Question: The book of Ezra mentions that after Artaxerxes stopped the rebuilding of the temple that it began again during the reign of Darius. Is this Darius II that reigned after Artexerxes or is this Darius I and the Ahasuerus and Artexerxes mentioned in chapter 4 Cambyses and Smerdis? This is all a bit confusing. […]

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[editor’s note: This is a follow-up question from last week.  The original question is below to give context to the concern of the questioner. As you read the question, bear in mind it is a follow-up to the original question, which is if Luke grossly exaggerated the number of converts in Jerusalem in the Book […]

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Question: Dr. Oakes, I am reading a book for one of my classes called “the rise of Christianity” and the author makes a point that if the early church had well over 3,000 adherents then a significant of the population in Jerusalem would have been Christian. He claims that there is no evidence of this […]

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Question: I was hoping you could help me understand how the the setting of Zechariah 14:16-18 could be referring to somewhere other than Earth.   “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. […]

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Question: I have a question about creation: In Genesis 1 it says God made vegetation, water creatures and birds before making man but in Genesis 2 it’s says that man was made before vegetation and animals Is this a biblical contradiction? I ask this question as a disciple who struggles with being logical at times, […]

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Question: My teacher at my university claims that Daniel was written in 165BCE. [editor’s note: probably the professor meant that it was written after 164 BC when the events surrounding Antiochus Epiphanes occurred]  He says that it was written with the Babylonian setting to make it look like it was prophesying the future. He also […]

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Question: There so many things in the Bible I don’t understand up to now. For example, I struggle to understand the nature of Jesus Christ.  Some verses show us that  he is God but some show that  Jesus and God are different.  In  John 17 Jesus was praying God. So If he is God why […]

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Question: Hello Dr Oakes. I am taking an early Judaism and Christianity course in university and I have a question about the Bible.  My teacher is very critical towards the New Testament writers and writings (as most are in the department of religion) and he told us in class the other day that the first […]

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Comment: I’ve been reading your book “Daniel: A Prophet to the Nations” and I’ve been very inspired and overwhelmed by the very specific prophecies. I’m thankful for how God is using you to reveal his word to others. So suffice it to say, while I have a problem with your response to Daniel 11:36-45 my […]

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Question: Is the material found below about Jesus having a wife valid or false? http://www.livescience.com/34229-what-does-the-gospel-of-jesus-s-wife-say.html?cmpid=514627_20150825_51404246&adbid=10152957444286761&adbpl=fb&adbpr=30478646760 Answer: I would have to do some more care research to validate the age and to look at other attempts to translate, but please allow me to give my first quick impression.  I would say that with a quick glance, […]

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Question: I’ve been studying out prophecies of the Old Testament and in studying out the prophecies of Isaiah I looked up what Wikipedia had to say about it.  According to Wikipedia “The exact relationship between the Book of Isaiah and any such historical Isaiah is complicated.  One widespread view sees parts of the first half […]

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Question: I have some general questions concerning Christianity. How can the Bible be considered inerrant if there are instances of copyist errors such as tht which occurs in 2 Samuel 10:18 and 1 Chronicles 19:18.  The second passage mentions 700 and the first mentionsr 7000 slain charioteers? I realize that most of these copyist errors […]

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Question: I see from your articles that you view Genesis 1-3 as ‘true myths’ and I found this view really helpful. I wanted to ask how you determine at what point Genesis stops being a record of hebrew myth and becomes historical. Why, for example, do you not consider chapters 4-11 true myths? I know […]

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Question: I’m doing a paper on Isaiah. Do you believe it is written by one author, two, or more…? Answer: Many scholars claim that the prophet Isaiah wrote Isaiah 1-39 and that another author influenced by Isaiah wrote “deuteroisaiah” which would be Ch 40-66.  They base this claim on supposed and sudden differences in subject, […]

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[Editor’s Note:    I recently answered a question about R. G. Price but, not knowing his middle name, thought the question was about a different critic of Christianity named Robert Price.  Interestingly, the positions of the Robert Price and of R. G. Price are actually fairly similar.  Nevertheless, I am a bit embarrassed and apologize […]

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Question: What proof is there that the Bible is true? Answer: To tell you the truth, this is a rather broad question.   My first answer is please just start looking around the web site.  We have more than 2500 articles, each of which is intended to answer your question!   But you asked, so […]

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Question: Hello, can you respond to R.G. Price’s articles about the origins of Christianity, especially this one?http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/fictional_jesus.htm Response: We at ARS sponsored a debate with Robert Price, so we are extremely well aware of his position.   I have spoken to him personally.   Let me do this.   You should get a hold of a copy of […]

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Question: I believe that a Christian can lose their salvation. However, I hit a metaphorical stone wall when I read Romans 11:29.  “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”  Salvation is referred to as a gift in the New Testament, so where do I go from here? Answer: From the tone of […]

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Editor’s note:  This is a series of about ten questions.  For ease of following the arguments, I will intersperse my answers between the questions. Question: I stumbled upon a website known as “RationalWiki” which lists supposed unfulfilled prophecies of the Bible which deeply trouble me in my understanding of the Bible. The most difficult of […]

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Questions: I have a couple questions that are generally vague concerning God. 1.) Why is it that when I pray it seems as if I am talking to no one? Usually during prayer in a private space there is just silence and no indication of any connection with some sort of immaterial creator being of the […]

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Question: Do critics have a case for the allegation that since Jesus’ life and events were recorded way after his actual death that they cannot truly reflect his image and deeds during his life? Are there any other examples of historical texts that were recorded 20 to 40 years after the fact? Is the reason […]

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Editor’s note:  The person making this inquiry included material found from a web site.  This material is included, unedited, after my response. Question: I have some questions concerning archaeology and the Bible. 1.) Why is there such an absence of evidence concerning anyone mentioned in the Bible prior to Solomon or David, there is virtually […]

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Question: Mark 16::17-18 describes divine abilities believers should possess but not observant to the contrary. You think the same principle of miracles apply today? Answer: Scholars are nearly unanimous that Mark 16:9-20 was not in the original Book of Mark, so I see relatively little need to explain this section in Mark.   It is […]

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Question: I am writing to ask you a quick question: a Christian friend of mine shared his conviction that Daniel was not truly written  by Daniel, but was written some time in the second century BC.  I would like to know what are the arguments for and against this view, and the same for the […]

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Question: Genesis 5 states that the patriarchs prior to the flood lived as long as 900 years. How exactly is anyone supposed to take this into consideration when during ancient times, life span was actually shorter than it is now?  Only now are humans living longer, not shorter. So in the face of this how […]

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Question:  Is there historical evidence that the apostle Paul was a real person?  Posted on May 12, 2013 by John Oakes wrote in Church History, General, Questions and Answers, Reliability of the Bible.   You gave no evidence for Paul being a real person.  I’ve searched and have yet to find any historical information outside of […]

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Question: How do you know for sure that the Bible and Jesus is really the truth of God? – I was a Christian for a long time , not just religious.  I thought I was a born again and experienced things but nowadays some things (Objective info from psychology, learning about suffering, etc.) brought doubts […]

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Editor’s note:  The comment below comes from a Muslim who does not believe in Jesus. Comment: Acts 4:25 to 27 and psalm 2.   God was angry with them because they plotted against his messiah.  This means God did not want them to plot against his messiah.  This means God did not send his messiah to […]

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Question: In the works of Celsus recorded by Origen, Celsus tells of a Jew he obtained certain information from concerning the possibility that Mary was impregnated by a solider named Panthera. In addition the Talmud records an individual named Jesus ben Pandera or Pandira. Does this affirm that the Jews knew who Jesus’ biological father […]

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Question: Did the concept of punishment and judgement in Christianity originate from the teachings of Plato as expressed in this article? Thanks    http://www.bibleorigins.net/millenium.html Answer: The simple answer to this question is no, the concept of punishment and judgment in Christianity did not originate with Plato. This idea came to Christianity from God–the one who […]

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Question: I recently came across a video titled “A History of God” and it suggests that Josiah ordered religious reforms commanding the Deuteronomists to delete all Polytheistic themes in the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, and Kings. Additionally the Israelites were supposedly always polytheistic and that the “Yahwists” apparently enforced strict monotheism as late as the 8th, […]

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Question: Does the account of the Last Supper as a Passover meal indicate biblical errors and historical unreliability? 1. Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, and Luke 22:7-38 call the Last Supper a Passover Meal as described in Deuteronomy 16:5-6, occurring on Thursday Nisan 14, and that Jesus was crucified on Friday and resurrected on Sunday.2. John 13:1 […]

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SUBJECT: Contradictions in Luke and John according to Muslims    In (John 16:7) the criteria for the coming of the Holy Spirit is that Jesus has to go away, but it was already present as stated in (Luke 4:1,14,18) for example.  Isn’t this a contradiction?  Please reply as soon as possible because I am in […]

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QUESTION: Recently I was browsing an article on Wikipedia titled “History of ancient Israel and Judah” and I read some passages I extracted and wanted to know of you could tell me if there is any actual historical credibility to them. 1 The religion of the Israelites of Iron Age I, like the Canaanite faith […]

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Question: I’ve been interacting with a lot of punk rockers on facebook and on occasion one will post something anti religious and I’ve been making some gentle answers.  However, I am hoping you can help me with the question below.   Do you either have verses for me to cite or some short hand answers for this […]

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QUESTION: In II Samuel 24:13 God told David that he could choose 7 years of famine but in I Chronicles he could choose three years. Is this a contradiction? Answer: In the case of 1 Chronicles 21:12 the manuscripts are unanimous that the proposed time of discipline was three years. In the case of 2 […]

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QUESTION: Other than in the Bible, do we have any historical evidence that Jesus’ body was put in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and that Pilate placed guards around the tomb? Answer: The simple answer is no.  We do not have external confirmation of this particular historical event.  What we have is the record […]

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QUESTION: In Joshua 3:10 the Bible says that God will drive out the Jebusites, but only a little later it says this: “As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem the children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.” How can […]

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QuestionIn my study this morning I came across your Q/A about Paul (the apostle). You say that John does not mention him in Revelation.  John started the church in Ephesus and it was later “taken over” or “led” by Paul.   This led me to a quandry.  First, Paul would make the apostles number grow […]

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Question: I am re-reading your awesome book: “Daniel, Prophet to the Nations”. I am using this to study with a pre-millennial believer to show the kingdom came “in the days of those kings”. (2:44)  As you may already guess, the going is slow. But the argument should be easy if we get through Daniel…  The […]

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QUESTION: 1. What is a good resource for learning more about Calvinism and how to refute it. 2. How do you best defend the Word of God with someone who says “the Bible is not perfect.”  We obviously know of a few clerical errors but he uses those mistakes and others to justify his own […]

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Question: I recently  read 2 Samuel 24 and I don’t understand how I should understand it.  (V1) Why did God burn against Israel? And why did he incite David to take a census?  Also, why does it say in 2 Chron 21:1 that it was Satan who incited David?  (V10) Also, why did David say […]

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QUESTION: A skeptic has claimed to me that the Christian saying “Do unto others” (what we call our “Golden Rule”) was actually plagiarized by the Bible writers from something originally taught by Confucius. Are you familiar with this?  I doubt this is true, since no source could be provided, but I have to ask. Answer: […]

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