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Apocalyptic Language

17 Apr

Apocalyptic languageProbably some of the greatest errors in Biblical understanding occur because folks take literally what should be understood spiritually. Jesus told those to whom he preached that they erred because they didn’t take into consideration that the words he spoke were spiritual (John 6:61-63), and they kept trying to make sense of them literally (John 6:60). We can avoid this type of misunderstanding, if we use the word of God to interpret itself for us, by comparing one part of Scripture with another part (1Corinthians 2:13).

Both Jesus and Peter agree as to what constitutes the Day of the Lord, that is that it comes as a thief in the night and there will be signs in the heavens (Revelation 1:10; 3:3; 16:15: Matthew 24:29, 43; 2Peter 3:10). Joel claimed the heavenly signs pointed the coming of the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:10, 30-31). Jesus foretold of the same types of signs (Matthew 24:29), and Peter claimed the Day of the Lord brought new heavens and a new earth (2Peter 3:10). It all points to the same thing.

The language of Isaiah (Isaiah 13:9-11; 34:4-5) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 32:7-8) use the darkening of the sun, moon and stars to express the judgment of God. Similarly, Jesus points to heavenly signs (Matthew 24:29), whereby the heavenly bodies stop giving their light. Isaiah used the heavenly bodies to show the judgment of Babylon (Isaiah 13:2) and Idumea (Isaiah 34:5), while Ezekiel used the same kind of signs to show God’s judgment upon Egypt (Ezekiel 34:5). What Jesus does in his use of these same signs is to foretell his own judgment upon the nation of the Jews in Matthew 24:29.

This type of language is what we call apocalyptic. It is highly figurative and shouldn’t be taken literally. After all, who in his right mind could believe in a literal beast with seven heads (Revelation 13)? The figures mentioned have a meaning, which, if taken as it should be understood, tell a reasonable story about how God addresses the sins of men. For example, the sun in the apocalyptic language represents the king or leader of the nation. We know this to be true because immediately after judging Babylon in Isaiah 13, the prophet discusses his judgment again in the next chapter (Isaiah 14:4). There he refers to the king of Babylon as the morning star or the sun (Isaiah 14:12). This is substantiated more clearly by considering Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9-11. There the sun and moon represent Joseph’s mother and dad—Jacob and Rachel. The stars represent Joseph’s brothers. They are the patriarchs or leaders of the Jewish nation, which gave birth to Jesus (Romans 9:5; Hebrews 7:14; cf. Revelation 12:1).

In light of this understanding Jesus no doubt referred to the leaders of the Jewish nation (Matthew 24:29). They were cast down, and the Jews had no secure homeland. They no longer could represent God as expressed in their original covenant (Exodus 19:6). The Temple was destroyed. The nation didn’t exist any longer. The covenant was annulled, but what would this mean in terms of Peter’s heavens passing away and elements of the earth melting? Since the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD proved to the world that Jesus was the Christ, and he reigns in heaven (Matthew 24:30; Daniel 7:13-14; cf. Matthew 26:64), Peter means that the Jews no longer represent God to the world. The disciples of Christ have become a kingdom of priests to the world (Revelation 1:6; 5:10), bringing his word to the nations.

Before the Flood the patriarchs ruled the world without the intervention of God, until God decided to judge the whole world with the flood waters. He destroyed the patriarchs and all their works. On the other side of the Flood God used men as leaders of the nations to judge the more wicked nations. Israel, ideally was supposed to be God’s effective instrument of judgment, but they failed to carry out his will in that they wished to be like the nations they were supposed to judge and educate in the ways of the Lord. The flood waters changed how God intended to deal with mankind, and the judgment of Jerusalem by fire (war) accomplished the same thing in 70 AD as the Genesis Flood did in the days of Noah. The powers of the heavens and earth were shaken and changed as a result of both judgments.

Moses, quoted by Paul, predicted the failure of the Jewish people and that God would rebuke them through a foolish people (i.e. a people who were idolaters) who were not a people. They would provoke the Jews to jealousy (Deuteronomy 32:21; cf. Romans 10:19). The church or the disciples of Jesus have no human king, queen or princes. We are all servants, led by servants and ultimately led by God. He alone is our light, and no man can take his place (cf. 1Samuel 8:5).

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22 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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22 responses to “Apocalyptic Language

  1. Boluwade Kujero

    April 25, 2017 at 13:42

    ANSWERING A FOOL

    Your example for Prov. 26:4-5 do not fit by my assessment.

    It is one thing to answer a fool, it is another to answer a fool “according to his own folly.” The latter implies using the logic of the fool back against him. The Lord’s healing of the man does not amount to using their logic back to them. It is rather his asking them if it was lawful to do good on a Sabbath that constitutes answering them “according to their folly.” They clearly believed it was lawful to do good on Sabbath but somehow disapproved of healing on Sabbath.

    Another example is when he asked which one of them would his sheep fall into a well on a Sabbath that will not rescue it. He answered them by their logic.

    When sometime they asked him for a sign he declined and said no sign would be given to them. Mark 8:12. That is an example of not answering them according to their own folly. He refused to respond with a sign which was what they sought. Yet when some other time he was asked for the same he gave them the sign of Jonah.

    More grace to you sir

     
    • Eddie

      April 25, 2017 at 14:55

      Greetings Boluwade,

      Sorry, but I believe it did, and I still do.

      Another would be Luke 6:1-5. The Pharisees took issue with the disciples taking the grain from the fields, rubbing them together, blowing the chaff away and then eating the seeds. They claimed this was technically harvesting, winnowing and preparing a meal on the Sabbath, all of which was against the Law. Jesus answered their argument according to their reasoning by showing that David technically broke the Law by eating the bread of the Temple, which only the Levites were lawfully able to eat. The emphasis was upon mercy rather than the letter of the Law.

      If we take into consideration the same account in Matthew and Mark, we find Jesus’ argument goes deeper and shows that ultimately Jesus doesn’t answer them according to their folly, because, in truth David, being the King of Israel (appointed by God, but not yet in effect), had the authority to modify the Law of God, which he did on several occasions. If David had that authority, then certainly the one greater than David also had that authority and could modify the Sabbath law (if that were necessary for the sake of mercy). Additionally, Jesus also argues that the Levites and priest technically break the Law of the Sabbath every Sabbath day, when they slaughter and offer the sacrifices in the Temple, but are blameless, because the Law also demands they do such things. Jesus did both answer the fool (scribes and Pharisees) according to his folly and not according to his folly for the same question.

      May the Lord richly bless you, my friend.

       
  2. Boluwade Kujero

    April 25, 2017 at 10:58

    LITERAL VS SPIRITUAL

    I said:

    “Sometimes strangely, both sides of the argument are supported in substantial measures in the final fulfillment. Only God can tell. For he sometimes combines both literal and figurative messages in one and the same communication such that either side can remain authentic without excluding the other.”

    You replied:

    “I don’t believe truth is understood in this manner.”

    What do you say concerning the promises to Abraham and his seed? Can you honestly say anything in the promises suggested or necessitated a spiritual fulfillment? Could everything not be intepreted and explained literally? Yet Apostle Paul by the Holy Spirit declares to us as follows:

    “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.” NIV

    Today we know that natural Israel and Christ are both supported in the promises. God did not speak to include one and exclude the other. So the fact that Christ is the seed does not mean natural Isreal is not.

     
    • Eddie

      April 25, 2017 at 14:54

      Greetings Boluwade,

      You are correct on this point, and I am wrong. I can only say that I was looking for something else when I made that claim. I thought you were leading me down a different path, and I didn’t believe truth could be understood in that manner. I goofed, sorry.

      However, in this vein, obviously you believe I am in error about something, and you are seeking to help me see that error. What is it really? Is it to say, as you said in your first comment (paraphrased): “Some of the greatest errors in Biblical understanding occur, because folks take spiritually what should be understood literally”?

      Lord bless you, Boluwade.

       
  3. Boluwade Kujero

    April 25, 2017 at 10:35

    SUFFERING SERVANT

    Regarding this, I only used as a means to explain my original point, I really do not want to stretch it into a real point of argument. If you however really wish to explore Jewish position and not our Christian bias of their position, I recommend the following:

    http://judaismsanswer.com/targum.htm
    http://judaismsanswer.com/yosef.htm
    http://nojesus4jews.weebly.com/sophiees-blog/missionary-misuse-of-jewish-sources-on-isaiah-53-targum-yonatan-jonathan
    http://nojesus4jews.weebly.com/sophiees-blog/missionaries-misuse-jewish-sources-lets-discuss-how

    There I find a convincing explanation for those statements we use to accuse them of believing in two Messiahs. I also see there that even if they could be proved to have believe in two Messiahs, there is no proof they believed he would suffer in the way we believe.

    In reading the above, I will advise you to try and free yourself of our common Christian lense with which we see their Scriptures first and judge the arguments purely on the merits. For objectivity, remember how some who are not Christians also take the Bible and select passages out of context to allege we teach things we do not just because it is written in it, so that you do not fall into the same with Jewish beliefs.

    As regards corroboration from ancient document, I don’t know if the following statement from Origen in Contra Celcum counts with you:

    “Now I remember that, on one occasion, at a disputation held with certain Jews, who were reckoned wise men, I quoted these prophecies; to which my Jewish opponent replied, that these predictions bore reference to the whole people, regarded as one individual, and as being in a state of dispersion and suffering, in order that many proselytes might be gained, on account of the dispersion of the Jews among numerous heathen nations.”

    Like I mentioned before, I personally believe that even if the Jews believed in 2 or more Messiahs, the dominant or pervasive view at the time of the early Christian Jews was that there was to be one Messiah. The disciples never asked the Lord about a Messiah but rather “the Messiah”. They never spoke of the Messiah as one of two or more expected. The Pharisees asked John the Baptist if he was not “the Messiah” not one of the Messiahs. He said he was not “the Messiah.” The Jews claimed to Jesus that they were taught that “the Messiah” abides forever. I could go on. Some even at some point questioned his claim to being the Messiah by questioning his link to David. They evidently thereby prove not to be expecting a Messiah that is not of Davidic lineage. There is just no internal evidence for the two Messiah theory in the New Testament. Only when someone has accepted it as truth will one begin to make allowance for it in the language of the New Testament. Whatever one looks for one will find support for in the Scriptures.

     
    • Eddie

      April 25, 2017 at 14:53

      Greetings Boluwade, and once more I wish to thank you for our discussion.

      “If you however really wish to explore Jewish position and not our Christian bias of their position, I recommend the following:…”

      Thank you for the links. I intend to read them a little later. Time for me at present is a premium. :-)

      “As regards corroboration from ancient document, I don’t know if the following statement from Origen in Contra Celcum counts with you: …

      I thought I remembered another ancient document agreeing with Rashi, but I couldn’t remember from where, but since you pointed out Origen’s statement, I remembered then. I had a similar discussion with a Jew on one of the debate forums years ago and that came up. However, what would sway me would be an intertestamental document showing Isaiah 53 being spiritualized into pointing to Israel. It is my contention that they draw their point of view from Paul’s understanding of Christ and the Church. This idea was also pointed out by my Jewish friend (Howie). He claimed it seemed dishonest for us to see Christ as a body of believers and not permit Jews the same freedom to see the Suffering Servant as the nation. I was caught off guard by his statement and had to really consider what he was saying. Nevertheless, there are phrases in Isaiah 53 that cannot point to the nation, and since there are no records extant before Paul showing Isaiah 53 in this light, I presume that later records reflect the Jewish doctrine modeled after Paul’s account of Christ and the Church. Certainly, my Jewish friend, Howie, was able to see the similarity and draw conclusion for it. :-)

      “Like I mentioned before, I personally believe that even if the Jews believed in 2 or more Messiahs, the dominant or pervasive view at the time of the early Christian Jews was that there was to be one Messiah.”

      I believe I mentioned in our previous round that I didn’t believe the two messiah theory was a fully developed doctrine. I mentioned it only because it showed a non-spiritual interpretation of Isaiah 53 from the Talmud, which was supposed to reflect a similar first century understanding (at least by some rabbis at that time).

      “Some even at some point questioned his claim to being the Messiah by questioning his link to David. They evidently thereby prove not to be expecting a Messiah that is not of Davidic lineage. There is just no internal evidence for the two Messiah theory in the New Testament.”

      Two things; first, I don’t know of anywhere in the New Testament whereby the Jews thought the Messiah would come without having a link to David. If you know of a Scripture, I’d like to see it. Secondly, I didn’t mention the two messiah theory as one found in or implied in the New Testament. If memory serves, it was in response to your claim that the Jews might have been able to spiritualize Isaiah 53 into showing the nation rather than the Messiah.

      May the Lord continue to bless you.

       
  4. Dave White

    April 21, 2017 at 10:18

    God’s desire has always been relationship. When we examine his prophets and mighty men and women of the old testament, even then, while the law was essential as it pointed out sin, it is clear from reading the Psalms that his desire is and was always to have a relationship with us. One cannot but come to that conclusion by looking even at Abraham (Abram) whose relationship with God predated the law. So whether Pharisee, Sadducee, or Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Pentecostal, or go to church just to recite liturgies, and if we only focus on the do’s and don’ts we miss the true meaning of scripture. …in response to Boluwade’s comments.

     
  5. Boluwade Kujero

    April 17, 2017 at 20:51

    Hi Eddie

    “Probably some of the greatest errors in Biblical understanding occur because folks take literally what should be understood spiritually”

    I would like to remark that in my own opinion, this is also true on the reverse. Great errors have been committed too when people take symobilcally or spiritually what should be understood literally. Even the Lord’s apostles fell victims of this mindset so much so that when he spoke plainly of his impending suffering and death they still were wrestling to find a symbolic meaning to it. Luke 18:34.

    Theirs was so bad that even the literal fulfiment of the first elements of his ordeal still could not jolt them out of their blindness of heart and make them look forward to his ressurection. They felt sorrowful at his death, became despondent following his burial and remained unbelieving at the report of his resurrection.

    I think the real question to answer is how do we know when the Lord is speaking literally or symbolically​? Is it the believability that should determine if we should understand him as literal or symbolic? This seems to be the apostles’ stumbling block with his plain words for example. For they must have thought like: how could the so powerful Messiah suffer and die so cruelly? And even if he did, how would he rise back 3 days after so much damage to his body? Since their minds did not find rationality in the literalism, they opted for symbolism.

     
    • Eddie

      April 17, 2017 at 23:30

      Greetings Boluwade and welcome back!

      The more I study God’s word, the more I am brought to understand the great and unexpected power of false doctrine. False doctrine isn’t simply a mistake that one is able to correct, because it has power in and of itself. It is not a math problem in which one can easily see one’s error. False doctrine renders a person blind, and he must be healed of his blindness, before he is able to see the truth (cf. John 12:35-36). If Jesus hides himself (v.36), we cannot see him (John 12:21).

      I don’t believe Jesus’ disciples just chose to understand Jesus’ eminent crucifixion as symbolic. In my opinion they were forced to do so, because a crucified Messiah had no place in their worldview. They had accepted the Pharisaical doctrine of the conquering Messiah (viz. John 12:34). Jesus had warned them of the leaven / doctrine of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herod (cf. Matthew 16:6, 11-12; Mark 8:15), but what does one pick out to reject, because the Pharisees also taught the resurrection, which Jesus taught?

      The disciples simply couldn’t understand a conquering Messiah who was also crucified. The power of false doctrine hid the truth of Jesus’ words from them. So, how do we understand when something is literal and when something is spiritual? We do so by comparing Scripture with Scripture and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. If one compared Jesus’ words with Isaiah 53, that one would have understood that the Messiah must die. The disciples chose to spiritualize Jesus’ words, because they first embraced error as though it were true. Jesus, himself, claimed that embracing the doctrines of men ends up in rejecting the word of God.

      May the Lord, our God, richly bless you, Boluwade.

       
      • Boluwade Kujero

        April 18, 2017 at 10:39

        Thanks for your swift response Eddie.

        Your response however just opens my question even further.

        If we blame the Pharisees for​ being the originators of the false doctrine which blinded the disciples, who or what do we blame for their own original error of arriving at a false position? Definitely it cannot be because they did not study the scriptures. The Lord himself never accused them of that. On the contrary, he complimented them for it.

        While it would be easy to accuse them of being dishonest in their study of the Scriptures and conclude that by this they predisposed themselves to erroneous understanding of it, we know that sincerity of heart offers no guarantees of immunity against entering into errors. The picture of the suffering Messiah was painted explicitly in the Scriptures just as that of the conquering Messiah. The real question is why did they see the latter as plain and the former as some figurative language that needed to be dismissed by the other? Why could they not hold the too pictures concurrently as literal without the need to subjugate one to the other?

        I do not believe that they did not see the passages that foretold that the Messiah would suffer just out of sheer dishonesty. I believe they, for reasons similar to those we encounter in our days, probably found it difficult to conceive of the Messiah literally suffering and thus sought alternative meaning for those passages that would suit the glory of the Messiah as they had been made to anticipate him, by this they opened themselves up to error.

        But who are we to blame them for doing so given that the dominant image of the Messiah the Scriptures gave and which their fathers made them hope for, was that of a liberator and deliverer with power and authority, very little on his weakness and sufferings. So it is very reasonable for them to want to understand the parts that talk of his sufferings in a metaphorical sense. With the benefit of hindsight we call their doctrine false now, but if we were in their shoes would we have done better?

        We see it amongst us Christians even today. We all search the Scriptures, comparing and contrasting passages. We all seek the Holy Spirit for illumination but still somehow come out with conflicting positions on the same issues. At the end of the day, sometimes, the conflicting positions are both correct, while at other times, only one is. What is it that is in us that makes us susceptible to this error and conflict of understanding?

        I cannot honestly charge everyone who holds a false doctrine with impure motives or lack of dependence on the Holy Spirit for their error. Even the gospel as we have it today was the subject of similar conflict of understanding between Paul and the original apostles. Eventually, Paul’s was vindicated over theirs. How did they not understand for so many years that the law was no longer required in Christ for salvation until Paul came along, and only after a very heated debate and with great reluctance and reservations for Jewish sensibilities? The doctrine of the Pharisees cannot be blamed here.

        Is it not possible that within each of us is cause for stumbling that is sufficient to lead us into error by itself even with the purest of motives and the best of efforts in studies, prayers and seeking after the help of the Holy Spirit?

        Is it not possible that sometimes, we get ensnared, not by darkness, but by light and revelation from God, so much that we become unyielding to new complementing or superceding light from him that helps balance us. Consider how Peter thrice strongly refused God’s new light of all things being clean and refused to kill and eat from the sheet set down from heaven despite his “hunger” and unambiguous understanding that it was his Lord that he was conversing with in the vision, holding firmly rather to God’s own previous command on the matter as justification.

        In my few weeks of exchanges with you here and on FB, while seeking to help you see the “error” of some of your positions, according to my understanding, I have been instead helped by God to see two significant lights that have become stumbling blocks to me and which taint my understanding of God’s word and are potential sources of error for me, independent of external influences. These are not false doctrines but truths which are supposed to be constricted by some higher level truths or complemented by equal level truths but which I have instead left unbounded and elevated to positions not intended by God.

        May the Lord search us and help us know our hearts and remove from us everything​ that causes us to stumble.

        Remain blessed beloved.

         
        • Eddie

          April 18, 2017 at 17:53

          Greetings Boluwade, and thank you for your interesting comment. I’m not certain that I am able to answer it adequately, even from my point of view, but we’ll see how the Spirit guides me in the Scriptures, and if I yield to his prompting.

          We need to be clear that the Pharisees were not a righteous group. They were corrupt authorities. They studied the Bible, but with ulterior motives. Jesus claimed that everything they did, they did so to be seen by others, from whom they desired praise (Matthew 23:5). They built themselves up by quoting one another in their studies and schools. Rabbi Simeon would quote Rabbi Joseph and vice versa. The more they quoted one another the more each seemed to be an authority in his studies and interpretations (Jesus didn’t do that; cf. Matthew 7:29). This went on for centuries, until the whole nation was led away by their slant on Scripture, and the nation rejected Jesus, because their teachers / leaders did.

          Why did the Pharisees reject Jesus? Were they honest seekers of truth? No, the Scriptures reveal they weren’t. They sought to trap Jesus (something the Law says they shouldn’t do to a brother) into breaking the Sabbath by healing a man with a withered hand (Luke 6:6-7). Now, whether or not the Law does forbid healing on the Sabbath is immaterial. They claimed it did, because it transgressed their interpretations (the Oral Law). Without doing anything but speaking Jesus healed the man. They were absolutely livid over the matter. Why? They certainly weren’t seekers of truth. They were interested only in the fact that Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Yet, they were lawyers and a lawyer isn’t a lawyer, unless he is able to find a beneficial loophole in the law. These Pharisees were able to do that, when it benefited them. This is what is behind Jesus’ question: “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm? to save a life, or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9). Over a century previous to this, they decided that, if the nation was threatened on the Sabbath, the people could defend themselves and make war on the Sabbath. The scribes refused to reply to Jesus, so he healed the man out of anger (Luke 6:10; Mark 3:5). Through their interpretations, they laid heavy burdens upon men and women, and they simply refused to be merciful (cf. Matthew 23:4), except where it benefited them.

          I could go on, but you get the picture. Simply because they studied the Scriptures does not mean they knew the Scriptures or that their hearts were affected by what they read. They simply loved being in authority and the glory that entailed. They used the word of God for their own benefit.

          Concerning why they couldn’t see Isaiah 53 as a suffering Messiah, they did. They interpreted the Scriptures to mean there would be two Messiahs. There would be a warlike Messiah (the Messiah of Joseph), and a religious Messiah (the Messiah of David). I’m not really familiar with all the details, but I believe the Messiah of Joseph was to come first and be killed in battle. The Messiah of David was so righteous that he would pray, and God would resurrect the Messiah of Joseph. What occurred thereafter, I’m not familiar. The interpretation interested me, only because I recognized how they handled the Suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53. But, to my knowledge, they did not spiritualize Isaiah 53 away. They took it literally, but they developed a teaching of two different messiahs. How widespread this doctrine was among the group and their schools, I don’t know, but John 12:34 seems to indicate that the majority believed the Messiah would come and live forever. It may be that the idea of two messiahs wasn’t fully developed. Don’t know.

          Concerning Christians today who search the Scriptures, I am of the opinion that all are guided by God’s Spirit. However, the Spirit is effective in so far as the believer brings nothing to the table with him. If he brings his favorite doctrines, the Spirit will allow it, and his learning will be little. If he brings with him the teaching of men (according to this or that denomination of Christianity) then the Spirit will allow that, too, and learning likewise will be little. It has been my experience (and I really wish my memory is in error) that more people that I know will defend the doctrines of men more zealously than they will the word of God. Men love to have power / authority over people, and as a result the people aren’t adept to yielding to the Spirit of God in their studies of his word. This has been a problem between God and his people for millennia.

          Concerning Paul and the original Apostles, I am unaware of any conflict between them. The conflict that existed came from false brethren, spies sent in by the Jewish authorities. This is what Galatians is about, and this is what prompted the Jerusalem Council. Some believe, because the original Apostles practiced the Law, there was conflict between them and Paul, not so. The Mosaic Law was the law of the Land (lands of the Jews). The gentiles had their own laws, and Paul told believers to obey the authorities of their lands. The problem arose when false brethren thought the gentiles should obey the Mosaic Law (and with it, no doubt, the Oral Law). The gentiles already had laws against murder, stealing, bearing false witness etc., so there was no need to impose the Mosaic Law upon them. The Mosaic Law was the national law for the Jews, and Peter and the other Apostles rightly obeyed it. Even Paul so did when he was among the Jews.

          “Is it not possible that sometimes, we get ensnared, not by darkness, but by light and revelation from God, so much that we become unyielding to new complementing or superseding light from him that helps balance us.” <— I’m not certain I understand your meaning here. Perhaps you could clarify.

          Concerning Peter’s vision. It is better to argue with God in a vision to be certain about the meaning. It would be wrong to obey immediately when you’re not certain what God wants you to do. Peter understood the meaning of the vision after the men came from the centurion. Paul had a similar experience when Jesus, in a vision, told him to leave Jerusalem. Paul thought he could convince his former friends that the Gospel was true, but Jesus said no—they would not accept his message.

          Concerning our exchanges in recent weeks and how God helped you with unexpected matters, I’m glad our discussions have had a beneficial effect upon you, even if that doesn’t mean resolving our disagreements. I have had similar experiences with others, especially years ago on the debate forums (non-existent now). I was unable to help unbelievers, but God helped me see things I had never considered before that time. It was always unexpected, and it was all wonderful.

          Lord bless you, my friend.

           
        • Boluwade Kujero

          April 21, 2017 at 04:55

          Greetings again Eddie.

          While I do not agree with your profiling of the Pharisees as an all bad and nothing good group, particularly as it pertains to the issue of the Scriptures and doctrines, as well as your take on Peter’s resistance, I would not want my real points to be lost in this disagreement.

          My original point is that we cannot exclusively attribute the development of false doctrine or erroneous understanding of the Scriptures to wrong disposition. I mentioned earlier that even sincere persons could also miss the truth. Sincerity offers no immunity against misunderstanding. Sometimes we get to the truth through wobbling and fumbling, despite our best attempts at being careful and open. Given this situation, I therefore ask who among us can confidently and authoritatively declare his doctrine free of error and pronounce conflicting positions to be false?

          You talked about coming to the Scriptures with the traditions of men as a cause for adopting erroneous doctrines but I ask, how is a person to judge that he or she is starting out with a tradition and not God’s pure doctrine? It is virtually impossible to “come with nothing to the table” as you suggest. It is only natural that we all start out with something we received from others. While we have a duty to verify what we received, verification itself requires the right skills.

          Each of us has a peculiar and conscientious way of building logic and within it a priority system moderated by our conscience. So I could receive something that is accurate and my logic and conscience will evaluate it and judge it to be faulty just as much as I could receive what is false and my logic and conscience will successfully verify it as accurate. This could happen even when I am sincere. So while a sincere heart is important to developing sound doctrine, a sound and balanced logic coupled with enlightened conscience is equally essential. These however must still be put at the disposal of the Holy Spirit with prayerfulness, diligence, humility and openness to correction. The exact reason for which we are advised to “trust in the Lord with ALL our hearts,” leaning “not on our own understanding.”

          Regarding my example of the Jewish interpretation of the suffering Messiah, your view of them believing in two Messiahs is actually one of the subsisting Jewish views on the Messiah. Some Jews actually consider the passage as figuratively referring to the nation of Israel and not an individual. So for them, the suffering described is that of Israel and not of a Messiah. This position, interestingly, is not without strong contextual backing. Below is a quote from Marshall Roth from aish.com.

          “The key to deciphering any biblical text is to view it in context. Isaiah 53 is the fourth of the four “Servant Songs.” (The others are found in Isaiah chapters 42, 49 and 50.) Though the “servant” in Isaiah 53 is not openly identified – these verses merely refer to “My servant” (52:13, 53:11) – the “servant” in each of the previous Servant Songs is plainly and repeatedly identified as the Jewish nation. Beginning with chapter 41, the equating of God’s Servant with the nation of Israel is made nine times by the prophet Isaiah, and no one other than Israel is identified as the “servant”:

          “You are My servant, O Israel” (41:8)
          “You are My servant, Israel” (49:3)
          see also Isaiah 44:1, 44:2, 44:21, 45:4, 48:20
          The Bible is filled with other references to the Jewish people as God’s “servant”; see Jeremiah 30:10, 46:27-28; Psalms 136:22. There is no reason that the “servant” in Isaiah 53 would suddenly switch and refer to someone other than the Jewish people.”

          The full article may be found here:
          http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/Isaiah_53_The_Suffering_Servant.html

          If you have time to read the article further, you will see how the finer details of the suffering of the servant which I, and perhaps yourself, would consider strong evidence enough for taking the passage as literal to an individual servant still gets to be understood figuratively by them. Their arrival at this position proves to be founded on a logic that gives priority and weight to context, antecedence and corroboration, with little or no tolerance for exceptions. This logic, from my point of view, is very much consistent with the way you too have come to arrive at some of the positions you espouse on this your blog and which I, together with a couple of others, have expressed disagreement with.

          I honestly cannot dismiss the logic, either as employed by them or by you, as something inspired by an insincere heart or a pre-received false doctrine. It is clearly a sound logical framework for interpreting Scriptures. The sound rules of context, usage, witness/corroboration, etc have all been observed to arrive at the position. We who are believers in Jesus as the Christ and who see his sufferings and death as the literal fulfillment of the passage can however see that in this case, the logic system fails to help them arrive at the truth as we know it, even though we also use the same logic system to affirm and defend many of our own doctrines. This further underscores how logic plays a great part in understanding doctrine and could, outside the influence of pre-received false doctrines, lead, by itself, to erroneous positions.

          There probably is no better passage in the Scriptures that buttresses my point like the one below.

          “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.”
          “Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.”
          Proverbs 26:4‭-‬5 NKJV

          Two contiguous verses preaching two diametrically opposed logic. Both are clearly sound but cannot be reasonably observed at the same time by one person. It is evident then that a person will need something else by which to determine when to observe one and not the other. The truth is neither you nor me has the authoritative answer to the “when.” So if I choose at a point in time to act by the counsel of the first while you choose at the same time to act by the counsel of the second, we would both be acting based on sound counsels and logic but acting in opposite. Neither one of us could by his own authority charge the other with error in understanding.

          In my own view, the interpretation of the suffering servant as Israel rather than a Messiah was the prevalent Jewish position on the passage in the days of the apostles. I so judge because Paul wrote that preaching a crucified Christ (Messiah) was offensive to the Jews of his days. It could not be offensive if it was one of two options they believed about the Messiah, but it would be if it was not an option. This may be further buttressed by the fact that when Caiaphas the high priest made a statement alluding to this during a Sanhedrin meeting, John remarked that he spoke it by inspiration and not by his own processed logic (John 11:49-51).

          So when you look at certain passages and believe they should be interpreted figuratively, and suggest that others are in error, you are actually drawing on a logic system which could be by itself sound but not necessarily applicable for the truth of the passage. I could look at the same passages and believe it should be interpreted literally, drawing on a logic system that is sound as well but which may also not be applicable to the passage. Whatever the logic each adopts, it somehow still gets influenced by our individual perception of the Holy Spirit’s leading and influence, as well as by our conscience which is not guaranteed to be perfect in discerning at all times between right and wrong. The challenge at the end of the day is how to determine which of the two sound logic systems is true to the Spirit that breathed the writings. Neither one of us can authoritatively conclude that because God speaks frequently literally on a subject that he could not exceptionally, even if just once, speak figuratively on the exact same subject in a unique and uncorroborated manner. This is conversely true as well. So the person whose interpretation relies on antecedents and corroboration cannot conclusively judge the one whose interpretation is allowing for an exception as having a false position. The same is true in the reverse.

          Regarding being ensnared by light, I mean that divine revelation, if not properly managed, can lead us to develop wrong attitudes, which could affect how we handle and process truths subsequently. My reference to Peter’s vision is for that reason. While you seem to see it as him arguing with God to be sure what to do, I see it as him resisting God based on previous light. He never asked for clarification or some time to process the instruction. He outrightly said “No.” He refused not once or twice, but thrice. That, to me, is not arguing to know what to do, but refusal to do as instructed because it involves breaking with a tradition he had built based on a previous divinely instructed way of life. What to do was communicated to him as simply as possible – “rise up, kill and eat.” His refusal at first could be excused and seen as a veiled request for clarification because God had not communicated the new status of the animals to him and could possibly be testing him by asking him to eat them. But the moment he expressed his reservations and God assured him that the animals were now clean for him to eat because God had cleansed them, his refusal two more times was no longer excusable. I would compare his refusal to Moses’ resistance when God called him to go an liberate Israel.

          Apostle Paul too wrote of his thorn in the flesh that was permitted to buffet him to help him maintain reasonable humility in the light of the great revelations given to him. In other words, but for the thorn, he had the dangerous potential of gravitating to an overrated view of himself because of his exclusive and powerful revelations. So knowledge (light) can puff one up. A puffed up person clearly is a fall in waiting. It is not difficult to see how such can fall into erroneous doctrines. This also, to me, appears as a plausible explanation for the attitude of the Pharisees and how they ended up with some false doctrines. They clearly did not get everything wrong. They were right in many things but were also wrong in some others. Their attitude was however their greatest undoing with Lord. Their special privilege with God’s statutes as teachers and interpreters of it could have deceived them and made them puffed up. So they could have started well but veered off because of pride and self-importance.

          My point in all this is that interpreting a passage literally or figuratively is not as simple and straightforward as it might seem. We all have knowledge but love informs us to consider others and their position. There are areas where we have consensus and no room for variations because their interpretations are established to us by confirmed practise by the first generation Christians. But there are also lots of areas where no one can authoritatively conclude the other as holding unto false or erroneous beliefs. I judge this to be one of those. Where you see apocalyptic language, I see plain speech but certainly not without elements of grammar that employ non-literal language.

          Sometimes strangely, both sides of the argument are supported in substantial measures in the final fulfillment. Only God can tell. For he sometimes combines both literal and figurative messages in one and the same communication such that either side can remain authentic without excluding the other. The point of divide between the two would then be by degrees and scope and not an outright matter of falsity.

          Remain blessed sir.

           
        • Eddie

          April 21, 2017 at 09:08

          Greetings Boluwade! I apologize that my previous reply was off the point. I will endeavor to do better this time. But concerning our disagreement on the Pharisees, that’s okay. I’m not bothered by such things.

          You claimed: “My original point is that we cannot exclusively attribute the development of false doctrine or erroneous understanding of the Scriptures to wrong disposition. I mentioned earlier that even sincere persons could also miss the truth.”

          Sincerity doesn’t guarantee one believes the truth. I don’t doubt there are ‘sincere’ atheists. The problem is in believing something that is false to begin with and then seeking the ‘truth’. Both believers and atheists bring their own “stuff” to the table of God and expect to find the truth but the truth eludes them. Why? Because in believing something false to begin with, they cannot receive the truth they seek to grasp. We cannot simply divorce from our minds concepts or doctrines we received from our teachers that may be wrong. We must be open to the possibility that we believe error before our error can be recognized. The Pharisees weren’t open to that idea and neither are some Christians. Many of those I’m acquainted with would rather defend what men taught them rather than what they read in the Bible—and these people are very sincere.

          “…who among us can confidently and authoritatively declare his doctrine free of error and pronounce conflicting positions to be false?”

          I would have to say no one among us could do such a thing and be correct. But does this mean none of us should ever try to express his doubts about what his brother believes? Obviously, you don’t or you wouldn’t be here. Neither do I, since I have no problem disagreeing with you.

          “…It is virtually impossible to “come with nothing to the table” as you suggest. It is only natural that we all start out with something we received from others. While we have a duty to verify what we received, verification itself requires the right skills.”

          I agree that it is virtually impossible to bring nothing to the table. What I had in mind in my previous reply was a tension between 2Timothy 2:2 and 1Corinthians 13:9. Denominational Christianity by its very name separates brethren and is carnal, according to 1Corinthians 3:3. As long as we seek to defend what separates us, we limit our understanding of the truth, as offered to us by the Spirit of God. The Apostles were unable to see what Jesus was telling them about his eminent death and subsequent resurrection, because they believed and tried to defend error—taught them by the Pharisees. If we believe and defend error—no matter how sincere we are—we will be unable to see the truth that error hides.

          “So while a sincere heart is important to developing sound doctrine, a sound and balanced logic coupled with enlightened conscience is equally essential.”

          I don’t believe that I could disagree with you more on this point. I know of very simple folk, not very well educated at all, but they are able to discern the fallacies of a very profound and logical (according to his system of understanding) teacher. Some of these folks decided not to go to a Sunday school class that was based upon his teaching on prophecy. This man happens to be a very famous Christian teacher in my country, and, as long as he stays away from prophecy, he has my respect. I said nothing to these people to sway their decision (they were members of my Sunday school class). In fact, those of them who did leave, I wished them well. They promised to return, but I don’t think they will. Nevertheless, they claimed they loved the way I taught the Scriptures.

          Concerning the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, I believe it was Rashi (11th century AD rabbi) who first made this interpretation—or at least he is the first rabbi who is recorded to have had this understanding (if my studies are correct). I believe Jews received it by studying Christian doctrine. Consider Paul’s understanding of the body of Christ in 1Corinthians 12:12. Christ is a person, and Christ is also the whole church, according to Paul. The problem according to Isaiah 53 is that, if it points to Israel, who is “he” and who is “our” in Isaiah 53:4 – “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows? Who is the “we” and the “him” in “yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted”? Just as we cannot say **we** have been crucified for ourselves, neither could the Jews say **we** esteemed **ourselves** stricken of God. And, there are several other such incongruities throughout Isaiah 53.

          Concerning the things over which you and I disagree, I must speak or write what I believe to be true, otherwise, I would be guilty of following the traditions of men. Even if the men are correct, if I don’t see that, I must speak or write (do) how I believe the Spirit is leading me. I trust the Spirit will lead me to recognize my error, if that is what it is.

          I will end this here and finish in another reply, since this is already a long response. It is easier for folks who read these long comments and replies to be able to take a break somewhere and return (if they so desire).

           
        • Eddie

          April 21, 2017 at 09:24

          Greetings Boluwade, and herein you will find part two of my reply.

          “I honestly cannot dismiss the logic, either as employed by them or by you, as something inspired by an insincere heart or a pre-received false doctrine.”

          I have to believe their logic system and / or mine is flawed, otherwise I must fault God for not revealing the truth to us as he has promised to do. If I or anyone else brings false doctrine to the table, we limit our ability to see the truth. Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. Moreover, concerning the process, he has said that **everyone** who continually seeks will find, and **everyone** who continually asks will receive, and **everyone** who continually knocks, the door will be open. If God or I am at fault, the fault lies with me—always.

          Concerning Proverbs 26:4‭-‬5, consider Luke 6:6-11. The scribes and Pharisees sought to trap Jesus into healing on the Sabbath, so they could accuse him. This was their motive. What was Jesus’ motive? He asked them if it was lawful to heal or do good on the Sabbath or do evil or kill on the Sabbath. Over a century earlier the Pharisees had reasoned it would be fitting to kill their attacking enemies on the Sabbath. Jesus’ motive was to get them to see their error and repent. He didn’t answer them according to their folly. Yet, he answered them according to their folly by healing the man, lest they would arrogantly believe they had prevented God (Jesus) from doing as he willed to do. The first pertained to attitude, while the second pertained to the actual argument.

          Concerning your understanding of the Jewish position on Isaiah 53 during the time of the Apostles, I disagree. Unless I see ancient documents wherein the argument is stated, I will not believe it is true. My position is the Jews have received their current position on Isaiah 53 from reading Paul. I could be wrong, but I would have to see it proved through ancient writings before I would believe otherwise.

          Concerning one’s perception of truth and how we logically express that truth as led by the Holy Spirit, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20 KJV) I begin by believing this Scripture is true in every matter of determining what is true. If the Lord speaks literally all of the time about a matter, I won’t choose to interpret anything concerning that matter in a spiritual way, and contrarily, if that were true. Everything I conclude must agree with the Scriptures. I am allowed no innovations. The men who wrote the Scriptures either had them dictated to them by God, or they were strongly guided by his Spirit. While I am influenced by the Spirit, it is not in the same manner as was done with the writers of Scripture.

          Concerning how we see Acts 10 and Peter’s response to Jesus, we will have to disagree on this matter. When Jesus first spoke of his crucifixion, Peter rebuked him, and the Lord soundly rebuked Peter, saying he was his enemy, if he held that position. There is no such rebuke from the Lord in Acts 10. Moreover, when the Lord told the prophet to eat a man’s dung as a testimony against evil men (Ezekiel 4:12), the prophet protested, saying he had never eaten any unclean thing (Ezekiel 4:14), and this was Peter’s protest too. Yet, the prophet wasn’t rebuked. Instead, the Lord substituted cow dung for a man’s (Ezekiel 4:15). Words cannot express how glad I am that I was not born Ezekiel [:-)]. However, both his and Peter’s protest was unlike Peter’s rebuke in Matthew 16:22. I see them begging for clarification, because surely the Lord wouldn’t have either do what the Law commands them not to do.

          Concerning Paul’s thorn in the flesh and knowledge puffing up, I agree, as do the Scriptures (1Corinthians 8:1). I don’t agree with your conclusion about the Pharisees. Paul was sincerely deceived and repented, while the Pharisees, as a group, were not sincere seekers of truth, because when were faced with clear truth, they refused to repent. But we agree that knowledge puffs up. However, we must continue to disagree concerning apocalyptic versus literal language in my posting above. To explain, I’ll quote from a future blog post, which I intend to publish when I come to Luke 21:25:

          “Luke tells us that there would be distress and perplexity of nations upon the land (Luke 21:25), but Luke 21:23 says this distress and wrath would be expressed toward the people of the land—i.e. the Jews. We could understand this as the distress and perplexity of the Jews of the Diaspora throughout the Empire as they see Rome rising up and flowing over their homeland like the waves of the roaring seas (Luke 21:25; cf. Isaiah 17:12-13; Jeremiah 46:7-8). As far as the signs in the heavens are concerned we could understand them as the leaders of the Jews (cf. Genesis 37:9-10) no longer in authority over the nation, or we can understand it as the heavens (God) being silent, no longer lighting the way for his people :

          “Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind: Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.” (Isaiah 5:28-30 KJV – emphasis mine)

          “No matter how one reads the above, Luke 21:25 points to the defeat of the Jews in their war with Rome in 66-70 AD.”

          If we seek to make Luke 21:25 and Matthew 24:29 literal, the whole earth would be black. I don’t know that artificial light would be of any help, because whatever we assume shut out the light of the sun may even be effective in shutting out artificial light as well. I don’t see such a thing happening, and if it would, how long would it occur? The text is silent, but if apocalyptic language is understood, the length of time is implied, namely, until judgment is complete.

          “Sometimes strangely, both sides of the argument are supported in substantial measures in the final fulfillment. Only God can tell. For he sometimes combines both literal and figurative messages in one and the same communication such that either side can remain authentic without excluding the other.”

          I don’t believe truth is understood in this manner. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but either Christ comes literally in the clouds to the earth, or he comes spiritually in the clouds as a sign of judgment against those living upon the earth. I can point to the latter in Scripture, but I cannot point to the former, unless you count the pillar of cloud that led Israel out of Egypt, but in that case the cloud, not God, was seen. Yet, Matthew claims we shall **see** Jesus coming in the clouds. If that is to be taken literally, it is the first time in Scripture that this would be so. However, taken apocalyptically, it occurs several times in the Old Testament.

          Lord bless you, Boluwade, in all you do and in all your studies of his word.

           
        • Boluwade Kujero

          April 25, 2017 at 09:14

          Greetings Eddie

          Permit me to respond to you in parts.

          LOGIC & GOD’S GUIDANCE INTO TRUTH

          I begin with this as it is the center of my original comment

          I am quite intrigued at the way you present yourself sometimes as seeing things only as black or white without the possibility that it could sometimes be both as with paradoxes which you confess to believing in your statement of beliefs.

          I believe sometimes, our logic can be sound but just not applicable to certain subjects that we assume it applies to or at certain times. Like I referred you in one of my responses on FB, Job’s friends had a sound logic, comparable to yours. They believed Job’s calamities, especially judging by the suddenness, swiftness and scope, happens to only wicked and sinful people. That God being a good God would not allow such catastrophic misfortune to be visited on a good man. For them, it was either Job was guilty of some really gross secret sin since they could not point to any apparent one, or God was mean. They thought the misfortunes of Job’s life could only be explained by an “either or” logic. Since God cannot be faulted, they focused on Job and making him own up to some secret sin he was covering from them. Their one way logic was generally correct and sound, but in Job’s case it was wrongly applied. The problem was that it was ignorant of God forcing an exception by a superior rule of proving a man’s character. But how wrong they were.

          God does not need to be mean for him to allow a righteous man to be extremely visited with misfortune. He can be just and still allow a righteous man to suffer innocently. A man also need not be wicked or sinful to suffer calamitous losses directly attributable to God’s express permission. Their trying to paint Job black in order to prove God white succeeded only in incurring for them a wrathful rebuke from God. They wrongly inferred that since sin attracts unpleasant response from God then every unpleasant situation can be explained by sin.

          You also seem to me to be in many respects like them in this. You say:

          “I have to believe their logic system and / or mine is flawed, otherwise I must fault God for not revealing the truth to us as he has promised to do”

          By the above, what I understand you to be saying is that since God promised to guide us into all truths, every time we arrive at something not truthful or for as long as we are yet to arrive at the truth then God is not guiding us. So you cannot see how your logic can be correct if you arrive at a false conclusion with it without God being wrong. You fail to factor in the fact that the Holy Spirit guiding us into all truth sometimes is a process that takes us through misunderstandings and walks us through layers of information that form a complete picture only when they are added up. It is not guaranteed to be a straight line dash. I personally have experienced God lead me that way on occasions. He never tells me he’s brought me to the end or complete truth but I presume so by the overwhelming nature of the information he helps me to uncover. I settle in for sometime only for him to bring some new information to my attention that then compels me to move from my previously presumed position. Once when I confronted him on why he lets me so misunderstand things, his response was that it helps me empathize better with people who stumble in the same situation, as well as to fortify me against being enticed into it after knowing the truth.

          While seeking for the truth, when you settle into something that is not the finality of it, but just on the way and so close to the truth, it feels like the truth to you and so all pieces of information appear to support it and converge at it. When God however helps you past it, you able to look back at the things that shaped your misunderstanding and see how others too could be ensnared by them. You therefore are in a position to lovingly and tactfully guide them out along the same path that God walked you.

          Also, sometimes, a straight line dash to the truth makes us unbalanced and naive, leaving us underestimating the pull and lure of error. No wonder some who’ve found the truth get lured away by the persuasiveness of falsehood. But if God allows you to go through the falsehood on your way to the truth, it looses it’s appeal and attraction after because you see it for what it really is. It’s like a sort of immunity by inoculation.

          So you see sir, your logic need not always be wrong to make God true, it could just be that it is lacking additional information to yield correct understanding.

          Moreover, if sound logic were sufficient by itself to discovering the truth, we would not need the Holy Spirit. Logic by nature is multifaceted. There is not one single logic that thoroughly answers all questions. Sometimes a matter can be tackled by multiple valid logic paths among which only one applies as determined by the person who raised the matter originally. Similarly, the Holy Spirit is the one who knows the mind of God concerning any and all matters. He knows what logic God used to put forth a statement and can help us select the appropriate logic to understand it. Salvation for instance has been hinged by God on a logic of grace and free gift. Some people however are seeking it by works. The logic of works is very much a valid logic that God himself established and by which he causes many things in our world operate. The problem is that for salvation, it will not work. God’s standard here is absolute perfection and none of us can meet it. Some of those who seek it by works reasonably assume that God’s requirements with it are similar to many other areas where he overlooks our failings and accepts our imperfect works sympathetically. Now it takes the Holy Spirit to convince a man to abandon works and adopt grace, not because it is a bad logic by itself, but simply because God has disapproved of it for salvation.

          In conclusion sir, God faithfully guides all his own by the Holy Spirit into all truths, even those who start out with false doctrines. He does not leave us to our false doctrines just because we started out with them or because we view and relate with him through their lenses. He continuously works in us and around us to get us to realize the errors in our understanding as much as he does to supply us with those that we know nothing about. The way he does it and how long it takes for each person is what he has not fixed for anyone to make a definitive pronouncement on. He has his own priority for every life and orders his guidance based on that.

           
        • Eddie

          April 25, 2017 at 14:51

          Greetings Boluwade and welcome.

          “I believe sometimes, our logic can be sound but just not applicable to certain subjects that we assume it applies to or at certain times. Like I referred you in one of my responses on FB, Job’s friends had a sound logic, comparable to yours.”

          Which one? Is it he that judged Job by ‘tradition’ or he that judged Job by ‘personal experience’ or he that judged Job out of his own understanding? Which one of these remind you of me or my logic. It can’t be all three, because they differ in content and approach.

          “They wrongly inferred that since sin attracts unpleasant response from God then every unpleasant situation can be explained by sin.?

          If I gave this impression, I apologize. It was not intended. Many evil folk go to their grave without ever having been required to pay for their evil deeds (other than death itself).

          I said: “I have to believe their logic system and / or mine is flawed, otherwise I must fault God for not revealing the truth to us as he has promised to do”

          You replied:

          “By the above, what I understand you to be saying is that since God promised to guide us into all truths, every time we arrive at something not truthful or for as long as we are yet to arrive at the truth then God is not guiding us. So you cannot see how your logic can be correct if you arrive at a false conclusion with it without God being wrong. You fail to factor in the fact that the Holy Spirit guiding us into all truth sometimes is a process that takes us through misunderstandings and walks us through layers of information that form a complete picture only when they are added up.”

          I believe our differences with one another amount to the vocabulary we choose to explain what we mean. You say God leads us into error (or at least imperfect truth) in order to lead us to the perfect (or at least more perfect truth). In contrast I said the truth we receive at the Lord’s table is in directly proportional to the error we bring with us. You account for everything as the guidance of God, while I account the error as mine and the guidance of God takes me out of that error. Depending upon your underlining point, I don’t believe this is worth debating. In my opinion it can be seen either way. Certainly, from my point of view, God at least permitted me to be seduced by error, out of which he intends to lead me.

          “Also, sometimes, a straight line dash to the truth makes us unbalanced and naive, leaving us underestimating the pull and lure of error.”

          I don’t believe I have even implied a “straight line dash to the truth”. Certainly, the disciples often received error from the Pharisees. Jesus corrected that error by speaking the truth. Nevertheless, often, the disciples didn’t understand the contrast and stumbled, until Jesus led them through certain experiences and then repeating the truth. Some things waited until Pentecost to be understood.

          “Moreover, if sound logic were sufficient by itself to discovering the truth, we would not need the Holy Spirit.”

          I don’t believe I ever claimed logic was sufficient by itself. If memory serves, I said logic will eventually fail. Some things, after we have been led by logic to a certain point, must be received on faith. Logic helps us only so far, but because it isn’t perfect, this doesn’t mean we should reject it. After all the Lord does say: “Come let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).

          “In conclusion sir, God faithfully guides all his own by the Holy Spirit into all truths, even those who start out with false doctrines.”

          We agree here, and how we got ‘here’ is probably the same way, although explained through the choice of different words.

          Blessings to you, my friend.

           
        • Boluwade Kujero

          April 26, 2017 at 04:31

          Dear Eddie

          I fear you misunderstood something I wrote and probably took some offense. Your asking me to clarify which of Job’s three friends’ logic I consider your logic comparable to indicates that to me.

          When I said Job’s friends’ logic was comparable to yours, I meant the common logic that motivated them to be looking into Job’s life for a fault to attribute his predicament to. I believe I clarified this by quoting your statement that gave me that impression of your logic.

          All I’ve been saying is simply that when things go wrong (like when we arrive at erroneous positions or misunderstand Scriptures), surely God cannot be faulted, but man also may not be at fault. This is what I mean by paradox. That God is not at fault when things go wrong does not automatically mean that man is at fault.

          Your statement which I quoted took the position of either your logic is faulty or God must be faulted. I said no. I said it is not necessarily an “either this or that” situation. I specifically said YOUR logic could be SOUND and God faultless and things would still go wrong. That is my point.

          I hope this clarifies my comparison.

          By the way, I never said God leads us into error, I said in guiding us into truth, he sometimes may take us THROUGH misunderstanding.

          Grace to you sir

           
        • Eddie

          April 26, 2017 at 07:27

          Boluwade, greetings and thank you for your clarification.

          I suppose I was a little hurt by your previous remarks, and may have understood properly if I wasn’t already somewhat depressed over a personal matter not involving you. But, praise God, he took care of both in a single day! :-)

          I do see what you mean now, and should have seen it earlier, but as I said, I wasn’t thinking properly to begin with. As for man not being at fault, I’ll have to think on that a little more.

          “By the way, I never said God leads us into error, I said in guiding us into truth, he sometimes may take us THROUGH misunderstanding.”

          If he takes us THROUGH misunderstanding, how did we get there? Were we there before he began guiding us into truth, in which case we are at fault—my point, or does he take us through misunderstanding in order to guide us to truth? If it is the latter, I don’t see the difference. The word “take” would be the same as the word “lead” in such a scenario.

          May the Lord bless you and keep you safe from all harm.

           
  6. Dave White

    April 17, 2017 at 08:56

    While I agree with you regarding Israel, and that the church is the ‘chosen people’ of God to carry his message , I still believe that God has a plan for Israel and that a covenant with God is a covenant, and that God will fulfill his promise to the nation (terrible sentence structure!). Yet, while there are movements to rebuild the temple (the blueprints are complete) and there are also movements to reinstate the Sanhedrin (now nascent), I see no real corporate move of Israel towards recognizing the true Messiah.
    I also agree that when we take spiritual truths in scripture literally and it leads us to error. …thus the fallacy of “I believe in the literal interpretation of the scriptures”. This is especially true if you rely on the KJV only

     
    • Eddie

      April 17, 2017 at 10:11

      Greetings Dave and thanks for reading. By the way, do you have a brother / relative named James?

      Indeed, God does have a plan for Israel. Paul, himself, says that God has not cast off his people (Romans 11:1, 28-29). Nevertheless, they are not his witnesses today. We are.

      Concerning the plans to build a new Temple, I don’t believe this has anything to do with the Scriptures. The fact is, I don’t believe the “Temple Mount” that is believed to exist today is the same mount that existed in Jesus’ day. The foundation doesn’t fit Josephus’ description of it. Rather, the so-called ‘Temple Mount’ foundation that we see today fits the description of the Antonia. So, if any Temple is built upon this foundation, it cannot replace the Temple of David and Solomon / Herod. That structure–foundation and all–was completely destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

      Concerning the KJV, I am not a KJV only person, but I do love the translation. It is very poetic, and it is the Bible that I first used to understand God’s word. I use many translations to understand the Scriptures, but I use the KJV as my main Bible. I quote others only when I think the KJV isn’t as good a translation of the Scripture I’m quoting. I agree with you about the fallacy of the doctrine of literal interpretation of the Scriptures. The Bible is made up of many literary types: poetry hyperbole, metaphor, parable, apocalyptic, history, biography, law, letters, and prophecy to name some. Entire books have been written to define the ‘figures of speech’ found therein. To say it must be taken literally, is a misnomer.

      Lord bless you, Dave.

       
      • Dave White

        April 17, 2017 at 10:23

        James D (Dave) White. One and the same.

        I was not suggesting that the new Temple had anything to do with scripture, it doesn’t. In fact I think it is incorrect to correlate ANY modern day rebuilding of the Temple or reinstatement of the old ways to be any fulfillment of prophesy, rather it is Israel’s attempt to usher in the Messianic age.

        There is no use for a temple as he resides in us and in his church (people). The destruction of the temple happened in part as a statement that “all things have become new”. I further think that the modern day focus on Israel and its role in prophesy is highly overrated. ….i.e. Jack Vanempy, Hal Lindsey, the left behind series, el.al.

        Many forget that prophesy is understood once fulfilled, not before!
        God bless; I’m glad I found your blog and you challenge me!
        Dave

         
        • Eddie

          April 17, 2017 at 19:03

          Thanks Dave, that is one of the best encouragements anyone has ever given me on my blogsite. Usually, I am challenged if I don’t go along with the norm. Lord bless you in all your studies of his word.

           

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