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Two or three witnesses


 

Deuteronomy 17:

6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.    

The above verse is often used as a reason for comparing one text with another text or texts, and deciding what is the meaning by the weight of evidence.  But doesn’t that lead to private interpretation too?  Is reading two or more modern versions of the Bible and accepting the one we most think is giving us the truth doing the same thing?

 Do we remember Nicodemus who was a teacher in Israel, but did not know how to be converted.  (John 3)  So today many teachers in spiritual Israel do not know that either.  Why?  They are earnest Bible students and pray a lot.

One reason with which I’m sure you are very familiar is the concept that we should not use worldly dictionaries or commentaries to explain the hard words of the Bible.  In other words, we must not try to explain it man’s way.  We know that some folk in the church do this and they are certain that God does punish and destroy, while we study the same Bible (and the same words) and see that He doesn’t! 

And we are right only because we use the Bible definition of the key words. 

So it really doesn’t matter how MUCH we study the Bible or pray about a subject.  If we have the wrong foundation we will ALWAYS come up with error.

But there is another trap into which we can fall.

That is that we can sometimes take what is written and compare it with other scriptures and decide between two points of view from the weight of evidence!  That’s what humans do in a courtroom!  When we do that to God’s word we are putting it on trial with ourselves as the judge!  It also means that we accept one point of view, but reject the other!  That's another, “man's way”.

I know that we have the thought that in the mouth of two or three witnesses all truth should be examined, but that is for human understanding ONLY. 

It is written,

***************(Begin Quote)

Deuteronomy 17:

6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

 

7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people.  So you shall put the evil away from among you. 

***************(End Quote)

That advice was for a court of law and how to proceed in it.  The evidence of only one witness could not be used because it would be a case of one man’s word against another’s.  But if two (or more) witnesses agreed then that could be considered sufficient, but we all know how miscarriages of justice can still occur.  But that way was needed because we cannot trust men to speak the truth when their lives are on the line. So when we hear a doctrine from the lips of a man or a woman we are right to check HIM OR HER for accuracy and harmony (but not the scriptures he is using). 

It may be that he is misunderstanding God’s word, and not lying, but that does not make him right.

There is a place for “weight of evidence”, and that is with those who have not yet made up their mind to follow the LORD of righteousness.  For those with a worldly mind God has made ample provision to establish faith in them, if they will decide from the weight of evidence.  He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit.

But if they wait to have every seeming objection removed before they believe, they will never be settled, rooted, and grounded in the truth.  God will never remove all seeming difficulties from the path of those who hesitate.  Those who wish to doubt, may find opportunity; while those who wish to believe will find plenty of evidence upon which to base their faith.  Some may say, "But there are some things that are not explained”.  Well, what if everything is not explained?  Where is the weight of evidence?  God will balance the mind if it is susceptible to the influence of the Spirit; if it is not, then it will decide on the other side.

However, when God speaks He does not lie, nor have lapses of memory etc. as humans do.  With God it should be, “Yea and Amen”.  2 Corinthians 1:20.  EVERY word is right, and “the scriptures cannot be broken”.  John 10:35.  Those who have chosen to follow Him must believe this, and live by it, for by “EVERY word that proceeds out of the mouth of God does man live”.  Deuteronomy 8:3.

It is written, “Then spoke Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat [and read his words].  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe [i.e. what he reads to you], that observe and do; but do not you after their works: for they say, and do not’.”  Matthew 23:1-3.  Then He went on to explain how they operate.

What He was saying was that we should take God’s word just as it reads, only comparing it with other scriptures when we have IN OUR MINDS a confusing or apparently contradicting situation, or if it is a symbolic statement or prophecy which we are not sure about. 

Of course, if we resort to the modern Babylonian translations we can expect that the scriptures will be turned on their head, as Satan did to God’s word about the fruit of the tree when he was talking with Eve!  Genesis 3:4. 

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Genesis 2:

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall SURELY die”.

Genesis 3:

1 Now the serpent was more subtle [insinuating] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.  And he said to the woman, “Yea [huh!], has God said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’

2  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you TOUCH it, LEST [maybe] you die’.” [She ADDED to God’s word for He had said nothing about touching, and also CHANGED its meaning from certainty to uncertainty, probably without realising what she was doing.]

4 [But the devil picked up on her words and emphasized her mistake thereby telling her the opposite.] And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall NOT surely die: 5 for God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”. [We all know what happened next.  She chose.  She had to!  Because she was deceived!  1 Timothy 2:14.]

***************(End Quote)

The last part of Satan’s words was true, for after that they DID know about evil!  They were now living it.  But the “not SURELY dying” bit was a lie.  Even today many teachers of the Bible explain that away too, by saying that they only BEGAN to die then, but that’s another story. 

And that’s how Satan and his agents work – they use enough truth to make their lie seem plausible and if we try and reason with him or them, we will always come off the worst.  Only as we behave as the man Christ Jesus did can we talk with him.  “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God ‘.  .  .  Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, You shall not tempt the LORD your God’ . . . Then said Jesus to him, ‘Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only shall you serve’.  Then the devil left Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to Him”.  Matthew 4:4-11.

It’s time for us to believe the second angel of Revelation 14 that “Babylon” HAS fallen.  The translators of such new versions may be honest and sincere, but they are honestly and sincerely believing from their own point of view! 

And as I said before, no matter how much we study, no matter how much we think we know, if we are taking the word of a commentator, or of a leader in the church, or of a friend, or even our own belief, we ARE NOT TAKING THE WORD OF GOD!

We are told of William Miller’s experiences by his biographer, which is an example of how to read the word.

From my library (emphasis added):

***************(Begin Quote)

He [William Miller] pursued his study in a regular and methodical manner; beginning with Genesis, and reading verse by verse, he proceeded no faster than the meaning of the several passages so unfolded as to leave him free from all embarrassment.

WHEN HE FOUND ANYTHING OBSCURE, it was his custom to compare it with every other text which seemed to have any reference to the matter under consideration . . . [he] found, to his great joy, that the prophetic symbols could be understood. 

He saw that the prophecies, so far as they had been fulfilled, had been fulfilled literally; that all the various figures, metaphors, parables, similitudes, etc., were either EXPLAINED IN THEIR IMMEDIATE CONNECTION, or the terms in which they were expressed were defined in other scriptures, and when thus explained, were to be literally understood.

“I was thus satisfied,” he says, “that the Bible IS A SYSTEM of revealed truths, so clearly and simply given that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein.”-- Bliss, page 70.

***************(End Quote)

The quote does not say that he considered alternative texts and chose “from the weight of evidence”.  It was only when he was puzzled as to the meaning of a text that he had to compare.  The purpose of comparing Scripture with Scripture is to illuminate and EXPAND the original, not to reject it.  ALL THE TEXTS must fit into a harmonious whole, and none should be discarded. 

Another quote from my library:

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“By reading and searching out scripture references, you will see the chain of truth, and will see new beauties in the word of God”.

***************(End Quote)

If we have a wrong concept of the first text’s meaning then of course, we will find contradictions, and not beauty. 

Then we have to make a choice from two thoughts, but neither CAN be God’s word, for it fits together perfectly from beginning to end.

We just need to remember that with God two things which are different to us, can have the same name.  For example, a “woman” represents a church, but there is one “clothed with the sun” (Revelation 12:1), and one clothed “in purple and scarlet” (Revelation 17:4).  Although both are religious, one follows God and the other follows Satan. 

Similarly, there are two deaths; one is temporary while the other is permanent, and it is possible to experience both.  (Revelation 20:4-5; 14-15.) 

A “beast” is a living creature, and can be a good one, i.e. a “lamb” (Revelation 5:6), or a bad one, a “dragon” (Revelation 12:3-4).  One is a destroyer and the other a Restorer and they are not half-and-half! 

 Conclusion:

“By reading and searching out scripture references, you will see the chain of truth, and will see new beauties in the word of God”.  The purpose of comparing Scripture with Scripture is to illuminate and EXPAND the original, not to reject it.  ALL THE TEXTS in the Bible must fit into a harmonious whole. 

oooOooo

 


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