Sluice Box Adventures

Believing Bible Study in the 21st century

End Of Age Messages

Why does the world credit an unsaved Greek with something that the Hebrew prophet Moses accomplished hundreds of years before the birth of Herodotus?

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Marvel Not, My Brethren, If The World Hate You

Daryl R. Coats     2009


 "Looking for that blessed hope," (Titus 2:11-14)


"Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you." (1 John 3:13)

Shubal StearnsWhile clearing my bookshelves, I have been reminded of how much the world has always hated God, the words of God, the ways of God, and the people of God.

For example, the modern Roman, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Korean alphabets all derive from the Hebrew alphabet: aleph and beth became alpha and beta, alif and ba, and "a" and "b." The world at large recognizes this truth, but refuses to credit the Jews as originators of the alphabet, claiming instead that the world’s writing systems owe their existence to unidentified "Semitic peoples" who lived in Palestine.

Many Semitic peoples have lived in Palestine, but only one has an alphabet that bears its name—only one was chosen by God to be a blessing to the entire world—only one was used of God to give three-fourths of His own words to the world. Because God loved and blessed and sanctified those people, the world still hates and despises them and will stop at nothing to discredit them and their accomplishments.

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also." (John 15:18-20)

The world regards the ancient Greek writer Herodotus (born circa 485 BC) as the "father of history"—yet Herodotus did nothing that had not already been accomplished centuries earlier by Moses, Joshua, and the writers of Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.

Why does the world credit an unsaved Greek with something that the Hebrew prophet Moses accomplished hundreds of years before the birth of Herodotus? The reason is obvious from the opening words of each man’s historical account:

the beginning of "the books of Moses"

the beginning of Herodotus’ The Histories

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1

"Here are presented the results of the enquiry carried out by Herodotus of Halicarnassus. The purpose is to prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time, and to preserve the fame of the important and remarkable achievements produced by both Greeks and non-Greeks; among the matters covered is, in particular, the cause of the hostilities between Greeks and non-Greeks."

Notice some of the differences between the historical writings of Moses and those of Herodotus:



began with God

began with himself

went almost an entire chapter recording the creative work of God before mentioning man

lauded "human events" in his second sentence

never identified himself as writer

identified himself before doing anything else

sought to honor God

sought "to preserve the fame" of men

emphasized the role of God in the course of history

emphasized "the important and remarkable achievements" of unsaved sinners

recorded what is eternal

sought to preserve what is temporal

No wonder the world prefers Herodotus to Moses! Had Moses been of the world, the world would love him; but Moses was of God, so the world hates him and the books that God gave the world through him.

"I understand more than the ancients, because I have kept thy precepts."

(Psalm 119:100)

Pliny the elder (AD 23-79) is widely regarded as one of the forerunners of modern science. One 20th century translator of Pliny claimed that science couldn’t exist until the Greeks of the seventh century BC became "rational" (that is, they used the discovery of "comparative religion" to justify rejecting any supernatural explanation for the creation of the earth and the universe, opting instead for "philosophical explanations" of the origins of all things). The fact that the early "rationalists" concluded from their scientific investigations that everything in the universe was composed of earth, air, fire, and water ought to be enough to expose the foolishness of "science falsely so called," but to modern monkey-men, the early "rationalists" are heroes who started the long process of liberating men from the fears and "irrational consequences" of believing in God.

One of those early rationalists was the Greek philosopher Epicurus, whose disciples rejected the truth of the gospel and disputed with Paul in Acts 17. Among other things, Epicurus taught that "the soul, composed of atoms like the body, died with it, and that the gods did not interfere in the physical world, which owed its origin to natural causes."

Obviously, none of these points can be proven or demonstrated through empirical observation and controlled experimentation, but they nevertheless were enough to cause the Epicureans of the first century to reject Paul’s preaching that "THE UNKNOWN GOD ... made the world, and all things therein [so much for Epicurus’ false claim of a natural origin of the universe], seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth ... he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men ... and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation ... he is not far from every one of us; For in him we live, and move, and have our being; .... but now commandeth all men every where to repent [so much for Epicurus’ false claim that no God ever interfered in the lives of men]... Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead [so much for Epicurus’ false claim that men cease to exist when they die]." Like insane scientists of the 21st century, the Epicureans mocked Paul, dismissed him as a "babbler," and libeled him as a "setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection."

In many ways, Pliny is an embarrassment to the scientists of today. He is demonstrably wrong in his geographical claims and measurements; his reports of such things as rains of blood and idols on which it never rains hardly ring as credible among today’s scientists; and his claim that his own empirical observation leaves "no doubt about there being four elements" hardly inspire confidence in "scientific observation." Pliny’s general unreliability is especially obvious In Book 2 of his Natural History ("Astronomy"), in which he states as fact that

the moon is located 14,500 miles from the earth;

the sun is located 43,500 miles from the earth;

the planet Jupiter "consequently is healthy" because it is situated between (and supposedly influenced by) the "naturally cold and frozen" Saturn and excessively hot Mars (blazing hot "since it is close to the sun"); and

"we must believe that the sun is the soul, or, more intelligibly, the mind of the universe, the ruling principle and divinity of Nature." (Baal, by the way, was the Canaanite name for the sun god.)

But today’s scientists will forgive and overlook any number of obvious errors so long as the person who makes them rejects the God of creation.

Interesting fact. According to Book 2 of Pliny’s Natural History, another name for Venus is Lucifer. Venus was also known as "Diana of the Ephesians" and now is often called "the Blessed Virgin Mary."

Hundreds of years before Charles Darwin earned a university degree in theology (evolutionism is not a "science" but a theological system), Pliny revealed the theological nature and framework of "scientific rationalism." Without one shred of empirical or experimental evidence to support his position, Pliny said that any effort to find out about God is "a sign of human weakness," because "Whoever God is—provided he does exist—and in whatever religion he is, God is the complete embodiment of sight, hearing, soul, mind, and of himself. ...God is man helping man; this is the way to everlasting glory. ... Moreover, it is ridiculous to think that a supreme being—whatever it is—cares about human affairs. ... The chief consolation for Nature’s shortcomings in regard to man is that not even God can do all things. ... God cannot give mortals the gift of everlasting life, or recall the dead, ... These facts show without a shadow of doubt the power of Nature and prove that this is what we mean by ‘God.’This digression will not have been inappropriate since these matter have already been widely publicized through our continuous examination of the nature of God" (Book 2.14, 18, 20, 27). How sad to boast of "continuous examination of the nature of God" and yet never take time to read what the words through which God reveals Himself (1 Samuel 3:21).

Erroneously supposing that only the weak seek after God, the agnostic Pliny devoted his life to learning all that he could about the "natural world," claiming that the earth is "the one part of the world of nature on which we have bestowed the title of ‘Mother’ out of the highest respect because she deserves this. ... Earth receives us after we are born and feeds us after birth and always supports us, and at the very end embraces us in her bosom, sheltering us like a mother especially then ... Indeed Earth may be credited with having invented poison out of pity for us ... Thus earth, out of pity for us, has produced a substance ... by drinking which, ... we may effortlessly depirve outselves of life without physical injury or loss of blood ... Earth has produced a remedy for all all ills, ... a kind goddess ..." (Book 2.154-159). Pliny was just one in long list of people who embraced "Mother Earth" and suicide after they rejected God the Father.

Not surprisingly, Pliny’s studies led him to reject the doctrine of hell: "If there were any beings in the nether world, surely the tunnelling [sic] brought about by greed [that is, by the mining of gold, silver, copper, and jewels] would have dug them up" (Book 2.158).

His "scientific curiosity" eventually led to Pliny’s death. When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, destroying the city of Pompeii, Pliny died because "he lingered too long observing the eruption." The man who claimed that seeking after God was ridiculous lost his life because he sought instead after the things of the earth. The man who proclaimed that "Mother Earth" was a "kind goddess" who had "pity for us" died because his "mother" erupted in fiery fury. The man who denied the existence of hell died as a result of fire that came up from the bowels of the earth. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake." (Matthew 5:11)

Yet another revered historian of antiquity was the Roman Tacitus, whose multi-volume The Histories and The Annals recorded the history of Rome from AD 14-96. Only four complete books (and one partial book) of The Histories still survive, chronicling the events that affected Rome in AD 69-70. Since the destruction of Jerusalem was one of those events, the first 13 sections of Book 5 are devoted to "The Jews."

Not even the spurious Protocols of the Learned Elder of Zion spews forth as much anti-Semitic venom as Tacitus, who accused the Jews ("wretches of the most abandoned kind") of slothfulness (the Sabbaths are dismissed as mere excuses to justify laziness), wickedness, lasciviousness, and illicit money-making (these accusations coming nearly 2000 years before the 19th century Karl Marx and 20th century rantings against "Jewish bankers").

Tacitus blasphemed the religion of Israel as "sinister and revolting" because it didn’t conform to the paganism of her neighbors: "Among the Jews all things are profane that we hold sacred; on the other hand they regard as permissible what seems to us immoral." He denounced the worship of Jehovah as "paradoxical and degraded"—a "paradoxical cult"—and not "festive and happy" like the worship of Bacchus (the god of wine and partying). He also attacked Judaism’s belief that abortion and infanticide are "deadly sins," maintaining that such belief was nothing more than a justification to increase Israel’s population.

Centuries before 21st century scholars rejected the truth of the first nine books of the Bible for fables about "habiru" and a supposed multi-generation and gradual settling of the Jews in the land of Israel, Tacitus cited several first centuries explanations for the origin of the Jews:

six false claims

the supposed evidence to back up each claim

the Jews were originally refugees from Crete

"Judaei" is supposedly a corruption of "Idaei," a people who lived around Mount Id in Crete

the Jews were originally the "surplus population of Egypt ... evacuated to neighboring land under the leadership of Hierosolymus and Judas [!]"

"a few authorities hold" that this is true

"the Jews are descended from those Ethiopians who were driven by fear and hatred to emigrate from their home country when Cepheus was king"

"many assure us" that this is true

the Jews were originally "a motley collection of landless Assyrians"

"There are some who say" that this is true

the Jews are descendants of Homer’s Solymi

the Latin name for Jerusalem is supposedly derived from the Latin name for the Solymi

But Tacitus rejected these six claims and embraced instead the account that "Most authorities ... agree on," namely that the children of Israel were originally Egyptians cursed by the gods with leprosy and banished to the wilderness by Pharaoh Bocchoris (who ruled more than 300 years after the death of David!), who wished to purify his land of the wasting disease! A leper named Moses supposedly encouraged these wasted Egyptians "not to wait passively for help from god or man, for both had deserted them," but instead to "trust to their own initiative and to whatever guidance first helped them"! That guidance supposedly came in the form of a "herd of wild asses,"; for that reason the Jews supposedly "consecrated" an image of an ass in the midst of the temple in Jerusalem.

(Tacitus failed to reconcile this claim with his later complaint that the Jews "hold it impious to make idols of perishable materials in the likeness of man: for them, the Most High and Eternal cannot be portrayed by human hands and will never pass away. For this reason they erect no images in their cities, much less in their temple. Their kings are not so flattered, the Roman emperors not so honored." )

Tacitus used the details of this "most widely accepted" fable to explain away everything about Judaism and to justify the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. In doing so, he exposed himself for the fool that he was. Since he was of the world, the world has received him as one her own and (as with Pliny) is more than willing to overlook "problem areas" and obvious falsities in his works since he was in agreement with the world on the most important points (namely, the unanimous animosity against the Lord God Almighty, His words, His people, and His ways).

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be bad." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Like David, any believer in the 21st century who loves God’s words, meditates on them, keeps them, and obeys them has more understanding than such "ancients" as Herodotus, Pliny, and Tacitus. Only through those words does anyone acquire true understanding—and with that understanding comes a hatred "of every false way" (Psalm 119:97-104). That word instructs believers not to marvel that the world hates them. The world’s hatred of God and of His words, His ways, and His people sometimes seems almost overwhelming to believers, but as the writings of imbeciles such as Herodotus, Pliny, and Tacitus shows, such hatred is nothing new and ultimately comes to nothing.

Daryl R. Coats

14 September 2009

The LORD'S Messenger

A Message To The People

“Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.” Haggai 1:13