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Posts Tagged ‘Evolution’

God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1st Corinthians 14:33). Remember that verse, and that we should not blame God when life leaves us dumfounded. Man has created an environment that isn’t conductive to reason or peace, and there is little time to figure life out. Sometimes even truthful people word things poorly, and sometimes there are no “right” words. We misunderstand a lot of things. The truth of life is not going to come easy.

God is not the creator of confusion, yet there is a fight over practically every word of the Bible, as well as over everything else in the world. All human beings suffer from the effects of Eden’s tree of knowledge (Genesis 3:1-5). A little bit of “learning” along some branch of knowledge and we think we know what we need to know. All people in all fields disagree amongst themselves, and the best ideas and explanations are often lost in the babel.

False beliefs, lies, things that are not true cause our confusion. Some people call it all “God’s will,” but it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18). Man however, is very creative when it comes to falsehood (Romans 3:4). Much of what we’re taught is purely theoretical, and at the same time man has forgotten the more important things (Romans 1:28, 1st Corinthians 8:2, & 13:2).

I honestly believe that God deeply desires to prove himself to man, but how is the best way to do this with such unreasonable creatures? The ways in which we attempt to test him are shallow and unfair. Our “tests” for God are usually ultimatums requiring him to override the freewill of other human beings or to cater to us in some way.

Before the fall of man, nature would have been a good witness for God, but now it seems to tell two different stories. Nature yet testifies of God, but it also shows evidence that something is very wrong with our world. Besides knowing that God exists we also need to understand that he is good, and that we fall somewhat short of that concept.

Knowledge can be abused and used deceptively, and we have an adversary who is “a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). The “forbidden fruit” has infected the interpretation of all knowledge. How is God supposed to prove his love to a dying world which cannot be sustained in its present condition? What would it take to actually change this insane world? Perhaps, very carefully chosen words could say it, if we had time to listen, but not in the babel where we exist.

What if God were willing to come down to us, die with us, offer resurrection and paradise to whoever will trust him (Luke 23:42-43, John 3:16). According to the Bible record, that’s what God has done. His suffering and death on the cross proves his love to us in a way that nothing else would. God becomes one of us, and his cross cuts through all of man’s high-minded theological confusion. It cuts to the heart of love. God is offering us a new world where confusion does not reign, and lies can’t divide us (John 10:10).

Satan is a liar, and the father of it. By persuading Adam and Eve to believe a lie in the garden of Eden, he stole the life of mankind. Don’t let the thief by whatever trick of ideology or theology destroy the simplicity of the words of the promise of Jesus. Talk is cheap among human beings but that isn’t God’s fault.

People treat words as meaningless, and that leads to more and more trouble. It means that God had to sacrifice himself in order to reach us. Sometimes, even that doesn’t touch us. Please believe the records of Jesus contained in the Bible. Believe the evidence. It makes sense. Then trust that his sacrifice will sustain us. In time, beyond the final Antichrist, we will experience the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus. It isn’t a testimony written in words only but in the life-blood of our creator. (Hebrews 1:1-2).

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There are things that are done intentionally to keep his memory alive. It isn’t wrong to speak of him in this manner if it helps us to understand some things. As a general rule, it is something the world works hard at forgetting.

That is natural when something reminds us of a bad mistake we have made. Ignorance may be bliss, but that is only so long as it lasts. Sooner or later, we stumble upon reality. I believe the only true escape is forgiveness, and to go right through the midst of the truth. Unless we accept this, I fear it is not the last of our serious mistakes. It isn’t right to want to forget him, even though his presence may remind us of something we dislike in ourselves.

He was a scientist, an artist, infinitely creative, not someone to leave the canvas blank. He could bring his thoughts to life. Was that his undoing, or is the story even yet not fully told? His knowledge and talent enabled him to create many wonders, yet he himself never changed. Always humble, though he created worlds, he condescended to live in this one.

He loved us, and that was certainly his undoing, but he expected it all along. He was murdered, but he had prepared himself for it. I don’t believe that his spirit rests in the same place as those who killed him. Neither do I believe that his body rests in the same earth. There is good evidence that he is back alive.

This may be beginning to sound like science fiction, but it is only yesterday’s news. It doesn’t suit evolutionary philosophy to admit it, but if scientists can believe that energy or matter came from nothing, and that life arose spontaneously from inorganic matter, then surely they could understand that resurrection is possible. Science is living in denial at the moment. That will no doubt continue as long as a meeting with reality (the Logos, or Reason, John 1:1) can be avoided.

In this writing, I have avoided using his name to this point because his name is so maligned. Many people are offended by it the moment it is spoken. We should ask ourselves why. Is it really because of him, or is it because others have marred his name to the point that it is mud to the earth? I believe that if we take an unbiased look at him, we’ll find he’s not to blame, and that we are guilty instead.

I think my previous posts have shown sufficient evidence from the Bible, and from history, that God is perfectly fine with the name of Jesus. I understand the temptation to keep the name of the Lord silent. People may shun you, or much worse, in some circles. The persecution of those who believe in him remains a harsh reality in much of the world.

Sometimes we must attempt to cope with great injustice. Life isn’t fair, but I think these things are part of the reason why the name is so special to God. If your offspring had the same experience as Jesus, then you would feel pretty much the same way that God feels. I think this is why God desires that we pray “in the name of Jesus.” Our love and acceptance of Jesus would naturally open some doors with God.

What happens when we pray? It is good to pray, whether or not we feel like we are getting answers. Prayer helps us to battle concerns and worries that would make mental slaves of us. It helps us to free our thoughts from things that consume our life. Even if releasing the words of our prayers is a struggle, and a thousand things interrupt us, prayer is worth it. It is more than an attempt at communication with God. It is a fight for freedom, and God does hear us, for his name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).

God wants contact with us. Though he paid a terrible price to do so, he has revealed himself to this world through his son, Jesus Christ. “Good Friday” was salvation for us, though a black day for him. But Happy Easter Sonday; the EastStar, “the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16), “the Sun of righteousness” is risen (Malachi 4:2, ref. my previous post). Celebrate the day, in the name of Jesus.

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Long before the birth of the Christ, ancient civilizations were aware of the prophecy that God would send his son into this world. Though commonly known, it was yet little understood. What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if you can tell? This question, asked by the writer of Proverbs 30:4, is very important. The preceding lines of the verse establish that the writer is speaking of the name of God, and the name of the Son of God.

Psalm 2 is one such prophecy. It predicts the rage of this world against “his Anointed.” Those words are translated as “his Christ,” in the Greek Septuagint, a translation of the Old Testament from the pre-Christian era. Psalm 2:7 calls this Christ, the “Son.” According to John 1:1-3 and 1:14, Christ is the “Word” who pre-existed as God, before his advent into this world. If the prophecies had been made any plainer, there would probably have been even more false claims to Christ’s position than have occurred.

“Why do you ask my name, since it is secret?” This question was asked by the “angel of the Lord,” who appeared to Manoah and his wife predicting the birth of Samson (from “Shemeshone,” meaning “sunshine” in Hebrew). “Shemesh,” means “sun,” and “shamash,” means “servant”). It’s possible that even in those ancient days, common usage of “The Name” was being avoided. The Hebrew word translated as “Secret” in Judges 13:18 of the King James Version, is translated as “Wonderful,” in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, …and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

The secret name is “YHWH.” Without even knowing its story, our world has been profoundly affected by “The Name.” It is the personal name of God from the Hebrew language, and it is linked linguistically with the Greek word for “son.” Though it appears many times in the Jewish scriptures, those who follow the orthodox Jewish religion do not read the name, nor any of its transliterated forms aloud. Even when reading silently, they are trained to substitute other titles for God, terms such as “Adonai” (Lord), or “HaShem” (The Name).

In deference to this tradition, most translators have substituted words that mean “Lord” as the Bible has been interpreted into other languages. Scriptures that originally used “YHWH” in various combinations with “Adonai,” or “Elohim,” the Hebrew word for “God,” were rendered “Lord God” in older translations such as the King James version. It has now become “Sovereign Lord,” in modern Bibles such as the New International version.

The result of deeming “YHWH” to be “the unutterable name,” is that many implications of related families of words and names have become unknown, and the name YHWH is found in very few translations (Ref. “Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, the Secret of YHWH,” and other posts in my November 2011 archives, plus all posts in my April 2015 through August 2015 archives. See also my page, “the Messiah,” accessible from the “Home” page of my blog). Note that the Hebrew letter “Vav,” also serves as a “U,” and a “W.”

Who is Jeus Kurios? That is my question. “Google” search suggests Jesus Kurios. That is an excellent suggestion. “Kurios,” the Greek word for “Lord,” is of the same word family as “Christ” (ref. “Crystal, Chrysalis, and Christ,” in my July 2010 archives). “Jeus,” “Ieus,” or “Ias,” as in “Elias” (Helias), the Greek form of “Elijah,” are transliterated forms of “YHWH.” The name “Jeus,” would be commonplace if existing conventions in transliteration had been followed consistently throughout the Bible. “Yah,” or “ia,” is a common shortened form.

I have heard that some ancient church writings represent “YHWH” as “Iaous.” “Iesous,” is the Greek form of the name Jesus. The Hebrew form of “Jesus” is derived from YHWH, and the Greek follows in the same tradition. The actual origin of the term “Jews,” was probably “Jeus,” being derived from the name of God, rather than the Old Testament name of “Judah.” This would lend new meaning to 2nd Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, called by my name, will humble themselves and pray….”

There is a lot of “debate” over incorrect transliterations, but these necessary patterns and procedures have been in use since ancient days. Some of the conventions have existed for thousands of years, and are probably a direct result of the confusion of languages at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

In a Greek transliteration of a name such as “YHWH,” “Y,” becomes an “I,” and “H,” becomes an “E,” except at the end of masculine names and such, where an “S,” is used instead. “W,” (or “V”) becomes a “U,” an “OU,” or just an “O.” “J,” is a common transliteration for “I,” in the Old English language. Many spelling variations are common, especially in the use of vowels, as could be expected. Also, many ancient spellings were invented to differentiate between words with similar sounds and meanings. The same thing happens today.

To add to the general confusion of transliteration, although the Greek language has no proper “y,” an upper case “u” (upsilon), is represented by a symbol with a similar shape to an uppercase “Y,” and a lower case “g” (gamma), is shaped like a lower case “y.”

Many Greek words related to brightness contain prefixes or suffixes of “os,” “as,” “oi,” or “ia,”as can be seen in the words for, “bright,” “morning,” and “star,” in Revelation 22:16. “Aster,” is the Greek word meaning “star” in that verse. In Hebrew, one of several corresponding syllabics is “esh” (ref. “Shemeshone” above), “ash,” or “ah.” The most commonly used Hebrew form of the name “Jesus,” is “Yeshua.” The Greek word for “sun” (or “ray”), is “helios,” and the biblical symbolism surrounding the “sun,” and the “son,” is evident in that language. The Greek word for “son,” is “uios” (pronounced “huios”).

The meaning of the name Elias (Helias), the Greek form of “Elijah,” is “God of Jehovah” (God YHWH). “El,” means “God,” and remember that “Ias,” is a form of “YHWH.” Now, is it only coincidence that the name, “Helias,” and the word for the sun, “helios,” are so similar? There are far too many “coincidences” of this sort for that to be true. It makes more sense to think that symbolism, designed into human language, foretells the story of God’s “Son,” and coincides with Old Testament prophecies later fulfilled by Jesus. Some things in life become “incidental” due to a pre-existing foundation. By the way, in Zechariah 6:11,12 of the Septuagint, the name “Joshua, the son of Josedech,” is translated as “Jesus,” and the name “Josedech” means “righteousness.” That is another prophecy concerning “the name.”

“Helos,” a Greek word for “spikes,” or “nails,” is from the same word family as “Helios.” The connection is that a spike has a form similar to a ray of the sun. “Helos” is translated as “nails,” in the words of “doubting Thomas” in John 20:25. Stauros is the Greek word for “cross.”

I realize that this writing may seem to spin the mind in circles, but I am certain these things are more than linguistic “coincidences.” Our planet orbits the “sun,” and our lives should center around the “Son.” It may be difficult to admit, but I think that all the evidence indicates that Iesous (Jesus) is indeed “Yah’s son.” The words, “Yah’s son,” could be translated and transliterated, and represented by the Greek spelling “Iasuios.” Perhaps it should be. When I see the name “Ies,” “Ias” (Yah), and the word “Uios” (Son), they certainly appear connected. These Greek words seem to be as old as the language itself. If so, then it is direct evidence supporting the biblical account of the tower of Babel.

Much history and symbolism from the Bible record became food for imagination in the ancient Pagan mind, and altered forms of God’s name were associated with idols and forces of nature. Pagans today claim to have originated all the celebrations in nature, but God created the people who became pagans, as well as all of nature. We can’t blame God for our twists on everything.

Jesus is Theos (the Greek word for God) and TheEos (the dawn, or the east), the Easter (ref. “Dawn of the Rising Son,” in my April 2011 archives). Jesus is the bright and morning “astar.” How can anyone think that Easter isn’t about Jesus? His story was written in the formation of human language, and in the cosmos above.

The “secret name” identifies Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, Malachi’s, “Sun of Righteousness,” Zechariah’s, “Jesus the son of righteousness,” the Son of God and man, predicted in the Old Testament. May the helos of helios in the hands of Iesous, pierce the grey sky of Earth’s morning, and bid you “Hello,” from YHWH Theos.

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There is a lot of basic doctrine to be found in the pattern for prayer that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13. It is usually called “The Lord’s Prayer,” but it is actually a general prayer guide for his followers. It was given at the request of one of his disciples (Luke 11:1-4). I don’t see anything in the Bible that annuls this pattern or supersedes its particular doctrines. As usual, please forgive my inconsistent grammar in this writing.

“Our Father in Heaven,” I am glad that you have a haven where all would be welcomed if all would welcome you; a place where you can take us when this world becomes more than can be borne. Evolutionists believe in “Father Time,” but time is not our father. Time is a creation of God, our caring Father.

“Hallowed be your name.” The name of God; the name of Jesus, is despised, dishonored, and dragged through the mud.

“Your kingdom come.” The peaceful kingdom where the lion eats straw like the ox will become a reality. This earth whose nations now reject you, and wage war upon each other, will one day become a world where there will no more hurt or destruction. Your kingdom will become a physical reality (Isaiah 11:6-9).

“Your will be done on Earth as in Heaven.” Jesus is Lord, but we don’t yet see all things in submission to his will (Hebrews 2:8). We are far from it, which is why we are to pray for it. The perfect will of God has not permeated this world since the day Adam and Eve undertook to reinterpret all knowledge. Things are not beyond God’s control, but God is not a puppeteer.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Sustain us Immanuel (manna and man, Man of Heaven); bread that is broken for us.

“Forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We all offend in many ways (James 3:2), but love covers a multitude of sins (1st Peter 4:8).

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” A man in the Old Testament (Proverbs 30:8-9) prayed for God to give him “neither poverty nor riches,” but only that which was sufficient for him. He recognized the fact that just about anything can lead to trials for us. Lead us in some other way Lord. Let us not enter temptation. God tempts no man (James 1:13), even though all are tempted by life itself. Do we really want what we feel like we want? Sometimes our freewill does not feel free. Deliver us from the evil one.

“For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, to forever.” You have the right, and the power when you choose to exercise it. Hallowed be your name. One day your name will be cleared. Man’s assumptions and accusations against God will be proven false, and the truth will be evident. That is the true definition of the “glory of God,” not the vainglory of human definition. One day Jesus will be seen in his own true light, without our shadows casting doubts and deceptions about him. “For your’s is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, to forever. Amen.”

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I love learning, but much that is called “knowledge” is either incomplete or false, and even that which is true is often misapplied. Greater knowledge and endless data won’t solve all our problems (1st Corinthians 8:1-2). Adam and Eve would tell us that today, but we wouldn’t necessarily believe them.

Sometimes we are simply unable to do that which we know should be done. I know that my family needs more money coming in than we have going out, but that knowledge doesn’t help me. Organizations that know more about making money than I do are stealing my lunch money. What can I do about it? The devil can keep us so busy swatting at flies that it can become our way of life. Regardless of what I know, try, or pray, I’m living on the verge of simply reacting to the next crisis. The future depends upon the intervention of God.

There is some truth in the saying that it takes money to make money. Instead of striving to make necessities as affordable as possible, the focus of most of those with money is on the greatest return on investments. This means trouble for the “working poor.” It means trouble for our country, for money goes where money is to be made, whether it in the best interest of our neighbors or not. Knowledge doesn’t prevent greed; it only makes it smarter.

Misapplied knowledge is hurtful, but so is a lack of knowledge. Partially conceived doctrines, chiseled into law, can prevent us from understanding the real reasons why the world is as it is. That is true of secular doctrines as well as religious. Man’s abuse of God-given freewill, along with a quest for knowledge and fulfilment apart from God, creates an environment where many evil things happen unforeseen. The Bible says that “time and chance” happen to all of us (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Calling the consequences of all of humanity’s wrong choices “God’s will,” keeps people from understanding the goodness of God.

In many cases, laws intended to counteract evil come to stand in direct conflict with God, even to the point where God and truth are criminalized. Jesus was “counted” with the transgressors (Mark 15:28, Isaiah 53:12). Laws don’t always work out the way they were intended. Just as knowledge fails us, so does the rule of law. At their heart, both knowledge and law can be said to be good, yet both fail due to problems of the human heart, and ultimately the only thing that can pull us through is the grace of love (“God is love,” 1st John 4:16).

Since “God is love,” it follows that a doctrine that isn’t tempered by love can never be purely “Christian.” Doctrines that lift their bearers above question are almost always questionable, and doctrines devoid of love can’t express the character of the inventor and creator of love. Such doctrines can inhibit a real understanding of God, of ourselves, and our fellow human beings.

While I’m on the subject, no human being has ever mastered the art of consistently being sensitive to the feelings of others. That is something that every Christian, on every day of the week, could repent of.

Unfeigned love for others is critical in communicating truth and doctrine. If we “have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge…, and have not love,” we are nothing (1st Corinthians 13:2). It is possible to be versed in correct doctrine without possessing the thing that really counts. Without love our doctrines can become a clanging symbol just as incomprehensible as any unknown tongue (1st Corinthians 13:1).

Some parts of the Bible are “hard to understand,” and can be interpreted in a destructive way (2nd Peter 3:15-16). It follows that if we destroy someone spiritually with our “strong meat” (Hebrews 5:14), then according to Romans 14:15, we are not “walking in love.”

It is so easy to miss the trail when we speak of “walking in love.” Love rejoices in truth, thinks no evil, and seeks the good of others before its own. We often “miss it.” That is what the word sin means; a missing of the mark (ref. the Hebrew word “chata,” and the Greek “hamartano”). Sin is a lack, or an abuse, of love. Other people use the fact the we “miss it” as an excuse to embrace “no religion,” or to invent new religions, or new denominations, but Jesus died for us, and the reason that Christianity exists is because all human beings miss the mark.

Forgiveness must exist because we all fall short of perfect love. By our hand, love is sacrificed, but love is sacrificial. That is what the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is all about. Knowledge branches out on all tangents, but can never quite explain the sacrifices of love. According to 1st Timothy 1:5, the goal of the commandment is love, but no law can make us love anyone. The chain of the law can’t bind our heart to the heart of God.

Romans 10:4 says that Jesus is the end of the law for the believer. The broken link between Heaven and Earth is drawn together in the crucifixion of Jesus, one hand holding yours and mine, and the other in the hand of the Father of love.

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In the daily struggles of our lives, a powerful force is at work tirelessly pressing us into castes and molds. We have choices as we are swept along, but the right choices aren’t always easy to make. Such resistance as we encounter in life tends to push us toward extremes. We are warped and twisted, assigned to this classification or that. If we escape the mold here, then we are pressed into the next. The force is determined to rank us into divisions to be played against one other. It isn’t God who is doing this, but that which the Bible (2nd Corinthians 4:4) calls “the god of this world.”

Only the true God can free us. Even then, our problems are not over. God seeks to preserve our individuality as well as to organize us as an effective body, but our divisions quench his Spirit (John 17:20-21 & 1st Thessalonians 5:19). The world force is yet attempting to make our choices for us. Within our denominations and divisions, we are trained to take a narrow view of God, as if our little group were the lone keeper of the faith. We attempt to contain the God of the universe in these little molds (2nd Chronicles 6:18).

In their own way, theists can be every bit as dogmatic about their beliefs as atheists and evolutionists. One of the effects of Adam’s tree of knowledge (the mind games tree, Genesis 2:17) is that human beings tend to feel as if they are always “right,” or at least within the correct framework. In order to actually solve our problems, we would first have to agree that none of us understands everything, and that we need each other. All human beings “know” something, but we know nothing to the degree that we should (1st Corinthians 8:2).

While Jesus is most certainly the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), he is also the door opening to ever greater truth (John 14:26, & 16:12-14). We don’t “get” it all at one time; we don’t even “get” it in a lifetime. Even the Apostle Paul didn’t claim to have “arrived” (Philippians 3:12-14). In Earth’s great contest of wills however, man quickly tires of trying to reason with others, and soon resorts to other methods. This usually means force or coercion in one form or another.

Men who think the will of God is accomplished through these power struggles may invoke his name, but “God” has become just another tool used to attain private goals. If men can make a thing happen, they will likely think that it is the will of God. Following that line of reason, the notion arises that everything that happens must be the will of God. In recent years I’ve heard an increasing number of sermons attributing this world’s evils to God as if all the minions of Satan were simply performing assignments predestined by God. It’s enough to make you wonder which side some of us are on. I have even heard a Christian leader give thanks to God for the terrorism of ISIS. Christians should mourn instead of rejoicing over the sorrows befalling our world.

The “god of this world” who misshapes education and morality, also distorts religion. The abuse of religious power during the Middle Ages set the stage for today’s religious confusion. It supplies endless fuel for the pro-pagan-da of all of Earth’s different “isms” and schisms, and paves the way for the Antichrist.

We should look at none of the people of these groups as our enemy (Ephesians 6:12). It must not become “us against them.” The enemy is “the god of this world,” the dark force which divides humans beings, separating them from God in order to destroy them. Our enemy is confusion, misunderstanding and falsehood.

The religious reformers of the Middle Ages were justified in resisting the excesses of established religion, but not in their adoption and use of the same tactics which had been used to persecute them. They might have reformed others, but most of them were not reformed themselves. These groups who burned each other at the stake for “heresy” can’t blame everything on the “civil authorities.” That will not excuse them before God. Galatians 5:15 was written primarily to Christians; “If you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

Satan changes tactics to fit the situation, and as long as people are fighting each other, he doesn’t seem to care much who is winning. When extreme persecution of the early Christians by the Roman government failed to destroy Christianity, the “god of this world” simply moved into the church to destroy it from within. Beware of any group that resorts to violence, whether it wears the sheep’s clothing of religion, or any of the many“cool” disguises of the day. Mercy is to be desired (James 2:13) instead of judgement, and none of us are qualified to cast stones.

Don’t get me wrong; the god of this world is not the equal of God, but Satan is able to take advantage of our human weakness and ignorance to cause a great deal of confusion over the Bible as well as everything else. As his attack upon Job illustrates (Job 1:9-11), Satan is using this world’s evils to embitter human hearts against God. I’m afraid that many Christians today are reinforcing that same message.

I don’t know who to credit for the following saying. My Dad always named a poor, old, lady whenever he quoted it, but I forget her name. She said, “When it’s every man for himself, it’s the devil for them all.”

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I absolutely believe that God can time travel, and that he knows what the future holds. When he chooses, he has the ability to take human beings along. Peter, James, and John once witnessed a meeting of Jesus, Moses and Elijah (Luke 9:28-31). Moses lived and died many centuries earlier, and Elijah was born a few centuries later than Moses. They talked about the crucifixion of Jesus which would soon take place at Jerusalem.

That meeting on the mountain may have been the origin of some of the prophecies found in Old Testament writings. If God chose, he could know the destiny of every individual, and if we were willing, he could take us down a different road. Our destiny is affected by our willingness to listen. We are taught that we can affect the length of our life by honoring our mother and father (Ephesians 6:2-3, Exodus 20:12).

The ultimate destiny of the forgiven is to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus, and become children of God (Romans 8:29-30, Genesis 1:26-27). If we are unwilling to trust God, there is a conflict of wills and no promise that we would ever change, even upon meeting him face to face. When a human being hardens their heart against God, further contact with God sometimes only worsens the divide. The Pharoah of Egypt could have set the Hebrew slaves free if he had been willing, but God knew beforehand what Egypt’s stance would be (Exodus 3:19-20).

Pharoah had already hardened his own heart long before word came from God to free the slaves. In Exodus 5:2, Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” God’s command had served only to make him more self-willed and determined. Please, do not get bogged down in some “predestination” doctrine by thinking that Pharoah had no choice in the matter.

The words “predestinate,” and “predestinated,” are each in the Bible twice, though the principle occurs in other places. On the other hand, the word “if,” is used over 1500 times in the Bible (counts and translations vary), plus similar words and phrases are used many more times. Many of the uses are regarding conditional promises of God that depend upon our choices. We are told that if we will listen, that some good will follow. For instance, if we confess the Lord Jesus, we will be saved (Romans 10:9).

There are some cases where God chooses to intervene in a more direct way to influence a particular person. When Saul (whose name was later changed to “Paul”) was persecuting the early Christians, Jesus changed his life by confronting him in person (Acts 9:1-6). That isn’t the way that God ordinarily chooses. Almighty God, who has the power to turn the heart of a king “wherever he will (Proverbs 21:1),” also has the self-restraint to allow freewill and choice. Though “God is not willing that any should perish (2nd Peter 3:9),” he is also not willing to force his will upon unwilling man.

In dealing with difficult subjects of the Bible such as predestination and freewill, which may seem to contradict each other, it’s best not to go to extremes. God has foreknowledge of events, but that doesn’t mean that he causes those events to happen. The fact that some things are said to be predestined doesn’t mean that everything is, and though humans, angels, and God have freewill, that doesn’t mean that we have uncontested freewill. The moves that we are free to make often involve a contest of wills with others around us. That is the normal situation at home, work, in school, church, or wherever.

A caution from Revelation 22:18-19 to those who teach that all things are predetermined by God; you should beware of removing the word “if” from the Bible. We are warned against adding to the words of God’s prophecy, or taking words away. Revelation 22:17 gives us a choice, “Whosoever will, let him come drink of the water of life freely.” We are not predestined to refuse to drink.

If…. If we had all sat down like reasonable, caring, human beings, and studied everything over, man could long ago have arrived at a much better understanding of the Bible, and of God. God would have been in that reasoning process. As it is, life is a great contest of wills, and man isn’t as interested in finding the actual truth as he is in venerating his own version of it.

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