Vol. 4, No. 5
Since You Asked
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IN MATTHEW 3 V.3 WHERE THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT THE LOCUSTS. ARE THEY THE LOCUST LIKE WE HAVE TODAY?
The following quotation is the most concise and informative portrayal of which I am aware of the locust that was typical and thus available in Palestine for the prophet, John the Baptist, to eat.
There are ten Hebrew words used in Scripture to signify locust. In the New Testament locusts are mentioned as forming part of the food of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6). By the Mosaic law they were reckoned "clean," so that he could lawfully eat them. The name also occurs in Rev. 9:3, 7, in allusion to this Oriental devastating insect. Locusts belong to the class of Orthoptera, i.e., straight-winged. They are of many species. The ordinary Syrian locust resembles the grasshopper, but is larger and more destructive. "The legs and thighs of these insects are so powerful that they can leap to a height of two hundred times the length of their bodies. When so raised they spread their wings and fly so close together as to appear like one compact moving mass." Locusts are prepared as food in various ways. Sometimes they are pounded, and then mixed with flour and water, and baked into cakes; "sometimes boiled, roasted, or stewed in butter, and then eaten." [Easton, M. G., M. A. D. D., Easton's Bible Dictionary, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1996.]
Are there any prophecies in the OT regarding the end of the world or the second coming of Christ? A brother in Christ said that all prophecy in the OT relates to the coming of Christ and the establishment of the church. Thanks in advance. David M. Franklin
Generally, the Old Testament prophecies with which Bible students are most familiar pertain to the Messiah and his kingdom. However, it may be an overstatement to affirm that "all prophecy in the OT relates to the coming of Christ and the establishment of the church." Perhaps not as elaborate as many prophecies (but not all prophecies are elaborate, Genesis 3:15), an Old Testament reference, such as Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, is prophetic about final judgment.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 is a mirror image of 2 Corinthians 5:10 and comparable to the depiction of the great white throne judgment of Revelation. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:11-15).
Therefore, the reference to final judgment in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 constitutes an Old Testament prophecy, as of yet unfulfilled, which is additional to Old Testament prophecies about "the coming of Christ and the establishment of the church."
Why does Easter fall on a different date each year?
To illustrate the querist's question, in the near future, Easter falls earliest on the calendar on March 23, 2008 and latest on April 23, 2011.1 "... in the West it cannot occur later than April 25 nor earlier than March 22."2 What can account for the difference of a full month between these dates?
It is observed and celebrated on the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or after March 21-or one week later if the full moon falls on Sunday. In other words, Easter falls between March 22 and April 25.3
The reason, though, (1) that Easter occurs when it does, and further, that (2) the word "Easter" is associated at all with Christianity is owing to the manmade religious laws where God made none.
The rule was finally adopted, in the 7th century, to celebrate Easter on the Sunday following the 14th day of the calendar moon which comes on, or after, the vernal equinox which was fixed for March 21. This is not always the astronomical moon, but near enough for practical purposes, and is determined without astronomical calculation by certain intricate rules adopted by ecclesiastical authority. (emphasis supplied, ler)4
Besides not being a Bible doctrine, Easter originally referred to a pagan goddess and the occasion annually when she was worshipped. The pagan feast occurred each year near the time of the Jewish Passover. The Catholic Church, desiring to distinguish its annual commemoration of Christ's resurrection from the Jewish Passover, adopted the name of the pagan feast for its own use.
Easter was originally a pagan festival honoring Eostre, a Teutonic (Germanic) goddess of light and spring. At the time of the vernal equinox (the day in the spring when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length), sacrifices were offered in her honor. As early as the eighth century, the name was used to designate the annual Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ. The only appearance of the word Easter (KJV) is a mistranslation of pascha, the ordinary Greek word for "Passover" (Acts 12:4).5
EASTER, a word used in the Germanic languages to denote the festival of the vernal equinox, and subsequently, with the coming of Christianity, to denote the anniversary of the resurrection of Christ ...6
Easter -- originally a Saxon word (Eostre), denoting a goddess of the Saxons, in honour of whom sacrifices were offered about the time of the Passover. Hence the name came to be given to the festival of the Resurrection of Christ, which occured at the time of the Passover. In the early English versions this word was frequently used as the translation of the Greek pascha (the Passover). When the Authorized Version (1611) was formed, the word "passover" was used in all passages in which this word pascha occurred, except in Act 12:4. In the Revised Version [the British counterpart to the American Standard Version] the proper word, "passover," is always used.7 (See also Unger's.8)
The single occurrence of the word "Easter" in the King James Version (Acts 12:4) is a mistranslation of the Greek word elsewhere correctly translated "Passover." Other than the unfortunate appearance of the word "Easter" that one time, nothing at all is taught in the Bible about Easter. Certainly, Easter, which is observed by most people today in Christendom is not a God-authored, Bible recorded religious activity. It is wholly manmade and without divine authority!
The word does not properly occur in Scripture, although the King James Version has it in Acts 12:4 where it stands for Passover, as it is rightly rendered in the Revised Version (British and American). There is no trace of Easter celebration in the New Testament ...9 (emphasis supplied, ler)
Contrary to the theological practices of even the churches of which they are members, biblical commentators admit neither the word "Easter" nor the practice of such a feast, by any name, was practiced by the Lord's church in the first century. The following observations pertain to the appearance of the word "Easter" in Acts 12:4.
There never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover meta (NT:3326) to (NT:3588) pascha (NT:3957). The word "Easter" now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honor of the resurrection of the Saviour. But the original has no reference to that, nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. The translation is not only unhappy, as it does not convey at all the meaning of the original, but because it may contribute to foster an opinion that such a festival was observed in the time of the apostles.10 (emphasis supplied, ler)
After the Passover. Perhaps there never was a more unhappy, not to say absurd, translation than that in our text.11
it should be, 'after the Passover:' that is, after the conclusion of the festival. (The word employed in our King James Version being an ecclesiastical term of later date, is improperly used here.)12
He would do this after Easter, meta to pascha - after the passover, certainly so it ought to be read, for it is the same word that is always so rendered; and to insinuate the introducing of a gospel-feast, instead of the passover, when we have nothing in the New Testament of such a thing, is to mingle Judaism with our Christianity.13 (emphasis supplied, ler)
When correctly translated "Passover" in Acts 12:4, and understood correctly, not one day but a number of days are meant. "Acts 12:4 After the Passover ... This refers not to Passover day, but to the whole celebration of Passover which lasted eight days."14 Incidentally, the reference to "Easter" in the KJV or "Passover" when correctly translated, had no reference to any Christian activity. It was merely (1) a convenient reference to a particular time in the year, and (2) the Jewish feast days only after which Herod could proceed to execute another apostle without offending Jewish sensitivities; after all, the purpose of seizing Peter and planning his execution was for Herod to endear himself to the Jews.
Neither the feast known popularly as "Easter" nor the name "Easter" itself is biblically authorized. That is, the Bible does not prescribe an annual commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ. Rather, the New Testament teaches that the first century church, which was led by inspired apostles, commemorated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ each first day of the week (Acts 20:7). It is the weekly communion that Jesus instituted that correctly commemorates our Lord's resurrection (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29). Easter is not authorized by God, but the weekly Lord's Supper or communion is divinely authorized.
1 Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, (Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated) 1993.
2 International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft.
3 Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers.
4 International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia.
5 Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary.
6 The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1962.
7 Easton, M. G., M. A. D. D., Easton's Bible Dictionary, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1996.
8 The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.
9 International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia.
10 Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft.
11 Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft.
12 Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft.
13 Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.
14 James Burton Coffman, Bible Study Library on the Old and New Testaments, (Abilene, TX: ACU Press), 1999.