bible-truths.com/forums

=> General Discussions => Topic started by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 03:27:02 PM

Title: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 03:27:02 PM
I have been carefully studying the theme of Universal Reconciliation, both in L. Ray Smith's writings, and Gary Amirault's writings, as well as many others, and I have a few questions for those who write here.  I'll preface my comments with saying this, while I have some reservations on this theme, my questions are not borne of some desire to argue, debate, or wrangle with anyone.  They are serious and genuine questions.  I hope they will be received as such.  I'm new here...

I've carefully considered all the word studies surrounding Olam, Aionios, judgment, the lake of fire, and Gehenna, and I'm concerned with a few conclusions, but my mind is not set in stone.  Having studied and taught the original languages has given me a unique opportunity to research these words, and in many cases I'm very supportive of the insights I see in the UR writings, but in some cases I wrestle with whether word meanings have been a bit stretched to support emphases I don't see clearly referenced in the scriptures.

While I too question the "endless" nature of future judgments, based on these words and themes, where I'm unsettled is the "apparent emphasis" of both OT and NT scriptures as relates to these themes.

I understand that fire is often symbolic of purification, and judgment often leads to growth and maturity, but it seems that saying these two themes "always" lead in these directions seems to miss the emphasis in scripture.

When both OT and NT writers write of these themes, if they clearly had a positive and hope filled view of the ages to come, why do they, when discussing judgment, not express their optimism towards positive and redemptive outcomes?  In other words, it seems they consistently miss their logical opportunities to present a salvational view of the coming ages, in the sense of describing "how" the judgments and fires will bring forth a saved company of redeemed ones.  Why do you think they fail to "clearly" discuss such an optimistic viewpoint?

If the writers of scripture truly believed that souls would be redeemed through the judgment process, why don't we see them coming right out and saying this?  Why don't we see them emphasizing or describing anyone having come through the fires of judgment and out the other side saved and praising God?

Why does it appear that their emphasis is on the fearfulness of judgments, the awesomeness of His holiness confronting the sinful rejection of man, rather than emphasizing the hope of those who leave this life unsaved being saved through the process of judgment?  Why do they seem to leave an impression of the finality of man's decisions towards rejection of Christ in this life?  If they didn't think of these decisions as indeed "final" why do you think they left the impression that they did?

I'd love to get this resolved in my mind, but I'm genuinely stuck at this point.

I'd appreciate knowing how some of you have worked through this issue of "emphasis."

Thanks!
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Deborah-Leigh on June 24, 2007, 03:46:47 PM

Hello Tom

Welcome to the Forum and your first post. ;D 8)

For the first 500 years aprox after the death of Christ, the preaching and teaching was on the saving of all mankind as in Universalism, as I understand the progression of teachings.

As Paul prophesied, the corruption and the wolves would enter the sheep fold and things would progressively get rough and become so wicked that at the finale, Christ projected that there would be very little faith when He returns. Christ indicated that it would be parallel to the times of Noah when wickedness pervaded all the earth and only 8 people were saved from the flood. that is how bad apostasy will become.

So everything is on track according to the scriptures!

I too studied Gary Amiraults writings for a while until I found some errors....some grey areas and some places in his writing that I could not settle in my heart. So I abandoned reading his very well written articles because I preferred to stay with the ease and clarity with which Ray is inspired.

Others have also written on Universalism and I must say, they too fall into the same class in which I place Amirault......! This is of course just my own personal observation. You may need to continue to seek and compare teachings. Only HIS (Christ Jesus) SPIRIT can give understanding. Hope you receive what you are seeking soon. His will be done!

peace be to you in your studies.

Arcturus :)
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 04:25:43 PM
Hi Arcturus,

Thanks for the welcome.

I agree that the writings of those after the times of the apostles appear to support UR, but I'm still curious as to why you think Paul, and the other NT writers emphasized the seriousness, finality, and lack of hope, in the judgments of God upon those rejecting Christ and dieing in this condition, if in fact they believed they had hope for redemption after death?
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Deborah-Leigh on June 24, 2007, 05:14:21 PM


Hello Tom

I believe you have been influenced by erroneous interpretations!  ;D

Paul grieved for the suffering and the blindness and the lostness that would occur. He warned exhorted and encouraged throughout his teachings. This was not unlike Jesus who cried for those who He would have taken under His wings like a mother hen but they would not have Him. These were things to experience that are the ways of God bringing us to know good from evil. Just because it ends in the glory and joy that Paul knew and wrote about being so much MORE than any sufferings that were temporary, did not mean that either Paul or Jesus were impervious to the pain. To be so would be to extend this thought up to God the Father and to think that He was impervious to the pain Jesus suffered which would be blasphemy and denial of knowing God is LOVE.


Peace be to you

Arcturus :)
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 05:26:26 PM
Hi Arcturus,

You write: "I believe you have been influenced by erroneous interpretations!"

I can't imagine that you would be wrong about that.  Living in a body with a soul that has been twisted by sin, but is being, and will one day be fully redeemed, I'm sure I still embrace erroneous interpretations, but it certainly is my desire to move beyond those into all truth.  This is why I'm engaging you in this discussion.  I appreciate your concern...

If you could point me to one more scriptures, where NT writers describe or emphasize a hope for redemption at the conclusion of coming ages of judgment, I would really appreciate it.  I'm at a loss to find them.  I see plenty on awesome and scary finality, but I don't see any that imply a soul will be redeemed at the conclusion of a process of refining and purification.  Can you point me to some?

Blessings...
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Kat on June 24, 2007, 05:39:15 PM
Hi Tom,

I glad you have joined us  :)
I would say that the apostles do make a strong emphasis in the NT to obtain the first resurrection or the incorruptible crown.

1Co 9:24  Do you not know that those running in a race all run, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain.
v. 25  And everyone who strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Then those truly that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.

But they also speak quite a bit about the resurrection of the dead, that all men should have hope in.

Act 17:30  Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
v. 31  because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."

Act 24:15  I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

Rom 5:18  Therefore as by one offense sentence came on all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came to all men to justification of life.

1Co 15:21  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
v. 22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
v. 23  But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
v. 25  For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.

1Tim 2:4  who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
v. 5  For God is one, and there is one Mediator of God and of men, the Man Christ Jesus,
v. 6  who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1Tim 4:10  For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Col 1:20  And through Him having made peace through the blood of His cross, it pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself through Him,
whether the things on earth or the things in Heaven.

2Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

1Jo 2:2  And He is the propitiation concerning our sins, and not concerning ours only, but also concerning the sins of all the world.

All these scripture show that all the world will be brought to salvation.  For the few it is in this life, but the rest of mankind will also be brought into the kingdom at their appointed time.
I hope this helps.

mercy, peace, and love
Kat

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Deborah-Leigh on June 24, 2007, 05:58:42 PM


Sure Tom and I am happy you see my concern!

Read this : Is "Everlasting" Scriptural?...  You will find it on the Home page...it has got real gems in it! Just what I think you are seeking!  :D

Enjoy!

Peace be to you

Arcturus :)
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Deborah-Leigh on June 24, 2007, 06:16:01 PM
Here is another snippet for you Tom : http://www.forums.bible-truths.com/index.php/topic,3684.0.html

Also you can go to : http://forums.bible-truths.com/index.php/topic,3108.0.html where Kat has astutely compiled a list. Scroll down to Born/Begotten and find some more food for thought!

I can just say there is no quick fix. Sometimes Ray responds by saying that the question requires many pages of answers. I know you want just one scripture but just one scripture of Gods Word has unfathomable depth that we have to discover. That is part of the plan. The good gems are hidden and not on the surface!

Let me know how you go after reading through and if you get stuck keep going! ;D

Peace be to you

Arcturus :)
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 06:41:20 PM
Greetings Kat!
Thanks again Arcturus!

I'd like to address Kat's comments first...

I 100% agree with you Kat, that these verses clearly imply that through some manner (presumably the workings of God's grace and judgments) all mankind will one day come to salvation in Christ.  

However, because many have questioned, and reasonably exegeted these portions of Scripture, and see something different than what "appears" to be their meaning, I turn to a slightly different issue, though definitely connected.

It has do with the seemingly negative element of judgments, and a seeming lack of hope connected with them.  For example, we consider the following:

2Th 1:7  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2Th 1:9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

Having carefully studied UR interpretation of "vengeance," "punished," "everlasting," "destruction," and "from the presence of the Lord," I know the approach that can be taken to purificative elements that are potentially included in these words meanings, but I'm struck by the "emphasis" of these words.  The emphasis is completely harsh and negative, not hopeful and positive.  We would have anticipated the great grace man, Paul, would have at the very least concluded his comments with something like "however, at the completion of God's judging processes, their souls will, having been purified by His holy fires, be fully redeemed," but he doesn't, and when the other writers of the NT address this theme of judgment they similarly don't paint a picture of hope for those being judged.  Why?

2Pe 3:7  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
2Pe 3:11  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
2Pe 3:12  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Once again, understanding the potentially positive elements of spiritual fire, unto purification, I'm struck by the seemingly negative approach Peter takes to this issue.  He doesn't imply any hope, anything positive, other than the Lord's righteousness being vindicated.  Why?

Jud 1:4  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jud 1:5  I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
Jud 1:6  And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Jud 1:7  Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Jud 1:13  Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

As I have mentioned previously, I've carefully studied the potential meanings of "everlasting, eternal, and forever," and am aware that these all could very easily be referring to a temporary age of judgment, to be followed by redemption, after the workings of grace and divine workings, BUT, why does Jude not paint a hopeful picture for them?  Why is his picture so overwhelmingly negative, if he saw something positive beyond the age of judgment?

Heb 10:26  For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Heb 10:28  He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Heb 10:29  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Heb 10:30  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Heb 10:31  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

I'm struck again, by the writer of Hebrews, with how negative a picture he paints.  Why, if he "knew" they would all ultimately be redeemed, would he speak so negatively.  Surely you wouldn't have spoken this way, would you?  I can't imagine bro Smith would have.  Each of you would have been deeply concerned that such phraseology would leave a wrong impression of hopelessness and despair, for those who leave this life unsettled with Christ, yet this writer seems to "want" to leave a hopeless and dire sense in the minds of his readers.  Why?

Honestly brethren, I'm not attempting to stir up an argument here.  I'm genuinely struggling with their emphasis.  I don't understand how, if they ultimately believed everyone, after severe judgments and refinings, were going to be redeemed and delivered, they are so willing to leave an impression that speaks otherwise.  This truly confuses me.  

I'm very interested in your perspectives on this perplexing emphasis they leave.

Thank you again!
Tom

 


Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 06:48:34 PM
Hi Arcturus,

Yes, yes, I completely agree that "everlasting" potentially, and even likely,doesn't mean "everlasting" as we would think of it.  I agree that both Olam and Aionios are capable of temporal meanings, and for anyone to construct an "endless" concept of judgment from these words, is to do so in the face of so many obvious passages that communicate a temporary nature to them.

I too think it is highly likely the biblical writers did not have an "eternal" concept as was derived in later generations.  I believe many of the translations are little more than eisogesis (reading in personal preference or later word meanings) for these words.

My struggle is not so much with the temporary or endless issues of UR.  They are far more with the "hope" versus "despair" aspect that the NT writers imply.  I don't see them emphasizing or referencing hope beyond God's judgments, when they are discussing those judgments.  I would have thought they would, if they indeed believed there was hope beyond them.

I appreciate your engaging me in these matters, as my only intention is to come to the truth.

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 06:58:11 PM
Arcturus,

Thank you for the list of teachings by bro Ray.  As I mentioned previously, my comments are not based on surface study in this area.  I have actually read everything bro Ray has to say on this topic.  What I have not seen addressed sufficiently is this issue of NT emphasis.

My studies show me that this issue could go either way.  In other words, there may be endless torments, and there may not be.  There may be judgments and spiritual fires unto purification and deliverance, and they may continue indefinitely.  The end of judgments may very well be annihilation, or they may not end, or they may lead forth to salvation.  The words studies alone have left me inconclusive at this point, and unwilling to settle with either those who maintain endless punishment, or those who see annihilation, or those who see deliverance and salvation after judgments.

If, as you see, the writers have such a positive understanding as you indicate, I don't understand why they are as seemingly unsuccessful at communicating their optimism.  Why are they so pessimistic, as relates to the outcomes of judgment, when they address the theme of judgment?

Thank you for your patience with these questions!

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Craig on June 24, 2007, 07:32:00 PM
Quote
Why are they so pessimistic, as relates to the outcomes of judgment, when they address the theme of judgment?

Are the writers pessimistic or the translators?  Is it possible the translators had an agenda at the time?  History shows how corrupt religion and its leaders where throughout history, do you think it is possible they disguised and camouflaged the "good news" of the scriptures? 

One other thing, judgement will not be a walk in the park and will be a very painful experience for most, and that is what the writers warn of.

Just some thoughts.

Craig
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 07:47:43 PM
Hi Craig,

Thanks for your input!

I suppose it is possible, that the translators put their biased spin on verses relating to the nature of judgment, but because I don't personally have a bias, simply a hunger for truth, having carefully studied these passages from the Greek, while I think they could have done a far better job in translating Aionios, the emphasis they portray seems pretty close to the actual emphasis of the Greek texts.

I'd love to see a far more consistent dealing with Aionios, and see it translated "age," implying brackets (...) indicating beginning of an age and ending of an age, but I think the translators biases hindered them from doing this.  But, when it came to picking up and accurately communicating the tenor of these writers sentiments on judgment I think they did a pretty good job.  The writers, for whatever reason, just don't seem to have a positive outcome view of divine judgments.

Certainly we would have to agree that not all judgments "in time" have positive outcomes for the offenders.  The stories of scripture portray very negative outcomes, at least in this life, for those who persisted in sin and were harshly dealt with by God.  Whether we are viewing the Canaanites, or the 185,000 Assyrians, or the various other enemies of Israel, and including the generation that was judged and drug off to Assyria, their outcomes in this life were horrible.  Nothing positive there.

Therefore, it would seem reasonable to ask of at least a few NT writers the question "Do you see a positive outcome of judgment in the coming ages, and if so, where do you describe those positive outcomes?"  I just don't find any examples.  If they are there I would appreciate someone pointing them out for me, because I've missed them.

Thanks again Craig!

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Craig on June 24, 2007, 07:50:01 PM
Tom,

I wanted to also say I know where you are coming from.  For the years I was in Babylon I wondered what and where was the good news?  Preachers and teachers would tell of the good news, but deep in my being I could not see the "good news" they spoke of.  I saw a god of failure and most all the people I have ever known and cared about was going to spend eternity in hell.

When God opened my eyes to the truths of scripture I see the good news as plain as day, it was always there, but hidden in the dirt of religions covering.  When I study scripture now the bible is like a new book.  And the good news is in every page.

Craig
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: GODSown1 on June 24, 2007, 08:11:41 PM
Hey hi TOM & Welcum 2 da Forum,
                                             Much Blessnz 2 U, um! wot came 2 mind wen I read wot U had 2 say & want 2 know. Was Yes hw do we know da Truths/Mysteries of GOD had been recieved by dez writters of da NT den?. Wen we ourselves r jus startn 2 c dem here n da Forum n 2007, Well d@s about all I can say & feel Willed 2 :), b strong & Patient ma Brother in CHRIST.
                                             muchLOVE!! Pera
 ps. xcuse ma way of writing TOM lol! :)
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 08:25:12 PM
Craig,

I agree with you brother.  The good news is becoming so clear.

For the sake of this forum, I'd like to add a few other thoughts...

I see an image of God in Christ that far surpasses the image I saw as a hireling in the institutional systems of religion that I used to partake of.  Theirs was often a use of fear to manipulate for everything they wanted.  It was as though much of what they knew revolved around fear, legalism, and control.  It became stifling and helped open my eyes to a far larger vision of the grace, love, and goodness of God.

Having come as out of those systems as I have (I'm sure some of it still lingers within me...) I love what I see in Christ these days, and my image of Him is that of conquering by love.  However, having said that, I must admit that I'm cautious about an emphasis on the love and grace of God that may well fail to take sufficient account of His justice.

I see God as being the ultimate communicator, and not one Who hides His truth from the truly seeking hearts.  As I have studied the theme of UR I have been led to what I think is the love of God balanced by the wisdom of God.  In other words, I think God could easily have communicated a far more positive emphasis surrounding the theme of judgment, than He did, so I ask myself and Him the question of "why" the emphasis that is there?

I think, but I'm not absolutely certain, but I think the answer lies in His wisdom knowing that if He revealed too much of the glories of heaven it might just lead the independant minded sinner to conclude he could live in sin here and enter heaven later, after God helped him to see what he didn't want to see here.  I think God could easily have said far more about the optimistic approach to judgment that many who are solidly URs believe they see.  If He had wanted us to have such a hugely optimistic understanding, as I read among those who are settled in UR, I believe there is much more He would have said about the positive outcomes of His judgments.  But...He doesn't.  In fact, He paints a very bleak and dire picture.

It seems to me He gave us enough to "suspect" there will be a positive resolution for everyone, but not enough to be "certain" He will.  I incline towards a positive outcome, but I'm not certain of one.  I'm sure many here would conclude I just need a further revelation of God's love and goodness, to complete my understanding of His image, and I'm open to that possibility.

What I think to be more the case though is that we are not given enough for much of the optimism I read on this topic.  I'm not saying there won't be positive outcomes, but I am saying it is an optimism that none of the writers of the NT evidenced in their writings.  They are relatively silent where many UR folks are intensely vocal.  

I think I'm open to further light in this area, but thus far my theory of His seeming silence, where I would have expected Him to be far more demonstrative, inclines me towards the conclusions I'm coming to.

I'm very hesitant to be more optimistic in my writing and teaching than I see the apostles being.  I suspect we are not to "know" as thoroughly as many "seem" to know.  I supect it is because of the fragility of the human soul, and its tendency to look for reasons to put off a decision for submission to God.

I know many of the UR writings dismiss the notion that teaching UR will cause the disobedient to remain disobedient, and to embrace a "we'll see..." attitude about the next life, but I'm not so certain that this concern is invalid.  Mankind is continually looking for excuses to justify fleshly behavior...why not all the more so where it comes to submitting to His call upon their souls for faith in Christ?

Thus, He paints a picture of judgment that leads mankind to fear a Christless next age.  At the same time He paints a picture of glories of the next ages, and His deep and powerful love for all.  Both themes seem sooo evident.  I wonder if we are to reflect both of these themes, not fully settle on UR in this life, and trust in His wise goodness and wisdom to resolve all things according the good intentions of His perfect will?

These are just my spiritual ruminations.  I'm still very open to correction and light from Jesus.

Blessings!
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 08:33:53 PM
Greetings GODSown1,

I follow what you are saying, and I suppose it is possible, but I guess I'm not ready to conclude I have greater light than my NT writing brothers had.

I see myself as anointed at times, certainly filled with the Spirit, but I tend to believe they walked in a revelation not given to others outside their specific apostolic calling.  It would be a far stretch for me to think that I know more about this position than they did, or that anyone else does.

I appreciate the perspective you bring, and I certainly wouldn't want to sell God short, in terms of His power to reveal Himself to all generations.


Thanks!
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: GODSown1 on June 24, 2007, 09:11:41 PM
Hi again TOM,
                  first of all thanx on ur understandn of wot I hav sed (phew!! lol!), But! I jus wanna add I wasnt sayn U were n e greater or lesser den da writters of da Gospels, I believe 1 shouldnt put a Limit on his/her being, az GOD is our Creator our Deliverer etc etc, weneva it is ur time 2 know this or that it is soully up 2 our Creators timing!, Right!? :), GODBLESS! U, I know n the name of JESUS alL will b revealled 2 U, GOD! Willing Amen.
                   muchLOVE!! Pera

ps. Peace, Grace & Mercy 2 U brother.
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 09:16:52 PM
Hey GODSown1,

Thanks!  It is always assuring to know that none of us are very far away from the Father's revelation.  If there are things I haven't seen, but need to see, then in His time it will happen.

Do you feel you have some light on the issue of "emphasis" the writers evidence?

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: GODSown1 on June 24, 2007, 10:04:24 PM
Amen 2 d@ TOM,
        :D Yes TOM I believe wot has been sed frm others is probably a more n depth of wot Ive been sayn :) takecare ma brotner Peace 2 U.
         muchLOVE!! Pera
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: skydreamers on June 24, 2007, 11:04:44 PM
Hi Tom,



Firstly I want to say

(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t81/skydreamers/welcome5.gif)



It's always a joy to see more people seeking for the truth!

I sympathize with your struggles.  I personally think that a lot of words used in scripture have both negative and positive sides to them.  And one or the other is emphasized more depending on where we are at.  Right now, you are struggling to see the positive but likely from years of these words being used for the purpose of fear on you, it has left a dark "veil" over your eyes.  Your heart clearly shows you desire to know the truth, and as God is faithful, and as He is the one who has set you on this path and put these questions inside you, He will give you the answers in due time.

I also have come to think that God has purposely made the scriptures a mystery to understand, because if it were simple and physically logical, than we would give our carnal minds credit for understanding.  When we see the truths so clearly and simply, it is because supernaturally God has given us sight (and understanding).  Then we truly exclaim...."How did I not see this before?"  And we know it is because God's holy spirit has led us to the truth, and not because we somehow figured it out with our own power.  But at the same time, God bids us to reason with Him, and to dig for his treasures as if they were silver or God.  If they were easily accessible on a surface reading.....than why would we even have to dig??

You have done much digging already...and I sense God is preparing to give you the answers you are seeking.

Also, there is the danger of some Universalists thinking that God is going to deal lightly with sin....I've heard of people who think Universalism is just an excuse for "greasy grace" allowing them to live perverted lives.  God must make it extremely apparent to our carnal minds that we "reap what we sow" and that He certainly is a God of justice. 

It is the nature of the beast to take advantage on a  parent that treads too lightly and softly when it comes to discipline. 

And God is a passionate God, who is jealous for us.  He will go to extremes that our minds can't even comprehend to gather the one sheep that has gone astray.  99 is just not enough for Him, who needs ALL of His children reconciled to Him, else He simply would not be complete. 

But there is much evidence that after all this passionate "wrath" at the unrighteousness and sin of the world, the Lord will gather us and speak tenderly.  The pursuing of our hearts by God, the Husband that never gives up going after His whoring wife, is a kind of Love that NO ONE will ultimately be able to resist.  Which of us is not sincerely, in our deepest depths, desiring for such a Love?  When God reveals the truth of this kind of Love for us, then truly every knee will bow in awe.

Hosea 2:5-13
5  For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'

6  Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths.

7  She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.'
8  And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.

So then we have God's anger as He by necessity must  punish....


9  Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness.

10  Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.

11  And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts.

12  And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, 'These are my wages, which my lovers have given me.' I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall devour them.

13  And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the LORD.

But is this where it ends?  Is this the only way God deals with his creatures, and that's it?  Should the emphasis remain here?  I don't believe so, because here is what follows immediately after...

Hosea 2:14-23
14  "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.

15  And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16  "And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me 'My Husband,' and no longer will you call me 'My Baal.'

17  For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.

18  And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety.

19  And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.

20  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

21  "And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth,

22  and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel,

23  and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, 'You are my people'; and he shall say, 'You are my God.'"

A child who receives senseless beatings from a father, will recoil in fear at words of anger.  But a child who knows and trusts that all discipline and punishment is coming from the heart of LOVE itself, will know that these things are for good, and though they hear the words of anger, they will in their hearts hear also the words of Love that "speaks tenderly" in the aftermath of punishment. 

For those of us, who God has given these precious truths to, though we acknowledge the justice judgments of God, our emphasis lies in the redeeming Love of not only a Father, but a Husband who is not fashioning for himself a maidservant, but a BRIDE.  A bride, nonetheless, who spent an age of time pursuing other lovers.  Yet our Husband does not give up but endlessly seduces and courts His love.  Our God does not divorce His bride!

Matthew 19:7-8
7  They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?"

8  He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

Tom, if I may kindly say, I believe the "emphasis" you speak of is filtered yet through the carnal mind that yet cannot embrace the unfailing Love of our Father.  And if so, that's okay...it is where God has you right now, but clearly He is bringing you through a process to show you greater things, and speak to you with spiritual words of comfort.

All the theological exegesis in the world will not reveal to you the simple and profound Love of a Father, Husband, Brother, Mother, Lover and Friend who does not have a fickle love as we do. 

The seeking of God's true heart of Love is your answer to all things.

May God grant you wisdom in your studies, and I pray you find safety in His Love, sooner than later :) ;)

All peace and love to you, in Christ,
Diana


Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 11:33:27 PM
Hi Diana,

Comforting words indeed!

Perhaps you are right.  At the end of the day all my questions may yet be resolved in a deeper revelation of the Father's love.  If this be so then I'm confident that will come.

I acknowledge that I'm passing through a season of the inward workings of His love, and it is evident to me that due to a variety of early and not so early life experiences, entirely resting in and trusting His love has always been a struggle for me.

I have a son who took his life at age 30, after spending several years in drugs and crime, yet having been raised in Church.  I now recognize the Babylonian institutions of man were an unhealthy place to raise my family and conduct my ministry, but thanks to His grace and revelation we have all come out.  Perhaps coming out and having the vestiges of it completely removed from us are still two different things.  I know I long to have an absolute certainty that my son is where I believe he will be...safe in the arms of Christ, free from all bondage, argument, and rebellion.

To be very honest with you, while the apparent emphases of the NT writers, when addressing the issue of final judgments, seems entirely lacking in hope, when I look up into the face of Christ all I can see is mercy these days.  While I am not ready to say that I completely embrace the UR position, I can say that I simply cannot imagine the visions of Mary K Baxter to be of God.  I have long felt that if God anticipated that even one soul would love and serve Him while believing He was going to place the majority of humanity in an endless torment of Hell, that such anticipation would be in complete failure of recognition that man makes choices based on the perceived worthiness of the object believed in. 

While I know that many appear to have come to faith as a result of a fear of Hell, in the end, and when interogated in more depth, I believe those who maintain a valid walk with Him do so far more out of a belief that He is good and loving, than because they are afraid of going to Hell.  It has troubled me to hear the theological pontifications of those who maintain the endless Hell doctrine, when asked how they relate that to what they understand of the love of God, that their answer is that what they cannot conceive or imagine here will be resolved when they have the full mind of Christ in eternity.  In other words, they anticipate being able to comprehend the magnitude of His endless judgments on mankind as being a good thing, and in no way a violation of His goodness and love, once their carnal mind has been given full light and seen the fullness of justice.  Somehow that has never set well with me.  They would say the same thing to me that you have...I.e. when I have more revelation I will see how His justice is not in violation of His love, and an endless Hell will be appropriate in light of His rejected provision.

I guess we'll see how God works, in terms of resolving these matters in my mind, but while I am inclined towards the UR position I am still not settled there.

One friend of mine envisions the conclusion of these matters in the annihilationist position.  I agree it has some merit, but is much more difficult to see in scripture.

Thanks again for your explanation.


Seeking His light...
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 24, 2007, 11:41:51 PM
Diana,

In my previous reply I didn't want to detract from my appreciation for your comments, but I realized I would like to return to my original question of the forum, and ask you once again - "As you look over the NT writers, as they directly address the issue of future judgments, do you see them approaching this theme with optimism about the outcomes of those who leave this life unsettled with Christ, and if so where, if not, why do you think they don't?"

Thank you again!

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Kat on June 24, 2007, 11:49:40 PM
Hi Tom,

I think it is this age that we are in, that is a time of darkness, when the knowledge of the truth is a mystery to most.

Mar 4:11  And He said to them, To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. But to those outside, all these things are given in parables
v. 12  so that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand;

I believe this age is for the purpose for mankind to have an experience of learning good and evil.  All are given this experience to learn from it, so all will have a knowledge of evil.  
God has not given this comprehension to most, I think this is one of the mysteries that only a very few come the realize.  

Ecc 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens:it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it. (CLV)

So it is God's plan and purpose for mankind to have a wicked heart, too weak to resist tempation.

Jer 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Mar 14:38  Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

And after this age, is the age when Christ will rule with righteousness.  And all will be raised to judgment.  This judgment from which so many have wrongly determined to be eternal, will be to purge and cleanse the wickedness out of mankind.

Rom 14:12  So then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God.

Isa 47:14  Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame; there shall not be a coal to warm them; nor fire, to sit before it.

Heb 12:29  for our God is a consuming fire.

Jer 23:29  Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

So the way I see it, you have God/His word as a fire that burns the evil out of mankind, in judgment.  I can understand that the heat of the correction will be tormenting to many, if not most.  
But the outcome will produce righteouness.  All will then learn the truth.  All will have this life experience of this age of darkness, to compare and appreciate the knowledge of the truth.

Isa 11:9  They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Hab 2:14  For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Isa 26:9  My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
I hope this is helpful  :)

mercy, peace, and love
Kat

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: pylady on June 25, 2007, 12:30:47 AM
Hi Tom,

Welcome to the forum! 

If I understand your question correctly you wonder why the Scriptures don't make it clearer to mankind that God's plan is to bring salvation to all.  You feel that the Scriptures emphasize the negative side of judgment rather than the positive outcome.

Perhaps part of the answer is that the majority of mankind was not meant to understand God's plan in this age.  When the disciples questioned Jesus as to why He spoke in parables Jesus told them in Matt 13:11   "Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom but to them it is not given."

This age is for the gathering of the elect who receive God's spirit to understand these mysteries.  Eph 1:9  "He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him."  The "us" are the elect, who receive God's spirit to open their eyes to the truth written in His word.  To those whose eyes have been open the words of Scripture are not negative, but full of mercy and love for a glorious future for all mankind - being made into His image!

In Ray's LOF series, Part 4, I believe, Ray brings out that Jesus spoke to the masses in parables that they couldn't understand because He did not want them to understand, repent, be converted, healed and saved AT THAT TIME!

Most of humanity will be kept in the dark, and will literally see God's judgments as darkness untill God reveals His will to them after they die and are resurrected to judgment.

Anyway, I don't know if I added anything here, but just what came to my mind reading your questions.

Keep reading and keep questioning.  Questions make us all think.  Thanks for the questions.

With Christian love,

        Cindy
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Joey Porter on June 25, 2007, 12:35:42 AM
I have been carefully studying the theme of Universal Reconciliation, both in L. Ray Smith's writings, and Gary Amirault's writings, as well as many others, and I have a few questions for those who write here.  I'll preface my comments with saying this, while I have some reservations on this theme, my questions are not borne of some desire to argue, debate, or wrangle with anyone.  They are serious and genuine questions.  I hope they will be received as such.  I'm new here...

I've carefully considered all the word studies surrounding Olam, Aionios, judgment, the lake of fire, and Gehenna, and I'm concerned with a few conclusions, but my mind is not set in stone.  Having studied and taught the original languages has given me a unique opportunity to research these words, and in many cases I'm very supportive of the insights I see in the UR writings, but in some cases I wrestle with whether word meanings have been a bit stretched to support emphases I don't see clearly referenced in the scriptures.

While I too question the "endless" nature of future judgments, based on these words and themes, where I'm unsettled is the "apparent emphasis" of both OT and NT scriptures as relates to these themes.

I understand that fire is often symbolic of purification, and judgment often leads to growth and maturity, but it seems that saying these two themes "always" lead in these directions seems to miss the emphasis in scripture.

When both OT and NT writers write of these themes, if they clearly had a positive and hope filled view of the ages to come, why do they, when discussing judgment, not express their optimism towards positive and redemptive outcomes?  In other words, it seems they consistently miss their logical opportunities to present a salvational view of the coming ages, in the sense of describing "how" the judgments and fires will bring forth a saved company of redeemed ones.  Why do you think they fail to "clearly" discuss such an optimistic viewpoint?

If the writers of scripture truly believed that souls would be redeemed through the judgment process, why don't we see them coming right out and saying this?  Why don't we see them emphasizing or describing anyone having come through the fires of judgment and out the other side saved and praising God?

Why does it appear that their emphasis is on the fearfulness of judgments, the awesomeness of His holiness confronting the sinful rejection of man, rather than emphasizing the hope of those who leave this life unsaved being saved through the process of judgment?  Why do they seem to leave an impression of the finality of man's decisions towards rejection of Christ in this life?  If they didn't think of these decisions as indeed "final" why do you think they left the impression that they did?

I'd love to get this resolved in my mind, but I'm genuinely stuck at this point.

I'd appreciate knowing how some of you have worked through this issue of "emphasis."

Thanks!
Tom

Hi Tom.

You are asking for examples of NT writings that can show further hope for the salvation of all men.  But there is something important to remember.  We can also use types and shadows in the OT to reveal to us the truths of God's plan for mankind.  I firmly believe that everything, every minute detail in the OT (and NT for that matter), has a spiritual meaning that can give us deeper understanding of God's Kingdom.

The best OT type I have seen for the salvation of all men is the story of Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37-50).  I'm sure you are probably familiar with the story, but pay particular attention to the way in which Joseph treated his brothers, who had wronged him, toward the end of Genesis.  

In Joseph, there are many types and shadows of Christ.  And in the story of the enmity between him and his brothers, there are many types and shadows of how God will deal with those who persecute Him and those who hold to His words.

Did Joseph's brothers go through torment?  You bet they did.  But when they found themselves in a position to rely on Joseph for food, and for mercy, how did he treat them?

Remember Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for not seeing and understanding that the scriptures (which at that time would have been our current Old Testament) testified of Him. (John 5:39)  

Even Jesus' disciples were completely blind and ignorant of what the scriptures meant, even while they went about with Him preaching the gospel of the kingdom!  (Luke 24:25-27)

You ask, ''If the writers of scripture truly believed that souls would be redeemed through the judgment process, why don't we see them coming right out and saying this?''

The answer to that is because God does not want to make that obvious.  Think about it - why didn't the OT prophecies simply state "There will be a man who will be crucified on a cross and raised on the third day for the sins of the world?"  

Because that is not the way God has chosen to reveal His Truths to mankind.  He keeps His Truths hidden.  Jesus spoke in parables to hide the truth from people - not for any other reason.  

That is why we have supposedly over 20,000 denominations of Christianity.  Because the Truth is hidden from the masses, and carnal man, reading the scriptures with his carnal mind, can see just about anything he wants to see in the bible.  But this is the way in which God has chosen to work.  (Luke 12:51)

So, if you're looking for a passage or a grouping of passages that make the truth of the salvation of all men obvioius, you will not find any.  But that's where faith comes into play.

The sole fact alone that such faulty translations for words such as "sheol," "hades," and "gehenna" are casually accepted and believed by so many millions, including theologians and pastors, should be a clear sign that there is something wrong with the "eternal hell" doctrine.

I am more than certain that if you keep seeking and searching this out, there will come a time when you have no doubts about Christ's validity as the Savior of all mankind.   :)

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: skydreamers on June 25, 2007, 01:02:12 AM
Hi Tom,

Quote
I have a son who took his life at age 30, after spending several years in drugs and crime, yet having been raised in Church

My deepest sympathies go out to you.  I see where your concerns are rooted, and my prayers will be with you that you will find the peace you need concerning this.

I do know this:

Matthew 5:4  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

I apologize for seemingly sideskirting your original question about NT writers.  I do believe there was optimism among the NT writers regarding future judgments, but perhaps it is not as straightforward as we would expect.

I consider these things:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
14  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
15  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
18  Therefore encourage one another with these words.

There is a conitinual expresssion that our HOPE is the resurrection:

1 Peter 1:3-5
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
5  who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Paul exclaims:

Acts 23:6
6   I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!

And Peter says:

1 Peter 1:3
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Here are some scriptures that show the importance of our hope in the fact that we will all be resurrected:

1 Corinthians 15:16-23
16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

So each man in his order.  There is yet an end coming.  What is this end?  I refer you to Ray's article:  http://bible-truths.com/lake4.html

(Scroll about a third of the way down and start reading from the heading:

THE THREE FESTIVALS AND THE SALVATION OF ALL)


Now some may say, this is hope of the resurrection belongs to only those "in Christ".  Yet the focus of Paul's hope is in "the resurrection", and we know that there is a resurrection of the just and unjust.

Acts 24:15
15  And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

What are the unjust resurrected to?

Daniel 12:2
2  From those sleeping in the soil of the ground many shall awake, these to eonian life and these to reproach for eonian repulsion"(aversion, abhorrence)

Certainly there will be a time of abhorring the sins committed once we realize the full truth.

John 5:28-29
28  "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,
29  and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Since you have already studied out what "judgment" is then surely you believe the scripture when it says:

Isaiah 26:9
For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

Do you agree then that your son surely will be resurrected?  And if so, then the only question that remains is in which resurrection will he find himself.  From what you say, it may seem that he will be in that resurrection to judgment.  But from the scripture in Isaiah we see that this will lead to him LEARNING RIGHTEOUSNESS!

Matthew 12:18-21
18  "Behold My Child whom I have chosen; My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He shall declare judgment to the nations.
19  He shall not strive, nor cry, nor shall any one hear His voice in the streets.
20  He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not quench a smoking wick, until He sends out judgment TO VICTORY.
21  And in His name the nations shall trust."

And what about this?

Matthew 12:41-42
41  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
42  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment yet they repented?  Why is that?

Because:

Hebrews 11:13
13  These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

Hebrews 11:39-40
39  And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
40  because God had provided something better for us, so that APART FROM US they should not be made perfect.

Your son shall be made perfect, but not apart from the Elect, whoever they may be.  The Elect will have a hand in teaching the inhabitants of the earth righteousness.  You and I may become the teachers, or we may be the ones yet who have to learn in the resurrection to judgment.  You may be teaching your son, or you may come up with him and learn along side him. 

This is what I believe the NT teaches, and what greater hope and optimism is there, than that all the earth will learn righteousness and therefore be with God in His intimate family.

Revelation 15:4
4  Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for ALL NATIONS shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Revelation 22:1-3
1  Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
2  through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.


Revelation 22:17
17  The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

All our hope lies in the resurrection.  If not for that, than all will perish, good and bad alike.

I hope you will find some comfort in these scriptures.

May God grant you peace,

Diana 











Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: jER on June 25, 2007, 01:25:00 AM
First comes the Physical (knowledge), than the Spiritual (understanding)...

"Faith is not merely believing God can, it's knowing that He Will"

All Will come to the knowledge of the truth in (His) time.
And, Welcome Tom - In His Love and ours!

- jER

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 25, 2007, 01:59:03 AM
To each of you,

Outstanding replies!  The replies of true love and compassion.  All are received as such!!

I know that Jesus veiled His truths to those who were not yet ready to receive them.  Perhaps this is so for me as well.  I am one who has been being trained to move from a cerebral approach to things to a spirit approach, and as such I believe His process in this direction is at work within me.

As I mentioned...I do not consider myself to "know" but to be one "seeking to know." 

Many of the scriptures quoted, especially by Diana, have a powerful impact, when seen together.  I want to see beyond that which the natural mind can see, and in some areas of my walk I know I do.  I admit that there are some aspects of the things Ray and each of you speak that seem a bit beyond my reach to apprehend and accept, but, as I said before, when my spirit looks into His face I believe I see what my mind is still trying to catch up with...I.e. an amazing love and grace, able to overcome all obstacles.  Perhaps with more time, prayer, study, and light, I will settle that what I think my spirit sees is indeed the truth. 

Thanks to each of you for your caring words and patience with my struggles.

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Deborah-Leigh on June 25, 2007, 03:58:14 PM
Tom

Please accept my deep condolances for the wound you carry for the loss of your son. Non can know or comprehend what such pain this means unless you have endured and suffered the same. Ray lost his son. My husband lost his son. I was widowed in my twenties. I know of one other member here in the Forum who also lost a son in parallel circumstances that you briefly describe. Tom...you are not alone!

I want to say to you than non can do the work for you that the Lord has delegated you to do. Non can do the walk we have to walk. Of course you know this. I do not mean to trivialise your maturity or place where you are right now in your search.

Paul would have gladly traded places for his flock for them to know Christ. He could not do that but he suffered for his yearning that they come to comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God.

You are looking at emphasis. There is a section in Rays teachings that touch on Absolute v/s Relative in Rays paper on this link : http://bible-truths.com/kennedy2.htm It has some bearing on your "emphasis" that we are all pointing you towards cracking! ;D

Did you read the links I suggested already? You speak of understanding the concept of eternal with reservation? Why? Perhaps you have to read each line again and discern where and when you spirit rebels or recoils or simply refuses to accept and then....nail it! Free will is a myth. Have you grasped that concept fully. Hell is pagan. You seem okay with that.

Also the bible does not go beyond what will happen when God is all in all!....Why should it? We have still much to learn to just get comfortable with the basics! :D

We have to get firmly in the saddle of Gods Sovereignty, Myth of mans Free will, we have to disengage from laws and get comfortable with Divine influences on our hearts and THEN....MAYBE...we can expect to see and know more and be ready! You say you have read Ray's materials....yet you freely acknowledge you are not in complete affirmation of what you have read. Now that is a good place to start by getting the bigger picture first and then return to nettles that may brush out within the scope of wider vision and deeper understanding. ALL THIS is from GOD! He knows exactly where you are and why and when it will change!

John 16 : 12 I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them or to take them upon you or to grasp them now.

The above words apply to all of us. We first have to come to be able to "bear" the truth the Christ can show us, and then we have to take that truth upon ourselves and to grasp it! For me that is a life time process! :) :D and before any of that can happen we have to repent. That too is a gift from God.

Ray talks about this in his audios with the clarity and message of wisdom that only God can inspire.

Peace be to you

Arcturus :)

 
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 25, 2007, 06:58:40 PM
Arcturus,

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.  Received!

Quote
You are looking at emphasis. There is a section in Rays teachings that touch on Absolute v/s Relative in Rays paper on this link : http://bible-truths.com/kennedy2.htm It has some bearing on your "emphasis" that we are all pointing you towards cracking!

In reading over Ray's approach to Calvinism, plus the UR position, I did indeed find it a fascinating approach.  It has the feeling of rounding out Calvin's teaching.  Of course Calvin was not UR, so his approach was to see God sovereignly choosing some, and passing over the rest (off to Hell with them...ouch!).  His approach, especially as articulated by RC Sproul, has always made a "measure" of sense to me, and made it difficult for me to be dogmatic about the "Armenian" approach.  I have tended to land on it with my own mixture of both these brothers.  The way I taught my bible college students, was to say that neither Calvin or Armenius had it right.  Calvin was too deterministic in his approach to God's sovereignty, and Armenius was too man's will oriented, in his approach.  I taught my students that while man does not have "free will," he does have "genuine will."  Meaning, that while scripture implies that man's will does become involved with God's choices, his will is not sufficiently free, apart from God's divine enablings through grace, to respond to His call, so with the aid of His Spirit man's will is given that which it needs to finally respond and receive the faith and exercise it towards salvation.

I was aware that Ray opposed even this approach that I took, and his approach makes complete sense, since he sees UR, whereas Calvin didn't.  If Christ does all the choosing as to the "when" of a person's salvation (I.e. prior to the 1st resurrection, or prior to the 2nd resurrection) then of course we can take Calvin's perspective to the hilt.  But, if Ray is incorrect in UR perspective, then, from my point of view, Calvin's approach is beyond hideous and therefore unacceptable.

Of course, I hope Ray has it right, and I guess, in recent months, I have tended to land in the place of "not knowing."  I haven't landed in a place of rejection for UR, but trying to rearrange all the puzzle pieces I have been taught and taught, over the years, and settle in a UR place has not been easy for me.  I think my spirit takes to it, but my mind is weary from all the analysis and re-analysis.  Little by little I am returning to these matters, but somewhat reluctantly.

Quote
Did you read the links I suggested already? You speak of understanding the concept of eternal with reservation?

Yes, I did read them, and I do think I comprehend word studies done around the words "eternal, forever, etc."  Fortunately I have taught both Greek and Hebrew for many years, and so have had that as a tool to evaluate Ray, and others', perspectives, surrounding those word meanings.  I suppose, because I know word studies alone are not absolutely conclusive, I have remained unsettled as to whether the approach Ray is taking to them is in fact correct.  I see the logic, and the words are clearly capable of the meanings his study has surfaced, but...because word studies are rarely conclusive, in and of themselves, I've retained some reserve about them.

When it comes to linguistic analysis in the realm of etymological meanings, I've found that while words are capable of a range of meanings, coming up with a dogmatic "This word always means this..." is often very difficult.  This is why some exegetes take these words and assign word meanings that oppose Ray's conclusions, and other exegetes take those same words and come up with the UR perspective.  If the field of linguistic analysis was simple we'd have far fewer commentaries, and word studies, floating around out there.  Then, when you add in the difficulty that ancient idioms pose for the honest exegete, you have an element that should cause any honest student pause.  Idioms are the hardest things in scripture to interpret correctly.  I've not been absolutely convinced that either side of this issue has sorted out the idiomatic meanings attached to these words and word phrases.  Year after year I would warn my students, "Listen you guys, if you think you can take your Strong's concordance, and your Dana and Mantey grammatical principles books, and arrive at pure interpretations, you can forget it.  You'll still find those who will see it differently from you, and they won't all be cracked pots."  It would frustrate them, because they all wanted to believe that once I got done teaching them Greek and Hebrew, they'd become perfect exegetes and arrive at flawless interpretations of scripture.  It was a jolt back to reality for them, for me to have to tell them it would not be that easy.  It isn't that easy.  It truly isn't.  The languages are far too malleable in the hands of the person who comes to the scriptures with preconceived conclusions.  This is the unfortunate history of biblical analysis, and theological tradition.

If Greek and Hebrew alone would resolve all interpretational issues, where would be the need for the Holy Spirit?  So, at the end of the day, and at the end of all studies, it still comes down to, "Lord Jesus, You, by Your Spirit, must be the One to speak to my spirit as to that which is right doctrine.  You alone are All Truth, and I rely more on you than my best intellect."

I would have hoped this would have resolved all these issues by now, but alas...not yet.  I continue to study, pray, and try to remain humble before others who believe "they have seen it..."  Thus, I come to this forum listening, not arguing...

I agree, that much of the historical etymology of "Hell" is pagan in its history, and has very little to do with the bible.  I've appreciated much of the UR teaching in this area.  All in all, as I've already said in previous entries here, I'm very predisposed towards believing the UR approach, because of sooo many clarified elements, but I'm not yet 100% there.

As I've said, it troubles me, that if the NT writers had such an optimistic view of the 1st and 2nd resurrections, why they then seemed to speak so negatively regarding God's judgments.  They do use plenty of fear to challenge the carnality of their readers.  They don't "appear" to have an optimistic view of 2nd resurrection potentials.  They seem to breath in finality, and despair, and dire conclusions to leaving this life unsaved.  If, when they discuss the judgments, just one of them would have said, "Listen brethren, while it is unwise to leave this life unsaved, there will be severe judgments in the next life that will cleanse your souls and bring you through to salvation, but far better that you settle matters here and now," I would not have the struggles with trusting the UR approach to things, but they don't.  They don't even hint of a second opportunity hope when discussing judgments.  One person commented here, that I was asking Jesus to spell things out, like His disciples often did when He walked the earth, and He rarely complied with those wishes, but instead, spoke to them in inigmatic parables.  I know this is His way, and it may be right at this point that I, like them, am still struggling.  If so, then only God can resolve this in me, as He later on did in them.

I've done the words studies on judgment, fire, etc., and I see how it is possible that these words do imply a possibility of process towards purification, but I suppose I continue to think they could just as easily refer to finality, and a very negative finality at that.

Arcturus, it is very obvious that your encouragements to me are genuine, and I receive them as such.  My journey is far from over, and I have learned to not accept quick answers to deep questions.  Over the years (I'm now 55) I've had many doctrinal perspectives brought across my path, and each of them came with such surety of their correctness.  I have been tossed about by every wind of doctrine, for various seasons of my life, but each time, as I return to that quiet inner place, where Christ resides, a sorting out has taken place, and truth has emerged.  I'm confident this will happen again, as relates to the UR doctrine.

I'm in great agreement with you, Ray, and others here, that our God is gracious beyond imagination, and His love is of unfathomable depth.  It would not surprise me at all to find that He will in fact save even the devil himself one day.  No greater love exists than His.

I do not see the emphasis that you and Ray and others here present, in the writings of the NT.  I just don't.  If they believed what is presented here, then they are strangely silent or hidden about it.  Yet, in many areas they are loud and clear.  I believe if you or Ray were to have writtent the NT books you would have written them with an unmistakeable UR bent, which I believe is strangely lacking in the writings of the NT.  There is sooo much more they could have said, that you all have said, that I'm drawn to one of two conclusions:

1.  Either they were told not to, by the Spirit, though they saw everything you see, or

2.  They didn't see what you see, and as a result they of course wouldn't have written as though they did.

Which of these two are the correct understanding I'm uncertain.  I know they could have been much clearer on the UR position, if they had wanted to, or been allowed to, so I'm mystified as to why they didn't, if they see it as you do.  Such truths are by no means hidden in Ray's teachings.  He couldn't be clearer, more direct, or more dogmatic, in his writings.  No one wonders where bro Ray stands on these matters.  Such is not the case with Paul's, Peter's, Jude's, and the other writers of the NT.  Even Jesus is waaaay less clear on these things than Ray is. 

Jesus' whole use of the Gehenna metaphor is so amazing, that I'm still not certain what to do with it.  Surely He knew that the whole Gehenna teaching of the Jewish Rabbi's, that came out of Babylon, and not from any OT prophets, would puzzle us one day.  Why does He align Himself with such Jewish mysticism?  I really don't know.  But, I know He knew what they believed about Gehenna, that it was an earthly location that represented a subterranean world of darkness and suffering, yet He references it over and over again.  I admit, this bothers me.  I'm well aware Gehenna is a physical location outside Jerusalem, and is used symbolically to describe the nature of earthly and temporal judgments for sin, BUT, the Jews also believed it was a metaphorical concept of the next life, and that of punishment.  I would never have thought Jesus would have used this terminology if He completely opposed the concepts the Jews had aligned with this place, but He does.  Very strange indeed.  It makes me somewhat uncomfortable with quickly dismissing the misery attached with this theme, even though I can't image my God doing such things to His creation.  It is an unclosed chapter at this point in my thinking...

If the NT writers saw more on UR than they let on, is it possible they were forbidden to say more?  If so, do we learn from their hiddenness, anything that might apply to how we are to address this issue?  Could it be that, while the themes of God's love are trumpted through UR teaching, there is just too great a danger than men and women will trifle with their salvation response in this life, figuring they will get another chance on the other side?  I know this concern is denied by many here, but I'm not as certain that this just might be a greater danger than some think.  I would not want to arrive, face to face with Jesus, only to find that He had hidden much of what is trumpeted here, because He didn't want this side of doctrine as manifested to the lost, given their inclination to independance and rebellion.  I know you, and others disagree with this concern vehemently, and I'm not saying I'm right here.  It is just a wondering...

Well Arcturus, we journey on.  I embrace what Paul said to the Ephesians:

Eph 1:15  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Eph 1:16  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers,
Eph 1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Eph 1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Eph 1:20  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Eph 1:21  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Eph 1:22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23  Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

I live in these verses.  They are my life theme.  Nothing exceeds the value of deeper revelations of Jesus Christ...nothing, at least to my best understanding.

Thank for the time you've taken to address my concerns.

Jesus bless you!
Tom




Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: hillsbororiver on June 25, 2007, 07:52:35 PM
Dear Brothers & Sisters,

This has been an outstanding thread, one I can see proves that questions, comments and even opinions shared here can and will be received and discussed with patience and brotherly love when we stay focused on His Word, seeking a deeper knowledge of Him and His purpose for creating all mankind.

Beautiful testimony from all!

I will close with these verses, some of which have already been quoted;

Isa 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure:

Isa 55:11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

1Ti 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
 
1Ti 2:5  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
 
1Ti 2:6  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

His Peace and Wisdom to you,

Joe
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: skydreamers on June 25, 2007, 08:53:55 PM
Wow Tom, that is quite the background you are coming from!  You know, sometimes I wonder if too much knowledge is actually a deterrent from the truth, or at least can be for a time.  I often feel weighed down by the burden of thinking I have to know everything right down to its minutest detail, in order to understand.  I have often wished that I had the opportunity to learn Greek and Hebrew, but you know, I would have been one of those students of yours that was frustrated at hearing your words:

Quote
"Listen you guys, if you think you can take your Strong's concordance, and your Dana and Mantey grammatical principles books, and arrive at pure interpretations, you can forget it.  You'll still find those who will see it differently from you, and they won't all be cracked pots."  It would frustrate them, because they all wanted to believe that once I got done teaching them Greek and Hebrew, they'd become perfect exegetes and arrive at flawless interpretations of scripture.  It was a jolt back to reality for them, for me to have to tell them it would not be that easy.  It isn't that easy.  It truly isn't.

My carnal mind still gets deceived at times that there is some formula that can be used to arrive at the truth.  Thankfully, God is faithfully bringing me out of that.

God has continually been humbling me, in showing me AFTER I see the truth, how simple it really is.  Though it may be mysterious, it isn't as complicated as my brain tries to make it! ;) 

For me, God did use a simple concordance and the bible to start me on the path of questioning what I had previously believed.  I was no longer attending church, and had no Christian fellowship.  It was just me, God and the bible.  In time I learned to find people on the internet that saw some of the things I did.  But when I came across Ray's site it was an entirely new level of "wow".  At first I was a little resistant because of all I had been taught, but soon my spirit felt convinced and there has been no looking back since.

I believe God can and does use countless methods to spark the quest for truth in people. I have heard such a variety of testimonies from people of all walks of life.  Some are shown through scripture, some through people, some through visons and some others through studying nature.  I have come to believe, when God reveals something hidden, it is surely done supernaturally.  Everyone is unique and so I think God deals with them in unique ways.

Perhaps for you Tom, it is that you know too much, technically speaking, and so God is getting ready to show you in a most unexpected way what is His truth, so that you too may know that it was surely God who showed it to you, and that you didn't figure it out for yourself, based on all your learning.  I think you already sense this from what you have said.

I had the privilege recently of attending a small UR conference here in my city.  I don't know what other "doctrinal" things this small group of people believe (about 15 of us), but what was fascinating is to hear the testimonies of how God started to show them the message of UR.  Each story was wildly different.  In fact, the only common thread there was, was that as each person started to embrace this teaching, they were persecuted and hated by others who believed in hell, to the point of extreme stress in some cases. 

There were three Pastors there and only one managed to keep a small congregation.  The other two were put through such "hell" that they either quit or were fired.  The one Pastor who kept his church did so only after much hate directed towards him and most of his congregation leaving the church.  Very few tolerated his simple message of God's enduring unfailing Love.  To me, this says something supernatural is at hand, and how much the Enemy HATES this message.  Satan will stir up the masses to crucify afresh the Savior that we here at bibletruths believe in.  They want to kill our Jesus.

This Pastor who managed to keep a small portion of his congregation, was before a full-out hell and brimstone preacher for like 15 years.  One day, about 13 years ago, his daughter who at the time was 17 has a vision of Jesus, and in this vision she is relentlessly stabbing Jesus.  When she is done, Jesus hugs her.  The Pastor was horrified that his good Christian bible studying daughter had such a frightening vision.  He was scared for her, and so he sought desperately the Lords clarification on the matter.  The Lord showed him that He was the Jesus that hugged her, and the one she stabbed was "another Jesus".  The Pastor then committed himself to learn everything He could about this "hugging" Jesus, and eventually through time and study and prayer he saw the message of UR.

This may sound like a cheesy testimony (he told it much better than I).  But my point is, it is one of many examples of testimonies I've heard or read, where people weren't even looking for this message, and God stopped them dead in their tracks, like Saul, and set them on a different path.  One day they are unknowingly persecuting their Lord and the next they are shown the errors of their way....if that's not supernatural, then I don't know what is!

This answers none of your questions of course, but I share this with you just to encourage you, and to say that I think surely your time is coming soon when God will give you the clarity you need.  There is a reason why he has put this in your path, and you have already expressed your deep desire to know what is the truth. 

Quote
If Greek and Hebrew alone would resolve all interpretational issues, where would be the need for the Holy Spirit?  So, at the end of the day, and at the end of all studies, it still comes down to, "Lord Jesus, You, by Your Spirit, must be the One to speak to my spirit as to that which is right doctrine.  You alone are All Truth, and I rely more on you than my best intellect."

I would have hoped this would have resolved all these issues by now, but alas...not yet.  I continue to study, pray, and try to remain humble before others who believe "they have seen it..."  Thus, I come to this forum listening, not arguing...

Thank you for sharing more about yourself with us, and for sharing your thoughts and insights.

You are more like-minded with us than you may expect.  With everything the Lord has graciously clarified for me, another question pops up and the search continues.  God's word has seemingly endless treasures, and we know that in this age, none of us will be given complete truth....not until the age to come.

So welcome to the journey, with fellow brothers and sisters who desire more than anything to encourage you in your seeking.  We're all in the same storm and looking to Jesus to calm the raging waves.

Prayers of peace and blessing for you,
Diana




Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Chris R on June 25, 2007, 09:25:41 PM
Hi Tom,

Very interesting post, I believe you to be very sincere, and enjoyed reading your responce, If indeed "it is given unto you"the apostles" to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them "the great multitudes" it is not" [Matt 13:11] We must interpit this to mean the obvious.

The few can never mean the many, If indeed "all these things happened unto them "all our fathers" for ensamples: and they are written for our "those chosen" admonition, [1Cor 10:11] Then few indeed will be given this understanding.

Whats the secret? Why so many left deceived? Why not just spell it out in plain language, so that ALL could understand?..Why indeed!

These and other questions could take hundreds and hundreds of pages to fully explain from scripture, why so many are called, yet so few chosen. You must agree God cannot create Sons, without the knowledge that God alone possessed, "the knowledge of Good AND Evil".[Gen 3:22]

The Salvation of ALL is not that hard to decipher from the New Testament, To me it is written in bold type in nearly every page, And to others, it cannot be reconciled one bit.  I cannot give a explanation as to why some see it so clearly, yet so many cannot see it at all.

"Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,"[Mar 1:14] BUT... Unto you " the apostles" it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them "the multitude" that are without, all [these] things are done in parables: [Mar4:11] ..Even the parables about "Gehenna".


Peace

Chris R


Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 25, 2007, 09:46:02 PM
Once again Diana & Chris,

Many thanks for your responses.

I know what you say is correct.  The methodology by which God reaches any of our hearts seems to be to penetrate beyond our mental and conditioned barriers, and reach us with pure revelation in a place within us that loses all will to resist.  That deep "amen" in the spirit is what I am seeking.

I'm so thankful to know Him to the degree I do, and I live with a continual Christmas morning anticipation of yet deeper truths/gifts from Father God.  It will come.  Finding the proper balance between anxious waiting and patient waiting is what diligent seeking Him is all about.  I resist the anxiety of having not solved all the doctrinal issues I've not yet solved, yet I resist passivity.  As much as possible I desire to live in a place of eager yet patient anticipation.

The work of the cross, in each of our lives, bringing to closure the will and mind of man, is an ongoing process.  I'm sure there are still many areas in my heart that are blocking the revelation I seek.  I know Him well enough to know He is right now working on a plan to reveal the truth, expose the error, and bring forth new life. 

Thanks again!

Tom

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: DuluthGA on June 25, 2007, 11:07:03 PM
Hi Tom, I'm a newbie also.  And my deep sympathies for your loss.

Regarding why there may be such a 'dirth' of acknowledgments and descriptions of universal reconciliation in the NT.

Parenthetically, I believe you to exaggerate in that (paraphrasing you) 'God offers a bleak or dire picture in the NT' regarding this, or that NT writers 'are entirely lacking in hope... and they seem to breathe in finality and despair and don't appear to have an optimist view.'

I will try to liken your finding of a "shortage of written material" to me also finding a certain "shortage of written material" on a certain topic, e.g., why didn't God write more about His/Her feminine aspect?  Why is there no imagery of God the Mother or our Heavenly Mother that nurishes and nurtures us, when clearly God made male and female in "His" image, and this necessitates God would also have to be female.  [I hope you follow me on this.]  The idea just ain't in there!

Anyway my point to you is:  GOD SIMPLY DIDN'T "WRITE" IT THAT WAY, AND THEY'RE HIS BOOKS!  You know, "My Ways are not your ways, etc."

Further, the OT is filled with hopeful sayings in the psalms, proverbs and book of Ecclesiastes.  They are great to read in times of tragedy.

The NT has many encouraging phrases [I will not site all the verses] about God's love, our glory, the manifest sons of God, we shall be like Him, etc.  They excite the heck out of me.

So to answer your initial question of 'why do I think NT Scriptures fail to clearly discuss such an optimistic viewpoint?'  I too wish there was another whole book or two written on such.  But God didn't write it that way.  And I have come to share with you my belief that our God does ABSOLUTELY EVERY LITTLE THING for His and our own (eventual and ultimate) glory.

I am also here to testify that Jesus gave me water when there was none in the well.

With peace, Caregiver

(http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z3/jbirdowens/TigerLillies.jpg)



Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 01:02:44 AM
Hi Caregiver,

Your point is well taken.  In the end, emphasis is up to God.  If He didn't want to provide the kind of emphasis I would find helpful, then of course it is His Book, and He has the right to put it together whichever way He desires.  I fully support His emphasis, and His reasons for His emphasis.  I don't think I have any direct conflict with Him, nor the writers of the NT.  I am simply observing the obvious, that when the writers of the NT address the subject of final judgments and outcomes, they seem more to emphasize the tragic outcomes, rather than optimistic outcomes.  I just find myself wondering why?  If they held to a positive view of these judgments, in terms of the positive outcomes for those judged, as well as the positive outcomes of the Lake of Fire, why don't they address those positive outcomes?  I realize they don't "have to" to satisfy me, but I'm simply struck by the absence of what I would have expected them to say, had they had such an optimistic view.

I guess what I'm saying, is that after all the word studies, the parables, the analogies, and the various theological discussions, I'm reticent to accept a positive outcome that I don't see reflected in them. 

Let me give you another example.  One that you will more easily relate to.  To listen to the preachers in the Babylonian systems churches, you'd swear that absolutely every NT writer must have taught volumes on NT tithing.  It's as though they believe it is nearly the premiere doctrine of the NT.  But you and I know this isn't so.  In fact, we challenge them vociferously about their obvious "reading into" the NT a doctrine that just doesn't exist there.  They've got it all wrong, as near as I can tell.  They think the temple is still a building, they think Church is a place you go to.  They think leadership is hierarchical in nature.  They think a passive form of congregational attendance at meetings is the way it should be.  They think one person standing behind a pulpit is the only way to communicate.  They think Church is about meetings.  I could go on and on.  They have so many things wrong, and they say all their beliefs are built off of the NT, but you and I now know they fabricated those doctrines and beliefs, based on their personal desires/needs for security and significance.  And, in the end, Jesus gets the raw end of the deal, because His Church has been stolen from Him.  His headship has been denied.  His leadership has been usurped, and He's had to watch all this go on for 2000+ years.  Seriously wrong...all of it, but strongly believed by those in Babylon's churches.  They emphasize something the NT writers didn't emphasize.  They see something that just isn't there.  Their reasons are multitudinous, but they are wrong, at least in light of the light I have on these things.

So, am I saying that I think those who accept the teachings of UR have done the same thing?  I would say, "Not near so much."  But, I am concerned that it appears some are more comfortable with speaking where God is silent, and I find myself wondering if His seeming silence is with a purpose.  Where I would have anticipated Him being far more vocal, as regards positive outcomes of judgment and the lake of fire, He is virtually silent.  At least as far as I can see at this point He is.  So, from that silence I have asked Him a very pointed question, that I'm awaiting a clear answer from Him on.  It could go like this, "Lord, I'm well aware that many wonderful brethren believe there will be a good outcome for those judged in the next age.  Why didn't you say more about these positive outcomes?  Certainly you are greatest and clearest communicator of all.  Why have you left me with so many unanswered questions on this matter?"  At this point in my journey, while I cannot say "God has answered this question for me."  My spiritual hunch, or as you might define it as "my unbelief," I think the reason He didn't, even it is going to be a positive outcome, is because some things are best left unsaid lest it leave a wrong impression on those pondering a life of sin in this life, and then still obtain heaven's benefits in the next.  I suspect He thinks it is better to leave an impression that the outcomes will be very unpleasant, so as to encourage serious reflection on the consequences of sin.  I don't believe it is His highest motivation towards salvation.  I believe His love is clearly that, but I do believe I see Him using the theme of dire outcomes as a measure of the motivation to get things right with God in this life.

If I tell my child that if they run out into the street, as cars are quickly driving by, that they could get run over, and then one of my children watches my other child dart in and out of traffic, playing as if there were no danger, will it not likely embolden my other child, to try the same thing?  And, when one of them is run over, and the other one looks on, and reflects on consequences of disobedience, will they not learn a very sad and painful lesson, which I would far rather have had them learn without the consequences?  Now, I'm aware of how this would play out from a UR perspective.  Some would say to me, "But Tom, is it not bad enough that your child was run over and killed?  Do you also want to believe they will spend eternity in torments of fire, because they hadn't had time to settle their relationship with Jesus yet?"  To that I would, from my purely human perspective, reply "Of course not!"  I would hope their death would be resolved at the 2nd resurrection and the process of divine judgments with them being saved, BUT, do I see enough evidence that the outcomes of judgment will be positive for that child?  I wish I could say I did.  I know it sounds like I have a low view of God's goodness, and perhaps I do, but certainly not consciously.  I can't image God killing 185,000 Assyrians, or giving King Uzziah leprosy, or causing some in the NT Church, who defiled the Lord's supper, to be judged by physical death, or Ananias and Sapphira being killed for lying to the Holy Spirit.  I don't like any of those.  I have no idea, from my present frame of reference, how to comprehend how God can be good and still did those things to those people, but I know He did.  Scripture clearly says He did.  It makes me very uncomfortable.  I honestly don't know how to reconcile that with His love, but I do reconcile it.  Why?  Because I know He is loving.  I've experienced His love.  I know for certain He is loving.  I clearly see His love in the work of Christ at the cross.  So, if I know He is loving, and I know He did such dire things to the disobedient, then can I say I won't be able to accept even more serious outcomes of judgment when I'm there with Him, having become like Him because I see Him as He is?  I can't say I won't.  I'm inclined to believe that at that point I will be able to accept everything He does, even if my current mind and emotions can't grasp accepting it.

Listen friends.  I know I'm treading on hallowed ground in this forum, expressing things you have all come to believe is a detestable viewpoint, and I don't write these things to anger or upset anyone.  I haven't come here to preach, adjust, or fix anyone.  I truly haven't.  In the spirit of honest transparency, that we have all been experiencing on this theme, I've shared my present "sight."  I know some are concerned with my lack of spiritual light, in an area you have greater light than me in.  I'm concerned about this discrepancy too.  I would love to see what you all see.  I really would.  Perhaps I one day will. But for now, I've just candidly shared what I do see.  If and when the moderators would prefer I say no more I assure you I will cease.  I'm just exposing the wrestlings I have with these matters.

May God lead us all.

I remain your brother...
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: GODSown1 on June 26, 2007, 02:10:10 AM
Hey TOM,
      I know GOD is doin work in u brother, bcoz u sound like me wen I first entered dis Forum, BUT!! U hav much more knowledge, Wisdom, Talent etc etc way! more den  I eva had & probably eva WilL. I jus couldnt understan dis & d@, & um! d@ & dis but I jus kept focussed! on who?? GOD of coz, so Y em I hea? Y em I on dis earth? Y? Y? Y?, brother believe me wen it Hits! U, hav a bucket near lol! :) tears of Joy! brother believe it :D. bO I jus Pray GOD brings all ur answers 2 all ur questions 2 U soona den later, 2 all ur concerns d@ r screaming around in ur head lol! not 4gettn tho in sayn d@, ALL in HIS Time, all will b revealled. Bo take a gud look @ most of da pple in dis Forum (I did say most) lol! WoW!! m8 I jus feel so Blessed 2 even b amongst such knowledgable, talented, Blessed pple az urself bein 1, DudE all Glory goes 2 GOD! n I jus giv Thanks alwayZ! 2 our Great! Creator, its HIS way & no other way & howeva & woteva way da Plan HE has 4 me & may I say 4 U its AlL HIS. "Thank YOU FATHER 4 bringn us all here 4 Your Purpose! Your Way Only, may You giv us understandn 2 all our concerns, naggn thorts az I/we know You r in Control,You Alwayz hav been & You Alwayz will b in JESUS CHRIST our LORD & our SAVIORs Mighty!, Amazing!, Preccious!, Glorious!, Fabulous!, Formmidable!, Fantastic! name I Pray! Amen!!!".
         muchLOVE!! Pera

ps. LOVE, PEACE & MERCY 2 u brother TOM
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Kat on June 26, 2007, 02:58:22 AM
Hi Tom,

Quote
some things are best left unsaid lest it leave a wrong impression on those pondering a life of sin in this life, and then still obtain heaven's benefits in the next.  I suspect He thinks it is better to leave an impression that the outcomes will be very unpleasant, so as to encourage serious reflection on the consequences of sin.

It seems you think that if God revealed, that there will be salvation for all in the second resurrection, that people would sin more in this life?  
God has given all mankind a heart that is wicked.
Jer 17:9  "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?"
And has given us a carnal mind that is enmity against God which is hatred or hostile.
Rom 8:7  because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be.
So we are in a pretty ratched state and that is God's intention.  We live in an age of darkness, this life is for the purpose of learning good and evil.
If God was trying to 'encourage serious reflection on the consequences of sin' I don't think it's working.  I don't think most people think of the consequences at all, not only is God aware of that, He causes them not to be.  

Quote
I am simply observing the obvious, that when the writers of the NT address the subject of final judgments and outcomes, they seem more to emphasize the tragic outcomes, rather than optimistic outcomes.

As for the NT writers having a emphasizing the dire consequences of the judgment, I believe is because it is going to be seriously dire.
So people have been warned, those that know what the NT says shouldn't be so surpised.  In the parable of Lazarus and Rich Man, he wanted his brothers warned.

Luke 16:27  "Then he said, "I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house,
v. 28  for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'
v. 29  Abraham said to him, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'

So when people stand at the great white throne judgment and are cast into the Lake of fire, it is going to be a horrifying experience, but they have been warned.  When they go through the purging of there wicked ways, it will be tormenting for many as it was for the rich man, but they have been warned.

Rev 19:15  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

mercy, peace, and love
Kat

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 04:16:52 AM
Dear Pera,

You are a one of a kind blessing in the Kingdom!  Your words are always so tender and full of great love.  I wouldn't even begin to know how to express my gratitude for the way you express the Father's love.

I've received great grace here, considering that I'm stuck, somewhere between those who resist the greatness of the grace you all seem to have found, and those of you who have entered beyond that which I can fully see in Christ. I appreciate your patience!

I do not seek to uphold the doctrines and traditions of men, but I confess to have been trained in their schools, and conditioned by their understandings.  Little by little the Lord has extricated me from the rubble of man's foolish ideas of things, and if entering into the full understanding of UR is where He is leading me, then I know I will see that too.

Just before my son found out he was going to be held accountable to the law for something he had done 2 years previous, we had many conversations on this subject.  He was sickened by the traditional Church we had brought him up in, and was sooo glad we were done eating at that table.  He loved this subject, probably more than any we had ever talked about.  He was glad I was giving it serious consideration, and felt it was a healthy departure from the old ideas.  He asked my wife to read to him the entire book of Revelation, so in two settings he lay on the couch and she read the entire thing to him.  He had walked away from drugs, crime, and wasteful ways, and while he hadn't yet fully found his way back to the Lord, he was slowly moving in that direction.  When I expressed indecision on this subject, after appearing as though I would fully embrace UR, it saddened him, and confused him.  He couldn't understand why I would want to embrace thoughts of God that painted Him as horrible and rejecting as that which the traditional Church had trained him to believe, regarding Hell and its torments.  I told him I was not closed to UR, but I was concerned lest he ever leave this life unsettled with Christ, supposing that UR was valid, when I wasn't sure it was, and I didn't want to spend eternity without him near me.  He didn't say much.  He just listened, and kept his thoughts to himself.  About a month later, after landing an excellent job, he was coming home after his second sales presentation with his training manager, excited that they had closed a big contract, when out of nowhere, a policeman pulled him over, said there had been a warrant for his arrest for nearly two years, but they didn't know where he was living.  He called from jail to say how sorry he was, and that he'd find out more the next day.  We discovered the full nature of his former crime, and were hopeful that it might go well for him, given how well he had done the last two years.  We bailed him out of jail.  He came home, very sad and dejected, and unable to talk about it all.  It had crushed his dreams of finally escaping the consequences of past sins.  He apparently wrestled with it through the night, and in the morning, when my wife I had to go out for a couple of hours, he waited until we left, and then went outside, to our back yard, and took his life.  He did it in a place that would not hurt the home, and leave a mess.  Even in his death he was thinking about us.  When I came home I found him.  The horrors of that moment should never be given pen and paper to describe.  I see it in my mind's eye like it was yesterday, and it was a little over a year ago.  I share this to say that the things we pondered together on the theme of UR was the first time I saw him warm to the things of God in the two years he had lived and detoxed with us.

The next day, after he died, both my wife and I felt very strongly, that while she and I were apart for a portion of the day, processing our sorrow with the Lord, that our son came to each of us, and assured us he was ok, and we didn't need to worry.  I know well the teachings of Ray, on the subject of soul sleep.  I have no intention to argue against that position or for it.  I only know what we experienced.  We both remember it as strongly today as when it happened.  He was happy, free, and at peace.  His presence seemed to linger around our country property for a few days, and then as if the Lord decided we were ready, he was gone.  We looked at each one day and realized he was gone for good.  Whether is was only a vision, or it was his real presence, only the Lord knows.  It could have been just a vision I suppose, but it left me with such a sense of God's goodness, the magnitude of His love for our son, even though he took his own life.  It changed my heart towards God in a strange and enlarging way.  I had always trusted in His love, but suddenly it became far larger, far more real, nearly touchably tangible.  It still is...

Soooo, I can not ever see myself teaching the horrors of an everlasting Hell again.  It is just gone from within me to believe such a thing.  But, to fully embrace the message of UR...well, as I've said...I'm closer, but not there yet.

Thanks again for your kind words Pera.  Deep things you've shared!

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 04:32:52 AM
Kat,

I hear what you are saying, and I must admit, after many of the articles written by Ray and others on the seriousness of the fiery judgments that those rejecting Christ will experience, it has registered deeply within me.  I realize that no one here teaches any kind of a mushy "Jesus is just too good to chastise anybody," sort of nonsense.  I know you all believe in a very serious and intense time of punishment and judgment for sin.  Perhaps, in the end, I will settle that this resolves what I see in the apostles' teachings on the seriousness of the final judgments. 

I'll be honest with one more story.  As I was moving solidly towards UR, I shared openly, perhaps too openly, with some of those we regularly related to and ministered with.  Oh my gosh, the firestorm it touched off was unbelievable.  Out of nowhere, brothers I had walked with for 5 years turned on me, sent out a letter labeling me a full heretic, and warned all they knew to stay very clear of me.  I was no longer safe...something had turned my heart away from the Lord, was all they could conclude.  It was horrible.

It caused me to back peddle, and do some rethinking.  In that process, either I gave up to quickly on the truth God had shown me, or I was slowed by the Lord, until I could come to full conviction of the things He was showing me.  I don't really know which.  Maybe a combination of both.  All I know is that I backed up, studied again, and came to a place of realizing I hadn't adequately resolved some issues I needed to resolve before I struck down the road to hereticville.

I think I'm ok with being considered a heretic now.  That experience ended that five year relationship, like as if someone fell a tree in the woods.  Boom, over...at least for now.  I have forgiven them, as they "somewhat" apologized for their approach, but the wound was so incredibly deep, and they have never truly sought to mend that wound, that they have gone their way, and I have gone mine.  The group we fellowship with in our home was saddened that I turned away from UR, partially due to the conflict that arose.  They had had no real trouble with it.  They fully trust my heart.  They were embracing it, though cautiously, because they too had been raised in the same traditional Church environment that I had.  To this very day we have all agreed to table the matter, neither rejecting it nor accepting it.  It is a matter of prayer for all of us.  We are comfortable with His timing for resolution, and believe we had been a bit premature about accepting it as fully as we had, without resolving some concerns we still have.

Any way Kat, I know you are right.  Even if UR proves to be accurate, the judgments of God are not going to be anybody's picnic.  I hope I will escape those fires, but if it means all that is in error within me once and for all gets burned away, then I suppose I should welcome the judgments of God unto righteousness.  That's a tough one to embrace though...

Thank you for taking the time you have to share your insights.  I'm listening.  Honestly I am.


Blessings!
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Craig on June 26, 2007, 08:55:40 AM
Tom,

I see from your post that you are struggling with UR.  You think that is battle cry that we lead with here?  Though it may seem so, it should not be. 

The truth of scriptures as Ray teaches are for us to come through the fire, for us to die to our old selfs, to reveal the man of perdition and allow Christ to live in us and through us.  As you stated, many things are preached from the pulpit that are not there or not emphasized.  Perhaps in God's view UR is not the most important thing?

UR is there, make no mistake, but is only the milk or the word, and most make a habit of trying to live on the milk only, or become a connoisseur of the flavors of the milk.  I pray that we do not do that here, and if that is your impression I am sorry.  Again, UR is not emphasized because it is not the most important thing.

Craig
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Chris R on June 26, 2007, 09:43:24 AM
Hi Craig,

I agree whole heartedly, The Salvation of All is a part of the gospel, And is written in detail, "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.[1Cor 3:15]"

God is sovereign. God is all wise and all knowing. He is all powerful and almighty. And God is LOVE. He has a plan, a purpose, a will. He is carrying out that plan. He has set man against His own will while He carries out His intentions which absolutely no one can withstand. To know good, one must have an experience of evil. God created evil (Isa. 45:7). It is only temporary. He has given an experience of evil to mankind to humble him thereby (Ecc. 3:10). It will be completely successful. God has called a privileged few to understand His plan now. He will call and enlighten everyone else later. Death cannot separate God from His love for them. There is coming a resurrection of the dead. All of the dead. They will be taught the truths of God and God will be their saviour. Ray Smith, Letter to Hagee

While the Gospel is written concerning those called and those chosen, the struggle defines us here and now, He that has a ear, hear what the spirit says This knowledge is given, we cannot "reason it out". We apply what is given to us, daily.

Peace

Chris R

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: rj on June 26, 2007, 11:20:45 AM
Hey Tom

Welcome to the forum...I can't add anything to the great responses you have already gotten, but i do have a question.

 You say.....Which of these two are the correct understanding I'm uncertain.  I know they could have been much clearer on the UR position, if they had wanted to, or been allowed to, so I'm mystified as to why they didn't, if they see it as you do.  Such truths are by no means hidden in Ray's teachings.  He couldn't be clearer, more direct, or more dogmatic, in his writings.  No one wonders where bro Ray stands on these matters.  Such is not the case with Paul's, Peter's, Jude's, and the other writers of the NT.  Even Jesus is waaaay less clear on these things than Ray is

I was just wondering if you had e-mailed Ray, and ask him how he could be so clear on this subject, when Jesus wasn't.

Ron
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 12:53:38 PM
Hi Craig,

A very interesting reply!  A good one!

Certainly, even if UR stands as a true doctrine, it is only one amongst many.  I would like to think of it as just one shelf in the warehouse that is Jesus.  If we keep our eyes fastened on Him, allowing the cross He appoints to each of us to reveal more and more of Him, then ultimately all doctrinal issues will be resolved in a yet greater revelation of Him.

When I survey my past in Christ, I find that everything significant that I have come to know, I have come to know it through not so much receiving a doctrinal revelation, as I have a revelation of the person of Christ.  He is the alpha and the omega.  He is the king of kings, not doctrine.  He alone will be the centerpiece and all encompassing focus of the ages to come.

I'm truly and peacefully confident that if I keep my spiritual eyes on Him I will come to know even as I am known, all that I need to know.  No man can obtain revelation just because He wants it.  All such revelation is hidden within God, and only through apokaluptsis (an opening up of the hidden things/revelation) can they/He be known.

My job is to study, seek, pray, and wait on God.  I have seen much of the doctrine discussed here, and have no argument with it.  When He is ready for me to see the rest in Him I'm sure I will.  Until then I want Him to be my primary pursuit, not the doctrine of UR.

I hope this makes sense.  I'm not saying I disdain this doctrine, nor your passions here to declare it.  I know you value it, first and foremost, because it is a wonderful means of declaring the wonders of the person of Christ.  I don't sense a need to be "right" on this forum, as much as I sense a jealousy for the truth as it is "in Christ."  I've been blessed here, in the few short days I've participated.


Thank you!
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 01:24:15 PM
Hi Chris R,

I too am drawn to 1 Cor. 3:15.  I think it is one of the most fascinating verses in the entire bible, as relates to the theme of UR.

1Co 3:15  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

In verse 11, Paul's "no man" sounds as though it's only logical connection is to "a believing man."
In verse 12, Paul's "any man" sounds once again to be connected with a believer only.
In verse 13, Paul's "every man" begins to make me wonder, if it is limited just to the believers.  It begins to sound far broader.
In verse 14, Paul's "any man" sounds once again to be referencing the work of the believer.
In verse 15, Paul's "any man" in connection with the work he refers to in verse 14, leads me to connect to a believer only.
But it is verse 16, that particularly seems to nail down who Paul has been referring to "Ye are the temple of God."  This can only refer to believers.

However, I note the intensely fascinating theme of the "fire" of God.  That which purges, and refines, as Ray so well points out.  The moment he pointed out that verse, and connected it with the UR theme, something powerful resonated within me.  Even those who so vehemently oppose the UR doctrine, have to come face to face with the great prophet Paul, and recognize he is looking far off into the prophetic distance, and seeing a fiery refining work of God.  Though it seems to be singly applied to the believer in this passage, I find myself wondering why those who oppose UR are so certain that the lake of fire doesn't partake of "ANY" of this refining potential.  If any one verse keeps bringing me back to UR to rethink it, it is this one.  If God can pass a believer through fire, and he comes forth improved, then why can such an experience not be useful to the unbeliever?  I have never read one single solid rebuttal of this logic by any scholar who opposes UR.

I wish Paul had gone beyond his clear reference to believers in this passage.  It is possible he has, in the sense that if he thinks of this fire as being the same as the lake of fire of the Revelation, which John references, and if there is in fact just one age to come fire, as there appears to be just one age to come judgment seat, then perhaps this resolves the question.  I for one have come to think that when Paul refers to the judgment seat of Christ, in 2 Cor. 5:10, he is seeing the exact same thing as John, who refers to it as the Great White throne judgment, of Rev. 20:11.  It seems unlikely to me that we are looking at two separate throne experiences.  All mankind passes through the judgment of that one throne.  Paul focuses the judgment seat of Christ on believers, whereas John makes a heavier focus on unbelievers, but they both appear to be one and the same throne, just given an emphasis on two different sets of people.

If this be so, then "could" the "no man, every man, any man's" of Paul's 1 Cor 3, just be his way of focusing on what all mankind will experience, with a special reference to the believer?  It seems at least possible.  I'm unable to be conclusive on this point, but I must admit it pushes me solidly towards the UR position, far more than it pushes me towards the traditional doctrine of eternal Hell.

If God can pass a believer through some form of spiritual fire, and we recognize that spiritual fire to be a part of the coming ages, and it has a positive benefit to the believer, then why can't the same fire, perhaps taking a longer period of time for refining, have the same positive effect upon all mankind?  At the very least this challenges solidly the notion that the lake of fire can only be an experience of tortuous misery.  It certainly won't be for us, so why would it "have" to be for them.  Uncomfortable for us...surely, but obviously not an endless discomfort.

Perhaps, as you say, God will continue to open my inner ear to these things, and confirm the truth of this position.  At the very least this verse has waaay opened my heart to the possibility that positive outcomes could come forth from such fires.

Thanks for your patience and instruction.  I'm receiving it!

Tom

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 01:32:15 PM
Hi Rj,

That is a reasonable question.

In the past...perhaps a year ago, I emailed a couple of times to Ray, and he very graciously responded to me, and invited me to come out and visit him some time.  I would love to do so.

I guess I have shied away from passing by him every question that comes to my mind, as it is obvious he is extremely challenged by all the email that already comes to him, plus his studies and writing.  I suppose out of mercy for his busy schedule I've not written him again.  Plus, I know it is my job to read his writings, do my own study, pray, and wait on God.  I tend to believe in general that seeking counsel or insight from other men should be something the Spirit leads, so that we learn to turn to Him first rather than men.  Therefore, I only turn to men when I sense a distinct leading to do so.

In the case of my addressing some questions to this forum, I'd have to say I have felt led to do so.  And, the responses here have only confirmed that leading.  I'm blown away by the gracious reception my questions have received.

Thanks for the suggestion though.  I'll pray about it.  With someone of his stature in the kingdom I give great pause to consuming any of his personal time.  God will lead me...

Blessings
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Kat on June 26, 2007, 02:21:21 PM

Hi Tom,

Quote
If this be so, then "could" the "no man, every man, any man's" of Paul's 1 Cor 3, just be his way of focusing on what all mankind will experience, with a special reference to the believer?  It seems at least possible.  I'm unable to be conclusive on this point, but I must admit it pushes me solidly towards the UR position, far more than it pushes me towards the traditional doctrine of eternal Hell.

I do agree with your understanding of 1 Cor. 3.  But if I way point out, Paul is mainly speaking of the believer here, but in verse 13 "each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it..."  'the Day' would that be the same 'day' for believers and unbelievers?  'That day' is referred to by Jesus as when many will call on Him, but will be turned away.

Mat 7:22  On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'...  'I never knew you; depart from me..."

But 'that day' is also for the believers.

2Th 1:10  "when He comes on that day to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed."

And another point is the scripture in 1 Tim. that referrs to Christ as "the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe." 

1Tim 4:10  For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe.

This verse includes all, both believers and unbelievers.
Just a few points I thought to bring out.

mercy, peace, and love
Kat


Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: musicman on June 26, 2007, 02:50:30 PM
The kingdom of heaven (Christ and His elect) is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid three measures of  meal, till the whole was leavened.
Cor. 5:6
No ye not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

Hey Tom, how bout some OT:

The Wave Sheaf (Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover) (includes Passover)-This represents Christ (the First of the firstfruits)

The Feast of Weeks is when the first fruits of the land is harvested.  This represents the elect who will be in the first resurrection.

Guess the rest are off to hell. . . unless:

The end of the year Feast of Ingathering (Feast of Tabernacles):
Thou shall observe The Feast of Tabernacles seven days after you have gathered in your corn and your wine.  And you shall rejoice in your feast, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger and the widow that are within your gates.


Ver. 23-24
Yet each in his own class:  the Firstfruit (Christ) thereupon those who are Christ's in His presensence: thereafter the consumation (end). . .
Ex. 23:16
. . . and the Feast of Ingathering of the Fall Harvest, which is in the end.

John 7:37-38
In the last day, that great day of the Feast (Tabernacles), Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of Living Water.

I got all these things from Ray in one of his early Lake of Fire papers.




Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 02:55:59 PM
Kat,

I think you are right.  My wife and were just sitting at our breakfast table, discussing the things we are writing of here (parenthetically, I am so blessed with a mighty woman of God, and one equally committed to a biblical understanding of God's truth, as well as a profound love for Christ), and I think there is but one "Day," and it is a day, a judgment seat day, in which all mankind will face the truth as it is in Christ, and the outcomes will be varied, depending on the degree of reception of the truth in Christ.

It does not seem as if there are "Days," but one "Day."  A day of judgment.  It will be a day that is preceded by the fires of God, per 1 Cor 3, that purges the carnal works of the believer, and it is a day that is followed by the unbelievers being cast into the lake of fire.  Presumably their being cast there will have the same effect in their lives, as it had in the fire the believers went through, I.e. purging, purifying, and restoration.  I don't understand why traditional theology has so adamantly demanded it is of necessity endless in torture.  What could be the purpose of that?  How would that please and resolve anything in the Father?  I assume their conclusion, that it will be endless, is their linguistic analysis of eonian (Greek, aionios).  I think it is possible eonian could be understood idiomatically as endless, but I also think it could just as easily be stretching its meaning beyond what is logically necessary.  It feels to me like an eisogetical interpretation rather than an exegetical one.  I don't know why the greater part of christendom feels it must read into eonian an endless torment.  It mystifies me.  It's as if they have an emotional need to see it this way.  Much like men who can't stand the thought of women teaching them anything in Christ.  They read Paul's words through chauvinistic eyes, and see red when a woman of God tries to teach them anything.  Nonsense!

Yet, and I say this cautiously, but I don't want to interpret the lake of fire through emotional eyes either.  I don't want to find it so emotionally detestable to think that God could endlessly torture the lost, that my interpretation is based on my emotion of discomfort.  I can believe He could help me with this emotion in the ages to come.  I think it is preposterous to think He'd ever cause me to rejoice at the tortuous condition of the lost, but I can slightly imagine He could grant a grace I cannot now fathom, to handle the sorrow I would feel for the endless sufferings.  Do I think this will be the case?  I really don't know, and really do doubt it.  I think He has something else prepared, that He says very little of.

I'm less inclined to think of things as being an endless torture, and more inclined to think that annihilation will take place or redemption.  It seems biblically inconsistent to imagine an endless hell, no matter what anyone does with the word eonian.

Finally, I agree with you regarding 1 Tim 4:10.  I know the traditional interpretation is that Jesus is the savior of all mankind, even of those who reject His work at the cross, but who will never receive His savioral benefits, but this seems such a strained interpretation of this verse.  It is a strange verse indeed.  It does appear to me that Paul wants us to see that now He is the savior of those who believe, and later He will be the savior of those who do not now believe, but oh how I wish he had been just a little bit clearer on this point.  How I would love to be able to ask him if this is what he meant.  It would clear up so much.  There are so many places where just such an explanation would tip the scale towards UR and settle so much, but it is at just these points where silence prevails.

Thanks again!  Such edifying things!!!

Tom

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 02:59:38 PM
Hi musican,

Yes, I have carefully studied Ray's teaching on the Feast of Tabernacles, and I too think it has great merit.  It may well resolve everything.

I'm continuing to pray and ponder his teaching.  I can't, at this point, see how he could be wrong.  This is one of the reasons I have a profound respect for Ray, even though I can't say I'm settled in the ultimate conclusions he has come to.  His reasoning is good, and his words are powerful. 

Thanks
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: skydreamers on June 26, 2007, 03:01:33 PM
Hi Tom,

It's me again!  I hope you don't mind me responding to you yet again.  I am just so moved by your story.  And I can sense your appreciation of our great desire to see you set free from uncertainty.  The torment of not knowing for sure, one way or the other, is something I'm sure at least some of us here went through for a time.  I remember crying out to God in near anger asking, "Why can't you just make it clear??"  I was confused for a time and that was long before I found this forum.  But the Lord was faithful to clear things up for me, and we know He will do this for you too.

Quote
I'm truly and peacefully confident that if I keep my spiritual eyes on Him I will come to know even as I am known, all that I need to know.  No man can obtain revelation just because He wants it.  All such revelation is hidden within God, and only through apokaluptsis (an opening up of the hidden things/revelation) can they/He be known.

My job is to study, seek, pray, and wait on God.

A big amen to that!

Yes, when we focus on seeking to understand who our great God is, and what the nature of His heart is, than all other things will fall into place, I believe. 

It is beautifully apparent the great unconditional love you had for your son, despite his mistakes and trouble.  And God showed you  that your son will be safe, because in essence, it is impossible that you could love your son MORE than God loves him.  He is God's son first because God created him in the womb:

Isaiah 44:24
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the LORD, who made all things...

Tom, you said of your son:

Quote
...and I didn't want to spend eternity without him near me.

Dear Tom, the heart of our Father is greater than yours or mine, His love is more pure and more powerful than anything we can express.  Yet here you have spoken the heart of the Father....He surely does not want to spend eternity without ANY of His children....He will have ALL of them and not allow even one of them to go astray forever...

Luke 15:4
What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, UNTIL he finds it?

Is God limited by space, time or even death in fulfilling His own will and desire?  Does Jesus have the keys to life and death but is unable or unwilling to use them?  Is there anything that can separate you from the love of God, and throw you either into a pit of fiery hell, or into the darkness of non-existence?

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God will not have his children, all of them whom he fashioned in the womb, to be separated from Him forever.  It is not possible for His heart to live without them.  Because God is Love, and Love NEVER fails.

The love you have for your son and the grief you now feel, God feels it a hundred times more.  It grieves Him to have to conform children into His image in this way, but since God is all-knowing, we know there just simply is no other way. 

Lamentations 3:31-33
For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.

In fact, the methods God is using to create His family are the best way and one way or another, we WILL be a part of God's intimate family, intelligent and fully developed beings with Godly characters, just as He is. 

That's the whole purpose for why we are here and why we are going through all of this!  When God said, it is not good for man to be alone, He was expressing something about himself.  And one child just wasn't enough for Him!  He wants a family...

And he will yet fashion in all of us a heart that is like His, so that we can love Him and others with everything in us.

Jeremiah 24:7
I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

Jeremiah 31:33-34
...I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
....for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

We can believe that God can do this with everyone because nothing is too hard for him.

Jeremiah 32:17
'Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who has made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.


God loves us with a love that is bigger than we can comprehend, but you need only look into your own heart, and see a glimmer of God's love in the love you have for your son and your wife.

1 John 4:9-10
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


2 Peter 3:9,15
The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

15 ...And think of the long-suffering of our Lord as salvation

Luke 6:35
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

God expects us to love our enemies because that's what he does!

The love of God burns up the dross in us, and what does fire leave behind but ashes...

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me.... to comfort all who mourn...to give to them beauty for ashes...that He might be glorified

Peace,
Diana






 


 
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 03:28:42 PM
Dear Diana,

Such an awesome array of scriptures, undoubtedly strung together by the heart of God.  Whew...

I quote three sections from your comments:

Quote
It is not possible for His heart to live without them.

I'm not sure why, but this phrase rings so deeply true within me.  I want to believe this is exactly how it is with the Father.  It is just such statements and scriptures that make me think I'm more wrestling with a skewed image of God, than with actual issues of theology.  I had a father that never had time or interest in me, as a child.  I know he loved me, but he never had time for me.  As a result, I've wrestled throughout my life with a clear sense of "worth" in the eyes of the father, and a clear comprehension of His love for me.

Quote
Jeremiah 24:7
I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.


The thing that strikes me about so many of these OT passages, is that when Jeremiah wrote this, he was referring far into the future, and applying it to a generation that all would die in Babylon.  The element of returning, which seems can only be understood in terms of those who are dead returning, leaves a clear impression of yet another day of processing before God...a day in which the workings of Messiah will have their intended effect...the restoration of their souls.  What else could Jeremiah have been referring to if not this???

Quote
Jeremiah 31:33-34
...I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
....for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more

Once again...the same thing.  If this isn't referring to those who have died in unbelief, and then a restoration, what does it mean???

Thank you very much for putting this string of verses together, and for your continued compassion towards my struggles.

I find myself wanting to get together with each of you, and just weep with appreciation for your compassion.  I have no doubt of your sincerity and profound love.


Peace in Him
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: lilitalienboi16 on June 26, 2007, 03:56:05 PM
Tom,

I see from your post that you are struggling with UR.  You think that is battle cry that we lead with here?  Though it may seem so, it should not be. 

The truth of scriptures as Ray teaches are for us to come through the fire, for us to die to our old selfs, to reveal the man of perdition and allow Christ to live in us and through us.  As you stated, many things are preached from the pulpit that are not there or not emphasized.  Perhaps in God's view UR is not the most important thing?

UR is there, make no mistake, but is only the milk or the word, and most make a habit of trying to live on the milk only, or become a connoisseur of the flavors of the milk.  I pray that we do not do that here, and if that is your impression I am sorry.  Again, UR is not emphasized because it is not the most important thing.

Craig

Hey Craig, great post and i agree!

It's but the milk, and though i'm not fully able to eat all the meat, atleast i can taste some of it ^^

God bless,

Alex

P.S. Hello tom, great to have you here, i pray God opens your eyes and ears to His wonderful truths =], Love to you brother!

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: lilitalienboi16 on June 26, 2007, 04:08:20 PM
Hi musican,

Yes, I have carefully studied Ray's teaching on the Feast of Tabernacles, and I too think it has great merit.  It may well resolve everything.

I'm continuing to pray and ponder his teaching.  I can't, at this point, see how he could be wrong.  This is one of the reasons I have a profound respect for Ray, even though I can't say I'm settled in the ultimate conclusions he has come to.  His reasoning is good, and his words are powerful. 

Thanks
Tom

Someone told me in another thread that we sit in the likes of Timothy and Jeremiah! How amazing is that?

Made me aw-struck, hehe, to truly realize God is alive, and does speak! He moves, He lives! He is at work here!

What a wonderful Father we have =]

Love and more love!!

Alex
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 06:14:24 PM
Here's a thought to throw into the "emphasis" mix...

When we read the OT, and consider OT kingdom theology, most everyone recognizes that traditional Jewish Kingdom Theology clearly believed that ALL Jews would one day be resurrected from the dead and brought into the heavenly kingdom of God. 

In Jesus' day, the only exception to this belief was among the Sadducees, who did not believe in a resurrection.  But obviously Jesus wasn't aligned with their theology.

Just by Jesus' aligning with the Pharisees, who did believe in a universal resurrection and inclusion in the kingdom of God, at least for all Jews, it seems we see something very significant.

Over and over again, throughout the prophets, they prophesy about a restored Israel, in a kingdom age of unparalleled glory. Because of their confused bias, at seeing this either completely as a Jewish kingdom, or at the very least a primarily Jewish kingdom, their emphasis was towards the Jews, but we now recognize God had something far broader than just the Jewish nation in mind, for His kingdom.

As the prophets prophesy, they continually see things for the nation that seem to make no sense at all if the entire Jewish ancestry is not raised from the dead and given an opportunity, afresh and anew, to know the Messiah.  Even those who are led to Babylon and Assyria in captivity, are prophesied to in ways that were designed to encourage repentance and hope for a time after their death, FOR THE ENTIRE NATION.  How else to understand their prophecies, if they were only meant for the very last generation of Jews to whom the gospel would finally make sense to, and who would repent in this life and get saved?  The result would be little more than a small handful of Jews saved, from their inception as a nation.  This hardly aligns with the magnitude of hope for Israel, that the Jewish prophets prophecied of.

A general flaw of Jewish Messianism, and the Kingdom Age, was their belief that simply because they were Jews they would receive the Kingdom, but certainly we know that the repentance component can not be removed from this hope, even if they missed understanding this requirement.  Surely we would have to anticipate Messiah wouldn't just gloss over their sins and former rejection of Messiah.  We would have to anticipate there being some form of conviction, confrontation of unbelief, and repentance.  Yet, interestingly, there is very little said of this in typical traditional Church theology.  I've always found this omission strange.

This prophetic theme has nagged at my heart for a long time, and over the last year, of pondering UR, its nagging has only increased.  What does Hosea mean, if His promises don't speak of this hope?

I don't remember Ray specifically teaching on this element of Jewish theology.  Does he have an article that specifically deals with Jewish prophetic kingdom theology, and its application to the whole world?

Thanks again!
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Chris R on June 26, 2007, 09:41:12 PM
Hello Tom,

Ray often quotes Isaiah 26:9 "When thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" I find this verse to encompass the ideal that all men "inhabitants of the world" will learn righteousness, and if ALL men learn what is right, of what value is it to them?

Second witness;

"For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." [Hab 2:14] Again, of what value is this knowledge if not to redeem those learning?

The cause of judgment is to set things right, "The Reckoning", And if the two verses above are worth the paper their written on, there can be no other explanation as to the meaning.

If you examine the OT text, you will ultimately find nothing that supports the idea of a eternal torture chamber, were non believers are burned in torment forever, the concept is nowere to be found in the scriptures.

Eternal torment has absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever, it is an enigma, it cannot possibly bring about any GOOD...so to what use is it?  Even the brightest best theological minds in the world argue over such a simple statement, What GOOD comes from eternal punishment?

That being said, as has been stated, this is not the overwhelming principle taught on bibletruths.com It is merely milk to those who have looked beyond the ridiculous doctrine of eternal torment/annihilation.



Peace

Chris R
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Kat on June 26, 2007, 09:59:23 PM
Hi Tom,

My reading of Hosea, shows that Israel is a example or type, that foreshadows the great harlot of Rev 19:2  "For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her."
Just as all Israel had gone astray, so have all the generations up to this present day.  And there is a lot of talk in Hosea, of the severe judgments which will be upon them in the day of judgment.  But the last chapter of Hosea show that they will return to the Lord.

The chosen are now the Jews not by birth, but by a circumcised heart.

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
v. 29  but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Now these chosen to be Jews, will also judge the Jewish nation.

Rom 2:27  And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?

I'm not sure this is exactly what you were talking about, but I thought I would share what I see in Hosea.

mercy, peace, and love
Kat


Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: GODSown1 on June 26, 2007, 10:21:25 PM
Hey TOM,
           I feel 4 U ma brother in CHRIST, I know u r so right der r no wordz d@ could discribe how U feel thru wot happened wit ur son, Tears jus rolled down ma cheeks 4 da sadness U mustve felt & probably still do, but Joy also came withn as wen I read d@ my mind went right 2 JESUS!, & our FATHER! who gav us His son so d@ We will know! da TRUTH!!!!. GODBLESS! U Tom & may HE Comfort & bring Peace withn in which I can already hear in ur writings HES workin in U Hardowt!!, Blessngz 2 u & ur wife Tom, keep up da GOOD work n CHRIST JESUS Amen!.
            much muchLOVE!! Pera

ps. & U r so rite id so LOVE! 2 meet n b around all of da pple in dis forum (literally) & pple of likeminds 2, PEACE!! bro
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 10:29:23 PM
Chris R,

So many verses in the OT make little sense without a UR understanding.

I agree, as regards the lack of discussion of anything that looks like a doctrine of endless Hell in the OT.  When I find someone I think I can trust to not pounce on me as a heretic, for even thinking about the UR doctrine, I will often ask them the following question: "If you only had the OT to teach of an endless and tormentous Hell, where would take me to see that approach?"  It leaves them stumped.  There are a couple of verses in Isaiah that look somewhat inclined in that direction, but given Isaiah is just one book, and does not represent early theological understandings in the earth, if the majority of OT peoples are destined to an eternal Hell, without ever being warned of its excrutiating nature, how would that be just?  It is, to my way of thinking, a compelling argument.

I know my wus approach to not wanting to be considered a heretic could be considered pretty sick, but to my way of thinking, until I'm settled in my understanding of this issue, I'm not going to blow the emotions and hearts of those I relate closely to, prematurely.  I did it one time before, in my early studies of UR, and you would have thought I had come right out and told them I considered Jesus to be the devil.  I'll take the heat when I'm clear and confirmed in it, but for now I'm pretty careful about who I talk about these things to.

Thanks again for the perspective.

I know there are many deeper issues in our walk with Christ, than just UR, but for now it is one area I'm seeking light and settling in.  Thanks for indulging my hunger for truth.

Tom

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 26, 2007, 10:40:10 PM
Kat,

That's exactly the direction I was going with my comments.

How can the OT prophets have such an optimistic approach of Israel's future, if the majority of Israel is damned to everlasting hell?  It just doesn't make any sense!  This is an area that keeps nudging me closer and closer to resolution on this matter.  If all we had was the OT I don't think we would ever have had the doctrinal conflicts we have over this area.

Those who fully buy into the endless hell approach, do so almost exclusively from the NT, and when asked what they do with the absence of the endless hell doctrine in the OT, their basic answer is, "Well, that's not surprising.  They had a little light, and spoke from the little light they had, but when the Spirit came, more light on this topic came, and thus we see an endless hell was always in God's plans."  It is amazing to me how logical this seems to them.  It says so little about the mercy of God to provide an adequate warning to millions and millions of lost souls in the OT.

One of the things I've pondered, is if Christians really believed, at a deep heart level, that the majority of mankind was actually going to spend eternity in a tormenting hell, they would be far more intense about their communication of the gospel to the unsaved.  I think we all know, at a level we can hardly articulate, that it is umimaginable that God would actually place people in endless torment, thus our sense of urgency for the lost is tempered by some mysterious "knowing" that there will yet be future opportunities to sort things out.  I know this is a weak argument for UR, but it is one I've pondered.  It is another one of those inner nudging voices in the UR direction.

Thanks again Kat.  I'm hearing you!
Tom

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Chris R on June 26, 2007, 11:46:40 PM
Chris R,

So many verses in the OT make little sense without a UR understanding.

I agree, as regards the lack of discussion of anything that looks like a doctrine of endless Hell in the OT. When I find someone I think I can trust to not pounce on me as a heretic, for even thinking about the UR doctrine, I will often ask them the following question: "If you only had the OT to teach of an endless and tormentous Hell, where would take me to see that approach?"  It leaves them stumped.  There are a couple of verses in Isaiah that look somewhat inclined in that direction, but given Isaiah is just one book, and does not represent early theological understandings in the earth, if the majority of OT peoples are destined to an eternal Hell, without ever being warned of its excrutiating nature, how would that be just?  It is, to my way of thinking, a compelling argument.

I know my wus approach to not wanting to be considered a heretic could be considered pretty sick, but to my way of thinking, until I'm settled in my understanding of this issue, I'm not going to blow the emotions and hearts of those I relate closely to, prematurely.  I did it one time before, in my early studies of UR, and you would have thought I had come right out and told them I considered Jesus to be the devil.  I'll take the heat when I'm clear and confirmed in it, but for now I'm pretty careful about who I talk about these things to.

Thanks again for the perspective.

I know there are many deeper issues in our walk with Christ, than just UR, but for now it is one area I'm seeking light and settling in.  Thanks for indulging my hunger for truth.

Tom



Hi Tom,

Sure i understand, i was there once, And to be honest, i still get blank stares from old friends, I taught this ridiculous doctrine in Sunday School, Performed in special programs, Played instruments, sung songs, Got goose bumps when the preacher shouted in tongues. Went forward, got baptized, cried, howled, raised my hands, and shouted a lot of "A-Mens"

I thought I was so happy, I mean, come on... i was going to heaven, and everyone else outside my immediate church buddies were going to hell..all the Catholics, and Baptists, Methodists, ..none of them had the "real" truth..yep..straight to the pit for everyone but me and my pals...

Why didnt i have a little compassion for those others?...i'll tell you why!...Because it didnt effect ME one IOTA!..I would be quite content watching billions of men, women and children sizzle in unimaginable agony, SO WHAT...it wasn't me..I could sit and eat popcorn and laugh at the screams of the horrific pain riddled bodies gasping for air, only to sink once more into the fiery lake of molten hot liquid.

Let me tell you this....no SANE human being could STAND that view for 2 minutes. let alone 1 hour...let alone a week....now..lets ADD ETERNITY?

When i read Rays papers..it took me 10 seconds.....I mean 10 SECONDS to REPENT of such utter trash...and i could care less who knows it!..It is the most DIOBOLICAL destructive doctrine EVER to be hatched in the depraved minds of mankind!

Are we to then expect the very Same God that instructs us to LOVE our enemies, will then torture all his enemies for all eternity?

 1Cr 15:19  If in [b]this life only [/b] we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Anyway done rambling..

Peace

Chris R






Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: bobf on June 27, 2007, 12:21:28 AM
When both OT and NT writers write of these themes, if they clearly had a positive and hope filled view of the ages to come, why do they, when discussing judgment, not express their optimism towards positive and redemptive outcomes?  In other words, it seems they consistently miss their logical opportunities to present a salvational view of the coming ages, in the sense of describing "how" the judgments and fires will bring forth a saved company of redeemed ones.  Why do you think they fail to "clearly" discuss such an optimistic viewpoint?

Tom, here is my understanding.  If the salvation of all mankind were spelled out clearly, how would the meaning of owlam life and owlam judgment be still sealed?  It must be sealed, because it says so here:

Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3  And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 4  But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Surely the "sealed words" would include at least the prior two verses wouldn't they?  If they are sealed they are not to be undertood.  Notice that the wise will TURN MANY to righteousness. That must be sealed too.

12:5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6  And one said to the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, How long [shall it be to] the end of these wonders? 7  And I heard the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these [things] shall be finished. 8  And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9  And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

Noticed that Daniel asked what the outcome of all these things will be but he was told that the understanding of that is sealed.  Only the wise and pure wil understand.

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Zade on June 27, 2007, 12:23:33 AM
If the writers of scripture truly believed that souls would be redeemed through the judgment process, why don't we see them coming right out and saying this?

I've struggled with this too. Why don't we have ONE clear statement of universal reconciliation that could absolutely never be denied by the church? There are some pretty clear cut statements, but the church manages to find their way around them. Why isn't there ONE verse, "Every single person who has ever lived and will ever live will be saved" Yknow what, why aren't there verses like that on every single page of the Bible???

Because It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. (Proverbs 25:2) It can not be so obvious that it is undeniable, because God NEEDS deniers for his plan. Right now, God is blinding a lot of eyes, and that's part of his plan. If UR was undeniable, how could he blind eyes? He aboslutely needs Babylon to fulfill his plan.

 Ray said it in one of the audios: "God wrote this book so people wouldn't understand it, and every generation he chooses out some people to understand this book" And that's His plan. He COULD OF made UR undeniable, but that isn't his plan. And it's a good plan, because he's righteous in all of his ways.



Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: DuluthGA on June 27, 2007, 12:26:21 AM
Hi again Tom.  I sure am enjoying your thread.  It is good to challenge my thoughts.  Here are a few more verses to hopefully inspire you.  Some are direct UR-type verses, some verses are given for support conceptually.  Most are KJV.  I tried not to repeat any of those previously mentioned; if I accidentally did, sorry.   :)  These verses are in no particular order.

Rom 3: 22-23     Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ UNTO ALL AND UPON THEM THAT BELIEVE:  FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE:  FOR ALL HAVE SINNED, and come short of the glory of God:

John 12: 32     "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, WILL DRAW ALL MEN unto me."

Psalms 86: 9     ALL NATIONS whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.

Luke 3: 6     And ALL FLESH shall see the salvation of God.

Isaiah 52: 10    The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF OUR GOD.

Gen 22: 18     And in thy seed shall ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Rom 11: 36     And so ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

Rom 5: 10,18     For IF, WHEN WE WERE ENEMIES, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, MUCH MORE, being reconciled, WE SHALL BE SAVED by his life..... Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon ALL MEN to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL MEN unto justification of life.

Rom 8: 29     That, whom He foreknew, HE DESIGNATES beforehand, also, TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, for Him to be a firstborn among many brethren. [CLNT]

Rom 9: 18, 21     Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth...... Hath not the potter POWER OVER THE CLAY, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonour?

Rom 9: 19b     ..... for who has withstood HIS INTENTION? [CLNT]

Rom 9: 22-23     What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured [Greek = carries] with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath FITTED TO DESTRUCTION:  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which HE HAD AFORE PREPARED UNTO GLORY.

Isaiah 64: 8     But now, O Lord, thou art our father; WE ARE THE CLAY, and THOU OUR POTTER; and WE ALL ARE THE WORK OF THY HAND.

Phil 2: 13     for IT IS GOD WHO IS OPERATING IN YOU to will as well as to work for the sake of His delight.  [CLNT]

2Tim 1: 9     [God] Who SAVES US and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but IN ACCORD WITH HIS OWN PURPOSE and the grace which is given to us in Christ Jesus before times eonian.  [CLNT]

Rom 12: 44     For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to EVERY MAN the measure of faith.

Rom 11: 8     What then?  What Israel is seeking for, this she did not encounter, yet the chosen encountered it.  Now the rest were calloused, even as it is written, GOD GIVES THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, eyes not to be observing, and ears not to be hearing, till this very day.  [CLNT]

Acts 13: 47b     I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for SALVATION UNTO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.

Jeremiah 32: 27     Behold, I am the Lord, the God of ALL FLESH: is there any thing too hard for me?

Prov 11: 31     Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth:  MUCH MORE THE WICKED AND SINNER.

Heb 3: 4     For every house is builded by some man; but HE THAT BUILT ALL THINGS IS GOD.

1Cor 11: 12     For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but ALL THINGS ARE FROM GOD.

Prov 16: 4     the Lord hath made ALL THINGS for himself: yea, EVEN THE WICKED for the day of evil.

Matt 19: 25-26     When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, WHO THEN CAN BE SAVEDJesus beheld them, and said unto them, "With men this is impossible; but WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE."

Isaiah 40: 5     And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and ALL FLESH shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Isaiah 42: 16     And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not knownI will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straightThese things WILL I DO unto them, AND NOT FORSAKE THEM.

Isaiah 25: 8     He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off ALL faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off ALL THE EARTH: for the Lord hath spoken it.

Ezek 21: 7     And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tiding; because it cometh:  and EVERY heart shall melt, and ALL hands shall be feeble, and EVERY spirit shall faint, and ALL knees shall be weak as water:  behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord God.

Psalm 65: 2     O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall ALL FLESH come.

Acts 3: 21     [Christ] whom it behoveth heaven, indeed, to receive till times of a RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, of which God spake through the mouth of all His holy prophets from the age. 

Heb 1: 2     [God] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of ALL THINGS, by whom also he made the worlds;

John 1: 1-3     In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  ALL THINGS were made by him; and WITHOUT HIM WAS NOT ANY THING MADE THAT WAS MADE.

Psalms 67:7     God shall bless us; and ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH shall fear [reverence/honor] him.

Psalms 72: 8     HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION also from sea to sea, and from the river UNTO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.

John 6: 45     "It is written in the prophets, And THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GODEVERY MAN therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, COMETH UNTO ME."  And ALL THY CHILDREN SHALL BE TAUGHT OF THE LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 26: 9     With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of THE WORLD will learn righteousness.

Isaiah 11: 9     They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for THE EARTH shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2: 14     For THE EARTH shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Phil 2: 13     For it is God which worketh in you both to will and do of his good pleasure.

Rom 14: 11     for it is written:  Living am I, the Lord is saying, For TO ME SHALL BOW EVERY KNEE, and EVERY TONGUE SHALL BE ACCLAIMING GOD!  [CLNT]

John 1: 12-13     Yet whoever obtained Him, to them HE GIVES THE RIGHT TO BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD, TO THOSE who are believing in His name, who were BEGOTTEN, not of bloods, neither of the will of the flesh, neither of the will of a man, but OF GOD.  [CLNT]

Rev 15: 4     Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?  for thou only art holy: for ALL NATIONS shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Isaiah 66: 18     For I know their works and their thoughts; it shall come, that I WILL GATHER ALL NATIONS AND TONGUES; and THEY SHALL COME, AND SEE MY GLORY.

John 3: 35     The Father loveth the Son, and hath given ALL THINGS into his hand.

John 17: 1-2     These things speaks Jesus, and lifting His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, come has the hour.  Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son should be glorifying Thee, according as Thou givest Him AUTHORITY OVER ALL FLESH, that EVERYTHING which Thou hast given to Him, He should be giving it to them, even life eonian."  [CLNT]

John 6: 37     "ALL that the Father giveth me SHALL COME TO ME; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

John 6: 39     "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of ALL which he hath given me I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up again at the last day."

1Cor 4: 5     therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall EVERY MAN have praise of God.

John 6: 44     [Quoting Jesus]  "NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, except the Father which hath sent me DRAW HIM; and I will raise him up at the last day."

John 6: 65     And he said, "Therefore said I unto you, that NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, EXCEPT IT WERE GIVEN UNTO HIM OF MY FATHER."

1Cor 12: 3     Wherefore I am making known to you that no one, speaking by God's spirit, is saying "Anathema is Jesus."  And NO ONE IS ABLE TO SAY "Lord is Jesus" EXCEPT BY HOLY SPIRIT. [CLNT]

Matt 11: 27     "ALL THINGS have been delivered to Me by My Father, and NO ONE knows the Son except the FatherNor does anyone know the Father except the Son, AND THE ONE to whom the Son WILLS TO REVEAL HIM.  [NKJV] [Echoed in Luke 10: 22]

John 5: 15b      APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING ." [CLNT]

Acts 10: 36     The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: [HE IS LORD OF ALL.]

Isaiah 45: 22-23     Look unto me, and BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH for I AM GOD, and there is none else.  I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me EVERY knee shall bow, EVERY tongue shall swear [allegiance].

Daniel 4: 35     ALL the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; HE DOES ACCORDING TO HIS WILL in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.  No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, "What have You done?"  [NKJV]

Jer 31: 34     And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord: FOR THEY SHALL ALL KNOW ME from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive THEIR iniquity, and I will remember THEIR sin no more.

Col 1: 14-15     [Christ] In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN of EVERY creature.

1John 4: 8     He that loveth not knoweth not God; for GOD IS LOVE.

1Cor 13: 8a     LOVE NEVER FAILS:  [New King James Version]

1Cor 13: 4-5     Love is patient, is kind.  Love is not jealous.  LOVE IS NOT bragging, is not puffed up, is not indecent, is not self-seeking, is not incensed, is not TAKING ACCOUNT OF EVIL, [CLNT]

1Chron 29: 11     Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory.  The victory and the majesty; For ALL that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as HEAD OVER ALL. [NKJV]

I have more verses if you desire.  I started collecting them when I started reading Ray a year and a half ago.  There are many, and it helps to see them all at once.

Thank you for your kind words!  God be with you!

Janice/Caregiver






















Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 27, 2007, 01:37:42 AM
Chris R,

Thank you again!

Strong spiritual logic.

My heart is like a sponge for all your words.

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 27, 2007, 01:55:15 AM
Zada and Bobf,

Now that is a unique angle I admit to never having fully connected with.

Many times in these threads this theme has come forth.  Little by little this theme is impacting my heart.  Your words have hit deeply in a good way.  They cause such deep ripples of reflection, like a stone in a quiet pond, wave after wave spreads outwards in inward confirmations.

It seems strange to me that God conceals matters He so wants us to see, but I know you are right.  He does this.  It must have driven the disciples to near distraction, to walk with Jesus, and have so many questions, and yet He would only drop small potent droplets of truth on them at time, leaving them with way more questions than He was willing, at the time, to answer.

I remember telling one of my bible college students, "Confusion is the beginning of wisdom."  It came to me after they were confused over something I had taught, which they had not caught, and demanded I be clearer with them.  I basically told them they weren't ready for more, and they shot back with 1 Cor. 16 "God is not the author of confusion."  All I could think to say was "Jesus doesn't author confusion...His truth just bumps into your own personal confusion."  I think this is obviously His way with us.  We want it all "right now," and He knows better than to give it to us all in the moment we request it.

Just about every time the disciples asked Him a question, He answered their question with an answer to a question they should have been asking, but weren't, and the look in their eyes must have been..."Huh????".  I can just see Peter looking at John, puzzled for a moment, and then not wanting to look stupid, would have said, "Oh yah, I see what you mean.  Sure, I get in now.  Wow, thanks," knowing fully well he hadn't gotten a thing, but hoping the rest of the disciples would detect his dullness.  Fortunately for Peter they were all as dull as he was, all except for perhaps John.

Anyway, your answers are potent.

The cumulative effect of each of the different one's comments is powerful.

I assure you, I am listening...nearly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the input, but definitely listening.

Thank you!
Tom

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: gmik on June 27, 2007, 01:58:05 AM
AWESOME!

I tried to print out this thread so I could study all the scriptures. 

Over 80 pages!!!!!! ;D

Tom, welcome!  How I missed this thread I don't know.  I hope you feel at home.  I did feel the love coming thru.  Thank you for sharing so much about yourself.
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: skydreamers on June 27, 2007, 01:59:04 AM
Quote
The chosen are now the Jews not by birth, but by a circumcised heart.

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
v. 29  but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Now these chosen to be Jews, will also judge the Jewish nation.

Rom 2:27  And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?

To build on what Kat brought out:

Romans 11:1-27
1  I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

2  God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?

3  "Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life."

4  But what is God's reply to him? "I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."

5  So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.

6  But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

7  What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,

8  as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day."

9  And David says, "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them;

10  let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever."

11  So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.

12  Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

13  Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry

14  in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.

15  For if their rejection means the reconciliation OF THE WORLD, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?

16  If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17  But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,

18  do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.

19  Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."

20  That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe.

21  For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

22  Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

23  And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.

24  For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

25  Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob";

27  "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins."


Peace,
Diana
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: skydreamers on June 27, 2007, 02:13:02 AM
Zada and Bobf, I wholeheartedly agree with Tom, that was excellent, very cool 8)!

Janice....AWESOME...!!!

Amen and AMEN!!! ;D :)

(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t81/skydreamers/yahoo.gif)  (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t81/skydreamers/give_heart.gif)  (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t81/skydreamers/thumbup2.gif)
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 27, 2007, 02:14:53 AM
Hi Janice,

The sheer weight of the cumulative verses is awesome!

Thank you for taking the time to put them all into one thread.

This all reminds me of several verses:

1Co 2:7  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

Eph 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

Eph 3:3  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

Eph 3:4  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Eph 3:9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Eph 6:19  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Col 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Col 4:3  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Rom 16:25  Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

1Co 4:1  Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

2Co 4:3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

Col 2:3  In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

2Co 3:14  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.

Rom 11:7  What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Joh 12:40  He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

Act 3:17  And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.

It is truly amazing that a God of truth would be so diligent to hide so much He wants His people to understand, but obviously He does.

Paul's entire life was a ministry based in taking the OT scriptures, which none of the rulers of past ages had seen truth in, and to reveal the mysteries that were there all the time...staring them in the face, but which they couldn't see.

I love what Jesus says in John 5:

Joh 5:38  And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
Joh 5:39  Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Joh 5:40  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Jesus was there, all the time, in living color, in their OT scriptures, and they completely missed him.  I suppose it shouldn't surprise me if Pharisees such as myself and the many professional ministers I've ministered with, worldwide, missed many things around this theme too.  Only God can deliver us, and these last 7 years have been all about deliverance from error, and entering the light as it is in Christ.

Thank you for pressing these issues with me.  It is sinking in.

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 27, 2007, 02:20:16 AM
Gena,

Yes, I do feel welcome and received...overwhelmingly so!

Diana,

I have made it one of my life emphases to study and teach the book of Romans, and I admit that so many confusing pieces of the Romans puzzle seem far more resolved from a UR perspective.  Thanks for your input there.

Whew...you guys know how to pile on the food.  I feel like a kid with an unlimited meal ticket in a buffet restaurant...ha, ha!

Tom

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 27, 2007, 02:31:02 AM
To be honest with you guys...I'm beginning to feel a bit selfish here.  I've taken a great deal of your time, and I've been blessed beyond measure.

If you would like to let this thread rest I won't be offended.

My heart is stirred to the core, and I'm truly confident God will see me through to the conclusion of this matter.

I feel your prayers and your love, and I'm humbled beyond words.


God bless each of you!

Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: skydreamers on June 27, 2007, 02:45:12 AM
Hey Tom,

I hope we haven't overwhelmed you...It's almost like we pounced on you non-stop eh?  (okay, yes I am Canadian... ;D)  I can tell you are such a gentlemen, politely and graciously responding to everybody ;) ;)

We are so happy to have you here, and keep in mind all of us are continually learning from each other and edifying each other, as the body, no matter what questions are asked and who is asking them!  We are all blessed by the process...

Do take time to absorb and meditate, if that is what you need regarding this issue.  In the meantime, I look forward to learning from you, from your vast experience and insight into the scriptures.

By the way, your post in response to Janice was very inspiring...it's a keeper!  You deserve some smilies too...

(http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t81/skydreamers/thumbup2.gif)  (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t81/skydreamers/give_heart-1.gif)    (http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t81/skydreamers/bighug.gif)   

I think I'm going to get out the paper like Gena and print out this thread.  Lots of food alright!

Peace and blessings to you,
Diana







Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: bobf on June 27, 2007, 02:52:54 AM
I don't know why the greater part of christendom feels it must read into eonian an endless torment.  It mystifies me.  It's as if they have an emotional need to see it this way.  Much like men who can't stand the thought of women teaching them anything in Christ.  They read Paul's words through chauvinistic eyes, and see red when a woman of God tries to teach them anything.  Nonsense!

A couple of verses came to mind when I read what you wrote above.

Psalms 18:26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. KJV

Interesting the ESV has it "with the purified you show yurself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous."

Luke 9:54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55  But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

The disciples were not beyond seeing God through froward (twisted) hearts.  None of us are.  All of us have at one time or another felt superior and looking-down-our-noses enough to relish the idea of God raining fire down from heaven to devour our enemies, as if we are some how better than they are for seeing what we see.  But we know Paul said we are NOT better than they are.  All eye-opening is done by Jesus Christ who came to blind those who [think they] see, and to give sight to the [ones who see they are] blind.

The people who are gleeful about the idea of eternal torture in fire from God, do not know "what manner of spirit they are".

ps.  No Tom!  This is a GREAT thread and has blessed us all.



Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: jER on June 27, 2007, 03:17:09 AM
When we reach the end of our journey, "We will be in His Presence."

May the Lord grant you traveling mercies - HIS GRACE!

- jER
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Tom on June 27, 2007, 03:40:15 AM
To all...it has been a GREAT thread, and I appreciate each of you very very much!

jER, Diana, and Bobf, each of your comments bring such a blessing.

I fully admit, when I look up into His face I just cannot see One who would torment anyone endlessly.  I can't see One who would torment anyone for a moment.  If torment is experienced I suspect it will not be at His hands, but simply the resistence of a stubborn heart.

I am confident that He Who planned the plan will bring it to full and wonderful completion, and that no matter how it plays out we will see and embrace the wisdom of it all, either in the first or the second resurrection.  May it be the first...

Blessings for your great love!
Tom
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: DuluthGA on June 27, 2007, 04:24:35 AM
Thanks again Tom!

I pray God He lets the scales fall out of your eyes.

Joy, Janice
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: lilitalienboi16 on June 27, 2007, 05:16:12 AM
Peeeek-a-BOO

I followed this whole thread, haha pretty amazing and like the rest i agree, so much food here =]

Great stuff!

Tom, Christ is truly at work in you brother, i can feel the love =]

Blessings to all,

Alex
Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Chris R on June 27, 2007, 09:20:26 AM
Hi Tom,

I will let the thread rest, thankyou all for the hundreds of scriptures given, Thankyou Tom for your sincerity.

I have found in the past years, Through the teachings of Ray Smith, The Hate I had for other men has melted away, While i still get angry concerning the twisted doctrines of eternal torment, It is the teachings i despise, and not the people who are deceived by them, If not for the grace of God, We would certainly still be among those that would turn their god into nothing more than a common thug.   

When you have meditated at length concerning the doctrine of eternal torment, i'm quite sure you will come to the same conclusion, There can be no "justice" in burning people for all eternity, its just insane.

Peace

Chris R

Title: Re: A question of NT emphasis
Post by: Craig on June 27, 2007, 08:44:19 PM
This has been an enlightening thread and much good has been discussed and questions answered.
Good job members!

I'm locking it now before it goes off in another direction.

Blessings
Craig