Friday, May 30, 2014

Acts 8:37, should it be in the Authorized Version?

Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Most modern versions and modern scholars make the claim that Acts 8:37 should not be in the word of God.

The reasons for them thinking the verse should not be there are as following:
1.) Lack of manuscript evidence.
2.) Believing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God is not enough to get baptized.

On that basis it is deleted from the NIV, Living Bible, ESV, NASV, etc.

First of all, in regards to  I will plainly state that Acts 8:37 is a minority reading.......but it is inspired scripture. "Minority reading" simply means that most Greek manuscripts do not have the verse included in them. However, both Iranaeus and Cyprian quoted the verse in the 2nd century A.D. (before the Vulgate). Also, there are around 60 manuscripts that do contain the verse (including Codex Glacier). Also, though it was not put in any addition of his NT editions other than in a marginal note, Erasmus was quoted to have said that he believed it had been omitted from scripture by "careless scholars". 

Now for the accusation, "believing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God is not enough to get baptized". I believe that this is the only reason for one to be water baptized. The implication in the accusation is that one must believe something about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. However, there is no verse in any edition of any bible in any language that says that water baptism has anything to do with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. People were getting water baptized before anyone new anything about Christ's death.

Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you will not find anybody that knew that Christ would die, be buried, and rise again the third day (and much less takeaway a persons sins). Look at the below scripture passages.

Matthew 3:
[1] In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
[2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
[3] For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.


We see that John's message is for the people to repent of theirs sins for Christ is coming to set up His kingdom on the earth. In other words, the Son of God is coming to set up His kingdom so get your act together. 


[4] And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
[5] Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
[6] And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
[7] But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
 

We now see that John is preaching "the wrath to come". The "wrath to come" is the 2nd coming of Christ when He comes with the armies of heaven and kills all the wicked men who did not repent and took the mark of the beast. 

[8] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
[9] And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.


To avoid the "wrath to come" the Jews need to repent and be baptized and they are not saved just because they are Jews.

[10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
[11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
[12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.


The baptism with water is the baptism that John is doing, the baptism with the Holy Ghost is a baptism done by Christ to the saved people, and the baptism with fire is also done by Christ and it is on those who reject the kingdom gospel and it is a baptism of judgment. That is what is meant by "he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire".

Luke 3:
[2] Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
[3] And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
[4] As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
[5] Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
[6] And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
[7] Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
[8] Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
[9] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
[10] And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
[11] He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
[12] Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
[13] And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
[14] And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
[15] And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
[16] John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
[17] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.


Luke 3:2-17 is basically what we read in Matthew 3 accept now we see that this baptism is "for the remission of sins" (v. 3) and that the gospel of the kingdom is being preached and that Christ is being offered to Israel as King on earth (Matt. 4:23, Matthew 9:35, Matt. 24:14, Mark 1:14, Matt. 3:2, Matt. 10:5-7, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 3:19-26, Romans 11:25-26, Matthew 19:16-30). 

Now let's look into John 1 as we are looking into this issue of why somebody was water baptized. 

John 1:
[23] He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
[24] And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
[25] And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
[26] John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
[27] He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
[28] These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
[29] The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
[30] This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
[31] And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
[32] And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
[33] And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
[34] And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.


There in John 1 we see why John baptized, to make Christ manifest to Israel and demonstrating that He is the Son of God (v. 31,34). Nothing about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. 

We see John say "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world", but that is clearly not talking about the death of Christ. The twelve apostles believed John's and Christ's preaching but they knew nothing about the death of Christ. 

Matthew 16:
[21] From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
[22] Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
[23] But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. 


Mark 9:
[31] For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
[32] But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.


Luke 9:
[43] And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,
[44] Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
[45] But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.


If John preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ he did a poor job of it! The 12 apostles did not know anything about it until after it was over (Luke 24). Yet, they got baptized and they baptized other people. Therefore, water baptism has nothing to do with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The purpose of water baptism was to make Christ as the Son of God manifest to Israel (John 1:31-34). 

So what then did John mean by, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"? Well we know he preached the wrath to come, the 2nd coming of Christ when all the wicked men who took the mark of the beast will be taken away in judgment (Matt. 3:10-12, 2 Thes. 1:7-10). That is what is meant by "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world". Look at the below scriptures.

Revelation 6:
[12] And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
[13] And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
[14] And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
[15] And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
[16] And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
[17] For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?


The "Lamb of God" is not usually mentioned in the manner of Christ being the sacrificial Lamb that paid for sins, Christ is usually given that title in the context of His power, wrath, and judgment as we saw in Revelation 6. The "wrath to come" that John preached is also the same thing that takes away the sins of the world. As we saw in Rev. 6:15-17 the wicked men are going to try and escape the wrath of the Lamb. These people are the sinners that get taken out of the world in judgment.

Isaiah 13:
[5] They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.
[6] Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
[7] Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt:
[8] And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
[9] Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
[10] For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
[11] And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
[12] I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
[13] Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.
[14] And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.
[15] Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.


There we see that in the day of the Lord, the wrath to come, Christ takes the sinners out of the world. 

2 Thessalonians 1:
[7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
[8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
[9] Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
[10] When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.


Revelation 19:
[11] And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
[12] His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
[13] And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
[14] And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
[15] And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
[16] And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
[17] And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
[18] That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
[19] And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
[20] And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
[21] And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh


So there is what John preached, the coming kingdom of Christ and His wrath. His baptism was "for the remission of sins" and it was to make Christ, the Son of God, manifest to Israel (John 1:31-34). Nothing about a death, burial, and resurrection, nobody knew about that until after the event (Luke 24). Those who rejected the water baptism rejected the council of God and were lost as seen in Luke 7:28-30.

Luke 7:
[28] For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
[29] And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
[30] But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.


So now look at Acts 8.

Acts 8:
[26] And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
[27] And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
[28] Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
[29] Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
[30] And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
[31] And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
[32] The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
[33] In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
[34] And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
[35] Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
[36] And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
[37] And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
[38] And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.


Now some say that verse 37 should not be there, but it fits perfectly with the gospel of the kingdom being preached. The eunuch obviously found out about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in verse 35, but as we already saw water baptism has nothing to do with the death, burial, and resurrection so it does not matter.....the purpose of baptism was a ceremonial cleansing to manifest Christ as the Son of God to Israel. 

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:  

For more information on baptism try this post http://av1611studyblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/hosss-reply-to-herb-evans-on-baptism.html

This supposed error in scripture turns out to be an error in rightly dividing the word of truth as are many other "errors" (2 Tim. 2:15).

--Eli "Hoss" Caldwell


2 comments:

  1. Interesting post and very good points.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks.

    I also didn't point out that Acts 8:37 would be helpful in a debate with baby sprinklers as a baby does not believe with all its heart that Jesus is the Son of God.
    --Eli "Hoss" Caldwell

    ReplyDelete

Your questions or comments welcome.