Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 16, 2021

Remembering My Father

(5 Minute Read. 16Jun2021)

Dad and Me

What renowned chemist said this?

“I have been working in the field of natural products for over forty years now. As we unravel the structures of complex natural products, and illuminate their fascinating chemistry, I am impressed over and over with the marvelous design and handiwork of the Creator. In a certain real sense, as I explore and discover new truth about the part of the universe in which I work, I believe that I am thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”

These are certainly not words one often hears from a scientist in this day of evolutionary indoctrination. Yet this is a direct quote from an award-winning science researcher, professor, and university administrator.

These are the words of my father, S. William Pelletier (1924-2004). This quotation appears in his entry in the 59th edition of Who’s Who in America. They reflect his reasoned faith in the Creator of heaven and earth.

The glory of sons is their fathers. (Proverbs 17:6)
This son, the BibleScienceGuy, glories in his father. I admired and looked up to my father my whole life. This year, as Father’s Day is this coming Sunday, I want to honor my late father by sharing some of my memories of him.

Dad and Me
“Higher, Daddy, higher!”

Early Life

Dad grew up in Kankakee, IL, about an hour south of Chicago. He was the oldest of three children with a sister Wanda and a brother David.

One story he told me of his elementary school days was how he got his arms stuck in the back of his schoolroom desk chair in the second grade. Neither he nor the teacher could free his arms. Eventually the janitor had to come and cut the slats on the desk chair with a saw to release my father. Years later Dad revisited the school and found that desk chair with the sawed-off slats still in the building.

Many Saturdays his father would waken him before daybreak to go fishing. Dad said he never understood the appeal of spending all day with a fishing pole hoping for a bite. He considered it a waste of the day. On the walk home, his father often took a short cut using the train trestle over the Kankakee River. There were no side rails, and you had to step from railroad tie to railroad tie. Between the ties you could see the river far below. Halfway across was a step-aside place in case a train came. One time with a train coming, his father picked him up and ran to the step-aside place. Dad said crossing the railroad bridge always terrified him as a little boy, but his father thought nothing of it and pooh-poohed his fears.

In high school, Dad was the sound engineer for school productions and events and hence had access to the stage. Once before a magician’s performance, Dad spread exploding powder around the stage, having prepared the crystals in the high school chemistry lab. The magician kept stepping on it and causing little firecracker-type pops and flashes under his feet. Not knowing what was going on, he played along with the laughing audience as if it were part of his act.

Dad’s college years were interrupted by World War II. He served in the Navy as a radio operator in the Pacific.

Following the war, Dad completed his B.S. degree summa cum laude in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois in 1947. He received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Cornell University in 1950 with a dissertation on alkaloids.

At both the University of Illinois and Cornell University, Dad was the president of the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship chapter. He gave talks on Christian evidences and discipleship and how to have Christian faith in a university setting.

Professional Life

From 1951 to 1962 Dad was a member of the organic chemistry research staff at the Rockefeller Institute in New York City. Organic chemistry is the study of organic compounds — their properties, reactions, and synthesis. Organic compounds are chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen bonds, and they are the building blocks of all living things. Proteins, carbohydrates, lipids (fats), sugars, alcohols, and nucleic acids are all organic compounds.

Dr. S. William Pelletier
Professor of Chemistry
University of Georgia

In 1962 Dad became the head of the Chemistry Department at the University of Georgia.
As department head from 1962 to 1969, Dad increased the chemistry faculty from 14 to 30, the yearly number of chemistry graduate students from 30 to 102, and the number of departmental research papers published per year from 15 to 100. Under his leadership the department’s external grant support increased by twenty fold.

David M. Hercules was a chemistry professor who moved from MIT to the University of Georgia in 1969. In a 2002 interview on his career, Professor Hercules said this about my father’s leadership of the chemistry department at the University of Georgia:
“By the time I arrived, the chemistry department at Georgia was well on its way to becoming a very good chemistry department. It had been built up by Bill Pelletier. He had come to Georgia in the late 1950s, or maybe early 1960s, from Rockefeller. He was a natural products chemist and a very dedicated guy who really put the department on the map. . . . Bill had brought in a lot of people, most of whom were really quite good, and he was successful with them. . . . We were cohesive because the whole climate at Georgia was that we were going to build the best department that we could.”
(David M. Hercules, interview by David C. Brock and Arthur Daemmrich at Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, New Orleans, Louisiana, 20 March 2002, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Oral History Transcript # 0241, p.26.)

In 1969 Dad was appointed Provost of the University of Georgia, the chief academic officer of the university, where he served for seven years while maintaining his chemistry research. His charge was to build up the university as he had done with the chemistry department. As provost, Dad developed higher standards for faculty appointments and promotion, strengthened guidelines for teaching excellence, and established the Office of Institutional Research. His work as Provost was significant in making the university research-oriented. In 1976 he left the office of Provost to become the Director of the Institute of Natural Products Research, a position he held until he retired in 2000.

Dad was an authority on naturally occurring chemical compounds that have potential medicinal uses. He used to collect plants that he thought might yield medicinal compounds. His research involved discovering information about chemical properties of plants that could be used in medicine.

Dad maintained his research interest in alkaloids throughout his career. Alkaloids are a class of organic compounds of plant origin which contain at least one nitrogen atom. They generally have definite physiological action on humans. Alkaloids include many drugs (e.g., morphine, quinine, ephedrine, caffeine, cocaine, nicotine) and poisons (e.g., strychnine, atropine, tubocurarine, hemlock). Almost all alkaloids have a bitter taste.

Dad was an authority on the isolation, stereochemistry (study of the three‐dimensional structure of molecules), structure elucidation, and synthesis of alkaloids. He initiated and edited a widely-used 15-volume series on the chemistry of alkaloids: Alkaloids: Chemical and Biological Perspectives. He published over 360 research papers during his career.

Dad served a term as president of the American Society of Pharmacognosy (2001-2002). Pharmacognosy involves the study of the physical, chemical, biochemical, and biological properties of drugs of natural origin as well as the search for new drugs from natural sources, usually plants. In 1991 Dad received the American Society of Pharmacognosy’s top research award for his lifetime of work on alkaloids.

Dad helped form the Northeast Georgia Section of the American Chemical Society and served as its first chairman in 1968. In 1971 he won the ACS Herty Medal which recognizes outstanding chemists in the southeastern U.S. In 1972 he received the Southern Chemist Award from the Memphis ACS section for distinguished achievements in chemistry.

Dad was an Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Georgia. He lectured at universities and institutes throughout America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in England.

Family Life

Dad was faithful in bringing up his six children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). He taught and catechized us children in Scripture from as far back as I can remember. Some of my very earliest memories are evening Bible times in which we were quizzed on the Bible passage Dad had read. And then he worked with us on memorizing and reviewing Bible verses. These evening Bible times continued till I left home for graduate school. Dad impressed on all of us children the truth and authority of the Bible.

Dad’s inscription in my Bible
(Click to enlarge)

For my 8th birthday, my parents gave me my first complete Bible. Over the years I have often remembered these words which my father inscribed inside the front cover:
“Endeavor to read a portion of God’s Word daily. As the Psalmist says, God’s Word will be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.
(Psalm 119:105). Remember, this Book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book.”

Dad invested a lot of time in memorizing Scripture himself. In addition, he systematically reviewed his own memory verses in a two-week cycle. Every day he spent about half an hour reviewing the verses scheduled for that day. I still have the fat stack of index cards he made to use for review.

Another of my very early memories is a game that we played at night called Chase Me in the Dark. I was about four, and my younger brother and I would beg Dad to chase us. Dad would eventually agree over my mother’s mild protests. He would turn off the lights, get down on all fours, and chase us around the furniture in the living and dining rooms. He would burst around the dining room table roaring like a lion. We would scream and run, and it would scare us silly. But then we would beg and beg him, “Do it again.” My mother felt this was not good preparation for bed which followed soon afterward.

Dad and Me
Discussing issues of the day . . . I can’t
remember why I stuck out my tongue.

Even after I was married, on visits home I would enjoy long walks with Dad. We liked to discuss Biblical subjects and commiserate with each other about the state of political affairs. I also used these walks to get his insight, counsel, and advice on various matters.

Dad was a man of clean speech, clean habits, and clean conduct. He was a man of integrity with a clear faith in and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. He was dignified and reserved, but kind and encouraging with friends. He pursued excellence as a standard for himself and expected it of others. I can’t count the number of times I heard him say, “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” He inspired my own drive for excellence.

Dad and Mom were married for 50 years before she died in 2000. They had six children of whom I was the eldest. Those six children have so far produced 22 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren for a current total of 53 descendants from Dad and Mom.

Evangelist Billy Graham said,
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
This son gives thanks to Almighty God for his good father.

Questions to Ponder

1. How has God blessed you through your father?
2. How can you instill a love and respect for Scripture in your children or in those you mentor?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday June 16, 2021 A.D.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:11)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 9, 2021

Deadly Quail

(4 Minute Read. 9Jun2021)

Last week I reported on last winter’s Quail Hunt with my good friend John. We were thrilled to each get a bird, and they were very tasty.

But quail have not always been delectable. On one occasion they were actually loathsome and led to many deaths. As you read on, consider how what happened with deadly quail could be relevant to your life today.

California Quail

Quail in the Bible

Yahweh used quail to miraculously feed the Israelites in the wilderness on their 40-year camping trip traveling from Egypt to Canaan. Quail were also associated with a deadly plague on Israel.

Do you remember how Yahweh delivered His people Israel from terrible oppression and suffering in Egypt through the Ten Plagues? How long do you think the Israelites remembered to be thankful for the amazing miracles and interventions on their behalf? The answer is surprising — and it is crucial for our instruction.

In only the second month of the Israelites’ journey, even before they reached Mt. Sinai, they became discontent. The people forgot all of Yahweh’s remarkable blessings to be thankful for and began grumbling and complaining about what they had to eat. They said to Moses and Aaron,
Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:3)

In response the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’” (Exodus 16:12)

That evening quails came up and covered the camp, and the Lord began the daily provision of manna (bread) the next morning (Exodus 16:13-31). Quail were the first provision of food from the Lord for the Israelites, even preceding the manna.

After they left Mt. Sinai in the second year of their journey, the people continued to grumble and complain:
The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” . . . Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased. (Numbers 11:4-6, 10)

Despite the Lord’s anger over Israel’s complaints, He told Moses He would provide meat for the people to eat:
“Say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, “Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’” But Moses said, “The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, so that they may eat for a whole month.’ Should flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to be sufficient for them? Or should all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be sufficient for them?” The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.” (Numbers 11:18-23)

The Lord again brought a huge flock of quail to feed Israel (Numbers 11:31-34). The quail piled up three feet deep for a distance of a day’s journey surrounding the camp. What an enormous supply of food from Yahweh!

Looking at this massive display of over-abundance, how does the heart of faith respond? Does a heart of faith say something like this?
“Our Great Creator has such power and such generosity! We can trust Him to provide every need!”
Is this how Israel responded? No, they did not! Their selfish, faithless reaction was frantic hoarding!

The people spent all day and all night and all the next day gathering the quail. The least that anyone gathered was ten homers of quail (Numbers 11:32). A Biblical homer was a unit of volume used for liquids and dry goods equivalent to 220 liters or 58 gallons. Thus 10 homers of quail was about 19 thirty-gallon barrels full of quail! And that is the least anyone gathered! Thus each person gathered a huge amount of quail meat.

With so many quail to clean and prepare, I imagine the Israelites soon figured out how to plunge their clawed fingers into the birds and rip out the raw breast meat, just as the pheasant hunter had demonstrated as described in Quail Hunt. That would be the fastest way to procure the meat from all the birds.

But the people’s greed in grabbing up so many quail angered the Lord. With the quail meat just barely in their mouths, before they even chewed it, the Lord struck the people with a very severe plague. The plague killed some of Israel’s strongest and subdued their choice men (Psalm 78:26-31). At the very place where they collected the quail, there they buried the people who had been greedy and faithless.

Quail Lessons:
Thankfulness & Contentment

Scripture says the accounts in the Old Testament were given for our instruction. (1 Corinthians 10:11)

What can we learn from Israel’s experience with quail in the wilderness?

I see two main lessons to learn from Israel, and they are supported by verses from the New Testament:
1. Instead of grumbling and complaining, choose to be thankful.
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; (Ephesians 5:20)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
Rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:7 ESV)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

2. Instead of being greedy, choose to be content.
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. (Philippians 4:11)
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. . . If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. (1 Timothy 6:6,8)
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

You can control your own attitudes. Deliberately choosing to be thankful and content is important for a life that is pleasing to God, a peaceful life of joy and satisfaction.

Questions to Ponder

1. What do you grumble and fuss about? Does it make logical sense to complain this way?
2. Are gratitude and contentment characteristic of your personality?
3. To whom can you express special thanks today?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the prequel:
Quail Hunt

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday June 9, 2021 A.D.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 2, 2021

Quail Hunt

(4 Minute Read. 2Jun2021)

Sanna & BibleScienceGuy with quail

Despite the continuing hazards of the China Plague, my good friend John invited me to hunt Bobwhite Quail with him back in January. This was my first bird hunt since shooting birds in my neighborhood as a teenager with a BB gun.

We hunted quail at the Wolf River Game Farm in about a 50-acre, rough-cover, snowy parcel bounded by a road, woods, and two drainage ditches.

John’s bird dog, a magnificent wire-haired Vizsla named Sanna, quartered back and forth across the field looking for quail. She found and pointed on 11 birds for us.

When Sanna finds a bird she points at it with her nose, holding very still. Then we flush the bird, and it takes off in any direction it likes. It flies very fast and it is small, so it’s not an easy shot.

Hunting Quail

I was using a 20-gauge shotgun (loaned by John), and I usually missed the quick little flyers. Sometimes I didn’t even get a shot off because of the flight direction — like right at me or toward John (I didn’t want to shoot him as he was my ride).

Toward the end of our two-and-a-half-hour hunt, John had one bird in his pouch. I had none. I had shot three or four times but had always missed.

Then Sanna pointed on a bobwhite in a dense pine thicket. John shoved into the thicket and flushed the quail for me.

Sanna points quail in thicket
Quail is visible between horizontal limbs

The bird flew out of the thicket directly toward me from my right and then made a sharp right-angle turn, flying directly away from me. I fired at the little black dot as it disappeared into the sky.

BOOM! The little bird instantly dropped like a stone to the earth.

Excitedly, I yelled to John,
“I got it! I got it! I got it!”
(I wanted to make sure he heard.)
I was so thrilled!

We trudged back through the snow to the parking lot, thankful and happy that we had each gotten a bird. We were also thankful that neither of us had shot each other nor the dog.

For hours, we had enjoyed watching Sanna quarter and point birds. She was much better at her pointing job than we were at our shooting job. It was a joy to watch her do so well what the Great Creator designed her to do. Sanna glorified her Creator through doing her job so well.

The Bible tells us that all of creation glorifies its Creator. In particular, quail and bird dogs bring glory to Yahweh.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created. . . .
Beasts
[includes bird dogs] and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl
[includes quail]; . . .
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
(Psalm 148:5,10,13)

Scripture even suggests that animals sometimes do a better job carrying out God’s plan for them than humans do, just as Sanna did a better job at her task than we did at ours.
Even the stork in the sky
Knows her seasons;
And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush
Observe the time of their migration;
But My people do not know
The ordinance of the Lord.
(Jeremiah 8:7)

Back at the parking lot, Sanna immediately pointed and held point on an old man in a faded Green Bay Packers jersey. We asked if he had a bird with him.
“No.”
“Have you been handling birds?”
“No, not yet.”

Can you think why the dog pointed at the old man after finding and pointing at bobwhite quail for several hours?

Later when we introduced ourselves, we found out his name was Bob White. Then we understood why Sanna pointed at him. 🙂

Two quail breasts, back and front

Quail Meat

A pheasant hunter just arriving with his bird dogs for his hunt offered to clean the two quail for us. He said he would show us how to clean them without a knife. Using his index and middle fingers as a forked claw, he dug right into each bird’s chest just below the neck and neatly tore out the raw breast chunk with his bare hand.

Here is a picture of the two quail breasts, back and front. The meat of each was a little less than a chicken thigh. My wife cooked them the next day, and we ate them for breakfast. Yum! Yum!

How do you think quail tastes?
The quail breasts tasted essentially just like rattlesnake meat that I had eaten at a Boy Scout Ranger camp as a teenager. And the snake had tasted like chicken. So in short, the quail tasted like chicken. The meat was juicy, tender, and tasty.

Biblical Hunting

Is it ethical to hunt and kill animals for food? Yes, hunting for food is in harmony with the Great Creator for these reasons:

First, God gave man complete dominion and rule over all creation:
God blessed them [Adam & Eve], and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

Second, after the Flood, God specifically gave people the right to eat animals:
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. (Genesis 9:1-3)

Next week’s article, Deadly Quail, will discuss an occasion when eating quail led to many deaths. Watch for it!

Questions to Ponder

1. What examples do you know of animals glorifying their Creator?
2. In what ways do you glorify the Great Creator?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the sequel:
Deadly Quail

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday June 2, 2021 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 26, 2021

2021 Bible Battles Quiz Answers

(5 Minute Read. 10Feb2021)

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
at Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day is a day in which we remember and honor people who have died while serving in the United States armed forces. This year it is May 31, 2021.

Last week’s 2021 Bible Battles Quiz consisted of 12 questions about war, battles, and fights in the Bible in honor of Memorial Day.

If you haven’t taken the quiz yet, click 2021 Bible Battles Quiz to take the quiz before you look at the answers below.

Here are the 12 original quiz questions followed by answers and explanations. Links to supporting Bible verses are included with each answer.

Questions & Answers for 2021 Bible Battles Quiz

1. Who was involved in the first recorded fight in the Bible?
A. Adam and Eve
B. Cain and Abel
C. Lamech, a man, and a boy
D. Nimrod and Cush

Answer: B. Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-16)
Cain killed Abel, apparently as a result of resentment over Cain’s unacceptable sacrifice.

2. Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and three allied kings attacked Sodom. They captured Abraham’s nephew Lot, plundering all his possessions. Abraham chased after the four kings with 318 men of his household. What strategy did Abraham use to defeat the four kings and rescue Lot?
A. He sent spies into the enemy camp to see where to attack.
B. His men were skilled archers who delivered death from a distance.
C. He divided his men and launched a surprise night attack from several directions.
D. He directed an early morning charge through the enemy camp on camels and horses.

Answer: C. Surprise night attack (Genesis 14:1-16)
Abraham and his men pursued the four kings north of Damascus, defeated them, and rescued Lot and all his possessions.

3. Israel’s first battle upon entering Canaan was against the walled city of Jericho. How did Joshua and the Israelites defeat Jericho?
A. Rahab the harlot let two spies into the city by night through her house on the wall, and the spies opened the city gates to Joshua’s army.
B. Israel diverted the Jordan River that flowed under the city walls and entered the city via the river bed.
C. Joshua’s archers launched flaming arrows that set Jericho on fire.
D. Israel marched around and around Jericho for seven days. On the last circuit, they blew trumpets and shouted and the walls fell down.

Answer: D. Marched, blew trumpets, and shouted and the walls fell down.
(Joshua 6:1-25)
Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.” The priests blew trumpets, the people shouted with a great shout, and the walls surrounding Jericho fell down flat. The people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city. Except for Rahab and her household, Israel utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

4. What left-handed assassin took out an obese enemy king by completely burying a cubit-long sword in his stomach?
A. Eglon
B. Ehud
C. Othniel
D. Shamgar

Answer: B. Ehud (Judges 3:12-30)
Eglon, king of Moab, oppressed Israel for 18 years before the Lord raised up a deliverer in the left-handed Ehud. He bound a two-edged, cubit-long sword on his right thigh as he carried Israel’s tribute to Eglon. After presenting the tribute, Ehud said to Eglon, “I have a message from God for you.” He drew the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into Eglon’s belly. Eglon was a very fat man, and Ehud buried the entire sword, handle and blade, in Eglon’s stomach, and the fat closed over the sword. Ehud left the room and locked the doors behind him. Ehud escaped while Eglon’s servants hesitated over entering the locked room. Ehud then rallied Israel to fight against Moab. Israel killed 10,000 Moabites and had peace for eighty years.

5. Who drove a tent stake through an enemy general’s head?
A. Jabin
B. Joel
C. Jael
D. Jehu

Answer: C. Jael (Judges 4:1-3; 12-21)
Jabin, king of Canaan, had oppressed Israel severely for 20 years. Barak led Israel’s army of 10,000 men against Jabin’s army, commanded by Sisera. The Lord routed Sisera and all his army with his 900 chariots with the edge of the sword before Barak. Sisera left his chariot and fled on foot. Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, invited the fleeing Sisera to rest in her tent. She gave him milk to drink and covered him with a rug. As Sisera slept, Jael took a tent stake and a hammer and drove the stake into his temple. It went all the way through his head into the ground, and he died.

Donkey Jawbone

6. Who used the jawbone of a donkey to single-handedly kill 1,000 Philistines?
A. Saul
B. Samson
C. Joab
D. David

Answer: B. Samson (Judges 15:9-16)
Some people find this account difficult to believe. But Shamgar, a previous judge of Israel who followed Ehud, had performed a similar feat. He killed 600 Philistines with an oxgoad (Judges 3:31).

Three thousand men of Judah had bound Samson with two new ropes to deliver him to the Philistines as demanded. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily and the ropes fell from his hands.

The jawbone Samson grabbed was either from a domestic donkey or possibly from the much larger onager, also known as the Asiatic Wild Ass. Onagers weigh 440-640 lbs and look like a large donkey.

Equine jawbones are extremely thick and strong with a natural handhold between the front teeth and the molars. With his God-given superhuman strength, Samson undoubtedly used the jawbone as a club to kill 1,000 Philistines.

7. Who killed a man caught by his head and hanging in an oak tree?
A. Abner
B. Joab
C. Amasa
D. Abishai

Answer: B. Joab (2 Samuel 18:1-17)
King David’s son Absalom led a rebel army against David. David gave clear orders to the three veteran commanders of his army, Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, to not harm his son Absalom. Absalom was known throughout Israel for his handsome appearance and hair. He cut his hair yearly, and its weight was 200 shekels or nearly five pounds (2 Samuel 14:25-26). In the battle, Absalom’s mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. Possibly his long hair caught in the tree branches or maybe his head was caught in a fork in the tree. Joab took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.

8. Which king of Israel persuaded an allied king of Judah to enter battle wearing his own kingly robes while the king of Israel disguised himself?
A. Jeroboam
B. Omri
C. Ahab
D. Jehoram

Answer: C. Ahab (1 Kings 22:29-40)
King Jehoshaphat of Judah and King Ahab of Israel were allied through marriage. Jehoshaphat’s son and successor Jehoram had married Ahab’s daughter Athaliah. Ahab sought Jehoshaphat’s military aid in a battle to retake Ramoth-Gilead from the king of Aram (Syria) about 850 BC. The prophet Micaiah had prophesied that Israel would lose the battle and that King Ahab would die in the battle. In an attempt to foil the prophecy, Ahab sent King Jehoshaphat into battle as a king arrayed in kingly robes, while Ahab disguised himself so that he would not be recognized as the king. Despite this stratagem, in the battle a man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel in a joint of the armor and he died. The sovereign will of Yahweh cannot be contravened. He orders even “random” events to accomplish His purposes.

Today’s Bible Battle is the
Creation vs. Evolution battle.
The battle is not over evidence
but over the interpretation of evidence.

9. Dogs consumed the blood of which king and queen upon their violent deaths?
A. Jehoram and Athaliah
B. Rehoboam and Maacah
C. Jeroboam and Ano
D. Ahab and Jezebel

Answer: D. Ahab and Jezebel
(1 Kings 22:37-40; 2 Kings 9:30-37)
The prophet Elijah had prophesied that dogs would lick up King Ahab’s blood and would eat his wife Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 21:17-24). After Ahab died in battle at Ramoth-Gilead, his blood was washed out of his chariot and dogs licked it up (1 Kings 22:37-40). Some years later, King Jehu of Israel ordered Jezebel’s attendants to throw her out of an upper window. She was trampled by horses and eaten by dogs (2 Kings 9:30-37).

10. The Syrians came by night and surrounded Elisha’s city of Dothan with horses and chariots and a great army.
Elisha’s servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?
Elisha replied, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.
When the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, what did he see?

A. An army of angels with flaming swords.
B. The mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
C. The army of Israel approaching from the other side of the mountain.
D. The Syrian army was gradually slipping away.

Answer: B. Horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:9-23)
Presumably there were angels on the horses and in the chariots. Elisha’s words, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” should be a continual encouragement to every Christian at all times. Although mostly unseen, angels are ministering spirits, sent out to render service for believers (Hebrews 1:14).

11. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, conquered the fortified cities of Judah about 701 BC in the 14th year of King Hezekiah’s reign. When Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem, what did King Hezekiah do?
A. He sent his army out of the city at night to attack the sleeping Assyrians.
B. He sent envoys to Egypt to request military assistance against Assyria.
C. Hezekiah paid off Sennacherib with silver and gold from the temple, and Sennacherib withdrew his army.
D. Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet prayed to the Lord for help. In one night, the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians encamped around Jerusalem, and Sennacherib returned to Nineveh.

Assyrian Siege Ramp
Built at Lachish 701 BC

Answer: D. (2 Kings 18:13-19:37)
To the southwest of Jerusalem, Lachish was the last of the fortified cities of Judah that Sennacherib conquered. The siege ramp the Assyrian army built to surmount the walls of Lachish is still extant in Israel’s Tel Lachish National Park. The siege ramp is a continual visual reminder of the historical nature of the Biblical report of Assyria’s conquest of Lachish.

While at Lachish, Sennacherib sent envoys to Hezekiah demanding Jerusalem’s surrender, and he sent an army to besiege it. Hezekiah tried to buy off Sennacherib with silver and gold from the temple, but Hezekiah’s payment did not appease him. Sennacherib continued to besiege Jerusalem until the angel of the Lord destroyed his 185,000-man army overnight. After Sennacherib’s return to Nineveh, two of his sons assassinated him and fled to Ararat. His son Esarhaddon reigned in his place.

12. Who cut off the right ear of the high priest’s servant Malchus with a sword while defending Jesus against arrest on the Mount of Olives?
A. Peter
B. James
C. John
D. Simon the Zealot

Answer: A. Peter (John 18:1-10; Luke 22:47-51; Mark 14:43-47)
Jesus immediately healed Malchus’ severed ear — right in front of the chief priests, Pharisees, scribes, elders, officers, and soldiers. Despite this impressive miracle of reconnecting Malchus’ ear, He was still arrested and crucified. This was Jesus’ last recorded miracle prior to His crucifixion.

Blessings to you and your family on Memorial Day!

Permission to Use

In the past, some readers have asked permission to use my quizzes with Sunday Schools, Bible study groups, or other applications. I give permission for such use provided the source website is included. For this quiz, please credit the quiz to the Bible-Science Guy Blog at 2021 Bible Battles Quiz, https://biblescienceguy.wordpress.com/2021/05/19/2021-bible-battles-quiz.

Click Bible-Science Guy Quizzes for a complete list of links to all my quizzes.

Questions to Ponder

1. How many quiz questions did you get right? Which question did you find hardest? Which was the most interesting?
2. What battle are you facing? Remember Elisha‘s assurance: “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16)

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the prequel:
2021 Bible Battles Quiz

Click Bible-Science Guy Quizzes for a complete list of links to all my quizzes.

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 26, 2021 A.D.

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 19, 2021

2021 Bible Battles Quiz

(3 Minute Read. 19May2021)

Arlington National Cemetery

Ever since sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden through Adam, fights, battles, and wars have been part of man’s history.

Memorial Day is a day in which we remember and honor people who have died while serving in the United States armed forces. It is a federal holiday on the last Monday of May. This year it is May 31, 2021.

In honor of Memorial Day, here are 12 quiz questions about wars, battles, and fights in the Bible. All the answers are in the Bible, but try the quiz first without looking in the Bible. The answers will appear in next Wednesday’s blog post 2021 Bible Battles Quiz Answers shortly preceding Memorial Day.

12 Quiz Questions for Memorial Day 2021

1. Who was involved in the first recorded fight in the Bible?
A. Adam and Eve
B. Cain and Abel
C. Lamech, a man, and a boy
D. Nimrod and Cush

2. Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and three allied kings attacked Sodom. They captured Abraham’s nephew Lot, plundering all his possessions. Abraham chased after the four kings with 318 men of his household. What strategy did Abraham use to defeat the four kings and rescue Lot?
A. He sent spies into the enemy camp to see where to attack.
B. His men were skilled archers who delivered death from a distance.
C. He divided his men and launched a surprise night attack from several directions.
D. He directed an early morning charge through the enemy camp on camels and horses.

3. Israel’s first battle upon entering Canaan was against the walled city of Jericho. How did Joshua and the Israelites defeat Jericho?
A. Rahab the harlot let two spies into the city by night through her house on the wall, and the spies opened the city gates to Joshua’s army.
B. Israel diverted the Jordan River that flowed under the city walls and entered the city via the river bed.
C. Joshua’s archers launched flaming arrows that set Jericho on fire.
D. Israel marched around and around Jericho for seven days. On the last circuit, they blew trumpets and shouted and the walls fell down.

4. What left-handed assassin took out an obese enemy king by completely burying a cubit-long sword in his stomach?
A. Eglon
B. Ehud
C. Othniel
D. Shamgar

Wars, battles, and fights
began with Adam’s sin.

5. Who drove a tent stake through an enemy general’s head?
A. Jabin
B. Joel
C. Jael
D. Jehu

6. Who used the jawbone of a donkey to single-handedly kill 1,000 Philistines?
A. Saul
B. Samson
C. Joab
D. David

7. Who killed a man caught by his head and hanging in an oak tree?
A. Abner
B. Joab
C. Amasa
D. Abishai

8. Which king of Israel persuaded an allied king of Judah to enter battle wearing his own kingly robes while the king of Israel disguised himself?
A. Jeroboam
B. Omri
C. Ahab
D. Jehoram

9. Dogs consumed the blood of which king and queen upon their violent deaths?
A. Jehoram and Athaliah
B. Rehoboam and Maacah
C. Jeroboam and Ano
D. Ahab and Jezebel

10. The Syrians came by night and surrounded Elisha’s city of Dothan with horses and chariots and a great army.
Elisha’s servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?
Elisha replied, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.
When the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, what did he see?

A. An army of angels with flaming swords.
B. The mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
C. The army of Israel approaching from the other side of the mountain.
D. The Syrian army was gradually slipping away.

11. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, conquered the fortified cities of Judah about 701 BC in the 14th year of King Hezekiah’s reign. When Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem, what did King Hezekiah do?
A. He sent his army out of the city at night to attack the sleeping Assyrians.
B. He sent envoys to Egypt to request military assistance against Assyria.
C. Hezekiah paid off Sennacherib with silver and gold from the temple, and Sennacherib withdrew his army.
D. Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet prayed to the Lord for help. In one night, the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians encamped around Jerusalem, and Sennacherib returned to Nineveh.

12. Who cut off the right ear of the high priest’s servant Malchus with a sword while defending Jesus against arrest on the Mount of Olives?
A. Peter
B. James
C. John
D. Simon the Zealot

Blessings to you and your family on Memorial Day!

Permission to Use

In the past, some readers have asked permission to use my quizzes with Sunday Schools, Bible study groups, or other applications. I give permission for such use provided the source website is included. For this quiz, please credit the quiz to the Bible-Science Guy Blog at 2021 Bible Battles Quiz, https://biblescienceguy.wordpress.com/2021/05/19/2021-bible-battles-quiz.

Click Bible-Science Guy Quizzes for a complete list of links to all my quizzes.

Questions to Ponder

1. Which of these Bible Battle events do you find most intriguing?
2. Which question did you find hardest? Which was the most interesting?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the sequel:
2021 Bible Battles Quiz Answers

Click Bible-Science Guy Quizzes for a complete list of links to all my quizzes.

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 19, 2021 A.D.

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 12, 2021

Darwin’s Sneaky Trick

(2 Minute Read. 12May2021)

In Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, Darwin took something that was obviously true and used it to persuade the world to believe something false. How did he pull off this switcheroo?

Natural selection is a true biological principle. Members of a kind that fit their environment survive better and reproduce in greater numbers than those that do not fit as well. This is an observable and logically clear truth. Over time, the less fit die off and their genetic information is lost. Thus natural selection inevitably results in a reduction of genetic information.

Macro-evolution is not observable. Macro-evolution is the speculative idea that all kinds of life have descended over time from common ancestors. It has never been observed, neither in the fossil record nor in life.

The Sneaky Trick

Darwin’s sneaky trick consisted of fusing natural selection with macro-evolution by presenting natural selection as the mechanism of macro-evolution. He even made this connection explicit in his book title, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

Macro-evolution, the development of new life kinds from old ones, requires the continual addition of new usable genetic information in order to develop a new kind. But natural selection is a conserving process. It doesn’t create any new genetic information. It only removes “unneeded” information by removing organisms that are poorly suited for an environment, and their genetic information is lost.

Macro-evolution and natural selection are actually processes going in opposite directions. Evolution requires completely new genetic information. Natural selection removes genetic information. It does not create any new genetic information needed by Darwinian evolution.

Darwin’s sneaky trick was the assertion that natural selection (a true principle) was the mechanism for macro-evolution (his speculative conjecture). Many people were fooled into accepting macro-evolution through its link with something true (natural selection). By asserting that a true principle (natural selection) was the cause of a speculative theory (macro-evolution), many were tricked into accepting macro-evolution.

Mind Your Head

It is essential to think for yourself and evaluate truth claims. It is especially important to evaluate the logical connections among claims and deductions.

Frequently invalid reasoning is glossed over in order to persuade. We are all responsible for our own thinking and beliefs.

Don’t let yourself be fooled, deceived, or led astray. Scripture has many warnings about this: Jeremiah 29:8; Matthew 24:4-5; Mark 13:5; Luke 21:8; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 John 4:1; Revelation 20:7-8.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Questions to Ponder

1. Did you learn about Darwin’s illogical connection between natural selection and macro-evolution in your high school or college biology classes? Why was this fallacy not made clear?
2. Did you learn about any problems with the theory of evolution in your high school or college biology classes? If not, why not?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 12, 2021 A.D.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:11)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 5, 2021

Crucifixion Miracle 7: Roman Centurion & Soldiers Converted

(5 Minute Read. 5May2021)

This 2021 Easter season I have been studying the Seven Crucifixion Miracles that occurred while Jesus hung on the cross.

Here are the Seven Crucifixion Miracles reported in the Gospels:
1. Thief on the cross saved.
2. Darkness covered the land for three hours from noon to three.
3. Jesus voluntarily gave up His spirit of His own accord.
4. Temple veil torn in two from top to bottom.
5. Earthquake and rocks split.
6. Tombs opened and dead raised to life.
7. Roman Centurion and his soldiers converted.
(Matthew 27:38-54; Luke 23:39-47; Mark 15:33-39; John 19:28-30)

Roman Centurion stands before the crucified Jesus
Crucifixion scene from the movie Risen, compliments of Columbia Pictures.

The preceding articles,
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved,
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three,
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit,
Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two,
Crucifixion Miracle 5: Earthquake & Rocks Split, and
Crucifixion Miracle 6: Tombs Opened & Saints Raised
covered the first six Crucifixion Miracles. This article covers the seventh and final Crucifixion Miracle.

Crucifixion Miracle 7: Roman Centurion and Soldiers Converted

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report the response of the Roman centurion and his soldiers to the Crucifixion of Jesus.
Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)
When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39)
Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” (Luke 23:47)

Imagine standing at the cross and watching the battle-hardened Roman centurion with his soldiers become very frightened when Jesus died, as Matthew reports. Would you wonder what in the world was going on and start to panic yourself, wondering what so frightened the soldiers? Would their fear strike consternation in you?

The soldiers’ fear was not just a temporary startle like from someone in the dark saying, “Boo!” It was even much more than “scared silly.” It was a much deeper fear. The Greek words that Matthew used are phobeō sphodra.

According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, the Greek words Matthew used mean this:
phobeō – be (sore) afraid, fear (exceedingly) (G5399)
sphodra – vehemently, that is, in a high degree, exceedingly (G4970)

Thus Matthew says the soldiers were exceedingly afraid at Jesus’ death. They were full of fear much beyond ordinary fears men experience.

The Roman soldiers were not cowards. They were not facing battle. They were not in a cyclone at sea. Why were the soldiers so scared?

These terrified soldiers were led by a centurion, a commander over 100 soldiers. He himself was also petrified.

This terror in a seasoned, stalwart Roman centurion and in his valiant soldiers is one of the most amazing and surprising events of the Crucifixion. What caused it?

Matthew says when the centurion and soldiers “saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, they became very frightened.” What engendered deep fear in the soldiers were the events and miracles surrounding the crucifixion (that have been studied in this series of articles). They recognized that something tremendously unusual and deeply alarming was going on. And they were right.

But then Matthew and Luke report something even more astounding than the soldiers’ fear! The centurion began praising God and with his soldiers was making this profession of faith: “Certainly this man was innocent. Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Would the soldiers’ deep fear and subsequent confession of faith astonish you?

Would you wonder what changed the soldiers from fear to faith?

From a human point of view, the cause of the change was everything the soldiers witnessed throughout the Crucifixion. They saw one crucified thief change from abusive to repentant; they saw Jesus extend grace to him, saying, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” They endured through three long hours of complete darkness immediately prior to Jesus’ death.

The soldiers heard Jesus say as they crucified Him, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:33-34) In excruciating agony, in the process of being crucified, Jesus forgave the soldiers doing it! The soldiers had certainly never heard anyone respond to crucifixion in that way before.

They heard onlookers verbally abuse Him and jeeringly refer to Jesus as Son of God, Christ of God (Messiah), His Chosen One, and the King of Israel. They saw Jesus take all the abuse without responding in kind.

They saw Jesus give up His spirit of His own accord. They felt the massive earthquake and saw huge boulders split in two as tombs were opened. All this was far beyond the events surrounding any other crucifixion they had ever overseen. It was utterly different and distinctive; it was mind-blowing and life-altering.

But the fundamental reason for the change in the soldiers is that the Holy Spirit used all that they saw and experienced to work in their hearts to effect the change to faith. It was the divine grace of God that opened the soldiers’ eyes to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God.

Was It A Miracle?

Why do I consider the salvation of the Roman centurion and his soldiers a miracle?

It is because conversion requires a work of the Spirit of God within the heart of a man. It is a supernatural work, not a natural occurrence. It is a work of God, not a work of man.

Men are dead in sin, and only the Holy Spirit can regenerate them and bring them to life.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). (Ephesians 2:1-5)

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

What could almost instantly change a battle-hardened soldier into a believer in Jesus? It had to be a work of God in the man’s heart. It was a miracle. The Roman centurion’s terror followed by his profession of faith was one more divine sign to the mocking bystanders.

I wonder, was anyone else affected by the miraculous change from fear to faith in the Roman centurion and his soldiers?
How many people were influenced back then?
How many people are impacted today?
Will you be touched by it?

Summary and Conclusion

Thus we have these preeminent events and miracles surrounding the Crucifixion:
– Jesus forgave the soldiers as they crucified Him, saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” What a remarkable act of grace and mercy!
– The salvation of the profane and then penitent thief as Jesus extended grace to him from the cross saying, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
– Total Darkness covered the land for three hours from noon to three immediately preceding Jesus’ death.
– Jesus voluntarily gave up His spirit of His own accord right after twice crying out with a loud voice.
– The 4-inch-thick temple veil was miraculously torn in two from top to bottom at the moment of Jesus’ death.
– At the instant Jesus died a massive earthquake shook the land and rocks cracked open.
– When Jesus died, tombs were opened, and many bodies of dead saints were raised and appeared to many in Jerusalem after His resurrection.
– The battle-hardened Roman centurion and his soldiers experienced deep terror at Jesus’ death. But shortly they expressed faith, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent. Truly this man was the Son of God!” What caused the terror? What caused the change from fear to faith?
– The soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves, but they did not break Jesus’ legs because He was already dead. This fulfilled a Scriptural prophecy that none of His bones would be broken (Psalm 34:20). One soldier pierced His side with a spear to confirm He was dead, thereby also fulfilling Scripture (Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 12:10). (John 19:31-37)

These special events and miracles were followed by the Resurrection of Jesus. Based on the death and resurrection of Jesus, divine grace has been granted through faith to millions for over 2,000 years.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 28-10)

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)

The significance and meaning of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus is both profound and simple for each person. The Apostle Paul expresses it simply and clearly:
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)

Action is required! May all readers of the Bible-Science Guy blog follow Paul’s prescription!

Questions to Ponder

1. To whom should you confess today that Jesus is your Lord and that you have believed in your heart that He was raised from the dead? (Romans 10:9-10)
2. Which of the events and miracles surrounding the Crucifixion impress you the most? Why?
3. Which of the Crucifixion Miracles can you share with someone today for their encouragement, edification, and faith-building?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

This completes the series of eight articles on the Seven Crucifixion Miracles. Read the prequels:
Crucifixion Miracles
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit
Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two
Crucifixion Miracle 5: Earthquake & Rocks Split
Crucifixion Miracle 6: Tombs Opened & Saints Raised

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 5, 2021 A.D.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. (Romans 6:3-5 ESV)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 30, 2021

Crucifixion Miracle 6: Tombs Opened & Saints Raised

(3 Minute Read. 30Apr2021)

Christ at the Cross
by Bronzino ~1545

This Easter season I have been studying the Seven Crucifixion Miracles that occurred while Jesus hung on the cross.

Here are the Seven Crucifixion Miracles reported in the Gospels:
1. Thief on the cross saved.
2. Darkness covered the land for three hours from noon to three.
3. Jesus voluntarily gave up His spirit of His own accord.
4. Temple veil torn in two from top to bottom.
5. Earthquake and rocks split.
6. Tombs opened and dead raised to life.
7. Roman Centurion and his soldiers converted.
(Matthew 27:38-54; Luke 23:39-47;
Mark 15:33-39; John 19:28-30
)

The preceding articles,
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved,
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three,
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit,
Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two, and
Crucifixion Miracle 5: Earthquake & Rocks Split
covered the first five Crucifixion Miracles. This blog article covers the sixth Crucifixion Miracle from the above list.

Crucifixion Miracle 6: Tombs Opened and Saints Raised to Life

Suppose you were in the local mall and saw people whose funeral you had attended walking around. What would you think? Wouldn’t it stun you? Wouldn’t it make you wonder what was going on?

This is what happened in Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago. At the death of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross, tombs were opened and raised saints were seen walking in Jerusalem following His resurrection.
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:52-53)

This alone certainly distinguishes Christ’s death from any other death in history. Can you imagine the stir it would have created in Jerusalem and throughout Israel?

No doubt the earthquake and splitting of rocks at Jesus’ death were the agency through which tombs were physically opened. But only the miraculous power of the Great Creator could re-animate the deceased individuals.

Matthew was not alone in recording this historically unique accompaniment to Jesus’ death. Extra-Biblical sources also report the resurrection of dead people at His passing. Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Clement of Alexandria all mention it in their writings.

One especially interesting reference is the letter Pontius Pilate wrote to the Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar. Justin Martyr (~100–~165 AD) quotes from Pilate’s letter:
“And when he had been crucified, there was darkness over the whole earth, the sun having been completely hidden, and the heaven appearing dark though it was day, so that the stars appeared, but had at the same time their brightness darkened, as I suppose your reverence is not ignorant of, because in all the world they lighted lamps from the sixth hour until evening. And the moon, being like blood, did not shine the whole night, and yet she happened to be at the full. . . And there were seen in that terror dead men raised up, as the Jews that saw them said.”
(Report of Pilate, p. 229-230)

Pilate’s mention of “terror” at seeing dead raised is a mark of truth, for such would certainly have terrified people throughout Jerusalem.

The resurrection of dead saints to life in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago was another clear message that Jesus conquered sin and death through His sacrificial death for sin and His resurrection.
Who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 1:4)

Questions to Ponder

1. If you were alive at the Crucifixion, would seeing dead people raised have focused your attention on what Jesus’ death signified?
2. Have you claimed the atonement for your sin that Jesus offers?
   (John 3:16-18)

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the prequels:
Crucifixion Miracles
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit
Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two
Crucifixion Miracle 5: Earthquake & Rocks Split

Read the sequel:
Crucifixion Miracle 7: Roman Soldiers Converted

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Friday April 30, 2021 A.D.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. (Romans 6:3-5 ESV)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 21, 2021

Crucifixion Miracle 5: Earthquake & Rocks Split

(3 Minute Read. 21Apr2021)

Crucifixion of Christ
by Michelangelo (~1540)

This Easter season I have been studying the Seven Crucifixion Miracles that occurred while Jesus hung on the cross.

Here are the Seven Crucifixion Miracles reported in the Gospels:
1. Thief on the cross saved.
2. Darkness covered the land for three hours from noon to three.
3. Jesus voluntarily gave up His spirit of His own accord.
4. Temple veil torn in two from top to bottom.
5. Earthquake and rocks split.
6. Tombs opened and dead raised to life.
7. Roman Centurion and his soldiers converted.
(Matthew 27:38-54; Luke 23:39-47;
Mark 15:33-39; John 19:28-30
)

The preceding articles,
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved,
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three,
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit, and
Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two
covered the first four Crucifixion Miracles. This blog article covers the fifth Crucifixion Miracle from the above list.

Crucifixion Miracle 5: Earthquake and Rocks Split

The Apostle Matthew reports that at the moment Jesus died, a massive earthquake shook the land and rocks cracked open.

Imagine the cacophonous sounds of rocks and boulders fracturing and splitting apart as the ground quaked and buildings collapsed — certainly not a typical occurrence at a death. Imagine feeling the earth shake so that you could hardly stand and seeing rocks burst apart all around you. What would you think?

Creation was audibly crying out over the death of its Creator, the Son of God.

Jesus had hinted at this kind of noise several days earlier as He had ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey. Pharisees had urged Him to rebuke His followers for praising God so loudly. But Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”” (Luke 19:37-40)

The stones certainly cried out at the death of Jesus.

Even though Matthew was the only Gospel writer who reported the earthquake, several secular historians also did so.

The oldest known account outside the Bible of the Crucifixion Earthquake was recorded by the Greek historian Thallus around 50 AD. His three-volume history of the Mediterranean world included information about the Crucifixion.

Thallus’ volumes no longer exist, but we have quotations from them by other early historians. Julius Africanus (~160–~240), who co-founded Rome’s public library, wrote a five-volume History of the World in about A.D. 221 in which he referenced Thallus’ History about the Crucifixion:
“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down.”
(From Extant Works (Julius Africanus), Fragment 18)

Phlegon of Tralles was a second-century Greek historian whose main work was the 16-volume Olympiads covering 776 BC to AD 137. Although these volumes are no longer extant, quotations from them by other historians still exist. At least seven ancient historians including Origen of Alexandria (182-254 AD), John Philoponus, Eusebius (~260–~339), and Julius Africanus (~160–~240) all quoted Phlegon’s account of events around the Crucifixion, and attested to its truth.

Phlegon wrote in his Olympiads, “In the fourth year of Olympiad 202, an eclipse of the sun happened, greater and more excellent than any that had happened before it; at the sixth hour, day turned into dark night, so that the stars were seen in the sky, and an earthquake in Bithynia toppled many buildings of the city of Nicaea.”
(From Phlegon of Tralles on the Passion)

Recently geological research has uncovered physical evidence of a widespread 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Israel around the time of the Crucifixion. The earthquake was dated to between 26 and 36 AD by counting annual sediment layers in a core sediment from En Gedi (located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves) following a known quake of 31 BC. This could have been the Crucifixion Earthquake.
(Williams, Schwab, and Brauer. An early first-century earthquake in the Dead Sea. International Geology Review. July 2012. 54 (10): 1219–1228.)

Even the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information documents the Crucifixion Quake here.

Usually earthquakes are not miraculous. What makes this one a miracle is the timing, as it occurred right at the moment of Christ’s death.

I will discuss the remaining two Crucifixion Miracles in the ensuing blog articles. Watch for them.

Questions to Ponder

1. How would you feel in the midst of earthquakes, splitting rocks, and earth fissures?
2. Has an earthquake ever caused you to cry out to the Great Creator?
3. Have you claimed the atonement for your sin that Jesus offers?
   (John 3:16-18)

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the prequels:
Crucifixion Miracles
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit
Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two

Read the sequel:
Crucifixion Miracle 6: Tombs Opened & Saints Raised

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday April 21, 2021 A.D.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. (Romans 6:3-5 ESV)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 14, 2021

Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two

(4 Minute Read. 14Apr2021)

Christ on the Cross
1870 painting by Carl Heinrich Bloch

This Easter season I have been studying the Seven Crucifixion Miracles that occurred while Jesus hung on the cross.

Here are the Seven Crucifixion Miracles reported in the Gospels:
1. Thief on the cross saved.
2. Darkness covered the land for three hours from noon to three.
3. Jesus voluntarily gave up His spirit of His own accord.
4. Temple veil torn in two from top to bottom.
5. Earthquake and rocks split.
6. Tombs opened and dead raised to life.
7. Roman Centurion and his soldiers converted.
(Matthew 27:38-54; Luke 23:39-47;
Mark 15:33-39; John 19:28-30
)

The preceding articles,
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved,
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three, and
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit
covered the first three Crucifixion Miracles. This blog article covers the fourth Crucifixion Miracle from the above list.

Crucifixion Miracle 4: Temple Veil Torn in Two from Top to Bottom

What was the temple veil? Why did it matter whether it was torn or not?

The veil of the temple was a thick curtain covering the entrance to the Holy of Holies in the temple. The Holy of Holies was the inner sanctum of the Wilderness Tabernacle, of Solomon’s Temple (957 BC – 586 BC), and of the Second Temple (516 BC – 70 AD) of Jesus’ day. This was the place where the earthly presence of God dwelt among His people.

The Lord gave Moses these instructions about the veil for the Tabernacle:
“And you shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. It shall be made with cherubim skillfully worked into it. . . And you shall hang the veil from the clasps, and bring the ark of the testimony in there within the veil. And the veil shall separate for you the Holy Place from the Most Holy. You shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the Most Holy Place.” (Exodus 26:31,33-34 ESV)

The purpose of the veil was to emphasize the distinction between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. The massive, ornate curtain was an awe-inspiring visual of that profound separation. Prior to Christ, sinful man could only approach God through the High Priest.

Entrance to the earthly presence of God in the Holy of Holies was blocked by the veil, and entrance was limited to the High Priest. He could enter only once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) to atone for Israel’s sins through offering blood sacrifices.

The veils for the Wilderness Tabernacle and for Solomon’s Temple were made of blue and purple and crimson fabrics and fine linen with cherubim on them.
(Exodus 26:31; 2 Chronicles 3:14).

Flavius Josephus (37-~100 AD) was a Jewish and Roman historian of the first century AD. He described the curtain for the Second Temple of Jesus’ day as similar to the veils of the Wilderness Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple. He wrote this:
“It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a contexture that was truly wonderful.”
(Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chap. 5, Par. 4)

How thick was the temple’s curtain veil?
How difficult would it have been to tear it in two?

Are you picturing a substantial tapestry like the curtain drawn across a stage at the end of a play? Even that would be difficult for a person to tear in two by hand. But you will be astonished to learn the scale of the temple veil in front of the Holy of Holies.

Veil measurements are reported in the Jewish Mishnah, a written record of Jewish oral tradition from the first and second centuries AD. The Mishnah says the curtain was 40 cubits (60 feet) tall, 20 cubits (30 feet) wide, and a handbreadth (4 inches) thick.

The veil was one handbreadth thick and was woven on a loom having seventy-two rods, and over each rod were twenty-four threads. Its length was forty cubits and its breadth twenty cubits; it was made by eighty-two young girls, and they used to make two in every year; and three hundred priests immersed it.
(Herbert Danby translator, The Mishnah, p 161, par 5)

In the 1883 classic The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Jewish scholar Alfred Edersheim (1825–1889) gives the same dimensions for the veil and cites “an account dating from Temple-times” for his source.
(Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol 2, p 609)

Both the Mishnah and Edersheim say the curtain was so heavy that 300 priests were needed to manipulate it and wash it. This makes sense for a curtain as colossal and as thick as reported.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report the tearing in two of the curtain. Matthew and Mark add that it was torn from top to bottom. This is an important detail because it rules out human tearing. A person would have torn it starting at the bottom and ripping to the top. No human would have started tearing at the top, 60 feet up in the air. The direction of the tear is physically significant, indicating a divine act.

Imagine standing at the torn curtain and fingering the rich fabric. Imagine feeling the four-inch thickness and wondering what force or power could have torn it in two.

Imagine yourself being a temple priest and discovering the immense temple curtain that is supposed to block off the Holy of Holies ripped in two. Possibly you heard the horrific sound of its tearing and rushed to see what happened. Imagine inspecting the tear and realizing from the lay of the torn threads that it could only have been torn from top to bottom. What would you think? How would you explain the ripped-apart curtain? Visually such a tear could never be explained away as the sword slash of a vandal.

The gospels do not record how the priests and Jewish leaders explained the torn veil. But there is a hint in Acts that the torn veil may have had a substantial impact on the priests.
And the word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)
It’s only speculation, but the torn veil may have influenced this large influx of priests into the early church.

The huge size and thickness of the veil shows the impossibility of any human being tearing it into two pieces. It must have been a divine act, a miracle. Possibly the Great Creator sent an angel to rip the veil in two at the moment of Jesus’ death. Or possibly the tearing of the veil was caused by the earthquake Yahweh sent at Jesus’ death. The earthquake may have caused the enormous lintel to which the temple veil was attached to break and fall, ripping apart the curtain, as foundations shifted.

What is the significance of the torn veil? The torn-apart veil indicated that upon Christ’s death, humans could now directly access Almighty God, the Great Creator, without having to go through a priest. Previous to the death of Christ, the veil blocked off the Holy of Holies. Once a year the High Priest entered behind the veil to offer sacrifices to God for the sins of the people. But now people could enter the presence of God through the redemptive work of Christ.
Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

I will discuss the remaining three Crucifixion Miracles in the ensuing blog articles. Watch for them.

Questions to Ponder

1. If you had been there to see the astonishing miracle of the torn veil in person, would it have impressed you to accept the crucified Jesus as the Messiah?
2. Have you claimed the atonement for your sin that Jesus offers?
   (John 3:16-18)

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the prequels:
Crucifixion Miracles
Crucifixion Miracle 1: Thief Saved
Crucifixion Miracle 2: Darkness Noon to Three
Crucifixion Miracle 3: Jesus Gave Up His Spirit

Read the sequel:
Crucifixion Miracle 5: Earthquake & Rocks Split

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday April 14, 2021 A.D.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. (Romans 6:3-5 ESV)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: