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QUESTION SERIES 3
Subject: immense thanks for your reply!
I very much appreciate your reply to my questions. I can assure you that all my quotations were from the New International Version of the Bible. If I did misquote from the Bible, I humbly ask God Almighty to forgive me.
If you will permit me to ask you further questions, I will very much be grateful. I'm 19 by the way. I was raised as a Christian. But recently I began to study the Old and the New Testament quite deeply, and there are things in there which I find very hard to accept. I'll just show you the things which I very much doubt was inspired by God.
In NUMBERS 22:27-28 we read there the story of a TALKING ass, a donkey. A donkey that talks. Imagine. LEVITICUS 11:20 talks about FOUR footed fowls. Chicken with four legs. Have you seen one. How come scientists have never come across such an animal?
In JUDGES 3:31, Shamgar, a Jewish lad kills 600 people with an ox goad, a stick. And what were those 600 people doing? Were they waiting to be slaughtered? Why didn't they run away? This seems more like mythology to me.
REVELATION 13:1-2 talks about a SEVEN HEADED leopard.
Have you seen one?
Have you heard of one? Not likely.
In JUDGES 15:15-16 Sampson KILLS A THOUSAND people with the jaw bone of a donkey. And what were those 1000 people doing? If those bastards just spat on Samson, the guy would have suffocated. They couldn't even spit.
In JUDGES 16:1 Samson has SEX with a whore in Gaza. I'm asking what does JUDGES 16:1 teach people? What is the moral? What's the point in recording Samson having sex with a prostitute? If you read further on you will see that God does not punish Samson for this act.
In PROVERBS 31:6-7, devilish advice is given in God's (?) book. 'Alcohol is for people who are DYING, and for those who are in MISERY. Let them drink and FORGET their poverty and unhappiness.' (From the 'Good News Bible in Today's English')
You see sir, these are only some of the absurdies which
I come across when reading the Bible, which my friends regard as the absolute
word of God. And not only the Bible, but the Christian doctrine also doesn't
make sence to me. God kills his own son because he loves people like Hitler,
Stalin or Id Amin so much i.e the sinners? Is that love? And furthermore
I only recently found out that some Christians, mainly Evangelists, actually
believe that Jesus is God! If he is God, how can he die?!! If God DIED
who was controlling the universe? The Bible says that for 3 days and 3 nights Jesus was there in the tomb. Dead.
Also, I have a very hard time in understanding the concept of the Trinity. The Father is God, the son is God and the Holy Ghost is God. But there are not 3 God's but 1 God. How is that possible? 1+1+1=1????? So if you tell me that with God EVERYTHING is possible, then trinity is NOT HIS NATURE because he could be 4 or 5 or 7 or 10 etc.
Look, I'm sorry if I've upset you with these problems
that I have. You see, I used to go to the Church before and when I used
to question my Priest, he used to get very upset and just told me to accept.
Blindly. for this reason I am now studying the other Monotheistic faiths
to see if they
Please, if you can answer my questions, I would very much appreciate it.
Many thanks for your earlier reply!
WORLD WIDE WEB WITNESS INC. June 15, 2000
Thanks for your letter. I am so glad that you are so appreciative.
It seemed to have left you little time to have studied the earlier reply. Please ensure that you do study this, won’t you! It really would be in vain for you to ask for help, if you do not take it, wouldn’t it ? Imagine if someone were to call for the Life Guard at the beach, and having been brought to the shallows, then drifted out again! It is very necessary to study what is given back to you, in order to lead you out of the cultural errors that lash on you, the confused waves and the storms of misunderstanding.
When you have digested all the things given to you for your help, as you desire, then it will be very good to hear again.
In particular there are two chapters (12 and 15 of A Spiritual Potpourri) which you need to read, and the reason for that will appear later. Would you please then ensure that this is done, and all the material given you is closely studied; and then you will be most welcome for careful correspondence to follow up, as the need may be.
This way your request for help will lead to what you are seeking: help. In addition, please ensure that you give CAREFUL ATTENTION to the TWO ASTERISKED SECTIONS, headed in red, near to the end - in fact, numbers 12 and 14 below.
I realise there is a lot of material here, just as you asked a lot of questions. I would appreciate it if you would read it all through before you begin to reply; and especially, the main references given, which are not many ( I asterisk these for your convenience also). Then we could begin to deal with things individually, if there is anything further of interest. Do not be concerned about waiting a little while; I expect DV to be here. It is good to hear from you.
we shall deal with things systematically.
1. A GOOD UNDERSTANDING
Now, as to the concern which you expressed: thank you for that. It is good that you show this.
However, you did not upset or trouble me, except in this, that I am concerned for YOU. One of your quotations incidentally, as you STATED last time, was from 'Good News Bible - In Today's English'. That at least, was not from the NIV (the version you indicated for all your references), was it! This raises an important question: are you, at least in part, using some screed which you have not even derived from your own work ? simply passing it on, like dud fire-crackers ?
The last set of questions was often so defective in relationship to the realities of the word of God as to be hard to relate to you, for they did seem at times rather like incensed political propaganda. SO much was this the case, that it makes one marvel how some of it could well be written, for it was so askew from reality so often, as shown below in detail: until you remember the way, for example in politics, in which someone detests the party he attempts to assault. Reason may then at times seem to flee. Later, we will look at that. Meanwhile, you see the point, do you not ?
If you want help, then as help it is given and that most gladly. But your request needs to be what it is said to be. Then we are clear. If you go to a physician and he treats you for stomach pain, it must not be that what you really want is drugs! Please examine yourself on this point. If you want to attack the word of God, so be it: say so. If you want help to understand and to clarify, then that is the current position, as you have indicated.
In that case, however, it is clear that you should carefully have approached some of the problems for yourself, and for your understanding, and really experienced it, and therefore laboured at it, and then asked: so that the help you seek is help for something that is on your mind, in your heart, a fishbone or a poison. It is not to the point to pass on materials you have not even carefully looked up, for example. That is in a very different category.
I would suggest that you be informed, therefore, be careful, and again, be most cautious about casting negative words on the word of God, comments found later to be quite erroneous, especially if these are not properly checked at the first! I say this for your own welfare, for God is not mocked. He is, on the contrary, very wonderful and the great King. His word is truth, and without exception, always stands.
So let us be clear. Your current category is HELP NEEDED, and we shall proceed on that. If you want to change it, fine; but please say so. In whatever proper category, it is my pleasure and joy to answer you; but like a doctor, I need a correct presentation of your need. If you simply want to attack, please say so; or if it is to be helped, it is as now. If it really is the latter, then there is much for you to do. When I visit my physiotherapist, she tells me there are exercises I must do myself. It is well, for it strengthens me. So with you here, if you want help.
Meanwhile, nothing alters the word of God, and it is, for example in the Old Testament, normally in Hebrew: innovative alterations in the name of translation, virtual paraphrases, are not there to the point. Loose translations such as the one you there cited (Good News…) often do not help much when you are examining in detail what God has actually said. Let HIM speak, when you speak about what He says!
2. IT IS A PLEASURE TO HELP: REST ASSURED
As to your query: am I willing to help ? Let me answer that very directly. Yes, I am, in the love of Christ, most willing to help you; but I MUST ask of you ONE THING. Please STUDY all the scriptures I give, and THINK carefully about the points made before proceeding. It will take time, of course; better that than losing value in all time, by misusing your time on this planet.
Study also the things that trouble you. Proceed one step at a time, and make it a good one. You want answers: they must be studied, when they arrive. It is like food: it needs to be eaten, not just stored! You find a problem ? It needs careful statement in terms of the answer that has been given already, or in such a way as to attest that you have heeded what is said. You want more ? Fine, but first digest what is given, as in a conversation.
I hope these suggestions as to procedure will be found to profit you far more, and will appreciate your following them.
3. PROGRESS, NOT REGRESS
Thus on the Trinity, we have already covered the point you make. It has been pointed out that things may be of different number in different respects. How many are YOU! Are you ONE young man ? I think you would agree. Do you sometimes COMMUNE WITH YOURSELF, which really means that there is an active side to your thought, your spirit indeed, which is investigating elements of your character, conduct or thought, reviewing, estimating! Is that still ONE! Do you have a body ? How many are you ? A mind ? Is that more ? How can you be 1+1+1=1! Do you then not exist ?
Should I then disbelieve in you, and consider that these words are the product of chance and that the intelligence is a mirage, that you could NOT have any fingers with which to type, for that would make you 1+1=1, mind plus body, nor could you make any mistakes, for these are meaningless unless you have purpose, and if you have purpose, how could you have a spirit for 1+1+1= 1! Not likely. Therefore you do not exist, and I shall plan to study other Franks to see if they too exist, or whether perhaps one of them might exist!
Do you not see how ludicrous all this is!
It is necessary to adapt to what is, the things that exist, and not to make what will only end up as ridiculous rules: for what is not.
It appears, Frank, that here you have not thought about what has already been said clearly. It is quite simple. Frank is body plus mind plus spirit. He is three. He is three WITH RESPECT to such cardinal functions. These are functions, not fictions. You are real, not figment. I can believe in your existence despite the fact you are not mere matter, and not only spirit either, or mind only. Or do you think I should disbelieve in you! Do you believe in you ? Then perhaps I may be permitted to believe you are really there. You are ONE as an integral (not integrated, that is different) being. You are THREE as to major functions which relate, each one, to ALL of you. Your body is accessible to your spirit in large measure, to your mind, and your mind can instruct your spirit. They are not mere parts, like arms or legs. They are interconnnective functional capacities. Your body is not some alien thing. Your mind is not astral territory. Your spirit is not some little finger.
Very well, you believe in you, then cease this monstrous talk about the trinity IN THIS, that there is supposedly some trouble that GOD IS ONE AS AN INTEGRAL BEING (not integrated, you recall, that is different) and He is THREE in this, that God the SENDER (Isaiah 48:16) is ONE, and God the SENT is ONE, and God the SPIRIT is ONE. He is ONE as to BEING, and three as to persons. Do you object because there are islands in the sea ? or because you are not simple matter or mind or spirit ?
You force certain questions to be asked. Have you not heard of the RESPECT in which a thing is this or that ? Do you not frequently hear or even say, "Now with respect to its performance, it is this; and relative to its construction, it is that." Do you feel that the same NUMBER must apply to both ? Is there some magic that you want to satisfy. It certainly has nothing to do with logic. Such a concept as that would be ABSURD, or could appear even childish, like an obsession or fetish, like walking on the cross lines of the pavement.
Of course, in different respects, there is not some one NUMBER or code which has to be satisfied. Who says so ? If you thought like that as an engineer, you might even be regarded as an impostor! You have to learn to take things with respect to this or that, and to speak of these aspects without trying to force them into some preconceived mould. Things are what they are; and God is who He is, and since He is three eternal Persons in one nature, what is that to you! It has NOTHING to do with logic, only with observation from His word and works.
Read now Isaiah 48:16 and you will see that the speaker is God, and the one to be sent is God and that the Lord God AND His Spirit have SENT this one who has just, in the context, been speaking as God. Now, if you have not yet READ something already noted in material brought to your attention, please do so now. Am effective operation requires some method; or such action may at least help.
What you need to read here, is A Spiritual Potpourri
Chs. 12* and 15*,
Shadow of a Mighty Rock, pp. 532-550*.
do not pass this by: take time and do not hasten. In fact, it needs to
be read, judging from what you have just written! Sometimes when one runs,
one trips. It is better to walk and actually get there. Meanwhile, we shall
approach it in another way.
4. LET’S LEARN TO LOOK AND SEE, NOT PRESCRIBE TO WHAT IS
There is a thing called slime mould. It is to be studied in the latest CREATION Magazine, which you should probably get. If you would like to do so, look at the bottom of our Home Page on the Web and there is a hyperlink which allows you to go to Christian Answers. Anyway, this mould can exist as a plant with cellulose production, or in the form of an amoeba, or single-celled type thing. It can, most amazingly, also exist in the following way. The single cells are summoned via a chemical secretion which apparently ONE in 10 000 or so is able to set to work. They aggregate, congregate, they form into a shape, all still comparatively free, and then they have an inside hole, like a tube, forming and the inside of this moves around to the outside and the top gains a blob which appears to act as a head, and then they begin to continue as ONE creature.
It could not exist could it! It is one ? How then could it be one when it is many! Is it not ONE ? How could it not be one when it is seen to act as one! What is it? A little thought is all that is needed. One does not like some simplistic child throw up one’s hands in despair. Obviously creativity of an intense character has been at work and the plan is the unity.
The plan is that at times the totality of the units will be separate, at times they will exercise an existing PHASE of the plant, and this will cause the most immensely intricate geometry and physiological functions to come into PLAY, and this ONE plan will have MANY phases and at times MANY units will be the expression which it takes. The real ONE is the designer. The next ONE is the design. The next one is the totality of the engineering programming. It is ONE with respect to DESIGN, and MANY with respect to phases of expression of that design. I trust you do not die at such concepts. They are EXCEEDINGLY SIMPLE.
Slime mould of the kind in view in Creation’s last issue, is ONE in some respects, and obviously BASICALLY one for it simply has phases of its existence which are normative, and hence it is one THING; but it has many phases, functions and so on. It always has this capacity to be VISIBLY one, because design-wise it is ACTUALLY one, but within that, there is provision for it to exhibit stages in the ONE PLAN for the ONE CREATION in which it is multiple in modes of expression.
Thus, with respect to phases or functions it is many; but all these are bound in one, which is one continuing series of proclivities with ONE design and ONE overall binding which prevents it from being anything else at all. In principle, y could sit there and (by microscope) watch it happen. Let us pursue this a little. Simultaneous modes of self-expression are not difficult in principle to comprehend; and if they were to be personal, what of that. These are steps on the way to understanding. The trinity, being eternal, is not multi-partite, but plural in expression, personal in nature, and comprised in three persons. It is not a material question, since matter is simply one of God’s creations, limited in space and time (Romans 8:37-39 - not the terms used).
It is, I fear, quite disingenuous when you have a mind, then, not to use it in such matters. God is ONE with respect to BEING, three with respect to the persons who comprise that BEING. It is difficult to see how even a child could be troubled by this, since a human being is, in his own way, also three and one, in different respects. THEN it is necessary to do more than think. It is necessary even to OPEN THE EYES, and FIND what the Lord is like, by knowing Him. I know you, somewhat, by opening my eyes and watching what you do and say. For example, you got all your quotations from one version, you advise, and yet elsewhere you tell me that this is not so! One gives you material on the trinity, and then you act as if you have not read it all. Are you serious, then! (Of course, I know positive things too, and am grateful to find these!)
In fact, sin can confuse, and I am not protesting so much as trying to help you open your eyes and see that you do not become an object of sin’s sovereignty, making you muddled when clarity is at hand, in Christ!
Now therefore do not think that I am simply chiding you. In fact, I want to help awaken you to reality. It will cost you something: close study of what is given before you reply… and evidence IN your reply that this is the case. Right!
God is three in persons, all spiritual, one in Being. If He wishes to exist in this way, that is simple a datum. It is a fact which one learns. It means that the concept of COMPANY and FELLOWSHIP is NOT new, at the creation of the world: it is not novel. Our society was preceded by God’s own internal society. He did not create what He lacks in this basic dimension, Himself, not at all! Rather, He expresses in different ways what HE IS. Our society is one aspect of that, put in a different, created form. He is very versatile, and the basis of all our own imagination.
But let us return to the concept of speaker (Father) and
spoken (Word - John 1:1). It is like that, in one respect, being an author.
My books are not myself, but they do express what I am. Because I am a
sinner (though I do not rest in any sin, but claim the victory in Christ.
Yet we all fall short of His magnificence), therefore I do not PERFECTLY
show what I am by what I write. Yet in TYPE, we have here Donaldson the
ONE BEING, and yet DONALDSON THE EXPRESSED BEING (in his books). That is
not hard. Now Christ is the living and eternal
expression of God the Father, whom He expresses. The Spirit
is, not least, the universally powerful facilitator of the word (II Corinthians
3:17), which is the totally comprehensive expression of the Speaker, the
Father. That’s straightforward. Now let us come to things which really
require some thought.
5. LET’S LOOK AT OURSELVES
Incidentally, talking of knowing you, may I say this.
You are a human being and as such a sinner, and there is for you as for
others a special LIABILITY. It is to want your own way. It is to find some
rationalisation with which to push God out, for as in the scriptures, one
common human lust is this, "We will not have this
man to rule over us." That was the REASON why some did not believe
in Christ, although His works were overwhelming, while He fulfilled massively
demanding prophecies with precision; and He NEVER failed to do the amazing
things He claimed to be able to do. Meanwhile, He as man, did not at all
fail in conformity to the word of God. There you could see the multiple
limitless power in all dimensions,
willingness to suffer,
purity of purpose,
conformity to revealed truth,
declaration with authority,
prediction for the future,
fulfilment of all things,
completion of the assignment, God as man on earth,
even to and through and beyond,
As a result of their rejection of Him (the Redeemer - John 6:50ff.), Christ intimated, they would die in their sins. That is the nature of the case. If you need antibiotics, if they were the only cure, and you rejected them, then you would die in your disease.
Hence it is often the case (there was one such recently in the Jewish area) where someone just says, ‘I give up!’ and yet there is no residual reason. He could find nothing with which to continue his opposition to the presentation given, yet he gave up! Did he become a Christian ? Not, as far as known, yet… I do not cease to pray for him. The results are eternal.
The Eternal God is not mocked and has expressed Himself, just once, with reason that attests its uniqueness and with sole validity for reason, leaving no other logical option. (Cf. e.g. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock Chs. 1,3,10, That Magnificent Rock 5.) But the attacker gave up, and said so. Truth did not appear the need at that point. It was perhaps … something else!
Yes, there is DESIRE. This in the end comes from the father of lies, the devil, whose love is destruction as Christ’s love is creation and redemption. The devil is only a creation, but desecration is his game. It leads to profound testings of many, which is good in one way, for there is no lie in the kingdom of heaven, and what is real, really acts like it, doesn’t it! (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 16). It can stand testing! Testing indicates its authenticity.
Thus, says Peter,
you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
whom having not seen you love.
Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith -
the salvation of your souls.
Of this salvation the prophets have enquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you.." (from I Peter 1:6-10).
YOU may feel that you are being very rational, but as I survey what you are writing, though I feel there is sincerity in something of your approach, I have to note that so many of the things have the appearance that YOU GOT THEM FROM SOME FOOLISH PLACE. They are inaccurate so often. The blindness to actual issues seems hard to credit. You do not seem quite like that. You seem to speak quite pleasantly, but as noted earlier, the materials when you cite them sound more like some rather rabid political platform. It would seem to me that you are probably taking them at least in part, from somewhere else, for they do not seem worthy of you.
Let this be said, so that you will be careful to speak with reason and accuracy, and not allow yourself to be hoodwinked into relaying things so far from credible, that it becomes almost like a watch dog baying at the moon, at times, rather than barking at an intruder. However I answer them, despite this appearance, since in some of the cases at least, you demean yourself by being concerned by them. I well know that when I myself was 19, wisdom was not one of my features!
May the Lord yet bless you Frank, but think YOUR OWN THOUGHTS
carefully; and do not become a manipulee of some weak and rash source or
other. Please therefore check CAREFULLY what you are about to say before
saying it, speak with total sincerity from the heart - and so at least
READ the text before you relay what is apparently a concern of YOURS about
it! Then CHECK what has been given, instead of repeating as if not hearing,
the presentation given for you.
6. TAKING YOUR STANDARD BRIAR
PROBLEMS YOU CALL THEM ?
(We group this little lot together for convenience,
allowing other matters single entries.)
a) Swarming with Locusts
Now a few sobering thoughts and actual facts. In Leviticus 11:20 I read in the New King James Version (and keep to translations, not paraphrases as one of the versions you have cited tends to be: let us look at what God says, not at what people make up as if it were): "All flying insects that creep on all fours shall be an abomination to you." Now the NIV does NOT have the term "fowl" here, so it is OBVIOUS that you are not here using it! It says ‘insects’. Was it really a problem to you personally then ? Did you read it even, this passage in Leviticus! Did you!
At any rate, you did not bother to check the translation with the NIV, before ‘disbelieving’ because of an old fashioned terminology of error. Does that look as if you were personally really concerned about this, when it does not even appear there in the NIV at ALL! Think about this, Frank! Consider what you are doing… and why!
All right: this ‘problem’ of yours …comes from a translation not in modern English. Insects can have wings and feet, and hopping legs as well as walking ones. Locusts are one of the varieties in mind: and when the insect appears with jointed legs above their feet (check an encyclopedia for the diagram if you want to see it), then it may be eaten. Others are detailed and forbidden for food. That was the position under the Old Covenant.
Keil and Delitzsch whose scholarship, as noted earlier, is famous to the last degree, note this: "TO the birds are appended flying animals of other kinds… The smaller winged animals with four feet are called sherez, ‘swarms’ on account of their multitude…" He speaks of the varieties of insects, attestation of them in various literature and so on. The topic is INSECTS.
If you actually read the section in view, you will see the qualification, and note the term ‘locust’. Believe in locusts, or are in you in particularly disbelieving mood ? Hard to swallow a locust ? Yes, if raw, but not so hard to believe they exist, is it! or a cockroach? Some of these insects have some imperfectly developed legs, some wings: they vary. There are many species in these matters. Some are allowed; some are not for eating purposes. That was the law accorded to the people in the wilderness. The problem ?
b) Teeming with Imagination
Incidentally, have you ever read the Cambridge Professor, C.S. Lewis (a rigorous Christian and vigorous writer in my own field of Apologetics, a man of the utmost fame) ? In his works he actually dares to use his imagination at times ? Have you ceased to believe in him for this reason ? Is imagination a sign of death or of life!
You are troubled by a symbol used in Revelation 13 - a pastiche animal of the imagination. Come then, a seven headed leopard as a SYMBOL is meant to CONVEY to you something BECAUSE this is not the normal way of leopards. The CHANGE is a STIMULUS to thought in order to INTERPRET the SYMBOL. Do mathematical symbols have to be found in nature ? Do fearful monsters in films have to be found in the jungle ? or is the whole point that they are NOT, so that they REPRESENT something, rather than merely picture it!
I hope that soon you will resume thinking in your normal capacities in this field, instead of allowing yourself to be manipulated by thoughtful propaganda, whatever its source, but such as you seem to be citing from some source or other which is NOT consistently using the NIV or the NKJV or indeed, it would seem, very much thought either!
Incidentally, once again, your source (if I am right in
guessing this is what you are using), is quite inaccurate.
It is NOT a leopard which is noted in Revelation 13:1-2. Are
you beginning to realise just what is happening ? It would seem that in
numbers of cases, sloppy records are being presented with sloppy thought
to make sensationalistic points which are neither wise nor accurate! Some
attack is this!
It lacks nothing but substance… One can find not one speck which is even a problem. But your citing them shows the direction of your thought. Or is it really yours ? It does at times seem less like a need for help than an occasion to issue words of negativity. It did not even allow for the fact that the word "like" was used of leopard. If you want help, surely you should first need it! Somebody with a wound should at least show blood!
No, it is NOT actually SAID in the Biblical text (and remember please the emphasis already made about being CAREFUL in what you say about the Bible, it is the word of God) that it IS a leopard. Do you care to look and see what is WRITTEN before ‘criticising’ …‘it’ (some quiddity which is NOT written, as if it were!!) ?
What then in fact is written here: "The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion." (Emphasis added.) Some leopard! Clearly it is EXPLICITLY a nondescript, composite beast which is so in order to create or stimulate comprehension. That is very often why we use imagery. This entity DOES NOT EXIST in the jungle, but only in the realm of symbols, where in fact it is combining a number of Old Testament symbols in a way which expresses their joint force, for those who (like mathematicians) are prepared to deal in symbols and their interpretation (which is a reason for making them at all: they are effective aids to knowledge).
Do you disbelieve in mathematics ? In words, in concepts, in words and forms with which to express them ? in the utilisation of symbolism in imagination ? I hope not.
c) On Things Military and on Prodigious Events
Returning to your NON-NIV screed: I have read on further past the lapse of Samson that you mention from Judges 16:1. But I find Samson punished EXTREMELY (I hope you may never have to have such punishment for anything). He is blinded. Did you read that ? He is blinded following his weakness concerning sex, and it is one which FINDS HIM OUT ("be sure your sin will find you out!" - Numbers 32:23) because he is made so foolish by this sexual preoccupation, which he at last yielded to on a more systematic basis, that he actually tells a dangerous vocational secret to the woman, Delilah.
Samson divulged the symbol which God used for the type of position he occupied, which was a special forces position, associated in his case, with enormous, prodigious strength. It was a strength given IN ORDER to combat the Philistines (Judges 13:5), designated before birth, capped with miracle (Judges 14:19), enabled by divine act. Symbols involve meaning, and their abuse involves meaning, and this can be treachery, which may well bring discipline of a high order. It did.
Delilah, the woman, used this knowledge cleverly, and Samson - having betrayed the Lord - is betrayed by the woman. His sexual sin is hit full force, as it leads to betrayal. His eyes pay! Being blind for a few years, while your enemies MOCK you and DESPISE you and TRIUMPH over you and you have to pull weights LIKE A BEAST is no punishment ? You did not ‘notice’ any punishment ? In fact, this is rather like saying that you did not notice any punishment for a drink drive guy who crashes through a red light, when two miles further on, he is maimed for life by hitting a light pole! The punishment of the poor man, Samson, is famous, notorious, intense. It is the subject of a stirring poem of Milton (Samson Agonistes, which you may care to read!). Its bitter mockery by his past foes is a dreadful wound. His debased position is a living contempt. Years of it seem to stir his life like arsenic. It is almost like a preview of hell, which has its own "everlasting contempt", the phrase of which as we read in Daniel.
Once again, then, what is the lesson ? READ the material carefully, as one who SEEKS the truth, and avoid mere reaction or the copying of some sour reaction from some source or other, or the neglect of basic facts where you have concern.
Frankly, I hope you never have such non-punishment then, as that of this poor man, Samson! It is to be found in Judges 16:21ff.. But did you READ the whole story of Samson ? If not, it is necessary to enquire what are you about, and for you to ask yourself the same question! In that case: Is it not time to seek the Lord, not escape hatches ?
Again, there is need for you to cogitate. When I was teaching school at an earlier stage, I did not always punish at once; but might give time for people to realise indirectly what was required. Then if necessary, I might act swiftly and vigorously when the case warranted it. Did I then not punish, and simply suffer things ? I assure you, this is not so; but it was not always immediately. Avoid the simplistic, Frank, and think before putting your name behind such NON-NIV (or non-NKJV AV), or anyway inadequately checked things as you have sent this time. Let it be FRANK who thinks, not some one else projecting loose words.
The point of the exercise concerning Samson here is what anyone may consider. Play with fire and it burns. Misuse your God-given strength and it may become a mocker of … YOU. That is no lesson! No punishment… You amaze me.
d) Concerning Things Literary
Now in Proverbs 31, you express concern. Let us then look. Here you fail to appreciate the literary form. I love literature and normally find it readily comprehensible. In literature, you cannot just jump in and ignore the subtleties; and if you do, you would normally fail in any competently conducted examination. Having taught tertiary Communications and senior secondary English, I am not unaware of these things. So let us think, once again. What is happening in this section of Proverbs 30 ?
King Lemuel is being given advice by his mother. That is clear. He is being told MORAL advice very decidedly: Avoid loose women, and more generally, all that destroys kings, all that saps their proper strength. That is what Lemuel is being told. We are now aware of the MORAL DIMENSION which is RULING the discourse. KINGS must be just and MUST not be alcoholic. It fuddles the brain. Clear so far ? The irony now comes into what is clearly a mother’s SOBERING ADVICE, to COOL the BLOOD of her son. If you want to disperse alcohol, then, goes the scathing word, give it to those in despair, to people destroyed, on the highroad to death!
The obvious meaning is this: IF you are going to indulge in this sort of thing, then the place for it is where loss and grief and death and destruction are about to occur. THAT is the place for that sort of thing.
Do you seriously think that she meant him literally to go around looking for those so poor that they must forget it and then drink in order to die! Do you actually advocate that we interpret this to mean that he becomes a doctor death ? Is a highly moral king, so advised by his mother, to destroy his subjects, when she has just been exhorting him most vigorously to keep in training in order to look after them justly! Again, think!
Surely you have met irony before. In a cynical book, given like the material you have just sent me, to destruction through carelessness and wrong statements, yes, such advice might be found literally; but not in a highly moral document of sober intent and godly fear. It would be a self-contradiction. In such a case, there is room for irony, therefore. It penetrates the skin. So we must learn the meaning of irony and of literary methods. There is much to learn. It is the same in all subjects; and here it is at the intersection of normal literary subtleties as a form, and the word of God as an instructive means. Would you forbid God to use irony ? is that a difficulty for HIM or … for YOU!
e) The Gaunt Comedy of Reproof
to Wound and to Warn
the Pride that Brought Destruction
In Numbers 22:27-28 you have an account of an ass that spoke. Do you believe in God ? What is the use of your monotheistic researches into religions which lack all evidence (for that is the case with all other ones) and fail (as in the Moslem, with an Allah who cannot carry out his jihads or rule the Jews, but fails in the challenge of past 50 years while the word of God concerning them is fulfilled to the most minute detail IN THOSE SAME 50 years - see SMR Ch.9): what is the use of that, if you do not believe in God! (Demonstration of His existence is found in SMR.)
Ah but you do! Is that right ? It would seem unlikely you would be asking him to pardon an error of yours, as noted earlier, if you did not, after all! It appears, then, that in some sense, you do. If so, why would you imagine that He is a prisoner in His own system ? That is just blind unbelief, a contradiction in terms: like the square root of minus one, it is meaningless, a mangled misuse of terms… or if you like, unreal. God made a system, but it is NOT ONLY a system. YOU are able to err in this and that, and do so, as we see, BECAUSE you are not a mere system, but a person (one of the same) with various integral features (one plus one makes … ONE entity with TWO respective overall functionalities). Remember, you must not disbelieve that you exist.
Hence, being a person, you can propose to yourself a PURPOSE and then FAIL to reach it, so ERRING. This is the sort of thing that a person may do. This is part of the complex creation: it has more than system, but not less. Very well, let us imagine something. You are a child again, and you have a toy train system. It works like a system; but you allow the train to go too fast around a corner, you stretch out your hand and INTERFERE with your system.
Is it therefore NOT a system, or have you used your powers to prevent its normal operation for some purpose ? Is THIS hard to BELIEVE ? Why you can DO IT! That, for such a system, as a type, like a miracle. What is not the system interferes with it; and if the maker of the train set does it, it is not only easy to understand how he might do so, but it is also an obvious action he might take.
If you believe in God, then quite obviously He can make an ass talk, if He wants to. It is no logical difficulty to the slightest degree. On the contrary, it is the sort of thing which a brilliant creator might do to SHOCK someone incredibly sluggish, into thought! If we have wit, how much more does the Lord!
The Lord could do this in ever so many ways. He could make sound by any means He preferred, and cause the resonances to be modulated ( He is good at science, since science is merely man’s effort to UNDERSTAND what God DID!), and emplace it by ANY means He chose, in the ass’s head. He could have made sound without means such as we know, if He preferred, since God is a spirit. Just so, though I be only a creation myself, my creative products come from my spirit, but when it HAS come it can be represented in material form, very differently from the original thought, on paper. I can think further without writing it down, or even use a different format.
As to what God Himself creatively chooses to do, to rebuke his erring creation, it is up to Him. To imagine this is difficult is merely to contradict yourself. Since it is not difficult for God, there is no problem. It is entirely within the bounds and nature of the being called God, so to act. It neither ruins this system which He made, nor abuses it, but uses it to interpret His meaning, like an exclamation mark in this case… It is as normal and natural for such a Being as breathing for you to select from His armoury of invention, what He will, and teach as He will. The result is the testimony, its keen wit and intense force: matching the destruction which it might have avoided for many, had Balaam listened.
However, a little thought, once again, is necessary. WHY did God DO this ? It is not hard at least to imagine very sound grounds. The reason is, it would seem to me, may be rather clear. WHY would I make a donkey talk to a student whom I knew well, if I could, when that student was about to be utterly tiresome, rebellious and foolish, demeaning himself to the ground, and pompously imaging he was great! Well, it would be rather amusing to see his lesson taught with such subtlety. Here Balaam is about to go out as a great false prophet, contrary to instruction, rather like a student using the school car to do it some delinquency! The car talks to him. How little he looks, less wise than a car! It is hilarious. It is his due, also.
Indeed, this actual makes the rebuke to Balaam, an issue for all time, for false prophets, for those who distort, disturb and become delinquent with the Gospel: it is as if to say that they are more debased in wisdom than donkeys, in that even a donkey could teach them! It is like a cartoon, played not in print but in flesh.
Death resulted for many in this matter of this false prophet Balaam, and there is a grave side to it. Balaam is being made to see that the ass is doing what is contrary to nature (which the maker of nature can easily do with it, if He wants); it speaks. In the Biblical record, then, what is the meaning of the miracle ? It is like saying that HE IS ACTING CONTRARY TO INSTRUCTION. SO he is being more stupid than a donkey, so that a donkey becomes his instructor. He is acting contrary to the nature of a prophet, madly so. It is RIDICULOUS! It is meant to be. That speaks! It was moreover a kindness to rebuke him, even if he still went wildly on. It was enough to wake the dead; but he preferred, it seems that sort of death. Love does not cease to be love because it is rejected!
Yes, Frank, these are some of the absurdities with which you attack the Bible, as if thought did not enter your mind at all; and I say this without fear of offending you for I feel rather well assured that YOU did not CREATE this rather foolish seeming list. It would seem rather that you merely transferred it to me, or part of it - you see, it is not limited to the NIV! It is not in the least careful. You on the other hand, seem much better than that.
At all events, is there nothing that is sound and rational that can be said against the Bible ? You have provided nothing, nor in 50 or so years as a Christian have I found any other person who has, either… No, actually there is not anything like that available to be said against it, and for 3500 or so years, this has been demonstrated in simple practice! It stands. Its critics have fallen. They come and go like feathers in a storm. It remains like rock. This is simply an observation. It is what happens. The Bible never changes. It never has to. Science changes continually. God knows what He is doing; but man has to seek. It is well to remember the respective positions: God and man, creator and created, sinner and Saviour.
Now this little experiment in having you rattle these sadly shallow things off, and finding them useless, futile fulminations: what is it ? It is merely one more verification of what has already been DEMONSTRATED to be the word of the living God, on our Home Site, as the word of God. We have spent in site a lot of time VERIFYING it in many fields, and this is merely extending that in sundry little matters. Why not! The Bible can take it. It smiles at attack, almost as if swatting a fly. It always has readily overthrown every assault force, and always will. As times passes, assaults come to look incredibly naïve.
Like the troops at the Battle of Verdun (it seems that perhaps 40,000 per night were dying at one phase), the assaults come, and they go. But as to the Bible, untouched, it stays. That is one of its glories. So Christ came, and in going, pre-announced the reason for His going and the fact of His return; and in so doing, dwelt on the predictive record of centuries, concerning what He was about to do. That is one of the characteristics of God: He never changes. He never has to. He always knows what He is doing. He is always what He would be. Our time is a mere creation. Growing up is for created things in a system. HE makes the systems.
7. REAL COOL ? WHO ? ALL ? ALWAYS ? REALLY!
Now it is noticed that you have a couple of other little points. Perhaps as we patiently go over all these things, you will begin to see what you are doing: acting as if blind to the One whose word it is. But when you do not know someone, that is what could happen: you pass him in a crowd, and do not realise he was there. Knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent is eternal life (John 17:1-3): not knowing Him is like being a car without a driver, a ready cockpit for anyone who can grab.
You find trouble with Samson killing a thousand people. Earlier introduced you were introduced to the text on Samson, his special calling, divine and miraculous assistance, commission relative to the movement towards overturning of Philistine power. This is one more instance.
Have you never heard of confusion, tumult, fear of the unknown, of people fleeing before small forces when they were great, of people attacking each other either in anger or in dull, nerve-wracked stampede ? Haven’t you ? Then read some war books. You have ? Then apply your knowledge. What can go wrong can almost defy imagination.
Let us revisit the Samson scene. These complacent people, the enemies of Israel, did not know what to expect. Samson’s own people had cravenly delivered him up, bound, to them, vicious enemies, to appease them. Their God given champion was to be sacrificed; like curs they removed him to hand him over to the Philistines, in order to make the enemy hate them less. It would be like the USA giving Russia its new missile secrets, for the sake of peace, instead, perhaps of having them stolen (as may have been the case)!
So Samson goes to the Philistines in this condition, bound and betrayed by his own people. The Philistines in this matter, have intimidated Samson’s people, those of Israel. Their champion from God is in bonds. Their spirit is broken. The slaughters from Samson are over. Or so it would appear. But God has His own ways: this you will assuredly find, more and more!
The Philistines shout as the bound Samson comes, seemingly a pitiable spectacle, at last in their power. They are ready for a party, perhaps there in considerable numbers, equipped for a social occasion, not battle. Perhaps they never imagined that some beautifully chosen little nook for slaughter, or place where they could not mass on Samson. They had him in bonds. They were perhaps purring contentedly at the prospects of watching the champion of old, in their power by agreement and treaty with Israel. Perhaps they were even a little … dizzy with celebrating in this way or that, or befuddled with preliminary drink. Who knows!
In this, the tables however are about to be turned in a way you often see in Christ, who ALWAYS won every confrontation, every challenge, met every demand for power or need of grace: always! Claiming the status of God Himself (John 5:19-23, 8:58), He acted like it. If you or I tried that, perhaps 10 seconds would suffice to dispose of such nonsense; for the God of the Hebrews IS ALMIGHTY, ALL SUFFICIENT! A mouse cannot imitate superman.
What then is the picture, with Samson ? Suddenly the apparently secure bonds are broken as if string. The very cause of complacency becomes the ground of alarm. HE is LOOSE! Memories of his past feats come like numbing shocks to the stricken minds of the Philistines. How often they have been flayed, overcome, set to flight by this man and his ways!
They see now an incredibly strong giant, not a betrayed victim: they felt his colossal power, knew of his reputation as sent by God, knew of his exploits, were confused by fear, rapt in desire for survival. They did not like to be the next skull-possessor to have the brains mulched. Some of them may even have preferred life to death or maiming ? What NEXT! So, in modern times, on one occasion it is reported that the Israelis lacking equipment, and using useless WOODEN rifles (they did not in 1948 have enough of the real ones), by mere deception and boldness, came and took the surrender of a considerable number of Arab soldiers!
Impossible ? Can what happens not happen, then ? Is there some rule to annul history! To instruct it on what is allowed ? Can the fear of God not … act? Or His power! Act: that is precisely what it does. Every last word of prediction comes perfectly to be fulfilled; just as every last word of Christ on earth is fulfilled, and His actions at no time fell apart from His words. He even predicted His own death and the time for which His BODY would be in the grave, just as Daniel predicted the date when this would happen, from over half a millenium before.
As to Samson, various means, apart from terror, confusion, shock an surprise, dread of the supernatural in terms of which Samson had a place as called to aid Israel: these may have been used. Thus, the practice of putting a cutting edge inside such things as jaws is also possible, and has been noted. Such a jaw bone may have been the one. We do not know. Who knows what was done, in detail! We cannot invent one way or the other.
This however we do know: So often people are over-confident, and then when some special circumstance allows panic, they have but one thought, self, life, and they run into each other, try to get out of the way of the amazing power of someone who - as in the case of Samson - could lift the city gate and walk away with it. What then ? The confident people, seeing him break loose are aghast: they storm into each other in confusion, become wild in terror, draw back. With the power of Samson it would not take very long. Into the trap, or within reach in flight, come more and more. He had, after all, just done something almost incredible in getting loose again, at all.
Revisit it more closely in your own mind. Samson had been
led from one place to another as a captive. Then while they gloated, he
broke new ropes when they were expecting him as an easy victim. Consternation,
fear, amazement and confusion! Unheard of ? Panic and disruption while
the intensely dreaded, religiously and physically, comes on. Shock and
guilt vie with each other. No man or two or three comes near. It is Samson
who comes near. They flee and tread on each other. Dread of God is added.
the TEXT notes that he killed them one heap, two heaps, or heaps upon heaps.
Keil and Delitzsch make this comment:
"The supernatural strength with which Samson rent asunder the fetters bound upon him, when the Philistines thought they had him safely in their power, filled them with fear and awe as before a superior being, so that they fled, and he pursued them, smiting one heap after another, as he overtook them, with an ass’s jaw-bone which he found in the way."
You have perhaps heard of the battle of Thermopylae ? of the hundreds who kept at bay the whole massive Persian army of invasion! It makes fascinating reading. The Persian king could not believe that so few would be so mad as to resist his massive invasive power. But when they came to the narrow passes by the sea, the few took heavy toll on the stranded troops, who by the space were forced to come in small numbers at a time. Then the Persian king sent the "flower of his army", several thousand élite troops, who also failed, were gored. He watched, it is said, agitated, perhaps alternately astounded and enraged, to see their unbelievable repulse.
Later there was more open battle elsewhere, and many Persians, amazed at the courage, initiative and strength of the Spartans, were confused, many were trampled by others, fleeing this way or that, trying to escape, to advance. The "impossible" happened, while the Greeks, using this bought time, continued their Olympic games, further South. Lesson: Do not know too much! Learn from history; do not attempt to teach it by imagination merely, or you run the risk that you may simply remain ignorant!
Dunkirk similarly could not have happened ? The German planes had only to spit at the troops ? They evidently could not spit well enough.
You mention Shamgar, Judges 3:31, who killed 600 men with
an ox goad. Have you researched, as at Thermopylae, the circumstances ?
The confusion ? the
unexpected ? the possibility that an ox goad, though it may start as a stick, large or small, like a car, can be …adorned with blades ? Did you know if it was night or day ? whether he came to a camp, quietly, or had companions, was a leader of a group and named in this capacity, or alone ? frightened them suddenly and unexpectedly into some foolish action which threw them into confusion, allowed them like Gideon at night, to get some alarming impression leading to confusion! Do you know ? then perhaps you could share the results of your researches with the scholarly world. Let us then be real.
8. TELLING HISTORY WHERE TO GET OFF
Your judgments on history are now part of history! What could not happen is so great, that much of war history had better be deleted, for amazing things are out of the question. Only normal things can happen. Is that not it ? And of course miracles are OUT, divine power and impressions given are not to be considered ? God being God is not allowed to act like it ? This however is not a logical problem with the Bible, but a personal problem for you with God, it would seem. This is not an unimportant problem, but vital; but it is not a logical one. Logic merely intensifies its significance!
You do not appear adequately to have researched the state of your own heart toward Him. Please remedy this for your own sake. Better remain unborn than not to know your Creator. Better live without water than without God, vocal, powerful and delightful, meaningful and giving meaning, as communicative to those who hear His word, as to the cells which contain it in DNA. There is nothing hidden about His coded instruction… or His other and direct word (as in Isaiah 45:19) - except to sin. It has all been accessible for millenia. It acts whatever men think. It is open, verifiable, performing at all times. He carries it out by whatever means He sees fit, He in whom there is no iniquity (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Indeed, even without miracle, life is not always so sedate as you seem to imply.
Yet is not even sport precisely the place where people are looking for the amazing, and do not the crowds roar when what ‘cannot’ happen, does so! When you are looking at a select group of astounding things, it is best not to disbelieve because they are astounding. Such things happen, given circumstances. They are of course rare, for the skill, courage, strength, confusion or whatever is not customary. If it were, people would be ready. Then it would be unlikely to happen, even more so. Since it is not usual, when it happens it can be all but stunning in its magnitude, for good or evil (like the ‘unbelievable’ lapse with O-rings on the Challenger rocket, which tiny things, evidently not adequately checked, led to the loss of the lives and the 1600 million or so dollars involved!).
For what they are not ready, accordingly, in practice, people may become the easy victims. That is the way it works. C’est la vie! Sometimes the Lord adds a further dimension to their confused minds, or adverse circumstances, in the military circumstance. For example, some leader makes a mistake, leads them amiss, their intelligence is awry, they expect some new sudden attack and so on, and the Lord can quite well heighten their confusion, as on occasion, noted in the Bible.
This involved the Lord giving directions to those who sought Him, which He then followed up, by means of rain. So faith worked, God worked, and victory came.
This is seen in II Kings 3:20ff. - where a PLAN was given to aid the process of confusion, a gift from the Lord, to help remove the enemy’s threat. Compare this with II Kings 19:26ff., and II Kings 7:6-7, where the Lord acted to confuse an enemy by auditory devices. Would you read these short accounts from the Bible please ? God is God, and if you are to be rational in all this, it would be wise cease pretending, or being bemused as if it is ‘difficult’ when He acts like it. It would be more difficult if He did not. A Jaguar can speed: compared with a donkey it is fast. If it were not so, we would have a problem: was the car wrecked, so that it could not speed ? If then God sets His mind to a result, be sure it will come! It will be fascinating how He does it, and in my life I often find it so; but He does it.
Sometimes it is pure miracle, sometimes amazing events are caused to conspire, like leaders in conference, sometimes a set of individually more ordinary events come into play. The point is that what is needed arrives, and what is to the point, is sharp. We are not free from suffering who serve the crucified Christ, but we are enabled to serve: He never forsakes His people, who serve Him. His faithfulness is glorious. But let us consider further the perspective concerning the thing you raise.
You act as you. God acts in just the way which is appropriate to God! It is infinitely different in power from yourself, that He is, or any man. Miracles by nature, in their more stupendous forms, are not usual. But when they happen, neither are the results usual. Sometimes the miracle is an enhancement, and sometimes in a series of dimensions. With Samson, the strength, the reputation, the opportunity, the sudden scare, the onrush of changed emotions by the happy victors, now in fear of life as from a lion, their probable flight as suggested by "heap on heap", the superhuman strength used as a divine testimony of God’s presence: these are some of the ingredients.
God Himself as in the case in Kings noted above, may have added to the mêlée. In the case of the Red Sea crossing, it was real sea water which drowned the Egyptians, but the point was the way it moved out as Israel crossed, back on their enemies as they attempted to do the same… Moses went as divinely directed. God even used a could to separate the forces conveniently. Whatever it takes! But to work with Him takes faith.
When you see what can happen without miracle, let us not be even a little surprised at what happens with it! If it is a case, like that of Samson, where the supernatural power of God is precisely in view in the call and commission of the man, then of course to ignore the miraculous is merely obtuse. In this case, the divine power was systematically and statedly present for a purpose, as foretold from before Samson’s birth, and here it is being fulfilled. It is just the same when God divinely heals. When He chooses to do this, it brings awe at the divine power which created, being used direct in re-creation.
I well remember a close relative of mine saying that if a certain thing happened in my life, in view of the tenacity and power of my enemies who were set to overthrow me, it would be a miracle. (That relative was not a believer in Christ, but that is what he said.) One could see his point. It did seem impossible, humanly, to overcome them. With God, however, neither power nor wisdom fails. It was in the line of His will for my calling and work. Accordingly it did happen! It was made to do so.
It was indeed miraculous how various people and organisation were caused to act in concert, brought together over time, and with patience on the one hand, and the provision of amazing power to give answers to challenges on the other (Luke 21:15 has a promise, which we invoked at that time). So the enemy’s power was broken.
There are no bounds to God, and His purposes are fulfilled in a multitude of ways, here subtle, there powerful, here patient, there sudden: here a combination. It may involve a vast body of dedicated people, as at Dunkirk, or a small body, as with the early disciples, who with Rome and Jerusalem alike against them, ended with the Roman Emperor a professing Christian - after many patient martyrs were first killed.
What then was the name given for the visitor from heaven, to Samson’s parents, when the news was given of the delivering son they were to have ?(Judges 13:3ff.). Their son-to-be, Samson’s supernaturally commissioned work to come was outlined, and when the visitor was asked what his own name was, he said it was "Wonderful!" That is right. That is what God is. So are His works, so is His power and so is His love. He needs however to be received, where He is, and the Son He sent is the way to go: to pass it by is like passing by water in the desert, only worse, for bypassing Him MAKES a desert. So Jeremiah says, before the divine disciplines which he announced and which were fulfilled to the letter:
And shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD.
"For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
That can hold no water.
Is Israel a slave ? Or is he a homeborn servant ?
Why has he become a prey…" (from
Far less is this so with the word of the living God, both
the written, and the living. But God is the source, and without Him, as
Christ put it, the cut off branch is merely subject to withering. Many
withered branches cumber the earth. My advice: do not be one of them! There
is very little to them.
9. BLOCS, BLOCKS AND BLOCKADES
You say this: is everything possible ? Answer: Of course not, in the sense that what God wants WILL be done, so that it is not POSSIBLE that what He does not want will happen. Clearly everything is not possible. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO HIM WHO BELIEVES - yes, but in believing, you believe first in God, whose will makes and limits what is possible as noted above. To this then you obviously limit yourself, by FAITH in HIM! "With GOD, nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37). Of course, for Him: but He does not MAKE to happen what He does not WANT to happen. If He does not WANT it, then it is not MADE possible, for THAT reason. He rules and over-rules as He will, keeps His word and His principles. You really have to resign from the cock-pit and let Him do the steering!
You see, Frank, if you think, then the confusion, just as in mathematics if your head is clear, goes away as so much ignorance or imprecision. Sense is precisely what it always makes, if you use your own with adequate care, and seek knowledge where it is to be found.
This however ultimately leads to the Lord, and coming to know Him, without whom you are like someone groping in the dark while trying to read a microscopic slide!
If you do not have the light of life in you, and again mathematics is a good illustration from ANOTHER sphere, you JUST CANNOT see it! But it is perfectly reasonable, and indeed remains demonstrable. If, said Christ, "the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:22).
For a person’s mind at a given time, however, lacking the light of life, there is perhaps a strange obtuseness. If the heart is alien or alienated, then as in a marriage break up, even common sense can vanish like a mist! This of course does not alter the logic.
Biblically, this is in the normal case, nothing to do with the person’s intelligence, but with his/her spirit (Ephesians 4:17-19, 2:1-12). The strangeness of things comes not because they are unclear in themselves as we consistently show, but because the mind without God can be clouded by resentment, desire or what you will. It is always possible to SHOW as we do that these things are and must be true (as in the SITE).
Here, at this time, we are merely removing misunderstanding and misconceptions and showing that the alleged problems arise from presumption or thoughtlessness or similar sources, and come to nothing in every case, a mere matter of verification. For many however there is a STOP in their minds. Sometimes one can see it work quite clearly, when someone virtually programmed by sin to reject God, CANNOT because he/she will not, even take in what is being said. It is excluded by a sort of psychic tic! It is very fascinating to watch. However, the things themselves are clear and without problem.
Again, we may apply from the realm of mathematics: you can tell some students simple facts 20 times and they do not learn. They feel defeated, or resent the subject, or have personal problems, or do not want to apply their minds because they resent work, despair of ever really doing well at it, or whatever. At times, then, their lack of facility in maths, leads to a feeling of defeatism and hopelessness, like the people with Samson, so that they are AMAZINGLY dense. The things they fail to do may all but surpass imagination! They are already, you see, at war with themselves. That is the negative side.
Of course, on the positive side in Biblical events and in the life with the Lord, as foreshadowed just above, there is the little matter of miracle. It may play any role, small or great. GOD CAN if He wishes, add to the confusion of the minds, the fear and anxieties, the apprehension that something else is about to happen, and so on, and people can and sometimes do act in ways that in cool blood seem incredible, actually DO things, capitulate, stampede or whatever.
This is what HAPPENS. It can happen naturally; it can be enhanced supernaturally. For the one, it is deliverance, or its augmentation; for the other, disaster, or its enhancement! It is HIS OPTION. The native in some places may not believe in electricity, and frankly fails to realise what it can do, turning his back. The alien from God can fail to believe in God. This however has no effect whatever on His power. It works anyway.
10. SUNDRIES AND BALLS OUT OF BOUNDS
PUTTING THE SCORE TOGETHER
But to resume, let us look at further of your thoughts as re-expressed late in your letter: where you re-engage on the topic of the trinity. We thus return to it.
There is NO CONTRADICTION is an ENTITY BEING ONE as such, and THREE as to the disposition of His resources, and these being PERSONS. YOU are an example. Hence all things being possible (the reference you scathingly make) is not even relevant. It is rather than what is, is, and you need to study it. It is just a matter of learning how things are, as if light can be corpuscular and wave in format, simultaneously, variously. There is no contradiction. It is one entity, but may manifest itself in a variety of ways, more or less permanently. One simply has to learn what it does. It is not also orange juice, for example. That is not the point. That is mere imagination. What it is, is shown by what it does. God is shown by what He does and says.
Now let us consider the Trinity, on which I wrote to you, and concerning which I referred you to pp. 532 ff. of The Shadow of a Mighty Rock. Have you read it at all! or any of the other references ? The trinity is the Christian norm, was asserted constantly in early major church councils, and is not something which (just) some evangelists believe. It has been shown to you in the Old Testament (see in particular Tender Times for Timely Truths -TTT - Ch. 12 - and please read this, if you are in earnest) and in the New. It has been stated for millenia by the church.
Try the Nicene Creed, the Definition of Chalcedon, amongst the best known of ANCIENT church creeds! They happened near the beginning. It appears rather routinely in Reformation creeds, as foundational. That is what the only reliable and testable record has to say, confirmed in Christ, and it is useless to try to re-make God because of some fad, fashion or preference about numbers.
Since then it is as shown to you in detail, taught in the Bible in both Testaments, therefore your statement about a ‘few evangelists’ is apparently some sort of confusion. As noted, Jesus said, Before Abraham was, I am (John 8:58) - "I am" as a name, being the cognomen of God (as in Exodus 3:14), who insists He is ONE and the ONLY ONE (Isaiah 45 and as shown in TTT Ch. 12); but many more such things were shown you.
Let us now leave your apparent confusion on what has consistently been taught for millenia and in the great church councils, and is in the Bible, and put things as always, with precision.
Christ is the SON of God. What do we find on this in Luke 1:35 ? It is said BECAUSE, God by His Holy Spirit (remember, the One who moves to perform in the widest way) overshadowed Mary, she having known no man, THEREFORE the child was to be called the Son of God. The "therefore" is the point. THEREFORE He shall be called the Son of God. That is what the word of God says. The SON comes from the Divine Father, with whom He always was in spirit (John 1:1), being uncreated (John 1:3, Micah 5:1-3). The Father then used His own power as creator to replace the normal male action, DIRECTLY, so implanting His eternal word as Son, via a virgin! Eternity, the eternal word of God, is now enshrined in a format of flesh (made in His spiritual image, in the first place, of course).
He does it without normal means ? Of course. Does it not
say that the HOLY SPIRIT overshadowed her. That is not the normal means
of begetting a child! Let us consider the matter of means.
11. MEANS AND ENDS
God makes means, and obviously is not dependent on them. It is like a book. That is a representation of what I think. I am not however AT ALL dependent on my book for thinking. The fact that I MAKE it shows that my thought is beyond it, as well as in it, apart from anything else. The book is merely a format for some of it, or perhaps (conceivably, for some authors in some cases) most of it. So God can overshadow and act without normal natural means, to add divinity, just as the virgin on the other side, provided humanity. The things that God does are not foreshortened. Creator of all, comprehensive in action, His is the facility, and He works with profound wisdom, always knowing the end from the beginning, and proceeding therefore in total knowledge (cf. Isaiah 46:10, Acts 15:18).
If you were to want to be a school master to God, and prohibit Him from doing what He pleases, I do not admire your chances. But if you are merely trying to understand, then that is simplicity itself. The Creator of means may, if He wishes, act without their limits. This is not a problem, just a fact, logically precise and cohesive.
As Psalm 94 forcibly declares to the point:
"He who planted the ear, shall He not hear ?
He who formed the eye, shall He not see ?
He who instructs the nations, shall he not correct,
He who teaches man knowledge ?
The LORD knows the thoughts of man,
that they are futile."
Similarly, even I, a creation of God’s, can think without
my books. If you were a bookworm, you might find this hard to believe this;
but if you were a thinking bookworm, you would realise that it is obviously
so! But let us progress to the next of your concerns. Can God die ? you
12. *GOD DYING ?
GOD IS a SPIRIT, Christ says in John 4. Hence the immortal SPIRIT did NOT die. It was not the trinity which died. Does it say anywhere that it did ! If then the FORMAT which God chose to use, died, is that so amazing? Why ? It would seem most obviously natural that if a natural object is chosen for the divine incarnation, human residence, and such natural objects can die, then the divine Being was wanting to be able so to act, as part of the whole performance. What is surprising about the rational!
When Christ died, His SPIRIT went immediately to His Father, as it is written, for He commended it to His Father, to receive it, and as He said, His Father always heard Him (Luke 23:46, John 11:42). His words: "Father, into Thy hands, I commit My spirit!" TIME itself is a mere creation of God (our limiting time), and when Christ died in the human format, nothing is left in trouble in the over-all-time God, who does not die in His divine form. When God-the-sent, Christ, dies as a man, in His human form, as is most natural, being murdered, a horrid thing most common among mankind, then His Spirit is with His Father. You have a problem with that!
Then, being resurrected IN BODY, and having demonstrated His action, He reverts to Godhead at the completion of this format-style experience. It was simply an excursion of God to the format of man, for a task, a triumph, a blessing, an atonement, a demonstration, a kindness. It is described in detail in Philippians 2: He WAS in the form of God; He TOOK the form of a man, a servant indeed, to perform a task, and when He finished it, He was highly exalted. Amazing love ? Certainly. It would be better to leave your head somewhere than to leave this behind. It is the core and pith of the creation’s history, the glory of its history and the pivot of its destiny.
Logical problem ? Impossible to detect. Someone with the power, used it. SO ?
Do you then imagine that when God the Father sent His Son that He did not send Him, but came too in the same way! If so, how could He SEND Him! Think now. God then was controlling the universe, since He is a trinity, and has all things arranged beyond time, for time. The BODY of Christ was in the grave for three days. Do you know where His spirit was ? Did He not commend it into His Father’s hand ? Have you not read this ? Then do so, I would suggest. Verify the text of which we speak. It is found where it was noted: in Luke 23:46.
Why then, Frank, do you so imagine things and create mythical
problems for yourself!
Be zealous, conscientious. You should study the case first. Nevertheless, it is better you learn this way rather than not learn at all! See then that you do, for your own soul’s sake. One sees too many go to seed in their errors, blind and deaf to correction, never imagining at the beginning, what is to occur at the end.
But would you really refuse God permission to come to this earth in the format of a man, He being a TRINITY, in order to
answer questions as a man,
meet false criticisms as a man,
be available for help as a man,
remove the sense of threatening mystery for many, as a man, and then
bear for mankind (as many as received Him) the sin, still as a man, which they as mankind, had committed: and so
meet justice to the full, and making it logically sound to invest mercy in the situation, without compromising truth! and
remove the fear of death, as a man, from those who receive Him as He is, and what He has done, as it is, thus making peace with God for all of these.
At the level of the Almighty He could and did work, and the more He was tested at this amazing level, the more He shone. Hence the murder, lest the nation suffer.
As it was with Christ, so it is with the Bible: the more you test it, the more it responds.
This visit of the Creator, this love of the Maker, this resurrection of the redeemer, this formatting for the function of salvation: it is the pivot for all human history, and the source of solution for all human problems. There is no need to look further, by any rational test. When you have a search light, you do not need a match. You can see.
There is ONE DIFFICULTY however. It is NOT a logical one. You could call it psychological, but I prefer the term ‘spiritual’ which covers much more.
DO YOU BELIEVE ? If you do not, it has nothing to do with reason, which we find in every single case has not the slightest suggestion of a problem. As to reason: at this, our current phase, this merely verifies that the word of God is sound, logical, consistent, necessary, everywhere attested, and livingly confirmed again by the actions of Christ when He Himself came in person (cf. John 6:62, 8:42). In this, with total and amazing accuracy, He performed all that the TRINITY said would happen, just as all STILL happens in the way HE, the Christ said, when He called on His excursion to earth. His words still direct history, which follows like a lamb. In my own life-time, I have watched with mingled amazement, delight and instruction, the fine detail of His word being peformed before my eyes. (See SMR Chs. 8-9.)
HIS prophecies are still fulfilled in detail, just as He fulfilled those of the prophets who alerted humanity to His coming, by accurately predicting the date, miracles and so forth, in advance. It is time, Frank, to call on the Lord and cease prescribing without reason or accuracy, what He is to do and to be. HE is telling YOU what you are to be and do; and if you refuse, it is simply a spiritual scrap heap. You do not alter God.
As to that prescribing of yours, however, you seem in your query to speak in terms so crass and inaccurate about the atonement, that it is almost untouchable. However, for your sake, I will acquaint you again, with the Biblical facts. You are like one wounded in this, and your wounds need dressing. DO not think that I am not glad to do this, but it is necessary to realise our direction. Thus let us consider this.
If God in fact were to act as you say, and have to answer your criticism and query (let us quote it) : He "killed his own son because he loves people like Hitler, Stalin… Is that love ?" What then ? Was not Christ Himself falsely accused! Why invent myths in order to rebut them ? Why make straw men in order to knock them ? Why not stick (one is almost tempted to say, ‘for once’, Frank, as you so often seem to leave the text for vague abstractions and inaccurate recasts), to the text!
What then do we find ? The SON (Psalm 40, quoted in Hebrews
"I DELIGHT TO DO YOUR WILL" to His Father. Is that the same as ‘God killing His Son" ? They - guess what ? remember the trinity which is in the Bible like flowers in Spring (please read the references this time!): they co-operate!The FATHER SO loves the world that He gives His only begotten Son!
The SON so loves the Father and has such compassion for the creation in this world, that He DELIGHTS to be a WILLING sacrifice, saying,
"I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP…
THEREFORE MY FATHER LOVES ME, BECAUSE I LAY DOWN MY LIFE
THAT I MAY TAKE IT UP AGAIN.
NO ONE TAKES IT FROM ME, BUT I LAY IT DOWN OF MYSELF.
I HAVE POWER TO LAY IT DOWN, AND I HAVE POWER TO TAKE IT AGAIN…"
(from John 10:11,17-18).
You really must get the idea of co-operation in spiritual things. We get some inkling of it in various fields: friendship, teams and marriage, and sometimes, business relationships. That is an ectype of its archetype which is God Himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The loving Son (who, as expression to perfection and from eternity of His Father, is love, just as His Father is - I John 4:7-8), WANTS to make the necessary sacrifice to redeem a people to Himself. The Father WANTS Him to do it, for the same reason. The Spirit endues Him while, as man, He performs the necessary operation (rather like D-day, but we are the imprisoned, while He is "the troops" - though some go off to Russia, in order to escape deliverance! refusing its blessing).
Together, they move as One (since they are in fact One)
and do it! Do you ‘kill’ in the almost depraved sense you seem to imagine,
someone who WANTS to
die ? is this the way you speak of a plan which you both endorse ? Is that what you say of a commanding officer who is on the front line and who, in league with his troops, performs a great operation in which some die ? DO you say, HE killed them ? Or that they died while engaged in action for the common cause! Again, think!
You would not read such things of a normal Army, even; for they grossly caricature EVEN OUR OWN wars, let alone that of the trinity against sin! Does it say that the sufficient ground of the action of the death of Christ is to fail to redeem Hitler or such ? I do not so read. Hitler evidently died lost, like Stalin. There is no record of their conversion.
Nevertheless, willing for any, capable for all, Christ, both sent and suffering in love, died to redeem a people for Himself (they whom you mention are not part of this people, as far as evidence goes, and as far as report is concerned from their words and their witness). THAT is what He SAYS! Are you then beginning to come to terms with the love of God when you ask such questions, even though they be distorted ? One will hope so. It is necessary to look and see what is to be found.
Does that by any chance sound like what you said! Why then act as if to pillory truth, in what is a caricature of the Gospel! You pillory only yourself, caricature only your own thought. What He says and what you say do not agree… You are objecting to a fiction. It is necessary to return to the fact; and to do that, to read what is written. Imagine a critic writing errors into someone’s work, and the criticising those very errors! Not very good, is it…
Simply Frank, you are out of key, singing another tune.
Listen then. "God demonstrates His own love towards
us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" - Romans
5:8. His love was not because of merit, but despite demerit. He rescues.
He delivered; and for this, He submitted Himself, to be delivered up.
Incidentally, do you see now that
Thus Samson also VOLUNTARILY ALLOWED his own people to tie him up, and deliver him to their enemies (remember: the Philistines)! WHEN they did this, he THEN used his God-given power, in a God-given set of circumstances, seemingly hopeless but actually just right, and slew the killers, the invaders, the enemy, 1000 of them. There is the parallel, so that you can see this, in this respect, as a type of Christ. Let us investigate further.
Thus the enemy of man, not least, is DEATH. Accordingly, in this,
Christ delivered Himself to be bound, freely, to overcome this enemy, justly and in mercy.
His act was voluntary likewise: for He knew this sacrificial death was coming (cf. John 1:29), often said so (Matthew 16:21, 17:9, John 18:4, Luke 13:33 etc.), refused to let Peter use a sword to protect Him (Matthew 26:55-56, Mark 14:49, Luke 22:44-53, John 18:8-11), and indicating that it was predicted and had to be fulfilled, suffered Himself to be taken, though at first the soldiers "drew back and fell to the ground" (John 18:6). Christ was quite clear: "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"
It was indeed perfectly voluntary. He knew it was coming, was predicted, was His task and had set His face to go to Jerusalem, accordingly (Luke 9:53). Indeed, in terms of His commission as sacrifice and His love, He requested the armed force to take Him only, and let the others go (John 18:8). This voluntary and gracious submission was in order that by death, He could BREAK the bonds of DEATH; that by suffering justice for others, He could meet its demands and justly pardon; and in so doing deliver His own people from the enemy, death.
The VOLUNTARY part is the point being stressed here! "Therefore does My Father loves Me because I lay down My life of Myself. No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself!" (remember, from John 10).
That would simply mean that you did not want the gospel, and that, it is an emotional or psychological or spiritual personal problem. Some people are too proud to accept help from ANYONE. Pride is a great destroyer and the utmost folly. If on the other hand, you do NOT object to the sacrificial love of God, then your problem is solved. You have merely to cease caricaturing it (whatever your intention may have been) and to return to … (guess what!), what the Bible actually declares!
What then ? It is time you repented of all this peregrination into who knows what invented territory, and came back to the Lord Jesus Christ. Find fault in Him if you can. Find fault in yourself! Which is easier. There is only one Saviour attested, and He died, the just for the unjust to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18). He, of all men, has stated who He was, God in the flesh, and acted accordingly. That is that.
It is possible to find no forgiveness when you find no way to receive Christ, of course, but the remedy is there, and those who tread on the blood of Christ, are merely fouling their own remedy (as in Hebrews 10:29). It does not affect the integrity of the remedy, merely their desire for it. That too may affect their coming! If however anyone DOES come, then it is clear that the remedy applies. No one, coming is EVER rejected, when it is in repentance by faith to the ONLY Saviour, according to the Gospel (John 6:37).
That is just one aspect of the sheer, glorious wonder of it. Would you object to a great waterfall, say Niagara, saying, It is too wonderful, do not show it to me ? You might. But that, it is no fault of the waterfall!
13. GETTING THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH REQUIRES AN ABSOLUTE SOURCE WITH AN ABSOLUTE RECORD, WHO MUST TELL YOU
In fact, people often try to omit God, but then they are without absolute truth, and without that, you can know nothing except things that go together, and any thought you may have is just event; and if you think of it as all relative, then you cannot even know that, for how know absolutely anything, in that case, such as its all being relative! It becomes flat contradiction, and there is nowhere to go. Without God, the mind is in confusion. Even if you then said, It might be… that too is too much. THAT statement would then be used as if it were absolute truth, a foundling without a father.
Without God, quite simply, you are without truth. There is only a profusion of confusion; and as for ‘choosing’ some God who gives no evidence that He is speaking, against the One whose evidence is astounding, in word and the person of Christ: it is to prefer darkness. It is also to fail to find the absolute truth, since YOU are still the finder, and it all has to flow through you with your own limits. YOU check, you decide, YOU are the criterion of truth. But this is precisely what cannot be, on such a basis. God then is the product of your choice. Some God is that!
IN the reality, however, YOU are the product of His choice (as in John 15:16, 6:44), and His word stands without any competition at all, as absolute truth by every test; and the tests are prodigious, verbally and vitally. God has no competitors in deeds or words. It is wonderful then to read John 6:37 when the crucial question is all ended by your coming, for no man can come unless the Father draws him, the above texts show, and of the one who comes, Christ states, "I will CERTAINLY NOT cast out!"
To know absolute truth, then, you must find the Person who it is, and have HIM tell you. To listen to ANYTHING which calls itself God, when GOD decisively attests what He says throughout ages, this is mere waste of time, truancy from truth, peril with pleasure. The end of such a thing is just doom. It should be ended at the beginning, when it is a dream and not doom. To object to God on the ground that He does what we cannot, as you in effect seem rather to specialise in doing, this is to object to reason, not to use it.
Now Frank, I know you may be confused here and there, and I am trying to help as you ask, in showing you some of the implications of some of things you perhaps too carelessly say. May the Lord yet turn it to your good.
In effect, there are only three speakers in religion, whose name as God speaking, even plausibly asserts itself. As to the Jews, however, it is the Christ who fulfils the date and deeds required in their Old Testament. This leads to the New Testament, and so is simply Christianity, all over again (see SMR Chs. 1,9). As to the Moslems (see Indexes, and Home Page, Errors in Other Religions, a little over half way down), there is no evidence at all, except the negative evidence that Allah is thwarted while the Jews’ covenant God (even when they as a nation have rejected Him, as predicted in Isaiah 49:7), does just what He pleases … having disciplined them in long exile, brought them back, and gave them amazing victories, like Samson’s, over their enemies, insurgent Moslems, in 1948, 1967, 1973. It was precisely Moslems who in the Teheran Conference some years ago, put themselves FORMALLY in agreement to destroy Israel: yes there was more also (pan-Islam Alliance).
Man frequently sets himself against the word of God, which as his (as with you),being His, is what He means. The Almighty of course makes it also what happens. All test, all challenge, all attack, verbal, military or whatever, is scrap heap material in advance. It is always so, has been over the 3500 or so years of the written word that God has given. As shown in SMR, it is also necessarily so.
But GOD: HE HAS SAID what He would do, and then HE DOES IT, always, and without exception, in thousands of words, over thousands of years. He is doing it now. THAT is the difference.
A lot of this in detail is in SMR Ch. 9. Would you like to do a study on this ? Such things are occurring these last 50 years before our very eyes, just as the earlier plight of the Jews, likewise fulfilled the statements of one Being: the God of the Bible. It is always wise to know what you are talking about, and so here to study God’s word.
Moreover, as to the God who is there, His same teaching endures by evidence from before Christ to the present. It does not change. The Gospel is always the same (cf. The Everlasting Gospel, Ch. 17* of Barbs, Arrows and Balms, and That Magnificent Rock Ch.3*). God did not stare idly at a soiled creation, mankind or wait till 600 A.D. to state His way; but from the first has supplied the one answer from the one God, since sin came! He did not tolerate it until He thought of some answer; but answered it from the fall; and the record never changes. Everything is covered here; nowhere else.
He has attested it in one place. It is called the Bible
(and some current physical copies of prophecies are date B.C.). He has
attested it in one man, He is called Jesus Christ. It is necessary to come
in faith by grace to the second, and in Him to follow the first: and it
does follow, IF you come, for He is living and able
to save to the uttermost, those who come to God by Him (Hebrews
7:25 cf. John 10:27-28 with John 10:9). He is always alive to make intercession
for them, we read. As one Christian, this is what I too find as I live
before Him, from Him and for Him.
14. *HE PAID FOR HIS OWN
and it is only by PROFOUND MERCY THAT ANY IS FOUND
There is another point. Perhaps you have got the admittedly
not uncommon confusion from someone else, that Christ has redeemed everyone.
This is called ‘universal redemption’ and is untrue to the Bible. Jesus
Christ is ON OFFER to all, but PAYS ONLY FOR HIS OWN, who alone
are covered by His sacrifice. Thus in Romans
8:32, what do we find ? This, that those for whom Christ has been delivered
up are going to inherit all things. The lost inherit nothing.
Hence Jesus Christ has paid only for the people of God, covering only Christians
and those at all times, whom He foreknew as His through Christ (Romans
8:29ff., Ephesians 1:4): all who were, are and will be, from the beginning
The rest, who would not accept, if you like, His cheque, preferring their own chequered careers, in some fit of blindness, die in their sins.
What then ? The scope is for all; the payment is for those receiving Him. Are you going to be one of these ? It is time to seek the Lord with all your heart. If you are doing so, it would of course be a miracle; but then, for the supernatural God, that is merely one of His powers! It is best however not to be blind to it!
May the Lord help you! When you see, you will marvel at this blindness. But that is the way of it, and the marvel of it, that as in mathematics, the light shines, and people see. Here however it is far more subtle. The spirit of man - the human heart, says Jeremiah 17:9, is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked".
People delude themselves, confuse themselves, act foolishly and reap such rewards! They often become headstrong, wilful, dictate to God, criticise God, or even irrationally, may deny Him in order to punish Him, refuse to believe in Him, to make Him suffer! This some may do, and other all but comically irrational things: ludicrous, but with a deadly edge.
Indeed, there are some who may wrongly represent even the gospel, and like yourself just now, even make a spurious one which has the Father ‘killing’ His own son. This was said rather than the fact,
that the Father was loving enough to yield Him up from the perfection of heaven for the need of earth, while the Son loves enough to yield Himself up, both in action together, to redeem a people …
YOU can say no to the only gospel and only attested mercy ever given to man by covenant; but ONLY GOD can say yes. He is not dead fish for your pleasure. You should call upon His name for His mercy and accept His Son, Jesus the Messiah, with delight - while He MAY be found (as in Isaiah 55, which please read). He is not always so near as that. Consider Esau’s plight (Hebrews 12:16-17). Would you please read this … I think it will help, and this is what you statedly want, and what is being gladly given.
Sin blinds. Hence seek the Lord now, and trusting in Him who controls the universe and has penetrated for just such as you, cast yourself on His mercy in Christ, crucified, yes rather, risen, and study, indeed follow His word (Romans 8:34)!
Sign posts are not for beauty only, but for direction. If you cannot find it, it is not that you cannot, but will not read. That is the Biblical position (John 7:17). The proof is there, on the Web, the verification is there too, and it is here merely being amplified in every way. Fair enough in one way: CHECK it out, AND for your own part: count the cost. It is sound to do that; but are you willing to sacrifice YOURSELF and so follow your Maker in the Way whom He has sent ?
To deliver yourself up is really to be unbound, for sin binds, and the ‘sacrifice’ of life to God, is in fact the reception of Christ’s sacrifice, so that you and He being friends, you may serve God with relish and reality. I would rather serve God than myself, since He is infinitely better, wholly glorious and absolutely holy. Furthermore He is love, and acts it.
He who saves his life, loses it; but he who loses his life for Christ’s sake, finds it (Matthew 16:25 cf. John 12:24-25). I would invite you on this, again for your own sake, to read Barbs, Arrows and Barbs 1-3.
Personally, I love the Light and the writhing idiocies of darkness are sad to the point of profound sorrow; but then, God is not a dictator, but a lover who loves (John 3:16, I John 4:7-10, Titus 2:11ff., 3:4ff.)), and those who reject Him, He knows them, and always has done so (Romans 8:29ff.). As light, He is glorious, and in His light, His people see light (Psalm 36:9).
God is very great; and His word is very great; and His salvation and Gospel are entirely wonderful. Never use His name lightly. It is time, Frank to come to Him and start learning. This is much to find, treasure unspeakable (as in Ephesians 3:8 - the "unsearchable riches of Christ"). Coming is just a beginning; then one grows (cf. II Peter 3:18, 1:4ff.),
Many go on ignoring Him, while often knowing in their hearts their folly. Sometimes, they may grow uncomfortable, so then numbing their sense of folly and guilt, they proceed as if anaesthetised (I Timothy 4:2), till appalling darkness becomes the lot of so many that their murders and crimes, political, by armies and in the streets, emotional blunders, harsh judgments, these are more than understandable.
Such things are assured. It follows … It happens. It is happening more and more as Christ so decisively indicated would be the case, and evil men were at the terminal crisis,
which is now our own time (SMR Ch.8 - from Section 2, for this),
to grow worse and worse (as in Matthew 24:4-14, 24, Mark 13:12,22). Many false prophets were to arise simultaneously; and they have done so in just such a profusion and confusion as predicted (cf. II Timothy 3, I Timothy 4, II Peter 2).
Please read all the things you are being given, reflect and when you have checked the Bible (this time) for yourself, by all means bring up things of concern. You are very welcome for sincere seeking, and it is a privilege to help. But first catch up thoroughly on the work presented for you. Remember: Put your heart into it.
In other words, if we are going to be effectively active in this matter of helping you find, of clarifying and so on, you will have to work! Somehow, I do not think you will mind that. In all this, I am happy to help; but be earnest and conscientious and check everything out, thoroughly, moving in depth into what has already been given to you. As to gifts, what God gives us, it is important to be grateful, but also that the gifts be used! There is no place for superficiality.
Seek God with ALL your heart, and don’t waste time where there is no evidence. I speak not of what I prefer: but of what you need to do. On hikes, you walk, you do not ramble.
Finally, Frank: It is good to hear from you again. The Lord is very patient, and as to Him, He is altogether lovely. Be thankful for that, for it may in the end, that fact, make all the difference to your life.
Perhaps, in another week or so, I shall hear from you again, much more knowledgeable, after serious study of the material provided and above all the word of God as it really … is.
With every good wish, and hope for you in Christ,
(Rev. Dr. Robert Donaldson
for World Wide Web Witness Inc.)