In his book Ruckman’s Bible References, Peter Ruckman presents the following assumption about the supposed inability of others to understand or interpret Zechariah 3:2:
The passage lies uncommented on by the faculty and staff of every major, “recognized” Christian college and seminary in America. It deals with the power of Satan. … Why was this necessary? [The Lord rebuking Satan] Not one Hebrew scholar at your school, not one president of one faculty, not one “head” of any Bible department has had the “foggiest” for the last three hundred years. … Since you never met a Greek or Hebrew scholar (or a Bible reviser for that matter) who even understood these matters, it is no wonder that you never heard them discussed on tape, or in print. (p. 152)
Now let's break it down:
1. Ruckman could not possibly know if this verse is indeed uncommented on in every major recognized Christian college and seminary classroom in America, especially over a 300-year period!
2. Since it is virtually impossible to verify if colleges and seminaries are ignoring Zech. 3:2 in the classroom, we checked well-known commentaries. Ruckman did not single out Bible commentators, but he alleged that “…you never heard them discussed on tape, or in print.” Commentaries are a very likely indicator as to whether a verse is being ignored by scholars in the classroom. The following older commentaries dealt with the passage in question: The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Matthew Henry's Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Albert Barne's Notes on the Bible, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Whole Bible, and likely many more that we did not check.
3. In his interpretation, Ruckman alleges that the Lord was not able to rebuke the Devil directly until the incarnation, after he proved himself.
The ghastly truth is that the Lord does not rebuke the devil directly (see Luke 4 and Matt. 13) until He shows up as a man, in the FLESH. This means that until the incarnation, Satan "had a point" in arguing with God. It is the incarnation that shuts his mounth (see John 16:11). His mouth is shut after a personal, "one-on-one" encounter, to which Satan was challenged (see Isa. 50:7-9). The Lord had to prove Himself (Heb. 5:8, 9) before He could rebuke Satan directly. He proves Himself, and puts Satan to shame (see Col. 2:15). (Ruckman’s Bible References, p. 152)
This seems to be contradicted by the context of Zechariah 3 itself:
And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (Zec 3:1-2)
Ruckman has nothing special to contribute to our knowledge of Zech. 3:2 except his questionable views which he introduces as “the ghastly truth…” Ruckman overestimates the importance of his own conjectures. Ruckman knows better than to say outright “don’t listen to anyone else, only listen to me.” But by essentially knocking everyone else down, Ruckman is subtlety telling his readers not to listen to anyone but him. Christian, beware!
Since Zachariah is a book within the old covenant of works, despite the delectable Dr Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary, as well Dr Gill's, Trapp's, Henry's, Poole's, Benson's, Wesley's, Coke's, Morgan's, did he forget the hundreds of Jewish commentaries on the text? The Jews' commentaries were penned before ever there was an apostate seminary anywhere. Does that invalidate the Judaic commentaries?
There are times when I think of Ruckman, musing exactly how foolish, proud, duped, pressured or otherwise one has to be to take such a hypocrite with a PhD from Bob Jones University hanging on his wall.
Being a Christian who has read Dr. Ruckman's books for years, I was always struck by passages such these in this way (not that this in any way justifies his bragging): while reading the Bible, sometimes a Christian gets such a blessing from God in enlightenment from the passage that one had never received before, so one jumps to the conclusion in excitement that God has never shown any other Christian the same thing you see in the passage of scripture that you are reading so I think Dr. Ruckman had this problem and was driven to irresponsible comments such as these.
“sometimes a Christian gets such a blessing from God in enlightenment from the passage that one had never received before, so one jumps to the conclusion in excitement that God has never shown any other Christian the same thing you see in the passage of scripture that you are reading so I think Dr. Ruckman had this problem and was driven to irresponsible comments such as these. ”
This might be the case, but if it’s so, I wonder how once the excitement died down, that the sobering realism of 2 Peter 1:20, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” Did not seem to have an effect on Dr. Ruckman.
I would assume a ‘Bible scholar’ as ‘great’ as Dr. Ruckman, would be well aware of this verse.
Nothing on Zechariah 3:2 except the following:
Achtemeier, Elizabeth Rice. Nahum–Malachi. Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press, 1986.
Baldwin, Joyce G. Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 28. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1972.
Clarke, Adam. The Holy Bible with a Commentary and Critical Notes. New Edition. Vol. I–VI. Bellingham, WA: Faithlife Corporation, 2014. The Church Pulpit Commentary: Jeremiah–Malachi. London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1908.Fee, Gordon D., and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., eds. The Eerdmans Companion to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011.
Cowles, Henry. The Minor Prophets; with Notes, Critical, Explanatory, and Practical. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1868.
Darby, J. N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible: Ezra to Malachi. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.
Dockery, David S., ed. Holman Bible Handbook. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1992.
Dockery, David S., ed. Holman Concise Bible Commentary. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998.
Driver, S. R., and Walter F. Adeney, eds. The Minor Prophets: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: Commentary. The Century Bible. New York; Edinburgh: Henry Frowde; T. C. & E. C. Jack, 1906.
Dunn, James D. G., and John W. Rogerson, eds. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003.
Eiselen, Frederick Carl. The Minor Prophets. Vol. IX. Commentary on the Old Testament. New York; Cincinnati: Jennings & Graham; Eaton & Mains, 1907.
Ellsworth, Roger. Opening Up Zechariah. Opening Up Commentary. Leominster: Day One Publications, 2010.
Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Commentary on the Bible. Vol. 3. Baker Reference Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995.
Gaebelein, Arno C. The Annotated Bible: Daniel to Malachi. Vol. 5. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009.
Gill, John. An Exposition of the Old Testament. Vol. I–VI. The Baptist Commentary Series. London: Mathews and Leigh, 1810.
Goldingay, John. Daniel and The Twelve Prophets for Everyone. Old Testament for Everyone. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016.
Gregory, Bryan R. Longing for God in an Age of Discouragement: The Gospel according to Zechariah. Edited by Tremper Longman III. The Gospel according to the Old Testament. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2010.
Hawker, Robert. Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: Ezekiel–Malachi. Vol. 6. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2013.
Henderson, E. The Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets: Commentary. London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1845.
Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994.
Hill, Andrew E. Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi: An Introduction and Commentary. Edited by David G. Firth. Vol. 28. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2012.
Ironside, H. A. Notes on the Minor Prophets. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1909.
Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.
Joseph, Oscar L. The Expositor’s Bible: Jeremiah to Mark. Edited by W. Robertson Nicoll. Vol. 4. Expositor’s Bible. Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton Co., 1903.
Keil, Carl Friedrich, and Franz Delitzsch. Commentary on the Old Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996.
Keil, Carl Friedrich. Biblischer Commentar Über Die Zwölf Kleinen Propheten. Edited by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch. Dritte, Nachgebesserte Auflage. Vol. 4. Biblischer Commentar Über Das Alte Testament. Leipzig: Dörffling und Franke, 1888.
Klein, George L. Zechariah. Vol. 21B. The New American Commentary. Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008.
Lange, John Peter, Philip Schaff, and Talbot W. Chambers. A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Zechariah. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.
Mackay, John L. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi: God’s Restored People. Focus on the Bible Commentary. Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2003.
MacLaren, Alexander. Expositions of Holy Scripture: Ezekiel, Daniel and the Minor Prophets. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009.
Matthews, Victor Harold, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament. Electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.
McConville, Gordon. Exploring the Old Testament: The Prophets. Vol. 4. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2002.
Meyer, F. B. Through the Bible Day by Day: A Devotional Commentary. Vol. I–VII. Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1914–1918.
Moore, T. V. The Prophets of the Restoration, Or, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: Commentary. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1856.
New Living Translation Study Bible. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008.
Patterson, Richard D., and Andrew E. Hill. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 10: Minor Prophets, Hosea–Malachi. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008.
Perowne, T. T. Haggai and Zechariah, with Notes and Introduction. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1890.
Poole, Matthew. Annotations upon the Holy Bible. Vol. 1–3. New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1853.
Pusey, E. B. Notes on the Old Testament: The Minor Prophets: Micah to Malachi. Vol. 2. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1885.
Richards, Larry, and Lawrence O. Richards. The Teacher’s Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1987.
Rosscup, James E. An Exposition on Prayer in the Bible: Igniting the Fuel to Flame Our Communication with God. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2008.
Smith, John Merlin Powis, and Julius August Bewer. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Jonah. International Critical Commentary. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1912.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. Zechariah. The Pulpit Commentary. London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909.
Terry, Milton S. Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ in the Canonical Scriptures. New York; Cincinnati: Eaton & Mains; Curts & Jennings, 1898.
Von Ewald, Georg Heinrich August. Commentary on the Prophets of the Old Testament. Translated by J. Frederick Smith. Vol. 5. Edinburgh; London: Williams and Norgate, 1881. Adams, John. The Man Among the Myrtles: A Study in Zechariah’s Visions. The Short Course Series. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913.
Von Orelli, C. The Twelve Minor Prophets: Commentary. Translated by J. S. Banks. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1893.
Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985.
Wolfendale, James. Minor Prophets. The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic Commentary. New York; London; Toronto: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.