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Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132604
04/11/11 09:10 PM
04/11/11 09:10 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Tom
M: Are His hands tied in the sense He isn’t free to prevent things like N&A being burned alive? Do such things happen with or without His consent?

T: Mike, God allowed it to happen. So obviously he was able to do so. Instead of asking questions like this which have only one answer, which is obvious, perhaps you could just write out what you're thinking.

M: I had no idea it was obvious to you Jesus has options He chooses, at times, not to exercise. Now that I know what you believe I am in a position where I can ask the following question – When Jesus decided N&A and the two bands of fifty were worthy of death, who or what caused the fire that burned them alive?

T: This doesn't make any sense. You asked if God was free to do something which He did, which, of course, He was. I pointed out that this is obvious. That doesn't put you into any position where you weren't already.

Perhaps my question was poorly worded. I apologize for the confusion. I now understand you believe Jesus is free to choose between such options as preventing death and destruction or permitting it. He takes everything and everyone into consideration and then decides whether to prevent or permit death and destruction. The choice is His. Nothing happens by chance or fate. As sovereign Lord and King, Jesus is ultimately in control – not sin, not sinners, and not Satan.

When Jesus decided N&A and the two bands of fifty were worthy of death, who or what caused the fire that burned them alive?

Quote:
M: Is Satan free to do as he pleases without limits?

T: Satan would destroy everyone, and there wouldn't be any Great Controversy, which is a point I've made many times, which you are aware of.

M: Does Satan exercise self-control? Does he work to restrain himself? Who or what establishes and enforces the limits Satan does not exceed?

T: We get some idea of how this works from Job. I don't know that I'm aware of how things work beyond what's revealed there.

M: What do we learn from the story of Job that helps us understand who or what establishes and enforces the limits Satan does not exceed?

T: You've read Job. What does it say?

Ellen wrote:

Quote:
All heaven seemed in commotion. The angels were marshaled in companies, each division with a higher commanding angel at its head. . . Then there was war in heaven. Angels were engaged in the battle; Satan wished to conquer the Son of God and those who were submissive to His will. But the good and true angels prevailed, and Satan, with his followers, was driven from heaven. {EW 145.2}

God wants intelligent Christians. He wants you to count the cost of the battle. He wants you to count whether you can war against Satan and his spiritual wickedness in high places. He wants you to see the plan of the battle, of the confederacy of evil, and then He wants you to see that angels are in the army, that the Captain of our salvation is at the head. It is they that do the warring. It is they that do the work, and we cooperate, coincide, and work with them. {1SAT 212.2}

We are told of the fall of the angels from their purity, of Lucifer their leader, the instigator of rebellion, of their confederacy and government, of their various orders, of their great intelligence and subtlety, and of their malicious designs against the innocence and happiness of men. We are told of One mightier than the fallen foe,--One by whose authority Satan's power is limited and controlled; and we are told, also, of the punishment prepared for the originator of iniquity. {4SP 331.1}

Man is Satan's captive and is naturally inclined to follow his suggestions and do his bidding. He has in himself no power to oppose effectual resistance to evil. It is only as Christ abides in him by living faith, influencing his desires and strengthening him with strength from above, that man may venture to face so terrible a foe. Every other means of defense is utterly vain. It is only through Christ that Satan's power is limited. This is a momentous truth that all should understand. Satan is busy every moment, going to and fro, walking up and down in the earth, seeking whom he may devour. But the earnest prayer of faith will baffle his strongest efforts. Then take "the shield of faith," brethren, "wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." {5T 294.2}

When those words were spoken [It is finished], the plan was completed--the plan whereby Satan's power should be limited and broken, and whereby Christ should finally die. And when Christ rose from the dead His triumph was complete. Satan knew that his battle with Christ was lost, but yet he is at enmity with God. {1888 126.4}

If Satan sees that he is in danger of losing one soul, he will exert himself to the utmost to keep that one. And when the individual is aroused to his danger, and, with distress and fervor, looks to Jesus for strength, Satan fears that he will lose a captive, and he calls a reinforcement of his angels to hedge in the poor soul, and form a wall of darkness around him, that heaven's light may not reach him. But if the one in danger perseveres, and in his helplessness casts himself upon the merits of the blood of Christ, our Saviour listens to the earnest prayer of faith, and sends a reinforcement of those angels that excel in strength to deliver him. Satan cannot endure to have his powerful rival appealed to, for he fears and trembles before His strength and majesty. At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan's whole host trembles. He continues to call legions of evil angels to accomplish his object. And when angels, all-powerful, clothed with the armory of heaven, come to the help of the fainting, pursued soul, Satan and his host fall back, well knowing that their battle is lost. The willing subjects of Satan are faithful, active, and united in one object. And although they hate and war with one another, yet they improve every opportunity to advance their common interest. But the great Commander in heaven and earth has limited Satan's power. {1T 345.3}

Quotes like the ones posted above make it clear to me Jesus and holy angels work to ensure evil angels do not exceed the limitations imposed upon them. For this reason, Satan is not free to do as he pleases. It is Jesus, not Satan, who ultimately establishes and enforces the degree of punishment meted out. It must irritate Satan to know he is not free to exercise his powers as he sees fit. Like a chained lion, try as he might, he cannot tear to shreds the prey just out of reach. “Already nations are angry, already Satan is working with signs and lying wonders, and this will increase until the end. God will use his enemies as instruments to punish those who have followed their own pernicious ways whereby the truth God has been misrepresented, misjudged, and dishonored.” {PC 136.3}

Quote:
M: Did Jesus, while here in the flesh (as opposed to after He returned to heaven), choose to allow things like ungodly people being burned alive?

T: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen [doth gather] her brood under [her] wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34)

M: You seem to be suggesting Jesus allowed ungodly people to be killed while He was here in the flesh. Who was killed?

T: In what Jesus said, He expressed that He was willing, desiring even, to protect Jerusalem as a chicken would protect its chicks. He was very sorry they did not permit Him to do so. This is the principle enunciated in GC 35-37.

M: I don’t understand how your response answers my question.

T: My answer describes the principle at work.

Is offering protection, while here in the flesh, from something that happened in 70 AD equivalent to Jesus allowing N&A and the two bands of fifty to be burned alive?

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132605
04/11/11 09:33 PM
04/11/11 09:33 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Tom
M: Tom, the following quotes make it clear sinners will revisit, during final judgment, each and "every sin which they have ever committed." Jesus will not lump their sins together. . . [quotes omitted by Tom] I bring this point up because I recall you once arguing there will not be time enough during final judgment for Jesus to judge every sin everyone committed. But the quotes above make it crystal clear Jesus will judge every sin ever committed by everyone. From this point, I am constrained to ask - Since revisiting even one sin during judgment is sufficient to cause intense emotional and physical suffering ending rather rapidly in eternal death, what, then, will God do to enable sinners to endure intense emotional and physical suffering for millions of sins without dying prematurely?

T: Well, let's just do some math. Let's say a wicked person commits 1,000 sins in a day. Does that seem reasonable to you? If not, we can adjust it. In one year that's 365,000 sins. If the person lives a long life, that's 3,000,000 sins. Let's say it takes 10 seconds to review a sin. Does that seem reasonable to you? If not, we can adjust it. To review 3,000,000 sins at 10 seconds a sin would take 30,000,000 seconds, or a little over 57 years. I don't think the judgment will take 57 years. Do you?

I enjoyed your math. Nicely done. However, the following quotes, omitted in your response above, make it clear Jesus will judge every sin everyone has ever committed.

Quote:
The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world's Redeemer. The evil thoughts, the evil words, the evil deeds of every son and daughter of Adam, called for retribution upon Himself; for He had become man's substitute. {FLB 101.3}

How little do they consider that their deeds and words are passing into judgment, and that every sin must have its retribution in the future! {RH, February 28, 1882 par. 4}

These sins in a short time will be revealed in just their enormity. God's eye does not slumber. He knows every sin that is hidden from mortal eye. The guilty know just what sins to confess that their souls may be clean before God. {1T 155.3}

Every man's work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel. {GC 482.1}

Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. {GC 489.3}

As soon as the books of record are opened, and the eye of Jesus looks upon the wicked, they are conscious of every sin which they have ever committed. They see just where their feet diverged from the path of purity and holiness, just how far pride and rebellion have carried them in the violation of the law of God. The seductive temptations which they encouraged by indulgence in sin, the blessings perverted, the messengers of God despised, the warnings rejected, the waves of mercy beaten back by the stubborn, unrepentant heart--all appear as if written in letters of fire. {GC 666.2}

Satan will be judged by his own idea of justice. It was his plea that every sin should meet its punishment. If God remitted the punishment, he said, He was not a God of truth or justice. Satan will meet the judgment which he said God should exercise (MS 111, 1897). {5BC 1087.4}

So we’re not accused of using human logic to undermine Inspiration, please post inspired passages that refute what she clearly stated above. In particular, note the following insight – “As soon as the books of record are opened, and the eye of Jesus looks upon the wicked, they are conscious of every sin which they have ever committed.” It should be obvious that opening “the books of record” doesn’t take 57 years.

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132606
04/11/11 09:52 PM
04/11/11 09:52 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Tom
M: You say it's the grace of God that enables sinners to sin without immediately experiencing the second death, but then you say it's Satan's vital force that enables him to live with sin long after sinners perish in the lake of fire. What's the difference?

T: I was suggesting that Satan lived longer than other angels because of having a greater vital force than they have.

Does vital force enable sinners to sin without immediately experiencing eternal death? Or, must God act to enable sinners to sin without immediately experiencing eternal death? Who or what is the origin of their source of life?

Also, who or what will act during final judgment to enable sinners to live long enough to suffer intense emotional and physical pain proportionate to their sinfulness? Ellen wrote:

Quote:
They suffer punishment varying in duration and intensity, "according to their works," but finally ending in the second death. {GC 544.2}

Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished "according to their deeds." The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. {GC 673.1}

Who or what is the origin of their source of life?

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Mountain Man] #132607
04/11/11 09:55 PM
04/11/11 09:55 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Tom
1. In the OT, why did Jesus command godly people to kill ungodly people in battle?

M: Seems to me you believe Jesus commanded godly people to kill ungodly people in battle 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. Do you agree with my assessment of your view as it relates to the question above?

T: No, of course not. But surely you must know that.

Please elaborate.

Quote:
M: Was Jesus, while here in the flesh (as opposed to after He returned to heaven), forced to command godly people to kill ungodly people in battle?

T: What are the principles laid out in GC 35-37? That's the important question. Did Jesus Christ teach and embody these principles? Yes, He did. Where we're disagreeing is in regards to what we think God is like. I believe God's character was revealed fully by Jesus Christ, and the best revelation was the cross. Rather than use force to get His way, Jesus Christ voluntarily submitted to torture and a horrible death from the very creatures He came to save. This is what God is like. Not just sometimes, but all the time. The principles explained in GC 35-37 are in harmony with what Jesus Christ revealed. Your perceptions of God's character appear to me to be schizophrenic. Some of the time, as it appears to me you see things, He exhibits the qualities Jesus Christ embodied on earth, especially at the cross, but other times He acts indistinguishably from Satan, leaving us with no means to know who is acting.

I don’t understand how your response answers the question above.

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

T: You repeated yourself.

Why do you think so?

Quote:
M: Was Jesus, while here in the flesh (as opposed to after He returned to heaven), forced to command godly people to kill ungodly people in obedience to divine laws requiring capital punishment?

T: What's your argument here? That since Jesus Christ, while here in the flesh, wasn't forced to command godly people to kill ungodly people in obedience to divine laws requiring capital punishment, it therefore follows that it's not the case that all that we can know of God was revealed by Him? I can't think of why you would ask this question otherwise. Why not just set forth your argument?

You wrote, “Jesus Christ, while here in the flesh, wasn't forced to command godly people to kill ungodly people in obedience to divine laws requiring capital punishment.” Is this your answer to the question above?

In response to your question, I believe the OT Jesus commanded godly people to kill ungodly people in obedience to divine laws requiring capital punishment, and the fact the NT Jesus did not do so makes it clear He did not demonstrate this attribute of God’s character while here in the flesh.

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

Numbers
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.

Deuteronomy
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:

Joshua
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.

M: Seems to me you believe Jesus was reluctantly willing to command the kinds of things described in the passages above for as long as it would take Him to teach the Jews how to "turn the other cheek"? Is this what you believe?

T: I believe, as I've said so many times, that for us to properly interpret Scripture, we need to know God's character. I believe that the first order of business is to study the life and character of His Son, whose "whole purpose" was "the revelation of God." What is it that Jesus Christ revealed? What was Jesus Christ like? How did He treat His enemies? I don't believe that He acted any differently in the Old Testament than while here in the flesh. Do you?

Do the scriptures above require interpretation? Ellen wrote, “The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed.” {GC 598.3} “If we would not build our hopes of heaven upon a false foundation we must accept the Bible as it reads and believe that the Lord means what He says.” {5T 171.1} You seem to be saying, no, we cannot take the passages above at faced value because . . . . If so, why not?

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132608
04/11/11 10:55 PM
04/11/11 10:55 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Tom
M: You need to balance your favorite quote with the following insights [quotes omitted by Tom] God has not revealed everything there is to know about Himself. We are incapable of comprehending certain aspects of God. He has only revealed everything we "need to know" about Him. One of the many things He has not explained to us is "His strange act".

T: This isn't linguistically viable. She wrote that all that man needs to know, or can know, of God was revealed in the life and character of His son. You're introducing exceptions to this, without any justification whatsoever. She nowhere wrote that God's "strange act" wasn't revealed in the life and character of His Son. Your "balancing" is simply negating what she wrote. If what you're suggesting were true, then the following would also be true: "All that man needs to know, or can know, of God was NOT revealed in the life and character of His son." This is the direct opposite of what she actually wrote.

M: Do you agree the following quotes make it clear we are incapable, in our sinful state, of knowing everything there is to know about God?

Quote:
We can know of Him all that human beings can bear. {UL 347.6}

All that man needs to know or can know of God has been revealed in the life and character of His Son. {8T 286.1}

God cannot be understood by men. His ways and works are past finding out. In regard to the revelations that He has made of Himself in His Word, we may talk, but other than this, let us say of Him, Thou art God, and Thy ways are past finding out. {6BC 1079.11}

Human talents and human conjecture have tried by searching to find out God. Many have trodden this pathway. The highest intellect may tax itself until it is wearied out, in conjectures regarding God, but the effort will be fruitless, and the fact will remain that man by searching cannot find out God. This problem has not been given us to solve. All that man needs to know and can know of God has been revealed in the life and character of His Son, the Great Teacher. As we learn more and more of what man is, of what we ourselves are, in God's sight, we shall fear and tremble before Him. {MM 95.2}

In Christ Jesus is a revelation of the glory of the Godhead. All that the human agent can know of God to the saving of the soul, is the measure of the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, to which he can attain; for Christ is he who represents the Father. The most wonderful truth to be grasped by men is the truth, "Immanuel, God with us." Christ is the wisdom of God. He is the great "I AM" to the world. As we contemplate the glory of the divine character as revealed in Christ, we are led to exclaim, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" This wisdom is displayed in the love that reaches out for the recovery of lost and ruined man. {ST, December 12, 1895 par. 5}

The Lord does not delight in vengeance, though he executes judgment upon the transgressors of his law. He is forced to do this, to preserve the inhabitants of the earth from utter depravity and ruin. In order to save some, he must cut off those who have become hardened in sin. Says the prophet Isaiah: "The Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work, and bring to pass his act, his strange act." The work of wrath and destruction is indeed a strange, unwelcome work for Him who is infinite in love. {ST, August 24, 1882 par. 15}

The forbearance that God has exercised toward the wicked has emboldened men in transgression; but their punishment will be none the less certain and terrible for being long delayed. "The Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act." To our merciful God the act of punishment is a strange act. Yet He will "by no means clear the guilty." By terrible things in righteousness He will vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. The very fact of His reluctance to execute justice, testifies to the enormity of the sins that call forth His judgments, and to the severity of the retribution awaiting the transgressor. {ST, January 25, 1910 par. 16}

His creative works are just as incomprehensible as his existence. {3SG 93.1}

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable." {3SG 93.2}

"Which doeth great things, past finding out; yea, and wonders without number." {3SG 93.3}

"Which doeth great things, and unsearchable; marvelous things without number." {3SG 93.4}

God thundereth marvelously with his voice. Great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend." {3SG 93.5}

"O, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?" {3SG 93.6}

"God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Language is too feeble for us to attempt to portray the love of God. We believe it, we rejoice in it, but we cannot comprehend it. {18MR 337.2}

Yet the finite minds of men are inadequate fully to comprehend the plans and purposes of the Infinite One. We can never by searching find out God. We must not attempt to lift with presumptuous hand the curtain behind which He veils His majesty. The apostle exclaims: "How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33. We can so far comprehend His dealings with us, and the motives by which He is actuated, that we may discern boundless love and mercy united to infinite power. Our Father in heaven orders everything in wisdom and righteousness, and we are not to be dissatisfied and distrustful, but to bow in reverent submission. He will reveal to us as much of His purposes as it is for our good to know, and beyond that we must trust the Hand that is omnipotent, the Heart that is full of love. {DD 11.2}

The Word of God, like the character of its divine Author, presents mysteries that can never be fully comprehended by finite beings. . . . {FLB 14.2}

If it were possible for created beings to attain to a full understanding of God and His works, then, having reached this point, there would be for them no further discovery of truth, no growth in knowledge, no further development of mind or heart. God would no longer be supreme; and men, having reached the limit of knowledge and attainment, would cease to advance. Let us thank God that it is not so. God is infinite; in Him are "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:3. And to all eternity men may be ever searching, ever learning, and yet they can never exhaust the treasures of His wisdom, His goodness, and His power. {FLB 14.3}

In the natural world we are constantly surrounded with mysteries that we cannot fathom. . . . Should we then be surprised to find that in the spiritual world also there are mysteries that we cannot fathom? {FLB 14.4}

The mysteries of the Bible . . . are among the strongest evidences of its divine inspiration. If it contained no account of God but that which we could comprehend; if His greatness and majesty could be grasped by finite minds, then the Bible would not, as now, bear the unmistakable evidences of divinity. . . . The more we search the Bible, the deeper is our conviction that it is the word of the living God, and human reason bows before the majesty of divine revelation. {FLB 14.5}

Christ will lead the redeemed ones beside the river of life, and will open to them that which while on this earth they could not understand. {FLB 14.6}

In the light that shines from the throne, mysteries will disappear, and the soul will be filled with astonishment at the simplicity of the things that were never before comprehended. {FLB 14.7}

We can never by searching find out God. He does not lay open His plans to prying, inquisitive minds. We must not attempt to lift with presumptuous hand the curtain behind which He veils His majesty. The apostle exclaims, "How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" It is a proof of His mercy that there is the hiding of His power, that He is enshrouded in the awful clouds of mystery and obscurity; for to lift the curtain that conceals the Divine Presence is death. No mortal mind can penetrate the secrecy in which the Mighty One dwells and works. We can comprehend no more of His dealings with us and the motives that actuate Him than He sees fit to reveal. He orders everything in righteousness, and we are not to be dissatisfied and distrustful, but to bow in reverent submission. He will reveal to us as much of His purposes as it is for our good to know; and beyond that we must trust the hand that is omnipotent, the heart that is full of love (Review and Herald, Apr. 7, 1885). {LHU 361.5}

But many mysteries yet remain unrevealed. How much that is acknowledged to be truth is mysterious and unexplainable to the human mind! How dark seem the dispensations of Providence! What necessity there is for implicit faith and trust in God's moral government! We are ready to say with Paul, "How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" {6BC 1091.6}

We are not now sufficiently advanced in spiritual attainments to comprehend the mysteries of God. But when we shall compose the family of heaven, these mysteries will be unfolded before us. Of the members of that family John writes: "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." "And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads." {6BC 1091.7}

Then much will be revealed in explanation of matters upon which God now keeps silence because we have not gathered up and appreciated that which has been made known of the eternal mysteries. The ways of Providence will be made clear; the mysteries of grace through Christ will be unfolded. That which the mind cannot now grasp, which is hard to be understood, will be explained. We shall see order in that which has seemed unexplainable; wisdom in everything withheld; goodness and gracious mercy in everything imparted. Truth will be unfolded to the mind, free from obscurity, in a single line, and its brightness will be endurable. The heart will be made to sing for joy. Controversies will be forever ended, and all difficulties will be solved (ST Jan. 30, 1912). {6BC 1091.8}

The word of God, like the character of its divine Author, presents mysteries that can never be fully comprehended by finite beings. The entrance of sin into the world, the incarnation of Christ, regeneration, the resurrection, and many other subjects presented in the Bible, are mysteries too deep for the human mind to explain, or even fully to comprehend. But we have no reason to doubt God's word because we cannot understand the mysteries of His providence. In the natural world we are constantly surrounded with mysteries that we cannot fathom. The very humblest forms of life present a problem that the wisest of philosophers is powerless to explain. Everywhere are wonders beyond our ken. Should we then be surprised to find that in the spiritual world also there are mysteries that we cannot fathom? The difficulty lies solely in the weakness and narrowness of the human mind. God has given us in the Scriptures sufficient evidence of their divine character, and we are not to doubt His word because we cannot understand all the mysteries of His providence. {SC 106.2}

Man cannot by searching find out God. Let none seek with presumptuous hand to lift the veil that conceals His glory. "Unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33. It is a proof of His mercy that there is the hiding of His power; for to lift the veil that conceals the divine presence is death. No mortal mind can penetrate the secrecy in which the Mighty One dwells and works. Only that which He sees fit to reveal can we comprehend of Him. Reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself. Heart and intellect must bow to the great I AM. {8T 285.2}

T: Even in a sinless state, we would be incapable of knowing all there is to know about God. But that's not the point. The point is that everything that we can know of God was revealed in the life and teachings of Christ. The righteous will spend eternity plummeting the depths of what Jesus Christ revealed (not to mention, having the privilege of His continuing to reveal those same things throughout eternity).

You said, “The point is that everything that we can know of God was revealed in the life and teachings of Christ.” Do you realize that’s not what your favorite quote says? Here’s what it literally says – “All that man needs to know or can know of God has been revealed in the life and character of His Son.” Jesus Himself said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.”

Quote:
M: If you agree the quotes above make it clear we are incapable, in our sinful state, of knowing everything there is to know about God, do you also agree we are incapable of knowing everything there is to know about "his strange act"?

T: I'm sure we can learn more about it.

When the Bible describes God causing death and destruction, why doesn’t it plainly say, in the immediate context, “God caused the death and destruction herein described by withdrawing His protection and giving His enemies permission to do it”? For example, when fire flashed out from the presence of God in the most holy place and burned N&A alive, why doesn’t it plainly say, in the immediate context, “God withdrew His protection and permitted His enemies to kill them”?

By the way, if this is indeed what happened, did God give His enemies access to the most holy place? And, where did they obtain the fire they used to burn N&A alive? While we’re at it, who were His enemies?

Quote:
M: Why do you think saying we are incapable, in our sinful state, of knowing everything there is to know about God is the same thing as saying - "All that man needs to know, or can know, of God was NOT revealed in the life and character of His son"?

T: Because these are different things. Don't you see that? I can explain it if you wish, but I think if you think it through, you should be able to see that these are different things.

I agree. They are different. But, as you can see, the question above was aimed at determining why you think otherwise. It’s obvious now, though, that you agree with me.

Quote:
M: Also, do you think - "All that man needs to know, or can know, of God was revealed in the life and character of His son" - must be interpreted to mean "Jesus revealed everything there is to know about God while He was here in the flesh"?

T: Sure, of course. That's what it says. Well, the context is clearly dealing with Christ in His humanity, so if we accept that this is dealing with Christ's earthly mission, how else could it be read?

Why, then, did Jesus clearly say, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak”? Ellen wrote:

Quote:
Christ said to his disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” [John 16:12.] As the result of their early education, their ideas upon many points were incorrect, and they were not then prepared to understand and receive some things which he would otherwise have taught them. {GW92 301.1}

On one occasion Christ told His disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." Their limited comprehension put a restraint on Him. He could not open to them the truths He longed to unfold; for while their hearts were closed to them, His unfolding of these truths would be labor lost. {1SM 109.1}

Jesus saw that they did not lay hold of the real meaning of His words. He compassionately promised that the Holy Spirit should recall these sayings to their minds. And He had left unsaid many things that could not be comprehended by the disciples. These also would be opened to them by the Spirit. {DA 670.3}

She plainly says Jesus did not, could not, reveal everything there is to know about God while He was here in the flesh. You seem to disagree.

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Mountain Man] #132609
04/12/11 01:18 AM
04/12/11 01:18 AM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: MM
Perhaps my question was poorly worded. I apologize for the confusion. I now understand you believe Jesus is free to choose between such options as preventing death and destruction or permitting it. He takes everything and everyone into consideration and then decides whether to prevent or permit death and destruction. The choice is His. Nothing happens by chance or fate.


Chance and fate are two very different things. I don't understand the purpose of this sentence. Indeed, everything you wrote above after "I not understand you believe ..." should read "I not understand I believe ..." as you're just repeating things you believe, is what it looks to me.

What *I* believe is that God has created beings with free will, and these often, on earth, unfortunately, have chosen to act contrary to God's will, and *that's* why bad things happen. And similarly for the unfaithful angelic beings.

Quote:
As sovereign Lord and King, Jesus is ultimately in control – not sin, not sinners, and not Satan.


Satan and his followers are responsible in every way, including ultimately, for sin an all its results. God is entirely innocent. God is not in control of sinners.

Quote:
When Jesus decided N&A and the two bands of fifty were worthy of death, who or what caused the fire that burned them alive?


I don't think it matters what the exact mechanism was. I believe the principles laid out in GC 35-37 were at work.

Quote:
T: You've read Job. What does it say?

Ellen wrote:


This seems like an odd response. I ask you what Job said, and you respond by saying, "Ellen wrote." Is "Ellen" a pseudonym of Job's? smile

Quote:
Quotes like the ones posted above make it clear to me Jesus and holy angels work to ensure evil angels do not exceed the limitations imposed upon them.


As I've often said, if permitted, Satan would destroy all human beings, which would not leave a Great Controversy to be fought.

Quote:
For this reason, Satan is not free to do as he pleases.


He is, to a great degree, which is evident in looking at our world. He has to be free to do as he pleases in order for there to be a Great Controversy. This agrees with your understanding, doesn't it?

Quote:
It is Jesus, not Satan, who ultimately establishes and enforces the degree of punishment meted out.


This is like saying it is Jesus, not Satan, who metes out and enforces the degree of punishment meted out when someone ignores the law of gravity. Sin causes misery, suffering, and death because of its nature. These things are what happen when one separates from God. It doesn't require an extra, unrelated, special action on the part of God for misery, suffering, and death to occur, but merely acting contrary to God's principles, and separating from Him, is sufficient. This is what "me first" does.

"Me first" can not end up in anything other than misery, suffering, and death. These things are the fruit of Satan's government, of choosing his principles.

Quote:
It must irritate Satan to know he is not free to exercise his powers as he sees fit.


Satan is free to exercise his powers as he sees fit, to a great degree, or else there would be no Great Controversy.

It's imperative that we understand that *all* the bad, all the evil, there is in the world, is the result of Satan, and none of it due to God.

Satan gets irritated when his plans are thwarted, which is what happens when one chooses to follow God instead of him.

Quote:
Like a chained lion, try as he might, he cannot tear to shreds the prey just out of reach. “Already nations are angry, already Satan is working with signs and lying wonders, and this will increase until the end. God will use his enemies as instruments to punish those who have followed their own pernicious ways whereby the truth God has been misrepresented, misjudged, and dishonored.” {PC 136.3}


They are used as GC 35-37 explains.

Quote:
M: Did Jesus, while here in the flesh (as opposed to after He returned to heaven), choose to allow things like ungodly people being burned alive?

T: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen [doth gather] her brood under [her] wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34)

M: You seem to be suggesting Jesus allowed ungodly people to be killed while He was here in the flesh. Who was killed?

T: In what Jesus said, He expressed that He was willing, desiring even, to protect Jerusalem as a chicken would protect its chicks. He was very sorry they did not permit Him to do so. This is the principle enunciated in GC 35-37.

M: I don’t understand how your response answers my question.

T: My answer describes the principle at work.

M:Is offering protection, while here in the flesh, from something that happened in 70 AD equivalent to Jesus allowing N&A and the two bands of fifty to be burned alive?


The same principles are at work. Your question should be if offering protection in the one case is equivalent to offering protection in the other, as this would be apples to apples, and I would respond "yes" to such a question.


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: Tom] #132610
04/12/11 01:25 AM
04/12/11 01:25 AM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Quote:
T: Well, let's just do some math. Let's say a wicked person commits 1,000 sins in a day. Does that seem reasonable to you? If not, we can adjust it. In one year that's 365,000 sins. If the person lives a long life, that's 3,000,000 sins. Let's say it takes 10 seconds to review a sin. Does that seem reasonable to you? If not, we can adjust it. To review 3,000,000 sins at 10 seconds a sin would take 30,000,000 seconds, or a little over 57 years. I don't think the judgment will take 57 years. Do you?

M:I enjoyed your math. Nicely done. However, the following quotes, omitted in your response above, make it clear Jesus will judge every sin everyone has ever committed.


Not in the way you're apparently thinking, as the math makes clear.

Quote:
M:So we’re not accused of using human logic to undermine Inspiration, please post inspired passages that refute what she clearly stated above.


I have no desire to refute anything EGW wrote, which I'm sure you know, so your question is completely out of place. To refute how you're apparently thinking, I explained the math to you.

Quote:
In particular, note the following insight – “As soon as the books of record are opened, and the eye of Jesus looks upon the wicked, they are conscious of every sin which they have ever committed.” It should be obvious that opening “the books of record” doesn’t take 57 years.


It should be obvious that a person cannot be conscious instantly of 3,000,000 individual sins. That cannot be her intent. The human mind simply does not have that capability.

Have you ever had a near death experience where your life passed before your eyes? If so, that could serve as an approximation for what's going on here.

Remember the EGW statement that says that God is pleased when we use common sense? That should be considered in interpreting statements such as these. There's advice from the EGW estate explaining this as well, to avoid coming to extreme interpretation of her statements, making her say something which was not her intent.

To review a person's entire life is clearly something that would take time. Not an extraordinary amount of time, like 57 years, if each individual sin were considered, but certainly much more than an instant. Just consider how much time is taken in earthly courts to consider things which involve the judging of a person.


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: Tom] #132611
04/12/11 01:31 AM
04/12/11 01:31 AM
Tom  Offline
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14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Quote:
M: You say it's the grace of God that enables sinners to sin without immediately experiencing the second death, but then you say it's Satan's vital force that enables him to live with sin long after sinners perish in the lake of fire. What's the difference?

T: I was suggesting that Satan lived longer than other angels because of having a greater vital force than they have.

M:Does vital force enable sinners to sin without immediately experiencing eternal death?


Why would this be the case?

Quote:
Or, must God act to enable sinners to sin without immediately experiencing eternal death?


Haven't I said as much? Many times?

Quote:
Who or what is the origin of their source of life?


Don't you know? It's God!

Quote:
Also, who or what will act during final judgment to enable sinners to live long enough to suffer intense emotional and physical pain proportionate to their sinfulness?


I don't think this is a good way of looking at things. Actually, very bad.

Quote:
Ellen wrote:

Quote:
They suffer punishment varying in duration and intensity, "according to their works," but finally ending in the second death. {GC 544.2}

Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished "according to their deeds." The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. {GC 673.1}[

Who or what is the origin of their source of life?


Didn't you already ask this?

As to what I think the right way of looking at this:

Quote:
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." Eph. 4:18; Prov. 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.

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)


Note the overwhelming emphasis on the fate of the wicked being due to their own choice.


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: Tom] #132612
04/12/11 02:16 AM
04/12/11 02:16 AM
NJK Project  Offline
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Laval, Quebec
As the issues raised in this latest post may indeed be most foundational to our differences here, I’ll address them right away.

Originally Posted By: Tom
What I've said is that it's not necessary to investigate every individual case, that knowing the principles which apply are sufficient.


The principles indeed need to be valid. As stated your principles sound valid however the way in which you are applying them is destroying that achievable full validly

Originally Posted By: Tom
You think it's necessary to investigate every incident which you list.


As in any science, an hypothesis needs to be tested to demonstrate that it is valid. I needed to see that done with your principles with my list of prominent events, indeed discussed in both the Bible and SOP, to see if that is, as you claim, the way to come to understand all other OT. For the reasons I have stated many times, I do not substantively see the destruction of Jerusalem, as it collectively prophesied and brought about starting especially from Christ’s predicitons and how it transpired to be the all in all example of what will truly/fully happen when/whenever, if ever before, the “passion of God” is fully manifested.

Originally Posted By: Tom
It seems to me self-evident that if you agreed with the principles we're discussing, that takes care of the issue, so I'll deal with these.


Quite sincerely Tom, because, mainly I have to ignore many explicit statements of direct and active acts of God in the Bible in order to view things as you do, I do not see your even SOP supposed/derived view (i.e., believing the SOP is 100% accurate here) as being valid.


Quote:
T:1.All that can be known of God was revealed by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ during His earthly mission.

NJK:Your stance here wants to preclude everything outside of the Gospel accounts.

Tom:First of all, it's not my stance.


Fine, but only in conceding part because I see too many additions to this SOP stated statement. I.e., excising and editing the OT, even SOP, of explicit statements

Originally Posted By: Tom
Secondly, the idea isn't to preclude anything, but to emphasize that everything necessary is contained in a certain place, which is in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.


I understand this to be in term of principles in as you quoted:

Originally Posted By: SOP
With his own evil characteristics he sought to invest the loving Creator. Thus he deceived angels. Thus he deceived men. He led them to doubt the word of God, and to distrust His goodness. Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving.


By you saying that God’s acts of Justice if said to be His, (despite the Bible clearly saying that), is saying that God is violent, then I think you are falling for the converse of that deception. Which is that God does not intervene to effectuate justice. Which indeed why e.g., many waywards things in the Church are left unrebuked and unjudged. You also summarily, even obliviously, deny the “brute force” war that took place in Heaven based on that slant on that SOP counsel/statement.

Quote:
NJK: I do not see that this is what the SOP had in mind.

Tom: I think she had in mind what she said, that everything that man needs to know, or can know, of God was revealed in the life and teachings of His Son. This seems very to the point and easy to understand to me.


You want this “everything” to be something tangibly substantive, whereas it is quite logically speaking of the greater principles at work. So since you don’t see Jesus marshalling an army to expand the territory of Israel, you somehow see that the OT must not have ever said this!?? However Jesus indeed demonstrate such part of the ministry of wrath/judgement principle of God. Indeed by defaulty opposing the Jewish leaders from the start, as shown in the parable of the fig tree, he played a part in, at least, keeping the Jewish nation on their path of destruction, if he also did not later stir up the Roman to come against the Jews. If I recall accurately, following the very early 66 aborted siege, in wasn’t until later 69 A.D. that the Romans returned. Perhaps God stirred them to return, so that they would not give up on the revolted Jews and just let them be. Indeed as Titus was then most reticent and regretful to use military force all the way through that conflict.

Quote:
NJK Furthermore, you do not address the circumstantial realities, Gospel mandate and Legalities which all variously limited the extent of Christ actions on this earthly mission.

Tom: This is irrelevant, unless it limited Christ's ability to reveal all that man needs to know or can know of God.


Based upon your requirements for your view, it certainly is not. Case in point, you also somehow outrightly ignore/deny OT, Divinely-mandated, acts of Capital Punishment. Well as I pointed out, Jesus could not do so, nor was he thus presented with more than one contrived and illegal opportunity to do so because the ROMAN LAW prevented Him to do so. Yet Jesus also did not abolish that Law of God in this regard in His response to that situation, as He easily could have. Thus the Roman Law would have “limited Christ's ability to reveal all that man needs to know or can know of God” in here, regards to Capital Punishment however Jesus non artificial point was that there was not a righteous witness to establish that case. Indeed He here heightened the Law to the Righteous Level that God always intended thus at the same time demonstrated the Character of God in this regards. That, by then hypocritically abused, law was also not abolished but elevated and made honorable. You instead, irrationally say and want me to believe that, based on this episode, the OT God then committed no Capital Punishment. It would be one thing to claim that from the NT time on, there should be not capital punishment, (though here your incident-requiring view would have to limit it to only cases of adultery), however it is a whole other incomprehensible thing to seek to rewrite God’s actions and commands towards this inflicted death end in the OT.

Quote:
NJK: Jesus also wanted to emphasize that the low and hypocritical level of righteousness amongst God’s people then made it that just/righteous judgements such as those involving capital punishment could not be enforced. (Cf. Matt 5:20) It indeed was the leaders who were deserving of these punishments. Also, these capital punishments may have been done during the 3.5 years of Christ public ministry, (that is of course if the Roman’s honored them, especially the more religious ones), yet you don’t read of Jesus going to such a probable public execution and saying that it should not be done, and that oddly enough, because ‘God does not condone such direct and inflicted killing which are done for Him and in His name by His People’!?

Tom: Did this impact Christ's ability to reveal the Father?


According to your concrete Gospel incidents-requirement view it should unless you are, as I observed just subjectively deciding what in the OT you yourself will allow Jesus to address and reveal. That’s what I call the “Gospel of Tom” and if anyone else who share such a view also do this then I say the same about them.

Quote:
Tom: 2.God is just like Jesus Christ in character.

NJK:I see that you are significantly looking at things reversedly.

Tom: The "whole purpose" of Christ's earthly mission was "the revelation of God." (ST 1/20/90). From Scripture, John 1:18. "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known."

Tom: The problem is that God's character wasn't known.


I exegetically don’t jump to that “known” conclusion from even John 1:18 which literally speaks of “showing the way” or relating in order to explain. So God’s Character was known, however it was just misunderstood. Thus Jesus in His Life and Teaching “showed the way” to how it really was thus “explaining it” through these variously “related” (= recounted) actions and words.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Both statements "Jesus Christ is just like God" and "God is just like Jesus Christ" are equally true.


They are only reversibly true because Jesus perfectly imitated and emulated the Father the OT God which in many instances was Jesus Himself and at the very least, being the union of God, always reflected all of the Three members of the Godhead.

Originally Posted By: Tom
The problem lies more in the realm of misunderstanding God's character, however; hence the emphasis there.


That is indeed more, and significantly so, accurate. Indeed it was because it was “wrongly known” (e.g,. John 8:38-41) being actually Satan’s character, that these Jews were in error.

And as I said in regards to EGW mention of ‘compelling force’ it is in regards to ‘break Satan’s deceptive power’ and not, not to enforce due and deserved judgements.

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 22
That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan's deceptive power was to be broken.


It was this that “could not be done by force” for ‘the exercise of (compelling) force is contrary to the principles of God's government. And not judgement force. Nor miracle working power. I see that God justly offsets judgements which can lead to an inceptive fear with miracles which also influences one to believe in God.

Quote:
NJK: Many statements of Jesus say that He was imitating the Father. As such He also did not act unjustly and thus have someone killed just to demonstrate that the Father had done this in the OT. He rather did just like God and, not doing away with such capital punishment laws, insisted that it be done in a righteous way (John 7:24 - and a “righteous” judgement is not the same as a “just” as seen in the episode related by John in the next chapter.

Tom: The point that you are responding to is that "God is just like Jesus Christ." Are you wishing to dispute this point? If so, I don't see how this last paragraph does so.


My point here is that Jesus perfectly imitated the OT God by showing that even Capital Punishment, when done, in full keeping with the Law, must be a righteous judgement. So in this area, Jesus was also like God the Father.

Quote:
Tom: 3.Jesus Christ was not violent, and taught anti-violence.

NJK: If this “violence” means malicious acts, then that statement if fully true.

Tom: It means "violent" in the ordinarily understood meaning of the term.


Well if you wanted to see it as involving any force then you should have said so then you should have insisted so. To me, perhaps to 19th century people (as with the word “mischief”) violence has a more malicious connotation than mere use of force.

And, does EGW herself ever say that ‘God is not violent’ to mean God does not use any force. Otherwise you would be imposing your understandings on hers. Indeed all I see her saying is He does not use ‘force to compel’ and that service to him. Force to comply with an undisputable requirement that He is making in an acts of judgement as the Plagues after years of slavery seems to also not be a use of force to compel. Indeed God was not seeking for Pharaoh to love or “serve” him but to comply with the command to Let Israel go from Egypt.

Originally Posted By: Tom
An illustration of Christ's teachings are where He explained that His kingdom is not of this world, and if it were, His servants would fight.


That is really a proof-text example. All that Jesus is simply saying that He/His Servants are not engaging in military effort (like the Zealots) to establish His kingdom because it is not “out of” this world. Not that any force, such as to execute capital punishment, is never acceptable. Indeed, as veiledly stated, because Jesus was not seeking to establish a typical kingdom as those of, and in the manner of, the world’s methods to do so, military campaigns to seek to get lands to establish it was not necessary. So Pilate had no tangible threat in that regards That kingdom was instead going to be done by conquering hearts instead.

Quote:
Tom 5.The use of force is contrary to the principles of God's government.

NJK: If it means “use force” then a statement like (Luke 22:35-38) could easily disprove this,

Tom: If you would cite what the references say, it's easier on the reader.


I don’t think I can afford that extra effort. I also figure people will prefer to read their favorite version, vs. my default NASB, so I only cite the reference. Only when I see crucial exegetical improvements from the NASB do I quote the text with indicated improving edits.


Originally Posted By: Tom
When Jesus said, "It is enough," your understanding of this is that Jesus Christ was teaching that violence, or force, should be used?


Actually No. The context clearly says to me that the tow swords the disciples managed to find amongst themselves was enough.

Quote:
NJK: indeed as the time for this use of capable force had now come. Jesus indeed used light force to exact, or seek to exact, just acts from His opposers and enemies. (E.g., ‘not arresting Him as he was indeed God‘ John 18:5, 6 - DA 695.1). Christ’s miracles were also a use of supernatural force to this similar effect (see e.g., John 11:4, 40-42). This is also just like God to use shades of light force to seek to instill an inceptive fear in man (e.g, Egypt Plagues Exod 7:3-5; 11:9), yet, as seen with Christ’s arresters, man is free to be compelled by this force or not.

Tom: You're saying the Egyptian Plagues were "light force"? Should the 7 last plagues also be deemed "light force."?


Considering what God could have done to Egypt in even one plague, all of the limited and withdrawn plagues were relatively “light force”. God indeed could have completely blotted of the Egyptians and given everything left over to Israel, indeed the whole territory of Egypt also. Indeed the pointedness of the last plague deliberately demonstrated that God could kill only, even all Egyptians if He wanted to. (Cf. Exod 11:7)

Originally Posted By: Tom
In the last plague, the eldest sons were killed. The implication is, if you don't do what God says, more will be killed. To suggest that this isn't compelling a decision isn't a credible suggestion.

If I kill a child of yours, and threaten to kill another one if you don't do what I say, sure, I can say you're free to do what you want, that I'm not compelling you, but that rings hollow. This is certainly an example of my using force to compel you to do my will.


I most manifestly, even evidently, see here how your view actually is defaultly faulting and impeaching the Character of God. That is why you prefer to ignore or vainly explain away such OT passages. God was not saying to Egypt that I will kill more if you don’t obey me here. As exegesis clearly shows, God actually “(forcefully) hardened” Pharoah’s heart so that that Plague also can be done, indeed by the 6th plague exegesis shows that God was acting to harden Pharaoh’s heart when necessary. Your theology won’t allow for that exegetically plain reading, however it clearly is stated, and thus implied that God wanted Pharaoh to resist up through the 10th Plagues. As I said before, the reverential question here is to (hopefully “prayerfully”) as “why”. I did, and here is the Biblical answer I was impressed with, in succinct bullet points. (See especially Exod 1 and PP 241ff for most Biblical allusions)

-When God had began establishing Israel, He had no land to given them yet as no kingdom was yet fully deserving of being judged for their sins.

-Israel therefore had to settle in a place where they could relatively be safe as they were greatly and rapidly increased by God. So God sent them to Egypt through an act which made them favored at first.

-Indeed when they increased, and became a natural threat where they could also join an invading army against Egypt, the Egyptians enslaved them. Other nations would probably have sought to kill them if they had not been in a land (which really could not happen as all lands belonged a nation, especially the Great Power of Egypt).

-(Slavery was also an object lesson for Israel for their future to impress them to be obedient in order to avoid losing their freedom and land.)

-then when Israel still could not be controlled and loyalty assured despite enslavement, Egypt began to kill the males of Israel by throwing them into the Nile. That went on for at least three months in “full force” (PP 242.2). As Aaron was 3 years older than Moses (Exod 7:7), and Aaron was alive, then it may have been going on for up to these 3 years of difference. I further do not see any indication when, even if it ever ended up Israel’s Exodus, despite Moses having been rescued through a seemingly unique, and God-inspired, idea. (Point it out to me if you know). Indeed the Egyptians original threat was only increasing and God had not yet actively intervene in it. So this killing may have been going own for over 80 years until Moses returned to deliver Israel. That would mean that millions of Israelite male children were so killed during this time.

-So the Ten plagues, indeed sustained by God to their full extent, when Pharaoh wanted to concede by the 6th plague, was done on one side to make Egypt freely give Israel much substance as reparations for the years of enslavement and the Tenth Plague, to justly venge the death of potentially/probably millions of Hebrew Male Children. (Deut 32:35; Psa 94:1; cf. Rom 12:19; Heb 10:30, 31)

-Also the first-born was a sort of god to Egyptians so it also defeated that, probably most revered figment of a god of their.

So God was acting justly in all of this and that is why He was hardening Pharaoh’s heart through those 10 plagues as forcefully necessary. So Pharaoh did not even really have to option to refuse this 10 phase just judgement that God wanted to do. And if God had wanted to compel Egypt, that 10th plague directly (if not only) involving human death, would have been done first, then 2nd born for the second plague, etc.

Again the way to understand the Character of God is to defaultly give him the benefit of the doubt and then reverentially/prayerfully ask why. And the answer is indeed in His OT words and revelation, with Jesus also confirming that God is a God of justice.

Quote:
4.There are thousand dangers from which God protects us constantly. Any degree of destruction is possible by God's simply withdrawing His protection. There is no need for God to act actively to produce destruction.

NJK:That possibly may, to an extent, be the case, however that blanket supposition is not what the Bible and SOP explicitly state in many, if not most, pertinent instances.

Tom: I got the statement from the SOP. In the GC 35-37 passage she says something similar. We certainly grossly underestimate the extent to which we are dependent upon God for His protection.


True in part, though I would actually challenge rendering “many” as “thousand” in the sense as I logically see it as “thousands of different kinds of dangers. For example I believe that the world is getting old and thus many disaster such as earthquakes occur, but I do not think that God is e.g., actively keeping the Oxygen molecules in air from combusting or the hydrogen in water from splitting and causing a global atomic explosion. I see all natural threats as being age related. Indeed in the first 6 of the 7 last plagues with bowls of wrath being poured out by God Angels to various aspects of the planet and life show to me that God has to actively perform/mix in/inject something to nature to cause “supernatural” catastrophe, i.e., greater than the “natural” disaster that this ageing planet naturally produces.

Originally Posted By: Tom
I don't know what your point is here [below].


Sorry for the misunderstanding. Here is my statement edited, more clearly expressed and rearranged:

‘As you understand it, a passive destruction is ‘God removing His hand from an already formed/present danger (e.g., venomous serpents)’ and ‘leaving a person to follow the destructive path they always wanted to follow.’ However I do not see that Israel always wanted to be bitten by snakes in the desert and God was preventive this, their will, from occurring or being pursued. Indeed if He was preventing this, this would theologically wrongly imply that God is forcing people to do what is right, while here their will would be to be bitten by snakes.’

‘In other words in your even passive view, God is shown as having an “obey me or else” approach, and worst He, with the withheld snakes, does not warn of the dangers that would occur if Israel disobeyed.’ I don’t know if I’ve made it clear. It is just that I don’t see your passive view as removing any action from God, but really only making thing worst relationally and theologically. If it was instead a direct action such as if you want to continue smoking then you’ll naturally get cancer, then that something else, but Israel here did not want to be bitten by snakes, they simply did not want to obey God. So God is being shown as someone who says, if you obey me then I’ll protect you.

In fact, as I see it, in God sending rain on the just and unjust, is in many ways protecting everyone. Which is actually a natural act. Withholding rain on only the unjust would be supernatural. When God has to actively, supernaturally intervene for the accomplishment a course/mission that He has mandated (= crossing a wilderness with the serpents) then undoing this intervening act constitutes a direct act, indeed at the very least, the undoing of an active act. As I said a truly passive acts, what I see as a ‘Satan passive’ is Satan influencing a person to at least start, and then of themselves keep on smoking until they get cancer. Still I do not see very many Active acts of Satan in the GC to date. People chose their life courses and some knowingly chose to suffer and/or risk the consequences.

Quote:
NJK:And the passive destructions of God, still do come from Him, i.e., His allowing of it. That is why I now see the God vs. Satan categories instead on seeing this as ‘an Active God vs. a Passive God.’

Tom: Regarding God's allowing things instead of preventing them, it's evil that is causing the things which God permits.


This is pointedly where I see the ‘(ultimately) blame it on the author of sin (=Satan)’ issue/statement as applying.

Originally Posted By: Tom
God can't prevent all bad consequences of sin, or else no one would learn that sin results in misery, suffering, and death.


He actually can. But I rather see that He does not because of GC limitation and not for lessons inflicting reasons. I would see this as a form of using compelling force. Satan wanted God to let created being live apart from His laws and on their own choices, well that is what God has allowed including all of the natural consequences. Man now has to freely choose if they’ll want to have faith in God or not and God has been allowed/able to work with those who want to. Indeed also being a blessing, if those professed follower make it so, a rescue and blessing to the unfaithful. It all and always revolves around free choices.

Quote:
NJK: Indeed the presence and influence of God’s is not doing anything forceful, but is just whispering a Good alternative to the Satan’s evil suggestions. People are always entirely free to choose what they will follow.

Tom: But they may lose a child if they don't....


(I presume = Egypt’s first born): Only when (delayed) justice is to be rendered.

Originally Posted By: Tom
...or get burned alive.


(I presume = Sodom and Gomorrah, [though e.g., Num 16] same degree of relative opportunity*): Only when their sin has reached a certain life threatening level (e.g., developed epidemics and/or STD’s as such perverse acts may lead to.)

It is most telling to me that you manifestly see these acts of God as being totally baseless. It is no wonder that you prefer not to consider them. If you rightly had applied what your views should fully mean, you would look to Jesus who also spoke of Sodom and Gomorrah in deserving of judgement, and typifying, terms (Matt 10:15; 11:23, 24; Luke 17:28-30) and at the very least give God this Jesus-derived benefit of the doubt that that OT Judgement of God was a just and deserving one. Even people who lived and/or daily commune with Jesus and/or saw him understood this; (Jude 1:7; 2 Pet 2:6; Rom 9:29, respectively).

*Again the closer a people is allowed to get to God, in the fairest and also most just of ways, the swifter/non-delayed are deserved judgements.

Originally Posted By: Tom
These are a few. Now if these are genuine principles, then there are always in effect.


Because of your, factually, patent and pervasive, effectively, substantively, precluding/preclusive approach, which involves your not letting God testify for Him in the OT, and worse defaulty impeaching and/or ignoring His acts of judgement, which are always out of, at least, Justice and Fairneess, you are wholly undermine your otherwise noble principles.

So again “As transparently demonstrated above, they Substantively (=Biblically) and Theologically, even Prophetically not “genuine”. The have proven to just be eisegetical suppositions.”

To prove me wrong you’ll at least have to, even if it is somewhat distinct in theme, show how your view arrives at a Substantively (=Biblically),Theologically, even Prophetically, and also logically sound holistic view of God Character in e.g., the acts that I have listed.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Here are the principles again:

1.All that can be known of God was revealed by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ during His earthly mission.

2.God is just like Jesus Christ in character.

3.Jesus Christ was not violent, and taught anti-violence.

4.There are thousand dangers from which God protects us constantly. Any degree of destruction is possible by God's simply withdrawing His protection. There is no need for God to act actively to produce destruction.

5.The use of force is contrary to the principles of God's government.

So you're saying you don't agree with any of these? (since none of them are "genuine").


Effectively, 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: NJK Project] #132613
04/12/11 05:14 AM
04/12/11 05:14 AM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Quote:
T:What I've said is that it's not necessary to investigate every individual case, that knowing the principles which apply are sufficient.

NJK:The principles indeed need to be valid. As stated your principles sound valid however the way in which you are applying them is destroying that achievable full validly.


I asked you at the end if you didn't agree with any of the principles, and you said indeed, you don't. I'll repeat them here.

Quote:
1.All that can be known of God was revealed by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ during His earthly mission.


This is a direct quote from the SOP.

Quote:
2.God is just like Jesus Christ in character.


This is basic Christianity. I could probably find a quote from the SOP that says this. It's surprising to me that a Christian would deny this.

Quote:
3.Jesus Christ was not violent, and taught anti-violence.


I don't know anyone who doesn't agree with this.

Quote:
4.There are thousand dangers from which God protects us constantly. Any degree of destruction is possible by God's simply withdrawing His protection. There is no need for God to act actively to produce destruction.


The first sentence is either a direct quote from the SOP, or very close to it. The other two follow from that. It should be evident that if it's the case that God really is protecting us from a thousand dangers, all of them unseen (this is actually what she says), that it would follow that any degree of destruction that God should desire, should He desire such a thing, would follow from that.

Quote:
5.The use of force is contrary to the principles of God's government.


A direct quote from the SOP.

Please state these principles in a way that you would consider genuine.

Quote:
T:You think it's necessary to investigate every incident which you list.

NJK:As in any science, an hypothesis needs to be tested to demonstrate that it is valid.


One doesn't need to investigate every incident to do so.

Quote:
I needed to see that done with your principles with my list of prominent events, indeed discussed in both the Bible and SOP, to see if that is, as you claim, the way to come to understand all other OT.


I disagree with this. I think what's necessary is to see God's character as revealed by Jesus Christ.

Quote:
For the reasons I have stated many times, I do not substantively see the destruction of Jerusalem, as it collectively prophesied and brought about starting especially from Christ’s predicitons and how it transpired to be the all in all example of what will truly/fully happen when/whenever, if ever before, the “passion of God” is fully manifested.


It's the incident that we have the most information regarding, not including the cross. The cross would be the best study, as it reveals God's character far better than any other incident.

Quote:
It seems to me self-evident that if you agreed with the principles we're discussing, that takes care of the issue, so I'll deal with these.


Quite sincerely Tom, because, mainly I have to ignore many explicit statements of direct and active acts of God in the Bible in order to view things as you do, I do not see your even SOP supposed/derived view (i.e., believing the SOP is 100% accurate here) as being valid.


That's because of your paradigm. Others with a different paradigm than you hold don't need to ignore these statements, but understand them differently than you do.

God is often presented as doing that which He permits in Scripture. For example, it says in Numbers that God sent fiery serpents upon the Israelites, but what actually happened is God removed His protection. It says in 1 Kings, that God sent lying spirits to Ahab, but what actually happened is God permitted. It says in Job that the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but this was said by one who didn't know of Satan's existence. When the curtain is pulled away, we see that it was an enemy who caused the things which happened to Job.

Quote:
Christ never planted the seeds of death in the system. Satan planted these seeds when he tempted Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge which meant disobedience to God. Not one noxious plant was placed in the Lord’s great garden, but after Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up. In the parable of the sower the question was asked the master, “Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?” The master answered, “An enemy hath done this” (Matthew 13:27, 28). All tares are sown by the evil one. Every noxious herb is of his sowing, and by his ingenious methods of amalgamation he has corrupted the earth with tares. {2SM 288.2}


This principle has many applications!

Quote:
T:1.All that can be known of God was revealed by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ during His earthly mission.

NJK:Your stance here wants to preclude everything outside of the Gospel accounts.

Tom:First of all, it's not my stance.


NJK:Fine, but only in conceding part because I see too many additions to this SOP stated statement. I.e., excising and editing the OT, even SOP, of explicit statements


It's a very simple statement. Is simply says that all that we can know of God was revealed by Jesus Christ during His earthly mission. That's the context of the statement, and the context is very easy to understand. It doesn't need to be interpreted or edited or anything, but is easily understood simply as it reads.

Here's a similar statement from a different author:

Quote:
Whereas certain false teachers of his day (were) depicting Christ as one aspect of the display of God's fullness, Paul insists, as we have already seen, that "the whole fullness of deity" dwells in Christ (Col. 2:9). No aspect of God's fullness was withheld from the incarnation. All we can and need to know about God is found in Christ, for God fully dwells in and is revealed in Christ. (Boyd, "Is God to Blame?", p.34)


It's interesting how similar this is to the SOP statement.

Quote:
Tom: 3.Jesus Christ was not violent, and taught anti-violence.

NJK: If this “violence” means malicious acts, then that statement if fully true.

Tom: It means "violent" in the ordinarily understood meaning of the term.

NJK:Well if you wanted to see it as involving any force then you should have said so then you should have insisted so.


One can use force without being violent, such as force being necessary to lift a weight. But when force is used to achieve one's way, by threat, for example, then it's difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish this from violence. Also, if one considers an act, such as burning a person alive, it's difficult to see how this could be considered as other than a violent act.

Quote:
To me, perhaps to 19th century people (as with the word “mischief”) violence has a more malicious connotation than mere use of force.


"Force" is a term of physics, so can be a neutral term, but "violence" implies the intent to hurt someone or some thing, or to kill.

Quote:
And, does EGW herself ever say that ‘God is not violent’ to mean God does not use any force.


I don't know if she specifically says this, but she does say that the exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God's government.

Quote:
Otherwise you would be imposing your understandings on hers.


That's very poor logic. The absence of the use of a particular phrase doesn't prove anything, which I'm sure you're well aware of. Because Ellen White didn't use some specific phrase or sentence cannot possibly imply that I'm imposing my understand on hers, and it's difficult to see how you could assert such a thing, which is so obviously false.

Quote:
Indeed all I see her saying is He does not use ‘force to compel’ and that service to him.


If God says, "Do what I say, or I'll cause you to suffer unimaginable pain" or "Do what I say, or I'll kill your child," that's using 'force to compel.'

Quote:
Force to comply with an undisputable requirement that He is making in an acts of judgement as the Plagues after years of slavery seems to also not be a use of force to compel.


This isn't a very coherent sentence, but I think I understand what you're trying to say. Why are you saying such a thing? Surely threatening to kill someone's child if they don't do what the one threatening is insisting upon is an act of compulsion. There's no way this could not be the case.

Quote:
Indeed God was not seeking for Pharaoh to love or “serve” him but to comply with the command to Let Israel go from Egypt.


And, as you understand things (please correct me if this isn't the case), God threatened to kill his son if he didn't. Again, this is an act of compulsion.

Quote:
T:An illustration of Christ's teachings are where He explained that His kingdom is not of this world, and if it were, His servants would fight.

NJK:That is really a proof-text example.


It's a profound statement about the nature of Christ's kingdom.

Quote:
All that Jesus is simply saying that He/His Servants are not engaging in military effort (like the Zealots) to establish His kingdom because it is not “out of” this world.


That's not all He's saying. It's more profound than that.

Quote:
Not that any force, such as to execute capital punishment, is never acceptable. Indeed, as veiledly stated, because Jesus was not seeking to establish a typical kingdom as those of, and in the manner of, the world’s methods to do so, military campaigns to seek to get lands to establish it was not necessary. So Pilate had no tangible threat in that regards That kingdom was instead going to be done by conquering hearts instead.


The conquering of hearts is a good comment. That's indeed what the kingdom of Christ entails, and it should be easy to see that violence, or force, has no part in such conquering.

Quote:
Tom 5.The use of force is contrary to the principles of God's government.

NJK: If it means “use force” then a statement like (Luke 22:35-38) could easily disprove this,

Tom: If you would cite what the references say, it's easier on the reader.

NJK:I don’t think I can afford that extra effort.


I think you can. Other people do. If you list a series of texts, you wouldn't have to provide the text for each one, but at least one would be a kindness to your reader.

Quote:
I also figure people will prefer to read their favorite version, vs. my default NASB, so I only cite the reference.


A person's always free to consider another version, but it's a kindness to the reader to not have to go looking to see what a text says.

Quote:
Only when I see crucial exegetical improvements from the NASB do I quote the text with indicated improving edits.


This isn't the point. It would be the same thing if I quoted from the SOP, and you had to look up what it says. That's requiring extra work of you.

Quote:
T:When Jesus said, "It is enough," your understanding of this is that Jesus Christ was teaching that violence, or force, should be used?

NJK:Actually No. The context clearly says to me that the tow swords the disciples managed to find amongst themselves was enough.


Clarke:

Quote:
It is enough. The meaning probably is, there is enough said on the subject; as immediately after this he entered into his agony.


Gill:

Quote:
it is enough, it is very well, I perceive you do not understand my meaning, and I shall say no more at present.


Again quoted because of ease; these were the first ones I came across. I'm sure other commentaries make the same point.

That Christ had this meaning in mind is clear to me (I understood it this way before looking at any commentaries). To see this statement of Christ's as a recommendation for violence seems absurd to me.

Quote:
NJK: indeed as the time for this use of capable force had now come. Jesus indeed used light force to exact, or seek to exact, just acts from His opposers and enemies. (E.g., ‘not arresting Him as he was indeed God‘ John 18:5, 6 - DA 695.1). Christ’s miracles were also a use of supernatural force to this similar effect (see e.g., John 11:4, 40-42). This is also just like God to use shades of light force to seek to instill an inceptive fear in man (e.g, Egypt Plagues Exod 7:3-5; 11:9), yet, as seen with Christ’s arresters, man is free to be compelled by this force or not.

Tom: You're saying the Egyptian Plagues were "light force"? Should the 7 last plagues also be deemed "light force."?

NJK:Considering what God could have done to Egypt in even one plague, all of the limited and withdrawn plagues were relatively “light force”.


This would always be the case. God could always be more awful or horrible if He wanted to be, since He's omnipotent, but to describe the plagues in Egypt as "light force" seems like calling the holocaust "a minor evil."

(More separately)


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.
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