Psalm 110 and the Adaptation of Scripture

No other psalm has in research evoked so many hypotheses and discussions as Psalm 110….
We should at once emphasize that both in questions of textual criticism
and in history-of-religions problems the last word has not yet been spoken.”
— Hans-Joachim Kraus

New Testament writers quote Psalm 110 more than any other psalm.  (And one of the most quoted overall.) Beginning chronologically with Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:25 (Paul’s letters predate the Gospels), we find references and allusions to Psalm 110 in Romans (Pauline), Hebrews (anonymous), Mark (anonymous), Matthew (anonymous), Luke-Acts (anonymous), Colossians (disputed), Ephesians (non-Pauline) and 1 Peter (non-Petrine).  For these early Christian writers, Psalm 110 was “fulfilled” with Jesus Christ.  In Romans 8:34, for example, we read,

“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

According to L. Michael White, this particular passage “stands as a synonym for Jesus’ resurrection and his present exalted position in heaven at the right hand of God.” (Scripting Jesus, p. 285).   We see the exalted Christ in Stephen’ martyrdom, too, when he saw Jesus “standing at the right hand of God.”  Since we, as Christians, generally hold the New Testament inviolate, we have inherited this interpretation.  Some have claimed there are more than 90 “prophecies” of Jesus in the Psalms, and the LDS Old Testament lesson manual agrees that “[t]he psalms…include songs of praise to the Lord, and prophecies concerning Jesus Christ’s suffering and death.”

But since I’m writing about Psalm 110, you’ve probably already guessed things aren’t quite as clear as they seem at first glance.  If we go through the work of understanding the historical setting of Psalm 110 and identify the speakers according to the original Hebrew, it’s quite easy to see it’s not a prophecy of Jesus Christ.  It simply can’t be. (They KJV translations bear some of the blame). First of all, the Psalms aren’t prophecies. They’re songs. The Hebrew Book of Psalms is a lot like our modern LDS hymnals.  A little from here, a little from there.  Psalms, like the hymnal on the back of the pew, is an anthology that grew and developed over the course of many centuries.  Those early Christian writers adapted 110 to Jesus as a way of narrativizing his life and ministry for a first century audience.

As I have become more familiar with the Hebrew Bible, one thing has become clear.  Despite claims to the contrary, the Hebrew Bible really doesn’t prophecy of Jesus Christ.  Psalm 110, for example, is a royal enthronement song sung or performed at the coronation of Israel’s mortal king.  Virtually all of modern contemporary scholarship supports this view because the text demands it. Jewish scholars and rabbis likewise correctly point this out.  So, unless Jesus (the LORD/Jehovah) is talking to Himself, 110 isn’t a prophecy of Christ.  This, in my view, supports the Book of Mormon’s central claim, which is to make known to Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ—The Eternal God.

Before we jump in, I just want to say that I don’t believe it’s inappropriate to apply this scripture (or others) to Jesus.  After all, He is the very literal King of Israel.  But 110 demotes Jesus Christ from His position of Infinite and Eternal God to God’s chosen earthly representative who is now exalted at God’s right hand. It also highlights the difficulty of scripture in general.  It’s more comforting to think that scripture is inerrant and infallible, but whenever man is involved, it’s anything but.  Don’t let any of this rattle your faith.  Rather, let it enhance your understanding.

With that said, we’re going to review the original 110, identify the speakers and its cultural context, how the early writers adapted it, and then look at how the Book of Mormon uses “the right hand of God” as a place for mortal men and women just as the Hebrew Bible does.

Let’s get to it.

THE TEXT

Though most are likely very familiar with the Psalm, it’ll be helpful to have it fresh in mind before beginning our study. Below is the King James Version with parenthetical Hebrew insertions identifying each party,

A Psalm of David.

The LORD [Yahweh] said unto my Lord [adoni],
“Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
The LORD [Yahweh] shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,
in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning:
thou hast the dew of thy youth.”

The LORD [Yahweh]hath sworn, and will not repent,
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
The Lord [Adonai] at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies;
he shall wound the heads over many countries.
He shall drink of the brook in the way:
therefore shall he lift up the head.

AUTHORSHIP AND CONTEXT OF PSALM 110

Identifying speaker and audience is paramount in understanding scripture. Miss those two things and we run the risk of finding ourselves in choppy exegetical waters.  While several Psalmists are named throughout The Book of Psalms (Solomon, Heman, Ethan, Asaph, etc), authorship of the majority has traditionally been attributed to King David. Davidic authorship, however, is by no means certain.  As Robert Alter, who is Jewish and published his own translation of Psalms, explains,

“The one safe conclusion is that the writing of psalms was a persistent activity over many centuries. The David authorship enshrined in Jewish and Christian tradition has no credible historical grounding. It was a regular practice in the later biblical period to ascribe new texts to famous figures of the past.” (The Book of Psalms, xv, emphasis added.)

If David is the poet, then it stands to reason that God is speaking to Jesus, who is David’s “Lord.”  This is how its presented in the New Testament.  But if David didn’t write it, then who did and what does it mean for the Psalm? The short answer is that we don’t know who wrote it.  We likely never will.  But if we let the text speak for itself and apply our understanding that Jesus Christ is YHWH (Jehovah) of the Hebrew Bible, we can get a pretty good idea what it’s about.  As a reminder, here’s what Jesus said at Bountiful,

“And he said unto them: Marvel not that I said unto you that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new. Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses. Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore, it hath an end.  (3 Nephi 15:3-5)

Some 550 years earlier Nephi wrote,

“And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness…”  (1 Nephi 19:10, emphasis added)

It’s interesting that we don’t have a record of Zenock, Neum or Zenos in the Hebrew Bible.  I suspect these prophets are found in the brass plates.  Whatever the case, it’s clear here that Jesus Christ is YHWH.  That leaves “adoni” and “adonai.”

Throughout the Hebrew Bible, “adoni” is a title for a human dignitary.  You notice “lord” is not capitalized,

“Hear us my lord (Adoni)…” Genesis 23:6 (Ref…erence to Abraham)
“Sarah bore a son to my master (Adoni)…” Genesis 24:36 (Reference to Abraham)
“You shall say to my lord (Adoni), to Esau…” Genesis 32:5
“What can we say to my lord (Adoni)…” Gen. 44:16 (Reference to Joseph)
“Let not the anger of my lord (Adoni) burn…” Exodus. 32:22 (Reference to Moses)
“..to do this thing to my lord (Adoni)” 1 Samuel 24:7 (Reference to David)

“Adonay,” on the other hand, is a divine title reserved for heavenly beings,

“And he said, O my Lord (Adonay), send, I pray thee…”  (Exodus 4:13, Moses responding to God)
“And Abram said, Lord (Adonay) GOD (YHWH), what wilt thou give me…”  (Genesis 15:2, Abraham responding to God)
“And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord (Adonay)…” (Genesis 19:18, Lot pleading with heavenly messengers)
“Then King David went in and sat before the LORD (YHWH) and said, “Who am I, O Lord (Adonay) (YHWH) GOD…” (David to God)

We often find the Hebrew “adonay YHWH” translated as “Lord GOD” in the Bible.  In fact, “Jehovah” is a combination of “Adonay” and “YHWH.”  (The word “Jehovah” appears only once in the Book of Mormon—in the very last verse.)

So, who is speaking to whom in Psalm 110?  YHWH is speaking to the Israelite king at his enthronement.  As the Cambridge Bible writes,

“The message is addressed through the Psalmist to the king, and the king is the subject of it. Strictly speaking the ‘oracle’ is the remainder of the verse ‘sit thou … footstool,’ Psalm 110:2-3 being the Psalmist’s expansion of it; but the whole Psalm is a Divine message of encouragement for the king.”

[my Lord] The R.V. [Revised Version] has rightly dropped the capital letter, as being of the nature of an interpretation. ‘My lord’ (adônî) is the title of respect and reverence used in the O.T. in addressing or speaking of a person of rank and dignity, especially a king (Genesis 23:6; 1 Samuel 22:11; 1 Kings 1. passim, Psalm 18:7; and frequently).

I checked multiple translations and to my surprise, the New Revised Standard Version and the NIV were the only two that dropped the capital “l” in “lord.”  So strong is the need to uphold the traditional interpretation that Christian translators, beginning with the King James, have made the human “lord” a divine figure, ignoring precedent and context.  It’s really something. The Jewish Rabbis and commentators, as you can imagine, are quick to point this out and correctly reject Psalm 110 as a reference to Jesus,

“Based on a Greek translation and in English by merely capitalizing the letter “L” in the second use of the word “Lord” [Christian translators] intentionally make it appear as if God (LORD) is speaking to someone who is also Divine and also referred to as (Lord). This form of proof-text logic is a classic example of shooting an arrow and then drawing a circle around it to get it in a bull’s-eye. They do this by mistranslating the original Hebrew.

“In this passage the first word (LORD) in Hebrew is the four-letter (yud-hai-vav-hai) sacred name of G-d. However, the second (Lord) is a completely different word spelled (aleph-dalet-nun-yud). Although this letter combination of letters can spell a name of God, there is no example in Tanach where this particular form (prefixed by the Hebrew letter “lamed- ל” which mean “to,”) is used to mean “to my God”…

“In Biblical Hebrew the Tanach uses the word ‘adoni’ more than 130 times. In every instance it means a “master” or “lord,” and refers to a human being. In addition to Psalm 110:1 the word “To my master” (L’adoni) appears 20 times and always refers to a human being.”

Those familiar with Hebrew and those who use it as their native tongue surely understand it better than Western English speakers.  We ought to listen.

Those Christian writers who concede YHWH is the speaker get around it by suggesting David wrote in the third person (which doesn’t make sense) or present it as evidence for the Triune God.  In the end we don’t know who wrote it.  But it was written from the perspective of the court poet writing about the King or, as some Jewish commentators suggest, the Levitical priests singing about the King at his enthronement.  And it may even pre-date Israel.  Helen Genivieve Jefferson argues pretty persuasively that the language of Psalm 110 is Ugartic, a language that went extinct around 1,200 BC, before David ascended to the throne,

“The fact that the Psalm has a strong Canaanite coloring supports the view that it is primitive and pre-Exilic in date. The Canaanite coloring can be proved by the large number of parallels in Ugaritic. Of its vocabulary 71% is paralleled by Ugaritic words…

The parallel to Ugaritic in Psalm 110 goes beyond the similarity of pronouns, prepositions, common verbs, numerals and other common nouns that can be found in any chapter of the Old Testament. Patton lists three parallels in this Psalm which are noteworthy. First, the concept of sitting at the right hand of god in v. 1 is compared to “and he caused him to sit at the right hand of Aleyn Balla,” 51 V 109. Second, he points out that the footstool of EL was important part of the royal furnishings and lists seven places where it is mentioned. Another interesting parallel in this verse, but not from an Ugaritic source, is listed by Driver. He quotes from a tell el-Amarana tablet the following, “Behold I am a servant of the king my lord and the footstool of his feet…”

A ROYAL ENTHRONEMENT SONG

The second issue is the setting or historical context.  Psalm 110 is one of a number of Royal Psalms relating to Israel’s King and his appointment to that office.  (Other Royal Psalms include 2, 18, 20, 21, 45, 72, 101, 132 and 144.)  According to Sigmund Mowinckel, the appointment included a “procession, anointing, a new name, a covenant, robe-ing.”  Jefferson continues,

“Whichever reading of v. 3b one adopts does not affect the interpretation of the Psalms as connected with the New Year’s ritual. Many scholars are accepting Mowinckle’s theory that in Judah as in Babylonia there was annual ceremony of the re-enthronement of the king each New Year’s Day. The Israelites adopted the New Year festival from the Canaanites after the invasion of the land but before the establishment of the monarchy according to Leslie. If this is correct, the interpretation of this Pslam as connected with New Year rites would be an additional argument that it has Canaanite background.” (Emphasis added)

Israel also appears to have borrowed the Ancient Near East tradition that kings and leaders were “sons” to their culture’s respective “gods.” It may also just be an independent tradition. It doesn’t mean they are literal biological sons, of course.  Rather, it signified a human leader’s unique relationship with God.  Ben-Hadad, for example, the king of Aram-Damascus was son (ben) of Hadad, the god of storm and thunder.  The son of Panammuwa II, a king of Sam’al, referred to himself as “Bar-Rakib,” or son of Rakib. Alexander the Great used the title “Son of Amon-Zeus.”   By New Testament times, the Romans had adopted the practice.  Various inscriptions from Pergamum, Magnesia, and Tarsus give Augustus and his successors the title “son of god.”

During the Fifth Egyptian Dynasty, Pharoah (himself a god) was referred to as “Son of Ra” (the Supreme God) and served as intermediary between heaven and earth.  One Egyptian text reads that Ra,

“…has placed the king on earth
for ever and ever,
in order that he may judge mankind and satisfy the gods;
establish Ma’at and annihilate Isfet
giving offerings to the gods and funerary offerings to the dead.”

Ma’at is the personification of truth, justice and order. Isfet, naturally, is disorder, injustice and lies. We find some similarities between the Egyptian and Hebrew in, another Royal Psalm,

“Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me,
Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” (2:7)

Those familiar with the Gospels will recognize this language from Jesus’ baptism. Mark’s description of the event, also an adaption, has led some to believe that God “adopted” Jesus as “his son” (his special human representative) at that event and only then became the anointed Messiah (deliverer) or King.  It plays directly into the Gospel writers’ belief that the “Kingdom of God” was a political kingdom freed from Roman rule and oppression opposed to Paul’s spiritual kingdom and Christ’s victory over sin and death.  The disparity between the two shouldn’t be alarming.  The Gospels aren’t historical documents. There is history in them, but history isn’t their primary objective.  They are each writer’s interpretation of the Gospel message tailored to a specific audience.  It will help with our understanding why the Gospels put certain words and scriptures in Jesus’ mouth.

WHY DID JESUS QUOTE PSALM 110 TO THE PHARISEES?

If Psalm 110 isn’t messianic nor a reference to Jesus, then why does Jesus quote it?

“Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: ‘What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’ They said to Him, “The son of David .” He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet’

If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” (Matthew 22:41-45)

There are few ways to look at this.  It seems there was a universal assumption among Jews of the day that David, who was second in prominence only to Moses, was the author of Psalm 110.  Not to belabor the point, but as the Meyers NT Commentary tells us, David authorship is impossible because the fact that “it was only composed in the time of this monarch and addressed to him.” So, one option is that Jesus, being born into that culture, also believed that.  That would necessarily mean He didn’t understand that He was the YHWH, for YHWH addressed the King in 110.  I don’t believe that’s the case.  I think Jesus knew exactly who He was.  I can’t say either way whether or not He had a “veil of forgetfulness” come over Him when He was born, but His mission was made evident on the eve of His condescension,

“Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.” (3 Nephi 1:13-14)

That’s as clear and direct has He can be.  The second option, and it’s the one I prefer, is that the Gospel writers attributed these words to Jesus for theological and political reasons.  The Gospels are anonymously written narratives, not eyewitness history.  I think this is most evident in Matthew’s Gospel, with “Matthew” being a later attribution.  Matthew cites many passages from the Hebrew Bible with the accompanying, “so that it might be fulfilled.”  If you read through the first few chapters of his gospel and check his references in context, you won’t find prophecies of Jesus.  But for Matthew, who also created a genealogical tree from Abraham to David to Jesus, it was extremely important that Jesus was fully a man of Israel, the living embodiment God’s covenant.  And he did that by linking him to the two of the most important figures in Israelite history: Moses and David.  Firstly, Matthew frames Jesus’ early life in the context of Israel’s flight to and return from Egypt.  (The parallels are too numerous to mention here, but I’m sure I’ll get around to a dedicated post at some point.)  Secondly, Matthew makes Jesus the very literal “Son of David.”  

It’s not my intent to disparage or question the Gospels.  Far from it. The point I’m trying to drive home is that the Gospels, while valuable, fail to present the reality of who Jesus Christ really is, that being the Infinite and Eternal God.  These kinds of difficulties, mostly unknown by believers, are catnip for some scholars and critics.  In a blog post titled, “Nope, Jesus is not Yahweh,” Bart Ehrman writes,

“When Christians wanted to find another divine being in the OT to identify as Christ, they went to passages like Psalm 110…In interpreting that passage, Christians asked:  who is it that elevated Christ (“our Lord”) to his right hand? Obviously, God the Father.   And so, God the Father is YHWH, and the one elevated to his right hand is “the Lord Jesus.”  Christians appealed to this verse in reference to Christ a good deal — it is one of the most common OT verses found in the NT, quoted six times (see Matt. 22:4) and referred to more indirectly possibly nine (e.g., Eph. 1:20).   These Christians were not seeing Jesus as Yahweh but as his son whom he exalted to his right hand. Yahweh and Jesus.”  (Emphasis added).

Say what you will about Ehrman, but I think he rightly points out the difficulties with Jesus’ identity as found in the New Testament. It shows that even thirty years after Jesus’ resurrection some knowledge had been lost, or not fully understood, among first century believers.  The anonymous writer of Hebrews, in speaking of the high priesthood, writes of the priesthood and how Jesus was called “of God” like Aaron, not that He is God,

“And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also, Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  (Here we see two Psalms adapted to Jesus: Psalm 2 and Psalm 110.)

To this day there is some confusion who Jesus is.  Is he God? Is he God’s son? Did God adopt Him? Arguments can be made for all three (and probably more).  The biblical record simply isn’t clear. And again, it validates the Book of Mormon’s claim, not only on the title page, but Nephi’s vision,

“And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.” (1 Nephi 13:40, emphasis added. The 1837 Kirtland Book of Mormon was revised to read, “that the Lamb of God is the son of the Eternal Father.”)

The tragedy of the Book of Mormon is that it has been sequestered inside the various LDS restoration branches. It was meant to be a book for the world, yet nearly 200 years after its publication it’s criticized by mainstream Christianity and ignored outside of LDS scholarship.  I hope that will change one day, but I’m not overly optimistic.

THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD IN THE BOOK OF MORMON

One thing I have come to appreciate about the Book of Mormon is that it is, in fact, a translation.  Its writers spoke Hebrew and wrote in reformed Egyptian.  That reformed Egyptian evolved over time and became corrupted just as all languages do.  So, I don’t think anyone should reasonably expect it to be a word-for-word translation.  I’m sure there were plenty of Nephite idioms and expressions without any English parallel.  So, the Book of Mormon had to be culturally decipherable to an 1830’s English-speaking audience steeped in the tradition of the King James Bible.  That’s the reason there are numerous passages that from the KJV in the Book of Mormon.  It’s not plagiarism.  It’s communication.  One of those phrases is “the right hand of God.”  Whether or not the Nephites used this phrase or not isn’t important.  It may have been. It may not have been. What is important is how it used in the English translation:  mortal man’s place alongside God/YHWH/Jesus/Jehovah, just as it in the Hebrew Bible.  Let’s look at those,

“And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.”  (Mosiah 5:9)

“For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world; for it is I that hath created them; and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand.  For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me, they shall come forth and shall have a place eternally at my right hand.”  (Mosiah 26:23-24)

“For the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled.” (Alma 5:58)

Maybe this is what meant by man becoming co-heirs with Christ.  He has already overcome death and desires for us to be called by His name and live with Him in eternal bliss.  That’s probably not what it means, but I like the idea.

REVISING PSALM 110

With all of that information, let’s revise Psalm 110 for a modern audience,

God said unto my master, the King,
     “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
     God shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
     rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
     Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,
     in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning:
     thou hast the dew of thy youth.”

The Lord God hath sworn, and will not repent,
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
God at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies;
he shall wound the heads over many countries.
He shall drink of the brook in the way:
therefore shall he lift up the head.

CONCLUSION

I hope this post has made sense and illustrates just how complicated the scriptures can be.  I also hope it validates the Book of Mormon’s Christology in some way.  As I wrote in the beginning, don’t let things like this make you question your faith.  I don’t think Jesus meant for us to have faith in books. While they are very useful, and even inspired, they are imperfect. This goes for the Book of Mormon, too.  Whenever man gets involved, imperfections are inevitable. Personally, I am grateful for the scribes and copyists who went through the painstaking work of preserving these texts.  For 1800 years it was all we had.  These were mostly dedicated scholars and devout believers who took their work seriously, even occasionally chastising past copyists for making changes. As Westcott and Hort accurately wrote,

“[It is] our belief that even among the numerous unquestionably spurious readings of the New Testament there are no signs of deliberate falsification of the text for dogmatic purposes.”

I’ll end on this note. I love the scriptures. I am eternally grateful for them. Without them, we wouldn’t have knowledge of Jesus. But as I’ve grown a bit older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I’ve taken a less dogmatic approach to them.  I was mostly motivated by the Evangelical view that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible “Word of God.” I started to grow weary of people appealing to the Bible to prove every point. The Bible has a become a cudgel and a battering ram, a weapon of theological conflict. Yet those who employ it in battle rarely understand it. I have seen people twist themselves in knots trying to explain the discrepancies and contradictions in the Bible. A man once said to me that these discrepancies “only exist in your mind.” I’ve also been called “an agent of Satan” just for pointing them out. I understand these types of accusations come from a place of fear, so I just let it go. Most of the time. I recently read something very profound that I think nicely illustrates the root of this fear,

“If a man’s faith is pinned to a document and that document be proved to have flaws in it, away goes his faith.”

But I don’t think we need to fear.  We need to understand. I have come to love and appreciate the imperfections and errors because these texts were written by men. Men who grappled with cosmic questions and tried to make sense of the world around them. So, yes, we can allow for errors and contradictions and adaptations and even some invented history.  It’s fine. Really. After all, only one being is worthy of our faith, reverence and allegiance, that being Jesus Christ.

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