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Luke 12 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Luke 12 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

"But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him."
Jesus says that we should fear God since he has the power to kill us and then torture us forever in hell.
Should we fear God?
On the word ‘fear’, it has multiple meanings, 2 Tim. 1:7. In this verse Jesus seems to play with these two meanings: the first two times we can perhaps read “be afraid of”, while the third time the meaning is more “to honour.”
So we should honor God, because while men might condemn our bodies to death, it is God who will judge our souls. The author of the SAB might object that God will judge him, but happen it will. God has created us, and not only that, he provides us with many good things, although we sin continually against him. Will our sins not require judgment?

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:

9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

"But unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven."
Is there an unforgivable sin?
I deny the existence of the Holy Spirit
On the unforgivable sin, see Matthew 12:31.
In the second link the author of the SAB attempts to deny the existence of the holy Ghost. But if we read Heb. 6:4 it seems this particular sin cannot be committed unless we have been in some measure exercised by God's spirit, have attempted to be a Christian, have experienced something of a Christian's joy, but have conscientiously rejected the workings of the holy Ghost. So therefore, someone who has not been a Christian like the author of the SAB, cannot commit this particular sin.

11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

"Sell that ye have, and give alms."
Jesus tells his followers to sell everything they own and give the money to the poor.
This verse should be read in the context of the parable Jesus told his disciples in verses 16-21. Our goods can hinder us in attaining the heavenly kingdom. For example much of our time could be spend on guarding our earthly treasures, verse 34. Earthly goods are not worth so much that we can afford to lose our souls because of it. And if we are in danger of this by having so many earthly goods we should sell them.
The second reason is explained by John Gill:

Since they had a kingdom bequeathed them by their heavenly Father, they should be so far from indulging an anxious care about food and raiment, that when there was a call in providence for it, and rather than the poor should go without a supply, it became them to sell their houses and lands, and whatever possessions they had, and relieve them

The author of the SAB scorns this behavior. As all would whose treasure is on this earth and when they give away their earthly goods they lose all.

34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

(12:46-47) "The lord of that servant ... will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."
Jesus says that God is like a slave-owner who beats his slaves "with many stripes."
Does God approve of slavery?
What the Bible says about torture
The Bible's guide to torture
At the end of his life everyone will have to give account of it, and of their sins against God and their neighbors. The severity of the punishment is indeed compared to be being beaten with many stripes. What punishment does the author of the SAB think is well-measured for someone who beats his fellow men (verse 45)?
The master-servant relationship in the Bible cannot be compared to some American plantation. The word servant here does not mean slave. For example this servant can become a ruler of the household (verse 44). Servant should here be understood to mean steward as verse 42 says. Someone employed for a certain task.
On slavery, Christians took the lead in abolishing it, where would they have gotten the idea from that slavery was wrong? Why have only Christian countries made slave trading illegal (in England, already in 1102)?
On torture, the author of the SAB makes it appear that punishment is torture. A very meaningless statement.

47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I if it be already kindled?

50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division."
Jesus did not come to bring peace, but division.
Is Jesus peaceful?
Jesus did not come to this earth to say peace, peace, all will be well to you. Because it won't. Jesus message (Luke 13:3) was “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” So therefore the word of God brings a division among those that hear it: some accept and some reject. See also Matthew 10:33.

52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

(12:52-53) "The father shall be divided against the son."
Jesus prophesies that families will be divided because of him and his teachings. Sadly, this is one prophecy that has been fulfilled.
It is indeed true and sad that within the same family it happens the husband believes and the wife rejects the gospel or vice versa. But this is not the fault of the gospel, but of those who hear it. The gospel comes to all and invites all (Is. 55:1-3).

53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.

55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.

56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

"Ye hypocrites"
Jesus calls the people hypocrites because they cannot "discern this time."
As the word hypocrites is often used towards the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:1-3), it is quite likely that these were present as well at this time, and that Jesus addressed them specifically here. It is nonsense to insist that the word “hypocrite” is foul language. It was even a fact if the all-knowing God asserts this here. John Gill explains the meaning of the phrase “discern this time” as follows:

that this is the time of the Messiah's coming, and that it is the accepted time, and day of salvation, if ye receive him, and believe in him; and a time of vengeance, if ye reject him: this might have been discerned by the prophecies of the Old Testament, which fix the characters of the Messiah, and the time of his coming; and describe the manners of the men of that generation, in which he should come: and point out both their happiness and their ruin; as also by the doctrines they heard Christ preach, and especially by the miracles which were wrought by him, it might have been known he was come.

57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

58 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.

59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.