QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 101
I am visiting with a family that had been Mormons for over 30 years. They have decided to leave the Mormon Church and will be baptized into Christ in a few days. They are having a difficult time with Jesus being God. My question is: Not using the term "Trinity" how do I go about presenting Jesus being God in a way that is easily understood? Thank You.
The statement about Jesus being "God" is not found in that precise form in Scripture -- i.e. "I am God," or "He is God," even though that truth is clearly stated in other words. The thrust is that He is "the Son' of God," which even the Jews knew made Him "equal with God" (John 5:18). Notwithstanding, there are a number statements in Scripture that make His Deity quite clear.
I would say this word, however. No person can possibly be accepted by God, or be begotten by Him who does not believe Jesus is "the Son of God." This is what God reveals about Jesus (Matt 16:16). This is what was requisite for the eunuch to be baptized (Acts 8:37). This is what Jesus said about Himself, affirming that He was David's Lord (Mark 12:36-37). John makes much of this (1 John 4:15; 5:5,10-13,20).
You must handle this situation as you see fit, but I would not proceed further until they had explained why they have trouble with this most fundamental view of Christ. Precisely who is "the Son of God" if He is not Divine? And how is it possible to be baptized into Christ, while doubting that the one who has seen Him has, indeed, "seen the Father" (John 14:9). They should satisfy you as to why God could call His own Son "God," "Lord," His "exact image," "the Mighty God," and Everlasting Father," and they still have "a difficult time with Jesus being God." Who, then, is He? That is the question they must answer to your satisfaction.
Jesus asked those of His day, "What think ye of Christ? whose Son is He? (Matt 22:42-45). You must ask the same, and carefully weigh their answer. You do not want them merely "changing churches."
Here are some Scriptural affirmations.
1. The name of the Messiah included the terms "the Mighty God," and "Everlasting Father" (Isa 9:6).
2. He was "God with us" (Matt 1:23).
3. Regarding John the Baptist's preparation for there Messiah it is said that he would cry, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord" (Matt 3:3).
4. Even as "the Son of man," He was "the Lord of the Sabbath" (Matt 12:8).
5. He received worship from men, which even angels ((Rev 19:10; 22:9) refuse (Mk 5:6; Matt 28:17). If He was not God, this would have been a transgression of God's commandment (Ex 34:14).
6. Jesus said He was in the Father, and the Father was in Him" (John 14:10). This is not said of any angel.
7. Thomas called Him "My Lord and my God," and Jesus said that revealed he had "believed: (John 20:28).
8. Jesus is called "the Lord from heaven" (1 Cor 15:47). Heaven nowhere indicates there is any other "Lord" in heaven but "God" (Deut 4:35,39).
9. Scriptures reminds us that the Israelites tempted God (Psa 78:18,41; 106:14). Referring to the same time, Paul said they "tempted Christ" (1 Cor 10:9).
10. The first words of Scripture affirm, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen 1:1). Paul ascribes the creation to Christ Jesus (Col 1:16).
11. The "fulness" of Deity (Col 1:19; Col 2:9) is dwells in Christ. The thought that the fulness of Deity could dwell in Christ without Him being Divine, or God, is an utter absurdity. It reveals a fundamental lack of genuine faith.
12. Jesus is "God manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim 3:16).
13. Christ's return is referred to as "the appearing of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Tit 2:13).
14. Jesus is "the brightness" of God's glory, and "the exact representation of His Being" (Heb 1:3).
15. God commanded the angels to worship Jesus when He was brought into the world (Heb 1:6). Yet, God said He would not give His glory to anyone who was not God, for that would "pollute" His name (Isa 42:8; 48:11).
16. The Father said to the Son, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever" (Heb 1:9).
17. In the beginning Jesus "was God" (John 1:1).
18. Jesus is said to be "equal with God" (Phil 2:6). The Jews knew that in saying God was His "Father" made Him "equal with God" (John 5:18). Their failure to see this was the cause of their rejection. What does such a denial do for people today?
In the later part of Luke 11:11-13, we learn our Savior said 'how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Given, I'm interested in learning how you perceive the meaning of Jesus' use in this passage of 'the Holy Spirit.' Is Jesus speaking of the same gift of Holy Spirit cited by Peter in Acts 2:38-39 ... "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off --for all whom the Lord our God will call."
It seems that some want to jump immediately to a discussion of who was empowered by the Spirit to 'do miracles.' That's not the kind of discussion I'm seeking. I'm just interested in your perception of what Jesus meant us to understand in saying "how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him" and how that relates to the promise cited by Peter. How do these statements fit in the historical context of how the Jews understood and used the term "Holy Spirit?"
Two preliminary observations. First, jumping to a discussion of who was empowered by the Spirit to 'do miracles' is a purely human issue. It is driven by a sectarian spirit, and promotes the same. This is not the manner in which the Lord addresses the subject of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, God does not speak with a mind to human conceptions of the Holy Spirit, whether they are found Jews or Gentiles. The ideas of men are not the locus of Divine command, promise, or exposition. Jesus and those whom He sent spoke within the context of God's eternal purpose. It is the business of men to elevate their thinking into that realm, else God's Word will make no sense to them.
One other thing about the words of Jesus – particularly as they regard God and His purpose. His words are "spirit and they are life": (John 6:63). They are, as Peter confessed, "words of eternal life" (John 6:68). They are not mere academic words, but words through which life is realized. His words, Jesus said, "will never pass away" (Matt 24:35). They are so pivotal that Jesus says of the person who is ashamed of them, "the Son of man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory" (Lk 9:26). I say these things to encourage every soul to take seriously what Jesus says, and not attempt to stuff any of His words into a sectarian mold.
The backdrop for Jesus' words on the Holy Spirit was the promises of God regarding the Spirit, not the Jewish notions of the Spirit. Through the prophets, God spoken somewhat infrequently concerning the Holy Spirit being given to men. There is a note of mystery in all of these words, for they were intended to point to what was coming, not fully expound it.
1. The Spirit would be poured out from on high (Isa 32:15).
2. The Spirit would be poured out upon Israel's "offspring" (Isa 44:3).
3. God spoke of putting a "new spirit" within the people (Ezek 11:19).
4. God associated His covenant with the giving of His Spirit (Isa 59:21).
5. God said He would put His Spirit within His people (Ezek 36:27; 37:14).
6. He spoke of pouring out the Spirit upon the "house of Israel" (Ezek 39:29).
7. He promised He would pour out His Spirit upon all people (Joel 2:28).
8. He promised He would pour out His Spirit indiscriminately, upon both men and women (Joel 2:29).
9. He spoke of pouring out "a spirit of grace and supplication" on the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zech 12:10).
According to the prophets, the results of the giving of Spirit would be fruitfulness and abundance (Isa 32:15), vibrant life (Isa 44:3-4), God’s words not departing out the mouths of the people (Isa 59:21), the people would live consistently with what God required (Ezek 36:27), life and the knowledge of God (Ezek 37:14), God would no longer be obscure (Ezek 39:29), spiritual understanding and speaking would occur (Joel 2:28-29), and people would look upon their Redeemer (Zech 12:10). These promises were mingled with some things unique to Israel – like dwelling in their own land. However, there was a high tone of promise in them that would come upon all who embraced “the Lord’s Christ.”
None of these were accompanied by extensive exposition. They were introductory words that spoke of a new era in which God and man would be more closely associated. The Old Covenant did not speak of these things, but focused on the human condition, accentuating the absolute need for a relation to God that was driven by what God accomplishes, not what man does.
Until Jesus, God had never unveiled any human role in the matter of receiving His Holy Spirit. He said He would "pour out" the Spirit, and "put" His Spirit in people -- but that was the extent of His revelation under the Prophets.
When Jesus came, He elevated the revelation of this whole matter. He taught that those who engaged in a fervent quest for God would not be disappointed. He told them to ask, seek, and knock, and affirmed, "For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened" (Luke 11:9-10). And what was to be the object of this asking, seeking, and knocking? Was it to be houses, lands, possessions, etc? This is precisely where the teaching of this text (Luke 11:11-13) comes into view.
First, Jesus set the context of this quest within the framework of what was needed – like bread, fish, and an egg (11:11-12). This has nothing whatsoever to do with novelties, or things that are not essential. The idea is that man’s relationship to, and identity with, the Living God supercedes all other quests. Behind His words there was a certain insinuation that sensitive hearts could grasp. There are needs for the inner man just as surely as there are for the outward man, and they are to be sought. In Jesus' time (and, unfortunately, in ours as well), there was a deplorable poverty within religious leaders. Jesus likened their inward condition to being "full of dead men's bones and everything unclean" (Matt 23:27), and being "full of hypocrisy and wickedness" (Matt 23;28). This was a wholly unacceptable condition, and it would be immediately and successfully addressed by the Son of God.
Matthew’s account of this saying accentuates “good things” (Matt 7:9-11) whereas Luke says “the Holy Spirit.” Matthew emphasizes the effects – “good things,” and Luke underscores the means by which they are ministered – “the Holy Spirit.” The human involvement in the whole process is not that of working (as ordinarily perceived), but of asking, seeking and knocking – of engaging in a fervent quest for what God is giving.
The point in both Matthew and Luke is the pursuit of the blessing, and not the blessing itself. This is critical to an understanding of the text. Jesus is not speaking to clarify whether or not those who are baptized would receive the Holy Spirit. His aim was not to delineate precisely when the Spirit is given, or exactly how He would be received after He had accomplished His death and been enthroned in heaven. Neither, indeed, was He commenting on a contemporary experience that would be realized before He died, was raised, and enthroned in heaven.
The Apostles elaborated on the giving of the Spirit, expounding, as it was, the words of Jesus. Peter associated the giving of the Spirit with repentance and baptism – both of which are ordained forms of seeking, or calling, upon the name of the Lord (Acts 2:38). Paul associated the receiving of the Holy Spirit with sonship, affirming “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6). He also says the Spirit is a deposit, or guarantee, of what is to come (2 Cor 5:5).
What Jesus called “good things” in Matthew are more fully expounded following Christ’s enthronement as “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22-23), the Spirit’s intercessory work (Rom 8:26-27), strengthening the inner man so Christ can dwell in our hearts by faith (Eph 3:16-17), pouring the love of God out into our hearts (Rom 5:5), abounding in hope (Rom 15:13), and many other wonderful things. There is also the leading of the Spirit in putting to death the deeds of the body (Rom 8:13). There is also the Spirit’s marvelous witness with our spirit, that “we are the children of God” (Rom 8:16). Our induction into Christ is also said to be accompanied by the Spirit’s work of washing, sanctification and justification (1 Cor 6:11). The knowledge of possessing the Holy Spirit is also said to be our evidence that Jesus Christ dwells within us (1 John 3:23-24).
Christ’s words in Matthew and Luke cracked the door of Divine purpose so men could catch a glimpse of the magnitude of the salvation that would be realized in Him. His words were not intended to be an exhaustive commentary of the wonderfully extensive details of that “great salvation.”
On one occasion, Jesus spoke of the outworking of the Holy Spirit, when the Spirit would be given to men – men who were in quest of good things from God. His words are given by John, who, in turn, told us what they meant – which meaning was withheld from those who heard Jesus speak. “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him" (John 7:37-38). John confirms that this was not speaking of something people would experience before Jesus died, was raised, and was glorified. “By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7:39). Now, however, Jesus has been glorified. As Peter proclaimed, God “has glorified His Servant Jesus” (Acts 3:13). Now, then, the Spirit is being given, and a refreshing river of life is flowing out from those who have received Him.
The words of Jesus in Luke 11:11-13 alerted His listeners to the fact that the time was at hand when God was going to do precisely what He had promised through the prophets – pour out, or give, His Spirit. They also confirmed that this would be done within the context of a fervent quest for the Lord and His blessing. This kind of quest began in the days of John the Baptist, when people became aware that something more was to be had than the religious monotony of the day: “And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion]” (Matt 11:12, AMPLIFIED). That had never happened before John. When John began ministered “the people were waiting expectantly” (Lk 3:15), realizing the kind of pursuit of which Jesus had spoken in Luke 11:13. Thirty years earlier, when the Christ was born, there were people who sensed the times, and were “looking forward to redemption” (Lk 2:38).
Men will raise the question whether or not it is proper to ask the Lord for the Holy Spirit now. They posit that we automatically receive the Spirit, and therefore have no need to ask the Father for Him, as Jesus spoke in Luke 11:13. But they have oversimplified the matter. We are told to be “filled with the Spirit” – and that is to people who have already received Him (Eph 5:18). Some seek to neutralize the words by saying Paul referred to this as letting “the word of Christ dwell” in us “richly” (Col 3:16) – as though that was divorced from the Spirit, or the Spirit was divorced from the Word. They also overlook that Paul prayed for those who are already in Christ, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being” (Eph 3:16). There are also exhortations like “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph 5:30), and “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thess 5:19). There is also having a mind that is “set on what the Spirit desires” (Rom 8:5), and “the mind controlled by the Spirit” (Rom 8:6). There is also a continual change taking place in the believing ones, who “are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18).
A tender heart does not want to be deficient in any of these areas. How is it that such marvelous things can be realized, or experienced? They are found in the wonderful words of Jesus in Luke 11:13. If they will ask, seek, and knock concerning such unparalleled benefits, they will be realized. If, on the other hand, the Holy Spirit is sought in capacities that God has not promised, the people are not seeking “good things,” no matter what they say.
When we are familiar with what God promised He would do, and what actually occurs in Christ Jesus, the words of Jesus will make good sense to us. They will provoke a quest for things that only God gives. They will also be pursued with a joyous understanding that it is the Spirit who ministers them.
"Can cousins marry?"
Under the Law, which defined sin (Rom 3:19-20), God forbade the marrying of "any close relative" (Lev 18:6). No intimate relations (which are only approved within the context of marriage) could be had with mother or father, a step-mother or step-father, a sister or brother, grandchildren, aunt or uncle, in-laws, or cousins (Lev 18:7-18).
People in third-world countries still practice marriage with distant cousins. There are even case within the USA where this is occurring. While there is not a pointed law that forbids this practice, it does not blend well with what God has said about marriage. From a purely human point of view, we are warned of genetic defects that tend to occur in the children of those who marry their own relatives. This genetic disorder is owing to the breaking of God's law.
Can divorce people remarry?
This question cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." There are divorces that are valid in God's eyes. Two particular cases are sited in Scripture. First, when a divorce occurs because one mate has been unfaithful (Matt 5:32; 19:9). Second, when a believer is married to an unbeliever, and the unbeliever refuses to remain peacefully with the believer (1 Corinthians 7:10-15).
If a divorce has occurred in the past for unlawful reasons, there is mercy for the person. This is not spelled out in detail, and is strictly between the person and the Lord. We know that Jesus confronted a woman who had five husbands, and was living with a man who was not her husband (John 4:18). Jesus did not condemn her, but even told her He would give her the water of life if she would only ask (John 4:10). That woman responded to Jesus, and even brought many others to Him (John 4:11-41). Knowing the Lord as I do, I know that woman had to address the situation in which she was living. How she did it is not stated in Scripture.
That is still the way hard cases are to be handled -- seeking direction from the Lord, and doing so with a pure heart. We must never approach marriage as though God did not care what we do in it, for that is not the case. Divorce should also be approached with a serious mind, for it is written that God "hates" divorce (Malachi 2:16).
HEAVEN SPEAKS OF NO TEARS, NO SADDNESS. IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION, IT SPEAKS OF THE MARTYRS CONSISTENTLY ASKING WHEN THEIR DEATH WILL BE AVENGED. IS THIS NOT A FORM OF SADDNESS IN HEAVEN?
The condition of "no tears," "sorrow," etc., that are declared in Revelation 21 and 22 describe the time AFTER the present heavens and earth have passed away (Rev 21:1). The condition of the martyrs who asked concerning the vindication of their death is stated in Revelation 6:10. It is stated that they were given "white robes," and told to "rest" for a "little season" until the martyrdom of others would occur (Rev 6:10-11). Whether or not seeking the adjudication of righteous judgment for their unjust death constitutes "a form of sadness in heaven" may be open to question. We know that their cries did not continue -- they were not perpetual. We also know, that the earth had not yet passed away. We also know that some form of comfort was ministered to them, for they were told to "rest."
However, in "the world to come," when the present earth, together with all of the experiences realized in it, have passed away, there will not be so much as one tear, or one element of sadness among those who are with the Lord.
ARCHEOLOGICAL PROOF OF THE EXODUS, IS THERE SUCH AVAILABLE?
The following link may be of interest, for whatever it is worth: http://www.greatdreams.com/ark2.htm
I have not pursued this type of information, having complete confidence in the Scriptural record. The deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage, together with their wilderness wanderings, are mentioned by Moses (Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), Joshua (Josh 2:10), Gideon (Judges 6:13), Samuel (1 Sam 10:18), David (Psa 95:10), the Chronicles (2 Chron 5:10), Hosea (Hos 12:13), Nehemiah (Neh 9:21), Amos (Amos 5:25), Stephen (Acts 7:42), and Paul (Acts 13:18-21; 1 Cor 10:1-11; Heb 3:9,17). What would move any person of sound mind to require, or even request, any more proof?
Scriptures that refer to suicide. Just who goes to hell if they commit suicide?
The Scriptures do not speak specifically to the matter of suicide. It is included in the general commandment not to murder, for suicide is self-murder, taking a life that God has given. We also know that "no murderer has eternal life (1 John 3:15), and that murderers have their part in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). But that comes far short of being able to answer your question satisfactorily. There are some examples of suicide in the Bible: Samson (Judges 16:29-30), King Saul and his armor-bearer (1 Sam 31:4-5), Ahithophel (2 Sam 17:23), Zimri (1 Kgs 16:18), and Judas (Matt 25:5; Acts 1:18).
Those are all the facts we have in this matter, and we must be willing to let it rest with the Lord. The best that can be said on this matter is that suicide is not wise -- in fact, it is foolish. If it is true that every temptation -- even to take one's life -- is accompanied by a God-provided way of escape (1 Cor 10:13), then the person who commits suicide (particularly a professing Christian) did not believe that, or seek the escape route. As to what God will do with them, I do not know, nor does anyone else.
A young lady, 18 yrs old, commits sucide after being raped, she was a virgin, always good, believed in God and was baptized. Where is she now, heaven or hell.
I do not know where she is, nor does anyone else. God has not spoken with clarity on such matters. If there are really extenuating circumstances, our Lord knows all about them. We do know that he is not looking for a reason to condemn people -- that is why he sent Jesus. Also, we do not know if a person who committed suicide may have had a change of mind after the deed was done, and may have repented while they were dying. There is no need for us to become distracted with attempting to answer this question. There is no known answer to it, and we must be willing to let God settle the matter. He can be trusted to do to righteously.
God hates divorce.
Would he hate OUR divorce? We want more than anything to walk in God's perfect will as we both love the Lord, but we also love each other. My flesh cries out in anguish for separation from this man every single day. I love him so very much. I do not want another divorce.
Will God bless and ordain our marriage if we keep it?
Please pray for us and please try to guide us if you have any wisdom and insight to offer, as it is only to be determined by the perfect will of God whether we are to be reunited as husband and wife - - or not.
My heart was touched with your communication, and I will do my best to clarify some matters for you.
To begin -- Yes, God does hate divorce, as stated in Malachi 2:16). That does not mean all divorce is wrong, for God Himself is divorced, as affirmed in Isaiah 50:1 and Jeremiah 3:8. He also allows divorce for unfaithfulness, called "fornication" or "adultery" (Matt 5:32; 19:9). He also affirms that a believer is not under bondage to remain with an unbeliever who refuses to dwell peaceably with them (1 Cor 7:15-15). The latter is to be done only after an extensive effort to make peace has been made. Having said all of that, allow me to get to the issues you are facing.
First, I suggest that the phrase "devout followers of Jesus" not be used as describing this situation. I mean nothing offensive by this, but this is simply not right. We have a word from the Lord about husbands and wives separating from one another, and devout followers of Christ will honor it. That separation is allowed if both parties want to devote themselves to prayer and fasting. It is only to be "for a time," to avoid temptation, and they are return to each other. That is His word (1 Cor 7:3-5).
As to the matter of your husband, he is more than dishonest. He is nothing more than a manipulator who is seeking his own gratification, without regard to the will of the Lord. His words about a "covenant marriage" are nonsense, with not so much as a particle of support in God's word. All marriages are covenants -- that is the whole point behind them. That is why God speaks as He does about His marriage to the people -- marriage is a "covenant" (Jer 31:32; Ezek 16:8; Mal 2:14). The suggestion that any marriage is not a "covenant" is either a lie or a delusion -- and neither are acceptable.
Secondly, marriage is not made sure because a person is saved. Marriage between a saved person and an unsaved person is not to be chosen, to be sure. We are to marry "only in the Lord" 1 Cor 7:39). However, there have been marriages in which the person was unsaved at the time the marriage was consummated. Such marriages were still valid, and all of the rules of marriage applied to them. The Scriptures declare, "marriage is held in honor among all" (Heb 13:4). When a person becomes a Christian, he is not at liberty to divorce his wife because he was not a Christian when he married her. In fact, the Lord tells us what to do if the unbeliever is willing to remain peaceably: "If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him NOT put her away" (1 Cor 7:12).
Your confusion about what the Bible has said about marriage is largely owing to the nonsense that your husband has been spouting. Being unsure about whether to be reconciled to his first wife or remain single is certainly not the result of Bible study. That kind of word is delivered to a wife who walked out on her husband without due cause (1 Cor 7:10-11).
As to whether you should separate, divorce, and remain single, or be reconciled to your former spouses, the latter is strictly out of the question. Under the Mosaic law, God allowed for going back to a first wife if, and only if, she had not been remarried (Deut 24:4). However, there is not the slightest hint that any such allowance is to be made in Christ Jesus. The ONLY reconciliation that is allowed is between two people that are married to each other at the time (1 Cor 7:11).
You must begin where you are, and do your best to work that situation out. You will only compound your problems by making any attempt to return to former relations with other people. It will be like digging a hole out of which you will not be able to climb.
Also, there is no fixed answer to your situation. In fact, there is nothing like it in all of Apostles' doctrine. That does not mean it is hopeless. It does mean that you must both extend yourselves to resolve your marriage, and not be thinking about possible ways of getting out of it. Marriage is honorable (Heb 13:4) and divorce is hated by God (Mal 2:16). In my judgment, God will work with you on dignifying your marriage. I do not believe He will work with you on justifying a divorce, or returning to a previous mate.
Whether anyone else does or not, you must resolve to please the Lord in what you do, and to do so at all cost. If your husband does this also, a solution will be found. If he is not willing, then I do not believe you have any recourse but to formalize your separation. What you do after that must also be done unto the Lord.
I am willing to assist you as much as possible, but the best I can do is give you my personal judgment. God has no written answer to this dilemma.
I wanted to ask you Friday night if you knew anything about Masons? Also I was curious on your thoughts regarding the DaVinci Code.
Masons hold to a unique religion, even though many, if not most, of them attend churches. They have their own funerals, which declare eternal life in heaven upon the basis of being a Mason. Their order is also built upon Solomon, not Christ. Even though many of their members profess faith in Christ, it has no place in the Masonic order itself. Most believers consider them to be a kind of religious cult.
The DaVinci Code is a fictional book, which automatically separates it from the truth of God. It represents Jesus as being married to Mary Magdalene, and a host of other serious misrepresentations.
Assuming that it was the "Passover" (Mt. 26:17; Mk. 14:12; Lk. 22:8) where wine was typically served in 4 cups, can we not conclude that it was wine? >>
Mt., Mk., and Lk. are also accurate in calling it "fruit of the vine" in a poetic fashion, for the Passover ritual traditionally does the same thing. I don't know how old the following Passover prayer is, but it speaks in the same way. It is a poetic way of saying wine. The prayer goes
"Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who has created the fruit of the vine. . . . And you, O Lord our God, have given us festival days for joy, this feast of the unleavened bread, the time of our deliverance in remembrance of the departure from Egypt. Blessed are you, O Lord our God, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to enjoy this season."
I suppose one could ask if this were "new" or "old" fruit of the vine, but how would we ever know. Without refrigeration in those days or now, new grape juice becomes wine in time. Nothing need be added. Enzymes on the grape skins can start its fermentation, or at least an elder friend of mine who had a vineyard told me so.
The Scriptures tell us it was "the Passover" (Matt 26:2). The disciples asked where Jesus wanted to "eat the Passover" (Matt 26:17). Jesus told His disciples to tell a specified man,, "I will keep the Passover at thy house with My disciples" (Matt 26:18). It is written that the disciples "made ready the Passover," and then Jesus sat down with the twelve (Matt 26:19). The disciples are said to have "killed the Passover" for that occasion (Mk 14:12). Luke says when the time arrived for the passover lamb to be killed Jesus "sent Peter and John saying, 'Go and prepare us the passover that we may eat'" (Lk 22:7-8). That evening Jesus said, "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer" (Lk 22:15). There is no need to "assume" the passover was the occasion. I hardly see how it could have been made any more plain.
The Law did not specify "four cups" at the Passover, and wine is nowhere associated with the Passover in the Pentateuch. Jewish custom later enjoined these four cups of wine, which was usually red, and was mixed with water as it was drunk. But this is certainly not a suitable source for determining how we view the table of the Lord.
I know of neither an etymological or doctrinal basis for the assumption that "fruit of the vine" is a poetic way of saying "wine." Wine is not the fruit of the vine, and is nowhere so represented in Scripture. The vine does not bear wine, anymore than a fig tree bore fig cakes. Instead of concluding wine was at the table, why not simply use the language Jesus used? In Scripture "wine" is never associated with the table of the Lord in any sense or at any time. Nor is it ever associated with the Passover. Scripture nowhere states that "wine was served in four cups during the Passover. Whatever case may be made for such a thing, it ought not to be suggested that this is God's way of approaching the table of the Lord.
As to fermentation starting naturally in the grape, this is true. That is precisely why a Nazarite could not even eat a grape or raisin, or anything that came from the vine (Num 6:4).
Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind concerning his practice at this table.
Excuse me please, let me attract your attention to the words of Jesus Christ (in an episode when Jesus Christ has taken a cross) in the film "The Passion of the Christ" of Mel Gibson: "I am your servant, Father. Your servant, and the son of Your handmaid". Excuse me please and please don't angry to me, but it is a very big mistake, because God the Father has given birth to Jesus Christ, but has not created. "I will declare the decree: God has told to Me: You are My Son, today I have begotten You" (Psalm 2:7). Jesus Christ is the eternal given birth Son, not created. Jesus Christ is not "the son of God's handmaid", He is the eternal given birth Son.
You are not correct in your assessment. Mary was God's "handmaiden," as written in Luke 1:48. Jesus is the Son of God. He is also "the Son of Mary," who is called "His mother" (Matt 1:18; 2:11,13,14,20,21). Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, of whom He was born (Matt 1:16). The angel of the Lord referred to Mary as Jesus' "mother" (Matt 2:13-14, 19-20). John refers to "Mary the mother of Jesus" (John 2:1,3). The book of Acts also refers to "Mary the mother of Jesus" (Acts 1:14).
This does not mean Jesus Himself was created. However,0 His body was created, as taught in Hebrews 10:5. God Himself was the Father of Jesus, who was the "Word made flesh" (John 1:14), and "God manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim 3:16). God did not give birth to Jesus, but begat Jesus. It was Mary who gave birth to Him as declared in Matthew 1:25.
You are not looking at this correctly.
How distinct is the difference between heart, mind, soul and strength (as in "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength")?
Strictly speaking, the mind is not the "control center." It is subordinate to the heart, for it is "as a man thinks in his heart" that reveals who he is (Prov 23:7). It is also "out of the heart" that "evil thoughts proceed (Matt 15:19). Man also believes "with the heart" (Rom 10:10). The heart is the locus for spiritual life.
The expressions "heart, soul, mind, and strength" (Matt 12:30), or "heart, soul, strength, and mind" (Lk 10:27) accent the glorious complexity of man. This is something of what is involved in being in the "image" and "likeness" of God. The following represent my understanding of these divisions.
"Heart" -- this is the essential person -- the part that can more fully fellowship with the Lord, and where the most precise likeness of God is seen. That is why the Spirit is sent into our heart, not our mind (Gal 4:6). It is where the love of God is poured out, as distinguished from the mind (Rom 5:5). Christ dwells in our hearts, not in our minds (Eph 3:17). The peace of God "rules" in our hearts, and guards both our hearts and our minds (Phil 4:7). God directs our hearts into the love of God and the patient waiting for Christ (2 Thess 3:5).
"Soul" -- this is the expressive part of man from, and is capable of profound heights and depths (Psa 42:5). Because of this, hope is the anchor of the soul, allowing for stability and steadfastness in this area of our persons (Heb 6:19). Because of its expressive nature, "the soul" is target of "fleshly lusts" which tend to debilitate its powers (1 Pet 2:11).
"Mind" -- The mind processes the thoughts and feelings generated in the heart. It reasons upon the truth, and is the area in which God is served. Thus Paul says, "with the mind I myself serve the law of God" (Rom 7:25). The idea is that his real person -- the new creature -- expresses itself in soundness of thought and perspective, thus serving the Lord.
"Strength" -- This has to do with ability or aptitude -- what a person can do, as opposed to what he cannot do. It is the same as serving God "according to the ability which God giveth" (`1 Pet 4:11).
The requirement under the Law, therefore, was this. To love the Lord with all of our essential person -- nothing fictitious, nothing feigned, nothing pretentious, nothing by rote. He was also to be loved with all the soul -- all of the expressive powers, with no love reserved for other entities or things. The outflow of life in all of its aspects was to be toward God. He was also to be loved with all of the mind -- with all thoughts, purposes, objectives, meditations, and all manner of service. Finally, He was to be loved with all of man's capacities and abilities. At no point could it be said that God could possibly be loved more, which condition broke the commandment.
Why is Paul the Apostle consider a false apostle by so many theologians, namely Edgar Jones (the essence of sin, who is a tremendous teacher in one aspect. He almost nullifies all of the epistles by Paul the Apostle. His deductive reasoning appears to be sabotaged...
Edgar Jones is is not representative of "so many theologians. He stands against the thrust of most theologians, including Luke (who provides the history of Paul in Acts), and Peter, who commends Paul in his Second epistle (2 Pet 3:15). From the first century on, the vast majority of theologians have accepted Paul.
Removing the books written by the men approving of Paul (Luke and Peterl) requires eliminating Luke, Acts, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter. Add to that the necessity to remove the books in which Paul affirms he is an Apostle (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus), the ones where Paul said he was a servant of Jesus (Philippians), the ones where people were commended for following Paul (1 Thessalonians), and the ones in which he said he spoke for Jesus (2 Thessalonians), and you have removed 15 of the 27 books in New Testament writings. This would also mean these books were not inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore we have a flawed Bible.
That would mean that God Almighty, who sustains the marvelously complex universe, could not maintain His Word for His people. Instead, we have to depend upon Edgar Jones to narrow down the valid books of the Bible for us. That would mean that "All Scripture" is really not written by the inspiration ofGod, as the Bible affirms (2 Tim 3:16-17). It would mean that the Word of God by which we live (Matt 4:4; Luke 4:4) is actually polluted. Nearly all of the teaching about the grace of God would have to be discarded, for that was provided through Paul. It also would mean that even though God promises through the prophets that He would call the Gentiles, and bring them to Himself, yet He did not do it, for Paul is the only Apostle specifically appointed for the Gentiles.
Edgar Jones objects to Paul because Paul contradicts what he is teaching. He is preaching a gospel that Paul did not preach. He has a view of Jesus that Paul did not have. Yet what are the letters of Edgar Jones when they are compared with those of Paul? What kind of faith do they induce? What kind of hope do they spawn?
Edgar Jones is not a "tremendous teacher," he is a false teacher in the extreme. He has set Jesus against Paul, when Scripture leaves us with the fact that Jesus revealed an abundance to Paul. All of history testifies to the effectiveness of Paul's teaching. Those whose lives have been changed by what Paul preached fill history from the first century to this very day. Only Edgar Jones is a champion for his own teaching. He corrupts the teaching of Jesus, condemns the teaching of Paul, and sets himself up as an authority on matters having to do with our relation to God.
I suggest you discard his books. They are nothing more than poison -- and a cheap poison at that.
"Why would God create Lucifer knowing that Lucifer would sin?" This questions bothers many and we can barely settle for an Isaiah 46:10 answer anymore. Thank You!
God does not provide the answer to this question -- it is really just that simple. That means it is not to our advantage to know the details on this matter. Men might choose to philosophize about this, and try to piece vague texts together to form what they think is an intelligent answer -- but it is all a waste of time. God has not made this known. Perhaps in the world to come we will know more of it, although I doubt that it would have any value to us at that time. God has spoken about things that are unrevealed in this way: "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deut 29:29).
When Job had questions concerning his trial -- questions that were not charged to him as sin (Job 1:22) -- God finally spoke to him about questions, and the fact that we are surrounded by all kinds of mysteries that do not seem to bother us. The Lord's questions are found in Job 38:3 thru 39:30. If we are bothered by mysterious things, it is good to read them and try to answer them. When God had finished, Job said, "Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further" (Job 40:4-5). That is a good response to all unanswered questions.
Should' we not use wine at the Lord's Table? Isn't that what Jesus used?
Concerning the historical and/or contemporary dispute over "wine" or "juice" -- It is written that Jesus "took the cup" (Matt 26:27; Mk 14:23; Lk 22:17,20). Paul says Jesus "took the cup" (1 Cor 11:25). He also referred to "the cup of blessing" and "the cup of the Lord." The three Gospels recording this event present Jesus as referring to "this fruit of the vine" (Matt 26:29; Mk 14:25; Lk 22:18).
The word "wine" is never used in reference to the Lord's table. The only reference to the contents of "cup" is made by the King Himself -- "fruit of the vine." Where is "wine" ever said to be the "fruit of the vine?" In the Old Covenant writings, when applied to a vine, "fruit" had to do with the natural state of the product, not the refined one. "New wine" was said to be "in the cluster"(Isa 65:8), or while still on the vine (Judges 9:13), not in a refined state.
Can it be argued biblically that the reason God eventually forbade intermarriage was more for health reasons than moral reasons. An example of this would be the probability that same family members may carry recessive defective or "sick" genes that when paired together would produce a dominant and thus the birth defect.
It would seem that as time went on, the overall effects of sin and degeneration would progress to even the cellular level.
I would tend to think it is the other way around -- that the genetic difficulties are the result of ignoring God's Law. God is always the proper cause, never nature. In my understanding, physiological conditions proceed from spiritual ones, and are never themselves a cause.
A friend called me and asked me who the "adult male" in the New Testament was who was baptized, then circumcised. She then described the events of when Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch, and that was the only adult I could think of, except that he was not circumcised, just baptized. I was wondering if you can think of any adult males in the New Testament who were baptized then circumcised. I know that Abraham and every male in his household was circumcised, but that's the Old Testament, and there was no baptism involved.
I've been searching for such a reference for several hours, and I am finding nothing. I was just wondering if you could remember such an incident? Thanks!
There is no such reference. There were some Jewish converts who taught that circumcision after the manner of Moses was necessary. They are mentioned in Acts 15:1-5. Paul disputed with them, showing this was not true. Some of the brethren in Galatia were also exposed to this teaching, and Paul dealt with it in Galatians 5:1-6.
There is such a thing as "the circumcision of Christ" that occurs in baptism (Col 2:11). That takes place in the heart, not in the flesh, and refers to the cutting away of the sinful nature, (called "the body of the sins"), separating it from our essential persons. It is, in fact, "the old man" of Ephesians 4:22-24 and Col 3:9-10).
I think _________ has given us a good definition of the term ; "Curse of the Law". I also believe that Paul gives us a good definition of the curse of the law in Romans 8:2 when he describes it as the ; "Law of Sin and Death" You sin, you die !! Even if you picked up sticks on the Sabbath , the penalty was death . Paul in 2 Cor. 3:6 says that the letter (a Paulinism for the law) killeth , but the Spirit giveth life.
The "curse of the law" is defined in Scripture. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Gal 3:10). Moses said it this way, "Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen" (Deut 27:26). Simply put, if you did not keep the Law perfectly -- every jot and tittle -- you were cursed, period! The Law offered no remission,no recovery from sin, and no grace. Its ministration is epitomized in this little poem:
Run John, Run
The Law demands,
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
Fly John, Fly,
Grace doth cry,
Then gives me wings to soar on high.
Romans 8:2 is not speaking of the "law" delivered by Moses, but of the principle of sin that dwells within our members -- as stated in Romans 7:21,23.
I think we make too much of the assembly. After all, it only represents a small percentage of the time we live for the Lord.
Just a thought here: It cannot be coincidental, minor, or of small consequence when "the whole church comes together." When members of the body -- each of which has been strategically placed by God Himself (1 Cor 12:18) -- comes together, there is a sort of spiritual synergy present that is not realized any other time. Jesus is present in a special way when saints come together (Matt 18:20). The angels are present, and are to be taken into consideration (1 Cor 11:10). It is possible to come together "for the better," and not for the worse (1 Cor 11:17). Here we jointly proclaim the death of the Lord (1 Cor 11:26). Here is a place when the secrets of the hearts of the unlearned can be made known (1 Cor 14:23-25). This is the time when the whole church can be strengthened by a diversity of spiritual expression (1 Cor 14:26). It is God's purpose that a special measure of comfort and edification occur at this time (1 Thess 5:11).
Let no one suppose for a moment that personal spiritual life somehow upstages joint spiritual life. God has placed us in a "body," where "each member belongs to all the others" (Rom 12:5). God's predetermined purpose is, in a way, introduced to us in the assembly; for His aim is to "gather together in one all things in Christ" (Eph 1:10). That is experienced in a first fruits sense in the real assembly -- when Jesus, his holy angels, the Holy Spirit, and members of Christ's body deliberately come together in harmony.
When Jesus comes again, we will be "caught up together, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess 4:17). There will come a time when the Lord Jesus will glorify the Father by saying, "Here am I and the children whom God has given me" (Heb 2:13). Even the Apostles look forward to the time when they will stand together with those who are the fruit of their ministry (2 Cor 4:14). We can have a foretaste of such glory in proper assemblies.
The things that have many of you agitated is not a valid assembly, but a corrupted one. Men have institutionalized the assembly -- a time intended for the building up of the saints through the expressions of those in whom Jesus is alive and well. No Apostle ever told any church to divide up and conquer the world for Jesus. But they did tell them to "come together," edify one another, teach and admonish one another, not despise prophesying, assemble together, and exhort one another. They knew, and we should know as well, that those who are growing up into Jesus "in all things" (Eph 4:15) will be aggressive to live for Him in and out of the assembly. They knew that Christ's presence within, His Word dwelling richly within, and the Holy Spirit being unquenched and not grieved makes for unparalleled spiritual productivity. A considerable measure of that productivity is traced to the assembly, when, according to Divine purpose, we are to be subjected to an unusual measure of holy influences.
I suggest it is time to get the drivel out of the assembly -- to remove the little fleshly novelties that make the assembly a drag on the human spirit. Let those who speak for God deliver some substance that will feed the soul. Let those who sing do what the Lord tells us to do -- teach and admonish one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual and spiritual songs (Col 3:16). Let us get individuality out of the assembly, and get the members of the body into it. Then the Lord will ministry to the members of His body through its "ligaments and sinews," who are the other members of the body (Col 2:19; Eph 4:15-16).
If glorification involves the whole of the body being together, the present assembly of the saints must not be viewed as inconsequential. If the gathering of the saints is viewed as one of the chief aims of Christ's return, surely we can expect some good things to occur during our preliminary gatherings.
Shun being philosophical about the gathering of the saints, and speak of such times as the Lord does. He has been known for rebuking and judging those who assembled for the wrong reasons. He can also be known for blessing such times. Pentecost happened when "they were all together with one accord in one place." Once, the house the believers were gathered and praying together, was shaken, they spoke the word of God with boldness, and "great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:33).
If, when we gather together, we are actually blessed, really fed, and mutually built up, who does not know we will begin speaking in favor of the assembly. Let us be zealous to rid ourselves of the influences and practices that has provoked this discussion. Then our assemblies will be times of great spiritual refurbishment -- a sure catalyst to the kind of productivity for which every sensitive soul longs.
I need this ASAP or a least by Wednesday the 12. How do I explain what took place in Acts 19:1-6 If they were of the same race or at least spoke the same language why would they have to speak in tongues? Many people rely on this passage to support tongues. What is your take or better yet Can you lead me to God's answer to this question.
First, what took place in Acts 19 was under the direction of the Lord, and that is how it is to be explained. He did what He wanted to do, and what men think about it has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject. Nothing in Scripture suggests that this was a precedent, and nothing suggests that is was never to happen again. Those are just the facts in the case. This occasion is never set forth as an example of what believers are to expect. Nor, indeed, was it ever reported as something that was to be desired. In fact, the ones who did speak in other languages were themselves not seeking to do so.
As on the day of Pentecost, and at the house of Cornelius, the event in Acts 19 constituted a special sign. All three of these events were spiritual epochs.
Pentecost is when the Lord first poured out His Spirit without discrimination, in fulfillment of His promise through Joel (Joel 2:28), Isaiah (Isa 32:15; 44:3), and Ezekiel (Ezek 39:29). The languages that were spoken were known by those who were gathered out of every nation under heaven, and confirmed to them that the message being delivered was from God.
The house of Cornelius was the opening of the door of faith to the Gentiles. This took place from 10-15 years after Pentecost. Even though Peter had preached that the promise of the Spirit was to the Gentiles -- those who are afar off (Acts 2:39) -- yet this had not yet dawned upon the early church. When Peter heard those in Cornelius' house speak in other languages, he knew what they said, for, he said, they "magnified God" (Acts 10:46). It was then that the fullness of God's promise burst upon Peter (Acts 10:46-48).
The occasion of the disciples in Ephesus was also an epochal one. This took place around 25 years after Pentecost. At that time, some still knew only of John's baptism. Once again, when they spoke in tongues, it was discernible for it is written that they "prophesied" (Acts 19:6). This established the superiority of Christ to John the Baptist, and confirmed what John himself had said of Jesus, and of how men ought to believe on Him.
In each of these three cases, great walls of religious prejudice and inferior understanding were being broken down. At Pentecost, the Jews had a total misconception of Jesus, and actually had participated in crucifying Him (Acts 2:23,36). Extraordinary measures were taken to turn the minds and hearts of these people. At the household of Cornelius the notion of the Gentiles not being acceptable was thrown down to the ground, and a new era began within the church -- an era that was marked by an energetic thrust into the Gentile world, and among the Gentiles. Again, this change of thought was brought about by extraordinary means. Again, with the disciples in Ephesus, the ministry of John the Baptist was finally seen as one that introduced the Savior of the world. Men were given to see the fulfillment of the promise of Savior of the world -- as compared with moving men to only repent and look for a Deliverer to come sometime in the future.
None of these events are ever mentioned in any Epistle to any church. No one ever preached them to either sinners or saints -- not Pentecost, not Cornelius, not the Ephesians disciples. None of them are ever set forth as an example to be followed, or to be declared. They were special occasions, like those in which Jesus forgave sins directly, without requiring any obedience (the palsied man -- Matt 9:2; the sinful woman -- Luke 7:48; the woman taken in adultery -- John 8:11; and the thief on the cross -- Lk 23:43).
There is no need to try and establish that men do not speak in tongues. God makes no such point, and therefore it does not make sense for us to do so. Nor, indeed, is any person in order saying that men must speak in tongues. God does not say that either, and it is therefore wrong for men to do so. Jesus is still the Head of the church. This subject must be approached with that in mind. The thought that Jesus no longer moves men to speak in other languages cannot be substantiated from Scripture, and therefore it out of order for any of us to try and prove such a thing. Where men claim to be speaking in tongues to the assembly, as with any other claim of being moved by God, the person is to be tested, and his claim substantiated.
The gift of speaking unlearned languages is said to have been placed within the church by the Lord (1 Cor 12:28). We know that, even in the beginning, it was not placed in every congregation. Corinth is the only congregation of record to whom even one word on the subject was written. Even at Corinth, it is clearly taught that this gift was never intended for everyone -- anymore than everyone was intended to be an apostle, prophet, teacher, or worker of miracles (1 Cor 12:29).
There is no need to establish that any of these gifts no longer exist. Their existence or lack of their existence is strictly in the hands of the Lord. There is no evidence of any congregation having them all, or having none of them. If any person claims to have the gift of speaking in other languages, he is subject to the rules set forth in Scripture for such people. The rules all have to do with the assembly. Those rules include the following: (1) What is said must be understood by the congregation (1 Cor 14:5,28). (2) No more than two or three can speak at a single gathering, and that must be one at a time, and what they say must be interpreted (1 Cor 14:27). (3) What is said is to be weighed by those with understanding to determine if it is the truth (1 Cor 14:29).
That is how the Scriptures approach the subject.
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