The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. It's Matt Slick live. Matt is the founder and president of the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry, found online at KARM.org. When you have questions about Bible doctrines, turn to Matt Slick live for answers.
Taking your calls and responding to your questions at 877-207-2276. Here's Matt Slick. Hello and welcome to the show. This is not Matt Slick. I am Luke Wayne filling in for Matt.
He had to take a personal day today, do some family things, but I am excited to be on here with you today. Give us a call at 877-207-2276. We are excited to take your questions about difficult Bible passages, challenges to the Christian faith, comparative religions, cults, false religions, atheism, archaeology, church history. If you have a question about Christianity and apologetics, give us a call.
Again, the number is 877-207-2276. For those of you who are new to the show, this is a radio outreach of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. You can find us online at KARM.org. That's K-A-R-M dot O-R-G, where we also have an online library of free articles on a wide variety of topics. Again, from alleged Bible contradictions, issues of Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, atheism, abortion, homosexuality, biblical archaeology, evolution and creation.
All of these subjects that you might be challenged with by friends and neighbors, or wrestling with yourself as you think through them, we have answers to many of your questions online, ready to go, or you can call me up on air right now, 877-207-2276, and we will talk about your questions here on the air. What keeps us on the air, and what keeps us researching and writing to equip you and to equip Christians around the world and engage with the lost, especially those ensnared in the cults, is your regular support. And so if you have been blessed by this ministry, we would love, we would be honored to have you trust us with a one-time or what would be even more helpful, a recurring monthly gift every little bit helps, even just $5 a month makes a huge difference in our budget and planning. And as of today, December 1st, we are beginning an end-of-the-year matching funds campaign.
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If you want to help us stay on the air and continue to expand and reach more, that would be a huge blessing to this ministry. Well, with no further delay, let's go ahead and jump to the calls. Let's get first to Rudolph from North Carolina. Rudolph, you are on the air.
Yes, sir. Um, my question is... Rudolph. Okay, I apologize, everyone. We have been having a lot of trouble with the phone lines this last week or so, and maybe having a technical difficulty. If you guys on air could hear Rudolph, I apologize. I could not hear him here in studio.
Was not able to hear that. I've got him on hold. I'm going to try to come back to him in just a minute if we can get this fixed. But let's go ahead and try to jump on with Joseph and North Carolina. I might be reading that wrong, but Joseph or... Joseph, you are on the air. Hello? Hello. Joseph, can you hear me?
I have dead air on my side. Okay. Well, we seem to be having our phone line difficulties again today. I do apologize to both Rudolph and Joseph.
It does not appear right now. We will be able to take your calls, and I do apologize for that. But knowing that we've been having this trouble, I am prepared for that. So I still want to take you guys' questions live on the air, and I have been collecting questions from our newsletter followers and supporters who have written in as we launch into December and launch into this month, where many Christians around the world, and even many non-Christians, will be celebrating the holiday of Christmas, thinking about the birth of Jesus.
The biblical passages surrounding that, even the secular traditions who have been swirled up in there. And so, turn into the emails. These are emails from our newsletter supporters. If you want to be able to get in on this, go to CARM.org, and sign up to follow our newsletter, and you can write right back to us there, and I will log your questions and try to respond to them, either directly or on a future episode.
But go into those questions now. First question, oh, this is a common one, super common one that we get this time of year, is, does Jeremiah 10 forbid Christmas trees? All right, so let's take a look at where this argument comes from. Obviously, the book of Jeremiah was written hundreds of years before anyone ever thought of a holiday called Christmas. Jesus would not be born for centuries.
Christians wouldn't actually start celebrating the birth of Jesus as a holiday until another couple centuries after that. So Jeremiah would not have had Christmas in mind. But did he write a prophecy or principle in chapter 10 that forbids Christmas trees?
Let's take a look. Jeremiah 10, 2-4, this is where people get this idea, says, Now from our modern cultural standpoint, we read that, and that sounds a lot like putting up and decorating a Christmas tree. And many people have argued that this passage means that it is sinful for Christians to use Christmas trees.
But isn't that really the case? Let's keep reading. The very next verse describing what they're putting up says, What's the they here? It's the idols that are being carved and overlaid with these metals.
That's what's being described. The cutting down of the tree is to get the wood to craft the idol. This is talking about building idols, not decorating your house with festive trees for a holiday. Just a few verses later, it says, But the Lord is the true God. He is the living God, the everlasting King. At His wrath, the earthquakes, the nations cannot endure His indignation. Jeremiah 10, 8-10. And so that's what's being described in Jeremiah 10. People who carve false gods and idols pray to and worship them.
This is what's being forbidden. The idea of decorating your house with a tree as a festive thing while you are worshipping the one true God is simply not in view. Isaiah didn't have that in mind. Now if people were bowing down and praying to their Christmas trees, putting up the ornaments and the garland and then burning incense to and offering sacrifices to the tree, that would be sinful, and Jeremiah would forbid that as foolishness. But in this case, that just isn't what Jeremiah is talking about. So no, Jeremiah 10, whatever else you think about Christmas celebrations, Jeremiah 10 does not forbid Christmas trees. Let's look at our next email question here. More generically, is it wrong for Christians to celebrate Christmas?
And we want to think about this physically. We don't want to just let our traditions sweep us and carry us. And in other points in history, the Puritans, the Pilgrims who we think about every Thanksgiving, which we just got done celebrating, actually thought, ironically, we celebrate this holiday every year, we think about the Pilgrims, they thought it was wrong for Christians to set up any annual holiday. They would have rejected us honoring them on an annual holiday called Thanksgiving.
I think they're incorrect on that. But it's important to realize, Christians have in various times in history questioned whether we have the right to invent holidays, even if they're holidays and Thanksgiving to God. But I think, biblically, we have reason to say that we are at liberty to celebrate the wonderful kindness of God in various ways, and appointing days each year to do that.
The first example I'd go to is in the book of Esther. In the book of Esther, the Jews established at the end a holiday celebrating God delivering them from Haman's plan, and the machinations of some of the Persians who were going to put them to death. And God delivered them and rescued them in his providence, turned the evil plans back on the heads of their Persian enemies, and they celebrate that to this day in the Feast of Pirim. And the Bible records that being established as an annual feast to be celebrated.
Is that wrong? Well, the Bible seems to make it correct, and yet nowhere in Esther does it say that God revealed and commanded this celebration. It was Mordecai's idea. And the Jews together agreed and celebrate this holiday. And so this is an example in Scripture of a valid holiday being celebrated by God's worshippers, but appointed by a human idea. Hey, God did this wonderful thing.
We should celebrate it every year. All right, sorry, I had a little connection issue there. But this is, oh, we're going to a break right now.
I'm going to give you another biblical example and finish this question out, and keep going with your email questions when we come back after this. Welcome back to the show. This is Luke Wayne filling in for Matt today, who is out on a personal day with his family, and happy to be here with you guys. The phone lines are not working today, so we'll not be able to take your calls live, but I am answering email questions from our newsletter supporters. If you'd like to be able to write in and have your questions answered on a future episode or directly by email from us here at CARM, just go over to CARM.org.
Sign up for our newsletter there, and your replies, we do see those, answer those, and we would love to hear from you there. And those are the questions that I will be answering for the rest of the hour today, specifically those who have been written in as we come into December, related to the subject of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, and those kind of topics. Now, while you're over at CARM.org, also go over to CARM.org slash donate, C-A-R-M dot O-R-G slash donate, and if you've been blessed by this ministry, if you would be willing to support us there as we prepare our budget for next year. This month, beginning today, a generous donor has agreed to match 100% of all new gifts this month. Again, that's from now till the end of the month, any new one-time gift that you give this month, or if you start a new monthly donation, your first month will be matched 100%. Or, if you're already a supporter and you give a little extra or increase your donation, that extra will be matched in by our matching donor, from now until the end of the 31st. So we're very grateful for that, and would love to take full advantage of that generosity, and so any of you guys who have been blessed by the ministry, please consider going to CARM.org slash donate, C-A-R-M dot O-R-G slash donate. And we would greatly appreciate your kindness there.
That said, let's get back to our email questions from our newsletter followers. The question that we were on when we went to the break was, is it wrong for Christians to celebrate Christmas? And we were looking at the fact that the Bible actually does establish precedent for believers to be able to set days, annual days of celebration of great things that God has done, and to, generation after generation, honor those. The first example we looked at was at the end of Esther, where Mordecai and the Jews—and Esther mentions no revelation or command from God to do this—it was their idea that because God delivered them, every year they should celebrate that. And so that's an example of faithful followers of God, righteously deciding, God did something great, and we want to celebrate it every year.
And that seems to have been not only permissible, but good. Likewise, in the New Testament, we see an example of Jesus himself seeming to celebrate a holiday that was not established in Scripture. During the time between the Old and the New Testaments, the Jews established the Feast of Hanukkah, or the Feast of Dedication, the rededication of the Temple, after they had thrown off the oppressive, Seleucid Greek rule, where the Temple had been defiled by sacrifices of pigs and sacrifices to false gods like Zeus.
And when the Maccabees led the Jewish army to win back Jerusalem and win back the Temple, and they cleansed the Temple and rededicated it to God, they established the Feast of Dedication, the Feast of Hanukkah, as a way of commemorating God, granting them that victory, and delivering the people from their Greek oppressors. And in John 10 and 1022, it mentions the Feast of Dedication taking place in Jerusalem, and Jesus traveling down to Jerusalem for that Feast. And some people say, oh, he wasn't going to celebrate the holiday, he just knew a crowd would be there, and he went there to preach to them.
But in fact, when you read the chapter, Jesus is there quietly until the crowds corner him, and only then does he address the crowds, when they see him, and oh, it's Jesus, and go to confront him. So it does not seem that Jesus went there to preach and confront to the crowds celebrating this holiday he disapproved of. It seems that Jesus, like all faithful Jews in that time period, traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate this Feast, even though it was not one that God had appointed, it was one the Jews had decided to appoint as an annual celebration of a good thing God had done. So in Old and New Testament, there seems to be biblical precedent that it is okay when God has done a wondrous thing for us to appoint a day on which we celebrate that.
And the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, coming, becoming a man, taking on flesh, to redeem his people, to rule as king, to fulfill the Old Testament promises of God. This is a wondrous thing that God has done, and while it is certainly not mandatory for Christians to celebrate this, I would argue, and argue on the example of Scripture in the Old and New Testament, that this is a perfectly permissible thing for Christians to do. And so, no, I would not say that it is wrong for Christians to celebrate Christmas. But if you have a sensitive conscience about it, then don't act in rebellion against that conscience. Don't celebrate it. There's no special virtue or merit before God that you are earning for yourself by celebrating the holiday.
God won't be happier with you if you celebrate it, or if you don't. If you have a conscience issue, then do not act in rebellion, for to think something's wrong and do it anyway would be to act in a heart of sinful rebellion. And so, I would say it's a matter of Christian liberty and Christian conscience.
Okay, the next question here, oh man, this is one I could dedicate the whole show to. I'll try to give a brief summary, and that is, in Isaiah 7-14, the mention of the virgin birth and Immanuel, is that really, truly a prophecy of Jesus? And most of us would say, well duh, of course it is.
But there's actually so much more to this question. See, in Isaiah 7-14, therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign, behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel. The one to be born, Immanuel, means God with us. This sign, at first glance, when we've already read the New Testament, we've seen that Matthew says this is fulfilled in the virgin birth of Jesus.
It's very easy for us as Christians to simply take it for granted. But there are some complexities here that are worth looking at, not because they undermine that this is talking about Jesus, but because they in fact enrich the glorious prophecy. And so, oh, we're coming up on a break, but right after this break, I want to dig into that with you guys and show you in a little bit more detail how beautiful this prophecy of Jesus is, even if a little more complicated than we think.
So we'll get into that right after this break. It's Matt Slick live, taking your calls at 877-207-2276. Here's Matt Slick. Welcome back to the show.
This is Luke Wayne filling in for Matt Slick on this 1st of December, and excited to be here with you guys. Unfortunately, the phone lines are down. We will not be able to take your calls live today, but I am answering questions from our newsletter followers and supporters through email. And if you want to get on that list, go to CARM.org, and sign up for our weekly newsletter. Get updates on what's going on in the ministry, opportunities for online seminars and events, keep up to date on our newest articles, and have the opportunity to correspond with the team here at CARM. And maybe get your email and questions answered on the air like today. While you're there, if you've been blessed by this ministry, please go to CARM.org slash donate, and support us as I've been announcing this show. Starting today through the end of December, we have a matching donor, a generous donor who said that 100% of all new gifts this December, from now until the end of the year, will be matched 100%. So please, if you've been blessed by the ministry, head on over there and help us prepare to do even more in 2023.
So that said, let's get back to the email questions. Specifically, we were looking at the question of whether Isaiah 7-14 is really a prophecy about Jesus. So when it talks about the virgin that will be with child, who will be called Immanuel or God with us, is that really talking about Jesus? Now the two challenges that are generally brought forward with this, the first is the claim that it is not accurately translated. That in fact, virgin is just, it's the Hebrew word alama, which just means a maiden or a young woman. And that is, there's technically a truth to that, that the word simply means young woman. But the fact of the matter is, is that by connotation, referring to someone as a young woman often meant that they were a virgin, by assumption, by connotation. And so in certain contexts, it can be used that way. The question is, here in Isaiah 7, in this miraculous birth, sign birth that's being promised, is it meant to be a virgin birth?
And I think we can make a very strong case that it is. And in fact, if you look at the Septuagint, the Jewish Greek translation from before the time of the New Testament, before Jesus was born, they translated it with the Greek word for virgin. They saw it as a miraculous virgin birth that was being foretold. So there is a very strong case to be made that the intention of Isaiah was to communicate a miraculous virgin birth, even though alama or any of the other words that people suggest when they say, oh, if he wanted to say virgin, he could have used. And in fact, there is no ancient Hebrew word that always meant virgin in every context.
It's such a word didn't exist. Everyone had to be read in context. They were all words that were referred to a young woman or an unmarried woman or things like that, that you generally assumed to be a virgin, but in some cases would not have been.
And so you have to take it by context. In the context of Isaiah 7, we do seem to be, by all evidence, including the New Testament evidence, dealing with specifically a virgin birth. The stronger argument that Orthodox Jews and some secular critics and others will push back on the claim that this is a prophecy of Jesus is that in context, when you actually read through Isaiah 7, it's dealing with a historical context with King Ahaz and a coming invasion from Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel.
This is a time when the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel were separate kingdoms. Israel was going to, in an alliance with Syria, come down and try to overthrow the line of David and appoint a king of their own choosing who would be a puppet of theirs to rule over Judah. God was going to thwart that plan, even though Ahaz was a wicked king, and out of faithfulness to the promise to David. And so, when you look in context, a sign that's fulfilled centuries later in the time of Jesus doesn't seem to fit with what Isaiah is saying there. But I think this is actually intentional, and when you read the context of Isaiah 6-11, you see that in Isaiah 6, it introduces, in the calling of Isaiah and his great temple vision, that he is being called to preach in a way that his immediate hearers would misunderstand, and judgment would ultimately come on them later, the exile would happen, they'd be carried off to Babylon, but a later generation would finally see what God was really intending them to see in this. Isaiah 6 already cues you in that there is a hidden meaning for later generations in the chapters that follow, that the most obvious historical reading from the people in Isaiah's own day would miss. So we not only have to ask, okay, what's the context with King Ahaz and what would King Ahaz have understood, but we have to look why, because remember Isaiah didn't write Isaiah 7 in King Ahaz's day, he wrote it much later in his life when much more had happened.
Why was he telling this story, and why at this place? And when you walk out the context in Isaiah 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11, and ask, who is this Immanuel, who is this promised son, you begin to realize that Isaiah is painting this picture of this, to quote Isaiah 11, a shoot from the stump of David, or Isaiah 9, unto a child is born, a son is given, the weight of the whole government will be upon his shoulders, his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 8 refers to this Immanuel, it's a recurring theme, this son, this Immanuel, this promised one, of the house of David. And when you walk it out, you begin to see the bigger picture, that while yes, there was an immediate historical context with Ahaz, all of this was put together in the book of Isaiah to build a greater promise that the later generations after the exile could look back and see what God was going to do. And when you read Matthew, when you read the Gospels, they put not just this one proof text in Isaiah 7, 14, but they put all of this language from all of these chapters, from Isaiah 6 to 11, all together, and show the great tapestry of messianic prophecy, all woven and fitting together in the events of Jesus' life, proving that he was the fulfillment of this great promise. So yes, if you want a more full discussion of this, I preached a sermon a couple years ago at the Mission Church in Utah. If you just go on YouTube and search the Mission Church Utah Isaiah 7, 14, it'll be one of the first things that'll come up. It'll be my sermon, O Come, O Come, Immanuel, where I walk this out in much more detail, and I'd encourage you to do that.
But the short of it is, in context, Isaiah 7, 14 is a part of a beautiful messianic promise that points to Jesus and no one else, miraculously, powerfully. Well, that said, let's get to our next question. Would Joseph have actually had to travel back to Bethlehem for the census?
Yes, okay. This is one that comes up a lot, and historically, this is actually something very affirming of the truthfulness of the New Testament. And that is, in Luke, we read what at first seems like an odd thing. So there's this Roman census going on. In Luke 2, 3-4, it mentions, "...and everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David." So the question is, would Rome have actually expected people to travel back to their ancestral homelands for a census? Couldn't they just register where they actually lived and worked, instead of everyone uprooting and going back to where they're from? Would Rome have really done that?
It sounds like it would have been a logistical nightmare. And so, many people have claimed this is something that Luke makes up and shoehorns in as an excuse to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem so that Jesus can be born there, because he has to be born there according to prophecy. But in fact, as I'll show you after this break, historical documents demonstrate that Luke is reflecting an actual Roman census practice, and that the New Testament is vindicated.
We'll look at that in more detail right after this break. Welcome back to the show! This is Luke Wayne, a colleague of Matt Slick at the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, filling in for Matt today while he is taking a personal day with his family for some things.
So, I will not be able to take your calls today. The phone lines are down, we're having some technical issues here, but I am answering live questions from listeners, specifically from our newsletter followers. So if you want to be able to get in on the action, have your emailed questions read on future episodes, and also just be able to follow everything going on at CARM, head on over to CARM.org, and sign up for our weekly newsletter. We won't spam your email box, we will give you regular updates on what is going on in the ministry, and let you know about occasional events and online events or apologetic seminars, trips, things that we would love for you to have the chance to participate in. While you're over there, if you've been blessed by the ministry, please head over to CARM.org slash donate, and for the month of December, we have a generous donor who has agreed to match all new or increased donations from now until the end of the year. So if you go and give us a one-time extra gift or sign up new as a regular monthly donor, even for just $5 a month, your new gift will be matched.
If you're already a supporter of CARM and you give a little extra this month, that extra will be matched, and we would greatly appreciate it as we prepare our budget for what promises to be a big year of ministry in 2023. That said, let's get back to our email questions. We were looking before the break at a question about Joseph having to travel back to Bethlehem for the census. And an objection that's often raised is that Luke mentions Joseph having to go back to Bethlehem because that's where his family was from, that Rome would never make people do that, that census would just be taken wherever people were living, and that this was something that Luke made up to try to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for Jesus to be born there for purely prophetic and polemical reasons, not for historically valid reasons. But the fact of the matter is, this is a documented Roman practice.
Luke did not make a blunder here. We do have evidence of this very thing, from, for example, a papyrus in Egypt that contains the text of a proclamation from 104 AD. That's not long after the New Testament time period. 104 AD, regarding a local census in a region of Egypt, Gaius Vivius Maximus commanded the people of his province to all return to their place of origin to be registered for the census. And so we have this document that gives another example in addition to Luke's document from the 1st century AD. We have from the very early 2nd century AD another document, an official edict from a Roman officer, requiring people to return to their place of origin to be registered for a census.
This is certainly what happened. A little later in the 2nd century, the early church writer Justin Martyr explains, quote, on the occasion of the first census, which was taken in Judea under Cyrenius, or Quernius, we would say, and this is through a different translation here, but he went up from Nazareth, where he lived, to Bethlehem, to which he belonged, to be enrolled, for his family was of the tribe of the Judeans, which then inhabited that region. So what's Justin saying? Also living in the Roman Empire, communicating a practice that his readers would have understood, he says that Joseph lived in Nazareth, but belonged, by place of origin, to Bethlehem. And therefore, as a Judean by origin, he had to go back to Judea, leave Galilee, go back to Judea, into the right political region to be registered for the census. And so we have, again, in Justin Martyr's writings, another affirmation that this was a known practice that Greco-Roman readers from this time period would have been familiar with, and that Luke is reflecting not an error that calls his gospel into question, but a cultural reality that the other documents that archaeologists have found, or that historians have examined, also match up with. So Luke is vindicated, not refuted, by a study of archaeology and history in this matter. In fact, Justin Martyr elsewhere even says, in his first Apology, chapter 34, that the census records from that census, in his day, still existed, and challenges his skeptical readers to go look at the records if they don't believe them, that they'd find Joseph's family registered there. So we have good reason from the documents that exist to trust, not to doubt, what Luke says. This issue of Joseph traveling back for the census is a positive evidence for the gospel, not a challenge for it. So thank you for that question.
Let's take a look at our next one. Does Luke 2.14 say, good will toward men, or among men with whom he is pleased? Okay, so here we have a question of textual criticism, Bible translations, so let's take a look at what this is coming from. So in Luke 2.14, in traditional translations like, say, the King James Version, the angel says, glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. But in most modern translations, like, say, the NASB, ESV, the NET, we would read, glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.
So which is it? Is it good will towards men, or men with whom he is pleased? What is the right translation here, and why is there a difference? And so the difference, in this case, sometimes this is merely translators disagreeing on the best way to bring the same Greek words into English, but in this case we do have a slight difference in the Greek wording. So the translation of anthropos eudachia is where all of this comes down to, those two words. The question is, which grammatical form were they put in?
And it's a few letters difference, a very, very slight difference, whether it should be eudachias or eudachia. And if you change that one little bit in lettering, it gives us this slight difference in translation. Now, when we look at the manuscripts, the earliest copies and the earliest translations go back to what the modern translations go with. That's why the modern translations cite it that way. So when we look at the 4th century, 5th century, when we look at the early Latin copies, some of the early translations like the Sahittic Coptic or the Gothic, we're going to find the translation of among men with whom he is pleased, or the Greek behind that translation. If we look at the majority of Greek copies from the Middle Ages, we're going to find what the KJV reads, a good will toward men. So, earliest copies and the earliest translations all would look towards what the NASB, ESV, and the like would render it. The majority of copies, most of them later, but the majority of copies would be on the side of the KJV. Is there a way to break into this further, to say, should I trust the majority or should I trust the earliest?
How do I go with this? Well, in the biblical context and in the cultural context, there's further evidence we can look at that sheds light on this. So, when we look at how similar wording is used in, say, the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament that we actually mentioned in an earlier question in the episode, pre-New Testament Greek translation of the New Testament, how were these words used?
Now, this exact phrase, anthropos eudachia or anthropos eudachias, is not used exactly, but very similar wording is. And so, we can see, for example, in Psalm 512, And so, here we have this idea of this blessing being put on those whom God has favored, on those who he has bestowed his grace. Those who trusted in him are those that he has bestowed this favor on, and it is toward them. Not toward all, not toward the one who rejects the gospel, the unbeliever, but specifically toward the one who puts their faith in him, God extends this shield of favor, this eudachias. And so, we see in passages like that, in the Septuagint, this kind of idea that there are a favored people, defined by putting their trust, their hope in the Lord, and that those people who put their faith in God receive this good will, this blessing. And so, the Old Testament context would point towards the NASB, ESV type of reading. Similarly, if we look elsewhere in Luke, Luke 1, 50-52, This isn't a universal good will to all men, this is a knocking down of some, but from generation to generation bestowing his mercy toward those who fear him, those who put their trust, their faith, their hope in him. And so, the biblical context would point more towards the modern reading. In the same way, the cultural context, when we look at other ancient Jewish documents from the time period, like say, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in 1QH we have, So, this would seem to be that the modern translations have this one right, but either way, read in context, you're going to come away with the same teaching about the truth of the good news of the coming of Jesus Christ.
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