Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 1 (Part Sixteen)

How Many Sons Did Abraham Have? 
Abraham had a son named Isaac called his only-begotten son at Hebrews 11:17. However Ishmael was the firstborn of Abraham through Hagar, so how can Isaac be only-begotten? Since Paul knew about them both this contradiction arises because of misinterpretation. – Galatians 4:22 
Paul differentiates Isaac from Ishmael. Galatians 4:23 (DARBY) states: "he that was of the maid servant was born according to flesh, and he that was of the free woman through the promise." Isaac was superior to his brother and heir of the promise.2 Here only-begotten denotes his uniqueness and higher status along with the fact that he was the only begotten son through the promise, so there is no contradiction.

Is John the Baptist Elijah? 
When John the Baptist was asked, “Are you Elijah?” he told those asking, “I am not.” (John 1:21 NIV) However, Jesus said about John’s ministry, “Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him.” (Matthew 17:12 NIV) So was John actually Elijah? 
The scriptures never teach that John the Baptist was the Elijah of old, but that in many ways he would mirror him. In Malachi 4:5,6 (NWT) Jehovah says: “Look! I am sending to you people Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. And he must turn the hearts of fathers back toward sons.” Referring to that prophecy the angel told John’s father that John would get “Elijah’s spirit and power, to turn back the hearts of fathers to children,” but not that he would be Elijah (Luke 1:17 NWT). We can see that Elijah was not to come back literally, but in a different sense. 
Many at the time, however, thought that Elijah was in fact going to return physically and they thought John might be him, so to correct that view John said that he was not actually Elijah. Jesus, having a different meaning, said that he was the "Elijah," the one prophesied by Malachi. There is no contradiction.

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