In my morning reading Dr. Gordon H. Clark in his superb The Pastoral Epistles (1983), p.169, under II Timothy 3, concerning the “endless genealogies” (which are also discussed elsewhere in Timothy and Titus), wrote concerning those who —
“stupidly waste their time on allegorical adumbrations of Jewish [sic, Adamic-Hebrew-Israelite] genealogies”.
Again, under Titus 3:9, Clark wrote
“Once again we see how the sins of the Cretans differed from those of the Corinthians. Clearly, there was a large Jewish contingent in the Cretan congregations. Proto-Talmudic hair-splitting, and seemingly allegorical adumbrations of genealogical tables, were the cause of the trouble.” (p.240)
[Adumbration = “vague foreshadowing, sketchy obscurred outline, crude symbolic interpretation”. R.A.B.]
The main problem is man’s carnal mind. Man is egocentric and selfish and delusional and cannot get his eyes off himself. That is humanism and that’s what the majority of modern “Christian” interpretations of any passage of Scripture are. Man’s mind (including that of most “Christians”) is world-centered—not God centered as it should be. God defines words, Truth, Morality, the Standard, Law. What man does, instead of search the Scriptures to find truth, he merely wallows in his own confusion and “free associates” and thinks of the first thought (valid or not) that any word conjures up in his mind—and then wrongly infers that such is the intended meaning of Scripture. NO. DO A MIND DUMP. DUMP OUT ALL OF YOUR HUMANISTIC THOUGHTS and read what the unchanging, noncontradicting, infallible, consistent, Holy Word of God actually says in the matter.
Liberals screw up everything they touch; defile anything with which they come into contact. Liberals and modernists are humanists; which is what the vast majority of all “Christians” are; even the majority of those who think that they are traditionalists and conservatives. Their problem is that they compare themselves to those who are more modernist and liberals than they themselves are, and not to true traditionalists and conservatives of 200-400 years ago.
The Bible is not to be interpreted through modern schemes and notions—but what God intended at the time that He had it written and that intended meaning never changes. Truth is not “evolving”. Truth is not in a state of flux. Confused people think that it is and thus they contaminate anything holy that they touch. Their minds and consciences are polluted, and therefore, any Bible verse that they read they interpret through their polluted mindset; even as if a person wearing rainbow colored glasses was examining a paint swatch of different shades of white and asked to describe the “colors”...!
The issue was not that personal genealogies themselves are wrong or sinful! —as so many commentators and preachers mindlessly blather. God commanded genealogies! God established them. It was not the genealogies of the Bible themselves that were wrong—they proliferate Scripture. The issue was that the Talmudists, polluted and confused and obscurred everything that they touched, to turn God’s people away from the truth (for that is their job, tares, sown in among the wheat, wolves in sheep’s clothing, false shepherds). It can be compared to the corrupt “bartering” that the Pope and Papal envoys employed (as is shown in Bainton’s biography on Martin Luther and the superb classic movie on Luther*). Feigning spirituality and holiness, the Pope was trying to strong arm “donations” and squeeze them out of the German princes (before they were delivered from the delusion of Catholicism) and thought that the price should be 12,000 gold florins to be donated toward St. Peter’s cathedral: 12 for the 12 Apostles. The one who helped the prince in the bargain suggested 3,000: 3 for the Trinity. Chagrined, the papal envoy settled for a compromise (fittingly) 7,000: for the 7 Deadly Sins. Thus, mockery is made of spirituality while feigning spirituality.
[* Here I Stand: Life of Martin Luther (1950) R. H. Bainton, 441pp., Hb., 20.00 + P&H.
Martin Luther: Martin Luther’s Protest Changed the Course of History, 15.00 + P&H, 105 minute DVD, dramatic B&W 1952 classic, Awesome; if you have never seen it, order it; I try to make it a point to watch every year; originally released in theaters worldwide/nominated for 2 Academy Awards; magnificent depiction of Luther & forces at work in surrounding 16th century society resulted in historic reforming efforts; traces Luther’s life from guilt-burdened monk to eventual break w/ Rome; despite its age, it is unsurpassed. Special 50th Anniversary colorized Edition includes: full length film; story of making of the film; Biography of many features not available before, a documentary history with Robert E. A. Lee, retired head of Lutheran Film Associates; trip to historic Luther sites including breathtaking color views of Wittenberg, Eisenach, Worms,Wartburg, Augsburg. Photos, background info, credits for producer, director, writer leading actors.]
This is what the Talmdists did with anything they touched; they thrust out the literal and obvious meaning and invented some esoteric, spiritual, mystical meaning to create a smokescreen to obscure the Word of God. Thus, they “saw” all types of hidden things in the genealogies (possibly even like the “Bible Codes”, like looking at cloud formations, if you close your eyes halfway that cloud sort of looks like Richard Nixon!) and then they twisted gematria (the numeric value of letters and words) beyond its valid function (into Kabbalism), and then even obscurred the intended meaning of Biblical genealogies based upon what the esoteric, Kabbalistic, dark mystical meaning of the numerical data in the genealogies (how many patriarchs were mentioned in each group, the kabbalistic inverted numeric and backward meaning of the name, etc.). Matthew, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit used a very loose (not literal) arrangement of the genealogies to make a broad point—not develop a new hidden doctrine:
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17)
This was not intended to be literal, for it is not. It is a “ball-park generalization”. It is like Christ saying, “Are there not 12 hours in the day?” General, yes, there are; technically no, there are not (unless you live on the equator); because of the earth’s tilting on its axis at 23.4º the period of the hours of daylight and night-time change with the seasons and also depending on being farther north or south from the equator. Christ was not giving a lesson in geo-physics (if that’s what it is), but making a generalization solely in order to make a greater point. The greater point is the purpose. The medium that an item is carried in, like a brown paper bag, is not what is important, but what is inside the bag. The Talmudists took any minute detail to an extreme, as if it was a wormhole in the universe into another dimension or parallel universe, like Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole or C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia’s magic wardrobe. They did this to turn God’s people’s hearts away from God’s Word entirely, or in lieu of that, to lead them in the entirely wrong direction with spurious interpretations.
These comments of Dr. Clark are a BREAKTHROUGH to understanding this passage. I have long shown the double-minded stupidity of those who, in utter blindness, preach against genealogies themselves, when the Bible is replete with them and in light of the fact that they are IMPORTANT. Genealogies are given throughout the Old and New Testament. God Himself said,
“16All Scripture is given by Inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3)
That includes the genealogies too! In Ezra the genealogies were consulted and the imposters were thrust out. That is why the Edomite priests masquerading* as Israelites set fire to the Temple in a.d. 70, under cover of Rome’s invasion—to prevent the genealogies from ever being consulted to thrust them out again.
[* General Titus had not given the order. It is recorded that he wept when he saw the Temple burning. It is reported that some of the priests themselves did it—and true Israelite priests never would have done so. Herod polluted the priesthood with Edomites, his own kinsmen. The Herods were not Israelites, but Edomites who pretended to be Israelites. They were not legitimate kings of Israel, but were puppet-kings established by Rome because Rome knew that unscrupulous, avaricious hedonist pagans could be trusted to do Rome’s bidding, and not be patriotic or loyal to Israel or to Israel’s God.]
However, Truth is a double-edged sword, and without the genealogies, neither can they prove that they are God’s Chosen people—which they are not. Well, in one sense they are (but chosen in a different way):
“For My Sword shall be bathed in Heaven*: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea [Greek form of Edom], and upon the people of My Curse, to Judgment.” (Isaiah 34:5)
[* Note: This seems to parallel Matthew 16:19 and 18:18. Reality has its origin and is established in Heaven by God’s Decrees. Then they come down to be superimposed over our time and space to become reality on earth according to God’s Timetable.]
Tell me what people are (and have been for millennia) behind the conspiracies in all nations, especially Christendom, and are most deserving of God’s Curse? O yes, we have many evil people of our own kindred; but that is not the issue. The chaff indeed will have the same destiny as the tares. But to talk about the guilt of the chaff when God is discussing the guilt of the tares shows profound spiritual ignorance (or rebellion and refusal to accept God’s Decrees).
In the passage “endless genealogies” (I Timothy 1:4) the key word is not “genealogies:, but ENDLESS.
Dr. Clark keenly shows us that such passages did not refer to genealogies in and of themselves but to “allegorical adumbrations” of the genealogies. That is, taking any list of topics beyond their intended literal meaning and inventing some “symbol” or “type” so as to (as most mainstream confused fundamentalists or apostates do) “spiritualize away” the LITERAL Truth of the Word of God; even developing “theology” out of what a passage does NOT say (which is anti-theology) instead of what it does say, in immediate context and in harmony with the whole of Scripture. Dr. Clark applies this same line of thinking when he says in the last paragraph of this section: “There is no consistent, logical order in the list of vices”.
In Scripture, God often employs symbol and even numeric significance. However, either He does not do so all the time or we are ignorant of the purpose of the order of mentioning things. However, some people who ignore truth are always seeking something “hidden” so that they themselves appear “clever” while at the same time providing a smokescreen or red-herring to detract from the main thrust and importance of any given passage. Some people are so spiritually undiscerning (or purposely deceitful) that they uncannily believe the very opposite of what most any passage actually means. In the list of the Fruit of the Spirit, or the Seven Deadly sins, or the vices spoken of here in Timothy or in any other Pauline Epistle, there often is no intended meaning in the order of the list; and often even the words are not entirely separate entities, but synonyms and the point, therefore, seems to be not pinpointing different things (like a sharpshooter), but speaking generally of things that are similar, or even the same things using different words so that no rational, truly converted person could possibly draw the wrong interpretation. As Dr. Clark refers to these lists in this section of his book, they are “additive” lists.
While there is Divine intention (that is, as far as our understanding why He mentions each word in which sequence) in the passage, there may be no Divine intention in terms of the order (such as the most important virtues / vices being listed from greatest to least, etc.). What then happens, is those whose dark spiritual mission is to distract the sheep devise elaborate nonsense in terms of type and symbol or order and invent their own little microcosm of pseudo-reality rather than actually discussing the meat of what the passage is about. While indeed type and symbol and numeric meaning are important—if they are actually present in the text (and if the Biblical meaning is employed, not the Kabbalistic meaning)—the auxillary information is not to outshine the literal meaning. To focus only on the symbol and ignore reality is psychotic. It’s like finding a paper bag full of $1 million—and being excited about the paper bag! It’s like putting a pound of salt on an eighth teaspoon of steak. It’s like being excited about and drooling over a color photograph advertisement of a juicy cheeseburger and ignoring the cheeseburger on your plate!
Thus, it seems, Dr. Clark has solved the mystery of “endless genealogies” and genealogies that lead to disputations... being in reference not to the genealogies themselves but Paul is referring to the practice of those persons who are known as “hyper-typers” who think that they “see” types and symbols and “hidden meaning” where none exist—or if they do exist, they “minor on the majors and major on the minors”.
Such Bible “leaders”, I would presume, are also those who would say, “Be ye warmed and filled”, that is, “have good clothing and food!” without actually providing such things to those in desperate need. This would be like if Job’s friends (who were good friends, they just were not too spiritually discerning and probably a little jealous), had they been present when all the bad tidings came upon Job one after the other, if they had merely said to Job, “Well, we’ve got to be going. Have a nice day!”
So it is with those who focus on anything symbolic or hidden in the text while at the same time utterly ignoring the meat of the passage. It would be like eating the sprig of parsley and kale garnish on your plate and throwing away the meal.
This, it seems, is what some in Paul’s day were doing with the genealogies of the Patriarchs. Like many Bible “teachers” today, having nothing useful to actually say (but like Hillary, going to great lengths to say it), they invent new things to tickle the ears of those more ignorant than themselves, to titillate them with meringue and angel’s food cake, to distract them from the Truth of God’s Word, rather than serve them the whole wheat bread, meat, and potatoes of God’s Word.
Again, let me reiterate: There is important truth in symbol, type, allegory, Bible Numerics, gemetria; however, they form the structure or even the decorations, not substance of the house. Such auxiliary things are not to be ignored, but they are not to be blown out of proportion as if they are all that exists, and they certainly are not to be invented when they do not exist, or twisted out of their actual meaning.
Also, Greek is an inflected language. Syntax (where a word is placed) does not determine what part of the sentence that it is (subject, predicate, direct object, possession, etc.) since that information is in the word ending itself. Rather, emphasis is shown by placing words of greater importance in the main thrust of the sentence—at the beginning of the sentence. However, this creates two problems. First, if the translators rearranged the order of words in the translation (which one can only know if he consults the Greek) then intended emphasis is lost. Secondly, though unfathomable to us, punctuation was not used in ancient texts and the manuscript looks like one massive run-on sentence. In fact, in many ancient manuscripts words were not even separated by a space!* Therefore, determining where the first word of a new sentence begins and where the last word of the previous sentence ended can be a puzzle.
[* This is unfathomable to our minds simply because we have grown up in civilization in which these things have been taken for granted as common sense for many centuries. But, what seems like common sense to someone who knows about an invention is entirely different than to a society that did not know of such things before someone envisioned and invented them (which accounts for nearly 100% of all things that we take for granted as “common sense” today). Actually, as hard to believe as it sounds, the can opener was invented around 40 years after canned food was invented. Wrap your mind around that one and then when you come out of your mental cocoon try to imagine what common sense is to those who lack 2,000 years of the experience that we take for granted.]
This is one reason (lack of punctuation / no spaces in between words) why writing and reading, that is, letters on a parchment itself seemed like “black magic” to the ignorant masses who did not know how to read, write, or spell any of the words that they spoke.
“As hard as it is to learn how to read a normal sentence with spaces between the words imagine how much more difficult it would be to attempt to learn how to read obscure characters having never known written language if all the words are one long run on sentence without any punctuation to separate the phrases or sentences”
For example, imagine the previous sentence (which I purposely did not punctuate) written as:
Now imagine how much harder it would be to read the above sentence if you did not even know words, and therefore, if you could recognize nothing familiar because you know nothing written... nor even know what sounds the letters represent. It would be a like a person born blind being asked to explain the difference between colors. To give another illustration, I translated the above example (with spaces) using Google translate, into Lithuanian, then removed the spaces:
Does that show the dilemma in a different light? Now, I could take this one step further and use some alphabet foreign to an English speaker (such as Cyrillic, Chinese, Korean, Hindi, Burmese, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, etc.) in which not even the letters are recognizable and the reader would have no idea how anything would even be pronounced. Here is modern Greek:
It is not the genealogies themselves that we are told to avoid, but endless “symbolic” interpretations, wranglings, and arguings of what some hidden meaning “could be”, according to notions of a plethora of false teachers; like some all-important number hidden in the number of the genealogies, or the meaning and order of the names or their numeric sigificance. It is talking about avoiding arguing about things that we cannot possibly know, things that are utter nonsense, like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. This would reduce Bible Numerics and gematria to kabbalism! (a form of magic). While all names have meaning and number, the point is not to look for the meat of the truth where there are only bones.
Finally, as I wrote in my book, Uncovering the Mysteries of Your Hidden Inheritance, the great Puritan-Baptist Charles H. Spurgeon taught his seminary students:
“Do not violently strain a text by illegitimate spiritualizing. Never spiritualize for the sake of showing what an uncommonly good fellow you are: and in no case allow your audience to forget that the narratives which you spiritualize are facts, and not mere myths and parables....” [The Treasury of the Old Testament (Vol. 2, p. 154)]
“The indwelling of the Holy Ghost is a subject so profound, and so having to do with the inner man, that no soul will be able to truly and really to comprehend what I am about to say, unless it has been taught of God.... If you cannot comprehend me, I am much afraid it is because you are not of Israelitish extraction; you are not a child of God, nor an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.” [Spurgeon’s Sermons, vol. I, p. 58.]
The eminent English Reformed-Anglican Bishop John Charles Ryle wrote:
“I think we have made great mistakes...it is high time to confess it. What I protest against is the habit of allegorizing plain words of God concerning the future history of the nation of Israel, and explaining away the fulness of their contents, in order to accommodate them during the next half century as has prevailed during the last fifty years, it will not only be foremost, as it is already in power and influence, but it will be absolutely the largest in respect to actual numbers.... the reason why God has given to this race [British] its rapid increase, its dominance in both hemispheres, and its vast influence, is because God has appointed it [Britain] to be His instrument for the setting up throughout the world of that universal monarchy which shall never be destroyed, and of which the rule shall not be left to another people. Already England and America are foremost in missionary effort, and in the printing and the circulation of the Word of God. But as yet, it is but a feeble effort, and when the whole English speaking population awakens to a sense of its greatness, and the high purpose for which God has bestowed upon it so large an extension and so high a place, the Kingdom of earth will rapidly be made the Kingdom of our God, and upon the ground, now being with so great toil prepared upon it, will rise the great mountain* which shall fill all the earth.” (from Coming Events and Present Duties) [Brackets and emphasis mine.]
[* Referring to the Great Mountain of Israel; the Stone Kingdom; Ezekiel 17:22; Daniel 2:35,45; 9:16. Interestingly enough, the communist revolutionary Karl Marx similarly confessed, “England seems to be the rock against which all revolutionary waves are broken.”]
Dr. Ryle further stated,
“I warn you, that unless you interpret the prophetic portion of the Old Testament in the simple, literal meaning of its words... Will you dare tell Himthat Zion, Jerusalem, Jacob, Judah, Ephraim, Israel did not mean what they seem to mean, but mean the Church of Christ? I believe it is high time for the Church... to awaken out of its sleep about Old Testament prophecy... For centuries there has prevailed in the Church... an unwarrantable mode of dealing with the word “Israel.” It has been interpreted in many passages in the Psalms and Prophets as if it meant nothing more than Christian believers. Have promises been held out to Israel?... Have glorious things been described as laid up in store for Israel?... In reading the Words God addressed to His ancient people, never lose sight of the primary sense of the Text.” (Facets of The Great Story, Tourtel, p. 136).