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DID PAUL MISQUOTE?
A contemporary, whose editor considers himself as much inspired as Jesus and the Apostles, points us to a misquotation of prophecy by Paul as a proof of his unreliability.
The claim is, that Heb. 1:10 is a misquotation of Ps. 102:23-27. Heb. 1:10-12 reads, “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” Paul quotes these words from the Psalms, with others, to prove that Jesus was not only superior to other men, but higher than angels also.
Our contemporary has recently been employed in attempting to prove that Jesus was no more than any other man, and, as the Jews had said, the son of Joseph. Of course, if our contemporary is right, Matthew and Luke and Paul and all the Apostles were wrong. If Joseph was his father, he of course had no pre-human existence, and Jesus’ reference to having had glory with the Father before the world was, was so much untruth and deception. Therefore, it well suits our contemporary’s purposes to try to prove that Paul was a blunderer, no more inspired and not nearly as smart as our contemporary, for it is sure it has found one of Paul’s “mistakes” in quoting. It generously says that Paul got most of the quotations correct, but thinks he needed its superior wisdom to settle the above quotation properly.
This is an important point. If Paul made “mistakes,” let us know of them,
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for, of all the Apostles, he expresses most pointedly all our hopes concerning the future glory and reign with Christ. But if we find Paul in error, let us set it down that he was either a deceiver or a deceived man himself when he tells us that he spoke by God’s authority. In either case all his teachings should be cast aside as unworthy of our study or faith. If his statements are untrue on one point, it must be that he is uninspired; and, if so, he is unworthy of being quoted as authority on any subject. But if, on the other hand, we find Paul right and our contemporary wrong, then let our contemporary give up its claim of superior ability and discernment over Paul, and let it admit that it is not inspired, as he was, to express the truth. And, in that event, let it also admit that Jesus had a pre-human existence, at which time he was Jehovah’s honored agent by whom he “laid the foundations of the earth.”
The argument is that Psalm 102:19-27 refers to Jehovah as the one who laid the foundations of the earth, etc., and does not refer to Jesus at all. Let us look and we will see that it does apply to Jesus, and that the Apostle was correct in his application of the statement. We quote Psalm 102:19-27, punctuating to give proper sense.*
*It should be borne in mind that punctuation is a modern invention, and not inspired. The Scriptures were previously without any punctuation. The punctuation is manifestly wrong in several places. The above is one instance.
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“For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did Jehovah behold the earth. To hear the groaning of the prisoner, to loose those that are appointed to death: To declare the name of Jehovah in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem, when the people are gathered together and the kingdoms to serve Jehovah. [Now Jesus is represented as speaking at the time of crucifixion.] He weakened my strength in the way, He shortened my days. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days. [Hear Jehovah’s answer to that heart prayer.] Thy years are throughout all generations. Of old thou hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; they shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment: As a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”
Paul is correct; we will stand by his exegesis.
— February, 1883 —