Go to Introduction


This bible study uses a Greek Unicode font and a Hebrew Unicode font and is printable.

How to Interpret Scripture Index || Search this website || Bible Studies Index

Introduction 4.22

There is a peculiarity about New Testament Greek, and Old Testament Hebrew, that it was written in such a way that words which were obviously implied from elsewhere in the scriptures, were often missed out in the text. In such cases translators have often sought to supply the missing words, not only to make the scripture make sense, but also at times to make it read more fluently. In the King James Version and the New King James Version, the inserted words are shown in italics so that the reader can see that the word has no equivalent in Hebrew or Greek. Beware of any bible that does not do this. In view of the fact that we should not add to God's word, and the penalty for doing so is very severe (See #3.2 Note 2), this can sometimes be a very dangerous situation for any translator, and care needs to be taken to ensure that at all times the missing words can be obtained from elsewhere in the scripture. Sometimes they were missed out when it was not so obvious, where the reading makes sense even without any additional words, and these are the ones which cause most difficulty. Almost invariably this latter case has been overlooked by the translators, and it is for each individual to study these cases for his or herself, in order to understand when and where this has happened. This bible study shows with 8 examples how to find the missing words in scripture.

#4.221 Example 1: James the "son" of Zebedee

2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

Note: The original Greek here literally reads, "Yakōbos ho tou Zebedaiou", which means "James the (...) of Zebedee", the word "son" being missed out. How can we Justify the word "son" being inserted here? why not "brother", or "nephew", or "father", or some other choice? Simply because the fact that James is the son of Zebedee is revealed elsewhere in the scriptures:

(Mark 10:35) "James and John, the sons of Zebedee."
(Luke 5:10) "James, and John, the sons of Zebedee."

Also Matthew 4:21 and Mark 1:19-20 make it clear the James is the "son" of Zebedee, while the word "son" or "sons" is missed out in several other places where it is definitely implied (Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19; 3:17; John 21:2). It is common in New Testament Greek:

(H.P.V. Nunn - A SHORT SYNTAX OF NEW TESTAMENT GREEK - Cambridge University Press - p58)
"Sometimes a word such as son, daughter, wife, mother, thing, or things, is omitted after a Definite Article where it can easily be supplied from the context, and where a qualifying Genitive follows."

Ward Powers - LEARN TO READ THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT - Paternoster (U.K.), Anzea (Australia), WMB Eerdmans (USA) - p107-108)
Possessive Genitive
This genitive means "belonging to" and indicates ownership or close relationship. ... The genitive of this type can be used alone, without the noun expressing the relationship actually being stated, so that this has to be supplied from the context or from prior knowledge. Thus:

Mk 1:19
ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου
James the ( ... ) of Zebedee (Supply "son")

Thus when we come to a scripture which has had a word (or words) inserted to make it read sensibly, we need to check that the correct word has been used. We cannot insert any word that we think fits without scriptural support, because we need to note the words of Agur, "Every word of God is pure: ... Do not add to his words, lest he reproves you, and you are found a liar" (Proverbs 30:5-6). (See also How to Rightly Divide God's Word).

#4.222 Example 2: Who do we feed?

1 CORINTHIANS 13:3 (Paul)
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.

Note: In this verse the words "the poor" are missing from the original text, and as it seems obvious that something is missing, the extra words have been supplied by the translators. How then do we know that this is the correct interpretation? Again, the answer is found elsewhere in the scripture:

(Proverbs 28:27) "He who gives to the poor shall not lack."
(Matthew 19:21) "go and sell that you have, and give to the poor."
(Mark 10:21) "sell whatever you have, and give to the poor."
(Luke 18:22) "sell all that you have, and distribute to the poor."
(2 Corinthians 9:9) "He has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor."

Thus we can see that it is scriptural to sell goods and give to the poor, and this is exactly what this verse is saying. So here again we may conclude that the translators have found the correct words to insert, and that the meaning is consistent with other scripture.

#4.223 Example 3: Was the law only until John the Baptist?

LUKE 16:16 (Jesus)
16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it.

Note: Because of this quotation, "The law and the prophets were until John" (Luke 16:16), it has been preached that the law was no longer binding after John the Baptist died. This is a failure to rightly divide the scriptures on this subject. Just look at what Jesus said:

(Matthew 5:18) "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
(Matthew 5:19) "Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven."
(Matthew 19:17) "If you will enter into life, keep the commandments."

In view of these statements of Jesus, who also said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35), it is foolish to think that the law passed away with John the Baptist. So what did Jesus mean by, "The law and the prophets were until John" (Luke 16:16)? Look at the statement again, and notice that the word "were" is in italics, which means that there is no word for it in the Greek. The translators were faced with the words, ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται ἕως ἰωάννου (Gtr. ho nomos kai hoi prophētai heōs yōannou), which literally read, "The law and the prophets until John". They knew there was a verb missing (which is quite common in Greek) and so they put in the verb "were". However if they had looked for parallel scriptures to find the missing word, which is what they should have done, they would have found, "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John" (Matthew 11:13). Matthew recorded the verb "prophesied" which Luke missed out. All this scripture is telling us is that the law and the prophets prophesied until John, because they all prophesied about Jesus, who began his ministry in the days of John the Baptist. They prophesied where he would be born (Micah 5:2), that he would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), when he would be born (Daniel 9:25), how he would die (Isaiah 53), and many other details of his life, and that is all this scripture (Luke 16:16) is saying. It is nothing at all to do with the law being done away with after John the Baptist.

#4.224 Example 4: Did Jesus prophesy that the cock would crow once or twice before Peter denied him thrice?

34 Jesus said to him, Amen I say to you, That this night, before the cock crows, you shall deny me thrice.

LUKE 22:34 (Jesus)
34 And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before you shall thrice deny that you know me.

JOHN 13:38
38 Jesus answered him, Will you lay down your life for my sake? Amen, amen, I say to you, The cock shall not crow, till you have denied me thrice.

MARK 14:30
30 And Jesus says to him, Amen I say to you, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crows twice, you shall deny me thrice.

MARK 14:66-72
66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there comes one of the maids of the high priest:
67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And you also were with Jesus of Nazareth.
68 But he denied, saying, I do not know, neither understand I what you say. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, This is one of them.
70 And he denied it again. And a little after, those who stood by said again to Peter, Surely you are one of them: for you are a Galilean, and your speech agrees to it.
71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I do not know this man of whom you speak.
72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said to him, Before the cock crow twice, you shall deny me thrice. And when he thought on it, he wept.

Note: Even though three of the prophesies recorded indicate the cock crowing only once (Matthew 26:34; Luke 22:34; John 13:38), compared to one saying that the cock would crow twice (Mark 14:30), this cannot be decided on the basis of; "out of the mouth of two or three witnesses" (See #4.06). The reason for this is that we have taken separate witnesses to be separate scriptures, and not separate prophets (See #4.06 Note), and here we have three witnesses saying that the cock crew twice (Mark 14:30; 14:68; 14:72). However, when we examine these scriptures together, it seems clear that Mark has put in more detail than the others, showing that the cock crew after Peter's first denial (Mark 14:68), and that he crowed a second time after his third denial (Mark 14:72). So we need to look at the other scriptures to explain them. Simply the word "twice" is missing from each of them, and they should read as follows:

(Matthew 26:34) "before the cock crows twice, you shall deny me thrice."
(Luke 22:34) "the cock shall not crow twice this day, before you shall thrice deny that you know me."
(John 13:38) "The cock shall not crow twice, till you have denied me thrice."

So we can explain the apparent contradiction this way, the word "twice" was missed out of the text by three of the gospel writers, Matthew, Luke, and John, but the fact that the cock did crow twice was established by Mark. This is another example in support of, "Don't Diminish From God's Word" (See #3.1), because if Mark's account alone had been missed out, the truth would not have been obtained from the other three accounts would it?

#4.225 Example 5: Did Jesus become "sin" or a "sin offering"?

2 CORINTHIANS 5:21 (Paul)
21 For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Note 1: Check the original Greek
This is not as obvious as the previous two examples, and the exact meaning of this passage has been disputed by some. In the original Greek this passage reads:

τὸν γὰρ μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν, ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν,
ton gar mē gnonta hamartian, huper hēmōn hamartian epoiēsen,

Being literally translated it says, "For the not knowing a sin, on behalf of us a sin he made".
In Greek the order of words is neither totally important, nor totally consistent, because the meaning is given by word endings, and not by word order. Thus if we rearrange the words in the correct English order we get,
For he made the "not knowing a sin man, a sin on behalf of us".
Changing "the ... man" to "him" seems reasonable enough, and using "for" instead of "on behalf of" also seems acceptable, so this leaves us with, "For he made him not knowing a sin, a sin for us". The translators evidently tried to make this read more easily, and inserted the verb "to be", so that it now reads as if Jesus became sin itself, but does this make sense? Not in the least!

Note 2: Not sin because Jesus was always sinless
Jesus was described as a man "who knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21), "without sin" (Hebrews 4:15), "separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26), "Who did no sin" (1 Peter 2:21), and "in him is no sin" (1 John 3:5). If we understand that he is "the same yesterday, and today, and for the age" (Hebrews 13:8), then at no time could he ever be made sin, or be identified as sinful, before the cross, on the cross, or after the cross.

Note 3: Not sin because Jesus remained righteous on the cross
When Jesus was on the cross, God called him "my righteous servant" (Isaiah 53:11), while Peter said, "Christ also has suffered for sins, the righteous (Gtr. dikaios) for the unrighteous" (1 Peter 3:18), showing that while he was suffering on the cross he was still righteous. He also gave salvation to a sinner while he was on the cross (Luke 23:39-43), which he could not do if he had become sin himself. He prayed for the forgiveness of his murderers while on the cross (Luke 23:34), certainly not the act of anyone who had become sin, or partaker of a sinful nature. Thus we may conclude that Jesus remained righteous on the cross, "the same yesterday, and today, and for the age" (Hebrews 13:8).
Also his legs were not broken like the other two crucified with him, because he was the antitype of the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:43-46), and the scripture shows that a righteous man's bones could not be broken:

(Psalm 34:19-20) "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken ."

Note 4: Not "sin" because it does not agree with the Old Testament "type" of sin offering
Any animal which was used for a sin offering in the Old Testament sacrifices had to be "without blemish" (Leviticus 4:3; 4:23; 4:28; 9:3 Deuteronomy 17:1; Ezekiel 43:22), so for Jesus to fulfill this type, he had to be without blemish also. To offer any sacrifice to God which was not perfect was considered evil (Malachi 1:8), unacceptable (Leviticus 22:20; 22:25), an abomination to God (Deuteronomy 17:1), and people were commanded not to do it (Leviticus 22:22; 22:25). Therefore Jesus had to offer himself unblemished in order to be accepted, and this he did, "Christ ... offered himself without spot to God" (Hebrews 9:14), "as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:19), and not as sin. Also we find that the sin offering was "most holy" (Leviticus 6:25; 6:29), not only before it died, but also after death, because whoever touched the flesh of it became holy (Leviticus 6:27). To fulfill this Jesus had to remain holy both before and after death, which he did (Luke 4:34; Acts 2:27; 3:14; Hebrews 7:26), and as he is "the same yesterday, and today, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8), there is no way that he could ever have become sin.

Note 5: "Offering" is the missing word
In order to make sense out of this verse, we now need to find the missing word, which makes it agree with the rest of scripture, and when we do this we find that the word "offering" fits perfectly:

(Isaiah 53:10) "you shall make his soul an offering for sin."
(Ephesians 5:2) "Christ also ... has given himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God."
(Hebrews 10:10) "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
(Hebrews 10:12) "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever."
(Hebrews 10:14) "For by one offering he has perfected for ever those who are sanctified."

Now we can insert the word to give us, "For he made him not knowing a sin, a sin offering for us.", which agrees with all of the above scriptures. Does this insert contravene any rules of Greek grammar? If it does we could be mistaken even now. In fact both of the words for "sin" (Gtr. harmartia) and "offering" (Gtr. prosphora) are both feminine gender in the Greek, so using "harmartia" as an adjective here does not contravene any grammatical rules. In Greek it is not uncommon for some verbs to take two accusatives after them, for example:

(Matthew 21:24) "I also will ask you one thing."
(Mark 6:34) "he began to teach them many things."
(1 John 1:10) "we make him a liar",
(Revelation 1:6) "And has made us kings",

This verse now seems to fit this characteristic perfectly, "For he made him not knowing a sin, a sin offering for us." These last three cases follow the rule, that when a verb of Incomplete Predication (such as "to make"), is transitive, and in the active voice, two accusatives follow, one being the object, and the other being the Complement, which completes the sense, and refers to the same person or thing as the object (HPVN p9, p41 #21). This may seem to be a long evaluation to find one missing word, but every point helps to consolidate the truth of the decision, that Jesus became "a sin offering" rather than "sin itself".

#4.226 Example 6: Who are the "saints" that Jesus returns with?

DEUTERONOMY 33:2 (Moses)
2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir to them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints1: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.

3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in its midst toward the east, and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5 And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal: yes, you shall flee, like as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints2 with you.

13 To the end he may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints3.

JUDE 14-15
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints3.
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against them.

Note 1: These scriptures show that Jesus is coming back with his "saints"; but who are "the saints"? The word translated saints3 (Gr. ἁγίαις , Gtr. hagiais) is the plural of the adjective "hagios", and when so used, it is always translated "holy". It is so used of men (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; 2 Peter 3:2), of angels at Jesus' second coming (Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26), of Jesus (Acts 4:27; 4:30), and of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8; 13:11; Luke 4:1; Acts 2:4) to refer to just a few. Sometimes it is used without a qualifying noun, and so stands in the place of the noun. In these cases it literally means "the holy (...)"; the missing word depends upon the context in which it is used. When used by itself as a noun, it is translated "saints" referring to people (Matthew 27:52; Acts 26:10; Romans 1:7; 15:25-26; Ephesians 3:8; 4:12; Philippians 1:1; 4:21), or "saints" referring to angels (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 14), or "the holy one" referring to Jesus (Mark 1:24; Acts 3:14). The word translated saints1 (Deut 33:2) is the Hebrew word .קֹדֶשׁ. (Htr. qōdesh, Strong's 6944). It is a noun which can refer to a holy place, a holy thing, or a holy being, and occurs 468 times in the Old Testament. It is translated "holy" (262x), "sanctuary" (68x), "(holy, hallowed …) things" (52x), "most" (44x), "holiness" (30x), etc. in the KJV. The word translated saints2 (Hb. קְדֹשִׁים Htr. qedōshim) (Zechariah 14:5) is the plural of the Hebrew word קָדוֹשׁ (Htr. qādôsh Strong's 6918), which occurs 116 times in the Old Testament. It is an adjective which means "holy", and is translated "holy" (65x), "holy one" (39x), and "saint" (12x) in the KJV. It is used in a similar manner to "hagios", with or without another noun with it, and essentially also means "the holy (...)"; again the missing word depends upon the context. Thus we need to find the missing noun, and the only way to do this is to search the other scriptures concerning Jesus' second coming, and establish which word is used in this same context, in other places. When we do this, we find the following scriptures:

(Matthew 25:31) "the son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him."
(Mark 8:38) "the son of man ... comes in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels."

In both of these cases the word translated holy is a plural of "hagios" which shows that "angels" is the missing word in this case. Nowhere does the scripture ever say that Jesus comes back with men, but rather everywhere it is stated to be angels:

(Matthew 13:39) "the reapers are the angels."
(Matthew 13:41) "in the end of this age ... The son of man shall send forth his angels."
(Matthew 13:49) "at the end of the age: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just."
(Matthew 24:31) "he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet."
(Mark 13:27) "And then shall he send his angels."
(Luke 9:26) "the son of man ... he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels."
(1 Thessalonians 4:16) "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel."
(2 Thessalonians 1:7) "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels."

Note 2: Just to confirm that our choice is correct, and that saints cannot refer to resurrected people, as some teach, consider this. Because Jesus comes back with "all his saints" (1 Thessalonians 3:13), if this included people, there would be none left on earth to be collected. Who then are "the just" that the angels sever from among the wicked (Matthew 13:49)? Who are "his elect" that are gathered from the four winds (Matthew 24:31)? Who are "the dead in Christ" and "we which are alive and remain" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)? Who are "the armies which were in heaven" (Revelation 19:14), which are to be distinguished from the inhabitants of the earth (Daniel 4:35)? Much rather "all his saints" (1 Thessalonians 3:13), refers to "all the holy angels" (Matthew 25:31), and no people are included at all.

(For a more thorough analysis see RP355 #5.1 Jesus Comes With Saints.) 

#4.227 Example 7: What About Colossians 2:16?

COLOSSIANS 2:14-17 (Paul)
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of a new moon, or of the Sabbath1 days:
17 Which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Note 1: This scripture is used by some to say that when Jesus died on the cross he nailed the ordinances, such as keeping the Sabbath day, to the cross, so that we do not have to keep it any more. The key verse in this scripture is verse 16, where 5 things are mentioned: meat, drink, a holyday, a new moon, and a Sabbath. Whenever we get things mentioned together like these, and we wish to know what Paul is talking about, it is wise to consider where he gets them from. Remember that the bible for the early church was the Old Testament scriptures, so this is the obvious place to look, especially as Paul said:

(Romans 15:4) "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning."

and that he believed "all things which are written in the law and in the prophets" (Acts 24:14). So if we first look to the Old Testament to find out where the words "meat" and "drink" come together, we find that they often come together concerning the daily offerings and sacrifices that were made under the law:

(Exodus 29:38-41) "Now this is that which you shall offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.
The one lamb you shall offer in the morning; and the other lamb you shall offer at even:
And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.
And the other lamb you shall offer at even, and shall do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savor, an offering made by fire to the LORD."

These were daily offerings which were to be made with the daily sacrifices, and they are spoken of in many other places:

(Leviticus 23:13) "And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, ... and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin."
(Leviticus 23:18) "And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs " with their meat offering, and their drink offerings."
(Leviticus 23:37) "a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day."
(Numbers 6:15) "and their meat offering, and their drink offerings."
(Numbers 6:17) "the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering."
(Numbers 15:4-5) "bring a meat offering of a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of oil.
And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering"
(Numbers 15:6) "Or for a ram, you shall prepare for a meat offering two tenth deals of flour mingled with the third part of an hin of oil."
(Numbers 15:7) "And for a drink offering you shall offer the third part of an hin of wine."
(Numbers 15:9) "Then shall he bring with a bullock a meat offering"
(Numbers 15:10) "And you shall bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine."
(Numbers 15:24) "with his meat offering, and his drink offering."
(Numbers 28:5) "And a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil."
(Numbers 28:7-8) "And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shall you cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering."
And the other lamb shall you offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as its drink offering, ..."

These scriptures make it clear that often when the words "meat" and "drink" come together (KJV), they are referring to the Old Testament offerings. The same Hebrew word (Hb. מִנְחָה Htr. minchâh) is used to translate the two words "meat offering" in all of these scriptures, and it is obvious from the ingredients of flour and oil that it is a "food or grain offering" rather than a "meat offering". This is confirmed by its use elsewhere in scripture, for example:

(Genesis 4:3) "Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD."

The word translated "meat" (Colossians 2:16) (Gr. βρώσει, Gtr. brōsei) is the dative case of "brōsis", a noun which can also mean food, as it is so used elsewhere in the New Testament:

(2 Corinthians 9:10) "bread for your food".

Note 2: Now let us examine the other three things mentioned, "a holyday, a new moon, and a Sabbath." The word translated "holyday" (Gr. ἑορτῆς, Gtr. heortēs) is the genitive singular of "heortē", a word which occurs 27 times in the New Testament, and is translated "feast" (26x), and "holyday" (1x). It means "feast". To understand what Paul was writing about here, we must again go back into the Old Testament and find where these three words, "feast, new moon, and Sabbath", occur together.

(1 Chronicles 23:31) "And to offer all burnt sacrifices to the LORD in the Sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded to them, continually before the LORD."
(2 Chronicles 2:4) "Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, " for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God."
(2 Chronicles 31:3) "He appointed also ... the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD."
(Nehemiah 10:33) "For the showbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the Sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.
(Ezekiel 46:4-6) "And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer to the LORD in the Sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish.
And the meat offering shall be an ephah for a ram, and the meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah.
And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without blemish."

Just as the words "meat" and "drink" were referring to sacrifice offerings made on certain days, even so, looking at the above scriptures, it becomes obvious that the words "feast", "new moon", and "Sabbath" always come together when referring to offerings made on those days. In fact there is one scripture where all five things, meat, drink, feast, new moon, and Sabbath are all mentioned together:

(Ezekiel 45:17) "And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the Sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel."

Look at the order of these underlined words. They are in exactly the same order as Paul quoted them, making it obvious that this was exactly what Paul was referring to. In fact all of these offerings on each day are listed out for us to read:

(Numbers 28:1-8) Daily meat and drink offerings.
(Numbers 28:9-10) Sabbath day offerings.
(Numbers 28:11-18) New moon offerings.
(Numbers 28:17-25) The offerings for the feast of Unleavened Bread.
(Numbers 28: 26-31) The offerings for the feast of Weeks (or First-fruits).
(Numbers 29:1-6) The offerings for the feast of Trumpets.
(Numbers 29:7-11) The offerings on the day of Atonement.
(Numbers 29:12-40) The offerings for the feast of Tabernacles.

Paul knew these scriptures, and he was referring to these offerings in Colossians 2:16, but as is habitual with New Testament Greek, he missed out a word: "offerings". This would not confuse the readers in those days, because the Old Testament was their bible, and they would know to look there to see what Paul was writing about, but it has allowed many to misinterpret what Paul was saying here. So let us look now at a literal translation:

(Colossians 2:16) "Therefore, do not let anyone judge you in food or in drink offerings, or offerings in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of Sabbaths."

Note 3: So what "handwriting of ordinances" did Jesus blot out, "nailing it to his cross" (Colossians 2:14)? We might argue that it couldn't refer to the ten commandments, because they were initially written by "the finger of God" (Exodus 31:18), not mans hand, and therefore they endure for ever (Psalm 89:34; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25). However, they were also written by Moses in the book of the law, so other scriptures will help to clarify:

(Ephesians 2:15) "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances."
The "law of commandments" referred to here is called a "law of carnal commandment" (Hebrews 7:16), and the "ordinances" referred to are called "carnal ordinances":
(Hebrews 9:10) "Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."

They are the ordinances to do with these sacrifices, some of which were man made:

(Nehemiah 10:32-33) "Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God;
For the showbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the Sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God."

They had made ordinances to cover the cost of these sacrifices.
None of these offerings (or their ordinances) were necessary any more, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). Jesus fulfilled them all, and he was the real offering:

(Isaiah 53:10) "you shall make his soul an offering for sin."
(Ephesians 5:2) "Christ also ... has given himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God",
(Hebrews 10:10) "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
(Hebrews 10:12) "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever."
(Hebrews 10:14) "For by one offering he has perfected for ever those who are sanctified."

This is in total agreement with the next verse in Colossians:

(Colossians 2:17) "Which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ."

These sacrifices were all a shadow or type of the physical body of Jesus Christ, which was the true and only acceptable offering for sin, and which made all the sacrifices under the law obsolete:

(Hebrews 10:10) "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

So let us summarize what we have said. When Jesus died on the cross he fulfilled all the Old Testament offerings and sacrifices for sin. His physical body, and his Soul (or life) were the ultimate sacrifice which was acceptable to God. Since then, none of the Old Testament sacrifices or offerings under the law, or the ordinances that go with them, are necessary any more. They were only a type or shadow of the body of Jesus Christ. This is what Paul is saying in this scripture (Colossians 2:14-17), and he is saying nothing at all about the Sabbath day itself being done away with, only the sacrifices which were being made on that day. The law written on stone or paper was the Old Covenant, which has been done away with, and what has replaced it is the New Covenant, with God's laws written in the heart of the believer (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16).  The carnal interpretation has gone and been replaced by the spiritual, because "the law is spiritual" (Romans 7:14), but as Jesus said, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18), we cannot write off the Ten Commandments without contradicting Jesus. Nowhere in the New Testament, after the death of Jesus, was Paul, or any other Christian, ever accused of breaking the Sabbath day, or teaching others to do so. This is a case where many have a gross misunderstanding of the scripture because they have failed to find the correct missing words.

#4.228 Example 8: Was Jehoiachin Eight or Eighteen Years Old when he Began to Reign?

2 KINGS 24:8
8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
9 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.

9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.
10 And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and he made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.

Note 1: These scriptures look totally contradictory at first sight, so the first thing that we need to establish is, do they both refer to the same Jehoiachin? The answer is that they do for the following reasons:

(1) They both have exactly the same name (2 Kings 24:8; 2 Chronicles 36:9),
(2) They both reigned in Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:8; 2 Chronicles 36:9),
(3) They both did evil in the sight of the Lord (2 kings 24:9; 2 Chronicles 36:9),
(4) They were both carried away to Babylon together with the vessels of the house of the Lord (2 Kings 24:12-13; 2 Chronicles 36:10),
(5) Both were superseded by Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chronicles 36:10).

So how do we explain the difference? Before we examine the text, let us examine a few facts to see if we can determine the answer from the other scriptures. Firstly, Jehoiachin did evil in the sight of the Lord (2 Kings 24:9; 2 Chronicles 36:9), so we need to ask, what evil could an eight year old have done to warrant such a punishment as being carried away to Babylon (2 Kings 24:12; 2 Chronicles 36:10), and confined to prison for thirty seven years (2 Kings 25:27; Jeremiah 52:31)? It seems almost inconceivable that God would pass such a judgment upon an eight year old, who would probably still have been under governors and tutors at that age, and not yet making rational decisions for himself. Secondly, Jehoiachin had wives (2 Kings 24:15), and this would not be possible at eight years old, unless we consider them as "inherited" from his father. Thirdly, it is generally considered that Jehoiachin was also called Jechoniah (1 Chronicles 3:16; Jeremiah 24:1), and Coniah (Jeremiah 22:24; 37:1), in which case he had children before he was carried away captive to Babylon (Jeremiah 22:28), the names of some of which are listed (1 Chronicles 3:16-18). This would be impossible for an eight year old, so by examining these scriptures we can therefore conclude that Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, not eight.

Note 2: If we examine the original Hebrew, we find the expression בֶּן-שְׁמוֹנֶה שָׁנִים (Gtr. ben shemōneh shānîm) (2 Chronicles 36:9), which means literally "A son of eight years". In the other scripture (2 Kings 24:8), we find the expression בֶּן-שְׁמֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה (Gtr. ben shemōneh ‛esrēh shānā), which literally reads "A son of eighteen years". In the first case "shānîm" is the plural for "years", while in the second case "shānā" is the singular "year". In Hebrew the numbers 11 to 19 normally occur with plural forms, but with a few nouns, including the noun "year" (Hb. שָׁנָה, Htr. Shānā), it occurs with the singular form. We can only speculate as to how this error occurred, but here is one possibility.
The original copyist was faced with a text without vowel points or blank spaces which looked like this בןשמנהעשרהשנה. After copying בןשמנה his eye went back to his original manuscript and fell on the ה at the end of עשרה instead of the ה at the end of שמנה. Then he copied שנה missing out the word עשרה (Htr. ‛esrēh). What was left was equivalent to בֶּן-שְׁמֹנֶה שָׁנָה (Gtr. ben shemōneh shānā), which is an impossible form but he did not notice his error. A later copyist, noticing that there was an obvious error here altered the text to make it make sense. His choice was between inserting the word עשרה (Htr. ‛esrēh) again to make it read "eighteen", or changing שנה (Gtr. shānā) to שנים (Gtr. shānîm) to make it read "eight". He chose the latter, possibly because it was the least alteration to the text, and so we end up with the error of Jehoiachin being eight years old when he began to reign (2 Chronicles 36:9). If the copyist had consulted the other scriptures to find out what Jehoiachin's age was, this error could have been avoided. Thus, in line with our principle, "Find the Missing Words", we can explain this difference as simply occurring because a word was missed out when copying the original text, and an attempted correction completed the error. In fact Jehoiachin was really eighteen years old when he began to reign, and not eight.

If you have benefited from reading this study, then please tell your friends about this website.
If you have a website of your own, then please consider linking to this website. See the Website Links page.
Please copy and paste this link into Facebook and Twitter to all your friends who would like to know how to find the missing words in the scripture.

Arrow pointing left  Original Language Word || Bible Studies Index