when Saturninus was governor.  Also in his Apology to the Jews Tertullian clearly dates the Nativity to 3-2 BC saying it was 27 years from the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra.  Though that is hard to reconcile with the Saturninus reference.

Since I'm contending that Kureniou doesn't mean Quirinus, what does it mean?

Below is how Cyrene or Cyrenian (of Cyrene) is rendered in various Greek NT verses.  Because these will be using 2 different Greek letters for o, lower case o is Omicron and capitalized O is Omega

Matthew 27:32, Kurenaion
Mark 15:21, Kurenaion
Luke 23:26,  Kurenaion
Acts 2:10, Kurenen
Acts 6:9,  KurenaiOn
Acts 11:20, Kurenaioi
Acts 13:1, Kurenaios

It's rendered differently almost each time, in total 5 different ways, and Luke used all 5.  So that Kureniou is identical to none of them means little.  Interestingly the last one is almost identical to how the Strongs incorrectly claimed Cyrenius was rendered (Kurenios) with the only difference being the added Alpha.

The differences are all a matter of vowels and what the closing suffix should be.  All of them begin with Kuren just like Kureniou does.

Ending with iou is the same as how Luke renders Jesus of Nazareth in Luke 24:19 (Iesous tou Nazoraiou).

So perhaps Luke 2:2 wasn't referencing the Governor of a province at all but two provinces.  Or I could point out that the word for Syria here does end with that specific form of the letter Sigma that signifies a personal name or possibly title of a male individual.  No where else does Luke in his Gospel or Acts render Syria as ending with a Sigma if it's referring to the region rather then a person.  But he does use that form of Sigma when referring to Naaman of Syria in Luke 4.

I could also note that when Luke identifies Pilate as Governor of Judea in Luke 3:1 he lists the name of the Governor before the name of the province.

If it's hypothetically possible for one Roman name to be transliterated into Greek in a way that resembles Cyrene, then one could just as easily be rendered in a way that resembles Syria.  Servius could become Surias as easily as Quirinus could become Kureniou, since Greek has no letter v.

Sulla could become similar to Surias in transliteration also considering how l and r are sometimes confused.  A Sulla we don't know much about was Consul in 5 BC, many former Consuls were made governors soon after their Consulship.  However the r and l confusion is not likely to happen from Latin into Greek.

Or it could be a Roman who was named after Syria because he or his ancestor had a military Victory there, like we see with names like Africanus, Britanicus and Germanicus.  But those names usually end with us or cus.

Or maybe the verse should just be translated as saying "when a Syrian was Governing Cyrene"?  Or perhaps that a Cyrenian was governing Syria.  Plausible translations are "during the Governing of Syria and Cyrene" or "during the Governing of Syria by a Cyrene" or "during the Governing of Cyrene by Syria".  But I feel from everything I've observed above the best translation is "during the Governing of the Syrian of Cyrene".

We don't have a complete list of all the Governors of Cyrene, in fact we know very few.  Though Ironically Quirinius was briefly Governor of Cyrene and Crete before he became Consul in 12 BC.    My point is however we sadly don't know who Governed Cyrene from 8-2 BC.

Why refer to the Governor of Cyrene rather then the closer Syria?  Maybe the Governor of Cyrene was in charge of carrying it out for the entire Eastern Empire?  Or Judea specifically being so close to Egypt.  Because Egypt wasn't a military province, military activity within or from Egypt was carried out by the Cyrenean Legions.

An Atheist who's unlike me willing to consider the text hasn't been perfectly preserved should consider that a name is missing, that it's saying someone of Cyrene was Governing Syria.  Heck what Tertulian said you could use as evidence Saturninus was named in the texts he had.

Upon my further research I've noticed the Roman Legion called the Legio III Cyrenacia was based for some reason in Bosra Syria;  Again I note the terminology of Luke properly translated is not necessarily identifying a person as Governor at all.

The last known exploit of this Legion before the time frame of The Nativity (from the timeline of the Legion Wikipedia has anyway), was being involved in a conflict between Rome and Nubia in Egypt in 23 BC.  The next time they show up is 7-11 BC when the Nikopolis fortress is established.

I'm thinking it's possible this Legion carried out the Census in Judea.

Varus governed the province of Africa being being Governor of Syria at the time of Herod's death.  Not quite the same province but close.  Since it borders Cyrene and we don't know Cyrene's governors perhaps he was entrusted with both.  Saturninus had also governed Africa before governing Syria.  Saturninus career immediately after his time as governor of Syria ended isn't documented, we know he was in Germania at some point but how soon is disagreed on.  What if Saturninus was governing Cyrene while Varus governed Syria?

I've had had a hunch enter my head that maybe Luke's intent was to identify a year that Augustus was Consul and verse 2 is meant to identify the other Consul, though I can't think of a solid to make that argument.

The only years in the vicinity where Augustus was Consul were 5 BC, where the other Consul was Sulla who I mentioned above for an admittedly flawed reason.  And 2 BC where the other Consul was Silvanus.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Star of Bethlehem was not something never seen before

Chuck Missler and many others like to dismiss the idea of looking for the Star of Bethlehem in actual astronomical events, insisting it's supposed to be entirely Supernatural.

Problem is, this ignores what Matthew clearly says.
"Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
 The word for "seen" here means to observe.  It's not a Star that was brand new in the night sky.  It's a star (a planet clearly since it moves) that was always there and that they always thought of as "His Star".

Some will try to argue "Planetes Aster" would have been used if it was a planet.  First I believe the ancient traditions that Matthew was originally in Hebrew which had no distinct term for Planet.  The Magi also may not have been speaking in Greek as they inquired about this, but in Hebrew, the native language of the King they were seeking.  Second, a Planetes is a type of star in terms of what star meant to ancient Greeks, it being a specific kind of star doesn't make it inaccurate to simply call one a star.  The New Testament does not use Planetes when calling Jesus the morning star, which is a title of Venus.

Now some think Matthew 2:9 says that Star appeared again and hadn't been visible before that.  That is reading something into it that isn't there.

It being seen "in the east" does not tell us anything about where in the night sky the star was visible, it only refers to the Magi having been in the east when they observed it.

And it was Micah's prophecy that sent them to Bethlehem.  That Star's additional behavior just helped them determine where in Bethlehem.

Jupiter is the brightest planet and so I think it's the most likely candidate.  It also was a Planet constantly linked with Kingship.  Just as Regulus was the stationary Star linked with Kingship.

I am a supporter of viewing it as the September 11th 3 BC Jupiter-Reuglus conjunctions marking the birth of Jesus.  ([Update]I no longer am, I have changed my view on Jesus Birthrate, but still hold the same view of the Star of Bethlehem.)

Studying Jupiter's movements in 3-2 BC places the arrival of the Magi in Jerusalem on December 25th 2 BC

Jupiter being in Leo happens for about a year every twelve years.  It doesn't always have a conjunction with Regulus but it's not uncommon.  What is uncommon is Jupiter's retrograde going through where Regulus is, and even other times that does happen it's not a conjunction all three times.  A triple conjunction between Jupiter and Regulus is rare, and the first conjunction beginning on Yom Teruah is interesting.

Jupiter being in Conjunction with Venus is not super rare either, but that this rare tipple conjunction had Jupiter-Venus conjurations both before and after is interesting.  Now people placing the birth of Jesus in September of 3 BC haves gone and described that the June 17th Jupiter-Venus looks kind of like Jupiter and Venus are getting married.  Now that I've decided I do place the Birth of Jesus on December 25th 2 BC, I also place the birth of John The Baptist on June 24th, which was possibly Tammuz 17 on the Hebrew Calendar.  Mary left Elizabeth to return to Nazareth a little before that, which is when the events of Matthew 1 took place culminating in the marriage of Mary and Joseph.

The Star that Astonished the World book does make a lot of mistakes.  I don't think it Astonished the word, I don't think most pagans or astrologists saw any significance to it.  By secular standards the previous time Jupiter was in Leo around 26 BC was more impressive, Jupiter, Saturn and Regulus had a triple conjunction, on the Summer Solstice.

I think these were a special subgroup within the Magi responding to a sign Daniel had taught them to look for. I think he told them that when you see Jupiter conjunction with Regulus 3 times in less then a year (possibly also mentioning the Venus conjunctions before and after), a little after the following winter solstice (or if they were using a Lunar calendar then during the last week of Tevet) they should arrive in Jerusalem looking for the one who is "Born King of The Jews".  I also think it's possible this specific group of Magi could have had Ephraimite ancestry.

And it got what day on the Hebrew calendar December 25th of 2 BC fell on wrong.  Which is odd since it got September 11th of 3 BC right (it was Yom Teruah) counting the New Moons from there puts us in Tevet for most of December of 2 BC.  The Solar Eclipse on December 26th 2 BC makes that evening that New Moon of Shevat.

I also disagree with bringing Revelation 12 into this.  The signs in the Heavens in Revelation 12 are yet future, they follow the Last Trump.

This is the first in a series of Christmas themed posts I intend to do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wrath and the Seventh Trumpet

Pre-Wrathers and many others with mistaken views need to claim that the Trumpets are all God's Wrath insist that in Revelation 11 when the Elders and the Four Cherubim say "and thy wrath is come".  That the Greek should be translated "has come" or "has already come".

My argument however is it simply doesn't matter how past tense the grammar is.  Everything here is in reference only to the Seventh Trumpet and what happens immediately after it's sounded.  Nothing said here was true before the Seventh Trumpet.

"And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."

How much of that was already happening during the earlier Trumpets? Wrath is the only one anyone would even try to argue for.

Trumpets Biblically are warnings, the Last Trumpet is the Last Warning, that's when the Parousia happens and the Day of The LORD begins.

The fact is, Wrath has already come at the Seventh Trumpet, but it would be inaccurate to say that before the Seventh Trumpet.

That the Bowls are described as "finishing" or "completing" God's Wrath is seen as evidence God's Wrath begins sooner.  Fine, it begins with the 7th Trumpet and is finished by the Bowls.