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Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133278
05/06/11 01:08 AM
05/06/11 01:08 AM
NJK Project  Offline
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NJK:It is even, in some case, as object lesson, out of a love for other less sinful peoples that God selects the worst group from these sinful peoples to effectuate a judgement. (These non-judged, though also lesserly deserving, others are then free to choose whether to let that judgement lead them to begin to have a healthy fear of God or not.)

Tom: God is not the problem here. It is not God's will that we fear Him, and do things to please Him, so that He will not smite us. Such "obedience" is not obedience at all.

NJK: As already stated, the Bible throughout approvingly speaks of having a “healthy fear of God”.

Tom: Where are you thinking of? You don't think that "fear" in these cases means something like "awe" "reverence"

As stated in this earlier post
Originally Posted By: NJK Project (Post #132115)
It seems that doing, an even cursory, word study on the word “fear” in relation to God in the Bible (OT #03372a & NT #5399) will corroborate exactly what “healthy fear” I am referring to. (E.g, OT: Gen 22:12; Job 1:1; 8, 9; 2 Chr 6:31; - NT: Matt 10:28; Heb 4:1; Rev 11:18; 14:7; 19:5, etc)

The various Hebrew words that are translated as “awe” and “reverence” also involve: being afraid, dread, fear, trembling/shaking.

Same as in the Greek phobos (#5401) e.g., Acts 2:43.
Heb 12:28 deos (#1190a) from deido

Originally Posted By: NJK Project
Yet this is only a beginning and not to be the motivation throughout. In fact that fear is distinct from the desired loving and faith relationship that should normatively ensue. E.g., the Ninevites became fearful of God and repented, however there is no indication that they went on to pursue/deepen a relationship with the God of Israel, i.e., becoming a satellite Jewish Tribe/Nation. They only had a “fear of punishment” (Jon 3:9) but not a ‘relationship-building “love of God”.’

Indeed this fear that God seeks to instill through such acts of judgements upon a selected most deserved party is to serve to abruptly end a sinful course that is developing and not to be the basis for a relationship. Indeed just like threatening someone to enter into a relationship with you at the threat of death is not a relationship based on/involving love.

God’s acts of judgement are thus to immediately end a threatening course and not even to begin a relationship. The person outside of his will is however free to use this instilled fear try to get to know this God better, or not. That fully offset the fact that God’s miracle can and do foster belief and faith, but again, only if the witnessing party wants this to be a result.

That is what your SOP quotes (MS 20, 1897 & DA 480) are also saying and indeed my view was not what you had supposed, despite the many times that I have already stated so. (E.g., as shown below, you won’t allow for my distinction between ‘judgement effectuation force’ vs. ‘belief compelling force’.)

Originally Posted By: Tom
How do you understand the well-known text, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?"

Succinctly said: It makes one wise to truly believe that there is a God, as their life will then be lived according to God’s Wise/Wiser ways.

NJK: Ironically enough, it is actually only “evil” (not in regards to God, as actually He never has been required to curtail His '"passion" for truth' in order to be merciful towards sinners) when God just lets Satan freely and fully have his way.

Tom: So if God acts violently, contrary to how Jesus Christ lived or taught, that's not evil, but if God acts precisely according to the explanation of GC 35-37, that is evil. That seems backwards.

NJK: God’s use of force (=your violently), or even effectuating judgements (which are actually meant to serve as a deterrent from other people, if not also in some cases, a tangible necessity, e.g., thorough cleansing by fire) is not evil. God’s allowing of what is describe in GC 35-37 to take place, which in some level does not have to involve direct actions of the devil, as EGW originally was shown in 14MR 1-3, but is just allowing nature to unrestrictively take its course, is by definition evil, as it is the natural consequence of the evil that Satan’s sinful schemes and concoction have brought into the world.

Tom: This looks to be agreeing with what I said, in characterizing your viewpoint. When God acts violently, such as by setting people to burn alive (according to your point of view), that is not evil. But "God’s allowing of what is describe(sic) in GC 35-37 to take place" is by definition evil.

NJK: (A) God e.g., using various appropriate elements to effectuate a judgement, especially as these are inherently object lessons, as any sin should result in the immediate Hell Fire destruction of anyone, is not evil. Even if simply for that object lesson reason as it serves to preserve the life of literally billions of other people. E.g., who knows for crucially how long the striking and widely “noteworthy” Judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah, served to prevent their Capital sins from spreading and being engaged in. Also, if not for that judgement, one would see many more cases, as widely seen today, of people professing to be Christian while practising the abominable lifestyle of Sodom and Gomorrah. And as that sin is clearly condemned elsewhere in the Bible, even if, as some want to spuriously suppose, that was not a sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, it still served as a deterrent for that Biblically condemned practice.

NJK: (B) What is described in GC 35-37 is (1) a natural end result which must be as “organically” natural as smoking causing lung cancer (and not “disobedience” resulting in a snake attacking you. E.g., Why didn’t the venomous scorpions also attack Israel??);

Tom: I don't see the sense here. What is described in GC 35-37 is God was caused to remove His protection, and they Jews were attacked. What is described in Numbers is God was caused to remove His protection, and the Jews were attacked. What's the difference? Why do you call one organic, but not the other?

I actually said that the type of judgement that EGW described in GC 35-37 (and not the Destruction of Jerusalem itself) must involve an organic, cause-to-direct-effect, act. As I see it, if God acts to prevent something, which only occurs when he stops this protection, then it really is not “organic.” That also includes what Satan pushes men to do. Case in point, since the Roman were idolatrous peoples why didn’t another nation destroy them.

That is why I find this “organic” requirement to be “stringently” artificial to this theological issue as it is clear that God judiciously chooses which sins he will permit to be immediately visited by its ultimate end result of death. That is why, as I said in my first post in this thread, all sins in Israel were not to be capitally punished.

Also in regards to EGW saying:

Originally Posted By: SOP GC 36.1
“God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown.”

I see that this only applies, as she qualifies, “when men pass the limits of divine forbearance” and “that restraint is removed”. That then involves God not seeking to do any acts of mercy in a judgement. However, as seen in e.g., the Flood, the fiery serpents, the destruction of Sodom, the first destruction of Jerusalem, the most part of the War of the Jews, etc. God actually wanted to have and show mercy to anyone who would repent. Also in some case, He wanted to limit/control the extent of destruction. (That is also reversedly present in the final Hell Fire judgement). So He was there standing as the administrator and executioner of this sentence, as EGW also understood (see also her later comments in GC 614.2). You want this to apply to every judgement mentioned in the Bible but I don’t see this as being the intention of this EGW statement. I see it only applicable to pointed “absolutely no mercy” situations.

It also seems to me that when a natural destruction can’t or won’t occur in a timely way, then God intervenes to supernaturally bring that destruction about. I.e., not every sinful action will not lead to an “immediate” and even “organic” result. The penalty of all sin is death however not every sin tangibly, immediately has this physical consequence of a ‘naturally resulting death.’ Hence God’s capital punishment provision for some of those sins.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Regarding scorpions attacking the Jews, it seems reasonable that this could have happened. It doesn't make much sense that God removed His protection against snakes but not against scorpions. Rather, God withdrew His protection, but the snakes were what were right there, so that's where the danger came from, so that's what was mentioned.

I don’t see this in either Bible and SOP. Furthermore, as stated here in Post #133189 the snake had to ‘be made to sent into the camp, in the midst of the people and with (biting) interest’. And the symbolic healing figure that was to be built was only a serpent and not also a scorpion. So it is clear to me that this was a targeted punishment.

NJK: and (2) a judgement where Satan has full and unrestricted/unlimited control. Those two are natural and manufactured “evil”. God’s bringing about a death sentence, however, he deems is appropriate, is not evil. In fact, not doing so, in the light of the adverse effect that this would then have/result in (e.g., persisted and further advanced sin), makes this a justified and righteous act. Indeed just like a police officer stopping a murderous act in progress using any pertinently necessary deadly force is not the “evil” of murder.

Tom: Above you wrote:

Originally Posted By: NJK Project
God’s allowing of what is describe in GC 35-37 to take place, which in some level does not have to involve direct actions of the devil, as EGW originally was shown in 14MR 1-3, but is just allowing nature to unrestrictively take its course, is by definition evil, as it is the natural consequence of the evil that Satan’s sinful schemes and concoction have brought into the world.

Tom: Leaving out some of the peripheral parts, this comes to:

Originally Posted By: NJK Project (Redacted)
God’s allowing of what is describe in GC 35-37 to take place ... is by definition evil, as it is the natural consequence of the evil that Satan’s sinful schemes and concoction have brought into the world.

Tom: Do you really mean to say that God's allowing something to occur is by definition evil? This doesn't make sense to me, because God's allowing of something occurring is an action on God's part, so this statement is attributing evil to God. I don't think this is what you mean, is it?

Again by saying “GC 35-37” I am referring to the extent of secondary judgment mentioned there where God is not at all involved in the act. That thus is by definition evil, again not implicating God and His allowance of it, but because then it is either the devil who is directly acting, and that in full control or man is suffering a natural consequence of the evil that Satan has concocted (e.g,, overdosing on drugs, getting cancer from smoking).

It is not an evil act of God in precisely same way that though He “permitted sin” (cf. PP Chapter 1), He is not the author of it. That is how I understand He “creates evil” (Isa 45:7). Indeed as seen with Ahab, God was at a loss when He needed someone to be a lying Spirt to Ahab until a Evil Spirit came forth and God permitted that element for this overall beneficial and deserved judgement purpose here. In a sense it is like Police claiming to have evidence in order to make a criminal confess to a crime, except that God would permit someone else to do this lying and also as such a confession would probably be contested in court (if coercion was used), but could lead to the obtainment of admissible evidence through this creation of an actionable, reasonable suspicion and probable cause for this “evidence of a guilty mind”.

NJK: The evil, especially in the Greater GC context, is also not necessarily in the action itself but the circumstance making it necessary.

Tom: Then what you wrote above is incorrect. You didn't mean that God's allowing of what is described in GC 35-37 to take place was evil, but that the evil which He allowed was evil. That looks to be your meaning, at any rate. If you really meant what you said, that God's allowing of the events that took place was evil, feel free to assert that again.

NJK: As already explained above, (and as I had gone on to illustrate), you indeed misconstrued what I had said and meant. Succinctly summarized: God’s effectuating of death, and that even as a most striking object lesson is not “evil” or “murder”. God’s not intervening to timely, thoroughly and efficiently (i.e., produce the Law Abiding effect) effectuate this judgment would be evil. Appropriately responding to that ‘GC circumstance’ is not.

Tom: God doesn't always intervene; for example, the holocaust.

That is the common example, however what makes the Holocaust more deserving of God’s intervention than any of the following:

-the death of 25 million Russians (with ca. 14 million being civilians deaths) due to WWII at also the hands of the Nazis.
-the civilian death in the Nuclear Bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima
-the various systematic murders of Communist Leaders such as Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot
-the 1994 genoicide in Rwanda
-the more recent slaughter in Sudan and the Darfur Region
-the ongoing legalized and/or committed 65,000,000+ million abortions per year

All of these are the natural effects of man hatred toward their fellow man, as was the Holocaust, and not actually a judgement of God. The fact that the Holocaust is commonly brought is only because it is believed that the were a Special people of God. They officially lost that status in the Fall of 34 A.D.

My point is that God’s not intervening when GC necessary to defend, judge avenge a Biblically Righteous and Faithful People would be evil. Indeed, where is the “GC circumstance” in the Holocaust. Citing the persecution of Christians during Church History is the pertinently applicable example, but here God had a much greater, anc crucial good in mind. I.e., the potential billions of Christians in the future, or even the Remnant few, who would be encouraged to faithfulness by these martyrdom. Even Church growth was fostered by the faithfulness in the face of death demonstrated by these “martyrs” as this indeed gave great “testimony” that what they believed was true.

“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] #133280
05/06/11 01:16 AM
05/06/11 01:16 AM
NJK Project  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,098
Laval, Quebec

NJK: Case in point God’s choice for a War in Heaven was not evil, but the best way to resolve that conflict.

Tom: The War in Heaven was not God's choice. God's choice was for peace.

NJK: (1) The fact that God indeed did not want war but peace, (though this was not his “choice” as if it had been, it would have been the case as nothing could have prevented him from making it so).

Tom: The will of those who don't want peace prevent God from having peace. This still happens today. Indeed, whenever there is a lack of peace, it is because someone is acting contrary to God's will. God cannot force peace to happen. It will be brought about at the end of the Great Controversy when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the righteousness of God, not because God has forced His way, but because of the force of evidence and truth.

In terms of free will, that is plausible but not the case. Satan willed to remain in Heaven, even after his defeat in the organized War, but God overrode that will and cast him out of Heaven. That resulted in a relative peace in Heaven.

NJK: (2) As quote from the SOP on my blog, which you, for lack of a more comprehensible term, “ignored”, it is clear that it was God who decided that a war was to be the way to resolve the conflict:

Originally Posted By: SOP 1SP 21.1
“The loyal angels hasten speedily to the Son of God, and acquaint him with what is taking place among the angels. They find the Father in conference with his beloved Son, to determine the means by which, for the best good of the loyal angels, the assumed authority of Satan could be forever put down. The great God could at once have hurled this arch deceiver from Heaven; but this was not his purpose. He would give the rebellious an equal chance to measure strength and might with his own Son and his loyal angels. In this battle every angel would choose his own side, and be manifested to all.”

NJK: Furthermore it is only after that war stipulation that:

Originally Posted By: SOP 1SP 21.2
Then Satan exultingly pointed to his sympathizers, comprising nearly one half of all the angels, and exclaimed, These are with me! Will you expel these also, and make such a void in Heaven? He then declared that he was prepared to resist the authority of Christ, and to defend his place in Heaven by force of might, strength against strength.

NJK: The fact that you would just ignore such SOP direct revelation statements, that you supposedly had read since your first visit of my blog post, was most mind-boggling to me. Indeed you did not even dare mention them, as if that made them fade into insignificance.

Tom: Here is more on what happened:

Originally Posted By: SOP
God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but He did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force. Compelling power is found only under Satan's government. The Lord's principles are not of this order. His authority rests upon goodness, mercy, and love; and the presentation of these principles is the means to be used. God's government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power.

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)

Tom: It seems evident from what you quoted that God's intent was to give all the opportunity to choose sides.

As I stated on my blog, if choosing sides was the only intent, the a physical conflict was not needed after these sides had been chosen. And “room” was no longer found in Heaven only after Satan lost that War, not after they had chosen sides. God had given them an opportunity to exclusively remain in Heaven through his brute force War, if they could!

Originally Posted By: Tom
This makes clear the following, in the context of this battle, that:

1.Rebellion was not to be overcome by force.

This is speaking of ending the greater ideological rebellion and not who could remain in the Universe HQ of Heaven. That ideological aspect is required “time” (i.e. 6000+ years) (= DA 759.2) and the Battle for Heaven therefore needed to be settled as God could not cohabit, even co-rule with the usurping Satan during all of this time. Indeed as the SOP says:

Originally Posted By: SOP 1SP 21.1
They find the Father in conference with his beloved Son, to determine the means by which, for the best good of the loyal angels, the assumed authority of Satan could be forever put down. The great God could at once have hurled this arch deceiver from Heaven; but this was not his purpose. He would give the rebellious an equal chance to measure strength and might with his own Son and his loyal angels. In this battle every angel would choose his own side, and be manifested to all.

Originally Posted By: Tom
2.Compelling power is found only under Satan's government.

Once, again this speaks of compelling power to ascribe to God’s view. That was not what the War in Heaven was for.

Originally Posted By: Tom
3.The Lord's principles are not of this order.

In regards to belief. In regards to effectuating just and deserved judgement God see nothing wrong with using the necessary force.

Originally Posted By: Tom
4.His authority rests upon goodness, mercy, and love; and the presentation of these principles is the means to be used.

To settle the greater ideological GC Conflict and not the Occupancy of Heaven Battle.

Originally Posted By: Tom
5.God's government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power.

Indeed. However this is distinct from timely effectuating key judgements. Indeed the reason why there were a number of ‘subsequent’ capital punishments in Israel, was because it was not meant to compel belief. People still freely chose to commit these capital sins or not. However God made provision to justly deal with them for the Greater good of keeping the rest of a Righteous people pure and thus capable of having His presence in their midst.

Originally Posted By: Tom
which are all points I have been asserting.

Unfortunately from a substantively stubborn one-sided viewpoint vs. what the Bible and SOP fully reveal in e.g,. 1SP 17-24. I suspect that you are doing this in regards to that SOP passage because you believe that what EGW wrote in DA 759ff somehow either corrects or supercedes her earlier, even if, direct revelation account. Is that the case?

Originally Posted By: Tom
The means of winning the war was to allow both sides to manifest their principles and character.

These are the means for Great GC War, not the War for Heaven.

Originally Posted By: Tom
The war came about entirely by Satan's choosing. God did all He could to prevent Satan's rebellion. He tried in many ways, and for a long time, to convince Satan of the errors of his ways, and induce him to repent.

1SP 21.1-2 clear reveals that it was God who decided this solution of a physical confrontation and that Satan only later agreed by saying that he would indeed defend his stance physically.

“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] #133283
05/06/11 01:37 AM
05/06/11 01:37 AM
NJK Project  Offline
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NJK, thank you for bringing my attention to this post I missed. I've responded to the first part of it. I have to divide my time as best I can, so I'm not sure what I'll be responding to next. If you have some preference, you can present it (such as continuing to respond to this post, or to respond to the more recent ones).

NJK: “Save Trees”????

Tom: That was a joke, of course. Copy/paste won't save any trees. I got a kick out of it.

(I personally find a joke to be ‘funny’ when they are realistic and sequitur.)

NJK: Don’t buy printed Bible to “save trees” here and/or have the ones you have recycled, or sent to a poor country since you have (presumably) ready access to at least the Bible on the Internet!! I am not preventing you from looking up my references on a Bible software or the internet!?! Instead of quibbling for spurious rationales here, do yourself a favor and just drop that futile attempt for an issue here.

Tom: I'm hoping you'll listen to me and others and start quoting texts.

That probably won’t occur given what I see as only being needlessly time consuming to me. If you or anyone else didn’t have a Bible, then that would be a justified and needed request.

By the way, again, as you are continuing to do this. Clicking on the “Reply” link at the end of the actual post you are responding do will be beneficial to everyone as it allows for easy backtracking to that post to follow the background of the discussion when needed, especially as you do leave some things out in your responses.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Just quoting one would be good. One quoted text is better than 10 references without quotes.

Not in actuality as it depends on the actual content of the texts referred to.

NJK: And don`t mistake me for a tree-hugger, I am to save lives and not firstly trees. As an easily naturally renewable resource, trees are not in daner of extinction. If you all would use this falsely supposed ‘saved, cumulative time’ to work to save the lives of aborted infants, as the NJK Project plans, I would consider your proposition as collectively beneficial. Just taking the time to respond to couple of supposed supporting examples to your view, which actually would not even affect the majority of opposite examples, as proper exegetical methods require, it increasingly being deemed as not worthwhile and time wasting by me. Perhaps it will help other people than you to see that actually already black-on-white clear Biblical light on this issue.

Tom: You should realize that just quoting references is pretty much a waste of time. Few people are going to look them up. After all, if you, the poster, don't feel them important enough to copy/paste, the reader is not likely to view them more important then you do.

That’s all simply how you and/or others are choosing to peripherally view this. Simply quoting references actually allow me more time to search for more supporting passages and post them. That is substantively more crucial to me as I don’t like to build a teaching on just one verse. And as I said, I only post the text when it involves translational tweaking. I certainly know that it has absolutely nothing to do with the supporting weight I give to that text.

NJK: That is what the Hebrew Grammatical identification states and, more precisely here, what the Syntax intends to convey. For (presumably) reasons/preferences of fluency these notions are not woodenly expresses in mainstream Bible versions. People complained about the begats in the KJV, well they would complain about all of the e.g.,: “caused to” (Hiphil) and “made to” (Piel) in these verbs were rendered as they were literally meant to. The scholarship attempt to try to express this nuance by using different words in English actually has done injury to this Hebrew Language element as it can be easily seen by the fact that the Hebrew tenses, depending on the context in which they are found, actually confusedly need to use those intended distinct English words.

NJK: (Though I am fluent in French and conversant/functional in Spanish, I think we could stick to the major English version, (the NIV, RSV/NRSV, JB/NJB should also be consulted cited, though I do not see version comparison as being determinative since the underlying syntax is not always properly rendered.)

NJK: The NJB (New Jerusalem Bible (hint hint) accurately has: “He had not consulted Yahweh, who therefore caused his death”

NJK: Indeed OT Hebrew Textbooks (as well as NT Greek ones) usually makes numerous Scriptural citations where they rendered texts in ways that are not found in any Bible version. (E.g, Waltke and O’Connor’s work (IBHS) has over 4100 Scriptural references, most of these being of this unique and more precise rendition kind.

Tom: I don't know what languages you know (except for French, of course), but consulted languages I was familiar with. The point was that every translation I could find, in any language I was familiar with, translated the text the same way.

My point is that English is not only most readily understood, but I’ll also add more translationally reliable than other translations of the Bible in other languages. At least, as I can tell, in regards to French.

Originally Posted By: Tom
God caused the death of Saul; that's the idea. Although the text states this, what actually happened is that God permitted the death of Saul. This is an example of the principle that Scripture presents God as doing that which He permits.

The Bible says that God “caused” it which points to his involvement through an agency. So God may e.g., commissioned an angel to convince Saul that all hope was lost and God was indeed truly, not going to forgive him for this latest waywardness. The ensuing despair then led Saul to take his life. The point of the Hebrew Hiphil here is that God someone actively orchestrated this through an agency.

(Corrected discussion thread) Tom: According to Jenni, the Piel signifies "to bring about a state," and the Hiphil, to cause an event.
(An Introduction to biblical Hebrew syntax, by Bruce K. Waltke, Michael Patrick O'Connor)

NJK: What’s your page number for the IBHS citation here??

Tom: Page 433.

Thanks. That tense distinguishing line is actually highlighted in my copy of IBHS. Again this is emphasizing the nuance being the type of causation involved in the Piel and Hiphil. Furthermore IBHS clarifies this difference by saying:

Originally Posted By: IBHS 435
With the Piel, the object is transposed passively into a new state or condition. Philosophers would refer to this transposition as ?accidental? because the object makes no contribution to the verbal notion. With the Hiphil, however, the object participates in the event expressed by the verbal root.


Whereas the Piel represents the subject as transposing an object into the state or condition corresponding to the notion expressed by the verbal root, the Hiphil represents the subject as causing an object to participate indirectly as a second subject in the notion expressed by the verbal root. In fact, this notion probably accounts for the Hiphil’s distinctive form. The Hiphil stem’s characteristic h preformative, derived from a third person personal pronoun, reflects a designation of a second subject’s participation in the action. In E. A. Speiser?s view the Hiphil originally signified: ‘X (the subject) caused that Y (the second subject) be or do something.’

Originally Posted By: NJK Project
(Just a note, I personally trust the quite comprehensive and more recent work of IBHS over other printed grammars, and especially over internet sources.)

These are indeed rightly emphasizing the causative notion contained in the Hiphil. (Perhaps you do not fully understand the grammatical/syntactical implications here.) As further explained in IBHS, (which can be accessed in Google Books) this “causation” is quite distinctly in action than the Piel or the Qal, among others tenses. Indeed as expressed in IBHS, 355: ...

Piel - patiency nuance = “The semantic role of an entity that is not the agent but is directly involved in or affected by the happening denoted by the verb in the clause”

Hiphil - agency nuance - The semantic role of the animate entity that instigates or causes the happening denoted by the verb in the clause. How a result is obtained or an end is achieved

However, more than just the piel is involved when direct action is intended by the subject in regards to the verb “to kill” (#04191). The Hebrew Polel form (derived from the Piel) is used. Indeed with a notion here of pointed aim and/with endeavor, using a “special energy”, it thus speaks of ‘actively and directly putting someone to death’ (Jud 9:54; 1 Sam 14:13; 17:51; Psa 34:22; 109:16); indeed in relation to Saul himself (2 Sam 1:9, 10, 16), and also when God is to directly do it (Jer 20:17). (cf. GKC (Gesenius Hebrew Grammar) 55c: ...

No comment on, or even objection to, these also key exegetical elements?? Why?

T:There are a couple of events in Christ's life, the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple, which are often misinterpreted as if He were acting in a manner such as you are trying to attribute to Him as a means of justifying your own actions. Reading the accounts in "The Desire of Ages" makes clear that what is being attributed to Christ doesn't correspond to the reality of what happened.

NJK: The DA account of Christ’s incontrovertible use of physical force to twice clear/cleanse the Temple moreoverly, clearly indicate to me what was really going on here.

Tom: He didn't use force on people, but on animals and chairs. This doesn't explain why the people left. Were they physically afraid of Christ? Of course not. They had Christ greatly outnumbered. It was "divinity flashing through humanity," that "forced" them away; their guilty consciences condemned them. They felt as if they were in the presence of the Great Judge.

It was indeed because of many such perceivable and visible physical manifestations of anger from Christ that these people fled. In fact they were later ashamed because of this. Their guilty conscience resulting from Christ’s effectuated penetrating psychological force did indeed condemn them, but Christ’s angry physical demeanor and outburst did indeed literally spook them and made them run.

Originally Posted By: Tom
This is what the Desire of Ages explains. It says nothing about Christ using physical force against them.

As recently pointed out elsewhere, it actually is not saying that. They were caused to flee out of sheer fear. Indeed fear of receiving the punishment for the sins they have been made to feel most guilty of by Christ’s distinct “Spiritual, psychological” force .

NJK: Christ was indeed righteously indignant. That fact cannot be futilely excised/ignored from the Bible and SOP.

Tom: Righteous indignation is fine. We see, from the DA account, that Christ longed with pity over those who were ignorant of true worship. He still loved them. His anger was directed against what they were doing, in leading others away from the Plan of Salvation, but He felt no anger or malice against the individuals involved, but rather pure love, the love which led Him to be crucified at their hands.

That does not make Theological sense to me. The sinner who clings to his since receives the “wrath” of God. And Christ’s pity was actually because the chose to flee rather than repent.

NJK: However it is the intrinsic part of God’s Ministry of judgement/Wrath and as usually, it is always for a greater good and not out of any baseless/reactionary vindictiveness.

Tom: I think our difference in opinion in these incidents is more in terms of the mechanism used than the motivation. I believe the mechanism of removing protection is sufficient to cause any level of destruction. There is no need for God to act in any other way than this, since this mechanism is sufficient. Indeed, one would wonder why, given this mechanism is sufficient, God would act in any other way. It could only be because God wanted to be seen as a destroyer, but everything in Christ's mission argues against this idea.

I (1) rather see that God removing his shielding hand is itself and “act of judgement of God” and (2) these dangers are not necessarily self acting. They are simply something that could happen. Therefore in cases where God was protecting, as in the serpents, he may also need to further make it happen, especially if a timely judgement is needed. Indeed Babylon was always present, but God worked to call it in war against His rebellious people. The same thing manifestly, according to Christ’s view, occurred for the 66-70 A.D. war.

There are however cases, as with the Flood, S&G, the Rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, where God has to supernaturally act to effectuate a timely judgement. In fact if he had even simply led them to the place where a sinkhole was surely about to form, then I still would consider this as His acting. However I do not see this as Theologically tenable as it implies that God knows the future freewill decisions of people and that in moreover a timely precise way. I personally do not see Biblical support for that view.

T: Even if, for the sake of argument, one were to believe that Christ acted in the unfortunate manner being suggested, it would still be the case that 99% of the time Christ acted as a gentleman, with kindness, tact, and consideration. So perhaps we could aim for that same figure here.

NJK: There is nothing “unfortunate” about ‘Righteous Indignation for a greater good’. You are the one who cannot understand this just aspect of God’s Character. I personally thank God for this judicious, even forceful, intervention especially when it so does confront the abuses of people in positions of power/leadership, especially (religious) leadership in His People/Church. (Cf. Rev 6:9, 10) And I aim to be a 100% follower of Christ. It was because it was not Christ’s mandate then to judge Israel, but to first instruct/redress them and complete the plan of salvation (cf. Luke 12:49, 50) that more of these deserved acts of judgement were not done.

NJK: And in regards to Christ’s expressed ‘great wish’ in Luke 12:49, if he indeed had not ‘greatly constrained himself’ but done that act of bringing about Hell Fire on the earth, that would have trumped all of the “meted” actions of judgements by God in the OT put together, including the Flood destruction.

Tom: There's no problem with Christ's righteous indignation, of course; the "unfortunate manner" being suggested, that I referred to, was your picturing Christ as acting as you have acted. Christ, in His righteous indignation, had tears in His voice when He uttered His scathing comments, and longed with pity over those He loved, willing to give His life for them.

Christ’s pity came after, as, and because they were fleeing. That’s what the SOP clearly reveals and is not my subjective view. And despite a possible ‘tearful voice’ here it was nonetheless a “scathing rebuke” (cf. DA 353.1). Both tone and message could equally and fully be conveyed. And the offender had thus a choice to make between the two. So that is why Christ pitied them when they only would perceive the indignant rebuke message. Indeed in the same way as you choose to see my, even merely Bible quoting and/or references, as “sarcasm and insults” rather than seek out the underlying substantive reason/cause that made them applicable and “needed” (DA 353.1).

Tom: First of all, let's consider how Christ usually dealt with the Jewish leaders. In the beginning of Christ's ministry, Christ was open in His teachings.

NJK:Cite a couple of Examples. I rather see that he spoke veiledly to them from the start (e.g., John 2:19ff & 3:3ff), indeed, as already stated, ‘rousing their hatred’ (DA 167.2) in the first act of His ministry in the Clearing/Cleansing of the Temple (John 2:13ff).

Tom: If you wish me to respond to some reference you are citing, please quote more than 3 words (in the case of the SOP), or more than 0 words (in the case of Scripture).

Tom: You may note that when I reference things, I quote them for you. When I quote Scripture, I usually use the NASB, because that is a version you said you liked.

If you feel that you can defend your point(s) view without reading my supporting references, then go ahead. That’s entirely up to you. Just don’t be surprised if/when this non-looed at evidence disproves your points. (I had also mentioned the SOP statement earlier).

Originally Posted By: Tom
The healing of the paralytic comes to mind. That's at the beginning of Mark. The sermon on the mount, Matthew 5-7, also comes to mind.

The inclusion of the Scripture reference for the healing of the paralytic (Matt 9:1-8|Mar 2:1-12|Luke 5:17:26) would have been doubly pertinently necessary here as chronological sequence is key. My (reliable) Harmony of the Gospel has that episode came after the Temple Cleansing incident. (John 2:13-25); the meeting with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21); Jesus leaving Judea (when John was captured, in the light of potential similar opposition to him by the Jewish leaders (Matt 4:12|Mar 1:14a|Luke 3:19, 20; 4:14a|John 4:1-4)). It seems to me that Jesus’s pointed veilings was in direct proportion to the level of opposition unbelief. To those who accepted him He spoke more openly, but to those with some doubts, even His own disciples, He also included veiled sayings.

I see that Christ’s statements during the healing of the paralytic was keyly veiled in Christ using the term “Son of Man” instead of “I”. Indeed as He did throughout his ministry. The fact that this was meant to be cryptic, and just enough to cloud to otherwise quite pointed statement is see in all three Gospels as Jesus does not specifically say: ‘...forgives sins, I therefor say:’ but ends his statement by just straightly (cf. DA 269.2) commanding the paralytic. This third person approach therefore left open room for interpretation. (Cf. Paul’s similar concealing usage in 2 Cor 12:1-7ff.) Indeed there is still some debate if Paul is actually referring to his own experience. (Which I see/believe he is). Similarly in Christ’s case, that circuitous statement could lead to the question of is He speaking of Himself or in behalf of another, through which He could do such miracles. Their natural question then should have been: “who is the Son of Man”. But manifestly their pride, lest the answer corroborated by these miracles, should prove to be even more incontrovertible to them, they chose to abstain from receiving further light. And thus this light served to blind them. They nonetheless knew that Jesus was speaking in pointed reference to Himself (cf. DA 270.4) and so by this abstaining, which they probably felt was a good thing, they therefore did not have the ‘actionable, first-hand, and even “widely witnessed”’ proof that Jesus had committed a supposed blasphemy. (Cf. Christ’s ‘other/additional (concurrent) reason’ for such ‘veiled pronouncements’ in COL 22.1).

The subject matter also played a significant part in determining if what He was going to say should be veiled, even if only in key areas. Thus in the sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) which really was the key exposition of the nature of His Theology, the only thing that He said that I see could have been more substantively veiled was in Matt 5:20. However He “double-ententely” could be (inoffensively) construed as saying that the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was very high and/or, at least that the one of these people was inferior to theirs. So that pointed being ambiguous, was actually effectively veiled. (= COL 22.1's other reason).

T: It was only when He met with opposition that He resorted to less direct methods, such as the parables. The whole time He was doing everything He could to reach the Jewish leaders.

NJK:Christ made himself meet with this opposition right from the start by himself initiating the confrontation in the Temple. The veiled statements also started right then. Barring an actual substantiation here, your view here would actually be wishful thinking.

Tom: What I'm sharing is by no means an idea original to myself. Indeed, I found reference to the idea in the first place I randomly looked.
T:He did this for two reasons. The first was that He loved them, and wanted to save them. The second reason was that He knew if He could reach them, that was the secret to saving the nation.

NJK: The Biblical Truth is that Jesus wanted to judge them from the start.

Tom: You don't think He wanted to save them? You don't think He wanted to reach them that He might save the nation?

These leaders had more privilege than the rest of the people so they had no default margin for mercy, and if they chose to quibbling rebel, then they got the corresponding veiled treatment from Jesus. Indeed as seen in their first encounter in John 2:13ff and also subsequent ones, including the ones you mentioned above.

Jesus also wanted to paramountly break the hold of false teaching and spiritual pressure that these leaders were oppressively and self-servingly exerting upon the people. So if they chose to continue in these ways then they were also to be so uprooted and overturned. Jesus went directly to the people and not to these leaders to seek to teach and implement His kingdom. That “snubbing” which indeed automatically set Him at odds with these leaders, speaks volumes, especially in these times and its hierarchal customs, to what He taught of these wayward leaders. It also, indeed cut at their foundational, abusive pride that God could not do anything in Israel except by going through them.

NJK: You don’t awake love by doing actions that arouse hatred.

Tom: That depends. Consider Nicodemus. In him we see the pride of the Pharisee battling against the honest seeker of truth.

Nicodemus, relatively, singularly humbled himself just enough to come to Jesus for more light based upon what he had subsequently studied out in the Bible. (DA 168.1) Yet Jesus proceeded to humble him even more, which Nicodemus humbly took (DA 173.4). Still this was only all done upon the same “veiled information” and background that all of those rebuked religious leaders had. The chose to persist in their ‘roused hatred’.

Originally Posted By: Tom
If hatred comes because pride has been rebuked, that could indeed be a means of awakening love, because that's the road to repentance. Especially when one considers the character of the One doing the rebuking.

That emboldened part (and thus also what follows) does not make sequitur sense to me. God is straightforward and real in his dealing and does not seek to obtain love by acts that arouse hatred. Indeed to do so he would have to engage in acts of judgement and adverse overturnings/destruction (as all seen in the Temple cleansing), and that would only be trying to compel love, and that through fear of punishment. As you apparently fully know, God does not work in this way.

Originally Posted By: Tom
What motivated Christ was inestimable love, and those who met Him sensed that. So while pride hates to be rebuked, there's also a part of the person who wants to be healed from it.

And that is not done by acts that should entrench this pride or arouse hatred. Clearly Jesus was entering into deserved judgement with these leaders. How they chose to respond (i.e., flee, and that to regroup, or seek repentance) is entirely up to them. They self-servingly were sinning against light and they fully knew it, and that is what Jesus found fault with and justly dealt with. They then chose to ‘hate rebuke and the rebuker’ hold on to their wayward ways.

Originally Posted By: Tom
It was never Christ's desire to arouse hatred in anyone. He wanted to provoke faith and love.

Christ here wanted to first, and fittingly, provoke contrite repentance through a confrontation with the weight of this sin. The “collateral damage” for this needed pointed action was almost automatically “hatred” however only if these leaders so chose. And as seen with the also similarly rebuked Nicodemus, it was indeed a choice.

NJK: Further Biblically speaking that was all in line with his “designs”to bring about deserved judgement on this leaders who should have known and done better, as they were pretentious purporting.

Tom: Christ's designs were the salvation of human beings. I don't understand the lack of perceiving this. Christ taught "love your enemies." He *gave His life* for those who hated Him. Look how He treated Nicodemus, Simon, the thief on the cross. Even those completely intransigent; look how He treated them.

I am pointedly speaking of Christ’s dealing with the Jewish leaders and how he dealt with those who actually allowed themselves to be corrected (i.e., Nicodemus, Simon, the thief on the cross) is on a different, subsequent level.

Christ's designs were that those entrapped by sin be led to repentance, and He did all He could to bring that to pass.

NJK: (For some reason you think that just claiming “love” resolves everything.

Tom: Resolves what? What does "claiming love" mean? Does this mean "claiming that Christ loved others," or something else?

Also “Agape” love is not unconditional, but (realistically) faithful, even if “70x7” times of forgiveness have to first be “faithfully” exhausted. Thus it is only “faithfully” applied, i.e., whenever there is a “benefit-of-the-doubt” reason to do so, thus being “faithful”. Indeed agape love is not illogically also present when God executes His judgements. His “Wrath” stemming out of His “Passion” is in full effect here.

NJK: At best this was tough love manifested by Christ, nonetheless “tough love” explanatorily seeks to avoid sustained hatred against the disciplinary actions taken, and perhaps this was only done in the first statements made in John 2:16, yet after his overthrowing acts. Still that initial statement should have been enough to enlighten these “knowledgeable” leaders (cf. The disciples own understanding in John 2:17). I rather see that Christ had love for those who were being swindled, misled and oppressed.

Tom: Again, Christ taught: "Love your enemies." Christ had love for His enemies, otherwise His teaching would be hypocrisy.

“Love your enemies” does not mean being a doormat to them and ‘letting something adverse and detrimental that can be prevented continue. In this case Christ chose to treat these leaders as they deserved, yet with a chance to be corrected, if they so chose, in order to rescue those suffering under their oppressions. With that ‘opportunity for correction’ Christ was indeed abiding by His teachings as He was still doing good to them. In fact not making them see the sinfulness of their ways, or acting as if what they had been doing was perfectly acceptable would not be “love” as it would only approvingly facilitate their waywardness.

These leaders also would not have accepted a non-rebuking reproach as their belief was that they were unimpeachably superior, so that stance had to be “faithfully” and truthfully (i.e., non-hypocritically) dealt with. Jesus was indeed faithful in doing this and not water-down truth to seek to be accepted or pleasing to the baseness of men.

NJK: From the start, these Jewish leaders collectively had reach the stage of unrevokable judgement.

Tom: You don't know that.

I am basing this on how Jesus chose to, in judgement, deal with them right from the start. Indeed He did not go into the temple and seek to reason with them, giving them a benefit of a doubt, and/or given them a Bible study. But instead He immediately, unequivocally “forcefully” rebuked them.

Originally Posted By: Tom
In Nicodemus the pride of the pharisee fought against the honest seeker for truth. You don't know that others weren't in the same boat as Nicodemus. Perhaps they experienced a similar fight, but chose poorly (in favor of pride), and it was only after making this choice that they had reached the stage of "unrevokable judgment."

The fact that they did not act like Nicodemus, even as they easily could have by choosing to hold a formal hearing with Jesus, indeed if (many) others were also like Nicodemus, speak volumes to their spiritual condition and decision.

In terms of this “unrevokable judgment” I mean that their various unbiblical actions were going to be judged. If they chose to persist in them they so would they. Jesus indeed continually rebuked these wrong and detrimental actions and did not overlook them.

Originally Posted By: Tom
It seems much more reasonable to assume that they were taken aback by Christ's first actions, not knowing what exactly to make of it, as they hadn't seen Him before or heard Him. Then they made decisions, one way or another. Those who chose to open their hearts were walking in the path of repentance and salvation. Those who steeled their hearts against Christ, in the path of "unrevokable judgment," but there's no reason to assume they started out this way from the beginning.

They were of course, quite naturally, “taken aback” as Jesus here inceptively confronted them in scathing judgement. And as EGW says that following this first encounter their response was hatred, then I see that they immediately chose ‘what to make of this’. It substantively was Christ’s Biblical words against what actually they fully knew was an unbiblical practice that was crucially pertinent here and not the “peripheral” fact that ‘they had never met or heard Jesus before.’ (Cf. John 12:47-48ff) Indeed what difference does that make. That is indeed the reasoning that made them reject the substantive words and actions of Jesus (John 2:18; cf. Matt 21:23), and that throughout His ministry. (cf. Matt 12:38, 39ff).

Originally Posted By: Tom
Even Judas(!), who started as poorly as one could start in relation to Christ, almost repented, as his heard thrilled within Him when Christ washed his feet.

“Almost” obviously does not avail to anything. Judas chose to maintain the wrong intentions and motivations he always had from the very first day, and indeed for the reason why, he had volunteered his “service” to the cause of Christ.

NJK: They effectively lost their position to Christ.

Tom: This doesn't happen in an instant. The Holy Spirit keeps trying. It takes time to harden one's heart against the Lord.

That Holy Spirit’s working in an individual is besides the point. The fact that Jesus set up his “Independent Ministry”, and that from the start, which indeed flustered them, shows this ‘position revocation’ belief and judgement of Christ.

NJK: There only solution was to align themselves with what Christ’s leadership, and they manifestly fully understood this implication, however they basely wanted an ‘external sign’ John 2:18, rather than heed the substantive Biblical truth (John 2:16, 17)

Tom: Many reacted this way, while some others repented. But even after starting out poorly, there was still time to change (e.g. Simon).

On the individual level, there was indeed time for them to change, but that obviously did not result in Christ joining their sect. These repenting ones had to join his. The leadership system was corrupt and maintain in this way by a vast majority. So there was no practical way in which they could not but be institutionally judged by Christ.

Tom: The majority of the time Christ treated the Jewish leaders with respect, and avoided confrontation with them.

NJK: Expressing truth, even if force has to be used is not disrespect.

The only interaction with the priests I see are when they confronted Him in seeking to oppose His work. And these confrontation are marked by either a barrage of wholly or keyly veiled pronouncements and/or scathing rebuke (e.g., John 8:12-59; Matt 23) I certainly don’t see where you supposedly see these ‘majority of the time’ nor even ‘respect’.

Furthermore, the fact that, on top of setting up an independent ministry, continually implying that they were teaching the Truth, Jesus did not at all go and “confront” these Teachers, but only responded when they came to Him to question him, further shows that He did not mind that they remained in darkness. Indeed he could have easily sought them out and/or requested a meeting with them to “respectfully” plainly and, peripherally most significantly/facilitatively, privately, explain His Truths to them, but deliberately chose not do that.

Originally Posted By: Tom
How do you mean force being used? You don't mean insults and sarcasm, do you? You've been civil in recent posts, which I appreciate, but when I wrote this, some time ago, it was in reference to these sorts of comments. I don't perceive Christ ever acting in this sort of way.

A) As it is seen this post (#133001), your comments were pointedly in regards to my statement:

Originally Posted By: NJK Project
Manifestly if Simon, the Pharisee had immediately proceeded to audibly condemn Christ with these blind thoughts, he would been met/treated as Christ usually dealt with those Jewish leaders,

Your desire and attempt to try to attribute this understanding to ‘my fault’ is substantively spurious. Jesus fittingly/correspondingly responded to his open and confrontational opposers which cutting words of substantive/factual truth. These are not “insults or sarcasm” nor is my applicable quoting or referencing of them. Biblical truth, being as sharp as a two-edge sword, naturally hurts someone/something who opposes it as it cuts into especially ones pride and entrenched skin and sinew of “preferred” beliefs. I see that you are “conveniently” confusing/conflating that Truth cutting effect with, supposedly, me personally.

NJK: The wayward and unbiblical actions and statements of these did not deserve any respect, lest Christ be thus complicit in their waywardness, or worse, emboldened then through this “respect” in this wrong, unBiblical and vitally dangerous path.

Tom: Witness how Paul treated the high priest.

[Again the [Acts 23:1-5] Scriptural reference would help]. Paul was also pointedly addressing the “inhuman command” (AA 411.1). And since it indeed was ‘a Truth that Ananias was a whitewashed sepulcher’ (AA 414.1), it thus was not an insult, but a factual description.

Also this clearly was not how Christ, Paul’s ‘imitated Master’, treated the leaders of His day as Jesus had no qualm about calling them, with reason, among many other things, “whitewashed” (Matt 23:27). Manifestly Paul had a different intention/purpose here. Indeed it all seems to me that Paul’s response was carefully and “courteously” calculated to be diplomatic. He only said in excuse that ‘he did not know that Ananias was in the position of the High Priest’ though he clearly was a priest. And indeed used this calculated peace fostering appeasement, to instead cause this trial to fath through a sure-to-work diversion (Acts 23:6-10 = Matt 10:16). Yet nothing said here was a lie since Paul indeed may not have known that Ananias was made the High Priest.)

Originally Posted By: Tom
The respect with which Christ treated others was not due to their actions, but to Christ's character. This is the way our wonderful God is! We are nothing, full of wretchedness, rotting bones underneath a white-washed sepulcher, but God treats us with unbelievable kindness, patience, tact, and respect. It's unbelievable how well God treats us, who are *so* undeserving! He doesn't treat us well because we deserve to be treated well, because we don't. He treats us well because He is God, and it is His nature, His character, to treat others well.

Your claim of (default) “respect” towards the Jewish leaders needs to be substantiated.

God only treats sinners with agape love when there is an actual valid reason to do so, as he easily can know. Even a seemingly vile sinner, may be doing so out of the weighed but sure belief that ‘there is no God, who moreover has an authority on his life.’ However God never “respect” hypocrisy, but realistically deals with it in corresponding proportion to which it has been allowed to be entrenched. The religious leaders had knowingly made God’s Law subservient to their self-serving desires and God/Jesus had absolutely no “respect” for that hypocrisy, especially as it was tangibly, oppressively exerted upon Spiritually, even economically, helpless victim. So when I see Jesus treat someone in those cutting and scathingly rebuking ways and terms, then I know that there is a just actionable reason from Him to “real-ly” do so, and that usually is various forms of hypocrisy, especially, as it actually only is, indifferent hypocrisy (= lying).

Tom: Secondly, the point here is that Christ treated Simon gently and with tact not because Simon acted in one manner rather than another (i.e., by means of thinking rather than speaking), but because Christ loved him and wanted to save him.

NJK: Your underlying points did not hold up to the actual light of God’s word including the SOP.

Tom: ??? Christ didn't want to save Simon? The SOP points out that Simon would have been lost, if it weren't for how well Christ treated him.

In the SOP’s statement as in DA 567.5, I rather only see that Simon, like David, would not have realized the great guilt of his sin in relation to Mary, -a sin which he may have already asked and even received forgiveness of. Yet he was still holding an air of superiority here and that is what Jesus sought to pointedly address here. That then in turn, but distinctly, addressed Simon’s apparently personally genuine, but Spiritually spurious, opposition that Jesus was not a prophet since He “obviously” didn’t know that Mary was a (former) adulteress.

Relatedly, how do you think it made the proud and boastful Peter think when Jesus implied that he was, (most utterly despicable) ‘a mouthpiece for Satan’??! (Matt 16:23). Christ surely wanted Peter to be saved (cf. Luke 22:31, 32) but that did not prevent him from pointedly and fittingly addressing his Spiritually bankrupt and wrong expressed, and actually still publicly (Mk. 8:33?), “rebuke”. (At least, Matthew apparently heard it first-hand here! Unless Peter was later forthcoming in recounting it). It surely would have been a difference response if Peter had instead sought to ask deferential questions.

Originally Posted By: Tom
How could you possibly think that Christ was not motivated to save Simon? What is it you think Christ was doing?

Indeed because I see that Christ method of response here was pointedly because Simon had not pridefully spoken out against Jesus based upon what he actually genuinely felt. So in a way, he actually felt that he was respecting Jesus, even to his own loss because he did not see how he could not openly bring this issue up with Jesus without revealing that he no longer believed in him. (The issue of his and Mary past sin may indeed have been a completely forgiven issue in itself.) So Jesus “correspondingly” responded to that “courteous” however Theologically/Spiritually misguided it actually was. Indeed Simon’s natural reaction, as this was not a hypocritical act by him, should have been to immediately stand up and kick Jesus out for having pretended to be a prophet all of this time. Instead he opted to “suffer in silence”, not even by giving Jesus a benefit-of-the-doubt, but out of pure, now host’s courteously. Jesus was fully aware of all of this and responded in due kind, also endeavoring to set things right here. Indeed after this correction ‘Simon now began to see himself in a new light.’ (DA 567.1)

NJK: So this conclusion is thus baseless. The fact that Simon, a Pharisee had already manifested interest in Christ and had in thanks for his healing organized this public known feast was reason enough for Christ to be patient with him and his growing faith.

Tom: The public feast was something Simon did out of obligation. Simon didn't even thank Christ when he was healed. He was still filled with hypocrisy. It was he who had led his niece into sin. When she was lavishing her love for Him, by means of the perfume (a years salary being the cost) she anointed Him with, he wasn't touched.

Tom: Christ won Simon's love and devotion by how He treated him at that feast. He converted an enemy into a friend, and life-long follower by His love, tact, and gentleness.

Where are you reading that Mary was Simon’s niece?
Where also are you reading that the feast was an “obligation”? Did everyone who Christ heal have an “obligation” to hold a feast of thanks for this??

I also read that Simon “desired to show his gratitude” (DA 557.2) and apparently did so in a feast at the first occasion he got. Indeed with Jesus travelling around, that was not an occasion he could easily have and such a (fitting) feast was not thrown over night. So by time he figured to do so, even overcoming his fear of his Pharisee colleague, Jesus may have been long gone, and for a undetermined while.

(I recall something along the ‘initial non-thanking’ lines of Simon’, but can’t specifically relocate it at the moment. If you know the specific SOP reference, please let me know.)

Also, from the fact that Simon was still a Pharisee, I see that this indeed was in itself a most courageous, and thus noteworthy public act. Indeed the Pharisee hated Jesus pointed because of the miracles He was doing that were attesting to the veracity of Himself and Ministry, both exposing and opposing them and theirs. So the last thing that a Pharisee wanted to do was (a) throw a feast indicating public acceptance of Jesus, and (b) for a claimed/observed miracle. Though the Pharisee let Simon continue in his function, thus admitting that he was wholly healed, the certainly did not want to make a public spectacle of this, especially if they knew it was Jesus who had done it, as they probably did.

NJK: That mere public association, indeed vs. Nicodemus covert one, almost automatically put Simon at odds with the rest of the other Jewish leaders. As EGW says:

Originally Posted By: SOP DA 557.1
Simon of Bethany was accounted a disciple of Jesus. He was one of the few Pharisees who had openly joined Christ's followers. He acknowledged Jesus as a teacher, and hoped that He might be the Messiah, but he had not accepted Him as a Saviour. His character was not transformed; his principles were unchanged.

NJK: So Christ had ample tangible reasons to be most patient with this relatively brave and faith action.

Tom: You're thinking Christ would have said, "Off with you! Go ahead and be eternally damned!" if He had not had these "tangible reasons?" I really don't understand your thinking here.


NJK: Thus Christ indeed wanted to save him and excused his wayward thought here, as he similarly repeatedly did for his own disciples. However an outspoken condemnatory denunciation would have brought a corresponding, at the very least, indicative correction. Cf. Matt 16:21-23).

Tom: So if Simon had spoken out load, instead of inwardly, Christ would have responded, "Enough of you! Be lost!" and not worked to save him?

Uhhh... No.. That’s is what you can only think that I would/should think here. Like Peter in Matt 16:23|Mark 8 33, Christ would have just fittingly, openly, if that was the case with Simon, exposed his sin and hypocrisy. What Simon chose to do with that shaming rebuke, like Peter, (and any other similarly deserving person in Christ’s ministry) was entirely up to him.

Originally Posted By: Tom
You think Christ works to save some, because of their actions, but others He leaves to be lost?

From many examples in the Bible, God|Jesus treats each person individually, according to the light they had. So e.g., in Moses’s case (Exod 4:24-26), a pagan could live a peaceful life despite not having circumcised his sons, but for Moses that was an eminent, now confronting, life or death issue. God read hearts, as Jesus was Spiritually empowered to do, and thus His pointed responses are always judiciously fitting and deserved, and individually tailored.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Consider the words of Paul: It is a saying worthy of acceptance that Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am chief. This is how I feel. I'm sure it's how Simon felt, and Nicodemus, and anyone else who has been saved by Christ. I hope it's how you feel.

Not to take anything away from that Biblical Truth, that actually sidesteps the present issue that God’s fitting dealings with forwardly manifested, indifferent hypocrisy. God’s love of the sinner, does not excuse, nor certainly, “respect”, such heightened level of sinfulness.

NJK: however he partly swallowed his pride here, which warranted this merciful treatment.

Tom: What "warranted this merciful treatment" was not any action on Simon's part, but Christ's character. Christ is merciful, so He treated Simon with mercy.


NJK: Mercy was being shown because these sharply objecting thoughts were nonetheless suppressed by Simon.

Tom: Mercy is not merited! Mercy was shown because Christ is merciful. That is His character, as proclaimed to Moses.

Like the OT God, and how He actually revealed it to Moses, ‘Christ exercises this mercy on whoever He chooses to have mercy.’ (Exod 33:19). If God ‘has to be merciful’ it is no longer mercy, but an obligation. And furthermore, that means that He can never not be merciful, i.e., deal/allow judgement.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Mercy is akin to grace in that it's *unmerited* (or "unwarranted") favor, given by one to another not because the other deserves it, but out of the kindness of the one granting it.

Mercy|grace|forgiveness is granted to only those who seek it. And in Simon’s deferential approach, despite feeling otherwise, Jesus saw that he was deserving of this discreet approach, eventhough that unexpressed hypocrisy still had to be rebuked. So Simon only fittingly obtained “mercy/grace” for the manner in which He was to be rebuked.

NJK: This view of your has already been disproven by how Jesus actually dealt with prideful objectors throughout his minsitry, including defaulty with Jewish leaders from the very start of his ministry.

Tom: No sir! Christ *died* for these "prideful objectors," a most horrible death. This is how He "dealt" with them. He loved them, and gave His life for them.

Just emphatically saying “No” does not change the substantive text. (cf. also Deut 7:9-11; 1 Kgs 8:23) Christ effectively died for everyone, but what actually made Him fully go through with is were His ‘faithful friends’ (John 15:13, 14); “following sheep” (John 10:11) and the many sinners who would accept this sacrifice. (AA 601.2). Giving everything up and engaging in finding the ‘lost sheep/coin’ is pointedly speaking of Christ’s incarnation, but not necessarily of His “baptism of blood” death (DA 690.3) which indeed was an entirely different ordeal. And that was indeed a “decision” (DA 693.1) that He had to take and not ‘just naturally do it’ (cf. Luke 12:49, 50). So in a most realistic way, those who ‘pridefully objected’ to Jesus only benefited from the fact that ‘Jesus had “friends” who depended on Him to “go all the way,”’ including a throng of dead OT saints. That fact indeed made the cross effectively entirely bearable for Him.

NJK: In fact the only, relatively, “plain” statement I see Christ making to, inclusively some of these leaders during his ministry, before the Matt 23 plain statements, was in Luke 4:21, which was in contrast to the reading of Isa 61:1, 2 which had been ‘well received’ (vs. 22; cf. DA 236.4-237.2) however Christ immediately enjoined this spiritually glib reception with cutting words that led these people to become filled with murderous rage vss. 23-30. (Cf. DA 237.3ff)

Tom: You didn't quote anything here, so I have no comment.

That’s again is just an excuse, and the Truth from that passage still stands. Let’s just say, you, at least, and anyone else who may subscribing to this “excusing”, will be the one(s) who will not be aware of the revealed Truth here.

Tom: How did Christ treat Saul? (who would become Paul)

As I see it, indeed as discussed in this one (#132406), Jesus found enough genuine and non-hypocritical honesty in this most gifted and “electable” vessel of Saul, to present Him a fitting (and actually faith cementing) “opportunity” to from then live a life of utter trials for the sake of the Gospel.

NJK: Also Christ would be dealing with unexpressed thoughts, so, as to not compel faith here, he had to veiledly address this opposition, as He mercifully deemed it necessary.

Tom: This sentence doesn't make sense. At any rate, Christ's motivation was the salvation of Simon.

NJK: It does when you carefully read it.

Tom: How so? How would Christ be compelling faith?

Christ was dealing with Simon disbelief that Jesus was a prophet in regards to His non-objecting to Mary. So if Christ had explicitly said: “I am reading from your thoughts Simon that...” then Simon would really have no other choice than to be compelled to believe. But by not letting on as if he had read Simon thoughts, Simon was still left to accept this in faith, on top of first accepting it as a just rebuke, as he could have easily vexatiously discounted it.

NJK: Mercy is what leads to salvation for people at fault like Simon was here. And Simon, who should have known better, did not deserve this patient treatment.

Tom: Right! Simon did not deserve the treatment he received from Christ, which is why it was mercy. And neither do we deserve the treatment we receive from Christ.

Like I had been saying/meant all along, Simon exercised suppressing option is pointedly what warranted the discreet manner of this response. The issue of Simon sin of hypocrisy is a distinct matter.

Originally Posted By: Tom
(More later, perhaps).

Why, as logically impliable: ‘“Perhaps” ‘not more’’ in regards to the substantive remainder of my post (#133009)??

“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: kland] #133285
05/06/11 01:54 AM
05/06/11 01:54 AM
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NJK: Furthermore it is not known precisely what type snakes were in the Sinai wilderness.

kland: The point I was making is that some snakes do attack.

Okay. I couldn’t tell with certainty. A few categorizing/qualifying words my have helped.

NJK: As I understand it, what God does and what God permits under his ultimate control are both equally the same. It is when God allows the Devil to decide and do whatever he wants, that a judgement is not at all from/of God.

kland: Would you be saying that allowing the devil is different than permitting him?

NJK: They seem to mean the same thing to me, with perhaps “permit” being more formal than “allow”.

kland: So, Allow=Permit.

Seems to be possibly so from the dictionaries I have consulted. In fact my printed Webster’s Dictionary comically has as first definitions:

-Allow: “to permit”
-Permit: “to allow”

kland: Substituting in we have:
As I understand it, what God does and what God allows under his ultimate control are both equally the same. It is when God allows the Devil to decide and do whatever he wants, that a judgement is not at all from/of God.

kland: Does that lack of contrast make logical sense to you? That is, what God does and allows is from Him, but what God allows the Devil to do is not from Him?

I colloquially had seen something more formal in “permit” I.e., ‘People get a driving “permit” (which allows them to drive on public roads).’

Probably the second definitions should be understood here

-Allow: “to acknowledge, admit, concede”
-Permit: “to give opportunity”

So with “allow” it seems to me that you are aware that something is happening or will happen and you just let it be. While with “permit” you weighingly, formally give one this opportunity (but with specific conditions restrictions), and even in your care/name.

That is indeed (or actually) what I had said and meant by saying:

Originally Posted By: NJK Project
As I understand it, what God does and what God permits under his ultimate control are both equally the same. It is when God allows the Devil to decide and do whatever he wants, that a judgement [i.e., what takes place in/towards that judgement] is not at all from/of God.

“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] #133286
05/06/11 02:00 AM
05/06/11 02:00 AM
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NJK: I don’t have time to retrace all your statements on pointedly this issues, but it seemed/seems to me that you don’t see God needing to ever be directly involved in any judgement, especially in the executory part of Hell judgement as, as I recall, you believe this will merely be a self-combusting event, (perhaps with instantaneous consummation vs. The Bible’s and SOP’s ‘(varyingly) many days’).

Tom: Regarding judgements in general, I believe God is involved, but the mechanism is one of withdrawal/permitting vs. directly causing suffering/death by doing things like setting people on fire.

I substantively see that your view here, pointedly with Fire, (among others) is squarely at odds with many examples in the Bible and SOP, namely Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:24|PP PP 162.2), Ahab’s two groups of 50 soldiers (2 Kgs 1:10, 12|PK 208.3), rebellious princes during the D-K-A rebellion (Num 16:35; 4aSG 32.1|PP 401.1); Nadab and Abihu (Num 26:61; PP 359.2). Both the Bible and SOP indicate that these fires were judgements from/of God.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Regarding the final judgement, I believe those who have sinned more will suffer more than those who have sinned less, according to the light they have received, as EGW explained.

And my still unanswered question is “How??” How does a person/sinner live more than a few seconds in a Lake fo Fire?? Indeed it is but for the supernatural life-sustaining act of God, who alone has the power to impart life, let alone death resisting life.

Tom: Again, this isn't a phrase I have used, nor a concept I have articulated (that sin is allowed to run its course).

NJK:I infer this from your consistenly expressed “reap its full reward” view of sin and death.

T:Regarding sin running its course, I wrote:

Tom: I haven't put it this way, nor would I, as this seems ambiguous.

Tom: The final judgment involves direct actions on the part of God to the point of having all be aware of the issues involved in the Great Controversy, especially in their own lives. This is necessary that they may render judgment. Every knee will bow, voluntarily, and every tongue confess, voluntarily, acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and that He (and God, or the Godhead) have been just/fair/merciful/gracious/etc. in all of their dealings throughout the Great Controversy.

That is only in regards to the White Throne judgement which occurs just before the Hell Fire execution of the sentence of that Judgement. That White Throne serves to inform the lost why they are about to be punished as they “thoroughly, but justly” will be.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Regarding judgments during this life, one could perhaps say that some aspect of sin has been allowed to run its course, but not that sin, in general, has been allowed to run its course.

That is actually only because of the offsetting influence for good exerted through fiathful followers of God.

NJK:In any case, that is what the Bible actually teaches.

Tom: What's "that"?

Base on what I had responded:

Originally Posted By: NJK Project (#133185)
I do not see this as being realistically feasible in the sense that sin is not always allowed to reach its ‘“full life” which then results in self inflicted natural death’, indeed as an old person naturally dies of old age (James 1:15).

Thus for sin to naturally cause an “organic” death, it first has to live out its full destructive life. However that cannot always be allowed by God to be the case and He must at times intervene to “prematurely” end the “life” of a sinful course.

Originally Posted By: NJK Project
In a prior post you had inaccurately curtailed James 1:14, 15 to:

“temptation => sin => death”

however the Bible is exegetically clear in saying that it is rather, i.e., more fully/protractedly:

“temptation => lust => sin => fully developed/accomplished sin => death

From the Bible’s:

‘intercourse’ => “conception” (Strong’s #4815) => “birth” (#5088) => “finishing/completion” (#658) [= “fully lived and aged life”] => natural death.

Originally Posted By: Tom
James described a process wherein temptation leads to sin, which, when finished, results in death. This is accurate.

I rather see that you are again curtailing this deliberate “ana-logical” illustration. Especially in the light of your previous expressed view that ‘all sins “organically” bring death’. It is instead shown here that ‘stages of life’, included a distinct “fully live life” are pointedly described here. Natural death, i.e., “from old age” is thus also being implied. But sin first needs to reached that fully matured stage to, of itself cause death.

NJK (edited): God instead chooses to intervene at some stages to effectuate a death-causing judgement in order to end this manifestly, sure-to-get-worse, sin development.

Tom: This isn't very clear, but I think what you're wanting to say is that God intervenes in order to prevent something worse to occur. If that's the point, I have no qualms with this, provide that God's intervention is understood along the lines of that explained in GC 35-37.

NJK: I address your view of GC 35-37 later in indeed these intervene events, but how is it actually “intervention” as this is defined as: “the act or fact of interposing one thing between or among others”. A “withdrawal/absenteeing” action is not an interposition/intervention.

Tom: Job describes a similar circumstance. Do you see that God didn't intervene in what happened to Job?

No, since it was God who had permitted these trials. If Satan had outrightly engaged in making Job suffer and God had then sent angels to protect Job, then that would have been an intervention.

I also don’t see this as either a judgement on Job, nor, especially not, an “absentee action” of God. God was always present in that permit trial by limiting what the Devil could do. So this example does not even qualify as an example of ‘God’s judgement on people who have exceeded His mercy’, which are typically, if not only, His former people vs. people who were never followers of God.

NJK: And to do this, i.e., in this timely way, He has had to use supernatural force.

Tom: He could just remove His protection from the thousand dangers, all of them unseen, from which He protects us.

NJK: To me, on one hand, “removing” his protection in not synonymous with “intervening” and on the other hand, to me, this allowing of something dangerous to affect someone involves the same ultimate responsibility.

Tom: Not if the person in question is caused to remove the protection. Then the responsibility lies with the one causing the protection to be removed.

This protection removal is always a choice of God. God indeed no longer commission angels (14MR 3.1) or His Spirit to “protect”. God justly chooses to no longer have mercy on those people (Exod 33:19). He thus ultimate holds the responsibility for what occurs but not the fault/blame.

Originally Posted By: Tom
This is the whole point of the GC 35-37 passage. If the responsibility did not lie with the Jews, it could not be said that the Jews forged their own fetters.

The Jews ‘forged their fetters’ not by committing a simple sin of initial unbelief that automatically put them in this jailhouse of God but actually by their ensuing “stubborn rejection of divine love and mercy” (GC 35.3) that led them to reject, and then in the NT Church era, continue to reject, Jesus their Messiah. Jesus’ death had broken that jailhouse wide open. But the Jews forced themselves to be trapped in it by the own fetters they had forged.

Even more pointedly, by then likewise rejecting the many offers of peace and mercy by Titus, the also ‘forged their fetters’ and tough Titus had enter in war judgement against them for their effective, and then full-blown, revolt against Rome, this utter destruction end was indeed their fault, though it was Titus who resolutely ordered it to be so.

NJK: Thus this “passive” act is still a judgement-contributing act. I.e., this judgement cannot occur unless God does this.

Tom: Here's the passage in question:

The Jews had forged their own fetters; they had filled for themselves the cup of vengeance. In the utter destruction that befell them as a nation, and in all the woes that followed them in their dispersion, they were but reaping the harvest which their own hands had sown. Says the prophet: "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself;" "for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity." Hosea 13:9; 14:1. Their sufferings are often represented as a punishment visited upon them by the direct decree of God. It is thus that the great deceiver seeks to conceal his own work. By stubborn rejection of divine love and mercy, the Jews had caused the protection of God to be withdrawn from them ... (GC 35;emphasis mine)

Tom: I don't see how Ellen White could have more clearly articulated who was and was not responsible for what was happening here.

Again I now further see a two-part aspect to the Destruction of Jerusalem, even intermixed. The First/A part being from the start of the war, with the first siege of Cestius through to after Titus’s campaign, and a second when Titus decided no longer to have mercy. Many surrendering Jews were indeed saved, some fleeing, in the first part, but the obstinate ones that incited Titus’ wrath were mostly killed in the merciless sacking of the city.

Because of the mercy shown/“allowed” in the first part I see God’s hand in it. I’ll however concede that the utter destruction end God was there/then completely withdrawn.

“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] #133302
05/06/11 03:33 PM
05/06/11 03:33 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Tom
M: 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?

T: This question doesn't make sense to me.

M: Inspiration makes it clear the fire that burned N&A alive blazed out from the presence of God in the most holy place. In order for His enemies to do it, they would have had to been inside the most holy place when they employed fire to burn N&A alive. Well, come to think of it, I suppose it’s possible they could have figured out a way to make fire blaze out from the presence of God in the most holy place without having to be physically inside the most holy place. Also, what kind of fire did God’s enemies use?

T: GC 35-37 isn't limited to actions of God's enemies. There are a thousand dangers, all of them unseen, from which God protects us.

M: While we’re at it, who were His enemies?

T: Those who hate God are God's enemies (but God is still their friend).

M: I’m sorry it wasn’t clear I was referring specifically to the enemies of God who you say caused fire to blaze out from the presence of God in the most holy place and burned N&A alive.

T: Why do you think I said this?

M: Were these particular enemies evil angels? If not, who were they?

T: Please quote something I've said. I don't know where you're getting these ideas from.

M: Are you refusing to address questions relating to N&A and the two bands of fifty?

T: No, I'm asking you to please quote something I've said, because I don't understand where you're getting your ideas from. That isn't clear to you?

M: It was Ellen who said so. You agreed with her.

T: You're suggesting that Ellen White said these particular enemies were evil agents?

M: Inspiration makes it clear the fire that burned N&A alive blazed out from the presence of God in the most holy place. Similarly, fire flashed from heaven in response to Elijah’s prayers to burn alive the two different bands of fifty. Do you believe Jesus withdrew His protection and permitted His enemies to burn them alive? So far you have not answered this question plainly. Please do so.

T: You haven't answered my questions. Please any my questions, which I asked first.

To answer your question ("Why do you think I said this") you haven't actually stated who or what you believe caused the fire that blazed out from the presence of God in the most holy place and burned N&A alive. Would you mind answering the question?

Christ's Revelation of God (Section title in book)

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}

"No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." John 1:18. {8T 286.2}

Taking humanity upon Him, Christ came to be one with humanity and at the same time to reveal our heavenly Father to sinful human beings. He was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of men, and yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was a stranger and sojourner on the earth--in the world, but not of the world; tempted and tried as men and women today are tempted and tried, yet living a life free from sin. {8T 286.3}

Tender, compassionate, sympathetic, ever considerate of others, He represented the character of God, and was constantly engaged in service for God and man. {8T 286.4}

T: Please explain to me how this can mean that NOT every thing man needs to know, or can know, of God was revealed in the life and character of His Son, when He "took humanity upon Him."

M: Please refer to the many passages I posted earlier (omitted by you). As a whole they make clear the point. Do not make the mistake of basing your idea on one passage. Also, “needs to know” is not the same thing as “everything there is to know”.

T: Let's just deal with one passage. Please cite the passage which you think most clearly articulates the idea that NOT everything that man needs to know, or can know, of God was revealed in the life and character of His Son, and we can discuss that passage. I'm not aware of any passage which contradicts this idea. I didn't see any such contradiction or implication in any passage you cited.

You wrote, "Let's just deal with one passage." Is this right or wise? Doesn't such an idea fly in the face of everything we believe about arriving at the truth?

I believe the passage in 8T 286 makes it clear Jesus revealed what we need to know about God. However, as stated before, "needs to know" is not the same thing as "everything there is to know". It is impossible to establish the 28 fundamental beliefs based solely on what Jesus said and did while here in the flesh.

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133303
05/06/11 04:43 PM
05/06/11 04:43 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Tom
T: I agree that nothing happens by fate. I disagree that nothing happens by chance. If Jesus, or God, permits something to occur which happens by chance, that doesn't mean that the thing permitted to occur did not happen by chance. I believe there are things which happen by chance. For example, tossing a fair coin is an example. By chance it will be heads or tails. Many such examples could be given.

M: Do you believe Jesus is free to choose between such options as preventing death and destruction or permitting it, that He takes everything and everyone into consideration and then decides whether to prevent or permit death and destruction, that the choice is His?

T: You're mixing too many things together here, and then asking a yes or no question. That's not cricket. I think all evil is not the choice of Jesus Christ, and evil only occurs when beings choose to act contrary to His will.

M: Or, do you believe chance dictates whether or not He is free to choose between preventing or permitting death and destruction?

T: Things happen by chance, if that's what you mean.

M: Is Christ in control or is chance?

T: Things happen by chance, if that's what you're asking. Again, chance being in control isn't a logical construct.

M: If God is not in control of sinners, who, then, is protecting them?

T: By "in control of" I assume you mean "controlling." Or do you mean something else? If by "in control of" you mean "protecting," then I may agree with what you mean, if not what you're saying. That is, I certainly agree that God is protecting sinners.

M: Do you believe God is not in control of sinners?

T: Not when they sin.

M: If so, and I assume you do, what do you mean by it?

T: I mean that sinners, when they sin, choose to exercise their free will to act contrary to the will of Jesus Christ.

M: Yes, of course, sinners are free to choose to sin. But I’m referring to the resulting outcomes, consequences. For example, N&A were free to choose to employ strange fire. The various outcomes, consequences of their choice was entirely up to Jesus – not chance, not sin, not Satan. Jesus chose to employ fire to burn them alive. So far, you have refused to say who or what employed the fire that killed them.

T: We spoke of this in detail in the past. I have no desire to repeat that conversation. I'll reiterate that I believe that the principles of GC 35-37 hold in all such cases, and that the specifics of how God removes His protection (whether in regards to evil agents, oneself, natural disasters, health, accidents, or anything else) is not important.

You’re unwillingness to plainly state who caused fire to blaze out from the presence of God in the most holy place to burn N&A alive is suspicious. We both agree fire is not self-acting; therefore, someone employed it to burn N&A alive. Both the Bible and the SOP plainly say it was Jesus who employed fire to burn N&A alive. Nowhere does it say otherwise. Assuming, as you do, the principles outlined in GC 35-37 apply to N&A smacks of “private interpretation” in light of the fact both the Bible and the SOP plainly say it was Jesus who employed fire to burn N&A alive. Assuming, as you do, it is “not important” who killed N&A also smacks of “private interpretation”.

M: As for me, I believe Jesus is, as sovereign Lord and King, ultimately in control of the outcome of the great controversy – not sin, not sinners, and not Satan.

T: The Great Controversy is not a contest that can be decided by sovereignty; it's decided by evidence. God has been accused of certain things, things involving His character and the principles of His government. To make His case that He has been unjustly accused, God has chosen to allow things to play out, that His character may be seen in contrast with that of His accuser, as well as the principles of His government in contrast to the principles of his adversary's government.

M: That is, sin does not determine how the GC will play out, neither do sinners, nor does Satan.

T: Sinners and Satan have a part, as do all sentient beings.

M: Whether or not this or that choice plays out this or that way is entirely up to Jesus - not sin, not sinners, and not Satan.

T: No, this isn't the case. When a rapist chooses to rape, and that plays out in a rape victim being raped, that's not "entirely up to Jesus." You don't see the problem in asserting this?

M: True, His options are limited. He isn’t free to manage the outcome irrespective of the choice. For example, Jesus wasn’t free to manage Judas’ choice to betray Him in a way that would result in him sitting on the right or left hand of Jesus in the New Jerusalem.

T: This doesn't seem to be a related point to the discussion.

M: Whether or not this or that choice plays out this or that way is entirely up to Jesus - not sin, not sinners, and not Satan. Evil choices usually end in evil consequences. Exactly which evil consequence plays out is up to Jesus. Not that He makes it play out that way. But He does manage things so that they do not play out some other way. He either causes, commands, or permits.

T: So if a little child is abused, that's "entirely up to Jesus" (not sin, not sinners, and not Satan)? IMO, this is exactly backwards.

What do you believe? You haven’t been forthcoming. Do you think it’s up to sin? Or, up to sinners? Or, up to Satan? Does Jesus have any say so? Does He have the right to intervene and prevent it (the abuse you specified above)? Or, is He required to sit back and do nothing?

T: To state that evil angels never disobey Jesus Christ is not a fair accusation to make upon Christ. Of course they disobey Him, whenever they do evil. To think that evil angels are shackled so they only obey Christ's will is, I'm having difficulty coming up with words that aren't too strong here, I'll just say not fair to Christ. Also, it's not fair to them, as well, as, if they are not to a great extent free to do their will, then the Great Controversy is a sham. Finally, if they are not free to do their will, how do you explain the evil there is in the world?

M: As explained above, Jesus is in control – not sin, not sinners, and not Satan. Evil angels are only as free as Jesus allows. 1 Cor 10:13 is an example.

T: This doesn't address my question. My question is, if evil agents are not free to do their will, how do you explain the evil there is in the world? Please answer this question. For example, "The evil which exists in the world exists because ..." In particular, whose will is involved when evil occurs?

Evil angels are not free to tempt, torment, or terminate people at will. What they are allowed to do is tightly regulated by Jesus. The reason evil angels tempt, torment, and terminate people is because they are evil. The resulting evil that exists in our world is due to the fact evil angels act within the perimeters Jesus permits and controls.

M: He commanded godly people like Moses to kill ungodly people. In final judgment, the radiant glory of God’s person and presence will cause the wicked to suffer in duration and intensity proportionate to their sinfulness. The presence of God’s radiant glory is required for the wicked to experience the emotional and physical suffering that ends in eternal death, otherwise, they would merely live and die as they did before Jesus resurrected them.

T: I'm sorry you feel this way. DA 764 tells us that if God had allowed Satan and his followers to reap the full result of their sin, they would have perished, but it would not have been apparent that the inevitable result of sin is death. I'm sorry you don't see the relationship between sin and death. I think not seeing this connections leads to many errors, all of which portray God negatively.

M: Jesus established the laws regulating capital punishment. It doesn’t matter if such laws existed.

T: It does matter. For example, if polygamy existed, and it was permitted to continue, that's not the same as if there were no polygamy, and God instructed that they should have multiple wives.

M: And, the connection between sin and eternal death is real. Sin and sinners cannot abide in the presence of God. The radiant light of His glory consumes sinners with their sins. You seem to think it is sin, not the light of God’s radiant glory, that will consume sinners in final judgment.

T: I think the main difference between us in regards to what you just wrote in this paragraph is that you perceive the issue to be primarily physical, whereas I see it to be a spiritual matter involving one's character. For example, we read: “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) This, as it reads, states what I've been asserting. I don't understand how you get a physical idea out of this. It speaks of the wicked developing characters and revealing their principles. It says they receive the results of their choice, which, in context, is referring to their characters and principles. It says they are so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. This has to do with their character. It says the glory of Him who is love will destroy them. This also has to do with character. The glory of God is His character, and God's defining attribute is love. She refers to the "glory of Him who is love." From beginning to end, this is dealing with character. (More later)

Comparing laws regulating and requiring capital punishment is not the same as laws regulating and permitting polygamy. There multiple places in the Bible where Jesus commanded godly people to execute ungodly people in accordance with the laws regulating and requiring capital punishment. The laws regulating and requiring capital punishment are symbolic of final judgment. Punishment ending in eternal death is both physical and psychological. “His very presence is to them a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy the” – not sin, not self, not Satan. The light radiating from the person and presence of God will cause the wicked to suffer emotionally and physically according to their sinfulness eventually ending in eternal death. You have yet to plainly explain what you think will cause the wicked to suffer emotionally and physically according to their sinfulness. Please do so. Thank you.

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133304
05/06/11 06:23 PM
05/06/11 06:23 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Posts: 22,256
Southwest USA
Originally Posted By: Tom
T: I assume you mean that from my perspective, the mechanism matters, if sincere seekers of truth wrongly conclude that Jesus employs fire to burn people alive. If this is what you mean, I still don't agree that the mechanism matters. I believe it's the principle that matters. A sincere seeker of truth, from my perspective, will not make conclusions about the mechanism involved which are not in harmony with God's character or the principles of His government, if he gets the principles right.

M: What would they conclude? Would it suffice them to know Jesus didn’t burn them alive? Thus satisfied it wouldn’t occur to them to care who or what caused the fire that burned them alive?

T: I don't think it matters much to one who is convinced in regards to God's character. For example, let's say someone is killed in your house by a fire. It's possible that your wife set them on fire and burned them alive. But you know your wife, and know she isn't capable of that sort of behavior. So how did the person die? Insofar as your wife's setting them on fire is concerned, you don't much care, because you know however the person died, it wasn't because your wife set them on fire.

M: Did my wife withdraw her protection and permit her enemies to burn them alive? You seem to think it doesn’t matter.

T: Of course it matters: “By stubborn rejection of divine love and mercy, the Jews had caused the protection of God to be withdrawn from them ... (GC 35) If your wife were caused to withdraw her protection, as opposed to freely choosing to do so without being caused to do so, that would matter. Back to my analogy. You understand the point, right? You would know your wife, in the analogy, didn't cause the fire, because you know her character.

My wife, though a kind and caring and compassionate person, is, nevertheless, a sinner like everyone else. I would reserve judgment until forensics proved who or what caused the fire that killed the person. In the case of N&A, however, forensics prove it was Jesus who employed fire to burn them alive. You, on the other hand, seem to think it doesn’t matter who burned them alive.

M: In the case of N&A, the fire blazed out from the presence of God in the most holy place. And, in the case of the two bands of fifty, fire rained down from God in heaven. To say Jesus simply withdrew His protection and permitted (you have yet to say who) to cause fire to burn them alive begs the question – Why were His enemies in the most holy places in heaven and earth?

T: I disagree that it begs this question.

M: Does it matter to you, Tom, where Jesus’ enemies were when He, according to you, permitted them to make fire blaze out from the presence of God in the most holy place and burn them alive? It matters very much to me. That’s why I believe Jesus employed fire to burn them alive.

T: I addressed this just above, in the illustration about your wife setting people on fire.

M: Who did Jesus permit to employ the fire that killed them? Please don’t say it doesn’t matter. Please answer this question.

T: Jesus permitted the fire to occur for the same reasons explained in GC 35-37. I think where you and I are having the biggest disagreement is that you perceive Jesus' character to be such that He will employ fire to burn people alive when it suits Him. I don't believe Jesus' character is such that He uses fire to burn people alive. I gave the analogy of your wife in the burning house to illustrate this.

I know you believe Jesus permitted His enemies to employ fire to burn N&A alive. My question to you is – Who employed the fire that killed them? And, how did they make it blaze out from the presence of God in the most holy place?

T: You didn't answer my question. I'll repeat it. Satan is free to do his will, 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?

M: No, I disagree. Satan is not free to do as he pleases.

T: Then there's no Great Controversy. If God does His will, and Satan does God's will, there's no controversy at all; there's only God's will. If all that happens is God's will, that begs the question of what sort of God would will the sort of horror we see on this planet?

M: Jesus is in control of the outcome of our choices. He doesn’t leave it up to Satan to decide how best to punish evildoers. True, in the case of Job, Jesus left it up to Satan to decide, within very strict perimeters, what to do. However, in the cases of the wicked, Jesus does not leave it up to Satan.

T: This seems a bit confused, in regards to the subject of discussion here. Are you talking about the final judgment? If not, none of this really makes sense. The punishment of the wicked isn't until the resurrection. If you're talking about the final judgment, then it doesn't make sense to suggest that Jesus Christ leaves their punishment up to Satan. That's just a red herring.

M: “The bowels of the earth were the Lord's arsenal, from which he drew forth the weapons he employed in the destruction of the old world. . . Since the flood, God has used both water and fire in the earth as his agents to destroy wicked cities. {1SP 84.3}

T: Scripture, and the SOP, often present God as doing that which He permits.

M: The GC concerns us as much as it does God. Jesus will not let Satan tempt us beyond His ability to empower us to resist. This ensures the GC is fair. Very clearly Satan is not free to do whatever he’d like to do. He must obtain permission from Jesus to tempt us or to harm us. What happens is by permission.

T: Clearly God must limit the evil which Satan does, or else he would destroy everyone, and there wouldn't be a Great Controversy. However, this must not be twisted around so one concludes that the evil which happens is God's will.

M: There are times, though, when Jesus Himself acts to punish impenitent sinners. Ellen wrote: “The bowels of the earth were the Lord's arsenal, from which he drew forth the weapons he employed in the destruction of the old world. . . Since the flood, God has used both water and fire in the earth as his agents to destroy wicked cities. {1SP 84.3}

T: Scripture, and the SOP, often present God as doing that which He permits.

If what Jesus permits evil angels to do is not His will, what, pray tell, is it? Is it Jesus’ will to prevent evil angels from exceeding the limits He imposes on them? Yes, there are places in the Bible where it portrays Jesus doing the things He permits His enemies to do; however, it smacks of “private interpretation” to assume passages like the ones in my last comment above must be forced to mean something they obviously do not specifically say. Also, the absence of even one passage that applies the withdraw-permit principle of punishment to the passages posted in my last comment above is evidence against your point.

M: I’m curious, Tom, do you even believe Jesus commanded Moses to stone the Sabbath-breaker and the blasphemer to death? I cannot recall you ever answering this question. I get the impression you believe Moses misunderstood what Jesus told him. Please, Tom, don’t go off on a tangent here and ignore directly answering my question. I realize you haven’t said anything specifically about whether or not Moses misunderstood Jesus. So please, don’t use this comment as excuse to ignore answering my question. Please answer it. Thank you.

T: The best way I know to answer your question is with the story of the father of the hunter son. Did the father of the hunter son command his son to do the things he told him to do? What would neighbors who overheard their conversation have thought? Also, do you think Moses knew God and His will as well as Jesus Christ did? Was it Moses' job to perfectly reveal the character of the Father? Isn't it true that God's character was misunderstood until Christ completed His job of revealing it? If so, wouldn't it stand to reason that Moses' understanding of it was imperfect? Can there be any better way of understanding God's character than to examine the life and teachings of Christ? (No, there can't be).

M: Do you believe it when it says in the Bible that Jesus commanded Moses to stone the Sabbath-breaker and the blasphemer to death? Or, do you suspect Moses misunderstood what Jesus said? For example, in the Bible it says: “And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.” “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. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.” Also, do you think the father teaching his son how to hunt humanely is the same thing as Jesus commanding Moses to stone to death the Sabbath-breaker and the blasphemer? Is hunting animals and killing humans equal in the eyes of God? Did the father command his son to hunt humanely?

T: There's a pattern in our conversations where you pass over my questions, and simply ask me more questions. For example, I asked you seven questions, and you didn't answer any of them.

Here’s the answers to your questions:

1. Did the father of the hunter son command his son to do the things he told him to do? No.
2. What would neighbors who overheard their conversation have thought? They would have been impressed the father was willing to help his son hunt humanely even though the father was not in favor of it.
3. Also, do you think Moses knew God and His will as well as Jesus Christ did? No.
4. Was it Moses' job to perfectly reveal the character of the Father? No.
5. Isn't it true that God's character was misunderstood until Christ completed His job of revealing it? Yes.
6. If so, wouldn't it stand to reason that Moses' understanding of it was imperfect? Yes.
7. Can there be any better way of understanding God's character than to examine the life and teachings of Christ? If people were forced to choose only one of the many different ways God has revealed Himself to learn the truth about Him, then no, there is no one way better than studying the life and teachings of Jesus while He was here in the flesh.

Now, please answer my questions. Thank you.

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133305
05/06/11 06:30 PM
05/06/11 06:30 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
Charter Member
Active Member 2019

20000+ Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 22,256
Southwest USA
Originally Posted By: Tom
M: Up to now, everything that has happened has been tempered with mercy. That is, not until the seven last plagues will Jesus pull out all the stops - "unmixed with mercy". All along Jesus has held back, that is, He has established and enforced limits, limits which neither holy angels nor evil angels have been allowed to exceed. Jesus (not sin, not sinners, not Satan) is the one who determines when, where, and how impenitent sinners will be punished. It is not up to Satan to determine. "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

T: It's a huge mistake to view God as responsible for these things.

It was generally believed by the Jews that sin is punished in this life. Every affliction was regarded as the penalty of some wrongdoing, either of the sufferer himself or of his parents. It is true that all suffering results from the transgression of God's law, but this truth had become perverted. Satan, the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God,--as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin. Hence one upon whom some great affliction or calamity had fallen had the additional burden of being regarded as a great sinner.

Thus the way was prepared for the Jews to reject Jesus. He who "hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows" was looked upon by the Jews as "stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted;" and they hid their faces from Him. Isa. 53:4, 3.

God had given a lesson designed to prevent this. The history of Job had shown that suffering is inflicted by Satan, and is overruled by God for purposes of mercy. But Israel did not understand the lesson. The same error for which God had reproved the friends of Job was repeated by the Jews in their rejection of Christ. (DA 471)

M: I do not understand how your response addresses my comments.

T: You wrote as if God were responsible for the things you were speaking of. I addressed that by pointing out that it would be a huge mistake to view God as responsible, and cited texts to explain why.

Of course Jesus was responsible for ensuring evil angels did not exceed the limits He imposed on them. That is, Jesus did not let them cause more death and destruction than He was willing to permit. Do you agree?

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133307
05/06/11 06:46 PM
05/06/11 06:46 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
Charter Member
Active Member 2019

20000+ Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 22,256
Southwest USA
Originally Posted By: Tom
T: Oh I see what you're saying. Actually the phrase, "punishment visited upon them by the direct decree of God” conveys the idea that the punishment visited upon them was not due to a direct decree of God. This means it wasn't God's will. Also, the context makes clear what was happening. She repeats, over and over again (reminiscent of DA 764) that the things that happened were NOT due to something God did, but to the actions of others. Indeed, one wonders how she could have made this clearer.

M: Jesus was forced to withdraw His protection and to permit His enemies to inflict punishment upon the Jews in 70 AD.

T: To inflict suffering and death would be clearer, I think.

M: Said punishment was inflicted because Jesus permitted it.

T: This isn't very clear either, IMO. It can convey the false impression that Jesus was somehow behind the suffering that occurred. The way the SOP puts it is like this: “Their sufferings are often represented as a punishment visited upon them by the direct decree of God. It is thus that the great deceiver seeks to conceal his own work. By stubborn rejection of divine love and mercy, the Jews had caused the protection of God to be withdrawn from them ... (GC 35) This is clearer, IMO.

M: He also worked to prevent His enemies from exceeding the limits He imposed on them. In essence Jesus orchestrated the outcome.

T: I can't think of a worse way of putting it that this! This is pretty much saying exactly the reverse of what Ellen White said. Here's the GC passage:

(1)The Jews had forged their own fetters; they had filled for themselves the cup of vengeance. (2)In the utter destruction that befell them as a nation, and in all the woes that followed them in their dispersion, they were but reaping the harvest which their own hands had sown. (3)Says the prophet: "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself;" "for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity." Hosea 13:9; 14:1. (4)Their sufferings are often represented as a punishment visited upon them by the direct decree of God. (5)It is thus that the great deceiver seeks to conceal his own work. (6)By stubborn rejection of divine love and mercy, the Jews had caused the protection of God to be withdrawn from them, and Satan was permitted to rule them according to his will. (7)The horrible cruelties enacted in the destruction of Jerusalem are a demonstration of Satan's vindictive power over those who yield to his control.

We cannot know how much we owe to Christ for the peace and protection which we enjoy. (8)It is the restraining power of God that prevents mankind from passing fully under the control of Satan. (9)The disobedient and unthankful have great reason for gratitude for God's mercy and long-suffering in holding in check the cruel, malignant power of the evil one. (10)But when men pass the limits of divine forbearance, that restraint is removed. (11)God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown which yields its unfailing harvest. (12)The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. (GC 35-37)

I added the numbers, obviously. I count 12 statements at odds with your assertion. Clearly if Jesus Christ were orchestrating the whole thing, the following, for example, could not be true: “God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown.” If God were orchestrating the execution of the sentence, then He *would* be standing toward the sinner as an executioner of their sentence. I don't see how this could be more clearly stated.

Do you agree Jesus worked to prevent evil men and evil angels from inflicting more death and destruction than He was willing to permit? Or, do you think evil men and evil angels willingly restrained themselves in order not to displease God and exceed Jesus’ limits?

Also, did evil men and evil angels do anything Jesus' wasn't willing to permit?

Did Jesus force evil men and evil angels to inflict the death and destruction He deemed right and necessary?

Were evil men and evil angels free to refuse to inflict the death and destruction Jesus deemed right and necessary?

Who would have inflicted the death and destruction Jesus deemed right and necessary if the Roman soldiers and evil angels had refused to do it?

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