- I had a friend ask me these questions in response to a comment I made about people not voting. This is not the first time I have heard questions of this nature and I am not the great theologian, but I try to think and I am willing to let God answer the question, as he does a more adequate job than I. I put this persons questions in bold type.
- If you live life at all, and try to make a stance for God, then you will have to deal with questions of this nature yourself. I could not answer them in 30 seconds or less, they deserved so much more.
- How do you say to someone, "God is in control" without attempting to define that?
The world looks at what goes on around them and sees an evil, destructive entity with no future hope, and therefore lives for the moment. If you took the time to really ask "who are you?" you would find a God that has and always will be there, consistently for us. What clouds our understanding of God is how deeply embedded our thinking is in how things feel to us.
One of the things that scripture tells us is that God is love. That is not a feeling but actions based on devotion toward another; we are the others. God sent his Son to die for us. Why? So that we, the others that had no hope without Him, could live. If Jesus willingly paid the price of his life, and that felt horrible, why then can we not see the consistency and pattern of a God that is telling the truth, and really does have a plan for our lives. That plan concludes with those who choose to accept this fact, living in his presence.
"Ok so, if we are not of this world, why would we participate in what the J W's refer to as a , worldly activity.."
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1 (NIV)
Yep, your right, you are not required to vote, but what if by some fluke that "one", that is holding back the man of lawlessness mentioned in the scripture passage below, is tied in with you and you do nothing. Lawlessness is not just happening on the mean streets around you. Guys like Harry Reid, who just won reelection in Nevada, has made it very clear that he alone establishes what a democratic process looks like. He pushed through a yes vote on a bill, without a majority vote, even though the entire process was challenged and caught on video. There is only one thing, short of God striking someone like that dead, that will stop him, and that is an informed voter. I might also add that Barney Frank, one of men that is so deeply tied in with the collapse of the housing and mortgage industry in America, was also recently reelected.
Voting was and still is our right and privilege. Voting is our voice, and though it may not be the best thing that happened, it got many of us heard, to some degree, this time. I do not have to understand everything that happens. When it comes to voting I stand back and say "really!". What part of your brain did you use to vote?, but then God is in control regardless of how it turns out, and that does not always feel good at the moment.
(2 Thessalonians 2:3-12, NIV)
"Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness."
Another thing I found interesting. - Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:39, NIV)
Ask yourself this question, Did Moses not know that Adam had handed the earth over to Satan? What if Moses did know? We never see or hear of Moses whining, “oh dear God, do you see what the devil is doing to your people now.”
What if, even though you have a knowledge of Satan's ownership, you did just as Moses said, and went about living your life with one purpose, one will for your life, and that is that the Lord is the God in heaven and on earth below, and that there is no other. How would that change your life?
God is not the least bit threatened by Satan's possessing the earth, and if you'll notice he repeatedly asks Israel to be strong, have courage, and to possess what God had given them.
"How do you know so much about the J W's, "
I used to frequently sit by two of them, at one of my jobs. I asked them if they voted, I believe we were voting against Jerry Brown back then, and they responded with "oh no honey, the Jehovah Witnesses don't vote, we believe the devil, the god of this world, controls the government, and therefore we will not vote." All they proved to me was that they only read and hear what they want to hear and see. The Holy Spirit mentions that in the passage from 2Thessalonians 2:3-12 that I quoted above.
"oh and don't worry I know Jesus volunteered. I read Job where it looks to me like he said he would do it. "
"Jesus himself answered this question. "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." (John 10:17,18 NIV)
Jesus told them, as they stood him before Pilot, that they had absolutely no power to do anything to him outside of what God had allowed. He also told them that he could have called 10,000 Angels to come to his aid and rescue him, if he had wanted, but he did not. Why not? Simple, for God so loved the world, that he sent his son, to save the world. The law (that is whole other long oration) demanded that blood had to be spilled for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus was the sacrifice, and it was his blood that was spilled, for us.
"Oh and I wanted to ask you what bible do you read? I have 3 different ones and I use them to compare to one another,,, "
I have two programs on my computer, that I use often, to do my bible studies from, “The Word” and “Esword”, they are both free. When I am not near the computer, such as lunch time at work, I read my NIV bible. People, much more knowledgeable than me feel that the NIV is one of the best translations, but even when comparing it to some that lean toward the original I find that even the NIV missed it. For example the verse you threw at me, which implies that we are in the power of Satan, when that is not what it says at all. Those bible programs have as many translations and originals as I can stand, currently about 13, that I have downloaded. I also have one of those 4 translation bibles.
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. (1 John 5:18-19, NIV)
This is not the best translation and here is why. Having been written in Greek, a language with no punctuation, it was translated, punctuated, and given chapters and verses. If you are going to get hung up on adding to and taking away from then it is screwed up already.
That last sentence reads more like this in the Greek, and sounds like Yoda speak. "we have known that of God we are, and the whole world in the evil doth lie;" (1 John 5:19, YLT)
Having few other options, it is better to be lying in it than to be owned by it, and ownership is what the JW's imply. Scripture implies an inescapable position, because we exist here on this ball called earth, with it's gravitational pull. But as I said before, we are not of this world, and God is the God of heaven, and of earth.
Jesus said it to Satan as plain as day “there is no god other than God and him alone shall you serve.”
You chose to only use one portion of the paragraph, now look at the verse before the one you choose.
“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.”
Consider some of those words.
We – those born of God, in agreement with and understanding God.
The one who was born of God – Who is that? Christ.
"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." (Romans 8:29, NIV)
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." (Colossians 1:15, NIV)
the one who was born of God – Who is that? The answer is Christ. Scripture tells us that he was the first born from the dead, we were second. Paul said, when you were dead in your trespasses and sins, Christ came. He wrote that to a breathing church body. That either means a spiritual state or it is totally illogical. We have been risen with Christ and made alive in him. Flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. And made to sit together with him in heavenly places. If you are standing here on earth, then again, this has to be spiritual, until the day that we join him.
Keeps him safe – Who is the him in this sentence? Anyone born of God. Still to this day, and it is only going to get worse, people are dying brutal deaths for their admission of Christ in their life. This is primarily the Muslim nations. As I read scripture and saw in the book of Revelation, a time when followers of Christ would be beheaded for professing His name, I thought that would never happen in this nation. I could see, as I read, the tie in with Islam and it's tenets, for under sharia law they are permitted and commanded to behead the infidel, that is anyone not accepting the Islamic ideals.
Our not voting, and standing by as elected officials decided to declare that this nation is no longer a nation under God, but a nation of acceptance of nonsense, therefore the Muslim's in this nation of ours have cried foul when anyone speaks against their religion of hatred in any way. If they gain control, and the fact that we have a Muslim president should demonstrate their ability to do that, then the time will come when, in this country, you will have your head lopped for not denying Christ.
Having said all that, then what does it mean to “keep him safe”? Again, it has to be primarily spiritual. Certainly God moves in the physical realm. He, for some reason, saw fit to preserve Balaam (you can find his story in the book of Numbers) by having his Ass talk to him, but truth is we are more concerned about how things feel than God is.
And the evil one – Satan. He is not everywhere. He was an angel of light and beautiful. He is now the destroyer of anything that looks like God. God is the only one that has the ability to be everywhere. So Satan cannot chase you around personally. I am sure that many of the other fallen angels, and so called demons can take care of that for him.
cannot harm him – This is perhaps one of the hardest parts to understand, because we know that people do suffer. Consider: if a representative of the Mafia carries out a crime, is not the Mafia also held responsible? So, if demons and people can carry out the devils plans and wishes, harming people, is he not responsible too. How do we say to someone, you will be kept safe and the evil one cannot harm you? Is the answer a spiritual one and not necessarily a physical one.
When God made man, look the story up in Genesis, he made man in his image. No man has seen God and lived to talk about it, so do we really have any solid ideas of what God looks like? But we do know that Jesus said “God is a spirit” therefore man had to be a spirit, initially. Wouldn't it stand to reason that God is more concerned with the spirit man first.
and have you ever watched the history channel on some of those bible history, with all the books that weren't put in, and that makes me wonder cause of the way the bible ends with "don't take any thing out or add any thing to it,"
Consider: The "bible”, that part which we call the old testament, was written in Septuagint Greek, but that made it “common” in the mind of the Jewish/Christian priesthood, because ordinary folk could read it, and it was consider sacred, so it was translated into Hebrew, and the priesthood, the same mindset that put Jesus on the cross, made violent attempts at destroying the Septuagint versions and the people that had copies of it (there weren't many). All of this was of course prior to the New Testament, which was written in Koine Greek, a language of the people, and a very precise language, about 30 years after Christ ascended into heaven. Interesting how they weren't books so much as they were letters. I wonder how that affects a demand like taking away from or adding to.
Many of the books, that you wonder about, have been analyzed and compared, both for content, writing style, Paul had a particular style, writing most of the new testament, and their referencing of known factors, such as historic names and faces. Try reading Josh McDowell's books about why we can believe that the bible is real, or Lee Stroebel's case for the bible. It is called facts and evidence. Most of the Greek literature that we base our lives on, has less evidence to back it up, and over 1000 years between the event and it's recorded history. The New Testament was written soon enough to still have eyewitnesses; John, the disciple, was one of them.
“I do study all the time and I suppose that is why I always have so many questions, I don't trust to much of any thing, especially my own brain.”
My truster is broken as well, but I do trust God, even though I honestly do not understand many of the why's of this earth.
Unfortunately trusting was Israel's problem as well.
Moses returns after being gone for 40 years and tells Israel and Egypt that God spoke to him, and that he was to be the one to lead Israel into deliverance. They had to trust, but none of us trusts, that is the sad effect of living in a broken condition on a broken earth; a pretty hopeless condition without Christ, thank God we have him.
How did Moses/God get Israel to trust him? Show them powerful signs, and God did. Many Egyptians lost their first born. I can just hear them, do not tell me what to do with your bloody wiping around my door posts. And so they died. As Egypt wept, Israel left, but did they leave convinced? NO. They choose to not trust, whining and complaining, and therefore wandered for forty years in desert until those that would not trust were killed off. They were not permitted to enter the land promised to them. Even Moses had to die without entering, because he did not trust. (The incident over the rock releasing water). Only two of the originals were allowed to cross over, Joshua and Caleb. Interesting thing about Caleb, he was not born a Jew, he became one.
If I could define at least one desire of my heart, it is to see God's people have a zeal for his word, and to be able to accurately and effectively convey who he is. No, I do not always feel like I do that very well, but I put my nose in the book constantly. I ask questions of what I read, knowing that God can handle my questions. Writing things like this helps to establish who he is in my own life.
I know that he cares about us, about me, but then there is that broken truster issue. When you take all the curve balls that life throws at you, and then add the mistakes that I committed by myself, well let's just say that it is a toxic mix to the mind. The thing that gives me any hope at all is that Jesus did what he said he would do, and by extension God did. He promises us a new life, and therefore it will be.
It becomes difficult at best to love others when you are not very good at loving yourself, but actions speak louder than words and I wrote this in hopes that perhaps you come to a better understanding of who God is.
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