Author Topic: Difficult Biblical Questions  (Read 17362 times)

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colporteur

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #100 on: April 14, 2015, 10:05:16 AM »
I haven't forgotten about the post just before this but right now I have more pressing matters. I'm wondering what other understand and believe about the following verses.

Heb 6:4-Heb 6:6 KJV For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

You may be trying to reconcile these verses with those referring to Solomon and Manasseh.  I think the verses are saying that there is such a thing as a point of no return and the more light one has and walks away from the more apt they are to have commit the unpardonable. It is not a light matter to know and walk in the light and then walk back out toying with God. Perhaps these verses are speaking to those that think they can go back out into the world and just return to God anytime they want to.
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JimB

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #101 on: April 14, 2015, 07:29:16 PM »
Thanks Cp for your thoughts. I'm not trying to reconcile those verses with your two examples. I'm wondering what "fall away" means and how it applies when and to who? Are there any examples of this type of person in the Bible.
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colporteur

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #102 on: April 15, 2015, 07:04:23 AM »
Thanks Cp for your thoughts. I'm not trying to reconcile those verses with your two examples. I'm wondering what "fall away" means and how it applies when and to who? Are there any examples of this type of person in the Bible.

The reason I mentioned those two is because many would ask, did they not fall away and come back ?
 There are many examples in the Bible of this. Many kings of Israel were walking in the light and then walked out into darkness. Scripture indicates that they never came back. Judas might be an example of this and when Satan entered into him it was impossible for him to return to God. Contemporary examples might be John Harvey Kellogg, Jones and Waggoner, Ratcliff, Ford.

I don't think we can often nail this down with individuals today because #1 it may be difficult to know if any particular individual has fully accepted the truth in his heart and in many cases it can also be difficult to know if and when they have completely turned their back on the truth because one has to be able to read the heart to do that. Things can appear good or appear bad but the appearance may not be entirely accurate of the heart condition.

It would seem likely though if an SDA pastor who has been zealous for the truth leaves the church and goes on the attack against the church, its message, and its prophet that they would fall into that category. I'm sure there are many more subtle  instances where the verses you quoted apply its just that finite man my not be able to  accurately recognize them. God knows. Things are not always what they appear. A person can be in full rebellion and keep it deep within the heart.

 It seems of the verses you speak of  that it  is not so  much that we can or should try to nail down who did and who did not but that there is great danger in walking in the light and then turning our backs on it.
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JimB

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #103 on: April 15, 2015, 04:17:13 PM »
The reason I mentioned those two is because many would ask, did they not fall away and come back ?

There are many reasons why one would want to understand these verses much better than a surface reading. I'm not interested in guessing games, maybes, and probablys. There was a reason why I was looking for known Biblical examples. One of those reasons could be that the enemy is bellowing these verses into snomeone's ear and has them convinced that they are doomed and there is no hope. I know for a fact that is one of enemy's tricks and I was hoping to gain from my fellow Bible students a clearer understanding of what is meant in these verses. A known Biblical example would be easy to examine to see how these verses and principles applied or don't apply whatever the case may be.

I'm still somewhat at a loss, except the phrase "to renew them again unto repentance" might be a clue. I can't help but wonder if such an individual would even desire to be renewed unto repentance.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #104 on: April 15, 2015, 04:43:53 PM »
It is an important verse to correctly interpret. As you say, Jim, there are some who Satan has told there is no hope because after they became a Christian, they went back into the world. Here is the way I understand this and  it gives many hope when they had none.

Is it true that many have been buried alive? If so, why were they buried alive? What does it mean to be buried alive. From what I have seen in the last 30 years, the church remains in a Laodicean condition. I think you can see where I am going with this. So many have become discouraged, often because they could not do that which they knew they ought  to be doing. After being in the world, Jesus was still calling them back. But, as you say, Satan is telling them there is no hope and this verse is one of his lies.

Look closely at the verse and then consider if they really had "tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost." Most were not truly converted, so does the verse apply? You want an example from Scripture. How about the thief on the cross? Was he an Israelite? If so, then did he not think  he was entitled to heaven before he fell away? Did he fall away from his religion? Now, the question to ask if the first two are true, then was he saved? While he knew of Jesus, he had not given his heart to him and was led astray by his evil friends. He had not tasted of His great love, did not know Jesus had to die. He had been deceived as most were. He did indeed go back into the  world. What  changed his life? He had not known these things in the past.

Hope this helps, Jim. I am sure that many others will be blessed to have this sorted out. It begins by understanding what it means to be converted. The Laodicean does not understand, for he believes he is just fine (converted) when in fact he is miserable, poor, wretched, blind, and naked. If the Laodicean goes into the world, then the verse  does not apply. 
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colporteur

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #105 on: April 16, 2015, 05:58:40 AM »

   The key word in the text is " impossible."  Greek " adunatos"    definitions = " weak", "impossible", "unable."    Could it be that the word "weak" is the better definition of the word in this text? That would make sense. A person who has walked in the light and leaves the light would certainly be weakened by that experience and "weak" in their ability to return to the light.

No one walked in more light than Lucifer. SOP seems to indicate  that even deep into his rebellion in heaven he had the ability to repent or else God would not have offered it. He could have repented but it was most difficult to humbly renounce his pride and step back into the light. I believe one could conclude that his character was weakened by his sin making the choice more difficult. We are told that every sin committed makes it more difficult to repent. Not impossible but more difficult.
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colporteur

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #106 on: April 16, 2015, 06:56:30 AM »
The word "impossible" would fit in some applications because when one makes a wrong choice enough times it may be in a sense impossible to make the right choice. There is such a thing as sealing a choice, the right choice or.... the wrong choice. Character is not so easy to change as simply making a right choice one time. When one truly leaves the Lord it may come down to how many bridges have been burned. The reason I share this is because it is dangerous to presumptuously  think one can do as he pleases and return to God when he pleases. It's not that easy and  presumption like that will be the down fall of many.

There may be multiple applicable definitions for the word "adunatos" depending on specific conditions. How close was the person to God ? How far away did they walk from God. In other words how much light were they in at their peak with God and how far did their rebellion go when they walked away. One size in this verse does not fit all because not all that walked out the light have the same circumstances and heart condition. If they are walking back to God that would seem to indicate that they have not committed the unpardonable/sealed their decision. By the same token some have come back into the church with what appeared like repentance and then they wreak havoc on the truth and the church's standards. By their fruit ?

What I was trying to say in my first post is that the text is not  so simplistically applied because God's people do not have a cookie cutter experience and we cannot read the heart of another. We can see the fruit and we can get an idea but that is usually about as far as we can go. The bottom line is that we are not able to absolutely determine when a person has reached the point of no return unless perhaps it is something like a wicked person renouncing God on their death bed. We cannot even always be sure when a person returns to God. Just because they come back into the church is not proof of that. Ultimately these verses are a caution and warning as to the danger of walking away from God's enchanted ground and back out into the world. I don't think the verses  present hopelessness in every/any situation but rather the severe danger when it comes to making a choice to leave God.
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Ed Sutton

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #107 on: April 16, 2015, 07:34:42 AM »
One of the key reasons for impossibility for renewal seems to be this >
Quote
seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh

If crucifying of Christ by them is referring to a once done, repented of thing, renewal is possible, because with God all things are possible.

But if the crucifying is ongoing > the refusing to repent makes renewal impossible.
Grateful for Psalms 32 and Titus 2:10 - The divinity of Christ is acknowledged in the unity of the children of God.  {11MR 266.2}

colporteur

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #108 on: April 16, 2015, 08:00:56 PM »
There may be exceptions but probably in most instances if a person is worried about their salvation there is still opportunity for repentance. In other words, the heart is not entirely closed off against God.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #109 on: April 17, 2015, 08:10:37 AM »
I think in many cases you are right, cp. But, guilt is still gnawing at many. Judas was lost and he was truly worried about being lost. When Adam sinned, he lost his  holiness and became evil. But, he did not lose the higher powers of the mind. He still had intelligence, the ability  to reason, and a conscience. Being evil, he had no ability to do what was right for the right reason. He was selfish and needed to be reconciled to God in order to overcome his evil nature.

When we continue to sin, we sear that conscience so it becomes harder to hear that still small voice speaking to us. At some point if man continues to sin against his conscience, he is no longer able to hear the Spirit calling. He is lost and it is impossible for him to be converted. The guilt remains as does the knowledge of salvation. These individuals have good reason to worry about their condition. The Bible reveals what is  in store for them on judgment day. But, worrying does not change their character.
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Ed Sutton

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #110 on: April 17, 2015, 12:33:18 PM »
This topic makes me think of Esau and him trying to have what he threw away on his terms, and not God's terms. 

Quote
   In past ages there have been those who have exercised their capabilities and powers in doing a work, by the help of the Holy Spirit, which constituted them laborers together with God.  But there have also been those who have criticized their work, and rejected the messages which they bore.  So it is today.  There are those in responsible positions who, by their words and actions, sow seeds of doubt and unbelief. These seeds are called tares by our Lord; and those who sow it are under the guidance of evil angels.  They are at work both openly and secretly, seeking to counteract the work which God has appointed his divine agencies to perform through human agencies. All who do this work see with defective and perverted eyesight.  Their imagination is inspired by satanic agencies, and they see many things in a false light.  Unless they repent, they will soon, like Esau, find no place for repentance, though they seek it carefully with tears.--Letter 87, 1896, p. 6 (Aug. 25, 1896, to O. A. Olsen). {ChL 58.2}


   Esau had lightly valued the blessing while it seemed within his reach, but he desired to possess it now that it was gone from him forever. All the strength of his impulsive, passionate nature was aroused, and his grief and rage were terrible. He cried with an exceeding bitter cry, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" "Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?" But the promise given was not to be recalled. The birthright which he had so carelessly bartered he could not now regain. "For one morsel of meat," for a momentary gratification of appetite that had never been restrained, Esau sold his inheritance; but when he saw his folly, it was too late to recover the blessing. "He found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." Hebrews 12:16, 17. Esau was not shut out from the privilege of seeking God's favor by repentance, but he could find no means of recovering the birthright. His grief did not spring from conviction of sin; he did not desire to be reconciled to God. He sorrowed because of the results of his sin, but not for the sin itself. {PP 181.2} 

    Because of his indifference to the divine blessings and requirements, Esau is called in Scripture "a profane person." Verse 16. He represents those who lightly value the redemption purchased for them by Christ, and are ready to sacrifice their heirship to heaven for the perishable things of earth. Multitudes live for the present, with no thought or care for the future. Like Esau they cry, "Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die." 1 Corinthians 15:32. They are controlled by inclination; and rather than practice self-denial, they will forgo the most valuable considerations. If one must be relinquished, the gratification of a depraved appetite or the heavenly blessings promised only to the self-denying and God-fearing, the claims of appetite prevail, and God and heaven are virtually despised. How many, even of professed Christians, cling to indulgences that are injurious to health and that benumb the sensibilities of the soul. When the duty is presented of cleansing themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, they are offended. They see that they cannot retain these hurtful gratifications and yet secure heaven, and they conclude that since the way to eternal life is so strait, they will no longer walk therein.  {PP 181.3}

     Multitudes are selling their birthright for sensual indulgence. Health is sacrificed, the mental faculties are enfeebled, and heaven is forfeited; and all for a mere temporary pleasure--an indulgence at once both weakening and debasing in its character. As Esau awoke to see the folly of his rash exchange when it was too late to recover his loss, so it will be in the day of God with those who have bartered their heirship to heaven for selfish gratifications.  {PP 182.1}   
Grateful for Psalms 32 and Titus 2:10 - The divinity of Christ is acknowledged in the unity of the children of God.  {11MR 266.2}

colporteur

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #111 on: April 17, 2015, 03:51:01 PM »
Maybe I should qualify my statement further to make it more accurate. If a person is concerned about their salvation from the standpoint of  wanting to redeem the time and serve God on His terms probably he has not gone too far against God. That was not the case with Judas. While he might have been concerned about his salvation it was more after the repentance of Pharaoh than that of Peter.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #112 on: April 17, 2015, 08:17:39 PM »
Amen!!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #113 on: October 03, 2016, 06:32:21 PM »
I have a question for the Bible students who read here.

Any thoughts on why God spared Cain? After he was caught the Lord cursed him but didn't allow him to be killed. Here is Cain's response.

Gen 4:14  Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
Gen 4:15  And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

It seems that Cain was well aware of the principle to be followed in Gen 9:6 and was worried that someone would kill him.

Gen 9:6  Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

But not only did the Lord the spare him but He in a way protected Cain. I'm just thinking out loud here but could it be fore the same reason the Lord spared Lucifer?
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #114 on: October 03, 2016, 07:10:27 PM »
Maybe someone can verify this, but I believe, if I recall right, it was for just that reason, Jim.
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Wally

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #115 on: October 04, 2016, 02:51:18 AM »
I have a question for the Bible students who read here.

Any thoughts on why God spared Cain? After he was caught the Lord cursed him but didn't allow him to be killed. Here is Cain's response.



Maybe this will shed a little light on the subject. 

"Notwithstanding that Cain had by his crimes merited the sentence of death, a merciful Creator still spared his life, and granted him opportunity for repentance. . . .

"In sparing the life of the first murderer, God presented before the whole universe a lesson bearing upon the great controversy. The dark history of Cain and his descendants was an illustration of what would have been the result of permitting the sinner to live on forever, to carry out his rebellion against God. The forbearance of God only rendered the wicked more bold and defiant in their iniquity. Fifteen centuries after the sentence pronounced upon Cain, the universe witnessed the fruition of his influence and example, in the crime and pollution that flooded the earth. It was made manifest that the sentence of death pronounced upon the fallen race for the transgression of God’s law was both just and merciful."  PP 78
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

JimB

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #116 on: October 04, 2016, 05:34:41 PM »
Wally, thanks for this. It's nice to have my thoughts confirmed.
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JimB

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #117 on: October 11, 2016, 05:58:51 PM »
Genesis 5:28-29
(28)  And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:
(29)  And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.


This really isn't a "difficult" Bible verse and I'm thinking there really isn't an answer to my question but when I read this recently I couldn't help but wonder if Lamech for some reason though that Noah would be the Messiah?
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Richard Myers

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #118 on: October 12, 2016, 06:38:09 AM »
Maybe that the Messiah would come through his line?
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JimB

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Re: Difficult Biblical Questions
« Reply #119 on: October 17, 2016, 03:36:28 PM »
There may be exceptions but probably in most instances if a person is worried about their salvation there is still opportunity for repentance. In other words, the heart is not entirely closed off against God.

I've been listening to the book "The Great Second Advent Movement" by JN Loughborough and came across this story. I thought it was appropriate in light of the discussion we had earlier about people worrying about their condition. You can find it chapter 24 - Other Predictions Fulfilled

Relief to the Despairing

In the early morning of Dec. 12, 1866, Elias Stiles, of North Liberty, Ind., came to my home, requesting me to go with him to that place to administer relief, if possible, to James Harvey, who was in despair, and feeling that there was no hope in his case. Knowing that Mrs. White had had a very extensive view in the last vision given, and that many cases were shown to her prophetically, I said to him, “It may be that Sister White has seen something about his case, and if so, and if she will write it out, it will be more forcible than anything I could say to him.” We at once called upon her, and without a word being spoken to her of Mr. Harvey’s condition, I asked, “Sister White, have you had any light in any of the visions given you concerning the case of Brother James Harvey?” “Yes,” said she, “I have, and I have felt for a few days as though I ought to write it out, and send it to him.” She then began to tell us what she had seen. I said, “I am going to see him in the morning, and if you will write out what has been shown to you, I will take it to him.” With this understanding, we left her, and in the evening we called again. She had completed the writing, and favored us by reading it aloud.

Testimony for James Harvey in Despair

The testimony stated clearly that Mr. Harvey would be brought into a feeble condition of health, and that Satan would seek to crowd him into despair, and try to make him think there was no mercy for him, and no hope in his case; but she saw he had done all in his power to rectify the mistakes of his past life, and that God had forgiven him; and furthermore, when he should be tempted to destroy himself, she was shown that angels of God were hovering around him and pointing him to hope in God and heaven. There were many like words of comfort and encouragement in the testimony. With this document in my possession, we went the next morning to North Liberty.

On the way, Mr. Stiles told me that Mr. Harvey wanted to see me, but he said that I would have no word of hope for him; that, when I should meet him, I would agree with him that his case was hopeless, that he was a lost man; and then, like Eli of old, when he was told that the ark of God was taken, he should fall over backward and die. We arrived at Mr. Harvey’s about 3 P.M. When I met him, I said, “Brother Harvey, how are you?” In a most lamentable strain he replied, “Lost! lost!! LOST!!!” “No you are not lost. There is hope in your case!” said I. When he saw that I thus answered him, he said, in a modulated tone, “I have thought for three weeks that there was no hope for me, and that I was lost; and to-day, as I was coming into town from the farm, and passing over the bridge at the mill-pond, something seemed to say to me, ‘You are lost! There is no hope for you! Jump into the mill-pond and drown yourself!’ I thought to do such a thing would bring reproach on the cause of Christ, and so I was restrained from destroying myself.”

Deliverance Came Quickly

“Well, Brother Harvey, you are not lost!” I said. “I have a testimony here direct from heaven, saying that you are not lost!” He replied, “Then I will hear it.” I then read the testimony to him, after first stating that not one word had been placed in my hands. As I completed the reading, his face lighted up with a smile as he said, “Then there is hope in my case. I do believe in the Lord.” Following the reading, we had a praying season, from which he arose a changed and happy man. He told us that that writing described the workings of his mind for the last three weeks more accurately than he could possibly have done it. Thus the love of God was shown in lifting this brother, by this means, out of despair.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}