"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Hosea - God's Redeeming Love (11:1-14:9) INTRODUCTION 1. In our survey of the book of Hosea we have proposed the theme as "God's Redeeming Love"; this may have seemed strange... a. As we considered "God's Indictment of Israel" in chapters 4-7 b. As we considered "God's Punishment for Israel" in chapters 8-10 2. But as we saw in the first three chapters, Hosea's experience with Gomer serves as an analogy of God's experience with Israel... a. Following the adultery there was a period of separation b. Following the separation there was the ultimate restoration -- Therefore Israel would be restored, but only after a period of separation 3. Here is another way to summarize chapters 4-14... a. God is holy (which is why He must indict Israel for her sins) - Hos 4-7 b. God is just (which is why Israel must be punished for her sins)- Hos 8-10 c. God is love (which is why He will restore Israel) - Hos 11-14 -- So having declared the holiness and justice of God, Hosea now proclaims His great love for Israel [In this lesson we shall complete our study of Hosea by first looking at...] I. GOD'S PROMISE OF A FUTURE RESTORATION (11:1-14:9) A. GOD'S LOVE DESPITE ISRAEL'S REBELLION (11:1-11) 1. God brought Israel out of Egypt, yet they worshipped the Baals - Hos 11:1-2 2. God nurtured Israel though they knew it not - Hos 11:3-4 3. God will send them to Assyria because of their backsliding - Hos 11:5-7 4. Yet God will return them to their homes - Hos 11:8-11 B. ISRAEL'S REBELLION AND GOD'S CHASTISEMENT (11:12-13:16) 1. Ephraim (Israel) is full of sin, and while Judah still walks with God to a degree, God has a complaint against Judah as well - Hos 11:12-12:6 2. Ephraim is cunning and boastful, and so God will bring his reproach upon him - Hos 12:7-14 3. Ephraim and Samaria (both representative of Israel), shall be held guilty and punished accordingly - Hos 13:1-16 C. ISRAEL'S FUTURE RESTORATION (14:1-9) 1. A call to return to the Lord, for Assyria will not save - Hos 14:1-3 2. God promises to heal their backsliding and return them to the land - Hos 14:4-7 3. Ephraim (Israel) will finally be cured of her idolatry - Hos 14:8 4. A concluding call to wisely consider these things - Hos 14:9 [God fulfilled His promise to restore Israel (and Judah) starting with the decree of Cyrus and under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah (cf. the books of Ezra and Nehemiah). As indicated in Hos 14:8, Israel was once for all cured of her idolatry. Her faith in God may have weakened later on, but idolatry never had the appeal it once had. In the spirit of Hos 14:9, which calls upon us to understand and know what is revealed in this book, here are some...] II. CONCLUDING LESSONS TO BE DRAWN FROM HOSEA A. GOD IS A GOD OF LOVE... 1. He loves His people a. Like a man loves his wife (cf. Hosea and Gomer) b. Like a father loves his child - Hos 11:1 2. Because He loves His people... a. He blesses them abundantly b. He nurtures them patiently - Hos 11:3-4 B. GOD IS A GOD OF HOLINESS... 1. He expects His people to know His will - Hos 4:1-2,6; 8:12 2. He expects His people to avoid harmful influences - Hos 7:8-9 3. He expects His people to sow righteousness, not wickedness - Hos 10:12-13 C. GOD IS A GOD OF JUSTICE... 1. He cannot let sin go unpunished - Hos 9:9 2. Those who remain in sin He will devour - Hos 13:7-8 D. GOD IS A GOD OF MERCY... 1. He call upon His people to repent - Hos 14:1 2. He will gladly heal those who do so - Hos 14:4 CONCLUSION 1. Hosea presents a picture of God who is certainly desirous of redeeming those He loves a. Sadly, not many took Hosea's message seriously b. I.e., only a remnant of Israel returned after the restoration 2. Today, God's redeeming love is offered through His Son Jesus Christ- cf. Ep 1:3-7 a. Sadly, not many take the gospel message seriously either b. Even as Jesus warned - cf. Mt 7:13-14; 21-23 What many need to heed is the call of Hosea at the end of his book... Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them. (Hos 14:9) Are we growing in our knowledge and walking in the ways of the LORD?
Children and the Rod of Correction
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
American civilization has undergone tremendous social shifting in the last fifty years in virtually every facet of its culture. This transformation is evident, for example, in the area of the family and parental discipline. From the beginning of this nation, most Americans have believed in the value of corporal punishment. This discipline has included spanking the child using a variety of instruments, including a “switch,” paddle, razor strap, yardstick, belt, or hand. The last generation to have experienced this approach to parenting on a wide scale was the World War II generation. Due to the adverse influence of social liberals and alleged “specialists” in human behavior and child psychology, the thinking of many Americans has now been transformed to the extent that corporal punishment has come to be viewed as “child abuse”—even by the judiciary.
Make no mistake: genuine child abuse is taking place every day in America. Some parents are burning, torturing, and even killing their children. However, the abuse of a good thing is no argument against its legitimate and judicious use. Extreme behavior often elicits an extreme reaction. We must not “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” Regardless of the superficial appeal of the arguments that are marshaled against spanking, those who recognize that the Bible is the inspired Word of God are more concerned with biblical insight regarding the matter. Does the Bible advocate or sanction the spanking of children?
THE BIBLE’S VIEWPOINTSeveral verses refer explicitly to the use of corporal punishment in the rearing of children. The longstanding quip, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” is undoubtedly a paraphrase of Solomon’s words: “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24). This motif is repeated throughout Proverbs. For example, Solomon asserted “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (22:15). This one statement is packed with meaning that merits deep and prolonged meditation and analysis. Most modern adolescent psychologists have not even begun to plumb its depths, let alone agree with it.
Lest someone get the idea that Solomon used the term “rod” figuratively, without intending to leave the impression that parents should actually strike their children with a rod, he clarified the target: “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell” (23:13-14). A proper balance is obviously needed between verbal reproof/encouragement on the one hand, and the application of corporal punishment on the other, as seen in the following words: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul” (29:15,17, emp. added). The immense importance of the interplay between positive instruction, encouragement, and nurturing, in conjunction with appropriate physical punishment, cannot be overestimated nor successfully discounted.
MEANING OF “ROD”But what did Solomon mean by “rod”? The Old Testament uses primarily three Hebrew words to refer to a wooden stick:
Maqqel refers to a tree branch that has been transformed into a riding crop (Numbers 22:27), a shepherd’s staff (1 Samuel 17:40—which Goliath called a “stave” or “stick”—vs. 43), or a weapon of war (Ezekiel 39:9—“javelin” in the NKJV). It is also used as a symbol of dominion (e.g., Jeremiah 48:17—where it occurs in synonymous parallelism with matteh), and in its natural state as a branch of a poplar, chestnut, or almond tree (Genesis 30:37; Jeremiah 1:11) [see Harris, et al., 1980, 1:524; Botterweck, et al., 1997, 8:548-550].
Matteh occurs 252 times and is used to refer to a branch, stick, stem, rod, shaft, staff, and most often a tribe (some 180 times). It can refer to a stick used to beat out cumin/grain (Isaiah 28:27), a soldier’s spear (1 Samuel 14:27), as well as the shaft of an arrow (Habakkuk 3:9,14) [Botterweck, et al., 8:241; Gesenius, 1847, pp. 466-467].
Shevet, the word used in Proverbs, refers to a staff, stick, rod, scepter, and tribe. Gesenius defined it as “a staff, stick, rod” and then showed how it is translated differently in accordance with the use to which it was put, whether for beating, striking, chastening (Isaiah 10:5,15), a shepherd’s crook (Leviticus 27:32; Psalm 34:4), a king’s scepter (Genesis 49:10; Amos 1:5,8), a tribe (Judges 20:2), a measuring rod, or a spear (2 Samuel 18:14) [p. 801; cf. Harris, et al., 2:897].
Matteh and shevet are used together in Ezekiel 19:10-14 to refer to fresh tree branches. They are used in synonymous parallelism in Isaiah 28:27 as a stick used to beat out cumin/grain: “But the black cumin is beaten out with a stick (matteh), and the cumin with a rod (shevet).” They are unquestionably synonyms. If any distinction can be made between them, it is that matteh is not used to refer to a scepter (see Harris, et al., 2:897; although Gesenius, pp. 466-467). However, both are used to refer to a stick or rod. In fact, shevet is specifically referred to as a rod used for beating a human being: “And if a man beats his servant or his maidservant with a rod…” (Exodus 21:20). As Isaacs noted: “The Heb[rew] shebhet is the ordinary word for rod or club” (1959, 4:2702; cf. McClintock and Strong, 1880, 9:57-58,401).
In addition to the verses in Proverbs that refer specifically to spanking a child, several additional verses verify that literal striking of the body with a wooden stick is envisioned. For example, “Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding” (Proverbs 10:13). “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool’s back” (Proverbs 26:3). Obviously, the “rod” is as literal as the “whip” and “bridle.” The Psalmist declared: “Then I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes” (Psalm 89:32). Though speaking figuratively, the Psalmist aligned “rod” with “stripes.” In passages where the term “rod” is used figuratively, the figurative use presupposes the literal meaning (e.g., Job 9:34; 21:9; Isaiah 10:24; 11:4; 14:29; 30:31; Lamentations 3:1; Micah 5:1).
CONCLUSIONSIn light of the linguistic data, the following conclusions are warranted:
First, the three terms are essentially synonyms with no real distinction to be discerned between them. They are as generic, ambiguous, and flexible as their English counterparts. As Orr stated: “Little distinction can be drawn between the Heb[rew] words used for ‘rod’ and ‘staff ’ ” (1959, 4:2596; also Funderburk, 1976, 5:132). The commonality that exists between them is the fact that they all refer to a stick/limb, i.e., a branch from a tree. In antiquity, scepters, spears, arrows, rods, staffs/staves were all made out of wood, i.e., tree branches (cf. Ezekiel 19:11). Hence, the distinction between them was one of purpose/function—not source. It follows that size, i.e., thickness and length, would likewise have varied. The Hebrew words themselves possess no inherent indication regarding size.
Second, the principle of spanking is clearly taught in Proverbs. This is beyond dispute. Since God would not approve of child abuse (cf. Colossians 3:21), it follows that whatever instrument is used for spanking, whether switch, yardstick, paddle, belt, razor strap, etc., should get the job done without inflicting inappropriate or unnecessary damage to the child’s body. The “switch” has much to commend it, and certainly coincides with the biblical texts on the subject. But good sense and personal judgment must be exercised in determining its size.
In his comments on the Hebrew word for “rod,” Hebrew scholar and Professor of Old Testament at Regents College, Bruce Waltke noted: “The rod was also used as an instrument for either remedial or penal punishment. …In Prov[erbs] it is the symbol of discipline, and failure to use the preventive discipline of verbal rebuke and the corrective discipline of physical punishment will end in the child’s death” (Harris, et al., 1980, 2:897, emp. added). The author of the apocryphal book, Ecclesiasticus, observed: “He who loves his son will whip him often, in order that he may rejoice at the way he turns out” (May and Metzger, 1965, p. 166).
Writing over one hundred years ago, professor W.F. Adeney offered a surprisingly current observation that has much to commend it:
The primitive rigour of the Book of Proverbs is repudiated by modern manners. Not only in domestic training, but even in criminal law, people reject the old harsh methods, and endeavor to substitute milder means of correction. No doubt there was much that was more than rough, even brutal, in the discipline of our forefathers. The relation between father and child was too often lacking in sympathy through the undue exercise of parental authority, and society generally was hardened rather than purged by pitiless forms of punishment. But now the question is whether we are not erring towards the opposite extreme in showing more tenderness to the criminal than to his victim, and failing to let our children feel the need of some painful discipline. We idolize comfort, and we are in danger of thinking pain to be worse than sin. It may be well, therefore, to consider some of the disadvantages of neglecting the old-fashioned methods of chastisement (1950, 9:258-259).
REFERENCESAdeney, W.F. (1950 reprint), The Pulpit Commentary—Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, ed. Spence, H.D.M. and J.S. Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Botterweck, G. Johannes, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry, eds. (1997), Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Funderburk, G.B. (1976), “Rod,” The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill Tenney (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 5:132-133.
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1979 reprint.
Harris, R. Laird, Gleason Archer, Jr. and Bruce Waltke, eds. (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Isaacs, Nathan (1956), “Sceptre,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 4:2701-2702.
May, Herbert and Bruce Metzger (1965), The Oxford Annotated Bible With the Apocrypha (New York, NY: Oxford University Press).
McClintock, John and James Strong (1880), Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1970 reprint).
Orr, James (1959), “Rod,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 4:2596.
Cats and Dogs Reigning at Communion
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Animals can be a great addition to a person’s life. They can serve as an unpaid, ever-dependable, and quite invaluable work force as they help the farmer plow a rough field or the blind person cross a busy city street. They can provide joy and companionship for young and old alike. They can be a boon to mental health, especially for sick children and the infirm elderly. Surely none among us would doubt the many benefits that accrue as a result of the presence of animals in our midst.
Some religious groups within Christendom, however, have crossed the line in accommodating the love that people have for their pets. In an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal on March 10, 2004, Elizabeth Bernstein documented how a growing number of denominations are beginning to include pets as participants in their worship. “Churches such as Manhattan’s Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine have long held annual services to bless everything from rabbits to elephants,” said Bernstein. “All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has doubled attendance at its Sunday evening service since it began last summer to invite pets once a month.” This past January, however, the St. Francis Episcopal Church in Stamford, Connecticut, went even farther to include animals in worship when it began a new monthly program called “Holy Communion for pets.” In this “service,” cats and dogs actually “receive the host” and have “a special benediction” performed for them.
Unbelievable! I have long believed that the services of various groups claiming to be New Testament Christians were more of a circus than a legitimate, Christian worship service. Now, what little doubt I (or others) may have had, has been completely removed. The “sacred” has indeed become a “circus.” Soon, little children will be bringing their pet frogs, mice, lizards, and snakes to “eat the bread and drink the cup.” Blasphemy! The sacred memorial feast has been demoted to a snack session for Tom and Jerry.
A first-century church once trivialized the Lord’s Supper and was sternly rebuked by the apostle Paul. He warned:
Whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).Jesus gave His life to save mankind, not animals. He saves the immortal souls of penitent sinners who have the capability to know Him and obey Him (cf. John 3:16; Acts 2:38; Hebrews 5:8-9). Animals have no souls (see Thompson and Estabrook), nor do they have the cognizance to know Who Jesus is. Why, then, have certain religious groups within Christendom deviated so far that they will now even offer animals the sacred communion instituted by our Lord the night before His crucifixion? Obviously, it is all about numbers. As Bernstein reported, they want to “attract people.” Instead of preaching the true Gospel of Christ, which has the power to change sinners into saints (Romans 1:16), they have chosen to manipulate God’s Word and His sacred service “to their own destruction” (cf. 2 Peter 3:16).
REFERENCESBernstein, Elizabeth (2004), “Houses of Worship Reach Out to a Flock of Pets,” The Wall Street Journal, [On-line], URL: http://www.dowjonesnews.com/sample/samplestory.asp?StoryID=2004031004010005&Take=1.
Thompson, Bert and Sam Estabrook (1999), “Do Animals Have Souls,” Reason & Revelation, 19:89-92, December.
Can Humans Become Gods?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
One of the more eye-opening beliefs of Mormonism is the polytheistic notion that humans can become gods. Standard Mormon theology maintains that even God (the Father) and Jesus Christ were once human. They were preceded by other humans who themselves progressed to the status of gods.
Of course, this doctrine was not presented initially by Joseph Smith, but was developed after the production of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon actually contradicts later Mormon revelation, in that it affirmed in 1830 the biblical doctrine of the oneness of God in three persons, i.e., the historic Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Observe the conversation between Ammon and King Lamoni:
And then Ammon said: “Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit?” And he said, “Yea.” And Ammon said: “This is God.” And Ammon said unto him again: “Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth?” And he said: “Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens.” And Ammon said unto him: “The heavens is a place where God dwells and all his holy angels.… I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people” (Alma 18:26-30).Nephi declared: “And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end” (2 Nephi 31:21, emp. added). Amulek contended with the diabolical Zeezrom: “And Zeezrom said unto him: ‘Thou sayest there is a true and living God?’ And Amulek said: ‘Yea, there is a true and living God.’ Now Zeezrom said: ‘Is there more than one God?’ And he answered, ‘No’ ” (Alma 11:26-29, emp. added).
The Book of Mormon also affirmed that Jesus was God in the flesh:
And now Abinadi said unto them: “I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—the Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth” (Mosiah 15:1-4, emp. added).Even the “three witnesses” to the Book of Mormon, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, affirmed monotheism and the oneness of God: “And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God” (“The Testimony,” 1981, emp. added). Joseph Smith affirmed the same thing in the Articles of Faith: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (Pearl, 1981, p. 60).
These teachings certainly are in harmony with the Bible. The Bible repeatedly and frequently affirms the doctrine of monotheism and the unity of God: Deuteronomy 4:35,39; 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6,8; 45:5; 46:9; Mark 12:29; Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:4,6; 1 Timothy 2:5. These and many other passages indicate “there is but one infinite Spirit Being, and that within that one Spirit essence there are three personal distinctions, each of which may be, and is, called God” (Lanier, 1974, p. 46). There is only one divine essence (ousia) or nature (phusis)—a solidaric unity—one divine substance in (not and) three persons (prosopa or persona), with each “person” being the subsistence (hupostaseis) of the divine Essence [NOTE: for discussions of the concept of Trinity and its treatment in church history, see Archer, 1982, pp. 357-361; Bickersteth, n.d.; Boles, 1942, pp. 19ff.; Chadwick, 1967, pp. 84ff.; Schaff, 1910, 3:670ff.; Walker, 1970, pp. 106ff.; Warfield, 1939a, 5:3012-3022].
But by 1844, Joseph Smith had begun to advocate a very different understanding of deity—in direct contradiction to the Book of Mormon. He began to promulgate the idea that God had, in fact, previously been a man Himself Who had become exalted, and that all men were capable of the same progression (see Tanner, 1972, p. 163). This shift was expressed formally in the Pearl of Great Price where, in the Book of Moses, God is spoken of in the singular throughout. For example: “I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven and the earth upon which thou standest” (2:1). In stark contrast, however, in the Book of Abraham, in a section discussing the same creation event, God is spoken of as “Gods.” For example:
And then the Lord said: “Let us go down.” And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.... And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night....And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.... And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness....And the Gods planted a garden, eastward in Eden, and there they put the man, whose spirit they had put into the body which they had formed (4:1,5,18; 5:8, emp. added).Anyone who is familiar with the King James Version cannot help but be struck with the fact that the author of the Book of Abraham had before him a copy of a KJV and merely paraphrased the text. It is equally apparent that the author “had an axe to grind” in adjusting the text to foist upon the reader the notion of multiple “gods.” In fact, in the thirty-one verses of chapter four, the term “Gods” is used thirty-two times! It is used sixteen times in chapter five! Polytheism now so thoroughly permeates Mormonism that one Mormon apostle asserted that humans are the offspring of the union between an Eternal Father and an Eternal Mother (McConkie, 1979, p. 516)!
“LET US MAKE MAN”Separate and apart from the issue of the inspiration of the Book of Mormon (see Miller, 2003), the question must be asked: Does the Bible give credence to the notion of multiple gods? Certainly not! However, various verses have been marshaled in an effort to defend the Mormon viewpoint. For example, on the sixth day of Creation, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). It is alleged by Mormons that the use of the plural in this verse implies a multiplicity of “gods.” However, an examination of the context reveals that the doctrine of the Trinity is being conveyed (see Leupold, 1942, 1:86ff.).
The Holy Spirit was active at the Creation, “hovering over the face of the waters” (1:2). “Hovering” refers to attentive participation (cf. Deuteronomy 32:11). Elsewhere, the Bible makes clear that Jesus also was present at the Creation, in active participation with Deity’s creative activity (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; 2:10). Hence, when God spoke of “Us,” He was referring to Himself and the other two members of the divine Essence [cf. “Godhead” (theotes) in Colossians 2:9, “divine” nature (theios) in Acts 17:29 and 2 Peter 1:3-4, and “divinity” (theioteis) in Romans 1:20. The first term (theotes) differs from the third term (theioteis) “as essence differs from quality or attribute” (Thayer, 1901, p. 288; cf. Vine, 1966, pp. 328-329; Warfield, 1939b, 2:1268-1270)]. Some (e.g., Archer, 1982, p. 74) have suggested that God was including the angels in the “us,” since “sons of God” sometimes can refer to the angels (e.g., Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; cf. Psalms 29:1; 89:6), and “sons of God” can be shortened to “God” while still referring to angels (e.g., compare Psalm 97:7 with Hebrews 1:6, and Psalm 8:5 with Hebrews 2:7,9). In either case, the fact remains that the Bible presents a consistent picture that there is only one God, and that this divine essence includes three—and only three—persons.
“YE SHALL BE AS GODS”Another verse that has been brought forward to substantiate Mormon polytheism is the comment made on the occasion of Adam and Eve being tempted to eat the forbidden fruit: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5—NKJV). The King James Version says, “ye shall be as gods.” Four points of clarification are in order on this verse. In the first place, Satan made this statement—not God. Satan’s declarations are never to be trusted, since he is “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
In the second place, the uncertainty conveyed by the various English translations in their differing treatment of the verse (i.e., whether “God” or “gods”) is the result of the underlying Hebrew term elohim. This word is not to be confused with Yahweh, the formal name for God throughout the Old Testament. Elohim is a generic term used some 2,570 times in Scripture, and generally refers to the one true God, but also is used to refer to pagan gods, and even can refer to judges or rulers and, as noted previously, to angels (Harris, et al., 1980, 1:44-45). Though the word is plural in form, it is used in both the plural and singular sense [cf. “face” (panim)—Genesis 50:1; Exodus 34:35 and “image” (teraphim)—1 Samuel 19:13]. English shares a similar phenomenon with its plural nouns like “deer,” “seed,” “sheep,” and “moose.” The same form is used, whether referring to one or to many. Hebrew, like most other languages, matched the number (whether singular or plural) of verbs and adjectives with the noun. In the case of elohim, with only rare exception, the verbs and adjectives used with it are either singular or plural in conformity with the intended meaning (Ringgren, 1974, p. 272). Fretheim noted that its use in the Old Testament for Israel’s God is “always with singular verbs” (1997, 1:405; cf. Archer, 1982, p. 74).
Some Hebrew scholars maintain that the plural form used to designate the one true God is the pluralis majestatis or excellentiae—the plural of majesty—or the plural of intensification, absolutization, or exclusivity (e.g., Fretheim, 1:405; Gesenius, 1847, p. 49; Harris, et al., p. 44; Mack, 1939, 2:1265; Reeve, 1939, 2:1270), although others question this usage (e.g., Grudem, 1994, p. 227; Jenni and Westermann, 1997, p. 116). In the case at hand, Satan was tempting Eve with the prospect of being like God—Whom she knew, and from Whom she (or at least her husband) had received previous communication (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:3). She knew nothing of other “gods”—pagan or otherwise. Since the term elohim occurs 58 times in the first three chapters of Genesis and is consistently rendered “God,” and since Satan himself used the term earlier in the same verse as well as four verses earlier (vs. 1) to refer to the one God, no contextual, grammatical, or lexical reason exists for rendering it “gods” in verse five. In fact, most of the major English translations properly render it “God” (e.g., NKJV, ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV). [See also the discussion in Clarke, n.d., 1:50, who noted that the ancient Syriac version rendered the term correctly].
Third, elohim in this verse has an attached prefix (Biblia Hebraica, 1967/77, p. 4)—what Hebrew scholars call an “inseparable preposition” (Weingreen, 1959, p. 26). In this case, the prepositional prefix is the eleventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the kaph, and means “like” or “as.” Satan was not saying that Eve would become God or a god; He was saying she would become like God. This realization brings us to a fourth point: the context stipulates in what way Eve would become like God. In the very verse under consideration, an explanatory phrase clarifies what Satan meant: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” (emp. added). This meaning is evident from subsequent references in the same chapter. When they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew…” (verse 7, emp. added). God commented: “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil” (verse 22, emp. added). In other words, Adam and Eve became like God in the sense that they now were privy to a greater breadth of awareness, understanding, and insight: “They now had a sufficient discovery of their sin and folly in disobeying the command of God; they could discern between good and evil; and what was the consequence? Confusion and shame were engendered, because innocence was lost and guilt contracted” (Clarke, p. 51). As Keil and Delitzsch summarized: “By eating the fruit, man did obtain the knowledge of good and evil, and in this respect became like God” (1976, 1:95, emp. added).
GOD OF GODSA third attempt to substantiate the Mormon doctrine of plural gods is the use of various verses from the Bible that speak of God being a “God of gods.” For example, on the occasion of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, the “Song of Moses” declared: “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods” (Exodus 15:11, emp. added). Forty years later, in his stirring challenge to the Israelites to be firm in their future commitment to God, he reminded them: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome” (Deuteronomy 10:17, emp. added). During the days of Joshua, some of the Israelites exclaimed: “The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, He knows” (Joshua 22:22, emp. added). These verses, and many more in the Bible, speak of “gods” in such a way that a cursory reading might leave one with the impression that the Bible teaches that “gods” actually existed. However, one cannot really study the Bible and come away with that conclusion. The Bible presents a thoroughgoing monotheistic view of reality. It repeatedly conveys the fact that “gods” are merely the figment of human imagination, invented by humans to provide themselves with exemption from following the one true God by living up to the higher standard of deity. Humans throughout history have conjured up their own imaginary gods to justify freedom from restriction and to excuse relaxed moral behavior.
Consequently, all verses in the Bible that use the term “gods” to refer to deity (with the exception of the one God) are referring to nonexistent deities that humans have invented. When God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, the very first one said: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Liberal higher critics of the Bible (like Wellhausen) have alleged that this dictum advocated only monolatry (exclusive worship of Yahweh) rather than actually denying the existence of other gods. Distinguished professor of Old Testament languages, Gleason Archer, has maintained, however, that “this construction of the words is quite unwarranted” (1974, p. 235). Many additional passages clarify the point. For example, the psalmist declared: “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96:4, emp. added). One might get the impression from this verse by itself that the psalmist thought that “gods” actually existed. However, the next verse sets the record straight: “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens” (vs. 5, emp. added). The Hebrew word for “idols” (elilim) means “of nothing, of nought, empty, vain” (Gesenius, p. 51). Notice carefully the contrast the psalmist was making. The people made their gods; but the one true God made the heavens (i.e., the Universe). The genuineness, reality, and greatness of God are placed in contrast to the people’s fake, nonexistent gods who could not make anything. Archer concluded: “This passage alone…demonstrates conclusively that the mention of ‘gods’ in the plural implied no admission of the actual existence of heathen gods in the first commandment” (1974, p. 236). As God Himself announced: “They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God” (Deuteronomy 32:21, emp. added).
The denunciation of the Israelites for conjuring up false gods—pretending that such actually existed, rather than devoting themselves exclusively to the one and only God—reached its zenith in the eloquent preaching pronouncements of the Old Testament prophets. Elijah treated the notion of the existence of gods in addition to the one God with sarcasm and forthright ridicule (1 Kings 18:27-29). The idea of multiple gods would have been laughable, if it were not so spiritually serious (cf. Psalm 115:2-8). The people on that occasion finally got the point, for they shouted: “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (vs. 39).
Likewise, the reality of monotheism was pure, well defined, and single minded for Jeremiah. He frequently chastised the people by accusing them of following gods that were, in fact, “not gods” (2:11; 5:7; 16:20). Isaiah was equally adamant and explicit:
You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; therefore you are My witnesses, says the Lord, that I am God. Indeed, before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it? (43:10-13, emp. added; cf. 37: 19; 40:18-20; 41; 44:8-24).Over and over, Isaiah recorded the exclusivity of the one true God: “I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me” (45:5, emp. added); “There is no other God” (45:14, emp. added); “I am the Lord, and there is no other” (45:18, emp. added).
The New Testament continues the same recognition of the nonexistence of deities beyond the one God Who exists in three persons. Paul reminded the Galatian Christians of their pre-Christian foolish belief in other deities: “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods” (4:8, emp. added). By definition, the “gods” that people claim actually exist are not gods! In his lengthy discussion of whether Christians were permitted to eat foods that had been sacrificed to pagan deities, Paul clarified succinctly the Bible position on the existence of so-called gods:
Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live (1 Corinthians 8:4-6, emp. added).In this passage, Paul declared very forthrightly that idols, and the gods they represent, are, in fact, nonentities. The RSV renders the meaning even more clearly: “We know that an idol has no real existence, and that there is no God but one” (emp. added).
Of course, Paul recognized and acknowledged that humans have worshipped imaginary, nonexistent gods in heaven (like Greek mythology advocated) and on Earth (in the form of idols). He used the figure of speech known as “metonymy of the adjunct,” where “things are spoken of according to appearance, opinions formed respecting them, or the claims made for them” (Bullinger, 1898, p. 597; Dungan, 1888, p. 295; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). He spoke of “gods” as if they existed, simply because many people of his day had that opinion. But Paul knew “there is no God but one.” As Allen observed: “The gods (i.e., the so-called divine beings contemplated by the pagans) represented by the images did not exist. …[T]hey were nothing as far as representing the deities envisioned by the heathen” (1975, p. 98, emp. added; cf. Kelcy, 1967, p. 38; Thomas, 1984, p. 30).
Paul continued his discussion of idols two chapters later, and again affirmed the nonexistence of any deities besides God: “What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?” (1 Corinthians 10:19). For Paul, it was technically permissible for a Christian to eat food that had previously been used in a pagan ceremony as an offering to a “god.” Why? Because such “gods” did not, and do not, actually exist—except in the mind of the worshipper (cf. 8:7-8)! Thus, the food used in such ceremonies was unaffected. However, the person who really thinks there are “gods,” and who then worships these imaginary “gods,” is, in actuality, worshipping demons (10:20)! Paul said there are only two possibilities: “But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons” (10:20-21). Paul envisioned no class of beings known as “gods.” There is only the one true God, and then there are the demons and forces of Satan (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:15-16). This bifurcation of the spiritual realm (i.e., God versus Satan and his forces) is the consistent portrait presented throughout the Bible. The Bible simply admits no knowledge or possibility of “gods.”
YE ARE GODSA final passage that is alleged to support the notion of “gods” is the statement made by Jesus when the Jews wanted to stone Him because He claimed divinity for Himself:
The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”?’ If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came…do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said, “I am the Son of God”? (John 10:33-36).Mormons allege that Jesus here endorsed the notion that men can become “gods.” But, of course, Jesus did no such thing. On this occasion, He appealed to an Old Testament context to deflect the barb of His critics. Psalm 82 is a passage that issued a scathing indictment of the unjust judges who had been assigned the responsibility of executing God’s justice among the people (cf. Deuteronomy 1:16; 19:17-18; Psalm 58). Such a magistrate was “God’s minister” (Romans 13:4) who acted in the place of God, wielding His authority, and who was responsible for mediating God’s help and justice (cf. Exodus 7:1). In this sense, they were “gods” (elohim)—acting as God to men (Barclay, 1956, 2:89). Hebrew parallelism clarifies this sense: “I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High’” (Psalm 82:6, emp. added). They did not share divinity with God—but merely delegated jurisdiction. They still were mere humans—although invested with divine authority, and permitted to act in God’s behalf.
This point is apparent throughout the Torah, where the term translated “judges” or “ruler” is often elohim (e.g., Exodus 21:6; 22:9,28). Take Moses as an example. Moses was not a “god.” Yet God told Moses that when he went to Egypt to achieve the release of the Israelites, he would be “God” to his brother Aaron and to Pharaoh (Exodus 4:16; 7:1). He meant that Moses would supply both his brother and Pharaoh with the words that came from God. Though admittedly a rather rare use of elohim, nevertheless “it shows that the word translated ‘god’ in that place might be applied to man” (Barnes, 1949, p. 294, emp. in orig.). Clarke summarized this point: “Ye are my representatives, and are clothed with my power and authority to dispense judgment and justice, therefore all of them are said to be children of the Most High” (3:479, emp. in orig.). But because they had shirked their awesome responsibility to represent God’s will fairly and accurately, and because they had betrayed the sacred trust bestowed upon them by God Himself, He decreed death upon them (vs. 7). Obviously, they were not “gods,” since God could and would execute them!
Jesus marshaled this Old Testament psalm to thwart His opponents’ attack, while simultaneously reaffirming His deity (which is the central feature of the book of John—20:30-31). He made shrewd use of syllogistic argumentation by reasoning a minori ad majus (see Lenski, 1943, pp. 765-770; cf. Fishbane, 1985, p. 420). “Jesus is here arguing like a rabbi from a lesser position to a greater position, a ‘how much more’ argument very popular among the rabbis” (Pack, 1975, 1:178). In fact, “it is an argument which to a Jewish Rabbi would have been entirely convincing. It was just the kind of argument, an argument founded on a word of scripture, which the Rabbis loved to use and found most unanswerable” (Barclay, 1956, p. 90).
Jesus identified the unjust judges of Israel as persons “to whom the word of God came” (John 10:35). That is, they had been “appointed judges by Divine commission” (Butler, 1961, p. 127)—by “the command of God; his commission to them to do justice” (Barnes, 1949, p. 294, emp. in orig.; cf. Jeremiah 1:2; Ezekiel 1:3; Luke 3:2). McGarvey summarized the ensuing argument of Jesus: “If it was not blasphemy to call those gods who so remotely represented the Deity, how much less did Christ blaspheme in taking unto himself a title to which he had a better right than they, even in the subordinate sense of being a mere messenger” (n.d., p. 487). Charles Erdman observed:
By his defense Jesus does not renounce his claim to deity; but he argues that if the judges, who represented Jehovah in their appointed office, could be called “gods,” in the Hebrew scriptures, it could not be blasphemy for him, who was the final and complete revelation of God, to call himself “the Son of God (1922, pp. 95-96; cf. Morris, 1971, pp. 527-528).This verse teaches the exact opposite of what Mormons would like for it to teach! It brings into stark contrast the deity—the Godhood—of Christ (and His Father Who “sanctified and sent” Him—vs. 36) with the absence of deity for all others! There are no other “gods” in the sense of deity, i.e., eternality and infinitude in all attributes. Jesus verified this very conclusion by directing the attention of His accusers to the “works” that He performed (vs. 37-38). These “works” (i.e., miraculous signs) proved the divine identity of Jesus to the exclusion of all other alleged deities. Archer concluded: “By no means, then, does our Lord imply here that we are sons of God just as He is—except for a lower level of holiness and virtue. No misunderstanding could be more wrongheaded than that” (1982, p. 374). Indeed, the Mormon notion of a plurality of gods is “wrongheaded,” as is the accompanying claim that humans can become gods.
CONCLUSIONIt is unthinkable that the consistent prohibition of polytheism and idolatry throughout the Bible would or could give way to the completely contrary notion that, as a matter of fact, many gods do exist, and that these gods are merely exalted humans who now rule over their own worlds even as God and Christ rule over theirs. It is likewise outlandish—and contradictory—that humans would be required to worship God and Christ—while being banned from worshipping these other gods. The fact of the matter is that “historic Hebrew is unquestionably and uniformly monotheistic” (Mack, 1939, 2:1265). The same may be said of historic Christianity. To think otherwise is pure pagan hocus-pocus—“a mere creation of the imagination, a mere matter of superstition” (Erdman, 1928, p. 78, emp. added).
REFERENCESAllen, Jimmy (1975), Survey of 1 Corinthians (Searcy, AR: Privately published by author).
Archer, Gleason L. (1974), A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL: Moody), revised edition.
Archer, Gleason L. (1982), An Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Barclay, William (1956), The Gospel of John (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press), second edition.
Barnes, Albert (1949 reprint), Notes on the New Testament: Luke and John (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Bickersteth, Edward (no date), The Trinity (MacDill AFB, FL: MacDonald Publishing).
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1967/77), (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung).
Boles, H. Leo (1942), The Holy Spirit: His Personality, Nature, Works (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate, 1971 reprint).
Book of Mormon (1981 reprint), (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Bullinger, E.W. (1898), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968 reprint).
Butler, Paul (1961), The Gospel of John (Joplin, MO: College Press).
Chadwick, Henry (1967), The Early Church (New York: Penguin Books).
Clarke, Adam (no date), Clarke’s Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury).
Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Erdman, Charles (1922), The Gospel of John (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster).
Erdman, Charles (1928), The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster).
Fishbane, Michael (1985), Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Fretheim, Terence (1997), “elohim,” The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, ed. Willem VanGemeren (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1979 reprint.
Grudem, Wayne (1994), Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Harris, R. Laird, Gleason Archer, Jr. and Bruce Waltke, eds. (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Jenni, Ernst and Claus Westermann (1997), Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (Peabody, MS: Hendrickson).
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1976 reprint), Commentary on the Old Testament: The Pentateuch (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Kelcy, Raymond C. (1967), First Corinthians (Austin, TX: Sweet).
Lanier, Roy H., Sr. (1974), The Timeless Trinity for the Ceaseless Centuries (Denver, CO: Roy H. Lanier, Sr.).
Lenski, R.C.H. (1943), The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Leupold, Herbert C. (1942), Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1950 reprint).
Mack, Edward (1939), “Names of God,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974 reprint).
McConkie, Bruce (1979), Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft).
McGarvey, J.W. (n.d.), The Fourfold Gospel (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Is the Book of Mormon From God?” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2243
Morris, Leon (1971), The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Pack, Frank (1975), The Gospel According to John (Austin, TX: Sweet).
Pearl of Great Price (1981 reprint), (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Reeve, J.J. (1939), “Gods,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 1974 reprint.
Ringgren, Helmer (1974), “elohim,” Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Schaff, Philip (1910), History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979 reprint).
Tanner, Jerald and Sandra (1972), Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? (Salt Lake City, UT: Modern Microfilm).
Thayer, Joseph H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
“The Testimony of Three Witnesses” (1981 reprint), Introduction to the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Thomas, J.D. (1984), The Message of the New Testament: First Corinthians (Abilene, TX: Biblical Research Press).
Vine, W.E. (1966 reprint), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).
Walker, Williston (1970), A History of the Christian Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons).
Warfield, Benjamin (1939a), “Trinity,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974 reprint).
Warfield, Benjamin (1939b), “Godhead,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974 reprint).
Weingreen, J. (1959), A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew (Oxford: Oxford University Press), second edition.
Satan is not omniscient! Satan isn’t omnipotent! Satan is not omnipresent! The idea that he can and does read the thoughts of billions of people, that he can and does construct and customize temptations to suit our make-up, that he is everywhere at the same time constructing custom made temptations for every person on the planet is not only false, it is injurious. By the time I hear this (and I hear and read it more often that I care to) I know I’m being “tempted” to think there are two Gods rather than one. I hear that Satan has control of planetary weather conditions like Tornadoes or hurricanes that can blow your house down and kill your children; that he is in control of lightning storms that can burn up crops, that he can gather together marauding armies to steal and devastate property, that he has get into your body and bend your spine double, gives you disease, ulcers and kill you. The power some of us ascribe to him is limitless.
I hear that if we don’t take such a Satan seriously, a Satan like that, that we don’t take Sin seriously.
I think if we did take such a Satan seriously that we would NOT take our Sin seriously! We’d put all the blame on him and excuse ourselves.
I think if he knew everything he wouldn’t have wasted his time tempting Jesus and he would have worked to keep Him from the Cross rather than using Judas to get Him put on it.
And God gave JESUS a name that is above EVERY name…God raised Him and set Him at his own right hand, far above all principalities, powers, might and dominion and above EVERY name that is named, not only in this world but in the world to come.
More to come, God enabling.
TOTALLY DEPRAVED AND GUILTY OF SIN AT BIRTH? by steve finnell
According to the false doctrine of John Calvin all men are guilty of sin and totally depraved at birth because of the original sin of Adam.
Man's own sin and wickedness separates him from God. Do not blame Adam.
Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.(NKJV)
The wicked go astray, they are not born wicked. They are not born astray.
Genesis 1:26 The God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness....(NKJV)
God created man in His own likeness. God is not totally depraved nor is He guilty of sin. Man was not, nor is he created totally depraved, nor guilty of sin.
James 3:9 With it we bless our God and Father, and curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.(NKJV)
Men have been made in the likeness of God. Men are and were not created depraved and sinful in the womb.
Proverbs 11:18-19 The wicked man does deceptive work, But to him who sows righteousness will be a sure reward. 19 As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.(NKJV)
If all men are born totally depraved, then no man could pursue righteousness. The wicked pursue evil, they are not born evil.
Ezekiel 18:21 "But if a wicked man turns from all his sin which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.(NKJV)
How would it be possible for a wicked man to turn from his sins if he was born totally depraved? Notice it does not say turn from the sin Adam committed. Men are not born totally depraved and guilty of Adam's sin. Men become wicked by choice.
Proverbs 10:16 The labor of the righteous leads to life, The wages of the wicked to sin.(NKJV)
Totally depraved men cannot labor in righteousness.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned---(NKJV)
All men die spiritually, and physically---because all men sin. Men are not born guilty of Adam's sin nor are they born totally depraved.
The doctrine of original sin, that being, because Adam sinned all men are born totally depraved and guilty of Adam's sin is not found in Scripture.
The truth of the matter is, Satan was the original sinner and even he was not created totally depraved.
Ezekiel 28:11-15......15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.(NKJV)
Satan was created perfect and became the original sinner.
1 John 3:8 ...for the devil has sinned from the beginning..(NKJV)
Are all who have been created guilty of Satan's sin? Of course not.
Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eye, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of it and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.(NKJV)
All men are created sinless and become sinners, because they sin.
King Of The Jews“And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written” (John 19:17-22).
The term, “King of the Jews” is used 18 times in the New Testament scriptures, each time referring to Jesus. At the time of Jesus’ birth (Matt 2:2), there was a prevalent expectation that some remarkable person was about to emerge in Judea. The Jews were anxiously looking for the coming of the Messiah. By computing the time mentioned by Daniel (Dan 9:25-27), they knew that the period was approaching when He would appear.
The person they were looking for was to be a prince, and they were expecting that He would deliver them from Roman bondage. Naturally, this expectation spread to other countries. At the time, many Jews lived in Egypt, Rome and Greece. Also many had gone to Eastern countries, and in every place they carried their sacred writings and talked of their expectation that some noteworthy person was about to arise.
The Jews were looking for the kingdom of God (Luke 3:15; 17:20 ; John 1:41). Daniel had prophesied that this kingdom would be established in the days of Roman domination (Dan 2:44).
By the time Christ was born, Rome had ruled the world for about 80 years, and the Jews knew the kingdom could come any time. If the Jews could find the king, they could find the kingdom (John 1:41; 3:28; 4:28-29; 4:42; 7:41; 10:24). Although the Jews looked for the kingdom, because of envy, they crucified the very one the multitudes identified as the king.
Whether or not Pilate was convinced of what he wrote, he used three languages to write for the world to see that Jesus was the king of the Jews (Luke 23:38)! He rejected the Jews’ demand to alter the writing or remove it (John 19:19-22).
Even the thief testified that Jesus’ kingdom would be set up after His death (Luke 23:42). Peter accused the Jews of crucifying their king (Acts 4:10), and on the day of Pentecost, Peter proved that God had foreordained that the king of the kingdom would be put to death (Act 2:23). It was not until after His death that Jesus was crowned with all power in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18).
Jesus is king over his spiritual kingdom. Only his citizens can claim him as their king (John 18:36). Jesus was made both Lord and Christ. The name Christ means anointed one. Jesus is both Lord and king (Acts 2:36). He is Lord over all men (Acts 10:36). He is King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 17:14; 19:16).
Jesus has been exalted with authority on this earth and in heaven (Mt 28:18). Jesus is not seated as king of a physical nation (John 8:23). He is king of the Jews but only in a spiritual sense (Rom 9:6-7). His kingdom is not of this world; it is not a physical kingdom (John 18:36). He is king of all people who are spiritual Jews (Rom 2:28-29). He is king of those who are translated into his marvelous kingdom (Col 1:13).
The king of the Jews has made all his subjects priests to offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet 2:5-9; Heb 13:15). If his people suffer with him, He will make them kings to reign with him (2 Tim 2:12). If his citizens overcome the battle with Satan He will give them power over the nations as He received of his Father (Rev 2:26-27). If his citizens overcome they will reign with him forever and ever (Rev 22:5).
Blessed be the King of the Jews! (Luke 19:38).
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.
The King James Version.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
Bible Reading March 2 & 3
World English Bible
Exo 12:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
Exo 12:2 "This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you.
Exo 12:3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, 'On the tenth day of this month, they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household;
Exo 12:4 and if the household is too little for a lamb, then he and his neighbor next to his house shall take one according to the number of the souls; according to what everyone can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.
Exo 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats:
Exo 12:6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at evening.
Exo 12:7 They shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel, on the houses in which they shall eat it.
Exo 12:8 They shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted with fire, and unleavened bread. They shall eat it with bitter herbs.
Exo 12:9 Don't eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted with fire; with its head, its legs and its inner parts.
Exo 12:10 You shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; but that which remains of it until the morning you shall burn with fire.
Exo 12:11 This is how you shall eat it: with your waist girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is Yahweh's Passover.
Exo 12:12 For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and animal. Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am Yahweh.
Exo 12:13 The blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be on you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
Exo 12:14 This day shall be to you for a memorial, and you shall keep it a feast to Yahweh: throughout your generations you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.
Exo 12:15 " 'Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away yeast out of your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
Exo 12:16 In the first day there shall be to you a holy convocation, and in the seventh day a holy convocation; no manner of work shall be done in them, except that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you.
Exo 12:17 You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this same day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance forever.
Exo 12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty first day of the month at evening.
Exo 12:19 Seven days shall there be no yeast found in your houses, for whoever eats that which is leavened, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a foreigner, or one who is born in the land.
Exo 12:20 You shall eat nothing leavened. In all your habitations you shall eat unleavened bread.' "
Exo 12:21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, "Draw out, and take lambs according to your families, and kill the Passover.
Exo 12:22 You shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.
Exo 12:23 For Yahweh will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel, and on the two doorposts, Yahweh will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to strike you.
Exo 12:24 You shall observe this thing for an ordinance to you and to your sons forever.
Exo 12:25 It shall happen when you have come to the land which Yahweh will give you, according as he has promised, that you shall keep this service.
Exo 12:26 It will happen, when your children ask you, 'What do you mean by this service?'
Exo 12:27 that you shall say, 'It is the sacrifice of Yahweh's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians, and spared our houses.' " The people bowed their heads and worshiped.
Exo 12:28 The children of Israel went and did so; as Yahweh had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
Exo 12:29 It happened at midnight, that Yahweh struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of livestock.
Exo 12:30 Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
Exo 12:31 He called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel; and go, serve Yahweh, as you have said!
Exo 12:32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also!"
Exo 12:33 The Egyptians were urgent with the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, "We are all dead men."
Exo 12:34 The people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.
Exo 12:35 The children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they asked of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing.
Exo 12:36 Yahweh gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. They despoiled the Egyptians.
Exo 12:37 The children of Israel traveled from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot who were men, besides children.
Exo 12:38 A mixed multitude went up also with them, with flocks, herds, and even very much livestock.
Exo 12:39 They baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt; for it wasn't leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt, and couldn't wait, neither had they prepared for themselves any food.
Exo 12:40 Now the time that the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years.
Exo 12:41 It happened at the end of four hundred thirty years, even the same day it happened, that all the armies of Yahweh went out from the land of Egypt.
Exo 12:42 It is a night to be much observed to Yahweh for bringing them out from the land of Egypt. This is that night of Yahweh, to be much observed of all the children of Israel throughout their generations.
Exo 12:43 Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the ordinance of the Passover. There shall no foreigner eat of it,
Exo 12:44 but every man's servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then shall he eat of it.
Exo 12:45 A foreigner and a hired servant shall not eat of it.
Exo 12:46 In one house shall it be eaten; you shall not carry forth anything of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall you break a bone of it.
Exo 12:47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
Exo 12:48 When a stranger shall live as a foreigner with you, and will keep the Passover to Yahweh, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one who is born in the land: but no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.
Exo 12:49 One law shall be to him who is born at home, and to the stranger who lives as a foreigner among you."
Exo 12:50 All the children of Israel did so. As Yahweh commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
Exo 12:51 It happened the same day, that Yahweh brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.
Exo 13:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 13:2 "Sanctify to me all of the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal. It is mine."
Exo 13:3 Moses said to the people, "Remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand Yahweh brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.
Exo 13:4 This day you go forth in the month Abib.
Exo 13:5 It shall be, when Yahweh shall bring you into the land of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month.
Exo 13:6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to Yahweh.
Exo 13:7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and no leavened bread shall be seen with you, neither shall there be yeast seen with you, in all your borders.
Exo 13:8 You shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'It is because of that which Yahweh did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.'
Exo 13:9 It shall be for a sign to you on your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the law of Yahweh may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand Yahweh has brought you out of Egypt.
Exo 13:10 You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.
Exo 13:11 "It shall be, when Yahweh shall bring you into the land of the Canaanite, as he swore to you and to your fathers, and shall give it you,
Exo 13:12 that you shall set apart to Yahweh all that opens the womb, and every firstborn which you have that comes from an animal. The males shall be Yahweh's.
Exo 13:13 Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and you shall redeem all the firstborn of man among your sons.
Exo 13:14 It shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What is this?' that you shall tell him, 'By strength of hand Yahweh brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage;
Exo 13:15 and it happened, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that Yahweh killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of animal. Therefore I sacrifice to Yahweh all that opens the womb, being males; but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.'
Exo 13:16 It shall be for a sign on your hand, and for symbols between your eyes: for by strength of hand Yahweh brought us forth out of Egypt."
Exo 13:17 It happened, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God didn't lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, "Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt;"
Exo 13:18 but God led the people around by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.
Exo 13:19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the children of Israel swear, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones away from here with you."
Exo 13:20 They took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
Exo 13:21 Yahweh went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them on their way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, that they might go by day and by night:
Exo 13:22 the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, didn't depart from before the people.
Mar 3:1 He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had his hand withered.
Mar 3:2 They watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse him.
Mar 3:3 He said to the man who had his hand withered, "Stand up."
Mar 3:4 He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?" But they were silent.
Mar 3:5 When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other.
Mar 3:6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
Mar 3:7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with his disciples, and a great multitude followed him from Galilee, from Judea,
Mar 3:8 from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, beyond the Jordan, and those from around Tyre and Sidon. A great multitude, hearing what great things he did, came to him.
Mar 3:9 He spoke to his disciples that a little boat should stay near him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn't press on him.
Mar 3:10 For he had healed many, so that as many as had diseases pressed on him that they might touch him.
Mar 3:11 The unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, "You are the Son of God!"
Mar 3:12 He sternly warned them that they should not make him known.
Mar 3:13 He went up into the mountain, and called to himself those whom he wanted, and they went to him.
Mar 3:14 He appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach,
Mar 3:15 and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:
Mar 3:16 Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter;
Mar 3:17 James the son of Zebedee; John, the brother of James, and he surnamed them Boanerges, which means, Sons of Thunder;
Mar 3:18 Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James, the son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot;
Mar 3:19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. He came into a house.
Mar 3:20 The multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
Mar 3:21 When his friends heard it, they went out to seize him: for they said, "He is insane."
Mar 3:22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul," and, "By the prince of the demons he casts out the demons."
Mar 3:23 He summoned them, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?
Mar 3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mar 3:25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Mar 3:26 If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can't stand, but has an end.
Mar 3:27 But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder, unless he first binds the strong man; and then he will plunder his house.
Mar 3:28 Most certainly I tell you, all sins of the descendants of man will be forgiven, including their blasphemies with which they may blaspheme;
Mar 3:29 but whoever may blaspheme against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"
Mar 3:30 -because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."
Mar 3:31 His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him.
Mar 3:32 A multitude was sitting around him, and they told him, "Behold, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you."
Mar 3:33 He answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"
Mar 3:34 Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, "Behold, my mother and my brothers!
Mar 3:35 For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."
Mar 4:1 Again he began to teach by the seaside. A great multitude was gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat in the sea, and sat down. All the multitude were on the land by the sea.
Mar 4:2 He taught them many things in parables, and told them in his teaching,
Mar 4:3 "Listen! Behold, the farmer went out to sow,
Mar 4:4 and it happened, as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and devoured it.
Mar 4:5 Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil.
Mar 4:6 When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Mar 4:7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
Mar 4:8 Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some brought forth thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much."
Mar 4:9 He said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear."
Mar 4:10 When he was alone, those who were around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.
Mar 4:11 He said to them, "To you is given the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables,
Mar 4:12 that 'seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest perhaps they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven them.' "
Mar 4:13 He said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How will you understand all of the parables?
Mar 4:14 The farmer sows the word.
Mar 4:15 The ones by the road are the ones where the word is sown; and when they have heard, immediately Satan comes, and takes away the word which has been sown in them.
Mar 4:16 These in like manner are those who are sown on the rocky places, who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with joy.
Mar 4:17 They have no root in themselves, but are short-lived. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they stumble.
Mar 4:18 Others are those who are sown among the thorns. These are those who have heard the word,
Mar 4:19 and the cares of this age, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Mar 4:20 Those which were sown on the good ground are those who hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, some thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times."
Mar 4:21 He said to them, "Is the lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn't it put on a stand?
Mar 4:22 For there is nothing hidden, except that it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light.
Mar 4:23 If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."
Mar 4:24 He said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you, and more will be given to you who hear.
Mar 4:25 For whoever has, to him will more be given, and he who doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken away from him."
Mar 4:26 He said, "The Kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed on the earth,
Mar 4:27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he doesn't know how.
Mar 4:28 For the earth bears fruit: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
Mar 4:29 But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts forth the sickle, because the harvest has come."
Mar 4:30 He said, "How will we liken the Kingdom of God? Or with what parable will we illustrate it?
Mar 4:31 It's like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, though it is less than all the seeds that are on the earth,
Mar 4:32 yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all the herbs, and puts out great branches, so that the birds of the sky can lodge under its shadow."
Mar 4:33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it.
Mar 4:34 Without a parable he didn't speak to them; but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
Mar 4:35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let's go over to the other side."
Mar 4:36 Leaving the multitude, they took him with them, even as he was, in the boat. Other small boats were also with him.
Mar 4:37 A big wind storm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so much that the boat was already filled.
Mar 4:38 He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up, and told him, "Teacher, don't you care that we are dying?"
Mar 4:39 He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" The wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Mar 4:40 He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?"Mar 4:41 They were greatly afraid, and said to one another,
"Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"