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Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Mountain Man] #132165
03/29/11 03:43 PM
03/29/11 03:43 PM
Tom  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: NJK
T:Not everything that happens is for a purpose. There's a reason God has made the decisions that He has made, choosing to allow certain things to happen (like the Holocaust, for example) but this does not mean that God *purposed* for these things to happen. God's allowing certain things to happen, and purposing that they happen are very different things.

MM:What were Jesus' options in cases like the Holocaust?

That's a pretty tall order for me, isn't it? That is, you're asking me to enumerate the options of divinity? I don't think I'm qualified to do that.

Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Mountain Man] #132166
03/29/11 04:08 PM
03/29/11 04:08 PM
Tom  Offline
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Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: MM
Tom, in response to the following two questions, here's what I remember what you've said thus far.

1. In the OT, why did Jesus command godly people to kill ungodly people in battle?

The reason you believe Jesus commanded godly people to kill ungodly people in battle is because 1) the Jews failed to trust Jesus to defeat their enemies in a godly way, and 2) the Jews expected Him to think and behave like a pagan god.

I think an issue being discussed, which kland also chimed on, was the question of what God's expectations were. For example, God said he was going to destroy Israel, and found a new country, with Moses as its father. Moses argued with God and prevailed.

2. In the OT, why did Jesus command godly people to kill ungodly people through the execution of capital punishment?

The reason you believe Jesus commanded godly people to kill ungodly people through the execution of capital punishment is because 1) the Jews failed to trust Jesus to punish them in a godly way, and 2) the Jews expected Him to behave like a pagan god.

The point made above comes to play, I think. Was God displeased when Moses argued with Him when He said He was going to create a new nation with Moses as its father?

A point I've been making all along is that to understand incidents like this, we need to understand God's character. I've given the example of the hunter/father. In that example, the father's character was such that he was against hunting. That's fundamental to understanding the example.

Is it fair to say that God is against killing? (like the father in the story was against hunting). Is it possible to understand God's actions in a similar way to how the father's actions could be understood in the story?

22:20 He that sacrificeth unto [any] god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

15:35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

2:34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
20:17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; [namely], the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

10:40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.

You believe Jesus was willing to think and behave like a pagan god in order to gain the trust and respect of the Jews long enough to wean them off such ungodly expectations.

Do you believe anything else about it?

Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Mountain Man] #132169
03/29/11 06:54 PM
03/29/11 06:54 PM
kland  Offline
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The reason you believe Jesus commanded godly people to kill ungodly people through the execution of capital punishment is because 1) the Jews failed to trust Jesus to punish them in a godly way,
Wow! I had no idea Tom believed that way! I would be quite shocked if Tom confirmed that. From what I have seen Tom write, it is a rather opposite view.

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Mountain Man] #132170
03/29/11 07:05 PM
03/29/11 07:05 PM
kland  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,819
Originally Posted By: Mountain Man

What were Jesus' options in cases like the Holocaust?

Good point. I was thinking about the flood. If it was true, that God sent the flood, etc. to destroy people when He gets upset at them, or make a point with others as in you'd better not do that if you don't want to get what Joe got, then why did he flood the earth? The ones who drowned, weren't alive to get the benefits from the punishment, and the righteous who He didn't destroy, why did they have to suffer from the results of the destruction? And if he destroyed the earth and climate just to serve as a heading off means for the righteous remaining, why wouldn't He do something to stop the Holocaust? And a bigger question is, if He destroyed the earth to serve as some example, why did He promise not to do it again?

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: kland] #132171
03/29/11 07:36 PM
03/29/11 07:36 PM
NJK Project  Offline
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Laval, Quebec
As a contextually accurate understanding of the DA “It is Finished” chapter (79) is key to this discussion, I have now taken the time to do a complete analysis and commentary on it to see what it is precisely saying. Here goes:


Originally Posted By: SOP DA 758.3
To the angels and the unfallen worlds the cry, "It is finished," had a deep significance. It was for them as well as for us that the great work of redemption had been accomplished. They with us share the fruits of Christ's victory. {DA 758.2}
Not until the death of Christ was the character of Satan clearly revealed to the angels or to the unfallen worlds. The archapostate had so clothed himself with deception that even holy beings had not understood his principles. They had not clearly seen the nature of his rebellion. {DA 758.3}

-From here it is introductorily, and thus not in full details, chiefly stated that ‘what was “victoriously finished’ at the Cross was the “great work of redemption. (Thus no notion here of ‘a understood knowledge that sin results in death.’)

-It also was: “the character of Satan”, his previously deceptively concealed “principles” and “the nature of his rebellion” that were “clearly revealed to the angels or to the unfallen worlds”.


Originally Posted By: SOP DA 759.2
It was God's purpose to place things on an eternal basis of security, and in the councils of heaven it was decided that time must be given for Satan to develop the principles which were the foundation of his system of government. He had claimed that these were superior to God's principles. Time was given for the working of Satan's principles, that they might be seen by the heavenly universe. {DA 759.2}

-‘Satan was given time to develop the principles which were the foundation of his system of government in order “to place things [i.e. the resolution of the issues brought forth in this GC] on an eternal basis of security”.’

-During this time the Heavenly Universe watched these “working of Satan's principles”.

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 759.3
For four thousand years, Christ was working for man's uplifting, and Satan for his ruin and degradation. And the heavenly universe beheld it all. {DA 759.3}

-During that time of 4000 years (i.e., ca. Creation to the Cross), the heavenly universe were beholding the ruin and degradation being done by Satan. Surely they would see and understand here that Satan sin and government involved suffering and death. Yet for some reason they were still “sympathetic” to His cause. Perhaps they were also thinking that they should be free to choose this course of life if they wanted to. Thus the option of obeying God’s Law or not, and suffering the consequences if one so chooses, should indeed be a free and also, not God condemned act for free moral agents.

[{759.4}-{761.1}] - At Christ’s First Advent, Satan now focused his efforts to destroyed Him from His birth and that reached a climax in the frenzied efforts that took place at the Cross. It is then and there that Satan betrayed himself. His true/actual “character”, “principles” and “the nature of his rebellion” were all fully exposed for what they were:

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 761.2
Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted. Whatever attitude he might assume, he could no longer await the angels as they came from the heavenly courts, and before them accuse Christ's brethren of being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin. The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken. {DA 761.2}

-It is striking to me, as it will be seen in the next section, that the angels made a somewhat arbitrary decision here to no longer be sympathetic to Satan as they still did not even then fully understand the issue involved in the GC which would only be further revealed in the 2000+ years that remained in the GC. So it is apparently simply out of allegiance to Jesus, who Satan here wanted to murder, that they decided to from then on completely shut Satan out. Yet the GC issues were still not fully resolved in their minds then.

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 761.3
Yet Satan was not then destroyed. The angels did not even then understand all that was involved in the great controversy. The principles at stake were to be more fully revealed. And for the sake of man, Satan's existence must be continued. Man as well as angels must see the contrast between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness. He must choose whom he will serve. {DA 761.3}

-If ‘death was then (i.e., at the Cross) “finally” understood to be the inevitable result of sin,’ as you claim Tom, then it seems to me that Satan could and should have been destroyed then, rather than simply be shut out of Heaven. However the actual issue here was that: “The angels did not even then understand all that was involved in the great controversy. The principles at stake were to be more fully revealed.” The issues involved in the free choice to serve God or Satan still needed to be ‘further “deliberated”’ and eventually resolved.

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 761.4
In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; and if God should remit the punishment of sin, He would not be a God of truth and justice. When men broke the law of God, and defied His will, Satan exulted. It was proved, he declared, that the law could not be obeyed; man could not be forgiven. Because he, after his rebellion, had been banished from heaven, Satan claimed that the human race must be forever shut out from God's favor. God could not be just, he urged, and yet show mercy to the sinner. {DA 761.4}

-Here EGW restates the foundational issues involved in this GC which were actually resolved at the Cross. See also [{761.5}-{762.3}]

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 762.4
By His life and His death, Christ proved that God's justice did not destroy His mercy, but that sin could be forgiven, and that the law is righteous, and can be perfectly obeyed. Satan's charges were refuted. God had given man unmistakable evidence of His love. {DA 762.4}

-Still another issue(s) needed to be resolved, as follows:

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 762.5
Another deception was now to be brought forward. Satan declared that mercy destroyed justice, that the death of Christ abrogated the Father's law. Had it been possible for the law to be changed or abrogated, then Christ need not have died. But to abrogate the law would be to immortalize transgression, and place the world under Satan's control. It was because the law was changeless, because man could be saved only through obedience to its precepts, that Jesus was lifted up on the cross. Yet the very means by which Christ established the law Satan represented as destroying it. Here will come the last conflict of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. {DA 762.5}

{762.5b}-{763.3} - EGW’s elaboration on these Final Conflict Implications.

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 763.4
Then the end will come[i.e., the end of time (6000+ years) and not the Cross (4000 years)]. God will vindicate His law and deliver His people. Satan and all who have joined him in rebellion will be cut off. Sin and sinners will perish, root and branch, (Malachi 4:1),--Satan the root, and his followers the branches. The word will be fulfilled to the prince of evil, "Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; . . . I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. . . . Thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." Then "the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be;" "they shall be as though they had not been." Ezekiel 28:6-19; Psalm 37:10; Obadiah 16. {DA 763.4}

-It is this (end time) destruction of Satan that will then indeed not be construed as an arbitrary act of God as all of the self-actuating evidence will be in by then. That was not possible at the begin of the GC so that destruction act would have been misunderstood as arbitrary. I.e. there was no evidence that Satan’s sin was deserving of death, indeed this natural, self-combusting death.

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 764.1
This is not an act of arbitrary power on the part of God. The rejecters of His mercy reap that which they have sown. God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life. He is "alienated from the life of God." Christ says, "All they that hate Me love death." Ephesians 4:18; Proverbs 8:36. God gives them existence for a time that they may develop their character and reveal their principles. This accomplished, they receive the results of their own choice. By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them. {DA 764.1}

-Time is given for opposers of God’s Law to “ develop their character and reveal their principles” and not to learn that sin results in death. When this is accomplished, indeed by the faultiness of their own, now fully developed course, which now, as such, indeed ‘itself brings death’ (James 1:15), “they receive the results of their own choice”. Can’t better restate/explain EGW’s statement that it is: “By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. ” So it seems clear to me here that it is a most advanced level of sin that comes to be “self-combustible material in the presence of God’s presence, and not, as commonly assumed, ‘just a trace presence of sin.’ That would explain many instances in the Bible and SOP where sinful people were not immediately consumed by just being in the presence of God (e.g., as previously discussed, Satan in the Job episode).

-Seeing the face of God on the other hand, which is distinct from His presence, and which also symbolically implicates “fully understanding”/discerning God, evidently instantly results in that immediate destruction. (Exod 33:20-22).

-I however do not see in the Bible that even the wicked at the end will be self-combustibly destroyed just by the presence of God. This further, and in this context here, says to me that though they will have unforgiven sins on their ledger, they may not have reached this “self-combustible” level. That is why they will have to variously be “forcefully” destroyed in the end by being actively thrown into the Lake of Fire vs. merely being destroyed by the glory of God, even before the Second Death judgement, at the pre-millennium appearing of Christ.

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 764.2
At the beginning of the great controversy, the angels did not understand this. Had Satan and his host then been left to reap the full result of their sin, they would have perished; but it would not have been apparent to heavenly beings that this was the inevitable result of sin. A doubt of God's goodness would have remained in their minds as evil seed, to produce its deadly fruit of sin and woe. {DA 764.2}

So then what would the angels did not have understood had Satan and his host then been left to reap the full result of their sin (i.e., the “inevitable” consuming destruction merely at God’s glory) at the beginning of the great controversy?? That this, effectively pre-emptively accelerated judgement on Satan for his suggested contra-Law ways, was deserved. So he had to be given time to himself develop this sin to its fulness and thus, of himself bring about this then inevitable result. Hence this 6000+ year GC. For as seen in the next paragraph, the 4000 years leading up to the Cross were not even sufficient to make this “inevitable result” self-evident.

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 764.3
But not so when the great controversy shall be ended. Then, the plan of redemption having been completed, the character of God is revealed to all created intelligences. The precepts of His law are seen to be perfect and immutable. Then sin has made manifest its nature, Satan his character. Then the extermination of sin will vindicate God's love and establish His honor before a universe of beings who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law. {DA 764.3}

It is the “plan of redemption” that needs to be “completed” to self-reveal the true nature of sin. Not merely that sin (i.e., living outside of God’s Laws) results in death, as it can easily be seen, but that God’s destruction of sin and sinner is fully justified because their suggested course has no just, true nor redemptive qualities. So it was the immediate ending of a sinful course and the death of the sinner that were to be proven to not be an arbitrary act and this act was that sin, in its fullness would indeed itself result in this self-combusting end. If God had done this earlier in the GC instead of at the very end of it as stated here by EGW, it would have to be a forced act in the light of the not yet fully developed sin (=James 1:15) and not the natural one that it will be when this sin is indeed fully developed as allowed in the GC.

-However, and seriously, I still would need to see where this self-combustible destruction is said/envisioned to actually occur in the Bible or GC. It seems to me that much more time than what is found in a ca. 6000 year GC would be necessary to achieve this ‘critical mass’ stage. Also combined with the complete withdrawal of God’s restraining influence. So it very well may be that sinners will have to be actively destroyed in the end by God (vs. passively, merely by His glorious presence),because of a still not yet full matured level of sin. This may also be the case with Satan and His Angels who will similarly be forcefully/actively destroyed. All this to says, that, as indeed seen in the symbolism of 7, which is a ‘perfect representation of something’ and actually not a “complete” one, as other elements could have been added for this selective representation, that God, in mercy and for the sake of the righteous, cut short the time, (and also permitted extent) that would be needed for sin to fully mature to that full blown and ‘critical mass’ stage. This is why the Millennium period will be needed to answer the patent question of: “why wasn’t so and so saved”. I.e., that full blown sinfulness may not have been surfacely seen in their life. (Perhaps, symbolically speaking, 10,000 years for a GC would have been needed, but, again, for the ‘sake of the elect’ such a time was cut short by God, indeed, for the redeemed opting for “righteousness” vs. an enduringly achieved sinless state (i.e., much longer than what will be exacted in the end). The same conversely applied to the wicked. Indeed just looking at our world today, one can see and say that it could be many times much more evil and wicked then it is today, pointedly by people who do not believe in the God of the Bible. Other “regulating” moral religions other than Christianity are the perfect example of that.

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 764.4
Well, then [at the end of time and the GC], might the angels rejoice as they looked upon the Saviour's cross; for though they did not then understand all, they knew that the destruction of sin and Satan was forever made certain, that the redemption of man was assured, and that the universe was made eternally secure. Christ Himself fully comprehended the results of the sacrifice made upon Calvary. To all these He looked forward when upon the cross He cried out, "It is finished." {DA 764.4}

-The angels did not understand all in the GC at the Cross. Yet they understood that ultimate victory was guaranteed by this event. Christ ‘fully comprehended this’ and hence His thus prescient statement: “It [the GC] is [i.e, surely will be] finished [resolved].”

“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matt 25:45 NJK Project
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132177
03/29/11 11:22 PM
03/29/11 11:22 PM
NJK Project  Offline
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Laval, Quebec
NJK:Actually yes. As God can and has prevented evil, e.g., to safeguard Israel, He therefore is fully responsible for its occurrence, indeed simply by removing this protection, choosing not to have mercy.

Tom: God could only prevent evil by restricting free will. Satan is the author of sin and all its results. Satan is responsible for evil, not God.

I actually meant that God could prevent any ‘“bad things” as a consequence of this already established evil/sin in the universe’ from occurring if He so chose. Satan is indeed the originator of sin, however God has the last word on what he can and cannot do in even this sinful world. Demons cannot even say things to oppose the work of God is God does not want it. (Mark 1:34b).
Indeed by God removing the Tree of Life from this fallen world, many naturally occurring ‘adverse effects of sin’ where just in that one action permitted by God to occur.

NJK: So I do not see this as “the argument of the enemy” per se, but rather just his cover, and that by calculatedly to this end, having chosen to remain in the shadows while letting, the already manifested and more prominent God, wholly take the blame.

Tom: I'm not understanding your point here. My point is that Satan is responsible for evil, not God, and that Satan's argument is that God is responsible. It sounds like you're saying that God is responsible for evil, and that it is not Satan's argument that God is responsible for evil. Well, if God is responsible for evil, then since Satan is a liar, one would expect Satan to argue the reverse, that God isn't responsible for evil.

Substantively (i.e., Bible/SOP) correct if I am wrong here but I see, as expressed in the Garden of Eden, that Satan’s foundational argument in the GC is that God does not want His Creatures to truly be free by being free to know and practice things contrary to His stated will if they so choose. I.e., doing what they think is best for them. I however do not see Satan explicitly blaming God for causing, at least all (i.e., also the natural) adverse effects of sin. Satan rather is blaming God in this regard for having taken measure so that sin and sinners die because they have chosen to disobey God. And as I Biblically see it, though we may not understand how, God knew that sinful man could live forever just by eating of the Tree of Life. So Satan is here implicitly also trying to blame the adverse effect of sin on God mainly because God took measures for this to be the result upon sinners.

So I am not saying that God caused sin/evil (= your: ‘God is responsible for evil’ misunderstanding/misconstruing), but the He has indeed allowed for its adverse effects to come to pass. And that is what Satan is trying to paint as being unfair by God, i.e., artificially/arbitrary hindering his cause, hence this protracted GC to self-demonstrate that God’s sin/sinner limiting action is fully warranted and thus fully deserving of the utterly eradicating and death judgement that God wants to execute on it.

Again, Satan’s GC position is that man can live independently of God and if the Tree of Life had not been removed, as I understand it, such ‘sinful perpetual life, despite knowing good and evil, and indeed practising evil, would have been possible (Gen 3:22-24).

I agree this is an argument of Satan's. In reality, man cannot live independently of God, and even if the the Tree of Life had not been removed, man could not have lived forever independently of God.

Based on God’s statement in Gen 3:22-24, as previously discussed I have to disagree with you here. God knows that the fruit of Life can perpetuate the life of a sinful person. As seen today, variously, blatantly sinful people do not contract some unique disease by which they die. They can live just a long and as healthy as a just person, and many times even longer and healthier. So it seems clear to me that on an even field, i.e., without any intervention by God (e.g., removing the tree of life, healing and preventing diseases) any sinner would have been able to life perpetually.

By banning and removing the Tree of Life God came to effectuate this needed physical separation from God which result in physical death, through this non-access to a tangibly imparted source of perpetuating life for Created Beings. That is why in Heaven, we will not live for ever merely by being in the presence of God, but by tangibly eating of the tree of Life, thus tangibly taking in whatever tangible, supernatural ingredient He manifestly is injecting in it, in the Water of Life flowing from His Throne.

NJK: So Satan’s posturing here is to make God responsible for the adverse effects of sin, all stemming from God withdrawal of the life quality maintaining tree.

Tom: This is overly complicated. Satan simply misrepresents God's character, presenting Him as One who is responsible for evil, because He looks after His own interests in preference to those of His creatures, in addition to being harsh, severe, and arbitrary.

Not at all to me as explained above. It all makes perfect, and “real”, Theological/Biblical sense. This misrepresenting action is merely to further turn people against God so that they will not accept His way of Life as stipulated in His Laws nor His provisions for redemption. The same tactic is seen in political campaigns to try to secure votes for oneself and a political party’s cause.

NJK: And towards this blaming end, he does indeed try to complicate matters, now have nothing to lose, but rather many more, upset-with-God, people to gain.

Tom: People are not upset with God because they think God removed the Tree of Life (very, very few think in these terms), but rather because they don't trust God, perceiving Him wrongly to be concerned with Himself, and responsible for evil. And not just evil in general, but the specific evil which happens in their own lives.

Explicitly no. However most people who do not believe in God do so because they look at all the pain, sickness and suffering in the world and say: How could a purported ‘All-Loving and Omnipotent God exist and allow this.’ And all these ‘adverse effects of sin in humans, animals and nature would have been kept in check by the continue access/presence of the Tree of Life in nature, as it was the case in Eden, indeed for ca. 1700 after the Fall, while this Garden, thus maintained in its perfect state, was while still on earth until its removal by God just before the Flood.

Originally Posted By: NJK (edited)
NJK:So in summary of my Theological understanding here: I do not see that ‘God is not responsible for “why” evil happens as sin is this “why” but solely, in an ultimate since, that this adverse effects of sin (= priorly termed “evil”) is permitted to be effectuated, as He can easily prevent it, and all that stemming from the decision to ban access to the Tree of Life to sinful man and curtail its effect upon nature outside of the Garden of Eden.

Tom: You didn't close the quote mark. This is a very difficult sentence to understand.

Understood. I closed that single quote mark above.

Originally Posted By: Tom
I'll just comment on the "as He can easily prevent it" part. God cannot easily prevent evil. If He could prevent evil, He would, as that His character. God hates evil, and is doing all He can to bring it to an end, as quickly as possible. The judgment will reveal that God has consistently been working towards this end. All of His actions have been motivated by bringing evil to an end.

Again here, as priorly throughout, what I meant by “evil” was not “sin” but the adverse effects of sin. I think that clarification completely renders moot your expressed object.

Originally Posted By: Tom
To bring evil to end it is necessary to reveal the character of the enemy, and the character of his government, as well as the character of Himself and His government. The parable of the wheat and the tares addresses this.

Indeed to bring “sin” to an end as sin is “the transgression of God law”. Thus to bring the arguments that claim that this transgression is warranted to an end, such GC character defending and exposing for respectively, God’s side and Satan’s own, indeed have to be done. However keeping in check the adverse effects of sin can be independently done if God had wanted this to be the case, indeed starting with the permitting of access, and profusion in nature, of the supernatural powers placed in the Tree of Life.

As stated in COL 71.1 the sowing of the tares was ‘an act of revenge’. I understand this act of revenge being for Satan feeling cheated by God for taking measures so that sinful men could not live for ever. And so, as these adverse effects of sin can indeed be attributed to God’s measures here, as with the Fruit of Life and its God-inject supernatural ingredient, this would not have been the case (Gen 3:22-24), Satan is trying to enrage people against God. He indeed can easily claim that He is not responsible for these adverse effects, but that God’s methods have enabled them. However this parable is trying to show that the root cause of all of these “tares” are from the Devil’s noxious seed sowing (= suggesting this concept of “sin”). I.e., the tares did not spring up in the field of themselves, but ultimately came from this sin-seed that had been sown by Satan in his GC rebellion.

It is noteworthy to see in the Bible, especially the OT, how all non-natural adverse acts in nature were understood to be “Acts of God”. If only in the sense of ‘God having allowed it’. Indeed it is explicitly related that God at times summons evil angels to be “lying/deceiving spirits” to people who God wants to fasten in deception. (1Kgs 22:22, 23). God is indeed in total authority of what occurs on this earth, even of the harming works of the Devil, probably all as a purposeful punishment for sin which indeed serves to wisen up many people to the futility of a sinful course.

Also, relatedly to DA chapter 79:

Originally Posted By: SOP COL 72.2
The teaching of this parable is illustrated in God's own dealing with men and angels. Satan is a deceiver. When he sinned in heaven, even the loyal angels did not fully discern his character. This was why God did not at once destroy Satan. Had He done so, the holy angels would not have perceived the justice and love of God. [and not merely/surfacely that ‘sin results in death’.] A doubt of God's goodness would have been as evil seed that would yield the bitter fruit of sin and woe. Therefore the author of evil was spared, fully to develop his character. Through long ages God has borne the anguish of beholding the work of evil, He has given the infinite Gift of Calvary, rather than leave any to be deceived by the misrepresentations of the wicked one; for the tares could not be plucked up without danger of uprooting the precious grain.{COL 72.2}

NJK: So it is solely in that since that I say “responsible for” i.e., ‘having allowed it’ but certainly not for actively doing it.

Tom: I agree that God has allowed evil to occur, and one can argue that there is responsibility inherent in that, and I believe God recognizes and accepts that. However, the alternative would be not have created creatures with the ability to love and be loved. Loved requires risk. God was willing to understand this risk, and God has paid for the risk in the sacrifice of His Son.

Tom: Although God could be said to be responsible in a certain sense for having permitted evil to occur, His responsibility doesn't go beyond that, and, again, the only alternative would have been a Universe without sentient creatures capable of love.

Again I did not understand “evil” to be synonymous with “sin” but instead speaking of “the adverse effects of sin”. (To me that key distinction entirely resolves the misunderstanding here.)

NJK: The Devil in many ways does that. Still much of our various personal and planetary adversities are natural occurrences of a continually degenerating nature from its once perfect state. E.g., God does not cause earthquakes or hurricanes, an ageing planet with damaged and shifting tectonic plates natural cause earthquakes, and an uneven climate causes hurricanes to form.

Tom: Agreed.

I however do not think that every adverse occurrence in nature or individual lives are such “natural occurrences” as the Bible repeatedly shows that God actively effectuates adverse effects: E.g., Plagues, Flood, Red Sea Crossing Egyptian destruction, epidemics, earthquakes (Jericho), even military defeats, etcs. However most, if not all, calamities especially today, given the collective absence of a worthy people in pointed instances, are ‘naturally occurring/resulting adverse effects of sin.’

NJK:I actually am not, in my understanding. With cancer, many people live healthy lives and still get cancer.

Tom:This doesn't counter the point, that people who smoke may, and do, get cancer according to the principle of cause and effect.

NJK: That all really stems back to the absence of the Fruit of Life in our lives.

Tom:This is irrelevant to the point that cigarette smoking causes cancer.

NJK: Cigarette smoking is something else entirely and may be a cause-and-effect issue.

Tom: Right!

Perhaps the Fruit of Life could have “supernaturally” prevented even the harmful effects of smoking, if furthermore, the harmful components in Tobacco, or Tobacco plants itself, would have come to be found in nature. Perhaps this is one of the noxious plants that Satan concocted and then planted in nature. Surely God did not create (harmful) Tobacco, if at all. So Satan here would have sought a way to addictively harm the life of man, and that all so that he can keep people from truly following God and His ways or not enjoying the ‘more abundant life’ that Jesus wants to give them, even in this fallen world, as seen e.g., in Christians who smoke cigarettes, and also consume alcohol. Hence the reason for, and purpose of, the Remnant Church’s GC Health Reform message. So it is indeed all “related” and relevant in a greater and pertinent cause to effect issue. Perhaps Tobacco plants of themselves became self corrupted and harmful by the removal of the perfection preserving Fruit of Life.

NJK:However many diseases are not, but just a natural consequence of our bodily frailty after so many years of being removed from the Tree of Life and our once perfect state.

Tom:These are the result of sin. You're way of looking at things seems to make God responsible for disease, since He removed the tree, instead of putting the blame where it belongs, which is on sin and Satan.

Again my Theological understanding is based on this manifest Biblical reality that Satan is responsible for sin and God is ultimately responsible for having allowed the adverse effect of sin by the ‘perfect protection removal measures’ He opted to take following the Fall.

Indeed it could be because of this very fact that sin in undeveloped self does not result in death unless God so intervenes to make it so, it the reason why the GC objection that ‘Creatures of God did not need to live according to His Laws to actually live for ever’ was so widely accepted as plausible, including amongst unfallen angels. So God needed time to demonstrate this harmful evil in this proposed course of “living independent of God’s Law (= “sin”).

T:I was going to say this one isn't an issue, but the plagues of Egypt come to mind. Many have the idea of God's acting like a criminal wanting protection money, using more and more force until He gets His way. That would be similar to what you're suggesting here.

NJK:While the plagues are an example of God’s use of force, I actually do not see them as an act of compelling since if God wanted to compel Pharoah to obey Him, He would not have hardened his heart at all.

Tom: Pharaoh hardened his own heart. That's written half a dozen times or so. God didn't force Pharaoh to do something against his will.

Here is the exegetical Biblical evidence:
Exod 4:21 - God says in advance to Moses that: ‘He will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will not let the people go.’

Exod 7:13 - (Rod-to-Serpent Miracles) - Pharaoh’s heart was (naturally = Qal) hardened
1. Exod 7:22 (Blood) - Pharaoh’s heart was (naturally = Qal) hardened
2. Exod 8:15 (Frogs) - Pharaoh begs relief, promises freedom (8:8) but “causes his heart to be heavy” (#03513) = Hiphil here (vs. naturally be, or have it forcefully made to be, “hardened” (#02388), including by God.)
3. Exod 8:19 (Gnats) - Pharaoh’s heart was (naturally = Qal) hardened
4. Exod 8:32 (Flies) - Pharaoh bargains (8:28) but then causes his heart to be “heavy” (#03513) = Hiphil
5. Exod 9:7 (Livestock Diseased) - Pharaoh saw that no Israel livestock was affected (9:7a) but ‘caused his heart to be “heavy”’ (#03513) = Hiphil
6. Exod 9:12 (Boils) - Magicians cannot stand before Moses (8:11) but Yahweh (forcefully = Piel) hardened Pharaoh’s heart
7. Exod 9:34, 35 (Hail) - Pharaoh, with cessation of plague of Plague, ‘caused his heart to be “heavy”’ (#03513) = Hiphil (9:34) and thus his heart was (naturally = Qal) hardened. (9:35)
8. Exod 10:20 (Locust) - Pharaoh concedes (10:11) and asks for forgiveness (10:16-18) but Yahweh (forcefully = Piel) hardened Pharaoh’s heart
9. Exod 10:27 (Darkness) - Pharaoh concedes (10:24) but Yahweh (forcefully = Piel) hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he threatens Moses with death for any future return. (10:28)
10. Exod 11:9, 10; 13:15 (Death of Firstborn) - Yahweh (forcefully = Piel) hardened Pharaoh’s heart

Exod 14:4, 8, 17 - God continues to harden Pharaoh heart after the Exodus, so that he would chase after the Israelites while they were on their journey, in order to destroy the Egyptians armies in the Red Sea.

Based on this,it seems to me that God fulfilled His promise of hardening Pharaoh’s heart only when it was necessary. (I.e., Plague #6, 8, 9, 10). Otherwise Pharaoh either “naturally” (Qals) did this or “caused it to become the case” (Hiphils) on his own. EGW states in PP 268 that:

Originally Posted By: SOP PP 268.1
There was no exercise of supernatural power to harden the heart of the king. God gave to Pharaoh the most striking evidence of divine power, but the monarch stubbornly refused to heed the light. Every display of infinite power rejected by him, rendered him the more determined in his rebellion. The seeds of rebellion that he sowed when he rejected the first miracle, produced their harvest. As he continued to venture on in his own course, going from one degree of stubbornness to another, his heart became more and more hardened, until he was called to look upon the cold, dead faces of the first-born. {PP 268.1}

however I see this as not an “I was shown statement” but only a reasoned understanding, and, as seen in the exegetical indicators in that Biblical episode, God Himself did “forcefully” bring about this hardening result, indeed when Pharaoh conceded defeat, in at least four of the plagues and also following the plagues in the Military Expedition.

Originally Posted By: Tom
The way people traditionally see the plagues is that God employed more and more force until God forced Pharaoh to do something against his will. This would certainly bean "act of compelling," as you put it.

I rather see it, as God Himself states in e.g, Exod 7:3, 4; 11:9 that this hardening was actively done by God, when needed, so that: ‘God’s wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt.’

It was to be a striking National object-lesson for Israel and its enemies of a show of force and the strength of Israel’s God and not actually an attempt to compel Pharaoh to do something against his will. As I understand it, if that had been the case, God would not have actively and forcefully hardened Pharaoh in, and from, the sixth plague (Exod 9:12ff).

NJK: Seems to me that God wanted to completely break the Spirits of Pharaoh so that Israel would have an unobstructed exodus and also a financially rewarded one as it indeed came to pass.

Tom: Spirits of Pharaoh?

That is ‘spirit (i.e., psyche) of Pharaoh.’ That is God wanted through this to have the initial phase of the Exodus unhindered by Pharaoh and his army until Israel was in a place/position where God could use nature to defeat the Egyptian armies, drawn then, by God’s hardening; and the financial, slavery reparations equating, reward was also achieved through the fear brought about by these multiple mighty acts (Exod 3:21, 22; 11:2, 3; 12:33, 35-36; Psa 105:37, 38).

T:I don't believe God is violent, nor that violence is part of God's government, in either of the two ways you mentioned. I don't see any hint of this in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

NJK:Due to a seeming confusion of understandings I suggest/move for an abandonment of the term “violence” here for instead ‘use of force’ as this is supposed to be how this term is being used here. So in that sense, I see God, in many instances, as “using force”, e.g., supernatural acts, to effectuate a judgement action and not always just letting nature take its course.

Tom: Ok, I'll put it this way. I believe the exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God's government. I believe compelling power is found only under Satan's government.

I think you are conflating or confusing the object of this ‘use of force’. I Biblically see and understand that God uses force to effectuate non-natural events/judgments but not to “compel” people to do His will. These effectuated judgement can produce such a compellation but this would be as ‘non-compelling to freely do right’ as someone being sentenced in civil court to pay full damages after having lost the case. A change of mind to right at the threat of judgment from God, as found throughout the Bible (e.g., Rev 14:9-11) is not an act of having been compelled as the judgement was not yet manifested. (= the Ninevites repentance). If however God accepts the doing of right after the previously clearly threatened consequences/judgement had started, that would be “compellation”. The key in all of this is whether the right is done out of faith vs. due to manifested consequences.

Originally Posted By: Tom
...What I'm asking is the following. God was always merciful, although this was an aspect of God's character which had not been revealed, as it was unnecessary until sin came about. We could also say that God was always violent, but this was also an aspect of God's character which was not revealed until sin came about. It sounds to me like this is what you are saying.

A) I do not see God as “violent” except only as this is understood as Him having to use force to do something that is necessary for the good, either way , in this GC.

B) I do not see this as necessarily having to be a trait of God. It is just a required type of action. And He is not using it in anyway to “compel” anyone to do what is right. But ot either bring a fully deserved judgement that in turn will right a wrong crucial for the successful carrying out of this GC, but as the righteousness of His professed people, even if simply as small, faithful Remnant, permit Him to do so.

“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matt 25:45 NJK Project
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132178
03/29/11 11:34 PM
03/29/11 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: Tom
So the principle that all that we need to know of God, or can know of God, was revealed in the life and character of His Son during His earthly ministry is false.

I personally see, as apparently also Mountain Man and Green Cochoa, that Jesus did indeed demonstrate that “Ministry of Wrath” (= the SOP’s “ministration of judgement” {PP 162.3}) though it was very limited, though having to most utter consequence for Israel, because He only needed to express it most explicitly at the end of His ministry (=Luke 21:22).

So indeed by also demonstrating this righteous aspect of God as found in the OT, and also through fully deserved Justice, Jesus here did fully complete His Revelation of God. This also honours/vindicates the manifested OT character and actions of God and Jesus probably did this because He had seen the Father also do this in the OT (e.g., John 5:19, 22, 30).

Ironically enough, if this is not seen/recognized from His ministry years, it is then that this Revelation becomes deficient/incomplete.

“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matt 25:45 NJK Project
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132179
03/30/11 12:02 AM
03/30/11 12:02 AM
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For the following bloc of objections see my commentary on DA Ch. 79 here. These comments/objections are addressed there, and the basis for my observed, and here expressed, derived GC view is there concretely demonstrated, substantiated and/or clarified.

NJK:The angels did not see that Satan “sin” was “sinful”, i.e., deserving to be put to death just for having decided not to continue to obey God’s law.

Tom:This isn't the issue discussed in the DA chapter.

NJK: If Satan then had been immediately destroyed, the Angel surely would have known that it was because of that act of rebellion which God would have surely stated was “sin”, if they did not already know that definition themselves. What they would not have understood was “why”, i.e., why did Satan have to be destroyed for that “new “lawless” way that he was proposing.

Tom:This isn't at all what the statement says. Or, more accurately, the statement says nothing at all like this.

What it says is that God gives an opportunity to develop character, and that those who rebel against Him develop a character so out of harmony with Himself that His very presence to them is a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them. The angels did not understand this. Had God left Satan and his follower to reap the full result of their sin, they would have perished, but the angels would not have understand that this is because the inevitable result of sin is death.

This is precisely what the statement says.

NJK: It was then to be shown in the GC how Satan’s way was indeed deserving of death as it was not a better way, but one that would lead to suffering and death.

Again, this wasn't the issue discussed.

NJK: That was seen long before the cross, e.g., by the Flood.

Tom: It wasn't seen then. The chapter explains that it wasn't until the cross that it was seen that there was no truth in Satan's accusations. Elsewhere it is written that apart from the cross, the holy angels were no more secure than they were when Satan stared his rebellion. The cross safe-guarded the universe by making clear what the character is of God and His government in contrast to that of the enemy. The Great Controversy will continue until this distinction is seen by all.

What was “finished” at the Cross was literally the opposing arguments in this GC and not a long ago demonstrated knowledge that sin is deserving of death.

Tom: Sin being deserving of death isn't something discussed at all. The point made wasn't that sin was *deserving* of death, but that sin *results* in death. That's in important distinction.

NJK: or else one can easily make this Tree of Life removal objection.

Tom: This wasn't discussed.

NJK: It was to show how wrong the course of Satan was that it was indeed deserving of being eradicated along with anyone who wanted to adhere to it.

Tom: No. Not at all. Not one word was mentioned along these lines.

NJK: So it was even not to prove/show that ‘the inevitable result of sin is death’ that the GC was permitted to go on,

Tom: That was *a* reason, and a very important one. Had God left Satan and his follower to reap the full result of their sin, it would not have been understood that their demise was the result of their sin, but would have appeared to have been an arbitrary act of power on the part of God. This would have created a seed of doubt in regards to God's character.

This is explained in the paragraphs under discussion.


NJK: Indeed had God not barred access to the tree of Life, sinners would not even have died, but lived a perpetual life of sin.

Tom: No way! The time before the flood demonstrates this clearly. Men at this time could have lived to almost the age of a thousand, but few did, because of all the violence in the world. With so much violence, it would not have taken long for men to have killed each other. This is the essence of sin. You have to be number one. The only way to be number one is to get rid of the opposition.

In the context of an existing “survival of the fittest” where Men could die from various causes, such violence was probably borne out of that, including mental imbalances. However in a perfect physical and mental state, many of the reasons for such violence may have been removed/not utilized from even a sinful, but, assuredly, perpetually living people. E.g., no need to basely covet your neighbor’s spouse if your own spouse is just as physically perfect.

That of course does not mean that no violence would exist, as it surely would, but that it probably may have been much less, indeed simply from the removal of that constant angst, stress, anxiety, pain, etc., to simply survive in a world that was naturally non-productive or cooperative, among other such hardships brought about by the removal of the fruit of life. Also no need to fight for a would be “more favorable” geographical place to settle in.” etcs.

Originally Posted By: Tom
At any rate, this wasn't discussed in the chapter.

It still is a foundational and intrinsic part of the GC and this issue, hence its discussion, in pertinently applicable part. I.e., why couldn’t sinful man be allowed to perpetually, and physically perfectly, live.

“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matt 25:45 NJK Project
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132180
03/30/11 12:38 AM
03/30/11 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted By: Tom
Not everything that happens is for a purpose. There's a reason God has made the decisions that He has made, choosing to allow certain things to happen (like the Holocaust, for example) but this does not mean that God *purposed* for these things to happen. God's allowing certain things to happen, and purposing that they happen are very different things.

As I believe that God is in total control of all that occurs, and that He allows to occur, on this Planet, indeed as most crucially necessary so that He can accurately bring about the prophetic plans that He has made long ago (Isa 46:9-11), I see that everything that God thus allows or directly does is for a particular purpose in this GC, even if it is merely naturally permitted (i.e., not supernaturally averted) quasi-quota, facially seeming, injustices, (e.g., infants getting AIDS), a Tsunami killing hundreds of thousands, so as to impress others to seek to do what is right.

NJK: Job candidly and sincerely clearly asked them even though he never gave up faith in God (e.g., Job 19), as did others in the Bible, and that is because God does punish the wrongs of even His people. So when no personal wrong is known, one, even the Believer, usually, almost knee-jerkedly, asks such Divine Character probing questions. It really takes an achieved stoic character to, effectively, emotionlessly (or at least unnaturally, emotions wise) accept whatever happens to you without such questions, however not only do I not see this in the Bible, e.g., Psa 94, but I do not believe that God expects this of even Believers.

Tom: Would God want such a thing?

It is all an unremovable part of our freedom for a truly genuine relationship with God. (See also e.g., Jer 20:7-18; Matt 11:1-6 (DA 214.1-218.2)). In our present state where we are living by faith and not by sight, I think God fully expects this and non-reproachingly, candidly and understandingly interacts with it. (E.g, Gen 18; Exod 4:1-9) God only opposes this when ample and adequate evidence has already been given. (Exod 4:10-17).

Originally Posted By: Tom
Is this what we see from Jesus Christ?

As a Man Jesus had ample evidence in to have the level of faith He needed to not faithlessly as such doubting question, however when all such evidence was suddenly seemingly completely useless in the light of what He was experiencing at the Cross, He did cry out “in a loud voice” where all heard him: “God! God! Why have Yo forsaken Me??! (Matt 27:46, 47). This was probably the only time in His earthly life that He “real-ly” felt abandoned by God and thus did not hesitate to openly express this.

Again God has nothing against man to be real with Him. The unnatural opposite is really hypocrisy and one can say you are not really loving God but are only in it for some benefit, like a silent and uncomplaining spouse married to known an unfaithful spouse, keeping silent so that certain terms of a marital agreement can be met so that she will make off with a large part of their fortune when she much later, after much accumulated commonwealth, divorces him on these costly faulting grounds of marital infidelity.

NJK: Refusing to obey God or opposing Him and His cause because of such assumed wrongdoings on His part is another thing, but sincerely questioning them is quite normal.

Tom: Agreed. God welcomes sincere questions.

And Christ’s question on the Cross mentioned above was one of those “sincere questions”. Had Christ lost faith He could have come down from the cross and that then, vs. before this great psychological ordeal, may not have been sin for Him given this manifest utter and genuine sincerity. (Rom 14:23b)

“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matt 25:45 NJK Project
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132181
03/30/11 12:53 AM
03/30/11 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted By: Tom
So the principle that all that we need to know of God, or can know of God, was revealed in the life and character of His Son during His earthly ministry is false.

Yes, Tom, that principle is false. It has come from the great book of "Tom Says," and not from an inspired source. Mrs. White never says what you say here, despite your tenacious ideas about what you think she has said.


Green Cochoa.

Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong. -- Thomas Jefferson

Error is never harmless. It never sanctifies, but always brings confusion and dissension. -- Ellen White

The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be our creed, the sole bond of union; all who bow to this Holy Word will be in harmony. ...Let us meet all opposition as did our Master, saying, "It is written." -- Ellen White
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