“CONFLICTING” VERSES IN THE BIBLE
“CONFLICTING” VERSES OF THE BIBLE
When unbelievers are trying to find reasons to disregard the Bible, sometimes they will read it with the purpose of discrediting it. Sometimes they will find what they interpret as conflicting statements made by Jesus, and use them as weapons against Christianity.
I am addressing some of those “conflicting” statements in this study.
As we believers know, God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so He cannot change or lie. However, people do change and lie, and, even though God’s Plan of Salvation has never changed throughout time in ANY detail, the emphasis on certain aspects of it, and actions and words for the changing moods of the people may appear to be conflicting to those who don’t care to let the Holy Spirit show them the Truth.
One of those is that in two verses, Jesus said that those who aren’t aggressively against Him, are for Him, while later on, He said that those who aren’t for Him are against Him.
For he that is not against us is on our part.
LET’S READ THAT IN CONTEXT:
36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
LIKEWISE, HE SAID:
And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.
46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.
47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,
48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.
49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
THOSE TWO SETS OF VERSES SAY BASICALLY THE SAME THING, AND WERE REPEATED BY TWO WRITERS, SO THE EVENT OCCURRED AT ONE MOMENT IN TIME.
IN CONTRAST, LATER IN TIME, IN A TUMULTUOUS POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT, IN OTHER VERSES JESUS SAID:
Matthew 12: 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
LET’S LOOK AT THIS IN CONTEXT:
28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
THE SECOND VERSE DISPLAYING THE SAME FACTS IS:
He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:
22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.
23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.
25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.
King James Version (KJV)
Both Mark 9:40 and Luke 9:50, where Jesus put forth the idea that anyone who is not against Him is with Him, were the same event, where he had a child there, and taught that unless we become like a child, we will not enter the Kingdom of God, and the least will be the greatest. Someone was casting out demons in Jesus’ name, who was not of their group, and He said no one that is casting out demons/doing miracles in His name can lightly speak evil of Him, nor can anyone who does a good deed to His disciples because of Him etc.
Directly after He said that, this happened:
Luke 9:51— “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem”
So, in the time sequence, a short period of time after He said these things, He set out to go to Jerusalem. He knew what that was for, because He was in prayer often, and constantly open to hear His Father’s voice. He knew things would change gradually after that, because the focus of His message would change. But not immediately. He needed to get the message across to as many people as possible on His way to Jerusalem.
About this time, He sent the disciples out peacefully (no extra clothing, no weapons, etc.) Lk 10:1-9
On the way to Jerusalem, He talked to them about how to pray, and taught them to focus on eternal life.
WHEN HE GOT TO JERUSALEM THINGS CHANGED:
Both Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23, besides both being a length of time later than the other two,(and also a different location and different audience –Jerusalem) both had to do with the same event where someone accused Him of casting out demons by the power of satan.
In both He spoke of binding the strong man and in Luke He spoke of when the unclean spirits are gone out of a man, they and others come back because it is swept and garnished.
Note the change in attitude of the people……in contrast to the above verses where the men spoken of by the apostles were casting out demons in Jesus’ name, and following Him, this audience was against Jesus, looking for a way to take Him down.
This seems to be in the presence of the Pharisees, and/or for their benefit. He seems to point to them when He speaks of getting rid of spirits and others coming back worse than ever. I believe He was contrasting them with the others (first set of verses who were casting demons out in Jesus’ name.) while these Pharisees were setting themselves above other people, and above Jesus. He seems to be insinuating that the Pharisees, though they act good and not demonic, still are not right with God, and if they “clean up their lives”, they still won’t accept Jesus as the Son of God, so they are opening themselves up for worse demons.
Then He speaks directly to the Pharisees bluntly about their hypocracy, in effect, verifying what He insinuated a few verses earlier. (Luke 11:37-54)
In between, He speaks to His followers to not be afraid of the leaders who will kill them,( Lk 12:4–) and of the division, fire upon the earth,( 12:49–) and He calls for His followers to stay strong. He knows that what He is about to say to the Pharisees will trigger the events that will lead to His death, and the persecution of His followers, and He wanted to prepare them for that. He has told them before what will happen to Him, but they didn’t understand, so I believe He is now “bringing it home” to them that they will also be involved in the consequences of the events, as they see it unfold before their eyes.
Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
Here He told them to take provisions and weapons, in contrast to earlier (Mark 6:8, Luke 9:3) when He told them not to, because at that time, the people would provide for them and be peaceful, as He said, they would get their reward if they gave provisions to the apostles because of Jesus—Mark 9:41, being at a time before Jesus was open about Whom He was and pushing the events to bring about the Salvation process.
But now the political tide has turned against Him, and with it much of the peoples’ opinions. Those who do believe in Him, because of the adversity of the powerful leaders, would probably be fearful to openly accept the Apostles. In fact, right after He told them this, the officials took Him away. (Luke 22:47)
So between these two times in Scripture, some key things changed as to how He told His disciples to think and act, because of how Jesus Himself acted and spoke under the direction of His Father, to bring about the events of Salvation.
The earlier times, He told those whom He healed, and those who realized Whom He was, not to tell about their miracles, or about His identity:
Mt. 8:4 Mt. 16:20 Mt 17:9 Mark 7:36 Mark 8:30 Luke 5:14
There needed to be enough time to allow all the people who would accept Him, to hear His message and make their decision.
At that time, He had many followers, so He knew He could trust them to be true to Him in their miracle working, and to welcome His disciples….thus, they didn’t need to carry provisions. He also said He came to save, not kill, and chided His disciples about wanting to bring down fire on his enemies. (Luke 9:51-56)
But at the time when the Father gave Him the message to go to Jerusalem, (which was for the purpose of His crucifixion), He made no secret of Whom He was, and He also stopped “treading softly” but, instead, He spoke bluntly about the Pharisees, and about how a true disciple must think and live to follow Him.
With these changes came the division that He spoke of in Luke 12:49-53 where He said He came not to bring peace, but division—a change of attitude (but not fact, for the Plan of Salvation was set in every detail from the beginning of time, and God is the same yesterday, today and forever) from the previous verse on the subject—
Now, He openly spoke of Whom He was, showing people that they need to follow Him to be saved. This, of course, was like building a fire under the Pharisees, and, as a result, predictably,
He could no longer trust that His “followers” were true. There were spies, false disciples, and uncommitted followers among the people. So He could not trust that His disciples would be able to find shelter, food, and welcome among the people. He knew they will now have many enemies, so they’d need their own provisions, including weapons. They also needed their minds stayed on Him, the Father, and eternity to not be swayed with the tide of political power, as we need to do in the times we live in.
He also changed the pronoun from “us” in the peaceful verses, to “Me” in the “conflicting” ones….
This is to show anyone following Him that their following was, is, and always will be, the choice of the person. He never did force anyone to follow Him, nor punish them if they didn’t. He still doesn’t. It is our choice entirely, and the consequences of our own unforgiven sins, or the rewards of trusting Him are also owned by us due to that one, all-important choice in our lives.
We live in times that are very much like those. Although Jesus is not here in the flesh, and He has already fulfilled the Plan of Salvation.
Believers today have contact with Him, through our spirits instead of our physical eyes, and He is here, more than He was in those days.
Also, the hatred for Him by those who would rather be deceived is also strong, as we near the end times. We are not at the end, but events are leading to it, and people are splitting as the Word predicted they would.
This is why it is so important that we stay close to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and not be swayed with the deception of compromise.
DO NOT give an inch on what Our Lord told us. Sin is Sin, and not just a little bit.
The deception is heavy, the pressure is on, and we MUST stay by the side of Our Lord Jesus Christ and not look upon the enemy with compromise at an option.
We must tell people about Our Lord Jesus Christ, stand firmly in His Name, and love the person while telling them about Sin and Salvation.
Most of all, it is imperative that we always keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Alpha and Omega, Lord of Lords, King of Kings!
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