Difficult Bible Passages
(Third Edition)

 Lorraine Day, M.D.


1. “In the day that you eat of it (the tree of knowledge of good and evil), you shall surely die.” 
Genesis 2:16,17

“And the Lord God commanded the man saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.  Genesis 2:16,17

Is this evidence that the Bible is not true?  Everyone knows that Adam and Eve did not die the same day they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

If one believes there are inconsistencies in the Bible it is the result of very superficial scholarship.  One must study diligently and deeply, and return to the original Scriptures in Greek and Hebrew.

God has preserved His Word, but NOT in the translations.  The original writers of the Bible were inspired by God, but the translators were not.  In fact, it is apparent that the translators did NOT – and do NOT -  understand “Spiritual things” as 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us:

“But the natural man (the unspiritual or “soulish” man  - the person who only understand with his five senses) receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they (spiritual things) are spiritually discerned (understood).”

The Bible translators made decisions by consensus – not by having revelation knowledge from a close, personal relationship with God.

The literal translation of Genesis 2:17 from the Original Hebrew reads as follow:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, dying you shall die.”

The day that Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree they lost their light that covered them, because in that moment they began to die.  They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves because they realized they were naked.  They were ashamed. 

They had been created to live forever, but as soon as they sinned they began to die.  Their cells and organs began to die, culminating in their literal physical death over 600 years later.

And because of their sin, they passed death on to the whole human race. 

“Wherefore as by one man (Adam) sin entered in to the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”  Romans 5:12

The moment we are born, we begin to die.  Only when we become like Jesus when He puts His life in us – eonian life  - the life of Christ manifested in us (mistranslated “eternal” life in ALL versions the Bible), are we safe to save.  Only then will we be “changed” into His image.

As Romans 5:12 tells us, it was not sin that passed upon all men – but death.  It is true that every person on earth, except Jesus Christ, has been a sinner, but we sin because we are dying.  And we are dying because we are separated from Jesus Christ.

The reason we must have eonian life – the life of Christ in us – is that is the only way we will be able to live forever.  Christ eventually will make us perfect through the trials and tribulations we encounter and overcome.

“Ye shall be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

Because the “Christian” church believes that “Nobody’s perfect” the translators have incorrectly translated this text in the following way: 

           “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

 But God has promised to make His children – ALL of the children that He has created – Perfect, so they can live forever with Him.


2. Was the “Curse of Ham” a Curse on the Black Race?

MANY religious leaders have said, Yes.” Clergymen Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown, in their Bible commentary, assert: “Cursed be Canaan [Genesis 9:25]—this doom has been fulfilled in . . . the slavery of the Africans, the descendants of Ham.”—Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Whole Bible.

It is claimed that not only the slavery of blacks was in fulfillment of this Biblical curse, but their black skin color is too. Thus many whites have been led to assume that blacks are inferior, and that God meant for them to be the servants of whites. Many blacks became embittered by the treatment that they received as a result of this religious interpretation. One observes:

“It was in the summer of 1951 when I, as an inquisitive seven-year-old, sat on the steps of the First Baptist Church in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and cried. I had tried diligently to rub off the blackness of my flesh, because my white girl companions had remarked about its offensiveness. The rubbing with Ajax cleanser left only a reddened, puffy spot that ached, almost as much as my childish heart, when I began to ponder why a God of love would make a person black, unless he really did not love me.

“I had heard that it was due to a curse put on our race by God. But I still didn’t know or understand what we had done to God that merited such punishment. And I think, in reflection, that deep in my heart I had always harbored a private grudge against God for making me black and putting me into a white world.

“In the crushing disturbances of my playmates’ taunts and racial epithets, such as: ‘If you’re White, you’re all right, if you’re Brown, stick around, if you’re Black, get back,’ a marked condition ensued, wherein I began to seethe, particularly at white girls my own age.”

What about this Biblical curse? Are people black due to a curse that God placed on some ancestor of theirs? And did blacks suffer centuries of slavery in fulfillment of this curse? Does the Bible really teach such things? Let us see. The Bible account in question reads:

“[Noah] drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren . . . And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”—Gen. 9:21-27, Authorized Version.

It has been claimed that this Biblical curse singles out blacks for perpetual servitude. In fact, in 1838 the antislavery crusader Theodore Weld wrote in a popular tract: The “prophecy of Noah [quoted above] is the vade mecum [constant companion] of slaveholders, and they never venture abroad without it.”—The Bible Against Slavery, page 66.

But, first of all, please note that nothing is said in this Bible account about anyone’s being cursed with blackness of skin. And note, too, that it is Canaan, not his father Ham, who was cursed. Canaan was not black skinned, nor were his descendants who settled in the land that became known as Palestine. (Gen. 10:15-19) The Canaanites were, in time, subjugated by the Israelites, descendants of Shem, and later by Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, descendants of Japheth. This subjugation of the Canaanites fulfilled the prophetic curse on their ancestor Canaan. The curse thus had nothing to do with the black race.

From where, then, did the black race come? From Ham’s other sons, Cush and probably also Put, whose descendants settled in Africa. But, as we have seen, the Bible says absolutely nothing about the black descendants of these men being cursed! Yet it was incorrectly assumed that they were. When did church commentators begin applying the curse to Ham?

A churchman of about 1,500 years ago, Ambrosiaster, applied it thus, saying: “Due to folly Ham, who foolishly ridiculed the nakedness of his father, was declared a slave.” And John F. Maxwell observes in his recent book Slavery and the Catholic Church: “This disastrous example of fundamentalist exegesis [explanation] continued to be used for 1,400 years and led to the widely held view that African Negroes were cursed by God.”

Even up to a hundred years ago the Catholic Church held the view that blacks were cursed by God. Maxwell explains that this view “apparently survived until 1873 when Pope Pius IX attached an indulgence to a prayer for the ‘wretched Ethiopians in Central Africa that almighty God may at length remove the curse of Cham [Ham] from their hearts.’”

Yet even before Christendom’s beginning over 1,500 years ago, yes, possibly even prior to Jesus Christ’s life on earth, Jewish rabbis taught a story about the origin of black skin. The Encyclopædia Judaica claims: “Ham’s descendant (Cush) Is black skinned as a punishment for Ham’s having had sexual intercourse in the ark.”

Similar “stories” have been manufactured in modern times. Defenders of slavery, such as John Fletcher of Louisiana, for example, taught that the sin that prompted the curse by Noah was racial intermarriage. He claimed that Cain was smitten with a black skin for killing his brother Abel, and that Ham had sinned by marrying into the race of Cain. It is noteworthy, too, that Nathan Lord, president of Dartmouth College during the last century, also attributed Noah’s curse upon Canaan partly to Ham’s “forbidden intermarriage with the previously wicked and accursed race of Cain.”

But such teachings have no foundation whatsoever in the Bible. And there were persons in past centuries who showed that the curse uttered by Noah was wrongly being applied to blacks. For example, back in June 1700 Judge Samuel Sewall of Boston explained: “For Canaan is the person cursed three times over, without the mentioning of Cham [Ham]. . . . Whereas the Blackmores [Black race] are not descended of Canaan, but of Cush.”

Also, in 1762 a John Woolman published a treatise in which he argued that the application of this Biblical curse in such a way as to justify enslaving people and depriving them of their natural rights “is a supposition too gross to be admitted into the mind of any person who sincerely desires to be governed by solid principles.”

What great harm has resulted from the misapplication by churchmen of this Biblical curse! The slavery of African blacks, and their mistreatment since the days of slavery, can in no way be justified by the Bible. The truth is, blacks are not, and never were, cursed by God!

Who “decided” that Blacks were cursed?

The origin of the theory that the “Curse of Ham” resulted in the black race being supposedly “cursed” with black skin and that the blacks were to be made perpetual slaves to the white race actually came from the Jewish Talmud – the “holiest” book of Judaism.  It was the Jewish rabbis who promoted this racist idea.

“A number of early Jewish writers have interpreted the Biblical narrative of Ham in a racial way. The Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 108b states "Our Rabbis taught: Three copulated in the ark, and they were all punished — the dog, the raven, and Ham. The dog was doomed to be tied, the raven expectorates [his seed into his mate's mouth], and Ham was smitten in his skin." {Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 108b} The nature of Ham's "smitten" skin is unexplained, but later commentaries described this as a darkening of skin. A later note to the text states that the "smitten" skin referred to the blackness of descendants, and a later comment by rabbis in the Bereshit Rabbah asserts that Ham himself emerged from the ark black-skinned.[6][7] The Zohar states that Ham's son Canaan "darkened the faces of mankind".[8]”  Wikipedia – Online Encyclopedia


6. Solors, Werner, Neither Black nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature, 1997, Oxford University Press, p. 87

7.The Midrash: The Bereshith or Genesis Rabba

8.Solors, p. 87




3. “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”  Matthew 15:24

Jesus had traveled with His disciples to the pagan cities of Tyre and Sidon.  He was approached by a woman who cried out asking Him to heal her daughter who was demon-possessed.  At first, Jesus did not answer her and His disciples, obviously believing that she was beneath them because they were Israelites and she was a heathen woman, urged Jesus to send her away.

But Jesus answered and said,

“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel

“Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me.

“But Jesus answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and cast it to puppies (literal translation).

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the puppies eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.

“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.’  And her daughter was made whole from that very hours.”  Matthew 15:21-28

What did Jesus mean when He said,

         “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”?

Who is “Israel”?

First we must define the term “house of Israel.”


And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.  Genesis 32:28

When Jacob fought with the angel after Jacob had decided to give up his life of deception and tell the truth, his name was changed to Israel.  Jacob had no change in his genes.  The new name given to Jacob, now Israel, was a “spiritual” name that revealed that Jacob was now a child of God.  He had peace with God and men.  That is the meaning of the name of Israel.  It was a spiritual change in Jacob – NOT a change in his ethnicity.  Jacob did NOT “become a Jew.”

Others who also worshiped the One True God of heaven were also called “Israel - - ites.”

In Romans 9:8, Paul concludes by saying, "That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are NOT the children of God; but the children of the promise ARE COUNTED for the seed."

Galatians 3:16 says: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds, as of many, but as of ONE,' And to your Seed,' who is Christ."

Again Paul says in Galatians 3:29 "And if you are Christ's, then YOU ARE Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

The Bible defines Abraham’s seed as those who worship Jesus Christ.  These are the true Israel of the New Testament.

Who are the “lost sheep” of the House of Israel.

In the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin, both the sheep and the coin were found.  Being “lost” was – and is - the prelude to being found.  If someone is not lost, he doesn’t need to be found.

Only when a person recognizes that he is lost, does he wish to be found.

The promise of a Messiah was given to Adam and Eve, the parents of the whole human race.  The Israelites – the believers in the true God – as opposed to the heathen nations (mistranslated “Gentiles”), were given many prophecies about the coming Messiah so they would recognize Him when He appeared 

  .      He was the "seed of a woman" -- prophecy: Genesis 3:15 and fulfilled: Galatians 4:4. 

  .      He was a descendent of Abraham -- prophecy: Genesis 12:3 and fulfilled Matthew 1:1. 

  .      He was from the tribe of Judah – prophecy: Genesis 49:10 and fulfilled: Luke 3:33. 

  .      He was the heir to the throne of David – prophecy: Isaiah 9:7 and fulfilled Luke 1:32-33. 

  .      His birth place in Bethlehem – prophecy: Micah 5:2 and fulfilled: John 1:2, Luke 2:4-5, 7.

    Born of a virgin – prophecy: Isaiah 7:14 and fulfilled: Luke 1:26-27, 30-31.

The duty of the Israelites was to share this information with the rest of the world – the heathen nations. 

But instead, the Israelites became exclusive and arrogant and kept the information to themselves.  They believed they were special to God – that they were God’s “chosen people” – not realizing that they were “chosen” to exhibit the character of God to the surrounding nations and to share with them the Good News of the coming Messiah and Savior – Jesus Christ – who came to be “the Savior of ALL mankind.”  1 Timothy 4:10

But instead, the Israelites kept these wonderful prophecies to themselves and believed that they were “chosen” to be above all other people, to rule over them, to make all others their slaves.  By believing this deception, they became the followers of Satan, yet thinking they were following God.

While claiming to be righteous, they became so wicked that when Jesus came the first time as the Messiah, the leaders of the Organized Church of the day – the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and their followers – did not even recognize Jesus as the Messiah.  In fact, they eventually called for His death by torture (beating, crown of thorns, slapping His face and ridiculing Him) and crucifixion.

That same evil attitude prevails in the Jews of today – the “cultural and spiritual” (but NOT physical) descendants of the Pharisees.  Here is just a small sample of their vicious hatred of the non-Jews of the world.

Former Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, said the following:

“Our race is the Master Race.  We Jews are divine gods on this planet.  We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects.  In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best.  Other races are considered as human excrement.  Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races.  Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron.  The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.”  Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (1977-1983) (in a speech to the Knesset [Israeli Parliament] quoted by Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the Beasts.”  New Statesman, June 25, 1982).

This is not the isolated sentiment of one Jew.  These horrible racist views of the Jews are found throughout Judaism’s “holiest” book – the Talmud – which contains the same false doctrines of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time that resulted in Jesus calling the Pharisees the “synagogue of Satan,” vipers, liars, hypocrites, and “of your father, the Devil.”

Nothing has changed in the last 2,000 years.  The Jews of today are behaving in the same way as did the Pharisees of Jesus’ time.

The heathen nations (mistranslated “Gentiles”) were unaware of these Messianic prophecies and would not have been able to identify Jesus as the Messiah, so it was only reasonable that Jesus would come to the group that should have recognized Him.  That is why He came to the “House of Israel.”

But the Israelites had drifted so far from God and God’s Truth and their hearts had become so hardened, in large part because of their arrogance and exclusiveness, that they did not even recognize their own Messiah. 

And they murdered Him!

But why did Jesus come to the “lost sheep” of the House of Israel?

If a person is self-sufficient, if he believes he can run his own life, if he believes he has little or no need for Jesus to run every aspect of his life, then he does not recognize that he is “lost.”  His misguided self-sufficiency blinds him to his own need.

Jesus said He came to:

            “. . . seek and save that which was LOST.”   Luke 19:10

            “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.” Luke 5:31

Until a person realizes that He is “lost” without the Lord, until he recognizes his need for a Savior, he has no ability to understand who God is.  He remains in darkness.

At the time that Jesus first came to earth, there were very few who were studying diligently and praying for the coming of the Messiah.  Most were following the wicked Pharisees and their false doctrines of the “Organized Church” of the time – the synagogues – the counterfeit of God’s true followers.

God’s presence was in the Temple in Jerusalem, a place where no one except the Priests were allowed to enter.  If anyone else entered, the penalty was death.  The presence of God resided in the Most Holy Place of the Temple.  So none of the TRUE followers of God “went to church.”  They were not even allowed to go inside the building. 

God was trying to show the Israelites that Christianity is NOT a religion.  It is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

God’s presence does NOT dwell in “temples made with hands.”  Acts 7:48; 17:24

The Bible tells us:          

            “Your BODY is the temple of God’s Spirit.”  1 Corinthians 6:19

The enemies of Jesus Christ, those who would eventually cry out “Crucify Him” “Crucify Him,” were the leaders of the synagogues, the buildings where people went inside and sat down, the buildings that housed the counterfeit, false religion at the time of Christ.    God’s presence was NOT in the synagogues.  God’s presence was in the Temple before it was destroyed.

After the temple was destroyed, God said that His presence now dwells in us – His followers.

Conclusion:  Jesus came “only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” because the word “Israel” defines those who were truly looking for the First coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  And only those who recognized their need – their “lostness” – were able to understand that Jesus truly was the Messiah.

When those of the heathen nations recognized their need for a Savior, as did the heathen Canaanite woman with the demon-possessed daughter, they automatically became part of the “lost sheep of the House of Israel.”



4.  “Some standing here will not taste death till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom” Matthew 16:28

Jesus said,

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.”  Matthew 16:28

It has been 2,000 years since Jesus made that statement.  Obviously, none of those people are still alive.  Isn’t that proof that the Bible contains errors?

Indeed, a superficial reading of the Bible might lead to that faulty conclusion.  That is why we are told to diligently study God’s Word and ask God to open our mind so we can understand truth.

As all Bible scholars agree, the Bible was originally written without chapters or verses, both of which were arbitrarily added hundreds of years later.  And in the case at hand, the insertion of a new Chapter division is the cause of the problem.

If one removes the heading of Chapter 17, this passage now reads in the following way:

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.  And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain by themselves. 

And was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His clothes were white as the light.  And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with Him.”  Matthew 16:28, 17:1-3

Jesus was not speaking of the Second Coming as the “coming in His kingdom” but of His transfiguration in His glory.  The disciples saw Jesus in His “kingdom” glory within one week of the statement made by Jesus. 

So, indeed, the Bible is true.  Unfortunately, it is the uninspired Bible scholars who placed the Chapter division in the wrong place, that are responsible for the seeming contradiction.  When this problem is sorted out properly, the mystery becomes totally clear.