What Does the Bible Say About...?/Part 2 | John Ankerberg Show

What Does the Bible Say About…?/Part 2

By: Dr. Thomas Figart
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By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2009
Did how many sacrifices you made in a day make you holier to the people in Bible times? How does the Jewish calendar work? When God made a covenant with Abram, why didn’t they cut the doves in half? Why did Rahab have to hang a scarlet piece of cloth; why not a blue or green? Why was Numbers written and by whom? Why was Joshua written? Was Joshua the son of Nun in Jesus’ family line? Was Joshua the son of Nun in Jesus’ family line? Why did the people in the Bible ages give meanings to their children? What was the capital of Jerusalem? Did Jonah get spit out of the fish near Nineveh? How many kings did Israel have, and how many kings did Judah have?

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Sixth Grade Students from Manheim Christian Day School (PA) ask Questions About the Bible

Answered by Dr. Thomas Figart

Did how many sacrifices you made in a day make you holier to the people in Bible times?

Nathan, age 12, asks: Did how many sacrifices you made in a day make you holier to the people in Bible times?

Answer: The Jews’ sacrificial system was very complicated, having burnt offerings, meal offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings and trespass offerings. See Leviticus chapters 1-7.

  1. Burnt offering; a male bullock, sheep, goat, dove or pigeons, depending on which you could afford. It was an “atonement” or covering for sin. Leviticus 1.
  2. Meal offering; unleavened cakes of grain, part of which was eaten by the priests, as offering of thanks for firstfruits of their crops. Leviticus 2.
  3. Peace offering; a male or female offering, according to what you could afford. It was shared with the priest and the one who offered it. The purpose was for fellowship for various reasons. Leviticus 3.
  4. Sin offering; various animals; eaten by the priest. Purpose; for purification of sin where needed. Leviticus 4.
  5. Trespass offering; a ram without blemish; eaten by the priest. Purpose: offering for guilt, or when something holy has been defiled. Leviticus 5-6.

Summary: Each sacrifice had its own purpose. Hebrews 10:1-4 tells us that “with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually… in those sacrifices there is a remembrance of sins every year, for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Then in verse 10: “we are sanctified through the blood of Jesus Christ once for all.” So, it was not a question of making you holier if you sacrificed more, but rather, these were acts of obedience to cover sin or restore fellowship whenever you needed it.

How does the Jewish calendar work?

Nathan also asks: How does the Jewish calendar work? When it says “the eighth day of the first month,” they don’t mean January 8, right?

Answer: You are correct! There are a few differences from our calendar:

  1. The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, based on the phases of the moon, with 12 months of 30 days each year. Every seventh year a month is added, called the Jubilee year, called Adar-Sheni. Our calendar is solar, based on the orbit of the earth around the sun each day, with an added day every fourth year, called leap year.
  2. The Jewish religious New Year begins in the Spring (March/April), and is called Nisan. (Passover is the 14th day of Nisan about the same time as our Easter.).
  3. The Jewish civil New Year begins in the Fall (September/October) and is called Tishri. The Day of Atonement is the 10th day of Tishri.

When God made a covenant with Abram, why didn’t they cut the doves in half?

Hunter and Christine R, both age 12, ask: When God made a covenant with Abram, why didn’t they cut the doves in half?

Answer: The LORD directed Abram to take a heifer, a she-goat and a ram (each three years old), plus two birds; a pigeon and a turtle-dove. The three large animals were divided, one half of each on one side and one half on the other side. This was the way several nations made covenants with each other. This time it was a covenant made between God and Abram (and his descendants). When two nations did this, their representatives both walked between the animal parts, signifying that they both intended to keep the covenant. But when God did this, only He walked between the two sets of animal parts, signifying that He alone would keep the promises He made. But why were the birds not cut in half? Probably because they were too small to divide in half. This is probably why two birds were used, so one bird was placed on each side. This same thing was done when God included the Levitical sacrifices in the Law of Moses (See Leviticus 1-7).

Why did Rahab have to hang a scarlet piece of cloth; why not a blue or green?

Hunter also asks: Why did Rahab have to hang a scarlet piece of cloth; why not a blue or green?

Answer: This refers to Joshua 2:21 when Joshua directed Rahab to place a scarlet line in the window of the wall of Jericho where she had allowed them to escape. Why not any other color? Because scarlet (red) is the color of blood, and in verses 18-20 they warned her that if the scarlet line was not in the window, she and her family would be taking their blood in their own hands and would be slain with the rest of the people of Jericho. It was the color of safety for them.

Why was Numbers written and by whom?

Smith asks: Why was Numbers written and by whom?

Answer: The book of Numbers was written by Moses, the fourth book of the Law of Moses. It was written to give a history of the Wilderness Wanderings of Israel, beginning a year and a half after they left Egypt, until they finally reached the Jordan River after 40 years. Numbers preserves a record of the number of people from each tribe, and of their experiences, until a new generation was born during those 40 years. Only Caleb and Joshua survived from that older generation to enter the Promised Land. Even Moses died at that time and was not permitted to enter the Land.

Why was Joshua written? Where was it made?

Alex S. asks: Why was Joshua written? Where was it made?

Answer: It was written by Joshua after he went into the Promised Land of Israel, we do not know exactly where in that land. It was written to give the history of the conquering and possession of the Promised Land, showing how the land was divided among the 12 tribes of Israel.

Was Joshua the son of Nun in Jesus’ family line?

Joshua, age 12, asks: Was Joshua the son of Nun in Jesus’ family line?

Answer: No, since Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua was not in the family line of Jesus. (See 1 Chronicles 7:20-27 for the list of the tribe of Ephraim.)

Why was Samson not allowed to cut his hair?

Joshua also asks: Why was Samson not allowed to cut his hair?

Answer: Judges 13:1-7 tells of an angel appearing to Samson’s mother, even before Samson was born, and said: “Lo, thou shalt conceive and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite unto God from the womb” (verse 5). In verse 7, he added: “for this child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.”

The Hebrew word nazir means “to be separated.” Anyone who was under the Nazirite vow was separated unto God. Ordinarily this vow was taken voluntarily and for a specified time; but in Samson’s case, it was for life. Unfortunately, after four attempts, the woman Delilah persuaded Samson to tell her that his great strength was given to him as long as he did not cut his hair. Samson’s hair was cut while he was sleeping and he was blinded by the Philistines and put in prison. His hair began to grow, and, as a result, he was able to destroy 3,000 Philistines by dislodging the two main pillars of their heathen temple, bringing the whole temple down upon the Philistines, and himself.

The question often comes up as to whether or not Jesus was a Nazirite. The answer is, No. Jesus was a Nazarene because he was from the town of Nazareth. Therefore, all the pictures of Jesus with long hair are not correct. Jesus would never have contradicted this verse of Scripture from 1 Corinthians 11:4 which says: “Doth not even nature itself teach you that if a man have long hair, it is a shame to him?”

Why did the people in the Bible ages give meanings to their children?

Joseph asks: Why did the people in the Bible ages give meanings to their children?

Answer: I am assuming that this question is referring to the meanings of the children’s names. God began this custom, by naming the first man “Adam” which refers to the adama, “ground” from which Adam was taken. “Eve” means “lifegiver”: “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). Throughout Scripture, names were given to describe certain characteristics; for example, Jacob means “supplanter” (or, one who takes something from another) because Jacob stole his older brother Esau’s birthright (Genesis 27:36). Later, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, which means “a prince with God” (Genesis 32:28). Today, we often name children for various reasons, such as family first names of our parents or other relatives.

What was the capital of Jerusalem?

Joseph also asks: What was the capital of Jerusalem?

Answer: Here you are somewhat confused; since Jerusalem is the capital city of the nation Israel. It was also called, Zion, and The City of David.

Did Jonah get spit out of the fish near Nineveh?

A student asks: Did Jonah get spit out of the fish near Nineveh?

Answer: All the Bible tells us is as follows: “And the LORD spoke unto the fish and it vomited Jonah upon the dry land” (Jonah 2:10). The next chapter merely says that Jonah was told to go to Nineveh, and that Jonah went to Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-3). So, Jonah must have been on land which led to Nineveh.

How many kings did Israel have, and how many kings did Judah have?

Another student asks: How many kings did Israel have, and how many kings did Judah have?

Answer: Before the nation was divided, there were three kings who reigned over all 12 tribes: Saul, David and Solomon. In the divided kingdom, Israel, in the north, had 19 kings, and Judah in the south had 22 kings.

Read Part 3

Dr. Thomas Figart

Dr. Thomas Figart

Dr. Thomas Figart

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