Question: When a reader perceives that two verses appear to contradict, is this a good time to seek out a different version or to resort to Greek and Hebrew?
By no means should any reader abandon the text of the King James Bible.
If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken, John 10:35.
It is not my intention here to discuss why Jesus Christ quoted Psalm 82:6. Instead, I want to look at the principal that he expressed when he quoted that verse. The scripture cannot be broken. If any two passages of scripture truly contradicted each other then the scripture would be broken. A recent comment made concerning a statement that I made in the blog post titled Regeneration will give us an opportunity to examine how to proceed when two verses or two sets of verse appear to be contradicting each other.
There are times when I throw in certain statements just to stir the pot. A particularly noble reader has picked up on one of those statements and sent me the following comment:
I just read your post on Regeneration and it is very good. But as I read what you wrote..."On that new earth (the old earth remade)" I immediately was reminded of Revelation 21:1 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." "...first earth...""...passed away..." "not remade." I have taught II Peter 3:10 and Revelation 20:11 to be the destruction of the "...first earth...;" and because the sea and Hell then at that moment has literally and verbally lost there real-estate; that that is when John also at that moment saw those lost, once dead, resurrected bodies and souls "...delivered up..."(Revelation 20:11-13) from the sea and Hell because those two places which once held them were no longer there: Revelation 20:11 records, "...from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." Just a thought.
Here we have a case of two conflicting sets of scripture. Our correspondent has adequately given many verses from the Book of Revelation and from Peter as to why he sees my statement as wrong when I said that the new earth as in reality the old earth remade. I almost cringed when I wrote that, not because I didn't believe it but because I do have a few readers who when provoked to discussion, become belligerent. Fortunately, for the purposes of discussion, the first person to take umbrage with my statement is a man of character and gentle persuasion (unless you attack the church or the word of God).
I find a number of statements in scripture which appear to contradict the verses that our commenter has used, yet both my commenter and I both know that it is impossible for verses in the word of God to contradict. Real bible believers thrive on these type of supposed contradictions. It is from these that we learn. Whenever a true bible believer confronts any two verses or set of verses that appear to be at odds one with another, we know that we are looking at them wrong. The scripture cannot be broken. It is impossible for two verses or two sets of verses to truly contradict when examined with the following three criteria.
(1.) As long as verse is read in its proper context,
(2.) and as long as the reader keeps in mind to whom it is being written,
(3.) and as long as the reader keeps in mind the time period for which a particular verse is intended, no verse in a King James Bible when read exactly as it is written will ever contradict another verse in the King James Bible.
There is simply no other English Bible that can meet that criterion. That statement is probably one of the greatest proofs of the virtue and infallibility of the King James Bible.
A true bible believer is not someone who is convinced because of historical evidence. A true bible believer is someone who has tested and tried the doctrines contained within the bible and found them to be accurate throughout the depth of the entire book. A true bible believer has discovered that the book he holds is beyond the wit of man to compose. A true bible believer has been challenged over and over by verses and doctrines throughout the breadth of scripture and has found a consistency that only God could give.
Here is a set of verses that appear on the surface to contradict II Peter 3:10, and Revelation 21:1.
One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever, Ecclesiastes 1:4. I'm going to support my statement that the new earth is really the old earth remade by quoting Solomon. Solomon is held in much disrepute by the time he wrote Ecclesiastes but regardless of his errors in life he wrote scripture.
And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee, Genesis 13:14-17. Did Moses really mean to say that God would give Abraham a land exactly like it forever, or did he say that he would give them that land forever?
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever, Exodus 32:13.
The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me, Leviticus 25:23.
Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever, Deuteronomy 4:40.
Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever, Joshua 4:7. (That pile of stones is somewhere on this earth right now.)
And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God, Joshua 14:9.
So now we have a perceived contradiction of verses. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up, II Peter 3:10. Peter tells us that the earth will be burned up. How do we reconcile that with God promising Abraham that the land whereon he stood would be his seed's forever? Does God keep that promise by making an identical land on a different planet?
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea, Revelation 21:1. How do we reconcile such a verse with Solomon's statement that, the earth abideth for ever? Can we rest with the understanding that God will make another planet and call it earth? Can the promises made to Israel that the land was theirs for ever be considered fulfilled if the land is burned up and an identical land is made elsewhere?
Before we wade into that, think about the smart-aleck questions asked during Sunday school. When children are taught about the resurrection of the dead, sooner or latter, some kid will ask something akin to "What if a man gets eaten by a shark and the shark poops him all over the sea, how will God resurrect him then? The answer is always that God will resurrect him easily. God will keep track of every molecule of that man's body and will resurrect it in the last day.
When the Church of England under the rule of the Roman Catholic Church ordered the body of John Wycliffe to be disinterred 30 years after his death and to be burned and his ashes to be scattered on the Avon River, did it have the desired effect that his body could not be resurrected? Of course not, John Wycliffe will stand in honor with the elect of God in the very body that was burned. God has kept track of every single molecule of that tabernacle wherein the soul and spirit of John Wycliffe abode. He could tell you where every molecule is now, where they will be in 100 years and where they will be when he recomposes them to fulfill his promise of a resurrection.
If God intends to keep track of every single molecule of the earth when he burns it with fire, why is the earth of Revelation 21:1 called a new earth? To understand that, we need to look at an issue closer to home.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new, II Corinthians 5:21. I am new creature. I hope that if you are reading this that you are also. Are you completely different; new toes, a new set of ears and brand new memories, or are you merely changed? You are changed and yet God calls you new. You will be changed again and yet God says it is still you. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, I Corinthians 15:1.
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him, Colossians 3:10. When a saved person has put on the new man, is there any part of him that is retained? Yes there is, the new man is the old man remade in righteousness with the old man and the new man still living in the same body. Eventually, that old body will be swallowed up by a new body awaiting him in heaven. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life, II Corinthians 5:4.
Why does God call the refreshing of the moon in its lunar cycles a "new moon"? Is it truly new in the sense that it is not the old one? No, God can call something new when it has merely been refreshed. No place could be found in eternity for the earth whereon we live in its current condition. It is stained with the blood of countless victims. Not until the last murderer has either payed with his own blood and been burned in hell or redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ will God be ready to remake this earth. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it, Numbers 35:33.
Until then, we are told that; For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, Romans 8:22. It need not groan much longer. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus, Revelation 22:20.