King's Business - 1966-04

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Science and the Bible

by Bolton Davidheiser, Ph.D. Chairman Science Division, Biola College T h e r e a r e s o m e 3,000 s pe c ie s of sponges, and fo r the most part

the situation. The Greek at this point may merely indicate an asso­ ciation between the sponge and the hyssop ( “ a sponge with hyssop” ) and it does not necessarily imply that the sponge was upon a branch o f hyssop. John seems to assume that his readers are already familiar with one or more o f the other gospel accounts and therefore adds many details not found in them. There are other matters described here which are o f more consequence than the manner of the transport o f the sponge. It is more important to note that just before the crucifixion the Lord was offered a drink o f the drugged wine given to condemned criminals to somewhat alleviate their agonies. This He refused, suf­ fering to the full extent for the sins o f the world, atoning for those who will accept His sacrifice as being in their place. Just before the incident of the sponge the Lord had cried, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Because He was bearing the sins o f the world, God the Father had to forsake Him at this time. But because o f this sacrifice, we who have accepted His atonement in our behalf are never forsaken by God. Shortly after the incident o f the sponge the Lord gave up His life. The veil o f the Temple was rent from top to bottom, giving direct access to the mercy seat. Thus the ministrations o f the priests were no longer required, for since that time everyone can come directly to the throne of grace. But since this was made possible only through the atoning death o f Christ, we can avail ourselves of this privilege only through Him and cannot come to God by any other way. He Himself said, “ No man comes to the Father but by me.” Between these two momentous events the Lord Jesus Christ incar­ nate in a human body was given drink from a sponge, the least o f all multicellular animals, which prob­ ably was being used to plug a jug o f sour wine brought there for the re­ freshment o f the soldiers who car­ ried out the execution.

they would not be recognized as sponges by the average p e r s o n . Sponges have a structure which is unlike that o f any other living crea­ ture, and it was only about 300 years ago that even the familiar commercial sponges were recognized to be animals. The sponge is mentioned on only one occasion in Scripture. The Lord Jesus Christ, suffering upon the cross, was given drink soaked in a sponge and offered at the end o f a reed. Matthew and Mark both men­ tion that a reed was used to lift the sponge to the Lord on the cross. In regard to this incident, John says, as given in the King James Ver­ sion, “ . . . they filled a sponge with vinegar [that is, sour wine] and put Lit] upon hyssop, and put [it] to his mouth.” Because o f the reed men­ tioned by Matthew and Mark, most commentators assume that hyssop was the reed which was used. How­ ever, hyssop is a plant o f the mint family and it is utterly unlike a reed and altogether unsuitable for the purpose fo r which the reed was used. Realizing this, some commentators say that the word translated hyssop may refer to a plant o f the caper family, an unlikely explanation. During the sixteenth century the German classical scholar Camerarius suggested that the word fo r hyssop may have been an error o f trans­ cription, the original word referring to a javelin. This would have hap­ pened if two letters had been added to the word husso to make hussopo. A javelin could have been used in the manner o f a reed. One manu­ script has been found which uses the word javelin instead o f hyssop. However, it is a manuscript o f the eleventh century, and since there are so many older manuscripts which do not do this, its evidence is by no means convincing. Hyssop was widely used as a con­ diment in those days, and when add­ ed to food it produced a cooling ef­ fect. It has been suggested that ground hyssop may have been added to the sour wine in the sponge, and this would have been appropriate in APRIL, 19«6

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HOW CAN THE JEWknow CHRIST STIMULUS A Jewish man heard the witness from an A. M. F. M issionary in Florida. Patiently, with an open Bible the worker focused upon, the need for peace in the human heart. Then pointing out some of the 333 prophecies about the Messiah, which were fulfilled in Jesus, he turned to Isaiah 53. RESPONSE The Jewish man read of the one who was “wounded for our transgressions” . . . and by whose stripes “we are healed.” Amazed that this w as not the New Testament, but his own Jewish prophet Isaiah, his preju­ dice w as overcome. He found his own condition portrayed. Best of all he found the One upon whom the iniquity of all was laid. 365 days of the year by personal contact, by tracts, and by radio, A. M. F. m issionar­ ies are reaching Jewish people with the m essage of salvation. Archie A. MacKinney, Director

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