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Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133478
05/12/11 10:40 PM
05/12/11 10:40 PM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: NJK
-I don’t get your responding process, seems somewhat convoluted to me, but your Copy and paste process would not have to involve special pasting, reformatting and coding, whereas mine does.


Not from the SOP it wouldn't. Just copy/paste, assuming you're looking up stuff online.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: NJK Project] #133479
05/12/11 11:46 PM
05/12/11 11:46 PM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Quote:
Tom: The organic relationship I have in mind is that all bad things result from sin. If God were not involved at all, a being would sin, and death would follow immediately. This would not provide the opportunity for a being to see the (non-death) consequences of their choices. So God gives beings the opportunity to develop a character, that may or may not be in harmony with His own. I see DA 764 is talking about this:

Originally Posted By: SOP
God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life. He is "alienated from the life of God." Christ says, "All they that hate Me love death." Eph. 4:18; Prov. 8:36. God gives them existence for a time that they may develop their character and reveal their principles. This accomplished, they receive the results of their own choice. By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them. (DA 764)

NJK:I see the key to understanding EGW’s statement here, echoing the ‘fully lived life and then natural death’ analogy in James 1:15, is: “By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire.”

That is why I see that some sins were to be capitally punished as they more quickly came to this result of self-inflicted, naturally-derived, death when fully “lived” out, while others did not and could be normatively atoned for once a year.


I don't see what you're getting at, in relation to DA 764. Those paragraphs bring out that the death of the wicked (i.e., the second death), is due to their own actions, as opposed to an action God takes against them.

Quote:
T:The organic relationship is choose sin and die. This is expressed several times here, in different ways.

NJK:I see that this “organic relationship” for all, particularly Satan’s sins which at first, in Heaven, not necessarily “capital types of sins”, did indeed necessitate this time so that they could be self-revealed.


This should be several sentences. I can't parse out what you're trying to say here.

DA 764 isn't dealing with capital punishment, but with the destruction of the wicked.

Quote:
T:If God were to allow this, a person wouldn't have the opportunity to develop a character. So God permits a person to sin and not die right away, so as to to develop a character, and have an opportunity to make the right decision.

NJK:I don’t understand how you are involving the formation of one’s character in this. I rather see that time is permitted so that people can understand why God’s ways are indeed, now transparently better, and based on this choose either sin or God.


Regarding character development, I was referring to this:

Quote:
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. (DA 764)


This, by the way, I believe is a good explanation of God's wrath; giving a person over to the results of their choice.

Quote:
T:There are a thousand dangers, all of them unseen, from which God protects us. We're not aware of most of these dangers, just a very, very small percentage, so do not recongize just how dangerous a thing sin is, nor to what extent we are dependent upon God and His protection.

NJK:As I see it, these fall under the “basic necessities of life” that God equally provides for everyone, indeed all in protection against the harmful results of sin.


That's an awfully broad characterization of "basic necessities of life."

Quote:
However there are many Satan-caused dangers that God has to pointedly and constantly protect His people against, as long as He actually can, i.e., if they are faithful.


These are included in the "thousand dangers, all of them unseen."

Quote:
NJK: 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.

Tom: God always wants to have and to show mercy. We see this just as much in the destruction of Jersualem in A.D. 70. For example, the lamentation of Christ shows this.

NJK:God’s/Jesus’s “wanting” to do something is completely distinct from what He ultimately/eventually “chooses” to do (even when allowing/permitting).


You wrote, "God actually wanted to have and show mercy to anyone who would repent." Since you spoke of what God "actually wanted," this is what I commented on. God "actually wants" to show mercy on anyone who repents all the time.

I don't know why you're bringing up a distinction between what God wants and chooses to do, as you weren't speaking to this, nor did I.

Quote:
Case in point, as I substantively see and understand it, at some point, late into the Jewish War, God no longer chose to have mercy and let Titus respond as He should have a long time ago, and no longer have mercy. Indeed the reason why Titus chose to no longer have mercy was not even substantive, i.e., the Jews were physically fighting back, but because he became insulted by the Jews presuming to dictate the terms of surrender. (Josephus, Wars 6:6.3 [#352]) If he became so indignant for that, then it can be seen that his previous patience and mercy when suffering losses in actual battle was surely God influenced.


I don't see why you're pointing this out. That is, how does this tie into our discussion?

I believe the only reason God chooses not to have mercy on someone is that they do not desire it (I'm speaking in the true sense of the term, meaning that they desire mercy from a sense of having done wrong -- i.e. truly repentant --, but not merely that they don't want to suffer the consequences of what they did).

Quote:
NJK: 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).

Tom: You mean just the one sentence taken out of context, right?


Are you referring to a “textual sentence” or a “judgement sentence” here? I am not sure by what you are implying here, especially as I don’t see the “executioner” sentence to be out of context, particularly spiritually.


I was referring to the sentence in GC 614.2 that you had in mind.

Quote:
Tom: This is not only making the same point, but referring to the same event! So one could hardly argue she's making a contrast here between her comments in GC 35-37 and what she's saying here.


My point was that in GC 614.2, EGW says that God did some judgements in the OT through Holy Angels. The first 4 plagues, though unmixed with mercy in themselves, are actually said to ‘not be universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off.’ (GC 628.2)

Then in the Fifth Plague, God judges the “throne of the Beast” (Rev 16:10), and in the Sixth Plague God acts against the “life-blood” of this apostate movement (Rev 16:12). It is only after that, that the whole world is gathered together to war against God due to falling for supernatural miracles (Rev 16:13-16) and why I see that it is only in the Seventh Plague that this now global Babylon Congregation all suffer the unmixed fierce wrath judgement of God (Rev 16:19).

So, like in the War of the Jews event, I see a gradual withdrawal of God’s judgement culminating in an utter ended of unmixed wrathful judgement for those who persist in rebellion until the end. Interestingly enough, it is because, some may want to switch sides to avoid this punishment, with some, e.g., former SDA’s who knew that they would come, that Jesus makes the applicable imperative statement in Rev 22:11 just prior to the beginning of the Plagues, as seen in the SOP account.


Focusing on this sentence:

Quote:
So, like in the War of the Jews event, I see a gradual withdrawal of God’s judgement culminating in an utter ended of unmixed wrathful judgement for those who persist in rebellion until the end.


I agree with this. In the case of the destruction of Jerusalem, the unmixed wrathful judgment was caused by God's completely His withdrawal of protection against Satan.

Quote:
As explained above, I see that there is mercy involved even within/during the execution of a judgement by God, right up to an utter end, where God allows the Devil to then fully have his way.


Ok, I wasn't understanding this. I agree with this. (More later)


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133481
05/13/11 02:05 AM
05/13/11 02:05 AM
NJK Project  Offline
Banned Member
Dedicated Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,098
Laval, Quebec
Quote:
Tom: The organic relationship I have in mind is that all bad things result from sin. If God were not involved at all, a being would sin, and death would follow immediately. This would not provide the opportunity for a being to see the (non-death) consequences of their choices. So God gives beings the opportunity to develop a character, that may or may not be in harmony with His own. I see DA 764 is talking about this:

Originally Posted By: SOP
God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life. He is "alienated from the life of God." Christ says, "All they that hate Me love death." Eph. 4:18; Prov. 8:36. God gives them existence for a time that they may develop their character and reveal their principles. This accomplished, they receive the results of their own choice. By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them. (DA 764)


NJK: I see the key to understanding EGW’s statement here, echoing the ‘fully lived life and then natural death’ analogy in James 1:15, is: “By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire.”

NJK: That is why I see that some sins were to be capitally punished as they more quickly came to this result of self-inflicted, naturally-derived, death when fully “lived” out, while others did not and could be normatively atoned for once a year.

Tom: I don't see what you're getting at, in relation to DA 764. Those paragraphs bring out that the death of the wicked (i.e., the second death), is due to their own actions, as opposed to an action God takes against them.


As I have said and substantively explained/defended before, many times, I see no difference in the first and second death. It is still “normative death”. Only the sustainedly allowed suffering in before the Second Death is allowed to be effectuated, is what somewhat distinguishes them, though, as I see it, it does not change the (ultimate), identical, “death” factor involved. So that guides my understandings here. And I do see capital punishment as being a microcosm of what will occur in Hell where I also see that sin and sinners will be eradicated by an act of God (Rev 20:11-15 (cf. GC 672.2-673.1; EW 294.1ff) = 19:17-21) and not by “critical mass”/ “self-combustion”. Indeed I see EGW’s “consuming fire” statement to actually be more figurative than literal. As per example, in this statement:

Originally Posted By: SOP GC 673.3
While the earth was wrapped in the fire of destruction, the righteous abode safely in the Holy City. Upon those that had part in the first resurrection, the second death has no power. While God is to the wicked a consuming fire, He is to His people both a sun and a shield. Revelation 20:6; Psalm 84:11.


As I explained before, I think both the 7000 years and the way in which this GC was allowed to develop where God did not defaultly abandon those who sinned against Him to their own way, but allowed them to get a saving knowledge of the Gospel, resulting in the end that all will claim the name of Christ and really only be violating the letter of a single commandment, that, what I term, a “critical mass” stage of sin will not occur at the end of these 7000 years. Perhaps if God removed all of the righteous then and left these rebellious “Christians” on earth to live ca. 3000 more years, where now they knew that they actually were not Christians/approved by God and also that they had no chance of salvation, that these will then live out a life that comes to be ‘so out of harmony with God’, i.e., deliberately violating the spirit and letter of all of the Ten Commandments, that they indeed would self-combust in the mere presence of God. As also explained before, I still see that this would become the case only if God allows this to be and this is naturally done by Him not finding any actionable element in a person upon which He can have mercy. Indeed even in the situation with Satan coming into the presence of God and “surviving”/living it was evidently because the GC issues were not yet transparently self-demonstrated, as it will even more fully be at the end of the allotted ca. 7000 years.

Quote:
T:The organic relationship is choose sin and die. This is expressed several times here, in different ways.

NJK (edited): I see that this “organic relationship” for all sins, particularly Satan’s sins, (which at first, in Heaven, were not necessarily “capital sins”), did indeed necessitate this time so that their death consequence could be self-revealed.

Tom: This should be several sentences. I can't parse out what you're trying to say here.


This editing/clarifying should help.

Originally Posted By: Tom
DA 764 isn't dealing with capital punishment, but with the destruction of the wicked.


As I said above, I see the final destruction as the ultimate/anti-typical “Capital Punishment” for sin, and then all and any sins, since the conclusive, though not necessarily exhaustive, self-evidence will be in/available then. Indeed since God knew that sinner can live a very long time, even eternally as sinners if their physical body/health was “therapeutically maintained” by the Tree of Life, these 7000 years, as seen in the symbology of 7 (vs. 10) is only a perfect representation/sampling of a much larger possible whole.

Quote:
T:If God were to allow this, a person wouldn't have the opportunity to develop a character. So God permits a person to sin and not die right away, so as to to develop a character, and have an opportunity to make the right decision.

NJK:I don’t understand how you are involving the formation of one’s character in this. I rather see that time is permitted so that people can understand why God’s ways are indeed, now transparently better, and based on this choose either sin or God.

Tom: Regarding character development, I was referring to this:

Originally Posted By: SOP
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. (DA 764)


Tom: This, by the way, I believe is a good explanation of God's wrath; giving a person over to the results of their choice.


What confused me is that you didn’t specify “character” here and it could go either way, good or bad. I also sequitur saw that you had meant ‘good character’ with your ‘leading to making the right decision’ qualifying, which I further do not see as being achieved by God by permitting someone to sin. EGW, as seen in DA 763.3, foundationally has in mind either ‘good or bad character’ (= “two classes”), but it is the ‘developed bad character’ that she is exclusively focusing on throughout DA 764.1.

Quote:
T:There are a thousand dangers, all of them unseen, from which God protects us. We're not aware of most of these dangers, just a very, very small percentage, so do not recongize just how dangerous a thing sin is, nor to what extent we are dependent upon God and His protection.

NJK: As I see it, these fall under the “basic necessities of life” that God equally provides for everyone, indeed all in protection against the harmful results of sin.

Tom: That's an awfully broad characterization of "basic necessities of life."


I don’t think so. I think you are seeing it as broad as you include in this judgements that God actively done. I.e., Fires from heaven/cloud/Most Holy Place, the Flood, the Plagues. I understand that you see the world in a state of chaos that need the constant actions by God. I rather see that the Earth can come to “skewly” develop a catastrophic problem and God, when this is about to occur, intervenes to avert it at times, especially if it will result in a, relatively speaking, not proportionally deserved destruction/loss of life. But sometimes he lets them happen, hence “natural disasters”.

So God’s (would be, i.e., if EGW actually said/revealed this) keeping the planet in its proper orbit is a basic necessity for sustained life. Indeed most of these “thousand dangers” may be of this “basic necessity type” which all should have occurred as a result of sin.

Quote:
NJK: However there are many Satan-caused dangers that God has to pointedly and constantly protect His people against, as long as He actually can, i.e., if they are faithful.

Tom: These are included in the "thousand dangers, all of them unseen."


Probably, though I have a harder time of understanding them as “dangers,” which I see more to be “natural obstacles” than caused/attempted-attacks by Satan. They may however be “traps” set by Satan for God’s people which they can be harmed by when God justly no longer prevents them from walking into them.

Quote:
NJK: 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.

Tom: God always wants to have and to show mercy. We see this just as much in the destruction of Jersualem in A.D. 70. For example, the lamentation of Christ shows this.

NJK: God’s/Jesus’s “wanting” to do something is completely distinct from what He ultimately/eventually “chooses” to do (even when allowing/permitting).

Tom: You wrote, "God actually wanted to have and show mercy to anyone who would repent." Since you spoke of what God "actually wanted," this is what I commented on. God "actually wants" to show mercy on anyone who repents all the time.

Tom: I don't know why you're bringing up a distinction between what God wants and chooses to do, as you weren't speaking to this, nor did I.


Well then I had “misunderstood” you, (according to your wider view) to mean: ‘God always wants to have mercy, therefore He never does, nor is involved in, judgements.’ Therefore my distinction was to emphasize, as I more widely theologically understand it, God may want/prefer to have mercy, but in some case he is left with no other choice but to enter into judgement, which He most times, Himself does/administers/executes, even when mixed with mercy. I.e., even with some mercy involved, it can still be a devastating judgement (e.g., Judah’s (2 tribes) Babylonian Captivity (vs. Israel’s (10 tribes) Assyrian Captivity)).

Quote:
NJK: Case in point, as I substantively see and understand it, at some point, late into the Jewish War, God no longer chose to have mercy and let Titus respond as He should have a long time ago, and no longer have mercy. Indeed the reason why Titus chose to no longer have mercy was not even substantive, i.e., the Jews were physically fighting back, but because he became insulted by the Jews presuming to dictate the terms of surrender. (Josephus, Wars 6:6.3 [#352]) If he became so indignant for that, then it can be seen that his previous patience and mercy when suffering losses in actual battle was surely God influenced.

Tom: I don't see why you're pointing this out. That is, how does this tie into our discussion?


When God wanted to have mercy in the first parts of the war, permitting both Christians and then also Jews to freely escape alive from this judgement through repeated war haltings/“cutting shorts” (cf. Matt 24:22), I see that His Spirit influenced the Romans and later Titus to take actions towards this merciful end. However late in the war, when God no longer wanted to have mercy, as He actually could not, Titus was permitted to become indignant, and that over something substantively insignificant, and the actual “Destruction of Jerusalem” occurred then.

So I see this development as being typical of God and indeed what will occur in the 7 Last Plagues with some, though non-salvific, mercy for the first 6 and no mercy in the last one.

Originally Posted By: Tom
I believe the only reason God chooses not to have mercy on someone is that they do not desire it (I'm speaking in the true sense of the term, meaning that they desire mercy from a sense of having done wrong -- i.e. truly repentant --, but not merely that they don't want to suffer the consequences of what they did).


Of course a genuine repentance is key in this act of God. And God cannot grant something that is not genuinely requested. In the War of the Jews, those who wanted to surrender peacefully to the Romans did so probably out of a desire to prevent further destruction to what they considered God’s property. And that in itself was/would be relatively noble. I can only see that God’s hand and mercy was involved up to the utter destruction end phase, because the entire residents/occupants of Jerusalem then (ca. 2 million people) were to all suffer death in that war. (= Matt 22:7)

Quote:
NJK: 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).

Tom: You mean just the one sentence taken out of context, right?

NJK: Are you referring to a “textual sentence” or a “judgement sentence” here? I am not sure by what you are implying here, especially as I don’t see the “executioner” sentence to be out of context, particularly spiritually.

Tom: I was referring to the sentence in GC 614.2 that you had in mind.


I am actually still confused. So explicitly state/quote the ‘sentence from GC 614.2 that you thought I had in mind.’

Quote:
Tom: This is not only making the same point, but referring to the same event! So one could hardly argue she's making a contrast here between her comments in GC 35-37 and what she's saying here.

NJK: My point was that in GC 614.2, EGW says that God did some judgements in the OT through Holy Angels. The first 4 plagues, though unmixed with mercy in themselves, are actually said to ‘not be universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off.’ (GC 628.2)

NJK: Then in the Fifth Plague, God judges the “throne of the Beast” (Rev 16:10), and in the Sixth Plague God acts against the “life-blood” of this apostate movement (Rev 16:12). It is only after that, that the whole world is gathered together to war against God due to falling for supernatural miracles (Rev 16:13-16) and why I see that it is only in the Seventh Plague that this now global Babylon Congregation all suffer the unmixed fierce wrath judgement of God (Rev 16:19).

NJK (edited): So, like in the War of the Jews event, I see a gradual withdrawal of God’s mercy culminating in an utter ended of unmixed wrathful judgement for those who persist in rebellion until the end. Interestingly enough, it is because, some may want to switch sides to avoid this punishment, with some, e.g., former SDA’s who knew that they would come, that Jesus makes the applicable imperative statement in Rev 22:11 just prior to the beginning of the Plagues, as seen in the SOP account.

Tom: Focusing on this sentence:

Originally Posted By: NJK (edited)
So, like in the War of the Jews event, I see a gradual withdrawal of God’s mercy culminating in an utter ended of unmixed wrathful judgement for those who persist in rebellion until the end.


Tom: I agree with this. In the case of the destruction of Jerusalem, the unmixed wrathful judgment was caused by God's completely His withdrawal of protection against Satan.


As I understand your view, you see this withdrawal of mercy for the entire war period (namely 66-70 A.D.). I actually see this as not the case for this entire war judgement, but like in the 7 Last Plagues, only in the final part, i.e., after Titus became indignant (sometime in 70 A.D.) and proceed to both unmercifully kill the remaining Jews and also deliberately aim to destroy the city. Perhaps as you had said below, you agree with this two-part judgement view...

Quote:
NJK: As explained above, I see that there is mercy involved even within/during the execution of a judgement by God, right up to an utter end, where God allows the Devil to then fully have his way.

Tom: Ok, I wasn't understanding this. I agree with this. (More later)


...however I do not see how this reconciled with your sustainedly expressed view that God is not involved in a judgement at all but that things naturally and independently developed on their own. Under such a view, God cannot be acting to influence Titus to restrain himself, nor have His own angels delve out first 6 plagues (Rev 16:1-16) and even initiated the final one (vs. 17, 18) which is then allowed to be executed by Satan (vs. 19-21/ GC 614.2-615.1)


“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matt 25:45 NJK Project
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: NJK Project] #133483
05/13/11 07:35 PM
05/13/11 07:35 PM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: NJK
T:In any case where judgment is involved, wouldn't it be the case that the limits of divine forbearance have been passed? You'd have to argue something along the lines that sometimes when this happens, God removes a restraint, and other times He does something Himself to cause the guilty party to suffer and/or die, wouldn't you? I don't see any difference in what causes the judgment to occur in the first place (the limits of divine forbeance have been passed).


NJK:(I’ll address this through concrete Biblical examples next.)

Quote:
NJK: 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.

Tom: I'm not understanding this. The flood is a "no mercy" situation, right? So this would mean you see the principle as applying tot he flood then? I would agree with this, that the principle applies here, being what you call a "no mercy" situation, but I wouldn't think you would agree with this.


NJK:The Flood judgement was decreed 120 years before it occurred. It was going to happen, and with only the one ark being planned, God clearly understood that many of these people, who were actually acting against great light and knowledge (unlike the Ninevites) would not seize the granted opportunity for mercy. Most in fact quibbled with the fact that it had never rained, rather than humbly, substantively seeing that their lives were contrary to God’s clear and known will. Noah was indeed a preacher of “righteousness” (2 Pet 2:5), because his generation were not “doing what was right”. Like the Pharisees later on, many of them, i.e., people who even professed to be followers of God, probably found all kinds of loopholes in God’s Ten Commandments in which to practise their sins.

So mercy was present in the decreed Flood judgement until the door in the ark was closed. God did not have to instruct Noah to preach repentance at all, but just him build the ark and let people suffer their deserved consequence for their sins. Then it would have been a “no mercy” judgement from the start.

In a similar way, for most of the Jewish War, which was long ago showed by God to be the utter judgement of faithless Israel, there was ample opportunity for mercy and even to escape death. However those who snubbed that provision and persisted in fighting and then rebellion to the end, suffered the fate of death. However, apparently millions (i.e., ca. 1 million out of a possible 2.1 million present in the city then when the war started during the Feast of Unleaven Bread) escaped.


These last paragraphs were well written in terms of the sentence structure. Much easier to understand, which is appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Tom
Also, what constitutes a "mercy" situation, as opposed to a "no mercy" situation?

NJK:Simply said, where people are allowed to escape the actual utter judgement that God intends. If God did not want them to escape/survive, even be saved, this surely would not have been the case at all. So even in a judgement, there is usually a last chance, ‘mercy provision’ and then a ‘no-more-mercy’ stage.


I wouldn't say that God intends judgment, but repentance. Judgment occurs only when people refuse to repent, and that judgment is a result of people refusing the protection which God offers them. The "no-more-mercy" stage is when people have made their final decision not to repent.

A key, significant phrase to keep in mind, used by the SOP in the description of the destruction of Jerusalem, is that God was *caused* to remove His protection. What happened was this:

1.God is protecting, showing mercy, urging repentance.
2.While the heart is not completely hardened, this continues.
3.There is simultaneous action going on:
a.God being caused to remove His protection.
b.God continuing to protect.

While the heart is not completely hardened, b>a. At a certain point, after so much resistance to the pleading of the Holy Spirit, a>b, and disaster occurs.

For example:

Quote:
17Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?

18And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. (Deut 31)


Anger (or wrath) equates to forsaking/hiding of face, which results in trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Tom
The seven last plagues are a "no mercy" situation too. So you see the GC 35-37 description as applying to the seven last plagues as well?

NJK:Though “saving mercy” will, actually not be granted by God once the plagues are started, which is why Jesus greatly wishes that no one would seek it then (Rev 22:11),


This is a very well known text. Couldn't you at least give a hint, like "he who is filthy, let him remain filthy?"

It's certainly not the case that Jesus "greatly wishes that no one would seek it then." That makes no sense. Jesus is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth. He only gives up on people when they give on Him, and that is with no feeling of malice, but a sad acceptance of the choice that has been made, as in His lamentation over Jerusalem.

He would gladly show mercy on whomever he could, but people disqualify themselves from being able to receive mercy by hardening their own hearts. The mercy needed is not mercy to protect against what God will do if you don't what He says, but to protect from the results of disobedience of the law. When a person continues to say, "Leave me alone!," eventually God will do just that, which is His no longer showing mercy, and they suffer the consequences.

Quote:
mercy is implicitly present as ‘not all flesh is cutoff’ from the start. So this “non-saving mercy”, somewhat like for the 1st Century Jews, will be for an opportunity for everyone to make a knowing decision during this time, against God before they all suffer the full effects of their sins.


I agree with this.

Quote:
Indeed it seems that the first 4 plagues are poured out before the Final Global rebellious movement is fully established. I.e., many people in ‘non-Christian’ countries may not have subscribed to a New World Order under the leadership of the U.S./West and Papacy.

Quote:
NJK: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.

Tom: This presupposes that it is not necessary for God, as a general principle, to act to prevent natural disasters from occuring. I think we have a large disagreement here. The SOP tells us that God's intervention is needed to even keep the earth in proper orbit. I think sin has messed things up to the extent that God's intervention is needed to prevent the earth from destruction. When He ceases, then destruction occurs.


NJK:[Please provide the direct quote and/or reference for your SOP statement above on the “orbits” Indeed I cannot really comment here without first reading/analyzing it for myself.]


I'll look for it when I can. It's in Ministry of Healing, in the section talking about nature.

Quote:
Nonetheless, I can understand that God can limit how many natural disasters are allowed to strike the earth.


Good.

Quote:
Perhaps in direct proportion to the “righteousness level” on earth, and thus this is indirectly a part of the Four Winds that He is holding back, as the faithfulness of may people allow Him to restrain “outlaw” human passions, which, when no longer restrained, would warrant the proportionate withdrawing of His protection.


This sounds similar to my thinking.

Quote:
Quote:
NJK: I.e., not every sinful action will not lead to an “immediate” and even “organic” result.

Tom: All sin has selfishness as its root, which, apart from God's intervention, would lead to the result described above in the DA 764 quote.

NJK:Still all sins do not have the same “life span” up to their death. Some sins have a faster track to this natural death end, and that is why I understand that their utter, and relatively soon results were to be capitally preempted/curtailed when committed. In, how I see, God choosing to fairly deal with various branches of sin in this judicious way, I think it indeed reveals the Justice and even Merciful aspects of God’s character, rather than blanketly making all sins result in immediate death. That is why I Theologically see that it is the end result of sin, through a “life of rebellion” that is death and not sin itself. Indeed this result has to be allowed to grow, and not only “sown”, to be naturally vs. declaratory, even artificially, “reaped”. Hence this GC’s time.


I'm not following this.

Quote:
Quote:
NJK:The penalty of all sin is death however not every sin tangibly, immediately has this physical consequence of a ‘naturally resulting death.’

Tom: Againg, the DA 764 statement looks to disagree with this.

NJK:For the many reasons previously stated on this SOP passage in this thread, indeed also involving Gen 3:22's Truth, and the further ones above, I do not see that it Substantively nor Theologically does. Indeed I see that in this GC, it will only be shown that sin is deserving of death, and that, as in capital judgements, for the sake of those who do not want to live a life of sin.


It's not that sin is deserving of death, but that sin results in death. DA 764 makes this clear. It would have had to have been written with many NOTs to be the other way around.

For example, she writes:

Quote:
The rejecters of His mercy reap that which they have sown. God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life.


This is describing the result of an action, not that death is deserved because of sin.

Again:

Quote:
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.


Same point. It's not that they deserve that God be a consuming fire to them, but God is what He is by nature; He is the same, the "everlasting burnings" of Isaiah. But the wicked, because of their own actions, cannot abide His presence.

Again:

Quote:
Had Satan and his host then been left to reap the full result of their sin, they would have perished; but it would not have been apparent to heavenly beings that this was the inevitable result of sin.


This doesn't say:

Quote:
Satan, because of his actions, deserved to die. But had God executed him, it would not have been understood that God's actions were just. Therefore God gave him time to develop his principles, so that when it came time for Satan to be executed, no one would question that God was acting justly.


The above paragraph is how many seem to understand the final judgment, but this isn't even close to what was actually written above.

Quote:
This is indeed why I see this entire GC is necessary. I.e., not merely so that man can naturally reap the natural consequences of sin, but as God has done through the removal of the Tree of Life, to demonstrate to all that God has not reason at all to, effectively, “sponsor” sin and sinners and let them live, as they either will eventually destroy themselves after much suffering and/or involve sinless worlds and being in continual strife.


I would say that the GC is necessary to make clear:

a.The truth about God; His character and government.
b.The truth about Satan/sin; his character and government.

That's basically it. Once the truth is seen, there is no longer any reason for God to allow sin to continue, as all sin has ever done is to bring suffering, misery and death. Once all sentient beings understand this, and understand that God is love, and has always acted in the best interested of His creatures, there is no longer any reason for sin or sinners to continue to exist.

Quote:
Quote:
NJK:Hence God’s capital punishment provision for some of those sins.

Tom: So you're saying God doesn't have a capital punishment provsion for sins which *do* have organic consequences?

NJK:Temporally speaking, isn’t that easily seen in Israel’s laws. Indeed the Passover Ordinance was the provision for the sins of people that were not to be capitally punished.

Originally Posted By: Tom
You seem to have the underlying idea that sin, of itself, is, at least in general, not very destructive to the one practicing it.

NJK:As stated above and throughout this thread, that is what God’s statement in Gen 3:22 indicates.


Even looking at things from your perspective, I don't see how this would follow. From your perspective, the tree of life would reverse that destructive elements of sin 100%, so people would be immortal, if they had access to the tree of life. God, by removing the tree of life, would allow the destructive elements of sin to occur. This wouldn't show that sin does not have destructive elements to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Tom
So God must impose penalities to punish it, or it would go unpunished.

NJK:In some cases, it indeed would as Satan would surely not do it himself and not all sins have this immediate consequence of death, if ever.


Quoting again from DA 764:

Quote:
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.


I don't see how any sin would be exempt here.

Quote:
That is why God must preemptively/“prematurely” act to keep certain sins in check, even those that would seem to “organically” lead to death. And these interventions are for the sake and well-being of the righteous.

Originally Posted By: Tom
On the other hand, I see that sin is extremely destructive, and that we vastly underestimate to what extent, so that we consequently vastly underestimate God's activity in protecting us, and preventing its destructive work.

NJK:I agree with this though only in part, as I Theologically see and understand from the Bible and SOP that this is all only the case because God chose to bar the Tree of Life for both nature and created beings.


The Tree of Life would not fix the problems stated just above, in DA 764, which is a character related issue. The Tree of Life does not fix character.

Quote:
So the Planet has since then come to develop these destructive effects. However, as it can be seen in the Garden of Eden that remained until the Flood and still had the benefits of the Tree of Life, it was in its perfect state while the rest of the earth was suffering these destructive results of sin.

Your refusal to accept that plain Bible and SOP possible fact is what is keeping you from understanding this directly derived Theological Truth.


I could just as easily say that your refusal to accept plain SOP statements, such as the chapter "It Is Finished" in "The Desire of Ages" or "The Destruction of Jerusalem" in "The Great Controversy" or Bible statements such as "the sting of death is sin" is what is keeping you from understanding this directly derived Theological Truth.

But I don't think this is accurate. I think it's your view of God's character which prevents you from seeing the truths we're discussing. Since the truths themselves are dealing with God's character, this leads to a Catch 22; i.e. seeing God's character as you do prevents you from interpreting texts which speak of God's character in another light.

However, although we do see things differently, I appreciate your taking the time to explain your views, especially in a more friendly manner, as you have been doing lately. I still haven't gotten completely where you're coming from, which leads to errors in my part at times in correctly representing your thoughts, but I believe I'm getting closer.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133485
05/13/11 11:39 PM
05/13/11 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted By: Tom
These last paragraphs were well written in terms of the sentence structure. Much easier to understand, which is appreciated.


Sometimes, even in my “brainstorming responses, as my time only allows for, for this discussion, some things do come out clearer than others, not actually through any special effort on my part. As I have said, proofreading would have made other statements just as clear but I can’t afford that review process.

Quote:
Tom: Also, what constitutes a "mercy" situation, as opposed to a "no mercy" situation?

NJK: Simply said, where people are allowed to escape the actual utter judgement that God intends. If God did not want them to escape/survive, even be saved, this surely would not have been the case at all. So even in a judgement, there is usually a last chance, ‘mercy provision’ and then a ‘no-more-mercy’ stage.

Tom: I wouldn't say that God intends judgment, but repentance. Judgment occurs only when people refuse to repent, and that judgment is a result of people refusing the protection which God offers them. The "no-more-mercy" stage is when people have made their final decision not to repent.


Though I get your well-meaning attempt here to effectively, “defend” God, I Biblically actually see that it is “judgement” that is still being prominently applicable in such “judgement” cases as it is a blameless part of God’s Character: = His Justice. So when God decides to enter into judgement with someone, though repentance may be, and usually is, a possible outcome in the judgement, indeed there always seems to be a last granted opportunity to repent (= Isa 1:18-20), it is judgement that is the prominent action. Using judgements to seek repentance would make God compel repentance through force.

Originally Posted By: Tom
A key, significant phrase to keep in mind, used by the SOP in the description of the destruction of Jerusalem, is that God was *caused* to remove His protection. What happened was this:

1.God is protecting, showing mercy, urging repentance.
2.While the heart is not completely hardened, this continues.
3.There is simultaneous action going on:
a.God being caused to remove His protection.
b.God continuing to protect.

While the heart is not completely hardened, b>a. At a certain point, after so much resistance to the pleading of the Holy Spirit, a>b, and disaster occurs.


I Biblically see/understand that from the time when God allowed the Roman armies to approach and surround Jerusalem, indeed as He/Jesus had pointedly specified that it would be the case in judgement (e.g., Matt 22:7; Luke 19:41-44; 21:20-22). The judgement of Jerusalem started with the 66 A.D. siege yet mercy was still extended/demonstrated for the most part of that 4-year war.

Originally Posted By: Tom
For example:

Originally Posted By: Bible Deut 31:17, 18
17Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?

18And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. (Deut 31)


Based on what I understand “the face” to symbolically mean/represent in the Bible, indeed as it is being figuratively spoken of in this passage, I see that this “hiding of His Face” involves God not allowing/facilitating a rebellious people/group to “see/understand/recognize/perceive” the things of God that would ‘make for their peace’. That is indeed one of the major reasons why Jesus spoke in parables (Matt 13:10-17 = Isa 6:9-13).

Originally Posted By: Tom
Anger (or wrath) equates to forsaking/hiding of face, which results in trouble.


I rather see that it is God’s anger and wrath which leads to this distinctively destructive/detrimental action of Him hiding His face. That is only one manifestation of His anger/wrath, and pointedly when dealing with His former people who had ample opportunity to ‘seek/see His Face’ and thus understand Him and His Ways. (2 Chr 7:14; Hos 5:15; cf. e.g., Psa 24:1-6).

Indeed, especially compared to the access and manifestation in Israel, God’s does hide His face from heathen peoples yet they do not naturally encounter troubles, indeed, as David says, many of them do “flourish” (Psa 92:7)

Ironically it is when/if God would reveal/show His Face to the wicked that they would be liable of immediate judgement just as Israel was whenever it acted like, and even worse than, these heathen nations “in the Face of God”. These heathens would then, like Israel has shown, not necessarily repent with this newly confronted “perception/knowledge” of God, especially if no explicit threat of judgement accompanies this revelation, but would continue to sin, now with knowledge of the Truth, and thus be duly judged. So God’s non-revelation to them, opting rather for this to be done through His People, serves to preserve the lives of these heathens. And if all fails and they never come to a saving knowledge of God and their actions and life had violated clear natural laws (i.e., last 6 commandments), then as David says, God would have “lovingly” allowed them to relatively thrive because ‘this is the only life they’ll ever be able to enjoy’ (Psa 92:7b)

Quote:
Tom: The seven last plagues are a "no mercy" situation too. So you see the GC 35-37 description as applying to the seven last plagues as well?

NJK:Though “saving mercy” will, actually not be granted by God once the plagues are started, which is why Jesus greatly wishes that no one would seek it then (Rev 22:11),

Tom: This is a very well known text. Couldn't you at least give a hint, like "he who is filthy, let him remain filthy?"

Tom: It's certainly not the case that Jesus "greatly wishes that no one would seek it then." That makes no sense. Jesus is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth. He only gives up on people when they give on Him, and that is with no feeling of malice, but a sad acceptance of the choice that has been made, as in His lamentation over Jerusalem.


It exegetically actually certain is the case that “Jesus greatly wishes that no one would seek it then.” I had discussed that exegetical point earlier in this thread, in a discussion with Mountain Man. (See here Post #131708 and here Post #131748) and others. Perhaps you did not read it, or forgot it. It is from there that I derive the Theological “wishes” notion.

For me, it is such exhaustively comprehensive exegesis that set/determine my Theological Views/Understandings. So to validly object to my view here, you’ll have to directly engage those founding exegetical points.

Originally Posted By: Tom
He would gladly show mercy on whomever he could, but people disqualify themselves from being able to receive mercy by hardening their own hearts. The mercy needed is not mercy to protect against what God will do if you don't what He says, but to protect from the results of disobedience of the law. When a person continues to say, "Leave me alone!," eventually God will do just that, which is His no longer showing mercy, and they suffer the consequences.


As God directly does most of actions of judgement in the Bible (and I actually see not valid reason not to say ‘“all” except for the final portion of Jerusalem’s destruction), then it would not be logical for His mercy not to be ‘a protection against what He will do if [since] you don't [didn’t] do what He says/had said’. Mercy is indeed always for a due punishment which is actually the result of disobedience, whether direct or indirect | active or passive | engendered or natural.

Quote:
NJK: mercy is implicitly present as ‘not all flesh is cutoff’ from the start. So this “non-saving mercy”, somewhat like for the 1st Century Jews, will be for an opportunity for everyone to make a knowing decision during this time, against God before they all suffer the full effects of their sins.

Tom: I agree with this.


I do not leave it beyond the feasibility of God, to grant mercy for genuine repentance during that time, but since He has been making sure that the work of the Gospel (which includes the Three Angels Message) will be fully and actually done/finished by then, everyone would have had a clear knowledge of what God’s will and the Truth is by then. That is indeed another reason why I see that God will not allow Final Events to unravel, as they will be when the end is to occur, until this Warning and Instructing work is first actually and properly done/finished. Then Rev 22:11 will indeed be able to transpire as prophesied and any plea for mercy then will justly not be granted.

Quote:
NJK: Indeed it seems that the first 4 plagues are poured out before the Final Global rebellious movement is fully established. I.e., many people in ‘non-Christian’ countries may not have subscribed to a New World Order under the leadership of the U.S./West and Papacy.

NJK: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.

Tom: This presupposes that it is not necessary for God, as a general principle, to act to prevent natural disasters from occuring. I think we have a large disagreement here. The SOP tells us that God's intervention is needed to even keep the earth in proper orbit. I think sin has messed things up to the extent that God's intervention is needed to prevent the earth from destruction. When He ceases, then destruction occurs.

NJK:[Please provide the direct quote and/or reference for your SOP statement above on the “orbits” Indeed I cannot really comment here without first reading/analyzing it for myself.]

Tom: I'll look for it when I can. It's in Ministry of Healing, in the section talking about nature.


That book reference should have helped to relocate it, but as “orbit” is apparently not an explicit keyword, it doesn’t help me at all, also not being familiar at all with that statement. Awaiting your “relocating”!

Quote:
NJK: Nonetheless, I can understand that God can limit how many natural disasters are allowed to strike the earth.

Tom: Good.


Don’t “over-understate/understand” this statement of mine, as I suspect you may here, based on matching past occurrences. I always understood that natural disasters were both prevented and allowed as God saw fit. Yet I still see that He uses nature to bring about certain judgement, and not always in a “natural way”. E.g., the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was not ‘“naturally” by a nearby volcano that ‘it just happened’ was supposed to erupt at that very time when judgement was due, but an active and direct working of God from heaven/space-borne source.

Quote:
NJK: Perhaps in direct proportion to the “righteousness level” on earth, and thus this is indirectly a part of the Four Winds that He is holding back, as the faithfulness of may people allow Him to restrain “outlaw” human passions, which, when no longer restrained, would warrant the proportionate withdrawing of His protection.

Tom: This sounds similar to my thinking.


I have had no problem with God ‘withdrawing His protection’ to let a judgement occur. In regards to organic/natural results, this I see as a secondary way in which God effectuates His judgements when it indeed is so naturally possible/timely. I have just had a categorical problem with you claiming that this type of judgement applies to every single judgement mentioned in the Bible as this goes against clear and explicit Biblical exegesis and EGW herself never made that claimed or even made such indications in her relating of Biblical judgements. So also, e.g., where you see her ‘protection withdrawal’ for the fiery serpents to mean ‘God was not involved in that judgement” I don’t see claim in her account nor paramountly, exegetically, in the Biblical text. Quite to the contrary. And for me, if the SOP was to seemingly be opposing the Bible, as with ‘God’s heart hardening of Pharaoh’ then I go by what the Bible is revealing.

Quote:
NJK: I.e., not every sinful action will not lead to an “immediate” and even “organic” result.

Tom: All sin has selfishness as its root, which, apart from God's intervention, would lead to the result described above in the DA 764 quote.

NJK: Still all sins do not have the same “life span” up to their death. Some sins have a faster track to this natural death end, and that is why I understand that their utter, and relatively soon results were to be capitally preempted/curtailed when committed. In, how I see, God choosing to fairly deal with various branches of sin in this judicious way, I think it indeed reveals the Justice and even Merciful aspects of God’s character, rather than blanketly making all sins result in immediate death. That is why I Theologically see that it is the end result of sin, through a “life of rebellion” that is death and not sin itself. Indeed this result has to be allowed to grow, and not only “sown”, to be naturally vs. declaratory, even artificially, “reaped”. Hence this GC’s time.

Tom: I'm not following this.


The succinct indicative summary, which you can use to reread that paragraph, which is from the larger context of what I understand with this issue, is: ‘The full life of rebellion of the sinner is what self-inflictingly ends up killing him barring no intervention by God and not a mere presence/commitance of sin. And for sin to be self-combustible in the presence of God, that fully grown sinfulness would have to be developed. It indeed would then be a stage where the sin is being done in full knowledge of its sinfulness and thus God’s mercy would not be able to prevent this immediate destruction. For God to have done this immediately with Lucifer would have entailed that God would have outrightly “passed over” the Merciful aspect of His Character. Though this is something that He Righteously, Justly can and could have done. (Exod 33:19). But the everlasting question that would have lingeringly remained would be: Was that fair? Even, objectively-speaking, was it “deserved”’?.

Quote:
NJK:The penalty of all sin is death however not every sin tangibly, immediately has this physical consequence of a ‘naturally resulting death.’

Tom: Againg, the DA 764 statement looks to disagree with this.

NJK: For the many reasons previously stated on this SOP passage in this thread, indeed also involving Gen 3:22's Truth, and the further ones above, I do not see that it Substantively nor Theologically does. Indeed I see that in this GC, it will only be shown that sin is deserving of death, and that, as in capital judgements, for the sake of those who do not want to live a life of sin.

Originally Posted By: Tom
It's not that sin is deserving of death, but that sin results in death. DA 764 makes this clear. It would have had to have been written with many NOTs to be the other way around.

For example, she writes:

Originally Posted By: SOP
The rejecters of His mercy reap that which they have sown. God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life.


This is describing the result of an action, not that death is deserved because of sin.

Again:

Originally Posted By: SOP
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.


Same point. It's not that they deserve that God be a consuming fire to them, but God is what He is by nature; He is the same, the "everlasting burnings" of Isaiah. But the wicked, because of their own actions, cannot abide His presence.

Again:

Originally Posted By: SOP
Had Satan and his host then been left to reap the full result of their sin, they would have perished; but it would not have been apparent to heavenly beings that this was the inevitable result of sin.


This doesn't say:

Originally Posted By: Tom
Satan, because of his actions, deserved to die. But had God executed him, it would not have been understood that God's actions were just. Therefore God gave him time to develop his principles, so that when it came time for Satan to be executed, no one would question that God was acting justly.


The above paragraph is how many seem to understand the final judgment, but this isn't even close to what was actually written above.


I’ll grant you that EGW does not say “deserved” in that passage, but I am not limiting my understanding of the GC to only this statement of hers, but to all that she says that contribute to this understanding. And the Tree of Life Issue and that sinners could live forever is from where I get and make this “deserved” qualification. SO I do see this as being underlyingly implied in those GC 764 statements.

Quote:
NJK: This is indeed why I see this entire GC is necessary. I.e., not merely so that man can naturally reap the natural consequences of sin, but as God has done through the removal of the Tree of Life, to demonstrate to all that God has not reason at all to, effectively, “sponsor” sin and sinners and let them live, as they either will eventually destroy themselves after much suffering and/or involve sinless worlds and being in continual strife.

Tom: I would say that the GC is necessary to make clear:

a.The truth about God; His character and government.
b.The truth about Satan/sin; his character and government.

That's basically it. Once the truth is seen, there is no longer any reason for God to allow sin to continue, as all sin has ever done is to bring suffering, misery and death. Once all sentient beings understand this, and understand that God is love, and has always acted in the best interested of His creatures, there is no longer any reason for sin or sinners to continue to exist.


I more widely/deeply see/understand that this “GC Truth” cannot be conclusively seen without also justifying why God barred access to the Tree of Life, and thus perpetual Life, to people who chose not to live according His Laws, particularly, as it was more pointedly brought to the GC floor, the first 3 Commandments, and since the formation of the Remnant Church, the Fourth Commandments. Indeed the last 6 Commandments are rather quite explanatory, especially by now after 6000 years of human “demonstration/experience”.

Quote:
NJK: Hence God’s capital punishment provision for some of those sins.

Tom: So you're saying God doesn't have a capital punishment provsion for sins which *do* have organic consequences?

NJK:Temporally speaking, isn’t that easily seen in Israel’s laws. Indeed the Passover Ordinance was the provision for the sins of people that were not to be capitally punished.

Tom: You seem to have the underlying idea that sin, of itself, is, at least in general, not very destructive to the one practicing it.

NJK: As stated above and throughout this thread, that is what God’s statement in Gen 3:22 indicates.

Tom: Even looking at things from your perspective, I don't see how this would follow. From your perspective, the tree of life would reverse that destructive elements of sin 100%, so people would be immortal, if they had access to the tree of life. God, by removing the tree of life, would allow the destructive elements of sin to occur. This wouldn't show that sin does not have destructive elements to it.


Again we differ in that you see sin as being “organically” destructive. I Biblically see it as being something that is so contrary to the character of God that He can choose/allows for it and the sinner to be destroyed when in His presence. Yet that does not necessarily have to be the case. As Gen 3:22 indicates a sinner can live forever with the fruit of Life. You are not actually/properly engaging that Biblical and SOP fact in your view. I understand that the Fruit of Life would prevent/heal any harmful/detrimental effect that a sinful psyche (=character) would cause the human body produce.

So my view is that sin must be shown to be a completely spurious alternative, not only that it will most likely result in a miserable life, particularly emotionally, even including non-health related deaths, but it will ultimately, surely also come to infringe upon the happiness and freedom of those who do not want to subscribe to it. And furthermore, God would have to go completely against His Character and actually “sponsor” and “accommodate” it and sinners.

Quote:
Tom: So God must impose penalities to punish it, or it would go unpunished.

NJK:In some cases, it indeed would as Satan would surely not do it himself and not all sins have this immediate consequence of death, if ever.

Tom: Quoting again from DA 764:

Quote:
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.


Tom: I don't see how any sin would be exempt here.


As I say, some sins would take much longer than others to result in producing natural, or even, forced deaths (e.g, vexatiously killing someone for having lied to you and embarrassed you). Then there is also the issue of ‘God presence’ here. God could have made it that sinners were banished in a remote world away from His presence, indeed just like the circumstances for this Planet in Rebellion.

So while a Last man/tribe/clan scenario would likely play out with ‘eternal sinners’, God wants to demonstrate that it is not even worth it to take a risk, affecting everyone, with an ‘immortalizing of sin’, even if for a long while, in a wishful hope that this would not ultimately occur.

Quote:
NJK: That is why God must preemptively/“prematurely” act to keep certain sins in check, even those that would seem to “organically” lead to death. And these interventions are for the sake and well-being of the righteous.

Tom: On the other hand, I see that sin is extremely destructive, and that we vastly underestimate to what extent, so that we consequently vastly underestimate God's activity in protecting us, and preventing its destructive work.

NJK:I agree with this though only in part, as I Theologically see and understand from the Bible and SOP that this is all only the case because God chose to bar the Tree of Life for both nature and created beings.

Tom: The Tree of Life would not fix the problems stated just above, in DA 764, which is a character related issue. The Tree of Life does not fix character.


Of course the Tree of Life does not fix character (= the sinner’s sinful “psyche”). I indeed don’t believe so, but that is, as I Biblically wholly understand it here, not actually a part of the issue of sin and perpetual life. The tree of Life would prevent this sinful psyche to produce natural deadly results/consequence in one’s body and also in nature.

Quote:
NJK: So the Planet has since then come to develop these destructive effects. However, as it can be seen in the Garden of Eden that remained until the Flood and still had the benefits of the Tree of Life, it was in its perfect state while the rest of the earth was suffering these destructive results of sin.

Tom: Your refusal to accept that plain Bible and SOP possible fact is what is keeping you from understanding this directly derived Theological Truth.

Tom: I could just as easily say that your refusal to accept plain SOP statements, such as the chapter "It Is Finished" in "The Desire of Ages" or "The Destruction of Jerusalem" in "The Great Controversy" or Bible statements such as "the sting of death is sin" is what is keeping you from understanding this directly derived Theological Truth.


You certainly, especially freely, could. But/So the real issue here is can you (truly) Biblically substantiate what you are claiming!

Originally Posted By: Tom
But I don't think this is accurate. I think it's your view of God's character which prevents you from seeing the truths we're discussing. Since the truths themselves are dealing with God's character, this leads to a Catch 22; i.e. seeing God's character as you do prevents you from interpreting texts which speak of God's character in another light.

As I said above, my view of Theological Views of God’s is set/determined by what the Bible, and SOP (when it is proven valid) fully/comprehensively/exhaustively teach. As I can easily substantiate, you patently do not include all pertinent/contributive points in forming your views. That is the case with the Plagues, the War in Heave, God’s Love of the Righteous vs.. the Sinners; God’s method of judgements. Jesus is also partially upheld by this selective, one-sided approach/methodology of yours.

Originally Posted By: Tom
However, although we do see things differently, I appreciate your taking the time to explain your views, especially in a more friendly manner, as you have been doing lately. I still haven't gotten completely where you're coming from, which leads to errors in my part at times in correctly representing your thoughts, but I believe I'm getting closer.


Succinctly said, believe me, the only reason for this is that I have learned to ‘serenely accept the things that I obviously/clearly will not change’ with you, however Biblically, logically and self-evidently justified and required they are. And since this is all just resulting in taking more of my time from me to have to continue to deal with things that should have been conclusively settled a long time ago, I am also taking the necessary measures so that my time and schedule is actually not detrimentally disrupted. Perhaps one day you “come around” and, at the very least, truly and properly involve Biblical Exegesis in your understandings, as you, technically-speaking, can, and should, do being a Seminarian.


“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matt 25:45 NJK Project
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: NJK Project] #133503
05/16/11 07:55 PM
05/16/11 07:55 PM
Tom  Offline
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14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: NJK
As I have said and substantively explained/defended before, many times, I see no difference in the first and second death. It is still “normative death”. Only the sustainedly allowed suffering in before the Second Death is allowed to be effectuated, is what somewhat distinguishes them, though, as I see it, it does not change the (ultimate), identical, “death” factor involved. So that guides my understandings here. And I do see capital punishment as being a microcosm of what will occur in Hell where I also see that sin and sinners will be eradicated by an act of God (Rev 20:11-15 (cf. GC 672.2-673.1; EW 294.1ff) = 19:17-21) and not by “critical mass”/ “self-combustion”. Indeed I see EGW’s “consuming fire” statement to actually be more figurative than literal. As per example, in this statement:

Originally Posted By: SOP GC 673.3
While the earth was wrapped in the fire of destruction, the righteous abode safely in the Holy City. Upon those that had part in the first resurrection, the second death has no power. While God is to the wicked a consuming fire, He is to His people both a sun and a shield. Revelation 20:6; Psalm 84:11.

As I explained before, I think both the 7000 years and the way in which this GC was allowed to develop where God did not defaultly abandon those who sinned against Him to their own way, but allowed them to get a saving knowledge of the Gospel, resulting in the end that all will claim the name of Christ and really only be violating the letter of a single commandment, that, what I term, a “critical mass” stage of sin will not occur at the end of these 7000 years. Perhaps if God removed all of the righteous then and left these rebellious “Christians” on earth to live ca. 3000 more years, where now they knew that they actually were not Christians/approved by God and also that they had no chance of salvation, that these will then live out a life that comes to be ‘so out of harmony with God’, i.e., deliberately violating the spirit and letter of all of the Ten Commandments, that they indeed would self-combust in the mere presence of God. As also explained before, I still see that this would become the case only if God allows this to be and this is naturally done by Him not finding any actionable element in a person upon which He can have mercy. Indeed even in the situation with Satan coming into the presence of God and “surviving”/living it was evidently because the GC issues were not yet transparently self-demonstrated, as it will even more fully be at the end of the allotted ca. 7000 years.


I couldn't follow this last paragraph.

Regarding the above, a couple of questions come to mind. One if if you believe that God executed His Son through capital punishment. The other question is why you see the consuming fire statements to be figurative.

Hopefully I'll get to more later.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133504
05/16/11 09:27 PM
05/16/11 09:27 PM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: NJK
T:DA 764 isn't dealing with capital punishment, but with the destruction of the wicked.

NJK:As I said above, I see the final destruction as the ultimate/anti-typical “Capital Punishment” for sin, and then all and any sins, since the conclusive, though not necessarily exhaustive, self-evidence will be in/available then.


I see the cross as more of an indication as to the character of the final destruction.

Quote:
Indeed since God knew that sinner can live a very long time, even eternally as sinners if their physical body/health was “therapeutically maintained” by the Tree of Life, these 7000 years, as seen in the symbology of 7 (vs. 10) is only a perfect representation/sampling of a much larger possible whole.


This looks to be a big difference we have. You appear to view sin is primarily, or only, a physical problem, where I see it as a spiritual problem. If sin were only a physical problem, then the tree of life could conceivably fix that, so I can see, given this presupposition, why you would think that a sinner could live eternally. Indeed, above, you only mention body/health as what needs to be “therapeutically maintained."

I see that the deeper issues of sin, the issues which cause death, have to due with the mind and the soul. This is what DA 764 is getting at, where it brings out that the wicked form characters so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire, and that His glory (which is His character) destroys them. How does it destroy them? The following helps to understand how:

Quote:
Those who have chosen Satan as their leader and have been controlled by his power are not prepared to enter the presence of God. Pride, deception, licentiousness, cruelty, have become fixed in their characters. Can they enter heaven to dwell forever with those whom they despised and hated on earth?

Truth will never be agreeable to a liar; meekness will not satisfy self-esteem and pride; purity is not acceptable to the corrupt; disinterested love does not appear attractive to the selfish. What source of enjoyment could heaven offer to those who are wholly absorbed in earthly and selfish interests?

Could those whose lives have been spent in rebellion against God be suddenly transported to heaven and witness the high, the holy state of perfection that ever exists there,-- every soul filled with love, every countenance beaming with joy, enrapturing music in melodious strains rising in honor of God and the Lamb, and ceaseless streams of light flowing upon the redeemed from the face of Him who sitteth upon the throne,--could those whose hearts are filled with hatred of God, of truth and holiness, mingle with the heavenly throng and join their songs of praise?

Could they endure the glory of God and the Lamb? No, no; years of probation were granted them, that they might form characters for heaven; but they have never trained the mind to love purity; they have never learned the language of heaven, and now it is too late.

A life of rebellion against God has unfitted them for heaven. Its purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them; the glory of God would be a consuming fire. They would long to flee from that holy place. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. The destiny of the wicked is fixed by their own choice. Their exclusion from heaven is voluntary with themselves, and just and merciful on the part of God. (GC 542-543)


None of this is anything the Tree of Life can fix. The problem is one of character, as the above points out. Note:

Quote:
They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them.


Again, this is not something the Tree of Life can fix. Also:

Quote:
Its purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them; the glory of God would be a consuming fire.


What is purity, holiness and peace to the wicked? It's "torture." Imagine "peace"(!) being torture! But such is the effect of sin.

Going back to the chapter "It Is Finished" for a moment, we see in this chapter, which deals with the effects of Christ's death on the cross, perhaps the most detailed explanation as to the principles involved in the destruction of the wicked. I don't think this is coincidence. I don't think we can understand the destruction of the wicked without understanding the cross.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133505
05/16/11 10:11 PM
05/16/11 10:11 PM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Quote:
T:If God were to allow this, a person wouldn't have the opportunity to develop a character. So God permits a person to sin and not die right away, so as to to develop a character, and have an opportunity to make the right decision.

NJK:I don’t understand how you are involving the formation of one’s character in this. I rather see that time is permitted so that people can understand why God’s ways are indeed, now transparently better, and based on this choose either sin or God.

Tom: Regarding character development, I was referring to this:

Originally Posted By: SOP
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. (DA 764)


Tom: This, by the way, I believe is a good explanation of God's wrath; giving a person over to the results of their choice.

NJK:What confused me is that you didn’t specify “character” here and it could go either way, good or bad. I also sequitur saw that you had meant ‘good character’ with your ‘leading to making the right decision’ qualifying, which I further do not see as being achieved by God by permitting someone to sin. EGW, as seen in DA 763.3, foundationally has in mind either ‘good or bad character’ (= “two classes”), but it is the ‘developed bad character’ that she is exclusively focusing on throughout DA 764.1.


I'm not following your point here. My point was this:

Quote:
:If God were to allow this, a person wouldn't have the opportunity to develop a character. So God permits a person to sin and not die right away, so as to to develop a character, and have an opportunity to make the right decision.


This seems quite clear to me.

Quote:
T:There are a thousand dangers, all of them unseen, from which God protects us. We're not aware of most of these dangers, just a very, very small percentage, so do not recongize just how dangerous a thing sin is, nor to what extent we are dependent upon God and His protection.

NJK: As I see it, these fall under the “basic necessities of life” that God equally provides for everyone, indeed all in protection against the harmful results of sin.

Tom: That's an awfully broad characterization of "basic necessities of life."

NJK:I don’t think so. I think you are seeing it as broad as you include in this judgements that God actively done. I.e., Fires from heaven/cloud/Most Holy Place, the Flood, the Plagues. I understand that you see the world in a state of chaos that need the constant actions by God. I rather see that the Earth can come to “skewly” develop a catastrophic problem and God, when this is about to occur, intervenes to avert it at times, especially if it will result in a, relatively speaking, not proportionally deserved destruction/loss of life. But sometimes he lets them happen, hence “natural disasters”.

So God’s (would be, i.e., if EGW actually said/revealed this) keeping the planet in its proper orbit is a basic necessity for sustained life.


This is hard to follow. I understood this part:

Quote:
I understand that you see the world in a state of chaos that need the constant actions by God.


And I agree with this characterization of my understanding. I didn't understand your statement, however, other than that I take it you disagree.

Here's the statement from "The Ministry of Healing" I was thinking of:

Quote:
It is not by inherent power that year by year the earth yields its bounties and continues its march around the sun. The hand of the Infinite One is perpetually at work guiding this planet. It is God’s power continually exercised that keeps the earth in position in its rotation. It is God who causes the sun to rise in the heavens. He opens the windows of heaven and gives rain. {MH 416.3}


Quote:
NJK:Indeed most of these “thousand dangers” may be of this “basic necessity type” which all should have occurred as a result of sin.


The context of our discussion here is the blessings that God provides to the wicked. Your statement seemed to be indicating that God's blessings to the wicked were very limited, including only the "basic necessity type."

I pointed out that the thousands of dangers from which God protects us, all of them unseen, included the wicked. You included this as a part of the "basic necessity type," which would have you agreeing with me in terms of what God is including in terms of blessing the wicked, it seems to me, just that you apply to them what appears to me to be an odd title.

As to what these thousand blessings included, this is the context:

Quote:
They are preserved from a thousand dangers, all to them unseen.... I was shown that the judgments of God would not come directly out from the Lord upon them, but in this way: They place themselves beyond His protection. He warns, corrects, reproves, and points out the only path of safety; then if those who have been the objects of His special care will follow their own course independent of the Spirit of God, after repeated warnings, if they choose their own way, then He does not commission His angels to prevent Satan’s decided attacks upon them. It is Satan’s power that is at work at sea and on land, bringing calamity and distress, and sweeping off multitudes to make sure of his prey. And storm and tempest both by sea and land will be, for Satan has come down in great wrath. He is at work. He knows his time is short and, if he is not restrained, we shall see more terrible manifestations of his power than we have ever dreamed of. {14MR 3.1}


Quote:
NJK: However there are many Satan-caused dangers that God has to pointedly and constantly protect His people against, as long as He actually can, i.e., if they are faithful.

Tom: These are included in the "thousand dangers, all of them unseen."

NJK:Probably, though I have a harder time of understanding them as “dangers,” which I see more to be “natural obstacles” than caused/attempted-attacks by Satan. They may however be “traps” set by Satan for God’s people which they can be harmed by when God justly no longer prevents them from walking into them.


I don't know what you're referring to here. It seems to me the dangers being referred to are like those in Job.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133506
05/16/11 10:35 PM
05/16/11 10:35 PM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Quote:
NJK: 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.

Tom: God always wants to have and to show mercy. We see this just as much in the destruction of Jersualem in A.D. 70. For example, the lamentation of Christ shows this.

NJK: God’s/Jesus’s “wanting” to do something is completely distinct from what He ultimately/eventually “chooses” to do (even when allowing/permitting).

Tom: You wrote, "God actually wanted to have and show mercy to anyone who would repent." Since you spoke of what God "actually wanted," this is what I commented on. God "actually wants" to show mercy on anyone who repents all the time.

Tom: I don't know why you're bringing up a distinction between what God wants and chooses to do, as you weren't speaking to this, nor did I.

NJK:Well then I had “misunderstood” you, (according to your wider view) to mean: ‘God always wants to have mercy, therefore He never does, nor is involved in, judgements.’ Therefore my distinction was to emphasize, as I more widely theologically understand it, God may want/prefer to have mercy, but in some case he is left with no other choice but to enter into judgement, which He most times, Himself does/administers/executes, even when mixed with mercy. I.e., even with some mercy involved, it can still be a devastating judgement (e.g., Judah’s (2 tribes) Babylonian Captivity (vs. Israel’s (10 tribes) Assyrian Captivity)).


I think God is involved in judgments, and these judgements are as described here:

Quote:
They place themselves beyond His protection. He warns, corrects, reproves, and points out the only path of safety; then if those who have been the objects of His special care will follow their own course independent of the Spirit of God, after repeated warnings, if they choose their own way, then He does not commission His angels to prevent Satan’s decided attacks upon them. It is Satan’s power that is at work at sea and on land, bringing calamity and distress, and sweeping off multitudes to make sure of his prey. And storm and tempest both by sea and land will be, for Satan has come down in great wrath. He is at work. He knows his time is short and, if he is not restrained, we shall see more terrible manifestations of his power than we have ever dreamed of. {14MR 3.1}


Quote:
NJK: Case in point, as I substantively see and understand it, at some point, late into the Jewish War, God no longer chose to have mercy and let Titus respond as He should have a long time ago, and no longer have mercy. Indeed the reason why Titus chose to no longer have mercy was not even substantive, i.e., the Jews were physically fighting back, but because he became insulted by the Jews presuming to dictate the terms of surrender. (Josephus, Wars 6:6.3 [#352]) If he became so indignant for that, then it can be seen that his previous patience and mercy when suffering losses in actual battle was surely God influenced.

Tom: I don't see why you're pointing this out. That is, how does this tie into our discussion?

NJK:When God wanted to have mercy in the first parts of the war, permitting both Christians and then also Jews to freely escape alive from this judgement through repeated war haltings/“cutting shorts” (cf. Matt 24:22), I see that His Spirit influenced the Romans and later Titus to take actions towards this merciful end. However late in the war, when God no longer wanted to have mercy, as He actually could not, Titus was permitted to become indignant, and that over something substantively insignificant, and the actual “Destruction of Jerusalem” occurred then.

So I see this development as being typical of God and indeed what will occur in the 7 Last Plagues with some, though non-salvific, mercy for the first 6 and no mercy in the last one.


No mercy means God permitted Satan to do his will? E.g.

Quote:
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, and Satan was permitted to rule them according to his will.


So "no mercy" was when this state was reached. Before this state, God had not been caused to remove His protection, so mercy was still being applied. It seems pretty clear that this is what was happening here, correct?

So, to related this to final plagues, God, in the first 6 plagues, was still protecting, to differing degrees, but when the 7th arrives, He has removed His protection completely; is this the idea?


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #133507
05/16/11 10:47 PM
05/16/11 10:47 PM
NJK Project  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,098
Laval, Quebec
I have a couple of discussion general questions for you Tom:

(1) Why do you selectively respond to some parts of a post and not to its other parts? Time of course is not the issue here since you do respond to some parts. My question is why not the other parts instead? Particularly those which you manifestly realized have disproved your previous objections.

(2) Do you still think that your prior objections are still right despite not having responding to the responses that disprove them?


“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
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